Rangers fans have issued a vote of thanks to departing chairman Dave King.
Johanesburg-based King announced on Friday he had vacated his Ibrox throne to focus on guiding his South African businesses through the coronavirus crisis, leaving it to Douglas Park to lead the Gers board on an interim basis.
The Castlemilk-born tycoon proved to be a controversial figure during his five-year reign.
But fan group Club 1872 say they will not forget his role in wrestling control away from the loathed Mike Ashley-backed regime previously in charge at Ibrox.
In a statement, the group – the fourth biggest shareholder in the club – said: “Following the announcement last Friday of Dave King’s departure as Chairman of Rangers Football Club, Club 1872 would like to take this opportunity to address everything he has done for our football club and for Club 1872.
“Rangers supporters and everyone connected to the club owe a huge debt of gratitude to him for stepping up, along with other current investors, at a time when our football club was in great danger from a group of people intent on running it into the ground.
“Had it not been for his decisive action the outlook for Rangers would have been very bleak.”
King along with his allies Park, George Taylor and George Letham – known as the Three Bears – seized control in 2015 and went on to backroll the club’s return to the top tier of Scottish football a year later.
Tangible success, however, has yet to materialise with the appointments of Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha as manager both ending in failure.
King thought he had landed a coup when he lured Steven Gerrard to Glasgow in 2018 to lead the transformation of Gers’ on-field fortunes but the former Liverpool skipper has yet to deliver silverware.
It was in 2011 that the Light Blues last lifted a major trophy and while King and his colleagues have poured millions in to keep the club competitive, a costly, long-running legal dispute with Ashley and his Sports Direct empire has seen much needed financial resources go to waste.
But Club 1872 believe King has put the club back on the path to glory.
The statement continued: “Over the five years of his chairmanship the club has dramatically improved both on and off the pitch.
“He has overseen a complete overhaul of the football department, with a structure now in place to take us forward for years to come.
“He has also ensured that Ibrox Stadium is being gradually returned to its former glory after years of wilful neglect.
“We now have a manager capable of returning us to the top of the Scottish game and a squad of players who have done the club proud in European competition and continue to push for our 55th domestic title.
“The club has regained its respect and its soul and is now recognisable once again as the Rangers we are all proud to call ours.
“Aside from his efforts on behalf of Rangers, the outgoing chairman has been our point of contact with the Rangers board and a source of continual encouragement for Club 1872, with his public commitment to ensuring a significant supporter shareholding in the club always at the forefront of our discussions.
“In his absence we will continue to engage constructively with the Rangers board and look forward to doing so with the same vital principle in mind. We wish the interim chairman Douglas Park and interim vice-chairman John Bennett well in their new roles.
“Whilst others outside of the Rangers family might see fit to debate Dave King’s tenure as chairman it is absolutely clear to those who matter most that he saved our football club and will forever be remembered for doing so.
“We wish him well in his ‘retirement’ and will continue to work closely with him as the largest individual shareholder in Rangers International Football Club Plc. Thank you, Dave King.”