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Fans takeover at Rangers supported by manager

Tue 30th Mar 2010 | Clubs Ownership

Rangers manager Walter Smith thinks the idea of a fans' takeover at the club deserves to be considered as reported by the BBC.

Rangers Supporters' Trust confirmed it is working on an "exploratory document" with the aim of taking over Sir David Murray's majority shareholding.

And Smith said: "It's something worth looking at. It works at big clubs in Europe and it would be interesting to see how it translates to Scotland.

"Like anything else at Rangers just now, it can't be ruled out."

RST's plan would need to be underwritten by either a wealthy individual or consortium and there has been detailed discussions with a third party.

However, RST spokesman David Edgar stressed: "At this point, it's an exploratory document only."

On the subject of fan ownership, he told BBC Radio Scotland: "It is a revolutionary idea, but only in Britain.

"It's a model that works successfully right across Europe. Britain is still mired in the 19th century model, where the local rich factory owner controls the local football club.

"That model hasn't served us very well recently, so let's look at something a bit more 21st century."

Rangers lead the Scottish Premier League by a handsome margin and have already won the Co-operative Insurance Cup but are £31m in debt.

Responding to reports of talks between the Trust and a multi-millionaire businessman, Edgar stressed: "We can't comment on speculation over any names mentioned with regard to underwriting or backing the scheme.

"All discussions must remain private and are at a very early stage."

Edgar described talks both with the club and potential backers as "positive" but insisted it was "too early to say" whether the RST proposal would ultimately end in a takeover bid.

"Rangers find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and, at the moment, it's pertinent to assess all options," he said.

"Anything the Trust does, we study to make sure it's viable before we go down that path."

When quizzed about the RST's idea, manager Smith, who has been working without a contract since January, said: "Everything at the present is worth looking at, although I don't know a great deal about it.

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