THE message of 'never again' was key to Dave King six years ago. On Tuesday night, he emphasised it once more and ensured the words would be backed up by actions.

His decision to sell his major shareholding in Rangers to Club 1872 is his final parting gift to supporters. It will be King's legacy at Ibrox.

King's work rebuilding Rangers is done and now he has the chance to leave the club, his club, to those that will care about it most. Rangers will rest in the hands of the fans.

The cost to Club 1872 will be around £13million but the opportunity they now have is priceless. It is now or never, a once in a lifetime moment to preserve and protect their club for generations to come.

If King had wanted to cash in to the highest bidder, he would have been able to sell his 20.37 per cent stake for considerably more. Indeed, he believes the shares are currently worth around 50p each, which could see him recoup up to £33million if an alternative buyer was to be found at a higher level.

But his relationship with Club 1872 and his belief that supporters should have a key stake in RIFC plc is behind his decision to give the fan organisation the first chance to acquire his stake.

It will make Club 1872 - currently the sixth largest shareholders at Ibrox - by far and away the largest stakeholders in Rangers.

For comparison, chairman Douglas Park currently holds around 12 per cent of the shares, while long-term investor George Taylor has just under 10 per cent. Stuart Gibson, who invested £5million as part of a share issue earlier this year, has a seven per cent holding and the likes of Julian Wolhardt, John Bennett, Barry Scott and George Letham make up the remainder of the key money men at present.

The crucial number for Club 1872 here is 25. That is the percentage they have worked towards achieving since their formation and the purchase of King's 66 million shares will take them beyond that significant threshold.

That gives them the power to veto boardroom decisions and ultimately ensures Rangers will never again be owned by a single individual. If anyone fails to see the significance of that, then they have extremely short memories.

There will be those that rightly say they have full trust in the current Rangers board and complete faith that they will always do right by the club given their financial and emotional investments. Their generosity and their feeling for Rangers cannot be questioned and those that continue to fund their club deserve enormous gratitude from their fellow supporters.

But the Ibrox crowd cannot be complacent and it would be reckless to not make the most of the opportunity that King has given them and secure the long-term future of Rangers.

The intentions of those that make the decisions and that sign the cheques are not in doubt, but this deal is about life after this current regime and Rangers fans know better than most that nothing stays the same forever.

With 25 per cent of the shares under the control of Club 1872, the heartache of 2012 cannot be repeated. There can be no Craig Whyte like figure, no one-man wrecking ball at Ibrox.

If that is not a reason to complete this deal, then what is?

King has now made the dream a reality. Think back to the dark days of 2012, to the times where fans were fearing for the very existence of their club, their institution, rather than thinking of European runs and title wins.

In 1996, there were few dissenting voices towards Sir David Murray. Come 2006, his stewardship was under serious scrutiny and by 2016 his reputation was in tatters.

Things change in football and in business but Rangers fans must always be the one constant.

Increasing their influence is no condemnation on those at Ibrox. Instead, it is confirmation of the supporters' loyalty to Rangers and a chance to secure it for the next generation of fans.

Rangers must become self-sustaining financially and the need for external investment has to lessen in the coming years. Rather than benefactors plugging gaps, revenues will continue to rise and prize money and player trading will become more significant parts of the business model for Rangers.

This arrangement is not about fan ownership, it is about fan influence. Given everything that they have gone through and everything they have done for their club, it is only right that the Rangers support have their voice heard and this deal, with a boardroom seat surely set to follow, provides them that opportunity going forward.

King's shareholding gave him a degree of power and leverage whilst he was chairman, but he didn't singlehandedly run Rangers and that is not what Club 1872 will do either.

This isn't a novelty scheme where punters pick the colour of the strips and decide who the new manager is going to be.

Football decisions will be made by the football department and business decisions made by the executive team. For once, though, the fans can have a seat round the boardroom table rather than be left pointlessly peering in from the outside.

The bill of £13million is significant and only time will tell if it is achievable. New 'legacy' memberships have been launched as fans are asked to donate £500 either as a one-off or via monthly payments and King's shares will be sold off in tranches over the next three years.

With around 20,000 members required, it is a big ask for Club 1872 to treble their support and raise the funds. But it is now or never and the backing of King stands as a vote of confidence in the organisation and fan base.

Dave King helped save Rangers. Now is the time for fans to protect Rangers.