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How administrators can avoid redundancies short-term

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There have been many questions about the unusual circumstance in football of Rangers going into administration but not making any players redundant.  It is possible, and not totally uncommon, for directors of a company in administration to arbitrarily choose to provide funds from their own resources to pay any chosen creditor, including staff. In football, players’ contracts of employment need to be with the club, but the source of payment can come from anywhere.

In this instance, Rangers Group, the club’s holding company, or any other body or person, could be in sufficient funds to provide the administrators with enough money to not only pay players, but to continue operating in a relatively normal state.  Rangers’ administrators have already suggested Craig Whyte has guaranteed to make-good wages due to be paid this week, although it was not made clear which entity would be paying, or the source of such funds.

Administrators will only be forced into player redundancies if they do not have sufficient funds available to see them through to the timely conclusion of negotiations with creditors, or if they are unable to receive binding undertakings from another source that they will step forward to pay players next month.

Various sources over the weekend suggested HM Revenue and Customs were prepared to extend generous time to pay terms to Rangers.  This club is owned by Craig Whyte.  While we all know what a stand-up guy Craig is, how likely to you think HMRC are to believe he will stick to a plan stretching out years into the future?  It’s just not going to happen.

I hear a ‘We’ll take a few years to pay too’ campaign is set to trickle through the SPL if HMRC agree to this one.  Better using the tax man as a bank than using an actual bank.

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  1. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    seventyxseven ‘gelee et glace’ says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:16

     

     

    2014 is the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn and not Culloden. Braveheart featured in neither battle.

  2. The Prince of Goalkeepers on

    Bhoy67 says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:19

     

     

    The Prince of Goalkeepers says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:16

     

    Bhoy67 says

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:11

     

     

    I agree totally, but one sentence Keevins has equated the 2. I just find it so frustrating that, with such a tremendous atmosphere yesterday, we mention the ‘ra stuff even once.

  3. I witnessed an extremely abusive conga , and some vile balloon waving. Did Hugh say he feeels the legislation isn’t working.

  4. Glendalystonsils likes a mr whippy with his lime green jelly on

    Gordon J

     

     

    Saw that. If there was no religious/sectarian element to it what the f**K was their motivation?

     

    Hatred of the victims hairstyles? FFS

  5. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    Parkheadcumsalford says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:20

     

     

    The Original SadiesBhoy,

     

     

    This was mentioned on CQN this morning.

     

    ……………………………………………………..

     

     

    Thanks for that. I can’t keep up at the moment. Can anyone give me a link to any of the posts or tell me in which of Paul’s blogs today I can find it?

  6. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:18

     

     

    —————————————–

     

     

    Don’t know mate but I found it strange that players were signing long term contracts when everyone knew they would probably not be seen through to the end by Rangers. I thought perhaps the agents just wanted to take their big fee, made their clients believe Whyte’s fairy stories, knowing that they would be getting another big signing fee when rangers either sold them or had to let them go in the summer.

     

     

    Rangers will want to hold on to their saleable assets until the summer. Their various creditors will want the same. They should probably be allowed to keep players until they can be sold in order to pay debts.

     

     

    I like the story – how funny it will be if it turns out to be true.

  7. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy@18:18

     

     

    I posted this last night from KDS.

     

     

    “I heard earlier tonight that the five-year contracts signed by the likes of Whittaker and McGregor are with the parent company, Rangers FC Group (ex-Wavetower) not RFC PLC.

     

    If true, that would break SPL rules on third-party ownership.

     

    And potentially mean that Rangers would lose every point they’ve won this season with “unregistered” players in their team. Like . . . every one of them.”

     

     

    I hope and pray it is true.

     

     

    HH

  8. The Battered Bunnet on

    Here’s one for Awe Naw courtesy of the BBC:

     

     

    Rangers chairman Craig Whyte has resigned from several director posts in other companies so he can focus on the club’s future, his spokesman has said.

     

     

    Last week Mr Whyte stood down as board secretary of Bournemouth-based firm Pritchard Stockbrokers.

     

     

    His spokesman said he resigned to avoid “another distraction” from recent events surrounding Rangers.

     

     

    He said the financier had resigned several such directors’ posts in recent days for the same reason.

     

     

    Mr Whyte, who is the main shareholder in Rangers football club, stood down from Pritchard after it was barred from further trading on behalf of clients.

