I’ve written about Donald Findlay a couple of times over the years, from the moment he was thrown off the Rangers board for his sectarian karaoke to the moment when, as Cowdenbeith chairman, he voted to put Sevco in the Third Division of Scottish football.
He is a fascinating character, whatever your personal views on him. Without a doubt, he is one of the most intelligent men in the country.
His presence at the very top of the legal profession should tell you that on its own, but if you’ve ever heard him speak in an interview (and I once heard him give a lecture of sorts) you’ll know his courtroom skills are just the half of it.
In fact, so off-the-charts smart is Findlay that it makes you wonder how the “sectarian karaoke” moment ever happened. This is an enlightened guy, a fearsome intellect, not someone easily seduced by the mindlessness of prejudice or bigotry, which isn’t to say I feel sorry for him or that you should. On that famous piece of footage he’s clearly doing more than playing to the gallery and I remember thinking at the time that it simply had to have ended his engagement with public life.
Yet it didn’t.
He survived, none the worse for it.
Some said it proved that Scotland was institutionally sectarian, and they may even have been right.
Yet his continuing in the profession has thrown up an incredible possibility; that it might be Findlay himself who closes the book on the David Murray era at Ibrox, by exposing that man for everything he did, and was responsible for.
When I heard that he was to defend Craig Whyte in his coming trial I was extremely excited. I pondered over who had approached who; it’s an intriguing question, don’t you think? Did Findlay seek out his client, or did Whyte ask him? Either way, both men are acutely aware of the potential in their relationship. Murray, who both know in different (but similar) ways, is shaping up to be the key prosecution witness in that case and that these two men have come together in an effort to defeat his testimony is, I think, deadly.
Everyone in the upper echelons at Ibrox would be right to be fearful at the moment; it’s inconceivable to me that Whyte isn’t telling his lawyer everything and part of that will be filling his legal team in on the roles played by men like King in everything that went on. He was on the Rangers board that approved Whyte’s purchase of the club. For him to claim zero knowledge of what the Motherwell Born Billionaire was up to simply won’t fly and Findlay can establish that as fact.
And he pretty much has to; one of the charges Whyte’s facing relates to conspiracy in regards to when he knew the club was going to enter administration; as I’ve repeatedly said, if certain documents and stories are to be believed (and I believe them all) then Whyte knew the club was going to the wall right from the start, and for months they were effectively trading as insolvent. Yet it stretches credibility to the snapping point to suggest there weren’t a phalanx of others who knew exactly what he was doing. Hell, most of the bloggers did.
Some of the guilty were on Scottish football’s governing bodies, of course, so they ought to be just as concerned about what Whyte’s legal strategy will be as anyone, but Murray will be the one most worried as he definitely has the most to lose.
The game in this country might not have a genuine title race this season – although Hearts and Aberdeen may surprise us all yet and Celtic’s European encounters could catch up with us – but there are no shortage of interesting stories out there, and interesting contests coming up. This might be the most intriguing by far.
Craig Whyte still has the ability to drive a wrecking ball through the “official history” of these events. For years now Murray and others have been hiding behind the idea that it was Whyte and Whyte alone who destroyed Rangers.
This is light years from the truth but it’s a story the SFA, the SPFL, King and others are invested in because they have to be.
This alliance will blow the narrative all to Hell and gone.
It will expose the role of Murray in all this and through him the role of King. It will destroy the SFA’s already shattered credibility.
The confluence of circumstances which has brought Whyte and Findlay together have created the conditions for one almighty explosion and I think it’s going to be one Hell of a show.