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2 March 2015, 11:12
Rangers have announced non-executive chairman David Somers has resigned from the club's board of directors.
The 7am statement to the Stock Exchange followed speculation on Sunday night which suggested the 66-year-old - a deeply unpopular figure with fans - was ready to walk before he was pushed out of the club at a general meeting on Friday.
His departure leaves the Ibrox club with just two board members, chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach - both of whom can expect to be swept out of the club when shareholders vote later this week.
James Easdale - brother of investor and football board chairman Sandy - resigned his directorship last week in the face of growing fan opposition and the signs are now clear that the man who called the general meeting, Dave King, is on the verge of grabbing control of the Glasgow giants.
In his resignation statement, Somers said: "I have resigned as Chairman of Rangers International Football club plc. I have worked in the City of London, the world's greatest financial centre for decades and enjoyed considerable success.
"When I was approached about the Chairmanship of Rangers, friends warned me that the world of football has different rules and codes of behaviour. I now know that is a gross understatement.
"I am a non-confrontational man and have always tried to bring harmony to boardrooms and with stakeholders.
"At the risk of antagonising my army of critics I would point out that Rangers managed to pay its bills and avoid going under during my tenure.
"These critics might not agree with how we achieved this. I look forward to alternative solutions from whoever is running the club in the future.
"Despite the personal attacks on me from various sources I genuinely wish the club the very best in the future and I am confident that with such a passionate and vociferous fan base they will be restored to their former glories.''
Somers sits on a number of company boards - including those of Zenith Bank, Europe Arab Bank and the Fujitsu Technologies International Pensions and it is understood he did not want to risk his reputation by being forcibly removed from the Ibrox boardroom.
The chartered accountant was appointed to his Light Blues role just weeks ahead of the club's 2013 Annual General Meeting following the resignation of former manager Walter Smith as chairman.
But it was his performance in front of last year's AGM which saw him booed and heckled by furious fans and shareholders.
Responding to the flak coming from the Ibrox stands, he told shareholders: "When you are chairman of Rangers, you can do it your way.''
Somers also took over executive duties for a short spell at the end of October after Graham Wallace quit as chief executive in protest at Mike Ashley's growing influence at the club.
But he caused further outrage when a leaked email appeared to show him threatening to sink the Newcastle owner's planned loan deal if his place on the board was put in jeopardy by a £16million rival bid lodged by King.
The South Africa-based former oldco director was rebuffed at that point but the stage has now been set for him to return to Glasgow and claim the chairmanship from Somers.
He needs to win a majority vote on Friday to oust Ashley's boardroom appointments Llambias and Leach from the club, and if successful plans to replace them with former Blue Knight Paul Murray, ex-Glasgow brewery boss John Gilligan and himself.
The Castlemilk-born millionaire already holds 14.57 per cent of the club's shares, while the Three Bears - Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - are in control of another combined 19.49 per cent.
Fans groups the Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First have both been collecting shares and proxies but with Somers and James Easdale both making run for it, victory appears inevitable.