     

     

    His spokesman confirmed his departure from Pritchard early last week.

     

     

    He added: “That doesn’t suggest any involvement in what went wrong at Pritchard’s. He resigned because he didn’t want another distraction from what’s going on at Rangers.”

     

     

    Pritchard was ruled by the Financial Services Authority to have compromised the security of clients’ funds, by trading with their money on its own account and by using their funds to pay its own costs.

     

     

    A statement by Pritchard said it was required by the regulator to freeze all client funds, and it was “taking professional advice to secure the best interest of our clients”.

     

     

    The company could appeal against the FSA ruling.

     

     

    Rangers were forced to call in administrators on Tuesday over an unpaid tax bill of £9m accrued since Mr Whyte’s takeover in May.

     

     

    Last week, the administrators revealed they did not have “visibility” of £24m which had come from a deal on future season ticket sales with the firm Ticketus.

     

     

    They subsequently said they had new information on the takeover and running of Rangers which would help form a full picture of club finances.

  9. My dear,dear,dear,friend.. Philvis

     

     

    While yer gallant defense o’ Mrs. Thatcher is commendable and somewhat

     

    charming.. nevertheless..in Ma Opinionn

     

     

    It be .. MisGuided.

     

     

    Fur..

     

     

    Mrs T , wiz a Politician.. in Excelcis!

     

     

    She wiz Superb whit she did.. and that wiz..

     

     

    Act and Dae whit Every Political Animal..like hersel.. Diz..

     

     

    and that is.. in case ye dinna know..

     

     

    Look efter Number Wan!

     

     

    She Feathered her Family’s Nest.. and Looked extremely well, after her Friends in High Places..

     

     

    and she did..

     

     

    whit she wiz Tellt.. by the Grey Eminence…

     

     

    Mr. Josesph.. who wiz hur Mentor and Spirit Guid.. Sent by

     

     

    Lord Rothschild!

     

     

    Yep… thur is always wan o’ them Thingmys.. hingin’ aboot the British Premiership..

     

     

    Fur ye canny get very faur in Politics in the U.K.

     

     

    If ye dinna hae a Pukka Spirit Guide..who is sent courtesty o’ Lord R.

     

     

    And..of course..

     

     

    Naebuddy, But Naebuddy…

     

     

    Bucks the Good Lordship..

     

     

    That is..if they wanna Get anywhere in English Politics.

     

     

    Pal..

     

     

    Ah wid like tae verify something..

     

     

    Ur ye a Tory..or Ur Ye No?

     

     

    and if ye Ur..

     

     

    Ah am very disappointed in ye..

     

     

    Fur a Man of Yer obvious Edication and Vitality…

     

     

    tae be condemned tae Following the wrang Road.

     

     

    Ah wid never recommend Anybuddy.. tae Look up or Admire

     

     

    a Politician.. albeit o’ Any Political Party..

     

     

    Fur Politicians o’ awe Stripes..

     

     

    Ur…

     

     

    Pure Selfish Creatures and ur..in the woids of

     

     

    Yosemite Sam.. and Sylvester..

     

     

    “Deshpickabel!!”

     

     

    Kojo

     

    yer pal..who likes ye aloater

  10. CultsBhoy loves being 1st on

    ______________________________________

     

    Dear CultsBhoy (name changed)

     

     

    Thank you for your supportive words. We will continue to press HMRC to get the best settlement on behalf of taxpayers. Football clubs should be treated in exactly the same way as any other business.

     

     

    If you have not done so already, please sign-up for our weekly bulletin sent out to supporters every Friday.

     

     

    Best Wishes,

     

    Andrew

     

     

    Andrew Allison, National Grassroots Coordinator

     

    The TaxPayers’ Alliance | 55 Tufton Street | London SW1P 3QL

     

     

    “Arguably the most influential campaign group in the country”  – The Guardian

     

    ______________________________________

     

    Subject: Rangers FC

     

     

    Message Body:

     

     

    Thank you for your stellar work in challenging some of the political manoeuvring in relation to the above.

     

     

    It is essential all organisations and individuals pay their dues. Without this public services like schools and hospitals suffer.

     

     

    Please continue to ensure Rangers FC are highlighted for failing in their legal duties.

