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Tycoon plans fan buyout for Gers
Published : 28 Nov 2009 11:24:04
Graham Duffy, a property developer who is based in Florida, is reported to be planning a fans' buyout of the Ibrox club. It comes after the club's latest annual financial report showed debts have soared to £31.1 million. Duffy, 42, said the club's debts were "significant but not insurmountable". He is reported to have put together a business proposal with a members club ownership scheme at the heart of the plan, and also to have held talks with a number of businessmen aimed at taking this forward. If the plan is successful they could form a consortium to lead the club forward and then implement the fan membership scheme. Several successful European clubs - including Barcelona, Porto and Hamburg - are already run in this way. And it was reported Duffy's scheme would aim to recruit 15,000 members every year for three years, with the business model based on a members' club of 45,000. Supporters would pay £1,000 as a one-off joining fee, raising £45million. Duffy told the Evening Times: "I don't believe it is in the interest of Rangers to be dependent on one person any more. "Times have changed and, should the club be run properly, and given time for this plan to be implemented with the fans uniting behind it, then Rangers would be a stable, successful club, not just domestically but internationally, with sufficient funding to go forward and be innovative." He said the majority of fans backed the idea of the club being owned by supporters - either wholly or partially - but added this was a "major task" which could only be achieved over a period of time and "in line with a solid business model". Duffy added: "It hurts me, like any other Rangers fan, to see the club in the state it's in, which has and is most certainly impacting on the management team and players. "But there are people willing to do something about it and if the fans come on board it can happen." Rangers' majority shareholder Sir David Murray has said he is willing to sell the Ibrox club. Speculation has abounded in recent months with regards potential investors but, asked if there had been any expressions of interest, Murray told The Scotsman: "No - none," adding that there was "no substance" to such talk.