Alan Brazil: Mike Ashley back at Rangers? I wouldn’t be surprised

Mike Ashley (left) and Lee Charnley in the stands during A Premier League (PA)
Mike Ashley (left) and Lee Charnley in the stands during A Premier League (PA)

RANGERS spent ages trying to get Sports Direct out of Ibrox.

But I reckon a direct line to Mike Ashley could be just what they need.

I said on my radio show during week that I didn’t think getting Ashley back into the fold would be a bad idea for the Gers.

The real question is whether or not the Sports Direct boss would be interested – especially after the knocks he took last time around.

I’m friendly with a few of Mike’s associates down in London, and I know some of the abuse he took from Gers fans bothered him.

But I can’t help but wonder whether Ashley might be ready to have another look at Rangers if he manages to punt Newcastle United.

That’s something Mike has been trying to do on and off for years, and now he has firm interest.

I’m told there is still some way to go before a deal is reached, despite a second £300m offer from Amanda Staveley’s Middle East-backed PCP Capital Partners consortium.

Ashley’s asking price for the Magpies is £400m, after all.

No businessman of his calibre is going to leave £100m on the table, so it is going to take time before any sale is agreed.

However, if everything goes smoothly and Ashley pockets a tidy sum, it honestly wouldn’t shock me if he reappeared at Ibrox.

Rangers youngster Ross McCrorie can be the future in Dark Blue as well as Light

Cynics will say there’s nothing for him in Glasgow.

But as I said before, Mike is a businessman, and he saw an opportunity before.

As it stands, Rangers are losing money off the pitch while lagging behind Celtic on it.

They are not in the Hoops’ league in the boardroom at the moment.

But the potential is there. Anybody can see that.

The amount of money Celtic are raking in these days is proof of that.

And the good thing for somebody like Ashley – who understands the crazy expense of running a club in the English Premier League – is that Scottish football is a much cheaper environment.

Rangers don’t need hundreds of millions ploughed in up front. The club just needs to be run sensibly on and off the park and allowed to grow after their problems of recent years.

I’m not convinced that things have been right on either front for a long time.

Pedro Caixinha’s appointment was a disaster. There’s no getting away from that.

The length of time it has taken to find his successor has been incredible.

I understand the Gers board may be on the cusp of making an appointment.

But should it have taken nearly six weeks? No chance.

At the end of the day, I’m just speculating here.

But I can certainly see why Mike Ashley, freshly rid of Newcastle United, might start to look north again.

He’s a shrewd business operator – but he’s also football daft.

I know Rangers fans won’t like the thought of him returning, and the current board will bristle at it too.

But closing the gap on Celtic is going to take time and money.

A lot of the latter has already been wasted, meaning it’s going to take more of the former before it happens.

Some of that money went to Mike Ashley after the Gers paid £3m to buy out his involvement last time around.

But if he decides he wants back in – and if a way can be found – I reckon he could be worth much more to them.