We Serve Better - And We Know What We Want

Last updated : 16 January 2009 By Strathclyde Bear
To pick up on a couple of points, Alex McLeish said: "Everything that he's [David Murray] done and everything he's still trying to do he's trying to get Rangers back to the top again."

The questions in response to comments like this are always simple, yet remain unanswered: what is David Murray doing to get Rangers back to the top again?  What is his plan? We don't need words - we need details, simply because the Rangers supporters don't see evidence of a plan to make Rangers number one again.

Mark Hateley used his space in one of the tabloids to ask if Rangers fans want a Romanov type figure in charge.  A great striker but clearly not the brightest, the answer to this is so blindingly obvious you wonder why Mark begged the question.  However, is it asking too much to have people in charge that...

1. ...care about RFC?

2. ...show some ambition?

3. ...have a proper plan and stick to it?

I don't think so.

Over the years as my disillusionment with the Murray leadership, or lack of it, at Ibrox has grown, one thing I can say I always admired (although disliked) was his ability to spin his way out of trouble.  Take the massive debt accumulated in the late 90s, for example.  With a wave of his hand at an AGM he dismissed this completely.  Serious questions needed serious answers when tens of millions of crippling debt was putting Rangers in real danger, but Murray managed to talk his way out of it with little effort.  Not many people can get away with something like that and remain so strangely and obsessively popular amongst a large group of people.

The main reason for the anger and frustration must surely stem from the fact we all know he is capable of tackling the problems at Ibrox and making the current malaise a thing of the past, but this only makes it even more galling when we see a leaderless, stagnant and unambitious club season after season.

The Murrayspin seemed to stall a couple of years ago when people in the mainstream began to ask questions of the Chairman that he simply couldn't answer properly.  You can tell he's frustrated with life at Ibrox, evident, of course, with his public admission that he wants to sell the club.  But why should he get away with allowing Rangers to be second-rate just because he's looking to sell?  After all, it makes us even less attractive to potential buyers.

Recent headlines, caused by the unarguable notion that the support deserves better, has highlighted one thing in particular:  he's lost it.  Along with his ambition, Murray has lost the ability to spin his way out of trouble, and that can only be a good thing for the Rangers support.

In response to the Chairman and some of the comments published by others today, let's highlight a couple of points clearly so no one can turn this in to a mindless rant about an ungrateful support.

1.  The recent stories, certainly as far as I'm concerned, are little to do with Walter Smith and the team.  We're all armchair experts at times and may question tactics but the problems at Ibrox run far deeper than the eleven players on the pitch, the manager and his assistant.  The issues here are with the club itself and the lack of ambition and ideas demonstrated by those in charge.

2.  We understand perfectly that the club cannot afford to 'do a City' and spend tens of millions of pounds on players.  As has been highlighted before, there are a lot of ideas coming from the support that may change the direction of the club for the better, and these need not cost a fortune.  The accusations that people are criticising and not offering solutions is very much unfounded and many ideas have been put forward to suggest improvements that the support would buy in to such as active PR, building a relationship with the fans, embracing a youth policy and implementing a scouting network for potential players.  I have yet to see justification from Murray or anyone else as to why these ideas should be beyond Rangers.

David Murray has mentioned a few times recently that the club is just a small part of his business empire.  If we are being honest, most people in Scotland would be oblivious to MIM and David Murray had he not been involved with Rangers.  That's not to say MIM isn't a very important employer and you can't criticise a successful company that has been built from almost nothing by one man.  But if Murray can build this kind of fortune from his businesses, why can't he run a football club properly?

The business side of things brings us on to another accusation that the Chairman has recently become fond of.  The credibility of critical supporters is brought in to question by the Chairman since no one on phone-ins and websites is a "captain of industry".  The many Rangers sites I'm a member of have users whose occupations range from professional lawyers and accountants to sole-traders, small business owners and everything in between.  Not having a self-made, £600m business certainly does not make our views on Rangers irrelevant and it takes startling arrogance for Murray to even hint at this.

We must also bear in mind that the day-to-day running of the club is controlled by Martin Bain, and supporters remain baffled as to why he is allowed to take control of a major football club.  If Martin Bain and the likes of Sandy Jardine and Kenny Scott are not capable of generating the ideas to change things for the better, why are they being paid to work at Ibrox?  Their individual failings are ultimately Murray's responsibility given his majority shareholding in the club.  I don't know of any other business that would allow such a stagnant attitude to remain and be rewarded with such high salaries.

Again, if the Chairman wants ideas, how about this: the Chief Executive of Rangers should be someone with experience of running a successful football club and should have the nous and drive to come up with bright ideas and see them through.  He should also be surrounded by people that are experts in certain fields, be it scouting, marketing, catering or running a ticket office.  Why is that beyond a massively successful businessman like David Murray?

It's clear that Murray's interest has dwindled since the days of heaving spending stopped.  Maybe running a football club properly was never his plan and he enjoyed the attention of splashing the cash.  But it's obvious now that he's lost it; the spin isn't working and he isn't even able to answer properly the simple questions put to him.  Although seeing Rangers in a mess is utterly heartbreaking, I think the potential embarrassment of Murray being shown up by the 'mice', the extremists on messageboards and the non 'captains of industry' - who are all simply asking questions about their football club - will mean we'll hear more from the Chairman over the coming weeks.  But will he provide real answers and solutions, or just criticism?