PAUL Murray will make moves to bring Walter Smith and John Greig back to Ibrox if his bid to buy Rangers is successful.
Murray heads the Blue Knights consortium of businessmen intent on wrestling the club out of Craig Whyte's control and a formal bid will be submitted on Friday.
Murray – who last night revealed to Herald Sport that Dave King, his former fellow director, is no longer involved in the Blue Knights – hopes to secure preferred bidder status from the administrators early next week. That would open the way for him to request a meeting with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to discuss a potential settlement figure should Rangers' tax liabilities rise from the current £15m to as much as £64m (if they lose the big tax case).
Motoring tycoon Douglas Park, fund manager John Bennett and property specialist Scott Murdoch have been identified as Murray's fellow Blue Knights so far. There are 10 in total and others will be named later this week. Murray also recognised the need to have iconic Rangers figures involved ahead of a planned share flotation and, if the bid is successful, he will have discussions with Smith and Greig about coming back. Smith left as manager last May while Greig, voted the club's greatest player, resigned as a director in October having claimed to have been frozen out of the decision-making process by Whyte.
"I want to involve a lot of people who have Rangers' interests at heart and two obvious examples would be Walter Smith and John Greig," said Murray. "I regard them both as friends, and I regard them both as icons of Rangers. I don't believe in having people on board just for the sake of it, but they can both contribute a lot to Rangers.
"It's great that Walter is supporting me, which I find quite humbling. If we are successful I would like to sit down with Walter to discuss how he can help the club."
It was widely believed that King and Murray were together in the consortium but that is no longer the case. King continues to face unresolved criminal charges from the South African tax authorities and the SFA would not approve him as a fit and proper person to be involved with a club, so he will continue to support Murray but play no further active role. The SFA have written to King after he contacted them last week seeking clarification on his position. Talks over the SFA's fit and proper conditions were held at Hampden yesterday and the SFA legal team were understood to be unconvinced over its enforceability.
"It's critical that there is complete transparency in this after everything that's happened," said Murray, pictured below. "Until he has resolved his South African tax issues, for Dave to be involved would be very difficult. We're moving into a different era now and I think Dave recognises that. It's great that he is supportive of the whole thing, which he is, but at the moment I'm moving forward on the basis that Dave is not involved. If he can resolve his issues and any issues with the SFA then I would be happy to speak to him; he's a guy I have a lot of respect for."
It has been claimed that Murray himself may not meet the SFA's fit and proper standards – which would prevent him returning as a director or club official – because he had served on the Rangers board within five years of the club going into administration. The wording of the SFA ruling is ambiguous, though, and senior figures at the governing body believe that Murray would be in the clear because Whyte removed him as a director nine months before its insolvency event.
Murray's view was that it would be absurd to implicate him in Whyte's regime. "My record is there for all to see. It's a matter of record that of all the directors at the club I was probably the most vocal against Craig Whyte. I think I've been pretty consistent from day one that his deal was not in the interests of the club. So I'd be pretty surprised if I was somehow accused of being part of his regime.
"If the Blue Knights succeed I would intend to be on the board. We've not sorted out who would do what but I would be an investor and I'd look to be heavily involved.
"We will put our proposal in on Friday and there will be time where they [Duff & Phelps] look at the merits of all the proposals. I think I read he [joint administrator Paul Clark] said he had seven interested parties. That's too many to take through to the next stage, but if he has a shortlist of two or three then it gets into a more serious level of due diligence.
"I obviously believe that we have the club's best interests at heart and I want to be successful. But if someone steps in who has deeper pockets and is the right person then, speaking first of all as a Rangers supporter, I would step aside tomorrow."