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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 15:54 UK

Murray relinquishes Rangers role

Sir David Murray
Murray took over at Rangers in November 1988

Sir David Murray is stepping down as a board director and chairman of Rangers.

Alastair Johnston, 61, a director of the club for the last five years, will be the new chairman at Ibrox.

"For the last 20 years, I have been actively involved on an almost daily basis and I think that now is the time to take a step back," said Murray.

"I remain the majority shareholder and will always have the best interests of Rangers at heart, but it is time to pass on the chairman's baton."

The 58-year-old, who secured the purchase of the club for £6m in November 1988, stood down from the chairman's role in 2002 but returned to the job less than two years later.

On his return, Murray launched a rights-issue to raise the funds with which to reduce the Ibrox club's then £74m debt. In doing so, Murray saw his shareholding increase to around 90% of the total stock.

The club's debt stood at approximately £20m last year.

Murray has ruled out a third return, telling BBC Scotland: "Those were different circumstances. There are other things in my life, both personal and business, that I'd like to get on with.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"I don't think people really understand the demands on a football chairman while I also run a business as well.

"I think I disadvantaged my business with the disproportionate amount of time I spent with Rangers."

Murray, who has seen 14 championship successes in his time at Ibrox, including the record-equalling nine-a-row between 1989-1997, denied there had been any pressure from the bank for him to move on.

"This is my decision, 100%," he added. "I would have gone earlier in the summer, but it was suggested I unfurl the flag on the opening day of the season.

"It's been a fairly successful stint and I feel it's an appropriate time to go.

"We are about to go into the draw for the Champions League, we won the league and the Scottish Cup, we've kept our best players and things are better than people would like to perceive."

The founder of Murray International Metals has repeatedly stated that he would listen to offers for his stake in the Ibrox club but said there was "nothing imminent".

He also ruled out any further personal investment, saying: "The club can stand on its own feet. The economic climate has hit everyone and we need to be sensible and prudent.

"Rangers has to live within its means. There's nothing new. Our story has been consistent and it's been consistent for a long time."

Sir David Murray fact-file
1964: Forms Murray International Metals
1976: Loss of both legs following a car crash
1988: Bid for Ayr United rejected
1988: Buys Rangers for £6m
1989: Signs Mo Johnston from Nantes for £1.5m
1992: Wife Louise dies of cancer
1997: Rangers complete nine-in-a-row titles
2000: Sets Scottish record signing Tore André Flo for £12m
2001: Opens Murray Park training complex
2002: Relinquishes the chairmanship of Rangers
2004: Resumes chairmanship and increases shareholding
2007: Knighted in the New Year Honours List

Johnston is a member of the board of directors of IMG, the leading international sports and entertainment group and became a director of the club in February 2004.

And Murray believes the right man has been chosen to succeed him.

"We are very fortunate to have Alastair," said Murray. "He's got far greater global reach in the sporting world than I've ever had.

"He brings a completely different dimension and experience and, having been on board for five years, he understands the workings of the football club."

Johnston was also quick to praise the contribution Murray has made in his long career at Ibrox.

"David richly deserves his place in the Rangers history as one of the club's greatest chairmen and his passion has burned brightly for 20 years," said the new chairman.

"He invested heavily in the club but has also demonstrated enormous personal commitment at all times.

"On behalf of all Rangers supporters I wish him the very best for the future.

"I consider it a great honour to be appointed chairman of the club and can say to our supporters that the board, management and staff will spare no effort in striving to ensure that Rangers Football Club enjoys a successful future."



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see also
Murray exit meets mixed response
26 Aug 09 |  Rangers
Murray photo gallery
26 Aug 09 |  Rangers
Gers not looking to sell - Murray
16 Jul 09 |  Rangers
Rangers to raise 57m
01 Sep 04 |  Rangers
Murray returns as chairman
27 Aug 04 |  Rangers
Murray takes Ibrox blame
16 Jan 04 |  Rangers
Murray pledges new strategy
28 Mar 02 |  Football
Rangers to raise record investment
30 Mar 00 |  Scotland


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