King castle

Why Dave King’s public feud with Rangers board risks tarnishing his Ibrox legacy

RANGERS fans’ admiration for Giovanni van Bronckhorst remains intact a month after taking over from Steven Gerrard as Ibrox manager.

The Scottish champions’ performance in the Premiership match against an understaffed Dundee United side at Govan on Saturday was far from the best, something Van Bronckhorst was quick to recognize afterwards.

Still, the narrow 1-0 triumph extended the Dutchman’s unbeaten streak since returning to Glasgow to eight games – his men have won seven and drew one of the matches he chaired – and have increased their lead at the top of the standings to seven points. .

Fans are still optimistic about the former Arsenal, Barcelona and the Netherlands player and the Feyenoord boss is in the driver’s seat and firmly believes he is the right man to take them forward.

In the age of social media, when a prominent figure can go from praise and praise to condemnation and beating with the click of a button, it’s something that’s okay. Van Bronckhorst’s stock is high.

It’s fair to say, however, that the opinion that legions of Ranger loyalists have of Dave King has been badly affected by the actions and words of their former president in recent weeks.

Some of them would have continued to regard the Castlemilk and South Africa-based financier as an all-time great Ibrox had he shown up to Hampden for the Premier Sports Cup final yesterday wearing a green scarf and white and had been seen cheering: “Go hoops!” ”

For them, King remains the man who ousted the “spivs” after a troubling period of upheaval off the field, transformed the fortunes of their sick heroes, brought in former Liverpool and England captain Gerrard, made it a force to be reckoned with in Europe, clinched the Premiership and prevented Celtic from finishing 10-In-A-Row. Nothing he does or says will ever change their perspective.

However, many, many others were alarmed by the shots he took against current directors in the media, by his decision to vote against Graeme Park’s re-election at last month’s AGM, and by his revelation that he is ready to return to the board.

The Scotsman, although no longer directly involved in day-to-day decision-making, remains the largest shareholder with a 15.45 percent stake. He may well have legitimate grievances that deserve to be heard.

But the fact that he chose to voice his displeasure over a number of issues – the interest he paid on a £ 5million loan, the treatment of the 1872 fan group Club and the ban by Chris Sutton – in public was not at all well received. .

No hierarchy, especially that of a club that has suffered so much from such heinous corporate vandalism in the past, should be immune to scrutiny or censorship. They recorded an operating loss of £ 23.5million in the last financial year. So they cannot expect to be praised for their efforts. Constructive criticism is healthy and should be encouraged.

But the widely held opinion is that Douglas Park and John Bennett, the current president and vice-president, deserve gratitude and support, for not seeing their efforts undermined, at this difficult time. They continued to dip into their pockets and make up for the significant annual losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, kept the Rangers in business, and achieved significant success.

King has always been an impenetrable and enigmatic character. Is he serious about going back to the board of directors? Or is it just wanting to create unease among his old allies and remind them that he deserves to be treated with some respect after relations deteriorate?

He made a deal to sell his stake in Club 1872 for £ 13million last year. He wants fans to have a say in how the Rangers are run and to make sure their existence is never threatened by unwanted Guardians again. Perhaps he is then anxious to try to heal any wounds that may exist and to facilitate this exchange.

But this redemption seems about as likely as the Green Brigade inviting Bernard Higgins to their Christmas party given the level of discontent that there is in the stands with this organization.

Would King be able to come back even if he wanted to? He was “spared” for four years by the OPA panel in October 2019. The sanction prevents any company regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority from acting for him on any transaction to which the OPA code applies.

Rangers fans have grown weary of division and internal fights for the past decade. Now that they have a respected and high level manager in the canoe, a team of talented and in many cases very salable players on the park, bona fide businessmen in the directors’ lodge and silverware. in the trophy cabinet they don’t like any hustle and bustle.

Especially when they try to progress further in the knockout stages of the Europa League, retain the Premiership, advance to the lucrative group stages of the Champions League and battle complications caused by the coronavirus.

King’s broadsides have, as always, been entertaining, but if he becomes a destabilizing influence in Ibrox in the future, it will tarnish his legacy.