Now this is strange but when put in the context of the owners of each club; Murray Group’s David Murray and Bank of Scotland’s Gavin Masterton, and their outside business relationships it gets to the heart of the murky corporate goings on which eventually led to the taxpayer bailing out HBOS, including the £1bn debt of Murray Group.
On the radio show, Calderwood stated that the plan had been for him to go to Dunfermline and (after finding his feet back in Scotland) becoming the boss of Rangers. Now I’m sure, as in all industries, relationships exist where owners and major shareholders will recommend executives to one another. This was a little bit stranger because it was less subtle than that. It was the owner of one business directly offering a senior post in another business. Even more peculiar is that this was clearly portrayed as some sort of traineeship for the main post at the “rival” club. It certainly puts the accusations of Sutton on last day of 2003 season into perspective. Of more relevance however is the position of these two men and their roles in the collapse of HBOS and the financial vandalism of Scottish football that has seen RFC go bust and die, Dunfermline on the fringes and many clubs burdened with debts that they can no longer manage. Masterton and Murray are the key players in the financial vandalism that has destroyed our game.
But Masterton and Murray aren’t just protagonists in the vandalism of the game. They are prominent players in a world of cosy corporate relationships, the type of relationships that led to the 2008-banking crisis.
As Mark Daly’s BBC Scotland documentary explained, Murray was one of a handful of Scottish “tycoons” who had an overly familiar relationship with the Bank of Scotland. As Daly explained their access to funds was all too easy, for example when HBOS started to become a little more forceful over the £80m RFC debt level, Murray underwrote the £50m share issue, passing £50m of debt to the Murray group to reduce RFC down to £30m. Coincidentally another Murray group company was able to secure £50m of funding from a different part of HBOS! That type of activity is disconcerting. What the Calderwood decision seems to suggest is even more worrying. Granted it was outside of the bank but Murray, a borrower client of Masterton, seemed able to make business decisions on behalf of a Masterton owned company (Dunfermline). When you then analyse their relationship with regards steel and stadia as per THIS ARTICLE, the reach of these individuals across our game is frightening.
Have you ever wondered why the first thing Fergus did was move Celtic’s banking hot only away from HBOS, but out of Scotland.
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