     

     

    Regards

     

    CB

  11. MadMitch –

     

     

    Maggie is and was a cold hearted mother hater who lived the sparse and cold life associated with small shopkeepers from the East Midlands.

     

     

    What an oddly specific bigoted stereotype.

     

     

    How many small shopkeepers from the East Midlands do you know, you hatemonger?

     

     

    Regarding nationalised industries, she poured money into BL to stop them closing plants in the West Midlands between 79-83 to shore up the support and the seats she had gained in 79.

     

     

    Interesting. Usually we hear that Mrs Thatcher was some sort of anti-industry Godzilla, roaming the countryside destroying factories and jobs out of pure spite, because she must have liked being hated by the people affected.

     

     

    Now you’re telling us she “poured” money into support British Leyland plants.

     

     

    And what was the result? Did BL stop making crappy, unreliable cars and start turning a profit? No, nationalisation has always been a policy doomed to failure.

     

     

    As WC said:

     

     

    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery

     

     

    Her high interest rate / high pound policy butchered private manufacturing from 79-81, and we have never recovered no matter how cheaply she and Sha**er sold sentient beings to inward investors in the 80′s / 90′s.

     

     

    Actually, the average person in the UK today is significantly wealthier than the average person in the 1970’s.

     

     

    We enjoy better housing, more and better holidays, more and better food, better and more varied entertainment, and a longer life expectancy.

     

     

    We have more money in our pockets and more things to spend it on. Britain is a less dreary, oppressive place than it was in the 1970’s.

     

     

    In no small part thanks to the market revolution the great and heroic Mrs Thatcher brought to the UK.

     

     

    You’re welcome. (thumbsup)

  12. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Philvis

     

     

    She thought of us as terrorist sympathisers

     

     

    I suggest a google on Thatcher ANC IRA

     

     

    You will get all the answers you need.

     

     

    Google Birmingham Guildford wrongly imprisoned if you need more answers.

     

     

    I blame the IRA for thier incompetence in Brighton mind you.

     

     

    Surprised for such a Thatcher disciple that you are too young to remember this.

     

     

    HH

  13. Got to agree POG’s

     

     

    Frustrating that we give them the ammunition to bring up the old “they’re as bad as each other” nonsense.

     

     

    I accept the argument that ours are not sectarian but they are offensive to many people, myself included, so I wish to god we would stop singing them.

  14. Bring Me The Heid of Thunder Crap Reid on

    TheOriginalSadiesBhoy,

     

     

    Knowing Craigie Boy’s previous form on ensuring he has control of the most valuable assets before he scuppers the ship, I’d put money on it.

     

     

    Remember Comical Ally going on about how they’d secured the contracts of all the top players during the summer ? You can bet that CW pulled the wool over wee Ally then. “All re-signed, Ally. Just like we bought new players. Now run along and do whatever it is you do ……..”

     

     

    All part of CW’s master plan, methinks.

  15. harryhoodsdugbitme on

    Shortbread is a complete mess. Three efffin’s on. Aye right! May their fall be long and painful. Don’t come back ya dogs! HH.

  16. Magic moments # 203

     

     

    Sitting watching stv news with wife and daughter .

     

    Daughter pipes up ” dad I don’t know if it’s with

     

    listening to you over the years,but I can’t stand

     

    ragers ,their strips are not as nice as Celtics and

     

    ipox looks manky”

     

    Cue missus giving her dirty looks,magic.

  17. seventyxseven ‘gelee et glace’ – I think it’s always been the case that Scotland likes to see itself as a uniquely tolerant country – Jock Tamson’s Bairns / A Man’s A Man For A’ That – but in reality is more bigoted and intolerant than modern England is.

     

     

    I don’t want to overstate the situation, because sectarianism has abated considerably since the early 80’s, but there is still that bit of poison lurking in Scotland’s cultural DNA. (thumbsup)

     

     

    *****

     

     

    Kojo – I don’t know much about Rothschilds, although their wines are fantastic. (thumbsup)

  18. So, I was thinking – – – ibroke on Saturday past. The morons start to sing, “Who’s the Muslim in the black” or” Up to our knees in Muslim blood”, what would the reaction have been I wonder,hmmm!

     

     

    KINGLuBO

  19. philvisreturns says:

     

    20 February, 2012 at 18:11

     

    Scotpatsfan – Don’t forget the shipyards.

