MIKE ASHLEY has filed documents with the Land Registry lodging his intention to take out security on Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium.
And in a move which appears to indicate the Newcastle owner is set to step in and offer the cash-strapped club another emergency loan, he has also handed over documents to the Registers of Scotland informing he will do the same with the club’s Murray Park training ground.
The papers lodged with the RoS – called an advance notice – protect the deed and means anyone else looking to issue the board a loan would not be able to take Ibrox or Murray Park as security.
The document is valid for 35 days, meaning Ashley has until February 17 to strike a rescue deal. The move also suggests Ashley is not yet ready to give up his grip on power at Ibrox which he strengthened when lending them £3m in emergency loans towards the end of last year.
Ashley has already placed business partners Derek Llambias and Barry Leach onto the board as chief executive and financial director, continues to run the club’s retail division and now plans to add his Sports Direct firm to the title deeds of Ibrox and Murray Park.
While the board this week rejected US financier Robert Sarver’s £20million takeover bid, Ashley still faces competition from the Three Bears – wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Taylor and George Letham – and oldco director Dave King for control of the Rangers.
They bought up two lots of shares which equate to around 34 per cent of the club and are determined to push for boardroom change.
Ashley owns 8.92 per cent of the Scottish Championship club and only last month the SFA stepped in to thwart his attempt to take his holding in Ibrox to nearer 30 per cent.