DAVE KING believes Rangers are ‘one of the strongest clubs financially in the world’ as he and the Light Blues board vow to continue their significant investment at Ibrox.

King chaired Rangers’ Annual General Meeting in Glasgow yesterday and revealed the Gers hierarchy would pay off the £5million loan to Sports Direct, and confirmed they would provide the £2.5million of cash needed between now and the end of the season.

The money to repay Sports Direct, who are owned by controversial Ibrox shareholder Mike Ashley, will come from King, John Bennett, Paul Murray and the Three Bears – Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor – and will see security over Murray Park and Rangers’ trademarks, amongst other assets, returned to the club.

The loans provided by those investors could be turned into shares in the future and the Gers chairman believes Rangers are well on track financially after years of turmoil off the park.

King said: “Those who are providing the soft loans are actually providing them as an equity substitute.

“At the moment we can only put it in as a loan but they will be converted to equity at some point in the future. You really want to think of it as quasi-equity rather than a loan.

“If you at the financial strength of the club, once the Sports Direct loan is paid off, other than shareholder loans – which I’m saying you treat as equity – Rangers Football Club has no debt.

“You will go far to find a single football club in the world that has a balance sheet as strong as Rangers, where it has no debt at all, a strong supporter base and owns all its assets.

“I actually think we are one of the strongest clubs financially in the world and our balance sheet is exceptionally strong.

“As I say, once the Sports Direct debt is repaid, we have no external debt whatsoever. Barcelona can’t say that, Manchester United can’t say that.

“Our stadium is paid for. Auchenhowie is paid for. We are in a very strong financial position.”

The investment of King and his fellow investors will be crucial for Rangers if they are to continue on the road to recovery in the coming months and years.

And King is confident the dark clouds have lifted from above Ibrox as he looks to lead the Light Blues to a bright future.

He said: “We will make it back to the very top of the domestic game because both the size and determination of the Rangers support demands and guarantees that.

“It is a voice that cannot be ignored, especially when we speak as one. It is our unity and absolute belief in Rangers that makes us strong and capable of meeting and dealing with all of the challenges before us and any threats made against us.

“The club is recovering from all manner of problems and malicious attacks but Rangers is now irreversibly on the way back. Nothing and no one will prevent us from reaching our goals.

“Already we have a revitalised staff who can sense that once again Ibrox and Auchenhowie are good places in which to work.

“Gone are the senses of doom and gloom and the feeling of dread that used to stalk the corridors of our work places.

“This turnaround in attitude and motivation is a positive force that shouldn’t be underestimated. Everyone, no matter his or her function, is an important member of the Rangers team and deserves respect.”

If Rangers are to return to the levels they are accustomed to, the board will require the continued backing of supporters who helped force regime change earlier this year.

The Ibrox hierarchy and manager Mark Warburton received a warm reception from shareholders yesterday as a number of issues were raised by a several-hundred strong crowd at the Clyde Auditorium.

King confirmed that Ashley had no option that would allow him to rename Ibrox in the future and insisted that there was ‘zero chance’ of Rangers losing any of the honours they won during the EBT era in the after the latest Big Tax Case verdict went in favour of HMRC earlier this month.

It was a far different occasion for supporters and shareholders to that of last year when the board were booed throughout a stormy meeting and King is keen to keep fans on side and involved in the rebuilding job.

He said: “We are absolutely sincere in our gratitude to the supporters in getting us where we are today.

“We are desperately keen to get the supporters involved in the club on an equity basis. We are going to continue to work with supporters, both in terms of ensure they have an increasing and active equity stake in the company and also that there is a genuinely robust and committed relationship.”