Murray coalescence with the financial, political, media sectors


“Crash and burn”.  That was the outcome I expected to await Murray International Holding’s (MIH) debt-fuelled expansion in the early part of the last decade.  This wasn’t entrepreneurship. Borrowing money to invest in a market which was on a long-term growth spurt, without consideration that your asset values could fall, was corporate vandalism.  It was a safe enough bet as long as the commercial property market continued its incessant upwards trend, but the bubble had to burst eventually.

There were other voices out there saying the same thing.  In the pre-blog era I remember printed copies of the Dogs Bollox passed around like the potentially-subversive underground insights they were.  It was financial madness, writ large, all you needed to do was step back a little to see what was happening.

Celtic Quick News started because the underlying story of the biggest issue in Scottish football – the ability of the two largest clubs to pay their bills – was not being told.  Without Murray’s debt splurge, this blog would never have happened.

I gave running commentaries of what to expect of Rangers and MIH accounts when they were released in 2005, the evidence will be there, I told you.  I didn’t expect a convenient, and remarkable, property revaluation.  It was smoke and mirrors, though Murray inspired such confidence, even among Celtic fans, I remember “Why can’t we just revalue Celtic Park and borrow more?”

Millions were taken in executive pay and bonuses each year, despite borrowings galloping away, while the Bank of Scotland continued to open the vault.  MIH wasn’t the only bad bet Bank of Scotland made, but it was the worst.

Rangers were the ultimate vanity project.  Tens of thousands of people literally fawned before Murray, he wallowed in decades of deference, controlling oceans of the media. The best parts of history are never written, and what happened at Rangers, and with the Bank of Scotland is no different. While Murray is alive you’re only going to read the parts of this story with documented evidence.

The illegal EBT scandal was typical of how the business operated. Through this, and the also-illegal Discounted Options Scheme, Murray drove a horse and cart through the SFA rulebook. Lord Nimmo Smith found as much. In Craig Whyte, Rangers appointed a person who was not fit and proper to run a football club.  Whyte was sine died from the game and Rangers were disciplined, but it was Murray who sold the business to Whyte, despite his personal history. For all the rule breaking, and subsequent havoc he inflicted on his club, Murray has not been brought to account by the SFA, his allies still hold the balance of power, but not for ever.

The knighthood for services to Scottish business will sound hollow to those who invested in MIH pensions, and who were recently told their funds are in trouble.  Yesterday’s news that Murray is putting a squad of his businesses into liquidation, or from BBC’s Douglas Fraser that Murray’s family are buying “fire-sale assets” from MIH, which, he explains, “received what’s called “an unsolicited approach from the Murray family”, tells you what you need to know about the man.

If only there was the political will to ask for an inquiry into hundreds of millions of pounds of public money lost to the exchequer, as publicly-owned Lloyds, now owners of the Bank of Scotland, slowly come to terms with how deep the Charlotte Square money pit is.  Murray’s acolytes, those who partied hard with him during the good times, remain scattered through Scotland, from Holyrood, to Hampden.  It will take years before they slowly lose grip on their own fiefdoms.

Strip him of his title, discipline him for the rule-breaking in Scottish football, and have an inquiry into how his coalescence with the financial, political and media sectors rendered him immune from responsibility.

More later on Gary Mackay-Steven.

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  1. The Battered Bunnet



    I believe the deal will be done by Edinburgh council to redevelop Medowbank and this will be funded by selling off land to the east of the current stadium which used to house the velodrome.


    The stadium will be athletics and concert based and although it can accomodate football I doubt any senior side will take it on. There were rumours Hearts may play out of Meadowbank but I know that the FOH (Foundation of Hearts) have said the fans will not support and would rather stay in the west of the city. It’s pretty clear that Tynecastle will not be a solution going forward in it’s current form.


    Livi FC have never really been all that solvent. They have never made any money. Infamously the lottery winner from Lanarkshire lost a lot of money in Livi.


    Livi will be wound up. There are few fans and the town can’t really support the infrastructre of a professional football club. New towns haven;t really got the history and feeling of pride in the area that established towns have. Even my generation who were born and bred in the town usually say where ourt parents come from when meeting anyone who asks where you are from.


    My thoughts going forward is that Edinburgh City will stay at Meadowbank. Livi will go belly up and the ground will either become a dug track which has been mentioned before or be demolished. It was built in a terrible area right at the river and the drainage is awful. It also gridlocks the whole town when their is a big match on due to the stadium location.


