Is Murray Park a Waste of Money?

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Conceived in 1998 when Dick
Advocaat took charge of Rangers, Murray
Park has been a
controversial asset to the Ibrox Club.
At its best it is considered one
of the world’s finest training centres, with some of the best facilities at the
disposal of any club around, never mind one in the Scottish Championship. It
has also been known to attract players the Club might otherwise have failed to
lure. Their words of wonder when they have been courted around the features it
boasts show what a carrot it is.
At its worst, however, it is
considered a massive resource hog that the Club cannot afford to run at the
present time, while many claims are misleadingly made about the ‘youth’ it
produces which are sadly false given this is a youth academy in name only.
Indeed, the most successful youth
Rangers have produced in the past 20 years, Barry Ferguson, came through before
Murray Park even existed. Since then there has
been a number of quality young players sold on at profit, such as Hutton, Adam,
Wilson etc, but these players were from the Club’s youth ranks, not from any systematic Murray Park
Academy.
Rangers do not truly have an
academy. The Club’s official website markets Murray Park
as one but the stark reality is Rangers do not regularly produce youth, let
alone youth good enough to play for the senior team. Yes, there is supposedly a
vague system in place but the events of September 1st 2014 showed
just how seriously that system is taken by manager Ally McCoist.
On transfer deadline day almost
every good young player Rangers have was loaned out to the likes of Clyde, Raith Rovers & Stranraer. Barrie McKay, Calum
Gallagher & Robbie Crawford to name just three find themselves surplus to
requirements at Ibrox and now plying their trade at small clubs, with just
Fraser Aird, Lewis Macleod and forgotten man Kyle McAusland resisting the cull
and remaining on Rangers’ roster.
This massive outgoing does beg
the question of Murray
Park’s future. It is a
supposed academy, as previously mentioned, yet only Aird and Macleod were
actually produced by the Club’s academy. So of 10 young players previously on
Rangers books, many of whom impressed greatly when they got the chance, such as
McKay, McAusland & Gallagher, only two truly reared by the club are
actually in the picture of the first team.
The scare stories about Murray
Park’s future have rumbled for some considerable time, with the Club’s finances
beyond restricted, and one cannot help but wonder if this loaning out of all
the young players is a message that Murray Park’s days are numbered.
Expensive to maintain, and it
famously recently aided Celtic when their future goalkeeper, Craig Gordon, was
able to recently use the facilities free of charge which essentially brought
him back to fitness and has now assisted the Parkhead side to the tune of £10M,
the fee they got for recently-departed Forster.
Murray Park
is increasingly becoming the elephant in the room Rangers fans cannot decide
on. We remain proud of having such a top-class facility for our players, but it
is at a cost and one we appear to be struggling to sustain.
Added to this the virtual
abandonment of the youth program and it forces real worries as to whether
Rangers will still have Murray
Park in the years to
come.
Many have argued that if these
young players were good enough, they would make it. And to prove their point
they point to Aird and Macleod. The problem with this is many of these
now-departed players have proven
themselves good enough – McKay was a revelation two seasons ago till he simply
got ditched, while McAusland showed plenty during July & August 2013 to
show he could cope with being Rangers’ right back. And Gallagher impressed
hugely in his few brief appearances at the end of last season.
And yet, every one of these
players is now at another club, McAusland aside. His status is a mystery given
he never features on match day nor has he been loaned out. But this is academic
– McCoist has shown time and time again he does not trust young players, and
would rather play Darren McGregor out of position at RB than give young Seb
Faure or aforementioned McAusland a crack.
It begs the question of why the
Club has a youth program at all.

5 COMMENTS

  1. While McCoist is manager, Murray Park is pointless as is any likelihood of Rangers winning the Scottish Premier Division in the foreseeable future.

  2. I am a season ticket holder (2 off) for many years , a shareholder , and am perplexed as you . What is the point of providing such a facility , with a purpose or rearing and developing talent for the first team when the club doesn't have a policy for the constituency of the first team; there should be a firm guideline to the coaches that the first team must play a certain number of a certain age; otherwise the coaches/ management will not take the risk. The Directors of the Club, with football and commercial , must insist of this policy – is easy , it what People/ the Supporters want , so why is it ignored? I don't understand – it is so obvious to me and lots of others.

  3. I agree , I have , since Ally has taken over the mantle of the manager, been so disappointed. it has been so disappointing in the style of football, and at the start of the season "do I want to go thru this again" ? I suppose the Club is so strapped for cash they can't afford off the pay off he would demand ( I bet his pay off in the contract is linked to the full £800k , not the level he cut it to ) though if they were checking the market that pay off would be cheap compared to what the right manager would bring in additional interest/ support interest/ money. Why can't they see that reasoning? They must have become so risk adverse that that they have reach a hiatus! "Wait and see what happens next ! " OMG what a pathetic lot! Signed CB – for anonymous 21.25

  4. All the McCoist haters are out in force right now and they are not helping the mood. I wouldn't be surprised if some them weren't Timposters.
    He never lost a league game last year, and you lot were still calling for his head.
    Call me a cynic, but I can't imagine you lot having the patience to lose seven or eight times in a season, which would undoubtedly happen if we were to play four or five youngsters every game.
    If you manage Rangers you are only two games away from the bullet anyway, so be realistic for the guy for goodness sake.
    His remit is pull the club through this nightmare unscathed, and with dignity. We have two million fans and are undoubtedly a broad church of differing opinions. Even when we fielded a forty million pound side under Advacaat, which was arguably our best ever, there were still people moaning.
    This is the time to stick together. If you don't answer the call and get behind your team when it needs you, just go away, and stay away.
    Leave the Rangers to real Rangers fans.
    Because we are the people.

  5. If the naming rights to Ibrox are only worth one pound I'd say Murray Park must only be worth a couple of quid at the most. For something valued at such a low price I think Murray park has been a bargain.
    Also if you compare the cost of Murray park to the 70 million squandered by this and previous boards over the last 2 years I think the return has been pretty good. At least we got a couple of quid for players that came through MP and it still has the potential to give something back. We got exactly hee haw for the 70 million.

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