Boardroom Drama At Rangers

Rangers director Philip Nash has resigned from the Ibrox board. The club announced the news to the Stock Exchange.

In a day of upheaval, Brian Kennedy and Mike Ashley have both offered loans to Rangers as they go head-to-head for control of the Ibrox club.

Newcastle United owner Ashley, who owns an 8.92 per cent stake in the club, is seeking to cement his boardroom influence by providing the crisis-hit club with emergency cash.

But Sale Sharks chief Kennedy has returned to the scene two years after failing to rescue the club from liquidation with the Blue Knights by offering a counter loan offer.

His offer would only need board approval to be passed.

News of Kennedy's move came just minutes after Rangers announced to the stock exchange that director Philip Nash has stood down.

Former oldco director Dave King, meanwhile, is refusing to admit defeat in his attempt to return to the club.

He was in Scotland this week hoping to strike his own 16 million pound investment deal but was forced to return to South Africa without an agreement after talks with Sandy Easdale - the football board chairman who holds 26 per cent of the club's shares - broke down.

But Ashley now looks to be the man in pole position to take command at Ibrox.

A source close to the Sports Direct tycoon  says ''Rangers are in serious financial difficulty and require his immediate financial help''.

Rangers are set to run out of money by the end of the year but in return for providing a crisis loan, Ashley wants to be able to pick his replacements for Nash and chief executive Graham Wallace.

Both Nash and Wallace faced being removed from the board after Ashley called an emergency general meeting.

The former Liverpool and Arsenal financial chief was brought in by Light Blues chief executive Graham Wallace in January to help solve the club's ongoing cash crisis.

Rangers lost 14 million last year but it is understood the club's annual report will announce that Nash helped reduce this year's losses to around 7 million when it is released next month.

It's understood Ashley offered the 42-year-old the chance to stay on as a financial advisor - but without a board position - during the transitional period to his command.

Nash was unwilling to work with Ashley, however, and has now walked away.

The stock exchange statement reads ''The Company announces that Philip Nash has resigned from the Board of Rangers (''Board``) with immediate effect.

''The Board would like to thank Mr Nash for his significant contribution to the Company during what has been a particularly challenging period.''

Nash's departure leaves just four men on the board - Wallace, Sandy Easdale's brother James, Norman Crighton, who represents major shareholder Laxey Partners, and chairman David Somers, who now holds the casting vote.

Wallace is next in Ashley's firing line after he set up talks with King last week.

But King has warned the board that choosing Ashley's offer will only leave them even further at the mercy of the Magpies owner.

In a statement given to Press Association Sport, he said ''I have been asked to make a personal comment on the rumour that the Rangers board is considering a loan from Mr Ashley.

''I don't see the offer of a short term loan by Mr Ashley affecting me in any way. Our offer is for a long term permanent solution that can take the club forward and unite the fans and the board for the first time in many years.

''The board is in the final stages of reviewing our offer and I expect a definitive answer early next week. Frankly, it doesn't seem possible that the board can do anything other than recommend it to shareholders given the dire financial circumstances and the fact that no other long term solution is on offer.

''Mr Ashley's involvement (and recently announced continued commitment) with Newcastle precludes him from making a similar offer of long term permanent equity.

''What Mr Ashley can do is attempt to increase his vice-like grip on the Rangers brand by improving his retail position as a condition for supplying short term debt to tide the club over until our permanent funding is in place. But I know that there are other investors also willing to provide bridging finance.''

King is convinced the board will ''not have to accept punitive terms'', and added: ''We must remember that the board is ethically and legally bound to act in the best interest of the company and all shareholders.''

Responding to Nash's resignation, King said: ''He is a man of integrity. Perhaps he wanted to disassociate himself from something unsavoury.''

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