Rangers: Dave King claims Mark Warburton was not committed to Ibrox club

Mark Warburton and Dave King at Rangers annual meeting in November
Warburton's signing policy was questioned by King

Dave King says Mark Warburton's "employment" was "terminated" after the Englishman's agent asked Rangers to waive their right to compensation if a club made an approach for the manager.

Chairman King also claimed Warburton had previously told him he was using the Ibrox outfit as a "stepping-stone".

And he insisted Warburton "did not respond well" to questions over his transfer policy.

Rangers said on Friday Warburton had resigned, but he insisted he had not.

Despite the disappointment of the team's performances this season and Warburton's dramatic departure, King insists the club's "bigger project remains firmly on track".

Under-20s coach Graeme Murty will take charge of Rangers' first team against Greenock Morton in Sunday's Scottish Cup fifth-round tie.

In a lengthy statement, South Africa-based businessman King indicated the club has already benefitted from around £18m of the £30m he had promised would be invested.

And he added that more than that amount may be needed to make Rangers competitive at the top of Scottish football.

Former Brentford manager Warburton and assistant David Weir - a former Rangers captain - were appointed at the beginning of last season and led the club to Scottish Championship title success and victory in the Challenge Cup final.

Rangers also beat Celtic on penalties in the Scottish Cup semi-final last season but lost the final to Hibernian.

"The season was an unqualified success and the management team was rewarded with a vastly improved contract," said King.

A list of Rangers' summer signing

However, last week's 1-1 draw with Ross County left third-placed Rangers 27 points behind Premiership leaders Celtic.

King highlighted Rangers' aim to qualify for European competition at the end of the current campaign, saying: "Our realistic expectation was to come second.

"This season, we did not stick to our plan of signing five or six players because the manager appealed to the board for additional signings. Despite the concern about departing from our plan of prudent phased investment, the board backed the manager's request for accelerated investment.

"This placed us significantly above the football resources available to our competitors (other than Celtic) and was expected to ensure that we finished a strong second in the league and had a squad that could be added to, close season, to make a strong impact in the Europa League qualifiers.

"While I still believe that we can finish a strong second, I am stating the obvious to admit that we are not where we anticipated we would be at this stage of the season and we have not repeated the success that we had with our signings from the previous season.

"Despite the relative disappointment of this season so far, the bigger project remains firmly on track and we will take whatever corrective measures are necessary."

'He viewed Rangers as stepping-stone to EPL'

Warburton signed 15 players across the two transfer windows for this season.

King says he told Warburton he wished to review their signing policy and "it is clear from subsequent media comments that the manager did not respond well to the board reviewing his recruitment activity".

"I was informally approached to ask if the club would waive compensation if the management team was to leave, " said King.

"I was alert to a conversation that Mark Warburton had with me after joining the club in which he advised me that his long-term ambition was to manage in the EPL and he viewed Rangers as a stepping-stone to achieve this.

"I was therefore not surprised when the management team's agent approached the club's managing director, Stewart Robertson, to request a meeting which was held in Glasgow on Monday this week.

"The outcome of this meeting was that the agent subsequently offered that Mark, David and Frank would resign with immediate effect without compensation as long as the club, in turn, agreed to waive compensation from any new club that they signed for.

"After discussion, the board accepted this offer and employment was immediately terminated.

Former Rangers captain David Weir and Mark Warburton have left the club after less than two seasons
Former Rangers captain David Weir and Warburton have left the club after less than two seasons

"While we were dealing with the admin and press releases relating to the resignation, the agent again contacted us and asked to defer the resignation until the management had secured a new club.

"I assume that the new deal had somehow collapsed at the last minute. The board met to consider this request but resolved to hold them to the original agreement.

"We are now in the process of reviewing the best interim and long-term solution for ensuring that a modern and robust footballing structure is put in place that will continue with and entrench the footballing philosophy that we have in place."

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