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10 February 2015, 06:12
Rangers shareholder Dave King has hit out at the board for their "outrageous'' decision to stage a crucial general meeting in London as the club announced they were seeking a new venue in the English capital.
Rangers claimed a Kensington hotel, which was announced as the venue for the March 4 meeting on Friday, had cancelled the booking amid concern over disruption.
King also hit back at the board's attack on his suitability for a Rangers directorship as they fight to stave off his bid to remove them.
The former oldco Rangers director's statement was written just before the club announced the latest drama surrounding the March 4 meeting, which King called, and before the Daily Record newspaper was informed it had been banned from Ibrox and Murray Park after reporting the hotel might not stage the meeting.
King said: "What is truly disappointing, albeit unsurprising, is the board's continued bitterness and antagonism towards the club's shareholders and supporters.
"Moving the general meeting to London at greater cost to the club, at greater cost to small shareholders, and at a venue that excludes the majority of shareholders is simply outrageous by any standard of respect or corporate governance.
"The board's defiance of its own fans, customers and shareholders is clearly a matter that invokes passion in any Rangers supporter.
"The fact that the fans continue to demonstrate by vociferous but peaceful means is a credit to the fans collectively and to the club as a whole. It is truly humbling to evidence how fans have rallied round the club in this time of need.''
King stated he was "astonished'' that the club's nominated advisor, WH Ireland, had endorsed the venue choice.
He added: "While at a previous Nomad, Paul Shackleton presided over appalling governance by the board. However, I had expected his new employer to demand a higher standard.
"This reinforces my previous statements that WH Ireland is not a fit and proper Nomad for the club and must be removed following the general meeting.
"I have already, in writing and verbally, advised WH Ireland that I expect to receive their resignation immediately upon successful conclusion of the general meeting.''
Supporters groups initially vowed to travel to London in their numbers after the shock announcement that the meeting would be held in a 500-capacity venue rather than Ibrox, where thousands of shareholders have attended recent annual general meetings. But suspicion has grown that the board wanted an overflow of shareholders in order to adjourn the meeting and cling to power.
A club statement read: "Rangers has today been informed that the Millennium Gloucester Hotel & Conference Centre which was the intended venue for the requisitioned general meeting on Wednesday 4 March 2015 is no longer available.
"The hotel management at the Millennium Gloucester has taken advice from different quarters and concluded that the GM cannot be managed without significant disruption to guests and neighbours.
"The hotel management felt it necessary to take this position after receiving numerous complaints and false information from individuals purporting to be shareholders.
"The board is concerned the situation was exacerbated by irresponsible and inaccurate media coverage.
"An alternative venue is currently being sought in the London area and will be announced as soon as possible.
"The board apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused shareholders due to matters out with its control.''
No managerial staff at the hotel were immediately available for comment.
King, who is looking to replace James Easdale, David Somers, Barry Leach and Derek Llambias with himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan, hit back at the board's statement which highlighted his tax problems in South Africa, quoting a 2011 judgement which described him as a "glib and shameless liar''.
The South Africa Revenue Service announced in August 2013 that it had reached a £40million settlement with King after he admitted 41 counts of tax offences.
King has released an email from the SARS media department which reads that he is not disqualified from serving as a director and can operate his business without restriction.
King said: "In its announcement the board again recycled the now discredited story about my litigation in South Africa despite knowing that what was stated was irrevocably superseded by subsequent court orders. This is a simple act of dishonesty.
"Presumably the board's spin-doctor has been unable to conjure credible new arguments for the board to continue in place.''