Rangers reporter notebook: Dave King's decision to step down as chairman analysed
King will step down as Rangers chairman in the new year
By Charles Paterson, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 02/12/19 4:01pm
Sky Sports News reporter Charles Paterson analyses Dave King's decision to step down as Rangers chairman and what it means for the club going forward.
The timing is surprising, but the news itself is not.
Rumours had emerged in Glasgow in recent days that this year's AGM might contain a significant announcement, and so it proved. When he took over the running of Rangers in 2015, Dave King insisted he did not plan a long stint as chairman.
On Tuesday he proved that statement to be true.
King believes Rangers do not need his financial backing and leadership going forward, given the investors he has attracted to the club. Having overspent in his pledge to pump £30m into the Ibrox side, he has finally declared that Rangers cannot continue to live out-with their means. Losses of more than £10m need to be curtailed.
Financial prudence is the way ahead for Rangers, but the balancing act between being sustainable and maintaining a challenge to Celtic - whose turnover still significantly outweighs their rivals - will be difficult. Celtic have made a habit of raking in huge transfer fees for their best players, while continuing to dominate domestically.
King acknowledges Rangers are yet to profit financially from success on the pitch, and while he has promised Alfredo Morelos will not be sold in January, eventually the club will need to cash in. The inspired decision to hire Steven Gerrard has paid off, but until silverware is delivered and the books are balanced Rangers will continue to operate in Celtic's shadow.
In many ways Rangers are healthier than five years ago. The football infrastructure at Ibrox was broken when King arrived; the scouting department and youth academy have been revitalised, the first team is stronger and the training ground has been upgraded. The matchday experience at Ibrox has been improved for supporters, with ambitious plans in place for the club's 150th anniversary in 2022. On the surface, King has improved Rangers' fortunes.
Yet why, in the middle of potentially the club's best season in years, is he stepping aside now? His courtroom wrangles with the Takeover Panel and Mike Ashley still hang over him, though he denies their influence in his decision.
His desire to spend more time with his family and look after his South African affairs is understandable, but the silent facts may be that the emotional, physical and financial toil of running Rangers is now too much of a burden.
The man who once promised to spend "his children's inheritance" on Rangers will remain a significant shareholder, though a fresh share issue in January is intended to attract new investors. Who they are, and what they bring to the club, will be intriguing.