RANGERS Chairman Dave King is keen to see further work done in order for the club to improve relations with a number of key partners.
The club has long stated a desire to make closer ties with the SPFL, SFA and government on both a local and national level, and while the Chairman has seen some improvement, he wants to see it moved to the next level.
Speaking exclusively to RangersTV.tv, he explained: “I think it is getting better but we are not there. I would have liked to have made some more progress in that area. Obviously getting back into the Premiership was important because the club’s status was diminished just by not being there because you are not sitting at the table because you don’t deserve to be at the table until you get in that league.
“So the fact we are there now and we’ve now got representation there, I think that’s been an improvement but obviously the debacle around the cup final and the interaction with the authorities, clearly we were very unhappy with the way the matter was treated, that certainly didn’t assist us in bring the relationship closer because we had to stand our ground on a couple of points there.”
King was also asked if he could give any update on the situation with Sports Direct, to which he replied: “No there isn’t. The only thing that I can really say is that the status quo remains. I had hoped to be in a position at this AGM to make some kind of announcement. There were discussions that at a point in time that could have taken a certain direction but unfortunately as we are sitting here today there is nothing further I can report.”
The next question then asked if he could understand the frustration of supporters who are keen to purchase merchandise, to which he responded: “I have that frustration myself, it’s been a very, very time consuming exercise that continues to be a time consuming exercise.
“From my personal perspective, in terms of the amount of time I invest in that, it’s actually a huge amount of time that Sports Direct has taken up for me personally. It is the one, let’s say, truly horrendous legacy issue that we have still not been able to resolve. I think most of the legacy issues we have resolved and it’s a question of rebuilding the club.
“Sports Direct is certainly the thorn in my side in terms of something that really has to be dealt with and as quickly as possible, but it has to be done in manner which is sensible for the club. We could resolve the Sports Direct problem quite easily just by giving in to their demands, but that’s not what it is about. We have got to make sure we do what is right for the club.”
And, asked if he could add anything on the kit situation with Puma, he said: “I can’t, that’s all tied up in the Sports Direct discussions because Puma is very much…from our point of view it’s very sad to find Puma in this situation because Puma have been absolutely fantastic with us and been a fantastic supporter of us, but unfortunately they are intertwined in the Sports Direct contract.
“It’s the one party that we feel very sympathetic towards because they really shouldn’t be in the situation they find themselves in.”
In his address to shareholders at the AGM, King was fulsome in his praise of the club’s Academy and the work they have done over the last year or so.
One topic which has come up in recent weeks is that of a Rangers ‘colt’ team playing in a professional league, and that is something King is keen to see that idea come to fruition.
He said: “A lot is happening in that area as well but again there are issues around the football authorities we have to look at very carefully. But it is something we are very alert to, as to what we think is the right progression for the younger players and certainly those who are running the Academy are very clear on what they feel is right for the club and they have our full support. But it does require some work to make sure we can achieve that one in the existing structures and authorities.”