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Donald muir


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Michael Grant

Chief football writer

PICTURE the Rangers scandal as a giant battleground where everyone has been hit and bloodied to some degree.

In the biggest mess of all is public enemy No.1 Craig Whyte, who strode triumphantly into Ibrox last year and now wouldn’t be safe to walk the Glasgow streets.

Sir David Murray has become increasing toxic for leading the club to the edge of the abyss. Rangers company secretary Gary Withey is accused of obstructing attempts to release bank money which came from season-ticket sales. Lawyers Collyer Bristow have been alleged to have been unhelpful. Duff and Phelps, the administrators, have been accused of dithering and being Whyte’s lackeys. Ticketus were happy to profiteer from speculating on supporters’ loyalty and they’re panicking about not being able to get their £24m back. HMRC have not been paid by Whyte and are at least £15m down, a sum which could multiply by four. Players have lost up to threequarters of their wages. A handful of staff have lost their jobs. Ally McCoist is stressed to the hilt. Fans have been sick with worry. The SFA has been told their “fit and proper person” rules are powderpuff. Paul Murray, sacked from the board last year, now faces the pressure to deliver which comes with building up the fans’ hopes.

It has been like a financial cagefight and no party has escaped at least collateral damage. Well, perhaps one. There is one unmarked party in the story of Rangers’ disgrace, a key participant in the story, but now almost forgotten and free from the mudslinging. Who was it that Walter Smith said was “running the club” in the final months before Whyte’s disastrous takeover? Who was it who sanctioned Whyte before leaving the scene with all of its money paid up in full? Lloyds Banking Group must look at everyone still immersed in this carnage and, laughing up its sleeve, think ‘what a bunch of mugs’.

When Donald Muir joined the Rangers board in the autumn of 2009 he was variously described as a “turnaround specialist” and a “company doctor”. Lloyds put a gun to the club’s head and insisted that he went on the board. Former chairman Alastair Johnston said the bank made it clear that it was a condition of Rangers’ credit facility that Muir had to be a director. Muir was the guy who oversaw an aggressive clawback of Lloyds’ debt at Rangers. He ran the show. When it was said that club staff couldn’t buy a paper clip without running it past him first, the joke had a ring of truth. Because of Lloyds, Smith went two years without being able to buy a player. Because of Lloyds, he spent a while working without a contract as Rangers couldn’t afford to commit to one. It was “terribly compromising” to have Muir sitting in on meetings when the board wanted to discuss financial strategy, said Johnston.

When Muir joined the board Rangers’ debt stood at £33m. When he left – on the day Lloyds got out and Whyte took over – the liabilities were pegged at just £18m and falling. From the shambles of Rangers’ finances, Lloyds pulled off the miracle of getting back every penny they were owed. When Sir David Murray talked about selling Rangers only to someone with the club’s best interests at heart – gee, that worked out well – Lloyds’ view on where the club ended up was not so explicitly expressed. No wonder: now it appears they didn’t really care so long as they got their money back and were long gone before the big tax case verdict landed.

Well, that’s business. If Rangers say they don’t do walking away, then banks don’t do emotion. They weren’t under any obligation to look after Rangers beyond holding up Whyte’s proof of funds document from Collyer Bristow and saying, “Look, he’s got the cash – we’re off”. But what about Muir?

Muir and David Grier go way back. They’ve known each other for years. This time last year, Muir was on the Rangers board and Grier was the turnaround specialist advising Whyte on his takeover. Now Grier is a partner in Duff and Phelps, the administrators Whyte succeeded in appointing. So did Muir and Grier know that Whyte intended to fund the buy-out by flogging future season tickets rather than using his own money? How come Whyte felt he had the authority to go to Ticketus and get a £24m advance on the season tickets on April 7 last year, 28 days before the takeover went through? Ticketus had done previous deals with Rangers, remember. When Whyte offered to flog them Ibrox season tickets, it’s unthinkable that they would do anything other than pick up the phone to someone at the club and check his authenticity and credentials to sell. If Lloyds were “running the club”, and Muir was its man on the board, did he give that approval?

Muir described himself as a Rangers supporter and a guy who cared about the club. He was Alex McLeish’s mate. Well, he may have worked wonders for Lloyds, but how big was his role in placing Rangers in Whyte’s hands? Can he look himself in the mirror today and feel he served “his” club? Muir’s not likely to be seen at Ibrox any time soon, but in December he had a VIP seat at the Old Firm game. He sat beside Whyte.

