Rangers chairman Dave King calls for prudence and patience

Rangers manager Mark Warburton is flanked by director Stewart Robertson (left) and chairman Dave King at the annual general meeting
Rangers manager Mark Warburton is flanked by director Stewart Robertson (left) and chairman Dave King at the annual general meeting

Rangers chairman Dave King has emphasised the need for prudence alongside a desire for the club to be "back at the top of the Scottish game".

King told the club's annual general meeting that the team is "well enough resourced" to achieve its immediate objective - playing European football.

Addressing shareholders, King spoke of the club's "most important issue".

"That issue is the need to strike the right balance between financial prudence and deficit funding," he said.

"The club cannot regain its former status by relying solely on the income it presently generates from its normal operations.

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Rangers shareholders thoughts following AGM

King cited the example of Leicester City winning last season's English Premier League title and that of Leeds United, who spent heavily in the pursuit of success before financial catastrophe.

"Within any given season there is scope for a Leicester City to outperform its far more financially muscled competition," said the Rangers chairman at the Clyde Auditorium.

"The last two decades have seen instances of Celtic winning the title during seasons when Rangers spent more on players.

"It is therefore essential that the board does not deviate from its approved financial plan due to supporter and media pressure during one specific season and thereby abandon the financial discipline that is so essential to ensuring football and commercial success over the medium to long term.

"Put simply, your board recognises that we have to spend more than we earn for an as yet undetermined period, but this operating deficit will be prudently funded and managed

"We won't be satisfied until we are at the summit of the game and it's a medium- to long-term project."

'Well enough resourced'

The recruitment and subsequent departure of Joey Barton was expected to be a major talking point, but this was passed over quickly with King admitting that in some cases, recruitment has not worked out.

"For various reasons, a significant part of our increased player budget has been tied up in resources that have not, up to this point, made a meaningful contribution on the pitch," he said.

"It is my belief that Rangers is presently well enough resourced to achieve our next major football objective - a return to Europe. A further investment in players will be required at that point."

Manager Mark Warburton defended the recruitment of Barton, saying: "Hindsight is a marvellous thing. We looked for players to add value and experience. I'd hope you'd judge us by the 21 players who have come in rather than one individual."

The Mike Ashley effect

King indicated that progress has been "hampered and stifled" by an ongoing dispute with Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

The board has, for the second year running, proposed a resolution to offer shares to investors without needing to involve all existing shareholders.

Rangers feel they are hamstrung by their retail contracts with Sports Direct
Rangers feel they are hamstrung by their retail contracts with Sports Direct

The outcome of that resolution, which could in effect dilute Ashley's shareholding, will be known next week, with King adamant that what he called "attempts to bully" contributed to a "significant loss of revenue".

"Rebuilding Rangers on and off the pitch is a medium- to long-term project," he said.

"Of course our plans would be enhanced, indeed advanced greatly, if we were not still being hampered and stifled by Sports Direct, who continue working to an agenda designed to help only themselves.

"Nevertheless, it remains my belief that we can free ourselves from these multiple onerous contracts and once again be able to operate and benefit from a strong retail arm."

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