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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 January, 2004, 14:35 GMT
Murray still Rangers' best hope

By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

When it comes to the manufacturing business, it's hard to beat David Murray. He knows how to make metal, money and headlines. Big time.

So when, on his 50th birthday a couple of years back, he pledged to hit reverse gear in terms of his leadership of Rangers I remember thinking to myself "Aye, that'll be right".

And so it has come to pass. The natives - or some of them - have been restless with most of the stirring coming from one Colin Glass of the Supporters Trust, an august body some 1,300 strong who desperately want to be represented on the board.

Is that supposed to make him something special? I mean, I would suspect that, among Rangers fans, he is not alone in that ambition.

Furthermore there are bodies of supporters who back Rangers who are much stronger in number than the Trust. Would they not have a better claim to a place among the directors?

Mr Glass doesn't fancy Mr Murray's current efforts on behalf of the club and played his part in fanning the flames of a totally false rumour that the honorary chairman was about to flog Ibrox stadium from Rangers to his own company and then lease it back.

David Murray accepts responsibility for Rangers' financial problems
David Murray accepts responsibility for Rangers' financial problems
But one way or another he has fair rattled his cage.

And consequently Murray has now raised his head above the parapet to defend his position, his commitment to the club and explain the financial mire in which Glasgow Rangers now find themselves. And how they plan to extricate themselves from it.

Frankly I am bemused by it all.

David Murray has made huge mistakes over the last few years, most of which have been heavily criticised by this column and he is hugely responsible for the fiscal mess in which the club now wallows.

It was insane to believe Dick Advocaat when he said that Tore Andre Flo was worth £12m and even crazier to authorise the cheque that followed.

Wages were allowed to spiral out of control and it was a remarkable blindness that could not even permit the sight of the judgement day that would surely come upon them.

But the mistakes were made for the right reasons. Namely those that disgruntled supporters are currently demanding. Big money spent on big name players. You cannot have it both ways.

It is now 17 years since David Murray bought his way into Ibrox for £6m, a deal gladly accepted at the time by the beleaguered Laurence Marlborough, a charming man whose heart was never really in the club.

Rangers have been unable to replace players like Barry Ferguson
Rangers have been unable to replace players like Barry Ferguson
These, you will recall, were the nine-in-a-row years and the era in which Rangers took the sensible - but still hugely courageous - decision to turn around a century of history on the signing policy of the club.

No-one blinks twice if they sign a Roman Catholic now, but as late as 1988 they were burning season tickets outside the front door in horror at the news.

That was Murray and Graeme Souness who were brave enough to rip up a shameful heritage.

Then there is Murray Park. Almost as embarrassing as the signing policy was the fact that Rangers never had a training ground worthy of the name, the likes of which comes as standard at all the big clubs around Europe. That changed¿leaving Celtic floundering in their wake.

But as ever, fans have short memories.

Now Glass is demanding supporter representation on the board, a quaint concept that amuses me given that it does infer that the current directors are not at all fans.

Of course all is not well at Ibrox. As a team they are miles behind Celtic. They can only pilfer through the transfer window. And the debt is mountainous enough to embarrass a small African nation.

Murray holds his hands up to all of that, but more importantly he has a plan to put it all to rights. And, I would suggest, he has more financial muscle with which to accomplish it than those currently taking pot shots at him.

Murray takes Ibrox blame
16 Jan 04  |  Rangers

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