     

     

    Re: the steelworks.

     

     

    My uncle, a Church of Scotland Protestant, managed a large metals plant in Glasgow for most of his career.

     

     

    According to him, it was rife with anti-Catholic bigotry when he joined in the 50′s, and the worst offenders were the shop stewards. New employees would be accosted by existing workers, demanding to know what lodge they were members of, what school they went to, and whatnot.

     

     

    He had to face down threats of physical violence when he decided to hire some Catholics. (thumbsup)

     

     

    —————————————————————————————————————-

     

     

    It’s worth noting that places like Harland and Wolf in Belfast had Unions which were of course organised and run by people who were anti-catholic.

     

     

    There have also been unions taken over and run by gangsters in the USA.

     

     

    Some Unions have weak willed apologists for leaders who sell their members out for peerages and pensions.

     

     

    I suppose it is the human element of their make up.

     

     

    However, without them the workplace would be a far more dangerous and unpleasant place to be – even in non-unionised work places because the employment laws, Health and safety legislation etc fought for by trade Unions down the years have benefited all work places.

     

     

    Dick Gaughan tells of miners in the Lothians who during the miners strike were receiving money raised in Irish republican areas in Ireland and wondering why these Catholics would be helping members of the Orange Lodge in Scotland. I suppose the world is a complex place.

     

     

    We can all construct narratives that suit our own world view based on anecdotes and family stories. But it’s best to rise above that from time to time and look at the big picture.

     

     

    The bottom line is, sectarian a holes aside in some parts of the Union movement (and you get racists, homophobes, islamophobes and all sorts of idiots in them by the way – although you have far more decent broad minded socially aware types in my own fairly wide experience of these things) Organised Labour brings about social cohesion, decent working conditions, decent pay and less inequality – since they started to decline in the 1970’s you have seen the reversal of all these things. It was no coincidence. See Thatcher, Regan and the start of the Neo liberal agenda.

  20. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo – I think you’re “projecting” as the psychologists would say.

     

     

    It’s interesting that people who gleefully remember the IRA’s attempted murder of Mrs Thatcher and her husband at Brighton, seem to forget the fact that she later signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, in the teeth of furious opposition from Northern Irish Unionists, and paved the way for peace.

     

     

    Anyone else, after nearly being killed by the IRA, might have become hardened and embittered in their attitudes towards Ireland.

     

     

    Mrs Thatcher was not, and history bears out that she was right. (thumbsup)

  21. RobertTressell – Neoliberalism since the 1980’s has done more to advance the living conditions of the working classes than 100 years of trade unionism ever did.

     

     

    Discuss. (thumbsup)

  22. seventyxseven 'gelee et glace' on

    Got an Irish pal of mine staying here with me at the moment in La Suisse. With this momentous past week, I admit I have been a tad pre-occupied. Telly – Sky Sports. Radio – English speaking sports station. Computer – CQN. I’ve never shut up about jelly and ice-cream, cheating et al.

     

     

    He’s just said to me, “Guess what was on RTE News today?”

     

    – “What???” I said, hoping that another dastardly deed had been exposed at Mordor.

     

     

    – “Ireland beat Kenya at cricket in Mombasa today.”

     

     

    He suits ice-cream and jelly.

  23. Now I love the classics as much as the next guy – jcge of that succulent lamb article. But sometimes it’s worth checking out the odd dusty gem…

     

     

    BTW – massive apologies in advance for the sheer size of this one – possibly the biggest CQN post ever. But seeing as Armagedd-hun seems to be having a well-earned duvet day with a hangover, I thought this might be worth a wry smile or two…

     

     

    From the Sabbath Hootsmon on Guy Fawkes day 2006, a non-sports hack shows Jabba how it’s REALLY done…

     

     

     

    Vintage performance

     

     

    WILL LYONS

     

     

    IT IS half-past seven in the morning and I’m in a rather flimsy makeshift office that lies just east of the long-haul car park at Edinburgh airport. The taxi driver dropped me off and sped away, so I’m standing here, passport in one hand, trusty brown leather satchel in the other, not quite sure what to do.

     

     

    Outside sits a ten-seater private jet – a plane that is used by Kylie Minogue, Sting and Madonna on their visits to Scotland. The captain stands patiently waiting to fly his next VIPs to the Continent.

