Section: Scottish Championship

Rangers: Fans protest against board at Ibrox Stadium

About 600 Rangers fans gathered outside the front of Ibrox before and after the abandoned game against Hearts in a noisy protest against the club’s board.

Fans’ groups had called for supporters to gather at the main entrance 45 minutes before Friday’s kick-off.

In the snow, they chanted slogans against shareholder Mike Ashley, who wants the stadium as security for a £10m loan, and the club’s directors.

Police Scotland say officers dealt with a disturbance outside the ground.

Video footage later emerged of scuffles and snowballs being thrown at the Argyle House entrance at the Govan stand.

There are no details yet about whether any arrests were made.

Police say the match was called off by referee Bobby Madden after 25 minutes “because of the deteriorating weather conditions”, and at that point several hundred fans convened again outside the main door.

They voiced their anger at Sandy Easdale, who is the chairman of the club’s football board, and his younger brother James, who is on the board of Rangers International Football Club.

The supporters, aware of the desperate cash shortage at the Scottish Championship club amid boardroom turmoil, were moved to organise a protest when news broke that Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner Ashley had offered a £10m loan, but wanted Ibrox Stadium and the Murray Park training ground as security for it.

Rangers had previously said they would never allow Ibrox to be used as security against a loan.

The club needs cash to meet the January wage bill. Ashley owns 8.92% of the shares but his attempt to increase that stake to almost 30% wasstymied by the Scottish Football Association.

The consortium comprising Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, which owns 20% of Rangers, has said it will increase its offer of £5m in funding to avoid the board opting for Ashley’s cash.

“Rangers fans, including ourselves, do not want Ibrox given over as security to anyone,” said a spokesman for the consortium. which wants two board positions in exchange for the cash.

“There is absolutely no need when there are people ready and committed to offer more-than-adequate funding, while at the same time protecting the stadium.”

Prior to kick-off on Friday, news emerged that Dave King, who owns 15% of the shares, had lodged paperwork calling for a general meeting to remove all four directors from the Rangers board.

Many Rangers fans feel that the presence of Ashley’s associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach on the Ibrox board mean the board, with the backing of chairman David Somers and James Easdale, will agree to Ashley’s loan offer.

Supporters’ group the Union of Fans claimed: “Derek Llambias and Barry Leach have been appointed by Mr Ashley to ensure he grabs the remaining assets of the club.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Scottish Championship: Rangers reject Robert Sarver’s £18m approach for club

Rangers International Football Club has rejected a possible £18m takeover offer from American Robert Sarver, saying it undervalues the Ibrox outfit.

But the board has invited the owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball outfit to invest in the Scottish Championship club along with other shareholders.

The news comes the day after football chairman Sandy Easdale loaned the club £500,000 to avoid a winding-up order.

RIFC admits that it will require further funding by the end of January.

“The directors are in discussions with Rangers’ significant stakeholders with a view to arranging finance for the club,” said a statement to the Stock Exchange.

“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, a 53-year-old banker by profession, purchased a majority ownership in the Phoenix Suns’ National Basketball Association franchise in 2004 and also owns the Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball club.

Rangers revealed that his plan for the Glasgow club involved buying 100 million shares at 18p per share – below the current share price of 26p.

“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,” said the RIFC statement.

“And, accordingly, the resolution to approve the placing is unlikely to achieve the 75% majority required.

“The directors do not intend to hold the general meeting, which would be necessary to implement the proposal.”

Sarver made his approach in December, but the news only broke in the media on Sunday and it was followed by Rangers appointing Sports Direct executive Barry Leach as their finance director.

Leach heads brands at Mike Ashley’s sport retail business, the Newcastle United owner’s associate, Derek Llambias, having already been installed as chief executive following Ashley’s £2m loan to the Scottish Championship club.

In a separate Stock Exchange statement, Sarver stressed that his approach for Rangers was a serious one.

Read more at BBC Sport

Football: Ally McCoist remains Rangers manager after meeting

Ally McCoist has emerged from a meeting with Rangers board members still team manager despite having handed in his resignation.

As it stands, the 52-year-old, whose side sit second in the Championship, will still be in charge of the team against Livingston on Saturday.

McCoist told the club of his intentions and the club confirmed on Monday that a 12-month notice period has begun.

His annual salary has reverted to £750,000 after a spell when it was cut.

McCoist was called to a Wednesday meeting with the chairman of the club’s football board, Sandy Easdale, and director Derek Llambias.

The manager supervised his squad as normal at Rangers’ Murray Park training ground ahead of the meeting.

And Easdale was heckled by an angry supporter as he arrived at Ibrox stadium.

He said he could not comment in detail but told reporters: “We’ve not spoken to Ally yet, so we don’t know the situation.”

McCoist took over from Walter Smith in 2011 when Rangers were in the Scottish Premier League, but his period in charge has coincided with the club’s financial collapse.

Administration and subsequent liquidation of the former company that ran the club resulted in Rangers playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

The club’s all-time top goal scorer has led the team to two consecutive promotions, but this season Rangers trail Championship leaders Hearts by nine points as they chase promotion to the Scottish Premiership.

Craig Houston, from the Sons of Struth supporters group, told BBC Scotland that he hoped the matter would be settled quickly.

“Where there is uncertainty surrounding a club, it affects the fans and it affects, probably more importantly, the players,” he said,

“So if this is going to be resolved, hopefully it will be resolved sooner rather than later.

“I think now that he’s made the decision to go, we want to get promotion, it would be better sooner rather than later and we can get on with the rest of the season.”

Houston had some sympathy for McCoist, who previously took a wage cut at Ibrox.

“I think £400,000 for a manager in the position we’re in is a bit excessive and £750,000 even more so, but that’s what we’ve got to deal with,” he said.

“But I think it’s important to realise why he took a wage reduction.

“He took that reduction on the basis that it would safeguard jobs around the football club and he did it in good faith – and over the last seven to 10 days we’ve seen more job cuts around the club and now they are affecting the footballing side.”

Read more at BBC Sport