Where Did It All Go Wrong for David Murray?

RangersMedia .co.ukCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2009

Written by Tannochsidebear

The first 10 years of Murray's chairmanship are hard to argue with. Great success on the park, an increased capacity in the stadium, regular investors in the club to keep us in the black.

The resultant failure to secure our 10th consecutive title was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was the end of an era for a lot of great servants to the club. And the beginning of a new, exciting, European era under the much sought after new manager Dick Advocaat.

We regained some much sought after European respectability with wins over Leverkusen and Parma, unthinkable under Smith in the preceding five years. Another treble was secured followed by the double, it looked like 1998 was a mere blip. We had one of the best midfields in Europe and we could compete with just about anybody.

We had gone from the black into the red, spending huge sums on transfer fees and wages, but it looked like we were on the brink of something big. And we were. We just didn't think it would be the worst financial mess in our clubs 130 year history.

For me it all changed with the signing of Flo. Paying £12M for a player was ridiculous. It was at that point that a small number of us started to ask how we could possibly afford this, on top of the Auchenhowie expenditure and the huge wage bill.

We were appeased somewhat by the assurances that everything was under control and given Murray to that point had done little wrong, we had no reason not to believe he had another ENIC or King lined up to bale him out again.

But another ENIC did not come along, did it? And the finances got worse, and so did Advocaat's grip on the team. But still we spent heavily on players and wages, and the alarm bells started going off when debt figures were announced.

And then the realisation came that the game was up, that Murray had finally run out of ideas. The moving upstairs of Advocaat and the appointment of McLeish signalled the start of the first fire sale of players and reduction of the wage bill.

Murray ran away to build his more exciting property empire and McClelland did the job he was asked to do, even if he did not know much about the club's history and traditions he knew how to run the business side of things as CEO, and when the debt was finally under control and the wage bill down to a realistic level, we had even managed to win a couple of dramatic titles and qualify for the last 16 of the CL, and Murray decided he wanted to do it his way again.

And so he was rightly applauded for the appointment of PLG but tried to get him to run it within the budget and it didn't work out as planned. PLG didn't seem to fancy it much, and with the playing side in a mess he then reappointed a safe pair of hands and old pal Walter and fell right back into his old habits of backing the manager blindly, sanctioning the multi-million pound purchase of players he claimed he would never sign again (28+ with no resale value) and the wage bill started to rise again, way beyond what we could comfortably afford.

So he started to get it in the neck again after Kaunas, with debt levels going up despite over 30 home games in 2007-'08 and competing in the CL and the UEFA Cup run, and of course when the criticism is directed straight at Murray, he responds. And he sanctioned the blowing of another £10M of players and another huge leap in the wage bill.

You cannot deny that he has supported Smith in the transfer market completely, but you can certainly ask why he did it, putting us into the financial mire again with debts approaching a staggering £30M. It is not good chairmanship to back the manager and spend money when you cant afford to do so, it is bad management.

You don't need to be a "captain of industry" to work that out, just able to compute basic arithmetic and have basic business sense. It is the same equation in any business, the greater the value of the deal does not make the decision harder, it is still either prudent or reckless.

Why did he not learn from his mistakes under Advocaat?

That is the real question here and one that he refuses to answer, preferring to blame supporters groups like the RST for all the ills of his world. As if the closing down of the RST would amazingly wipe out the debt, or close the gap in the league table.

How dare they ask why he has made such a mess of things again, cheeky buggers. Shut up, pay your money, don't sing anything offensive to our rivals and don't dare to criticise the leadership of the club.

If he had failed to sanction the purchase of a 28-year-old player because it was too much money for a player you would probably not make anything back on, purely on age grounds, he would have had my backing. If he told the manager the player wage budget was £20M and the transfer budget was the previous years profit plus anything you make on player sales, I would be happy with that, too.

That is the prudent way to run the club, and one we cannot really argue with, given the state of things generally. But he sanctioned the purchase of 28yo+ players for seven-figure sums, he sanctioned a 28 player first team pool costing £24M in wages, he sanctioned a transfer budget that could not be paid for.

He has put the finances of the club into the mire again for the second time in a decade. That cannot be contested. Are we not entitled to ask him why?

Do we deserve better? You're damn right we do.