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<-Page <-Team Sat 26 Nov 2005 Motherwell 1 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Graham Rix <-auth Stephen Halliday auth-> Iain Brines
[B McLean 40]
7 of 025 Paul Hartley pen 90 L SPL A

Ogilvie relishing his new challenge at Hearts

Stephen Halliday

WHEN Campbell Ogilvie reluctantly severed his ties with Rangers in September after 27 years of sterling service to the Ibrox club, it was never likely that one of British football's most experienced and able administrators would be out of work for too long.

Ogilvie will join Hearts as general secretary and operations director on 5 December, yet another change in top level personnel at Tynecastle, but at last one which is sure to be greeted with only positive headlines.

A calm and measured individual who is widely respected in the game, both in Scotland and beyond these shores, Ogilvie will provide Hearts with a credible and influential voice within the corridors of power.

While Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov is still looking for a new chief executive to replace Phil Anderton, a club spokesman last night said that securing Ogilvie's services made that search "less pressing".

Since his exit from Rangers two months ago in a bloodless coup which saw chief executive Martin Bain strengthen his position at the administrative helm at Ibrox, Ogilvie had been operating from an office at Hampden provided by the SFA for whom he is an unpaid vice-president. He will retain that position, and those on several powerful SFA committees, but will obviously relinquish his non-executive directorship and consultancy role with Rangers.

"I am delighted at my appointment," said Ogilvie. "Hearts is a great club with a very proud tradition and it was clear to me that it is a club in the ascendancy. I will endeavour to build on the progress that has been made in recent times. I am relishing the new challenge and look forward to continuing my good relationship with Rangers and all the other SPL clubs through my new role."

Ogilvie's career in football administration began at the Scottish Football League, where he worked for eight years before being head-hunted by Rangers in 1978 by then managing director Willie Waddell to become secretary at Ibrox. In almost three decades with Rangers, Ogilvie was a central if seldom publicly visible figure during dramatic times.

He told The Scotsman: "I was sorry to leave Rangers, but I was fortunate to be there 27 years through a lot more good times than bad times. There were certainly a lot of interesting times.

"When I first joined under Willie Waddell, who was a great influence on me, I was heavily involved in the construction of the new stadium. The club was ahead of its time there, maybe for the wrong reasons in some ways because of the Ibrox disaster, but we were very proactive in that sense.

"That dominated the first three years I spent at Rangers and we hit a spell after that when results were not going well. I remember one game when there were only 9,000 fans at Ibrox. The average gate at that time was only around 19,000. I came to the club three months after they had won the league in '78, and I was starting to get a complex because it was so long until they won it again. People talk about nine in a row, but I can tell them about nine years in a row at Ibrox without winning the league."

The barren spell ended in 1987, the first season under the player-management of Graeme Souness. Yet it was 20 years ago this month that the Ibrox revolution, which changed both Rangers and the rest of Scottish football, really began. In November 1985, David Holmes was appointed to the Rangers board by Lawrence Marlbrough, the Nevada-based businessman who bought a controlling interest in the club.

With perhaps some parallels to Vladimir Romanov at Hearts now, Holmes cut an unflinching path through all the old certainties of Scottish football to transform Rangers as a club.

"He was a very dynamic character, a hard-nosed businessman, and his approach was very new to football back then," recalls Ogilvie.

"When I was clearing out my desk at Ibrox before I left recently, I found an old salary schedule. I would never reveal players' individual salaries but in general terms, at the time David Holmes came in, we had a standard wage structure and the top weekly wage was £300. The first thing he did 20 years ago was abolish that wage structure. He then went out and recruited Graeme Souness.

"It was a very well-kept secret. Even at the press conference itself, people were taken aback. I remember the looks of astonishment when I read the statement out in the Blue Room that day. We knew around three weeks before then that Graeme would be coming and we knew there were exciting times ahead. I don't think we appreciated just how exciting they would be.

"The standard of players who came to Rangers under Graeme was incredible. If we are honest, we did get a lot of those players because English clubs were banned from Europe at the time. There were other factors, but that was a major one along with the improved wage structure and Graeme's standing in the game.

"My role at Rangers changed dramatically about two-and-a-half years ago when I stopped doing the day-to-day administration, but it was still a bit of a wrench when I did leave."

Ogilvie is now in a position to fully embrace the emergence of Hearts and Hibs to challenge the duopoly of Rangers and Celtic this season, and he believes there are healthier times ahead generally for Scottish clubs.

"There is a polarisation in most leagues throughout Europe, with fewer teams challenging at the top, but that has turned around in Scotland this year with Hearts and Hibs," he said. "We have more home developed players at most clubs and our UEFA co-efficient is not far short of having 50 per cent of the SPL playing in Europe. I would love to see that being established and then as many of our clubs as possible taking it on to the next level by staying in Europe beyond Christmas on a regular basis.

"That was probably the biggest disappointment of my time at Rangers, that the club didn't sustain European campaigns more often."

Roman Romanov, chairman and acting chief executive at Hearts, welcomed the arrival of Ogilvie.

"This is an excellent appointment for Hearts," said Romanov. "I am very happy Campbell has agreed to join us as it is clear he shares our ambition and belief. We can learn much from his professional experience both domestically and in Europe. He is a worthy addition to the club and we know he will contribute significantly to making Hearts a truly great club."

Taken from the Scotsman

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