“I’m Celtic’s problem and their supporters know that.” David Murray, 2001. This was a fantasy, but it betrayed an unspoken truth.
Rangers under Murray was the Ultimate Vanity Project. The above line could be interpreted as: “Know that I am the source of all joy to my followers and the suppressor of their opponents.”
Even if this was right, even if the strategy was sound, the plans carefully funded, the risks assessed and ameliorated, even if, David Murray was Celtic’s problem, this would still be an astonishing statement.
How dysfunctional would you need to be before you would have to solicit affection so openly?
Dysfunction was the truth hidden in open view in Murray’s statement, and not just his need to solicit affection. His strategy: spend everything the bank will lend us, betrayed the gambler’s recklessness.
The greatest risk of all, that HMRC would, with 100% certainty, challenge MIH Group’s use of EBTs, was not addressed. Creative tax ‘solutions’ are delivered with the caveat that HMRC will challenge. That challenge would clearly impose commercial uncertainty over the club.
Craig Whyte’s nine months in charge, which ended on St Valentine’s Day 2012 when his solicitors raced to Edinburgh in order to beat HMRC to be appoint an administrator, is not where the real story is. The club was holed below the water line well before Whyte was glad-handed down Edmiston Drive by Rangers fans in May 2011. They needed to find a billionaire, or someone they could call a billionaire, and who was prepared to do the dirty job. Craig was the latter.
“I’m Celtic’s problem and their supporters know that.” That quote should be on a wall when we build the Celtic Museum. It is one of the great morality lessons.
We’ll talk about Valencia this afternoon, you enjoy reminiscing about seven years ago until then.