Ashley Reps Absent From Meeting

Mike Ashley failed to send any of his Sports Direct representatives to an emergency meeting of Rangers shareholders - despite the fact he was the man who insisted it took place.

The Newcastle owner called the general meeting to demand the repayment of a £5million loan.

Around 500 shareholders were there to see director Paul Murray chair proceedings at the front of the Bill Struth Main Stand as he stood in for club chairman Dave King, who is in London on "club business''.

But despite being invited to address the vote by the Rangers board, no-one from MASH Holdings, the company which holds Ashley's 8.92 per cent shareholding in the Scottish giants, made the journey to Glasgow.

Murray told the meeting: "MASH was asked if it would send a representative to today's meeting. No reply was has been received on that point.

"The board are surprised that having called a meeting have not seen fit to attend and explain themselves.

"It would appear MASH sees no reason to explain its conduct.''

Ashley went to the High Court in London on Thursday to take out an injunction gagging the Gers directors from revealing "confidential'' details of the club's controversial commercial deal with Sports Direct.

That left Murray, fellow director John Gilligan and company secretary James Blair to rebuff many of the questions they faced from shareholders.

Gilligan did, though, reveal that the directors had been served with the injunctions by sheriff officers to their homes on Thursday night.

Rangers added a second resolution to the agenda calling for the retail contracts with Sports Direct - which currently see 75 per cent of profits from shirt and merchandise sales go to Ashley - to be renegotiated.

That figure would drop to 49 per cent if Rangers were to repay the cash they have borrowed from the billionaire tycoon, while the security he has taken over club assets like Murray Park and Gers' world-famous trademarks would also be returned.

But after advising shareholders to vote down Ashley's repayment demand, Gilligan informed the meeting that the board felt it was not in the current "best interests'' of Rangers to hand the money back, adding: ``Trust us, please''.

The results of the shareholder vote are expected to be announced on Monday.

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