    Hearts will probably share with Hibs for a season or two when they decide to change grounds or even take over Livi’s ground which would probably their fans preferred choice for a season.


    I would not rule out Edinburgh Rugby taking on both Meadowbank or Livi FC as Murrayfield is way too big for their games.


    Interesting times ahead though in Edinburgh where they are much more hamstrung on building facilities due to the tourist industry. Hearts should build their new ground out towards Riccarton but it means no pubs and few facilities for fans. I can’t see Tynecastle being redeveloped. I believe it would cost a fortune just to demolish the main stand due to asbestos.




  2. The Battered Bunnet on




    All change these days with the recently implemented senior football ‘pyramid’ system.



    Highland and Lowland Leagues are now integrated into the SPFL set up, and I would imagine the days of ‘applications’ to the senior leagues are past.



    For the first time, this season the winners of HL and LL will playoff to determine which of them will play against the bottom SPFL side for a promotion to/relegation from SPFL League 2.



    In the event that a SPFL club folds, I imagine the natural outcome would be promotion of the winner of the HLvLL tie.



    Edinburgh City are running away with the LL this season, with the likes of Spartans, Gretna and East Kilbride some distance behind.



    Get yourself along to K Park of a Saturday afternoon when the Bhoys aren’t playing. The football is decent quality, it’s £4 to get in, and there’s a pie stall too :¬)



    Bear in mind Spartans have papped both Clyde and Morton out of the Scottish Cup so far this season, and they’re sitting 4th in the LL at the moment, one if their kids has just been signed by St Johnstone, and you get an idea of how closely matched the LL is with the lower reaches of the SPFL.



    If I was involved with a struggling SPFL side, I’d be getting nervous to avoid the trap door play off. Elgin, Montrose, East Stirling, Clyde and East Fife are all touching cloth.

  3. HT/Bada/Eurochamps67



    From last night all 5 of us who are in home tkt scheme got a ticket


    anyone in our group who isnt didnt.



    Two kids offered £10 tkts for semi.

  4. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    Being an athlete in my youth I didn’t drink( more than made up for it since)


    My mates drink of choice was bottle of merrydown and 4 cans of breaker.

  5. David Murray



    As a young accountant in the mid eighties, I worked with UIE Scotland – oil rig fabrication yard in Clydebank.



    We won a contract for Total and various sub-contractors submitted their bids. I was asked to audit a few of them but the pipework tender came from Murray Pipework, with all the bumph about Murray Group surrounding it. It was the cheapest bid and our Financial Director told me not to audit this as the Murray Group seemed strong.



    Murray Pipework was given the contract. About 15 months later, when they had > 200 workers on our site and just before the Glasgow Fair holidays, David Murray let the subsidiary Murray Pipework go down, leaving these guys unpaid. UIE had to scramble to take most of them onto our payroll to complete the job as we had the obligation to our client to meet schedules etc.



    This happened in 86/87. Of course, David Murray pitches up to take over Rangers in 88. At that time I told many friends that I would not want him in charge of my club.



    For so long I looked like an idiot (no statements of confirmation please) when Rangers went on their 9 in a row etc. and we struggled but I never trusted Murray.



    Some friends remembered what I said to them and came back to me 24 years later to acknowledge what I had told them.

  6. TBB-Thanks for reply,i might take you up on K Park one Saturday,as we don’t play on that day too often :( HH

  7. I see the mercurial Alfie Finnbogasson has now gone 13 games without a goal in La Liga!!



    2 goals in 18 games for Sociedad (both scored in a cup game against lower league opposition).



    Looks like our scouts were right not to sanction a 5m move. I did want him at the time though!!

  8. jc2



    Carlsberg Special –



    I did a tour of the Carlsberg Museum in Copenhagen ( I had exhausted all the choon purchasing opportunities ! ). .



    Carlsberg have a long tradition of producing ” Specials ” to mark historical events in Denmark . A visit from Churchill was seen to be a big event so they produced a brew to mark the occasion . I dont know if Churchill was fond of the stuff -a bottle or two of Brandy was his thing.

  9. The Battered Bunnet on

    Let me know Bada, and I’ll sort a wee half time pint out for you. Scandalous I know, but football, pies and beer all at the one time, in Scotland!



