Kennedy & Murray back in race to save Ibrox club

Brain Kennedy and Paul Murray last night re-entered the race to save Rangers.

And as Kennedy fired in a bid that is DOUBLE his previous offer, both men joined forces to urge administrators Duff and Phelps to let one of them get on with job before it’s too late.

Record Sport revealed yesterday an increasingly anxious Kennedy had decided to launch an 11th-hour bid to keep the club alive, despite having been knocked out of the takeover battle last month.

Yesterday, as the clock continued to tick down towards liquidation without a preferred bidder being named, the Sale Sharks owner held crisis talks with administrator Paul Clark where he upped his original offer by 100 per cent.

And we can now reveal that late last night, Murray was also preparing to step back to the table after running out of patience with the foreign bidders who have failed to strike a deal to save the club.

Speaking exclusively to Record Sport last night Kennedy revealed: “I have been in constant contact with Paul Murray throughout the day as we are both hugely concerned about the time this process is taking.

“Both of us believe the situation is time critical. We agree that a decision to select a preferred bidder simply cannot be delayed any further.

“I’ve made my own intention clear by doubling my bid. The new offer is in the double digit millions with minimal conditions attached in order to facilitate a speedy decision.

“The administrators have already described Paul’s offer as being very strong. So there is really nowhere to hide now, they have to move and they have to move now.

“As far as I am aware, they only have two credible bids on the table. Let’s choose Paul Murray and the Blue Knights or myself and get on with the job of saving Rangers.”

Both Kennedy and Murray believe that in order for the club to survive in its present form one of them has to be handed the keys to Ibrox before the weekend.

With American tycoon Bill Miller and Bill Ng’s Singaporean consortium continuing to stall over their bids, Kennedy launched his salvage mission at breakfast time yesterday.

Sources close to the discussions insist the 51-year-old is willing to come up with £500,000 immediately to secure the status of frontrunner.

And Kennedy added: “I can confirm I held fresh discussions with Paul Clark. As I say, I have verbally improved my original offer and I am looking forward to the administrators contacting my professional advisors with a view to taking this forward.

“But I must stress again, time is of the essence and the situation is becoming more critical by the hour.”

A spokesman for Rangers confirmed Kennedy was back in the battle for control, saying: “Brian Kennedy has been in touch with the administrators today. There may well be more discussions.”

While Kennedy spent last night waiting by his phone, Murray was getting set to redouble his takeover efforts after taking a back seat on Monday in the belief that, by doing so, he might make it easier for Ng to win control.

But Ng appears no closer to shaking hands on a deal with Duff and Phelps.

Indeed, fears were growing the Asian bid may be unravelling – leaving Miller in pole position.

Of all the parties involved, only Miller appears to see the benefit in a hybrid liquidation and reinventing Rangers as a newco – which is precisely the nightmare scenario Murray has been working so hard to prevent.

And last night Murray said: “On Monday I made it clear that, in the best interests of the club, the Blue Knights were prepared to take a step back from this process.

“We did so because we did not want to further delay the absolutely crucial task of selecting a preferred bidder.

“But we also made it clear our offer was still on the table.

“Now, in the light of the lack of activity over the subsequent 48 hours, I am reconsidering our position.

“This situation has to be resolved with maximum urgency as we are now heading beyond the point of no return.

“I have discussed things in great detail with Brian over the course of today and we are in total agreement as regards the absolute urgency of the situation.”

Over the weekend Ng successfully gazumped Murray’s group by offering to repay more of the £27m owed to finance firm Ticketus, the costly legacy of Craig Whyte’s shamed regime.

However, should Ng’s offer collapse then Ticketus’ best hope of reclaiming a healthy percentage of their cash will rest on Murray’s bid being successful.

But it remains to be seen if the terms of Murray’s original offer would still stand, or if it would be renegotiated down.

Even that might be less painful than what Kennedy has in mind for them if he takes over.

The Edinburgh-born businessman has expressed no interest in removing the Ticketus debt from a CVA pot and they may be left with a pence in the pound settlement.