By Wayne Veysey

24th Mar, 2017 | 1:41pm

Rangers chief responds to Mike Ashley intimidation: On scale of 1 to 10, this is how he affects me

By Alex Stevens

Dave King has insisted that he has not been intimidated by Mike Ashley’s legal actions and attempts to have him thrown in jail.

There has been a bitter dispute between Newcastle owner Ashley and Rangers over a branded merchandise contract which saw the club earn only seven pence for every £1 of goods sold by the billionaire’s Sports Direct group.

The row became personal last year when Ashley tried to have South Africa-based King imprisoned for contempt of court after the Rangers chairman mentioned the Sports Direct deal in a TV interview.

Ashley’s attempt was rejected by a High Court judge and King dismissed the possibility that he had been intimidated by the billionaire’s actions.

“On a scale of one to ten it doesn’t get to one,” King told the Telegraph. “The threat of going to jail was quite amusing. My family said ‘We’ll see you at Christmas. Which jail will we see you at?’

“This is what I do. I wouldn’t have taken it on at Rangers if I didn’t have the temperament and the personality. I signed up to do it. And then I’ll make a decision.

“If Sports Direct is completely done and the club is back on a certain footing, it would then make sense for me to say, ‘I’m happy to step down and not be chairman’, but right now, in my view, the club still needs someone like me to continue with the fights and the negotiations.”

King was asked if he felt that Ashley had a personal vendetta against him.

“His view is about winning the fight and less about the money. We are all losing in that sense,” King said to the Telegraph.

“Under normal commercial circumstances this would have been settled some time ago. Is it me? I think it is me to a point because I am the focal point of Rangers’ resistance, which is why I am the one he was trying to put in jail and intimidate me and sue me.”

Ashley owns nine per cent of Rangers’ shares but was removed from the board two years ago by businessman King after attempting to increase his stake holding to 30 per cent.

The Sports Direct tycoon has been the owner of Newcastle since buying a majority stake in the club in May 2007, although his time at the north-east giants has been marked by a series of controversies that has led to resentment towards him from large sections of the club’s support.

Newcastle got relegated from the Premier League for the second time under Ashley’s decade-long ownership last season but are top of the Championship and strong favourites to earn instant promotion under manager Rafael Benitez.

In other Rangers news, one of the club’s midfielders has agreed the terms of a mammoth new deal.

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