    You just have to put up with the EK weather…

  10. The Battered Bunnet



    Sadly I believe Livi are done for. I don;t see any sense or need to move them back to Meadowbank Stadium. They were a team initially to fit a stadium and now that stadium has another team.


    Guy in my work supported Meadowbank and when they moved to Livi he went to support Hibernian. He believes in supporting his local club. Pretty sound guy. Got a lot of time for him even though I don;t agree in changing clubs I understand his logic. He said he had some great days following Meadowbank when they were absolute garbage.




  11. prestonpans bhoys on

    !!Bada Bing!!


    12:28 on 14 January, 2015


    jc2-I believe those on HCTS got priority for SF tickets.HH



    Correct the reward for paying up front.

  12. A skint and desperate Ayr Utd knocked back a bid from Minty Moonbeams . They didnt like the cut of his jib .The deady bears welcomed him with open arms.

  13. time for change on

    I’m in the HCTS (two season tickets) and haven’t had an offer for semi-final (not that I was going just slightly miffed!)



    Paul great article.



    Roll on Saturday’s game (though I think Mrs time for change has made a deal with the estate agaents as once again we have a viewing when the game is on!!!!) it’ll be getting paused again.







  14. Hrvatski Jim



    12:25 on 14 January, 2015



    Re Murray Pipework.



    They had a big fab shop in Grangemouth and with engineering being rotten with Masons they could get any job they went in for.



    As you say they hadn’t a clue and went burst, but it was but a mere blip on the upward path of SDMs rising star.



    I ordered steel from Murray International Metals when I first started in about 1978 and sure enough it was delivered promptly but when I checked the invoice he was charging twice the going tonnage rate so I told his people to come and uplift it as I would not be paying double.



    I think it was his brother who came to see me and more of less told me that people didn’t argue with David.



    They uplifted without payment.



    Talentless Masonic tosser who wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes without the bank as his petty-cash box.

  15. Livi



    You’re spot on ref Edinburgh rugby needing somewhere much smaller than murrayfield to play.



    A ground share with hertz and a synthetic/grass hybrid pitch a la murrayfield would make a lot of sense.



    HH jamesgang

  16. time for change



    I havent been offered them yet pOST



    but checked on line as per discussion


    with HT\Bada Bing\eurochamps67 lats night



    hence my THANKS above

  17. Read the earlier post regarding the amount of Tennents Super Lager drank in Italy. The guy is dead right. I helped export it. The Italians loved it.

  18. BT



    Merrydown and Breaker malt liquer acceptable



    Tennents super lager Carsberg Special brew or worst of lot


    KESTREL super lager were foul.



    I like my Cider but going to Joe Ledley 1-0 game


    my mate went for carry oot for the bus as


    I was getting beers in.



    He said only thing LEFT in Fridge was FROSTY JACK CIDER.



    Lets just say no wonder it was still in the fridge.





    PS I think real connoisseurs of Frosty JACK like it lukewarm

  19. Afternoon all.



    I would like to take the opporchancity to wish my daughter Erica a very happy hoopy 20th birthday.




  20. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    JC2 I think Rohypnol was originally called Cally Special.



    In my misspent youth I remember drinking a half bottle of Buckie and 2 cans of Cally Special.



    I don’t remember much after that until I woke up in bed the next day.



    I’ve always been a lightweight when it comes to drinking though.








    Miss TALLYBHOY,Erica!



    Tell yer Dad to start saving up for next year….

  22. antipodean red on

    hrvatski jim,



    I worked for Murray Pipes at UIE around 1985/86 on the Total modules, four of them, all beginning with V, really enjoyed the work but there were some seriously dubious practices happening. There were also a few not to be messed with individuals.


    A story that I heard after I left was that they had seven guys on the books at UIE who were no longer on the planet.



    No surprises.




  23. Strip him of his title, discipline him for the rule-breaking in Scottish football, and have an inquiry into how his coalescence with the financial, political and media sectors rendered him immune from responsibility.


    Sadly it will not happen in our little Masonic riddled country.


    Too many roaches hiding out of the lime light.

  24. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    Scotsmac anyone?



    I’ve never saw anyone so drunk as the night my mate drank a bottle of this in one go.



    To be fair if he’d stopped to taste it he’d never have finished the bottle.

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