     

     

    Inside the shed there is a rather old-fashioned coffee machine in one corner and a row of uncomfortable-looking chairs in the other. On a makeshift table are laid out the morning’s papers. A small, squat man enters the room. “You must be with Mr Murray,” he says. “I’m his driver. He’ll be here in a minute.”

     

     

    Two cars pull up outside. One is the distinctive blue Mercedes sportster driven by David Murray, chairman of Rangers Football Club, steel tycoon and latterly Burgundian vigneron. Behind is the blue Porsche Boxster carrying his son Keith, who this morning is doubling up as chauffeur to one of Hollywood’s most distinguished alumni and, at the age of 78, still one of its most bankable stars.

     

     

    Sean Connery gets out first, emerging from the sports car like an athletic cat stretching to its full height. Dressed in grey trousers, dark-blue blazer and black shirt buttoned right to the top, the actor looks taller than his 6ft 2in. When you see those familiar features in the flesh, it is not difficult to see why so many regard him as the definitive James Bond.

     

     

    Murray’s car door flies open and in a quick, powerful shuffle he is up and out, taking in the air and loudly declaring what a great day this is to be. “I kept waking up,” he says. “You know what it’s like when you have an early start – you just can’t sleep.”

     

     

    “I was an hour out,” jokes Connery. “I was up and ready at five, and we weren’t due to leave until six.”

     

     

    The superstar and the tycoon are old friends, ever since they met at a charity dinner in Glasgow in the late 1980s. The friendship has grown over the decades, and now whenever Connery comes to Scotland he stays with Murray.

     

     

    Today, though, we are off to France. Murray wants to show his friend his latest venture. As ever, it’s founded on firm business sense, but this time it is also a labour of love. And that love is wine.

     

     

    Last year Murray bought the Château Routas wine estate in Provence for £5.5 million. Earlier this year, in his Charlotte Square office, he let me in on the secret that he was close to signing a deal that would see a major Burgundian property come into his possession. Although I didn’t say so at the time, I was doubtful.

     

     

    Burgundy, home of the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, is one of the most complex and sophisticated wine regions in Europe. Unlike in its wealthy rival Bordeaux, there wasn’t a huge influx of capital in the 19th century that allowed for the creation of great estates or châteaux. Instead, most vineyards are still run by tiny smallholders, and this, coupled with the Napoleonic Code, which insists on equal inheritance for every family member, means that in Burgundy a vineyard the size of the Ibrox pitch can have as many as 17 different owners.

     

     

    “You do know how complex the ownership is in Burgundy,” I had asked.

     

     

    “Of course,” he confidently replied. “But I have a man on the ground in France. He’s my fixer.”

     

     

    About six weeks later, the deal was done. Domaine Jessiaume, a family estate in Santenay, a small village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy, was now, along with his Provençal estate Château Routas, heading up Murray’s £10 million wine empire. By anyone’s standards, the speed and scale of the deal was impressive. And he was keen to show it off. “Do you want to come and see it?” he asked. “Bring a photographer and we’ll head over there. We’ll take my jet. It will be a great day.”

     

     

    The day we are due to fly to Burgundy is the day of the latest round of terror scares. Most British airports have been affected. Heathrow is shut down and Edinburgh airport is in chaos. The night before, I ring David Murray’s assistant to make sure the trip is still on. Of course it is. His is a private jet. “We don’t use airports,” I’m told.

     

     

    There is no passport control, baggage check-in or security search; just a short walk across the tarmac, up the gangway and into the small leather-and-mahogany-lined tube. The stewardess fusses about, trying to disguise her excitement at having Connery on board. For his part, he quietly reads the paper for the entire journey.

     

     

    I sit next to Keith, owner of Edinburgh’s Circle Café and the now closed but soon to be relaunched Cosmo’s restaurant. Reserved, mild-mannered and laid-back, Keith may not have inherited his father’s ebullient personality, but he has certainly inherited his charm. He also knows about wine, with a genuine affinity and respect for the traditions of France’s wine industry. Both his establishments have impressive wine lists, and it is no secret that Murray is looking to build a business centred on wine that one day he can hand over to Keith.

     

     

    Murray throws me a book, The Wines of Burgundy, by Sylvain Pitiot and Jean-Charles Servant. “This is my bible in Burgundy,” he shouts above the roar of the engines. “I take it wherever I go.”

