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You can get your cash Mike ..we'll keep the assets; KING PLEDGES TO REPAY MIKE AND TAKE BACK ASSETS.

Byline: EUAN MCLEAN sport@dailyrecord.co.uk

DAVE KING insists it will stick in his craw to hand back Mike Ashley's PS5million loan.

The Rangers chairman thrilled shareholders at the club's AGM by revealing the club is ready to repay the controversial loan that gave Ashley security over the club's prized assets, Turn to Page 62 From Back Page including the Murray Park training ground and the Albion car park. It would also see Ashley relinquish ownership of "intellectual property rights" including club crest, trademarks and stadium naming rights.

King had taken a stand against repaying the debt from a deal inherited from the previous regime carved up between Ashley and Charles Green.

But yesterday he voiced a clear intention to break the club free of Ashley's influence after raising more cash from fellow investors Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor plus an additional investor in board member John Bennett.

King said: "At the board meeting we made a decision to reverse our previous position regarding the Sports Direct loan.

"I felt that loan was something the club was entitled to and shouldn't be repaid - but with the ongoing circumstances with Sports Direct we decided we'd endeavour to repay the loan as long as we can raise the funds.

"It just took me one hour this morning to make phone calls between myself, Douglas Park, George Letham, George Taylor, Paul Murray and a new investor, John Bennett, to raise the PS5m - so we will be advising Sports Direct today that we will repay that loan.

"From an emotional point of view there is still some regret from me the money is being repaid but from a business point of view it was right thing to do."

His pledge was welcomed by shareholders seeking reassurances on the club's financial footing after published accounts showed a loss of over PS7m for the year, requiring an injection of PS2.5m in "soft loans" to keep the club going until the end of the season.

King insists those loans will not have to be repaid and said: "Those providing the soft loans are actually providing them as an equity substitute. We've only put it in as a loan but there's no intention these loans will be repaid, they'll be converted as equity.

"Once the Sports Direct debt is repaid we'll have no external debt. Barcelona can't say that, neither can Manchester United or Arsenal."

CAPTION(S):

IN CHARGE King, left, and Mark Warburton

NEW INVESTOR Bennett

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 28, 2015
Words:413
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