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How come Whyte felt he had the authority to go to Ticketus and get a £24m advance on the season tickets on April 7 last year, 28 days before the takeover went through? Ticketus had done previous deals with Rangers, remember. When Whyte offered to flog them Ibrox season tickets, it’s unthinkable that they would do anything other than pick up the phone to someone at the club and check his authenticity and credentials to sell.

This whole article is thought-provoking, but for the moment this part stands out to me; and is something people need to be asking themselves.

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Another link in a tangled chain.

What a book this whole story would make. The film version would last for hours and would require more stars than "The Longest Day". Every day produces another thread to be woven into this tapestry of deceit, lies, intrigue, finance, fraud, crime and passion. I go to sleep at night (eventually) thinking "it has to be better tomorrow" then wake up and it's Groundhog Day.

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Finger in the air journalisim like this has it's place, and blogs like "leggos" is it.

Do some investigation and show actual evidence of the links then you have an article, this is particularily poor journalisim...how did it get printed..... <cr>

Does any of it have any validity to you? Does his point about Ticketus and the means that Craig Whyte sought investment have any reasonance with you?

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How come Whyte felt he had the authority to go to Ticketus and get a £24m advance on the season tickets on April 7 last year, 28 days before the takeover went through? Ticketus had done previous deals with Rangers, remember. When Whyte offered to flog them Ibrox season tickets, it’s unthinkable that they would do anything other than pick up the phone to someone at the club and check his authenticity and credentials to sell.

Hasn't this already been raised here umpteen times and I'd guess in many other places too?

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the amount of contradictions in our takeover is unreal

Both Murray and Lloyds claim that Whyte showed them proof of funds in the november/december of 2010, was that a lie or did whyte manage to dupe them then also

Plus wether anyone likes it or not, we had to begin a period of financial prudence when MIH started going tits up, not many football teams take a UEFA cup final squad, miss out on a lucrative champions league slot, infact we missed out on ANY euro cash the following season, then proceed to splash out over 20million on players in the same season

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How come Whyte felt he had the authority to go to Ticketus and get a £24m advance on the season tickets on April 7 last year, 28 days before the takeover went through? Ticketus had done previous deals with Rangers, remember. When Whyte offered to flog them Ibrox season tickets, it’s unthinkable that they would do anything other than pick up the phone to someone at the club and check his authenticity and credentials to sell.

This whole article is thought-provoking, but for the moment this part stands out to me; and is something people need to be asking themselves.

Whyte is on record as saying that someone within the Rangers board pointed him in the direction of Ticketus.

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Whyte is on record as saying that someone within the Rangers board pointed him in the direction of Ticketus.

Well, if he said that then that person has to be accountable for doing that. The more one looks into this takeover the more the inconsistencies become ever more apparent; and yet people insist that Rangers itself should be punished. Perhaps what this takeover exposes is the flaws in the running the game as a whole; maybe questions should extend beyond Rangers.

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Hasn't this already been raised here umpteen times and I'd guess in many other places too?

And never more relevant when information such as this is now pouring out.

Mark Phillips QC, for Duff & Phelps, went on: “Mr Whyte and Mr Withey conspired together with intent to injure the club by unlawful means. The principal purpose or objective of the conspiracy was the acquisition by group of the majority stake.”

The administrators are suing Whyte’s takeover vehicle – the Rangers FC Group – and legal firm Collyer Bristow, who Withey worked for, for the £25million they claim the club would have made.

And in an explosive court hearing yesterday, their lawyers levelled a series of damning accusations, claiming:

● Withey lied about Collyer Bristow having received the cash to fund a takeover of Rangers.

● He forged Whyte’s signature on a letter backing up the cash claims.

● Whyte’s takeover firm and lawyers made up a story about transactions having gone through at the time of their takeover.

● Some of the Ticketus deal money was used by Whyte to pay his lawyers.

● When funding irregularities emerged, Withey “did a runner”.

Mr Phillips told the High Court in London the administrators had been the victims of a “deliberate deception” carried out by Whyte and his lawyers.

The sham is stinking from top to bottom.

