After months of speculation surrounding the ownership of Glasgow Rangers, Lanarkshire born businessman Craig Whyte has purchased Sir David Murray’s 83.5 percent shares in the club for £1 making him the majority shareholder and owner of the Glasgow side. This has been an ongoing saga which had threatened to deteriorate at times and with the Rangers directors stalling on the deal it looked like the proposed move would fall through. Now that Mr. Whyte has control of the Rangers as part of the deal he will clear the club’s £22 million debt which is owed to Lloyds Banking Group and make available transfer funds in the region of £10 million to strengthen the squad for the season ahead.
Rangers find themselves at end of a era which will conclude a 23 year relationship between David Murray and the club. Mr Murray’s lengthy career at the club commenced with the purchase of Rangers in November 1988 from Nevada based businessman Lawrence Marlborough for a sum of £6 million .
When David Murray first took over Rangers his spending power in the game was hard to match. At one point the Glasgow side, with Mr. Murray’s backing, were the biggest spenders in Britain with even English Premier League clubs such as Manchester United unable to match their spending power.
This saw players in the English league head north of the border partly due to their clubs being banned from Europe giving them the opportunity to play at the highest level via a Scottish club. This meant that Rangers attracted big names to the club as they signed England captain Terry Butcher and a host of other internationals who included Chris Woods, Mark Hateley, Trevor Steven, Ray Wilkins and Gary Stevens to name but a few.
After years of spending power the times eventually caught up with David Murray and Rangers were in turmoil with debt soaring. In recent years the debt has reached £30 million which the club have struggled to overcome meaning that every single player was available for transfer at the right price. Many fans blame player purchases such as Tore Andre Flo from Chelsea for £12 million in November 2000 (still a record Scottish transfer fee) for the state of the club’s finances.
This lead to uncertainty within the dressing room with players being offered cut price deals. The most notable recently being the sale of striker Kenny Miller to Turkish side Bursaspor. After bagging 21 goals before January, Kenny currently still leads the SPL scoring charts despite no longer playing for the club, many fans believe that Rangers were not paid the appropriate transfer fee for such a player.
Rangers fans have been growing frustrated lately with the lack of movement within Ibrox. This deal which has been struck with Mr. Whyte now leaves Rangers supporters breathing a sigh of relief and they can look to the future entering a new era under new management. Only time will tell if Craig Whyte can live up to his promises and deliver success for the club and their loyal fans.
Article courtesy of William McGill at This Is Futbol