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Jan 06, 2015 23:00

By Keith Jackson


LLAMBIAS was called to Hampden for one-to-one talks with Doncaster yesterday over fears that Rangers could be set to go into administration again.


Derek Llambias has assured the SPFL that Rangers are in safe hands


RANGERS chief executive Derek Llambias was summoned to Hampden yesterday to be grilled about the extent of the deepening Ibrox cash crisis.


Record Sport understands the former Newcastle big wig was asked to attend a one-to-one meeting with SPFL counterpart Neil Doncaster who demanded to know if there is a danger that the club may be tipped into administration - two years after it was dumped into an ultimately disastrous financial meltdown by former owner Craig Whyte.


Llambias gave Doncaster a personal guarantee that another set of administrators are NOT about to be called into Ibrox and that the club will stay afloat even though the board admitted yesterday in a stock exchange announcement that more emergency funding will be needed to keep the club in business this month.


That admission came as they turned down an £18m bailout from Phoenix Knight Robert Sarver, the Arizona banker who has emerged as a late contender in an all-out-war for control of the boardroom.


Doncaster then officially briefed the SPFL board about his discussions with Llambias during a conference call last night, confirming that assurances have been given that Rangers are in a position to continue to trade.


The SPFL declined to make any comment on the Rangers crisis last night.


But Record Sport understands some sort of fresh funding will have to be in place by the middle of next week at the latest if insolvency is to be avoided and so an announcement on a new lifesaving loan can be expected imminently.


Craig Williamson/SNS Group Doncaster summoned Llambias to Hampden for talks

Doncaster summoned Llambias to Hampden for talks



To that end, Llambias and chairman David Somers are currently in negotiations with a consortium of wealthy fans headed by Douglas Park and including George Letham and George Taylor.


The trio are offering to keep the club afloat but, in return for their cash, they are demanding at least one voice in the boardroom ahead of a new share issue which they would underwrite.


There is no indication that similar discussions are ongoing with exile Dave King, who waded into the battle for power last week when he snapped up a holding of just less than 15 per cent.


But the board have invited Phoenix Suns owner Sarver to table a rival offer and it’s inconceivable that Mike Ashley - whose recent £3m crisis loan has already been spent - has not also been approached.


Yesterday’s statement to the Stock Exchange said: “The Company is managing its cash resources carefully and will require further funding before the end of January. The Directors are in discussions with Rangers’ significant stakeholders with a view to arranging finance for the Club.


“This is likely to comprise loans in the short term and possibly equity in the medium term. The board has invited Mr Sarver to consider participating in a similar discussion alongside other supportive shareholders.”


Sarver is expected to make another 7am statement this morning in response to this request as well as the rejection of his £18m buyout, which would have seen him land a controlling 51 per cent stake through the release of new shares.


The Rangers board said: “While the Directors welcome Mr Sarver’s approach, they believe that, notwithstanding the current financial difficulties, the proposal does not adequately value a controlling interest in the Company and accordingly the resolution to approve the placing is unlikely to achieve the 75 per cent majority required.


“The Directors do not intend to hold the General Meeting which would be necessary to implement the proposal.”


At the same time Sarver was releasing his own stock exchange statement to explain why he has entered the power struggle.


The 53-year-old said: “I believe what the club needs today is a very quick, major injection of capital to stabilise things and I can give the Rangers supporters a categorical assurance that I have the resources and ability to get this club back to its elite level.


Robert Sarver saw his offer to take over Rangers rejected Robert Sarver saw his offer to take over Rangers rejected



“I’m looking forward to building a consensus amongst supporters and prominent Rangers-minded figures who have the long-term success of the club at heart.


“I’ve had detailed research carried out on Rangers and I’m convinced that we could take it back to the top of the Scottish game on a stable and sustainable basis.”


Sarver has also been in discussions with the Park group but, at this stage, there is no sign of them joining forces. The priority for motor mogul Park and his men is to stabilise the club before it goes bust and ensure that Llambias keeps yesterday’s promise to Doncaster.


Heavyweight Ashley, though, is gearing up for another bruising battle. Two of his right-hand men are now heading the board with Llambias flanked by Sports Direct trouble shooter Barry Leach, as financial director.


It seems likely, meanwhile, that King’s next move will be to call for an extraordinary general meeting and the chance to wipe out the current regime at a shareholder vote.


Between them King and the Park consortium have already amassed 35 per cent of the club’s shares and they are confident of garnering the support that more than 16 per cent of the other existing shareholders - giving them an overall majority of more than 51 per cent.


Last night, Clyde Blowers boss Jim McColl handed over his 10,000-share stake to fans group Rangers First.


McColl said: “I was happy with the aims of Rangers First in uniting the fan shareholders and I have gifted my shares to Rangers First.


“I encourage other supporters to look at their aims and decide for themselves.”

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What right do they have to call anyone in? Is all financial information regarding a company on the aim not confidential to anyone outside the company and can only be passed through statements?


People went nuts at them for doing nothing about whyte. So they changed the rules and have every right to ask.

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