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Rangers chairman Dave King to step down

An emotional Dave King claimed Rangers could now abandon their “ad hoc” approach to funding as he announced he was stepping down as chairman.

King expects to leave his role within four months after expressing “satisfaction” with progress made in almost five years at the helm.

The South Africa-based businessman shocked many shareholders at the Rangers annual general meeting by announcing his intention to quit, just as the club appear to have mounted a credible challenge to Celtic’s domination of Scottish football.

But he claimed Rangers no longer needed him after moving beyond the “crisis” which he and his allies found when wresting control of the boardroom in March 2015.

King – who lost a £20million investment when oldco Rangers collapsed – stated he had entered the fray “extremely reluctantly” when asked to help remove the previous regime.

He said in a speech: “The hard work of recovery is now done and I intend to step down from the board in the new year as soon as the new funding round has been concluded by the sub-committee and the new devolved operating structure for the club that was approved yesterday has been fully implemented.

“I estimate that will take about four months.

“I now look forward to paying more attention to my South African and international businesses and to finally having the time to work with my children in the manner I had intended before my duty to Rangers put that plan on the backburner.

“The South African economy is very tough at the moment and it is time that I redirected much more of my attention to my private affairs.

“I would not step down if the club continued to need my services and support. But it doesn’t.”

King, who appeared close to tears when receiving a standing ovation, had earlier highlighted what he claimed were the board’s biggest achievements, despite admitting “satisfaction” was a surprising word to use after incurring combined losses of £25million over the past two years alone.

King highlighted £30million investment in the playing squad in three years, investment in the stadium and training ground, progress in the Europa League and building a team capable of challenging for the Ladbrokes Premiership title.

“So, purely on the basis of this team performance and the resultant European and improved commercial income, I believe that the value of our company, since regime change, has increased by more than the accumulated losses that we have incurred,” he said.

But he also valued Rangers’ squad at a potential £103million after consulting Steven Gerrard and recently-appointed sporting director Ross Wilson.

“This exercise validated my own information that the losses we have incurred have been well spent,” he said.

King also claimed the club were on the verge of moving beyond a situation where board members and other shareholders plugged losses on an ad hoc basis.

“I cannot overemphasise how stressful that has been for me personally and to my fellow directors on the board as we had to juggle our personal finances to make funds available to the club at short notice,” he said.

“It is a private joke between Douglas Park and myself that every time I meet him I ignore the customary hand shake and put my hand straight into his pocket. Thankfully it was always filled with cash.

“I recollect that in my very first interview I suggested that we needed £30million to ‘fix’ the club and that I would contribute 50 per cent and the Three Bears, with colleagues, would contribute the balance. We have all exceeded these initial estimates.”

King, who expected a new share issue to be approved, added: “Since year-end myself and my co-investors have made further substantial funds available to the club to meet our present commitments arising from the summer transfer window.

“Thereafter there will be no further need for the board to fund on the ad hoc basis that was necessary while we were navigating our way out of the Championship to where we are today.

“Going forward, the board can re-adopt the traditional method of financial planning.”

King, who vowed to continued helping the club in its lengthy legal fight with Sports Direct, added: “Commencing from the end of this financial year, there is no longer a strategic need to incur losses.”