     

     

    I flick through the book and throw him my copy of Anthony Hanson’s Burgundy.

     

     

    “I have this!” he declares. “He mentions our wines.” His enthusiasm and passion are obvious. “By the time this deal is completed, I will have more than 24 hectares under vines in Burgundy and 600 in Provence. We will have more than 25 wines to sell in the UK.

     

     

    “But buying a vineyard is not about making a profit. It’s a passion, a lifestyle. Sure, I will grow the business – I haven’t put all this money in to lose it – but I’m not going to ruin it either. I’m going to respect and grow it,” he says. “Winemakers are good at making wine. They are not so good at marketing or accounts or sales. This is where the Murray business can help – we can take care of all that and let them get on with what they do best: making wine.”

     

     

    Spending time in the company of David Murray is an intoxicating experience. A bundle of power, energy, enthusiasm and charm, he dominates the gathering with his own turbo-charged personality. As well as his newspaper, Connery has brought along a book of Churchill’s speeches as light reading matter. I wasn’t surprised to learn that it belongs to Murray.

     

     

    During the course of the day, Murray drinks gallons of water. This, you suspect, is to keep him sharp and help him retain the concentration and self-discipline that he applies to everything he does. It is said that he gave up alcohol for four years when he first founded his steel business so that he could concentrate on growth. Murray International Holdings is now one of Scotland’s largest businesses, incorporating commercial property, call centres, private investment, metal, football and now wine.

     

     

    Murray’s personal fortune is estimated to be north of £650 million, and after a day with him his winning formula becomes clear: boundless energy, hard work and discipline, together with a focused approach. It could be football, steel, property, politics; whatever it is, it gets his unbridled attention. Today it is wine, and he won’t speak about anything else.

     

     

    “PPP,” he says in response to a comment I make on the organised structure to the day. “Perfect planning prevents piss-poor performance.” It’s just one of the many mottoes he shares with us throughout the trip. It’s a relatively short journey, though. Private jets are much faster than those flown by fuel-conscious commercial airlines. This one gets us to a military airbase just outside Dijon in less than an hour and a half.

     

     

    As the stewardess shares the obligatory photograph with Connery, we all clamber out of the plane, where two people-carriers are waiting. Murray will drive Connery and Keith to the vineyard. The photographer and I are going to follow in a separate car with Grahame Haggart, Murray’s fixer in France, and Martin Bain, the chief executive of Rangers. “I want you to travel down the wine route, get some photographs and get a real feel for Burgundy,” Murray tells me.

     

     

    Grahame Haggart, or Haggie, as he was nicknamed by Graeme Souness, first met Murray when they were both selling steel in the early 1980s. Haggie was working for a Dundee steel merchant when the young Murray was making a name for himself trading the stuff. The story goes that Murray went up to Dundee one day to take Haggie out for lunch. A bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape was ordered. Murray, keen to learn more about wine, said he liked it, at which point Haggie declared that he did too, but preferred the vineyard next door. It was the start of a 25-year friendship that has resulted in Haggie becoming Murray’s wine consultant in France.

     

     

    “I remember the first time David and I drove this route,” he says. “As we sped through the vineyards past famous names such as Gevrey-Chambertin, Vougeot, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and St-Aubin, David said he couldn’t believe it – these are all the wines we have drunk together over the past 25 years.”

     

     

    The Côte d’Or wine-growing area of Burgundy is a thin, 30-mile strip of land that begins at Chenove, just south of Dijon, and ends at Santenay. It is no more than 1,500m wide at any given point. The multi-layered lime and marlstone soil, the bedrock and drainage are ideal for pinot noir and chardonnay, the only grapes grown in the region. As of yet no other region in the world has succeeded in producing wines as sophisticated and fascinating as those from Burgundy, although in recent years a few have come close.

     

     

    Domaine Jessiaume lies at the southern foot of the Côte de Beaune, in the village of Santenay. Like most Burgundian vineyards, it is a family concern, and is run by Bernard Jessiaume and his sons Marc and Pascal. The family have owned the property since the 1850s, and in that time have acquired vineyards in Santenay Gravières, Auxey Duresses and Volnay. Bernard is retiring from winemaking and has sold the property to Murray, who will continue to employ Marc and Pascal.

