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New Rangers CEO makes promise as fans vent feelings

New Rangers chief executive Derek Llambias promised to get Rangers "back on its feet" when he addressed a turbulent annual general meeting - but the board were defeated on a key resolution relating to the issue of more shares.

And Llambias revealed talks were planned with the Scottish Football Association today despite Rangers and key Ibrox shareholder Mike Ashley facing five disciplinary charges in a January 27 hearing into the Newcastle owner's dual interests.

The club lost an attempt to disapply pre-emptive rights for the second year running. The resolution, which would have given the board authority to issue shares to individuals without offering the same terms to existing shareholders, was defeated by a 55-45 majority. The board needed a 75 per cent share.

The Rangers board, chairman David Somers, Llambias and the Easdale brothers James and Sandy were met with widespread booing, abuse and derision when they faced shareholders from a tent on the Ibrox pitch, hours after the departure of Ally McCoist on garden leave was announced. But the meeting did present fans with their first chance to hear Llambias since he was appointed chief executive.

There were cries of disbelief when Somers claimed he had interviewed "many" candidates for the chief executive's role, made vacant when Graham Wallace quit in the wake of Ashley strengthening his grip on power at Ibrox with an interest-free loan of £3million.

Llambias, who stepped down as Newcastle managing director in June 2013, denied he had been on Ashley's payroll immediately before taking the role at Ibrox.

He claimed he had helped the St James' Park club "stand on its own two feet" and would roll up his sleeves to get Rangers back on its feet. Llambias added: "Not everything I do will be popular but everything I do will be in the club's long-term interests.

"We need financial stability off the pitch and great football on the pitch. We want to get Rangers back into the top flight and the Champions League. That is our aim and hopefully next year I will give a much better speech."

Talks with the SFA will be held on the backdrop of Somers' claim that a "great deal of anti-Rangers feeling" exists within Scottish football, "perhaps (although I hope not) even in the football establishment".

This attempt at populism was accompanied by an attack on the media's reporting of Ibrox issues but it failed to deflect the fans' anger towards those in power.

The four directors were roundly booed as they walked towards the stage amid cries such as "out, out, out" and "scumbags".

recoup

Rangers recently announced annual losses of £8.3million and admitted they needed to recoup most of that amount in the coming months to stay afloat. They can still launch a share issue but the board admitted defeat in key resolution nine "limits its options for future funding".

Somers was the focus of much of the ire as he exacerbated the hostility with some comments that sparked even more anger.

At one stage Somers asked fans to "refrain from any disruptive behaviour" and added: "If anyone gets too rowdy I will have to ask you to leave."

Amid the jeering there was laughter as Somers admitted "we have got more work to do" and even louder laughter when he said: "We need to rebuild the board with suitable people."


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