Murray Park? G51? Really?
- 08 February 2013
Sometimes I think that Charles Green believes the Rangers support came up the Clyde in a banana boat.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire Charles to an extent, after all less than 8 months ago between five and ten thousand Bears assembled in Edmiston Drive to listen to John Brown calling for his exit. However Charles turned it around and got ordinary Rangers punters to put their hard earned cash into the Club.
He does, on the other hand, love a half truth, a convenient truth and seems to suffer terribly from forgetfulness. After the debacle of Craig Whyte we need someone who is squeaky clean and, most importantly of all, a man of his word.
It’s a very small point but an important one: did he lie to you and me to sell season tickets? If he did, what other lies has he told you?
I refer to the promised renaming of Murray Park. He promised this in a meeting with the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund on the 5th June 2012 and it was widely reported in the press the next day.
Charles said: ‘One idea I put forward is my plan to rename Murray Park. Following discussions with the supporters, we will be asking season ticket holders to vote on whether to rename Murray Park, either the Moses McNeil Academy or the Davie Cooper Academy. We will be asking the supporters to vote when they renew their season tickets.’
He was as good as his word at season ticket renewal time, a voting form duly popped through my letter box along with the ticket application form.
After debating whether to renew or not, I was the original Charles Green sceptic, I eventually filled out the season ticket form and voting form and sent it back to Ibrox.
So when was the grand renaming of Murray Park? When were relatives of Moses McNeil or Davie Cooper invited to Auchenhowie to unveil a plaque honouring their relative?
Now it’s a small point but a hugely important one: did Green use the names of Davie Cooper and Moses McNeil with the single intention of selling enough season tickets to keep the Club going until he cashed in on his hugely successful share offering?
We are now told, following a meeting with the Dubai Bears, that he will only change the name of Murray Park if a sponsor can be found.
I wonder if the name Davie Cooper was chosen by the fans, would the relatives of Davie be comfortable with his name being associated with a particular commercial organisation other than Rangers? Would they have a say? Would the Davie Cooper Centre benefit from such an association?
Mr Green has gone back on his promise to Rangers fans on this, what else was it but the smoke and mirrors normally reserved by the master of flim flam David Murray or (is he not in jail yet) Craig Whyte?
The G51 project, really? I have already been shot down by one Rangers fan about this who said ‘that’s why they make millions from property deals and you don’t.’ But having worked in property for the best part of twenty years, my credentials speak for themselves.
In order for any major property development application to work, a planning department often asks for a public amenity to be included in the scheme. For example the underpass at Gogarburn in Edinburgh was put in to allow the RBS development (Fred Goodwin’s House of Cards) to be built there.
In the case of the G51 project, a cancer hospital could be the public amenity and release land round and about for other uses. However, a hospital that would be built slap bang next to a football stadium that would be almost inaccessible every other Saturday and often midweek as well?
In 1994 the last private hospital to be built in Scotland was finished. The HCI hospital in Clydebank and was an unmitigated financial disaster.
It cost £185m to build (mind you they did get a hotel that nobody used thrown in as well for the price) and was meant to attract wealthy foreigners. It closed in 2002 with a debt of £82m. Thankfully it is now being used by the NHS and rebranded as the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and is a centre of excellence for treating coronary problems.
That is only one part of the proposed G51 project but the rest of it is pretty much pie in the sky as well. We are going through the biggest shake up of the commercial property market in Glasgow since the stock market crash on the 19th October 1987, Black Monday, but in reverse. Values of property around and in Glasgow steadily rose on the back of Black Monday, property was a completely safe bet. Cheap money, readily available from banks, property values were only going one way.
The worm has definitely turned and in areas such as G51 the values have tumbled faster than Larsson diving for a free kick. There is absolutely no end in sight for prime property in Glasgow such as Buchanan Street or Byres Road but dear old Govan?
If anything of the commercial property variety is selling in Glasgow, be it land, retail or office, in prime locations it commands discounts off the original purchase price of about 25%. That is for the best position in town, make Govan an offer and they’d bite your hand off.
Why? It is quite simple supply and demand economics: over supply of stock in Govan and absolutely no demand. Ah but Green can snap it up cheap and sell it on when the market recovers I hear you say-if you’re still awake. There is not, has not and never will be a massive demand for new retail, housing or even cancer hospitals in Govan. I’m sorry to shatter everyone’s illusion but Govan just ain’t Canary Wharf and even the fantasy of an Ibrox railway station isn’t going to change that either.
Why does Charles continue with these tactics when they serve no credible purpose? Why does he also hold these absurd supporters meetings if he doesn’t believe or plan to do what he says in these meetings? Why does he need to keep selling the pot of gold to the fans? We’d all be content with an eminently sensible business and football plan, incorporating the real desire to have the finest youth system in Europe, a conveyor belt of players sold to other Clubs after a few seasons of adding to the glory that is our Club.
Mr Green, you seem to be a very capable Chief Executive, but lying to the fans simply does you no good. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently put it: ‘the liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.’
Graham McLaren is older than Davie Weir and despite other’s opinions has some experience in property. Follow him on Twitter @gazborangers never interesting, but quite good to laugh at.