By DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
NEW Livingston shareholder Gordon Ford has urged the Scottish FA to lift the club’s crippling transfer embargo – after insisting that Neil Rankine no longer has anything to do with the Lions.
Former West Lothian Council deputy chief executive Ford OBE has become Livingston’s single biggest stakeholder after being handed a 40 per cent share.
One-time club chief executive Ged Nixon, former stadium sponsor Neil Hogarth of the Braidwood Motor Company, and Graham Leslie each own 20 per cent.
Outgoing principle shareholder Neil Rankine had been ordered by the SFA to dispose of either his stake in Livingston or East Fife after being found guilty of breaching dual ownership rules.
Ford, who is also the former chief executive of the Livingston Youth Foundation, said: “This embargo is killing the club and if it’s not lifted, the future for Livingston will be very uncertain.
“The club did great last year considering everything that was thrown at it, it was nothing to do with the players and the fans.
“I just want to help them out and in the end Neil Rankine just gave them to me. There are no strings attached. I now have Neil Rankine’s shares and he’s gone.
“I’ve got 40 per cent of these shares, Neil Hogarthl has 20 and we’re effectively in control of the football club.
“Neither of us has any formal, informal, business nor social links with Neil Rankine. I don’t know what more I can do.
“It’s in the hands of lawyers at the club. It’s very, very unfair to the fans here in Livingston. I just hope this will all be resolved next week so we can move on.”
Livingston player/manager Mark Burchill welcomes the players back for pre-season training on June 22 but currently only has three players tied down on contracts due to the signing restrictions.