     

     

    As we arrive at the gates of the 19th-century house, the family are there to greet us. “Bonjour!” cries Murray. The presence of Connery has sent everyone into a frenzy of excitement. Handshakes and nods ensue, and it becomes clear that none of us new arrivals can speak French. True to Burgundian form, Bernard speaks very little English. Pascal acts as translator.

     

     

    We head to the cellars, where Pascal proudly shows off his new oak barrels. Above is a barn where the grapes come in and are fermented; down below lie the cellars where the wine is aged. The property is steeped in history, with vintages dating back to 1929. There are no vintages from the early 1940s because the house was requisitioned by Nazi generals who drank the wine themselves.

     

     

    Tour complete, we head upstairs to what is to be the main focus of the day: the wine-tasting. On the way, I catch a moment with Connery. It is his first visit to a vineyard. “When we were down in the cellars,” he says, “seeing the barrels reminded me of the old cooperage in Fountainbridge brewery.” Connery was brought up in the area around the Edinburgh brewery.

     

     

    Apart from its wine production, the village of Santenay is also known for its casino and spa – two settings close to James Bond’s heart. But Connery wants to know about the wines. I tell him that the soil here is slightly richer than in neighbouring areas, which should give the reds more body and a firmer, rustic feel. As the tasting progresses and the wines come and go, it becomes clear that there is only one expert in the room – and it certainly isn’t me. “What do you get in that, Will?” says Murray nudging me. “A bit of cassis, bit of coffee. This one is very creamy. A hint of cherries. This is lovely, I could drink it all day.” And on it goes, a running wine-tasting lesson for anyone who cares to listen.

     

     

    Halfway through, Madame Jessiaume comes in clutching an old video of Goldfinger. “He likes his wine shaken not stirred,” quips Murray as he nods to his friend. The two men have an easy relationship and are obviously very comfortable in each other’s company. Connery enjoys the joke and seems slightly surprised that they should have a copy of one of his films. Putting down the glass, he points towards Madame Jessiaume and says in his distinctive Bond burr, “Ah, Goldfinger.” It’s a surreal moment, watching one of Hollywood’s most famous actors deliver one of Hollywood’s most famous lines.

     

     

    With the tasting over, we stroll into the village of Santenay for lunch. A table has been booked at the local restaurant, and once again the presence of Connery sends the waitresses into a flurry of nervous energy. This time he’s on top Hollywood form, flirting, signing autographs, posing for pictures. “Where shall I sign?” he smiles as our waitress giggles nervously.

     

     

    Pascal’s wife has been summoned. Her sister has been infatuated with Connery ever since she was a child. She once rang home from Morocco to say that she had seen him in the flesh. Connery remembers that particular visit and poses for a photo with Pascal’s wife, who can’t wait to tell her sister what she is missing.

     

     

    THE winemaker’s family have been running the estate for five generations. In recent years there has been cashflow problems and they were forced to sell from the cellar door. The sale of the business to Murray is a win-win situation. The family get to carry on working at the winery while Murray International can take care of the finances, marketing and cashflow. Furthermore, the estate will not be forced to release wine on to the market that is rushed or not ready to drink. Now they can concentrate solely on producing wine.

     

     

    Murray is adamant that he will not change a thing. A traditionalist at heart, he respects Jessiaume and its history. “Why would I want to?” he asks. “You build on something like this, you don’t ruin it.”

     

     

    Equally important, Marc’s son is a keen footballer and has already had a trial for Auxerre. Murray has arranged for the boy to come to Ibrox. “Of course,” says Murray to Marc. “You are all part of the Murray empire now.”

     

     

    As a special treat, Marc has brought along a bottle of 1929 Santenay Gravières for us to try. It’s a coppery colour, with an intense, raisiny, farmyard aroma. As it spends time in the glass it unfolds into a mushroomy, gamey wine. “It is impossible to find the same quality at this age in Bordeaux,” Marc informs me. “Impossible.”

     

     

    Soon the bill is summoned and we’re off. An hour later, as we speed into a rain-soaked Dijon airfield, the engines on Murray’s jet are whirring. Up in the air, Murray continues to discuss his plans. He wants to get a few more properties and a few wine qualifications under his belt. He’s eager to show that he understands and loves the product. Wine has opened up a new world to him that he wants to enjoy.

