Dave King backs Rangers fans in Sydney Super Cup row as former Ibrox chairman issues board demand

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The South African businessman claims he would NEVER have sanctioned the controversial trip to Australia

Dave King has called on Rangers chairman Douglas Park to ‘reverse the cult of personality’ that has developed at Ibrox after launching a scathing attack on the club’s board for the decision to take part in the Sydney Super Cup.

The former Light Blues chairman is backing supporters who are furious with the Scottish champions executive team for sanctioning the controversial trip to Australia, which will see Giovanni van Bronckhorst’ side face bitter rivals Celtic in a glamour friendly as part of the four-team tournament in November.

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Fans held protests with chants and banners during the Gers battling 1-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Wednesday night and further demonstrations are expected this weekend ahead of their clash with Aberdeen.

Former Rangers chairman Dave King wants to return to the Ibrox board (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Former Rangers chairman Dave King wants to return to the Ibrox board (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Former Rangers chairman Dave King wants to return to the Ibrox board (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

King, who stood down as chairman in March 2020, has expressed deep concerns at the way in which Rangers are being managed at boardroom level following the club’s well-documented fight with the SPFL over the cinch sponsorship deal and the departure of previous manager Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa last year.

Now the Johannesburg-based businessman has urged his successor Park, who has come under severe criticism, to call off the trip which would see the first ever Old Firm match played outside of Scotland.

Speaking to Herald and Times Sport, King said: “I am 100 per cent with all supporters on this. It is not something that I would have sanctioned if I was still on the board.

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“Unfortunately, this is another in an increasingly long list of recent instances where the club has shown its indifference to supporter wishes and interests.

“The shoddy treatment of Club 1872, the firing of Mark Hateley, Richard Gough, Derek Johnstone, etc, as ambassadors, the unseemly spat with the football authorities to assist Douglas’s personal agenda, and the completely unnecessary loss of a manager that won title number 55 and would have successfully defended the title are among the concerns that have caught my attention.

“I have not spoken to Douglas since I stepped down as Chairman but, as an ordinary support, I call on Douglas to reverse the cult of personality that has developed at the club and to remember that the present board are temporary custodians of the club on behalf of present and future generations of supporters.

Union Bears have hit out at the club. Picture: SNSUnion Bears have hit out at the club. Picture: SNS
Union Bears have hit out at the club. Picture: SNS

“Recent success has unfortunately created short memories and supporters have every right to be concerned.”

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King’s comments came just hours after Rangers ultras group, the Union Bears released a statement branding the move to play Celtic overseas ‘disgusting’.

It read: “We are disgusted to learn that our club have plans to take part in a friendly over in Australia against our biggest rivals, though not entirely shocked given the recent over-commercialisation of the club.

“We made our feelings clear last night and will continue to oppose this match for as long as necessary - taking whatever actions we feel are required.

“Over the past few months, we as a group have been working tirelessly to create a tifo to celebrate our club’s 150th anniversary.

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“This has taken hundreds of man hours and cost thousands of pounds, which was raised by the Rangers support. The news of this despicable friendly had made us reconsider our plans - how can we have a day of celebration while this is hanging over our heads?

“After much discussion over the past 24 hours, we have came to the decision that the tifo will go ahead despite the disappointment, anger and frustration we currently have towards those from the club behind this narrow minded, cash driven decision.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Rangers chairman Douglas Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Rangers chairman Douglas Park. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“The tifo is not being done for men in a boardroom with no real emotional attachment to our club, it’s being done for us as fans to celebrate 150 years of our magnificent football club.

“Board members will come and go but the one major consistency at Rangers will always be the supporters. We’d ask all fans inside Ibrox on Saturday to take part in the tifo - no matter your feelings towards the disgusting decision that the board has made.

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“This tifo is for the four lads that had a dream, it’s for our players and managers who have contributed to the club’s success but most importantly - Saturday’s tifo is for the fans past & present who have stood by the club through thick and thin.

“So let’s not allow them the board to take away more from us than they already have. Our club, not theirs!”

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