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Does any of it have any validity to you? Does his point about Ticketus and the means that Craig Whyte sought investment have any reasonance with you?

the inference is clear, the lack of meat on the bones leaves me less impressed.

If this story si true get it proved instead of making suggestions...then we can deal with muir accordingly.

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Well, if he said that then that person has to be accountable for doing that. The more one looks into this takeover the more the inconsistencies become ever more apparent; and yet people insist that Rangers itself should be punished. Perhaps what this takeover exposes is the flaws in the running the game as a whole; maybe questions should extend beyond Rangers.

The D&P court case in London on our behalf will reveal a lot more I expect.

It's criminal what has happened to our club.

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And never more relevant when information such as this is now pouring out.

Mark Phillips QC, for Duff & Phelps, went on: “Mr Whyte and Mr Withey conspired together with intent to injure the club by unlawful means. The principal purpose or objective of the conspiracy was the acquisition by group of the majority stake.”

The administrators are suing Whyte’s takeover vehicle – the Rangers FC Group – and legal firm Collyer Bristow, who Withey worked for, for the £25million they claim the club would have made.

And in an explosive court hearing yesterday, their lawyers levelled a series of damning accusations, claiming:

● Withey lied about Collyer Bristow having received the cash to fund a takeover of Rangers.

● He forged Whyte’s signature on a letter backing up the cash claims.

● Whyte’s takeover firm and lawyers made up a story about transactions having gone through at the time of their takeover.

● Some of the Ticketus deal money was used by Whyte to pay his lawyers.

● When funding irregularities emerged, Withey “did a runner”.

Mr Phillips told the High Court in London the administrators had been the victims of a “deliberate deception” carried out by Whyte and his lawyers.

The sham is stinking from top to bottom.

Brilliant points.

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Brilliant points.

Withey, Whyte, Collyer Bristow and Ticketus have much to fear if the court confirms that lies and forgeries were at the heart of the takeover.

Perhaps we'll get to see some real justice after all. And, what exactly will a positive outcome on this court case do for the already shot credibility of the SPL and SFA?

They are bigger fools than we can imagine. And that takes some doing.

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Both Murray and Lloyds claim that Whyte showed them proof of funds in the november/december of 2010, was that a lie or did whyte manage to dupe them then also

With the court order to release the MIH papers, we may find out soon enough. I suspect these will show confirmations from Withey that funds were being held, when they weren't. If there was a Withey/Whyte fraud, we might never know if it goes any deeper. As I've said before, if Muir was involved in such a fraud he deserves everything he gets, but there is no proof yet that he knew.

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We can point the finger of blame at almost anyone involved with the club over the last 10-15 years or so.

The ultimate responsibility lies with Sir David Murray and Craig Whyte. It's quite amazing how the former continues to avoid being the sole subject of speculative articles like this one.

Not for much longer though when the new Daly/Panorama investigation is aired.

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Withey, Whyte, Collyer Bristow and Ticketus have much to fear if the court confirms that lies and forgeries were at the heart of the takeover.

Perhaps we'll get to see some real justice after all. And, what exactly will a positive outcome on this court case do for the already shot credibility of the SPL and SFA?

They are bigger fools than we can imagine. And that takes some doing.

This is becoming a clearer point, which seems to have been overlooked by the SFA. Why are Rangers being punished if the actions of others is deemed illegal? The club appears in a bind at the moment, whilst all this is dealt with, but the SFA seem to be acting in an irrational manner in that context.

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With the court order to release the MIH papers, we may find out soon enough. I suspect these will show confirmations from Withey that funds were being held, when they weren't. If there was a Withey/Whyte fraud, we might never know if it goes any deeper. As I've said before, if Muir was involved in such a fraud he deserves everything he gets, but there is no proof yet that he knew.

If Muir is a guilty party to the suspected con (to be laid bare before the courts I'm delighted to acknowledge) then great. If not, I'll happily settle for the rest of them getting their just rewards.

'Mon the handwriting analysis expert!

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We can point the finger of blame at almost anyone involved with the club over the last 10-15 years or so.

The ultimate responsibility lies with Sir David Murray and Craig Whyte. It's quite amazing how the former continues to avoid being the sole subject of speculative articles like this one.

Not for much longer though when the new Daly/Panorama investigation is aired.

I sense some things are turning Frankie, very slowly may I add.

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