Newcastle owner Mike Ashley continues stealth Rangers takeover

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley continued what appears to be a stealth takeover of Rangers on Tuesday with former Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias travelling to Glasgow to discuss a role at the troubled Scottish club.

Reuters| Last Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 20:55 PM IST
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley continues stealth Rangers takeover

London: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley continued what appears to be a stealth takeover of Rangers on Tuesday with former Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias travelling to Glasgow to discuss a role at the troubled Scottish club.

British businessman Ashley, who owns almost nine percent of the voting rights of Rangers, provided 2.0 million pounds ($3.22 million) of funding for the financially-stricken club on Monday in return for the removal of chief executive Graham Wallace.

Wallace, who had been chief executive since last November, followed financial consultant Philip Nash out of the Scottish Championship (second tier) club after he quit last week.

Llambias travelled to Glasgow on Monday but remained tightlipped about his role at the 54-times Scottish champions.

"I`ve been invited up here for talks with the board - I`m one of many applicants," Llambias told Sky Sports News.

But Sandy Easdale, who controls 26 percent of Rangers shares, said on Tuesday that Llambias is working as a consultant, having previously backed Ashley`s investment in the club. 

"Mike`s a very wealthy individual and he really does want to help the club," he said. "I would hope (it will bring stability), we`ve got to look forward now. 

"The fans have heard so much over so many years but I can only say we`ve got somebody who is interested in helping the club and we can only look at it as a positive thing." 

Ashley said last month that he had no intention of selling Newcastle for at least two years, but his motives have been called into question by the Scottish Football Association who have asked for clarification from Rangers about his intentions.

If Ashley were to take control of Rangers then he could also come up against a UEFA ruling which states that teams owned by the same person are not allowed to compete in the same European competition.

The 50-year-old has been hugely unpopular with Newcastle fans since taking over in 2007 for the way he has run the Premier League club, but Ashley`s involvement with Rangers is positive according to manager Ally McCoist.

"The news of Mike`s involvement is good news," the Rangers boss said. "I`ve said all along the club needs investment, so we`ve got it.

"Change is always a concern but I have been told that this change is moving the club forward, which is absolutely fantastic."