David Murray interview: 'We deserve better' lobby told to wake up to reality
"The people who are moaning and making most of the noise are not exactly captains of industry," said Murray. "They don't have vast experience in business. I don't see any solutions being put forward by them."
Led by the Rangers Supporters Trust, a 'We Deserve Better' campaign was announced yesterday, accusing the club's board of a lack of ambition and strategic planning. This followed Tuesday's night's hoisting of a banner by some fans during the Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at McDiarmid Park calling for Murray to leave Rangers.
The disgruntlement has been stoked by Rangers' acceptance of a bid from Birmingham City for top scorer Kris Boyd last week and the revelation that at least one first-team player must be sold during the current transfer window.
Murray has dismissed the credibility of those behind the protest campaign, however, and insists he remains the best-equipped individual to lead Rangers to better fortune both on and off the pitch. "I can understand the frustration of the fans but I would ask them to look at the reality of the situation," Murray told The Scotsman. "When I sit down and review the economic situation of my business, the football side of it cannot be treated in isolation.
"We have to reduce costs at Rangers and that is why, when we received a good offer for Kris Boyd, we accepted it. The debate goes on as to whether he is a good, bad or indifferent player, or whether he would win the club the title, but the fact is most clubs would accept a reasonable offer for their players at the moment.
"That is the reality, whether you like David Murray or not. Whether it is me, Stewart Milne, John Boyle, Tom Farmer or Dermot Desmond, these are the people who are the financial backbone holding clubs together.
"There is a hysteria out there, driven by people who spend most of their time on websites or trying to get on radio programmes. They go on about mistakes which have been made, but I'm tired of admitting mistakes.
"I have been doing this for 20 years now and I think I have a better hand on the tiller than anyone else could at the moment.
"I would be delighted to go tomorrow as long as I could genuinely believe there was a suitable alternative for Rangers. But please do not doubt my endeavour to make Rangers successful. I believe I'm the best bet for the club in the short term and hopefully in the long term I can pass on a successful club to someone else."
Murray says Rangers' attempts to reduce their wage bill have been hamstrung by the unwillingness of some players to move on despite not featuring in manager Walter Smith's first-team plans. "We said in November that there were seven or eight players too many in the first-team squad," he added, "but we have people who want to see their contracts out.
"They are not all like Jean-Claude Darcheville who went to Walter Smith and told him he wanted to leave if he wasn't playing regularly. We made it easy for him to move on this month and he left speaking highly of the club. Unfortunately there are other people content to just take money out of the club."
Murray stressed, however, that the difficulties faced by Rangers in seeking to balance their books are not as grave as they have been painted in some quarters. "Rangers are strong, even in the current position, and people are mischief making about the extent of our financial problem," he said.
"My own message to our supporters is that we need to pull together instead of undermining this great club we have. I genuinely think we can win the SPL title this season. The race is not over and it can change from week to week."
David Edgar, spokesman for the Rangers Supporters Trust, insists the campaign launched yesterday is not specifically aimed at the club's chairman and owner. "This is not a campaign to get Murray out," said Edgar. "He is going nowhere, we know that and he knows that. It isn't about individuals, it is about everyone at Rangers raising their game.
"There has been mis-management at all levels of the club for some time and the chickens are now coming home to roost. There is a malaise at Ibrox and the fans are fed up with it. At the moment, the only two things keeping Rangers as a big club are its history and its support."
Edgar says banners will be displayed and leaflets distributed at Saturday's SPL match against Falkirk at Ibrox, but the longer-term nature of the campaign remains vague. "It's important to stress this is not just a Rangers Supporters Trust campaign," he added. "It is about all supporters groups, and individual supporters, coming together and letting the club know we do not accept the avoidable situation we currently find ourselves in."
The representative nature of the campaign, however, was called into question when the Rangers Supporters' Assembly, an official umbrella organisation encompassing the club's supporters' groups around the world, issued their own statement condemning any dissension.
Ross Blyth, vice-president of the Assembly, said: "Rangers supporters around the world are concerned when they read that star players could be sold. No-one wants to see that happen but real fans know that no club is immune from the harsh economic climate we are now in. There's no doubt were suffering from not being in the Champions League and the loss of that revenue is being sorely felt.
"But this is not a time for factionalism and division between the fans and the club or between fans groups. Ally McCoist hit the nail on the head when he called for us all to be united."