A warning for Celtic as Dave King heads for lifeboat on a salty sea of tears

A tearful Dave King has decided that he does do walking away from Ibrox after he revealed that he is to stand down as chairman.

Despite his justification of his tenure, the impression is one of looming catastrophe of a type that saw the first Rangers sink.

Early in his address at the AGM, King rem: “As you are aware, the sole business of the Company is its investment in The Rangers Football Club Limited- which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company.”

That paragraph should act as a reminder to all Celtic fans, and fans of all other clubs, of the mess made by Rangers as they went to the wall. It should also serve as a warning that something bad may be coming down the pike for this incarnation.

With the accounts suggesting that it an eight-figure investment is required just to see out the season, financial chaos seems the order of the day at Ibrox yet again.

The wisdom of anyone putting a substantial “investment” into a club that is swirling around the plughole has to be questioned.

A look at the league table at the end of November, shows the Ibrox side involved in a title race with Celtic. So why would King step down now?

Cold-shoulder sanctions by the Takeover Panel have turned King into the North Korea of football. Once described as “mendacious” and “a glib and shameless liar” by a South African judge, King’s name will be mud in the UK financial sector for four years.

While David Murray’s Rangers once had a unique line to the bank, Dave King’s outfit are clutching at straws.

Draining resources even further, expensive wars of attrition are being fought in courtrooms even when the victor has already been announced.

Still, King insists that he will continue to battle Mike Ashley, a seemingly futile gesture, but a prospect that will no doubt delight the Sports Direct founder.

It would be churlish to deny progress altogether. In 2014, their AGM was held in on the pitch in a rented tent, but this year they were in a swanky building on the riverside. From a gazebo to the Armadillo in five short years.

Such extravagence! But at what cost, as Limmy famously asked in the shadow of the Armadillo.

King addressed the audience: “Now, you may rightly wonder how I can stand up here and express satisfaction about a company that announced accumulated losses of over £25 million pounds for the last two years alone.”

He even managed to confound himself at the conclusion he arrived at.

King continued: “Frankly, as someone who has spent almost four decades building and operating profitable businesses I surprised myself when the word ‘satisfied’ came to my mind when I was preparing this speech.”

One of the reasons everything is rosy in the garden, it transpires, is that after a series of discussions the actual value of the squad is more than the book value.

2014 saw the winter of their discount tent

Assessed by Steven Gerrard and new director of football Ross Wilson, they have magicked a quite substantial sum out of thin air.

The mindblowing figure arrived at was £103m. For a squad that hasn’t won anything and where there hasn’t been a bid for any player above the €3m that Gerrard admitted was the highest offer for Morelos.

King said: “Based on discussions and offers that we have received from other clubs, I have had a personal comfort for some time that the value of our squad is significantly higher than the book value reflected on our balance sheet.

“I therefore decided, initially for my own comfort, to request the new Director of Football, Ross Wilson, to give me his fair value estimate of the individual players making up the player pool. Ross completed this exercise in consultation with the Manager and provided me with two estimates.

“The first is the estimate of present market value and the second included a projection as to where some of our players could get to if they continue to progress as expected. The present value of the squad reflects a significant uplift of £55 million pounds over our book value and the projected amount would yield an uplift of £103 million pounds if it eventuates.”

Don’t be surprised if, at this point, your memory conjures up a grainy image of Arthur Daley with a dozen watches inside his camel coat.

He continued: “I know that these numbers are not scientific and we are certainly not holding anyone to them.”

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Realistically, you would need clubs interested in members of the squad, something that appears to be lacking. Therefore, whether the “numbers are scientific” or not is a moot point, as there will little prospect of “holding anyone to them” anyway.

The whole exercise sounds like the kind of beermat valuation you’d read on a forum, compiled by someone called BrigtonBillyBearWATP after 12 pints on an empty stomach and a valium.

It’s also reminiscent of the high valuations of Ibrox stadium, when the old club was pulling out every trick in the book to remain a going concern and inventing a few new ones into the bargain.

That kind of stunt might work if you were going to try to tap money but they must be near the point where the lender is the type of chap who puts your head in a vice if he doesn’t get his payment.

And. given the lack of genuine interest in any of the ‘talent’ currently gracing the Ibrox turf, that seems quite a risky route to take.

With icebergs everywhere you look on a salty sea of Dave King’s tears, the South African-based businessman may well have made the first move for a lifeboat.


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