Should Sir David Murray be allowed to sneak away?
Rangers have been snookered by the world's financial problems - that is clear - and the effects of the down-turn on Murray's wider portfolio are huge. With such a tie up of finances it is becoming clear that Murray's overall financial situation is having a damaging effect on Rangers. The bottom line is that while the global downturn has had an effect, Rangers are a club suffering more than almost any other and that can only be attributed to the manner in which the club has been run. If other clubs in Scotland can continue to operate in the same manner that they have for years, albeit with slightly tighter belts, it should have been possible for Rangers to do the same.
Monday night's press release from the club, detailing that offers have been made and are under consideration, has allowed a certain amount of the gloom to lift but the harsh reality is that whichever knight in shining armour distances himself (or themselves) from the rest of the contenders is going to face a long and difficult job in turning around the fortunes of the club. Rangers' debt is large, maybe not in the realms on some other clubs but to an extent where further cuts are not out of the question and the new owners are going to have to spend their first months, maybe years, at the club sorting out troubles not of their making.
Rangers have been good for the man Murray; a knighthood that may or may not have come anyway and countless hours of positive press coverage will certainly have helped raise his profile. Rather than just feeding his ego this profile boost will have had real and tangible effects on his business life. Contracts will have, in some cases, been more achievable and the 'famous friends' that came with the job will all have meant that Murray's time with us has been positive. The support too have been good to the man. There is a small clique of fans who actively dislike Murray because of his dealings at the club but the overwhelming majority have no such feelings and are often blind to any and all faults. Both groups are loyal supporters of the club, and as such I would like to know why Murray, rather than treat them with the same respect he has been shown, has disappeared leaving others to clean up a mess.
Information from Rangers under Murray has always been an issue. Fans' groups are often treated as a nuisance rather than legitimate vehicles for communication and very often the collective intelligence of the support has been questioned. The Internet has provided a place for fans to congregate and discuss things that the hierarchy would probably prefer remain obscured. The fact is that in today's climate the questions are being asked by more and more people but the answers are remaining hidden. As is often the case when periods of trouble are upon us, rumour and speculation fill the voids and this leads in turn to certain levels of panic. A simple message of clarification could end most of the speculation and help the support to understand the processes that are taking place at the club. Why, then, has Murray simply stepped into the background with barely a word? His biggest fans wouldn't deny that - at the very least - he has overseen a period that finds certain fans wondering if there will be a club to support in the longer term and Murray, by all appearances, has simply passed the burden to others with no word of explanation, is allowing the support to stew in its own process of fact-finding. How can a man that has gained so much from the support simply up sticks and leave without a word of explanation?
I am certain that the cumulative run of 'bad news' stories coming from the club has been foreseen. As a 'captain of industry' Murray is (was) obviously a talented businessman and will have been well aware of just what was on the cards. Murray - not Johnston or Bain or anyone else - needs to come out and explain the exact situation we are in and we arrived here, anything other than a frank and full explanation leaves the people that ARE the club in a state of damaging limbo.
Rangers future is certainly separate to that of Murray and anything said now will be nothing more than a slight appeasement of the fans, but for me that is vital. All too often we are left as the last to know, much like a cuckolded husband, and just like that cheated spouse, the unanswered questions are the thing that hurts the most. By leaving a 'Dear John' and avoiding answering any questions, Murray has left himself open to accusations of cowardice, accusations that are very easy to answer and in doing so he would save both a little of his own reputation and some of the heartache of the support.
A final gift from the former chairman to the support and the new owner would be that statement. It would allow the fans to feel, for the first time in years, that we are part of 'the loop' and it would allow the new man a clean slate to begin rebuilding. Does Murray have the bottle? Possibly, but it is certainly time he faced up to his actions. In every walk of life people are forced to face the music; simply leaving is not usually an option, especially if your actions have had such a deep and profound effect on so many.