Rangers newco: Malcolm Murray decries ‘blood lust’ aimed at Green
RANGERS chairman Malcolm Murray last night rounded on critics of the Charles Green-led consortium in charge of the newco club and called for an end to the “vicious blood lust” he claims could destroy their efforts to restore it to full health.
• New Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray hits out at Charles Green’s critics
• Murray claimed the ‘vicious and gratuitous blood lust’ must end for the sake of Scottish football as well as Rangers
• Newco owners open to investment offers
In a lengthy statement on many of the issues which have surrounded Rangers this week, Murray insisted that funding is in place to run the club and confirmed that all staff were paid as scheduled yesterday. Murray condemned the criticism of Green, which culminated on Wednesday with a demonstration of supporters outside Ibrox which was addressed by former Rangers player John Brown who is leading a purported buy-out of the Yorkshire businessman’s consortium.
There was also a pledge from Murray that former owner Craig Whyte, whose stewardship led Rangers into administration and is now the subject of a criminal inquiry, has no current link to those at the helm of the newco.
Moves to place the reconstituted Rangers in the First Division next season, preceding a merger of the SPL and SFL, continued yesterday at Hampden without any resolution. All 30 SFL clubs will gather next Tuesday to discuss the proposal.
As they wait to discover where they will play their football, newco chairman Murray claimed Green and his consortium deserve praise rather than vilification for their actions.
“The consortium that has purchased Rangers wishes to see the club restored and rebuilt,” said Murray. “The consortium is not the villain of the piece, nor is Charles Green. They are the only people who stepped up to buy the club. What happened under Craig Whyte was horrendous and should never be repeated and I will do everything in my power as chairman to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I have been a Rangers fan all my life and a season-ticket holder for many years and accepted the position of chairman with the sole aim of helping steer this great club back to a solid financial footing and future success on the pitch.
“The vicious and gratuitous blood lust of recent times must end, not only for Rangers’ sake but for Scottish football. Certain individuals must ask searching questions of themselves as to what their true motives have been over the last few months and as to whether they really have the best interests at heart of the club they claim to love.
“Events have triggered a frenzy of emotion around the club to the point where the only people who stepped up to buy the club and begin the long and arduous task of restoring and rebuilding Rangers are now being vilified by people who claim to have the interests of the club at heart.
“This is deeply depressing and such factionalism can only undermine efforts to make Rangers once again the great sporting institution is has been for generations. As the new board of directors, we fully understand the anxiety of supporters given what has happened in the past and I wish to address all the key issues and present the facts of the matter.
“The executive team are working tirelessly to resolve the issues with the SFA, SPL and SFL.
“We will update supporters as soon as possible and we understand a poll of supporters’ opinions is about to be launched. The club is funded by the new owners and working capital is in place for the foreseeable future. Staff and players were paid this month as normal and will continue to be while the club operates and functions normally.
“We are raising additional funds as we said that we would and the board are working to find a way to allow supporters the opportunity to invest. More details will be available in the near future.
“There is no doubt, however, that any boycott of season-ticket sales can only harm the club and the manager Ally McCoist and ultimately the supporters. Such action would only serve to help destroy the very institution that is so dear to us.
“As has been stated previously, a consortium of investment funds and individuals invested in the acquisition and funding of Rangers.
The consortium includes Zeus Capital, Chris Morgan, a UK-based businessman representing family trusts, Glenmuir, the renowned Scottish clothing company, Alessandro Celano of Blue Pitch Holdings, Jude Allen, Mazen Houssami, Elias Kaisar and Mr Jean Haddad. The provenance of all investments made in Rangers is being made now to the SFA and all directors of Rangers will be required to pass the SFA’s fit and proper persons test. I also accepted the chairmanship of the club on the basis that the highest standards of corporate governance would be implemented by the board. The board has also provided information to the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund.
“At the outset the investors agreed that Rangers would be a long-term strategic investment and there is no intention of selling the club. That said, the board is committed to broadening the investment base and from the outset made clear that no individual investor should own more than 10-15 per cent. In the coming weeks we will be announcing details of how fans can invest in the club and fan ownership is one of the cornerstones of our philosophy.
“Anyone with Rangers best interests at heart is welcome to invest or come and talk to us. Last year I attended the 50th anniversary of the London Rangers Supporters Club where John Brown was an excellent guest speaker. He has my number and, if he has investors, we welcome them and do not see why they have to be separate to our current long-term investors. All fans and potential investors should pull together in difficult times. It also remains our firm intention to re-list Rangers as a publicly quoted company on an appropriate stock exchange at the earliest opportunity.
“The club has new banking facilities in place and, as stated a number of times previously, all season-ticket money will only be used for the benefit of the club and its operations. Rangers has a loyal and extensive season-ticket holder base and we would urge all fans to renew their books. In this aspect, the ownership of the club is irrelevant. Season-ticket sales are the largest single source of income for the club and only the club and the team will suffer if it is withheld. The money does not go to Charles Green, Malcolm Murray or any investor – it goes to Rangers.
“All the assets commonly associated with the football club – Ibrox, Murray Park, the Albion car park, staff, players etc – are the property of The Rangers Football Club, which at present is registered as Sevco Scotland Ltd until a name change is given formal approval.
“Sevco Scotland was formed to ensure that if the formation of a new company was required in the event of a CVA being rejected, then the club’s corporate entity would be a Scottish registered company as it has always been.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Craig Whyte has no involvement with the club, in Sevco, The Rangers Football Club or any other of the consortium members. Indeed, measures have been implemented to ensure that Mr Whyte could not return to the club in any way which is in compliance with the SFA’s ruling on his participation in Scottish football.”
The first day of pre-season preparations at Murray Park yesterday saw just 13 players report for duty, although several others are on previously agreed extended breaks due to close-season international commitments.
“It was extremely disappointing that a number of players have chosen to leave the club,” said Murray. “It was disrespectful to everyone at Rangers and to the fans not to be honest about the financial gain they will receive in return for walking away from the club that has supported them over many years.
“Let’s be clear, the clauses they and their agents negotiated in return for the temporary wage cut during administration, would have enabled them to easily move on from Rangers with our blessing. Their actions have deprived the club of significant transfer fee income. The rest of the staff at Ibrox and Murray Park have got on with the job asked of them.”
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