THE credibility of Malcolm Murray was adjudged as a weakness in the campaign by the Rangers’ requisitioners to change the composition of the club’s board at last week’s agm.
The former chairman was one of four men – Paul Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson the others – who all fell way short of attracting the votes to be elected, with attempts to oust finance director Brian Stockbridge also failing.
Stockbridge had presided over an IPO share issue which incurred £5 million costs and led to a £14m first-year loss, caused in no small part to huge payments to directors, including severance and bonus payments. The problem is, until May, Malcolm Murray was Rangers chairman and so considered party to fiscal irresponsibility. The club used this as a stick with which to beat the so-called “requisitioners”, and claimed that Murray knew who was behind Blue Pitch Holdings, and Margarita Funds, the anonymous investors who the supporters fear may have links to former chief executive Charles Green and disgraced ex-club owner Craig Whyte. The reality is that Malcolm Murray has been impugned on such matters. He admitted there are things his group would have done differently in the lead up to the agm, but little he could have done when at the club.
“The cost base of £18m is outrageously high, with £10.7m of that directors’ remuneration but a year ago that was forecast to be half of that. I agreed with that but not the extra costs. Equally, it was said at the agm there was a remuneration committee before last December, but there was no such thing. A public company has one, but not before it goes public. It is also said that I received money. I did it for nothing. I paid all my own expenses. I would want the others to say something similar. Usually when a non-exec does an IPO, which is a big job – I’m a City man I’ve done a lot of these – they get a fee, but I don’t know who the hell was getting them but it wasn’t me anyway.
“As for Blue Pitch and Margarita, I’ve met their agents and they seemed reasonable people. They seemed to back me, then got fed up and suddenly started supporting the Easdales. I still don’t know why. That’s why we need to know who owns the club. For them to say I knew is a smokescreen. Of course, as chairman, you are part of the governance structure but with anything, accounting or financial, you don’t find out the day it’s paid, you find out later. And it’s pretty public.
“I was looking for it quite early, including the Pinsent Masons report [into links betwen Charles Green and Craig Whyte] that I’ve still never seen the light of. The guy who bears the responsibility for the cost base at the time is the chief executive. He is the guy who runs the business day-to-day, and that is what Green was very much doing.”