     

     

    As the plane passes Glasgow and descends towards Edinburgh, he leans over and whispers in my ear. “Hey, Will, bet you never thought you’d be flying down to Burgundy with James Bond, did you?”

     

     

    In the village of Santenay, the elderly Bernard Jessiaume, sitting by the fire enjoying a bottle of Gravières, was probably thinking exactly the same thing.

  24. Aye, a master stroke from Mrs T. Decimate industry so that no one has a job, therefore ridding Scotland of discrimination against Catholics in the workplace. Why don’t we just wrap this whole playing fiba’ thing and rid ourselves of the anti-Celtic bias. Philvis, I’ve been scrolling on by for months now and I can’t believe I took the bait, but you sir are not playing with a full deck. Only an opinion mind and I’ll go back to scrolling on by.

  25. Clyde – is wisnae our fault we weren’t told it was wrong – no tax evasion – Celtic did it in the past?

  26. Bring Me The Heid of Thunder Crap Reid on

    INTERESTING…………

     

     

    Am I right in thinking that both Dundee United and Kilmarnock must have won the toss at iBrokes recently ‘cos the huns were forced to shoot into their own end first half. They NEVER do that through choice.

     

     

    I’ve always believed that if you win the toss at an away ground – make the home team shoot the way they’d rather not. Even we should do that when ( if ) we go there.

     

     

    I’d be interested if anyone can recall if we lost the toss in any of this season’s home defeats and were made to face the ‘Celtic’ end first half.

  27. Gordon J

     

     

    the beauty of following Celtic is that it is open to all. Is Trish Godden a Catholic? I’ve no idea. I rather suspect PMcB has no religion.

     

    The difficulty is in proving religious aggravation – unless the accused has said/written something, how do you prove it is not 2 Rankers fans sending devices to 2 Celtic fans?

  28. Je Suis Neil Lennon on

    I really don’t understand why people on here waste their time and words entering into any kind of discussion with that bigoted wee vermin that spouts all that Tory rubbish on here

     

     

    hail \o/ hail

  29. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Philvis

     

     

    The result for Thatcher pouring money into BL in Bromley was re-election. When she could not afford to do that she sank the Belgrano

     

     

    I think you fancy Thatcher and would like to give her one. She would be turned on by your childish grasp of her politics or are you Bernard Ingham bastard son ?

     

     

    HH

  30. My dear,dear,dear,friend.. Phivis

     

     

    Pal.. Ah admire and respect yer Attitude in all o’ this.

     

     

    Ye are willing tae stand by ,yer guns.. and no back doon.

     

     

    Ye are Perfectly entitled tae lend yer support tae Mrs. Thatcher.

     

     

     

    The Only reason why Ah hiv bin a Butinsky,in this ongoing discussing whit

     

    yer ur hiving wi Maggie’s …multitudinous.. “Detractors”

     

     

    is

     

     

    Because.. Ah am trying tae Adopt ..Ma Favourite Role.. as an Avuncular

     

    Dutch Uncle.. tae yer good Sel.

     

     

     

    Pal..

     

     

    Ye, are almost oan the Right Track… Hiving the Belief that

     

    It is up tae the INDIVIDUAL tae Mak his or Her own way. in this Life..

     

     

    Ah also believe that.

     

     

    However..

     

     

    Lose the Idea that Any Politician is interested in Anything but..

     

     

    His or Her..

     

     

    OWN SELF INTEREST..

     

     

    Which.. Funnily enuff..

     

     

    Ah happen tae Agree..wi’… and tae be honest tae Ma ain Principles.. canny fault ’em!

     

     

    Fur I must admit the AH.. also.

     

     

    Am a Firm Believer in bein’

     

     

    Only being interested in..

     

     

    MY OWN.. and Ma Family’s . SELF INTEREST..

     

     

    Governmental Interference is Anathema tae the Pursuit of Liberty and

     

    Individual Choice..

     

     

    Politics is fur the Boids.

     

     

    Kojo.

     

    yer pal.. who likes ye aloater

  31. Malceye,

     

     

    I’m not going to try to argue the law with you! But isn’t there usually a phrase about actual or perceived religious affiliations? I thought that if they had religious inent then the actual religious views or membership of the targets didn’t matter.

     

     

    Take your point about proof. Unless they were really stupid it would be difficult.

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