Rangers: Sandy and James Easdale keen to build Ibrox stake

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Interview - Sandy and James Easdale

Greenock businessmen Sandy and James Easdale are aiming to increase their shareholding in Rangers and hope to earn a place on the board as a result.

The brothers, who run McGill's Bus company, are in line to buy the former Rangers chief executive Charles Green's shares, giving them about 14% at Ibrox.

"When you spend that amount of money on any business you wouldn't go without a voice," said James Easdale, 42.

"A presence on the board is something we would be seeking in the mid-term."

The pair, who are lifelong Rangers fans, were approached by Green towards the end of last year about investing.

They did so and acquired about 6% of the shares.

Now, with Green ousted and with the Yorkshireman announcing on his departure that he would be selling to the Easdale family, the brothers are looking to further extend their shareholding.

"We took a decision to invest in the club," said Sandy Easdale, 44.

"It is very hard to comment but we are serious about taking it forward.

"We have a delicate deal that when shares are available, we will purchase them.

"Other shares are an option to us and that is growing stronger.

"Every day we have some more negotiations with other parties.

The Easdales' business interests extend into taxis, property and manufacturing, as well as McGill's, which has grown to become Scotland's largest independent operator.

They say they are keen to see a "togetherness" at Ibrox to end the turmoil that has afflicted the club over the last 18 months.

However, they describe acquiring complete control of the club as "a far distant place".

"Somebody needs complete control at Ibrox," said Sandy Easdale.

"I don't know if that is where we want to be. We are quite willing to share Ibrox with people who want to do the job, do it properly and support Rangers as a club.

"[The turmoil] is very concerning for any Rangers fan.

"If we get enough support from the fans and other shareholders, together we could maybe turn it round.

"There are many at Ibrox who are sensible and know the way forward but they are struggling to get there because of different factions in the boardroom or outside the boardroom working against them.

"We need a togetherness and Rangers can move on.

"They have a togetherness with Ally McCoist, a great Rangers icon who has held it together under extreme circumstances, and Ally well deserves a chance to move Rangers on.

"And people like Walter Smith, what can you say? The man is a gentleman."

His younger brother added: "We would hope to bring some sort of stability.

"If we can get some other shareholders on board hopefully we can bring Rangers back to where they should be, in a better position financially and playing at a level of football that everyone who supports them would like them to be."

Sandy Easdale also spoke of the situation affecting Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray, who has been asked to stand down by the board.

"Personally, I have nothing against him, I don't know him that well, but if you are asked to leave twice there must be something amiss," he said.

And asked about fans' concerns about his conviction for VAT fraud, he replied: "It was 1996, about 17 years ago. We have built up a reasonable-sized business in that time, we employ up to 1,000 people.

"To cast up 17 years ago seems silly when everybody else has moved on. Let's look at what is happening now."

You can follow Chris McLaughlin on Twitter.

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