Charles Green, the bluff Yorkshireman ?¨from central casting, joined the ranks yet again of those who have been banished from the drama on the south side but a more significant character now has a leading role ?¨in what will happen at Ibrox.
The name of Paul Murray was absent from a Rangers statement ?¨in the wake of the dismissal of Green as a consultant but it does ?¨not require the combined skills of Interpol to deduce that he forms a block to any immediate resolution ?¨to the boardroom problems.
To summarise the plot so far, ?¨if somewhat crudely: there is a ?¨move from outside the boardroom ?¨to remove Brian Stockbridge, ?¨Craig Mather and Bryan Smart and replace them with Frank Blin and Murray. A club statement last night read: "This board has been working tirelessly to find an intelligent solution to the request for a general meeting and all of the directors are open to sensible and reasonable additions. For instance, the board are not against Frank Blin becoming a director but do have reservations about other proposals.''
When it comes to Murray, some ?¨on the board have more reservations than the Apaches. There was a feeling of relief that Green had gone, a belief among his opponents that ?¨a metaphorical stake had finally been placed through the heart of ?¨the significant shareholder, but there was also an anxiety about his almost diabolical powers of recovery.
The most pressing difficulty ?¨for Rangers, however, centres on Murray. The opposition group could make a compromise by suggesting Blin, former executive chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers Scotland, is joined on the board by A.N Other. Jim McColl, part of the outside group, would not consider such a role but the more intriguing aspect is the willingness or otherwise of Murray to relinquish his attempt to join a board that needs stability.
The indications last night were surprising concrete given the fluidity of events at Ibrox. First, it seems there exists a strong aversion to bringing in Murray from among existing board members. Second, there was no sign of Murray issuing any sort of statement saying he would fall on his sword to facilitate peace, at least for the present.
The objections are believed to ?¨be both personal and on matters ?¨of business. The accountant was part of the board before Craig Whyte bought the club and is seen by some as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. One City source said: "Murray had his chance to influence matters when he was on the board and then had his chance with the Blue Knights. There is no mood among some on the board to bring him back into the fold.''
The private concerns are shrouded in claim and counter claim. The Rangers story has been extraordinarily messy with dirt thrown in all directions. Information has leaked steadily. Murray, rightly or wrongly, has been suspected as one of those who have used media outlets to his advantage. If true, he would stand in a crowded dock as ?¨the briefings have come from almost every source, every faction.
However, the fog of war has cleared just a little over Ibrox. ?¨Green has been sacked, disposed of by an increasingly frustrated and determined Mather. There is now ?¨an opportunity for compromise and even, heaven forfend, resolution of the boardroom struggle. This could come in a variety of forms. Two options are most likely. The first is Murray stands down and the McColl group is allowed to bring in Blin ?¨and an unspecified ally. The second is that Murray, backed by McColl, stands his ground and maintains ?¨his attempt to come on to the board. This eventuality would be fast-tracked by the approval of a vote at the extraordinary general meeting.
The crux of the matter is this: ?¨if the McColl group is sure of the support of a group of shareholders, it will feel it has no need to sacrifice the candidature of Murray. McColl and his cohorts will flex their muscle and the Blue Room will undergo yet another change of cast. Mather, it must be presumed, would not wait ?¨to be pushed and Stockbridge and Smart would face a limited future.
There are a couple of possible twists, of course. This is a Rangers story, after all. The first is Murray could step aside temporarily, peace could break out and he could then ?¨be brought on board at a later stage. The second is that the present board finds enough support to win any vote. There is also the possibility of hearing the less than dulcet tones ?¨of Green joining the increasingly raucous debate. He may be gone but no one will be surprised at another scene-stealing interruption from ?¨the former chief executive.
However, the narrative is now about Murray. Will he walk away ?¨or will he pursue his ambition to ?¨be on the board?
History suggests ?¨it be latter option. The arithmetic will decide whether the erstwhile Blue Knight finally lands his prize.