Rangers liquidation: Retaining Ally McCoist a step to unity, says Murray
NEW Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray has called for everyone with the best interests of the club to unite under the leadership of the consortium of which he is a part.
The 57-year-old from Ayrshire, who became chairman of the new company on Thursday after Charles Green’s Sevco group took over the club, said that retaining the services of Ally McCoist as manager was the first step in achieving that unity. Speaking last night, Murray expressed his confidence that McCoist had agreed to stay following talks with Green, although he added that he was keen to have talks of his own with the manager – who had been reported on Thursday as ready to walk out the door before he was sacked.
Murray also repeated an invitation from Green to former boss Walter Smith to join forces with Sevco. Smith and businessmen Jim McColl and Douglas Park launched a rival bid for the club on Thursday, making an offer for the club to Green of £6million – half a million more than the Sheffield-based businessman paid administrators Duff & Phelps for the assets of the old company.
And Murray also sought to persuade Rangers supporters to get behind the new controllers of the club by outlining a vision of a business which was debt-free – a business in which those supporters could play a part as shareholders.
“The last few months have been traumatic for everyone,” Murray said.
“I’m a shareholder and season-ticket holder, and I’ve hardly slept a wink since Valentine’s Day when this whole fiasco started. It’s just been horrendous. Everyone involved in it needs a boost, although that’s not going to happen immediately. We’ll have to get there.”
Keeping McCoist on board, he continued, was vital to that process of ‘getting there’. “He’s vital – like Walter Smith he’s got iconic status. His dream was always to be No 9 for Rangers.
“I’m sure he’s never wanted to leave, which some people have said. I’m hoping to talk to him shortly and I’m over the moon that he’s staying. That was our major objective.”
The next objective is to persuade Smith and all others with the interests of the club at heart to come on board. “We’ve said, and I will drive it, that anyone who cares about Rangers, we want to talk with all of them. All stakeholders must show unity and be together as we move forward.
“There’s been far too many fiefdoms and individual groups. We want it all together to be able to drive it forward with great unity – with the fans at the top of the list, of course.”
Murray was a shareholder in Manchester United in the early 1990s, but he said he grew up supporting Rangers and had held two season tickets for some time. That background contrasts with Green, whose lack of previous involvement with the club has led some to presume that his main concern is to make a quick profit by selling the club on – either to Smith or to anyone else with £6m to spare. According to Murray, such a presumption could hardly be further from the truth.
“That’s definitely not the intention at all. I would not stand for that quite frankly – that’s not why I came in at all.
“The advisor Zeus Capital [which forms part of Sevco] is a solid long-term player. There’s a lot of integrity. What we want to do is develop a solid and well-diversified board, hopefully with more Scottish Rangers people on it, which we’re looking actively to do.
“It will be nearer my style than, let’s say, faceless financiers. We don’t want that.
“The door is open for anyone to speak with us. My own view is we all got together, invested and looked for board seats rather than have any rivalry going on.
“Just a few days ago the Charles Green consortium was the only one that was prepared to put any money on the table and there’s more money coming in. We’re pretty confident the long-term interests of Rangers will be looked after here.
“The deal is now done – it’s only 24 hours old, so it’s difficult to look at anything else. As far as I know there’s not another bid anyway.
“It’s just a bit of rhetoric. We’d rather talk to them and have constructive dialogue and see where we get to as soon as possible.
“Stage one is McCoist being more positive. It’s obviously been a traumatic time for him and I really feel for him as all fans do. To put his mind at rest I will tell him the other people involved are of the highest integrity.”
Indeed, Murray insisted that, rather than hoping to turn a quick profit, he and Green and their colleagues expected it would take some time to turn Rangers round and get them operating healthily as a going concern. “It’s a long-term plan. Obviously we’ve got to rebuild from what unfortunately is a lower base than anyone would have wanted, but that’s what we’ll do.
“The vision is to have a debt-free football club. I think that will become the new norm.
“Too many clubs are far too highly indebted. The same goes for countries like Greece and many companies. You don’t want to be in the hands of banks – you want to be in the hands of people who can drive the thing forward.
“Hopefully at some point in the future we’ll get the fans back in as shareholders and be able to give them something back for the loss they’ve had. It will be a club living within its means and spending only what it can afford.
“The fans all want their pride back. I’ve talked to a lot of them and they are willing to put in whatever they can afford to help. They’ll get that chance at some point.
“My main message is I’ve paid for my two season tickets already and the taxi driver I had yesterday has paid for his. It’s not going to help Rangers by not paying for season tickets. We need support.
“I think the scepticism [about Green] is misplaced. I think he’s honest. He’s a massively hard-working guy – the man who put a lot of his own money into doing due diligence.
“Two days ago he was the only guy who put the money on the table. He’s a tough-talking Yorkshireman who will rub some people up the wrong way, but that’s the way he is.”
It will be hard enough getting everyone who is Rangers-minded to co-operate, but even if that happens Green and company will need to persuade other SPL clubs that their newco should be allowed to take the place of the old Rangers in the top flight.
Murray is hopeful, however, and believes that because it is a newco, it should not be punished for old misdemeanours.
“At the moment the biggest issue is what league we’ll play in. I’d much rather we were playing in the SPL.
“I think Rangers have had giant punishments already – a European ban, a ten-point deduction, the emotional trauma everyone has suffered.
“I think for the good of Scottish football it’s much better that Rangers are in the SPL. For everyone’s sake we should forget the sins of a few people in the past and move on.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west