Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley has tightened his grip on Rangers after the crisis-ridden football club accepted his offer of a £2 million lifeline.
The Sports Direct founder controls just under 9 per cent of the Scottish giant and is forbidden from increasing his holding above 10 per cent while he owns Newcastle United.
However, under the terms of the interest-free loan agreed at the weekend, which sources say will prevent the club going into administration, Ashley gets his hands on the Albion car park and Edmiston House facilities at Rangers’ stadium Ibrox.
He already runs the club’s retail arm and owns naming rights to Ibrox but will also have the power to nominate two representatives on Rangers’ board.
They will replace its chief executive, Graham Wallace and finance director Philip Nash, who quit at the weekend, with former Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias tipped to fill one of the roles.
Rangers, who with bitter rivals Celtic have dominated Scottish football for decades, went into liquidation in June 2012 and were demoted to the fourth tier of the league. The club lies second in the second tier to rivals Hearts, having beaten Dumbarton 3-0 at the weekend.
According to reports, the club needed the latest financial injection to pay wages beyond November. Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, who had made a rival bid for control, said he was “disappointed”.
The latest move by Ashley comes almost a month after the 50-year-old wrong-footed the City by making a £43 million bet that Tesco will recover.
Sports Direct agreed a complicated “put” option with Goldman Sachs, banking on a recovery in Tesco’s shares, which have fallen heavily since the discovery of a £263 million hole in its accounts.Reuse content