Another beautiful morning…
… with packing for Nashville…
21.26 A good day with Visiting Pal & various future plans for Soundscapes.
And more news on my growing interest in Scottish rugby…
Last updated: 15-Jul-06 00:37 BST
The brothers in arms
Sun 16 Jul 2006
THEY arrived in Scottish rugby like Robert the Bruce’s "common folk" coming to the rescue in the nick of time at Bannockburn. The mysterious Carruthers brothers from Fife appeared on the scene last weekend and pulled off the most audacious coup in recent Scottish sporting history by buying Edinburgh Gunners.
It was welcome news for Scottish rugby’s professionals, but it might also be very good news for fans of legendary rock band Uriah Heep... don’t worry, all will be explained.
Last Monday, Alex and Bob Carruthers were revealed as the new owners of Edinburgh Rugby Ltd.
As often happens with entrepreneurs moving into a new scene, the question went up "the brothers who?"
Over the past week, Bob, the principal shareholder, who is based in England, allowed Alex to do much of the day-to-day running of the company, such as recruiting old school chum Graeme Stirling as managing director of Edinburgh Rugby Ltd.
Former schoolboy international Alex was already very well known in Scottish rugby circles, but it is the man who pays the piper who calls the tune, and that is why Scottish rugby could be relieved that Alex’s elder brother Bob is the man with the moneybags. And "piper" is quite appropriate - the multi-talented Carruthers senior plays the bagpipes.
Some people have openly doubted whether he can finance this operation. Scotland on Sunday can dispel that notion now because, apart from the unnamed foreign investor said to be backing them, Bob Carruthers himself became a millionaire - several times over, say some sources - when his film and video company, Cromwell Productions, became part of the giant Eagle Rock conglomerate a few years ago.
He has since moved into the music business and is said to be making a second fortune with Classic Rock Productions, which specialises in re-packaging some of the best known rock bands from the 1970s and 80s.
With a background in marketing, Carruthers is described by one former colleague as "a genius who could sell soap that doesn’t wash". The Fifer first entered showbusiness at Central Television, where he was in charge of making the studio’s facilities more profitable by promoting them to film and video producers.
It was there in 1989 that he met his heroes, the rock band Uriah Heep, and a party ensued. On their website, Carruthers admits: "My own memories are hazy, but those of you who were there will, I hope, agree we had a terrific evening. I think."
At Central, Carruthers formed close links with many independent production companies and later decided to join their ranks himself… Bob Cuddihy, a public relations guru who knew Carruthers at that time, said: "He was a class act, a hard-working, straight-talking guy who, along with Dave McWhinnie, actually produced films instead of sitting around talking about making them."
The feature films apart, Cromwell Productions built up a massive reputation as a producer of history programmes, especially military history. The timing was excellent - the massive demand from satellite and cable channels propelled Cromwell into the big time, and it’s a fair bet that viewers of the Discovery or History Channel will have seen many a Carruthers programme over the years. Indeed, they may well have seen the man himself on screen, usually billed as a history consultant or expert…
Married with three daughters and settled in England, it is nevertheless likely that Bob Carruthers will take a more hands-on approach in months to come. His visits to Edinburgh may well give him the chance to see another of his loves, Hearts FC.
And undoubtedly his music business contacts will mean top concerts coming to Murrayfield, as part of the Edinburgh deal makes him the SRU’s official concert promoter and partner.
Carruthers lists his musical tastes as ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Jethro Tull, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple "and all the usual suspects from the golden era of British rock".
But of all those bands, the still-performing Uriah Heep is Bob Carruthers’ favourite. So expect to hear those 1970s classics Easy Livin’ and The Wizard over the Murrayfield PA.
Add your comment
1. Ian / 12:40pm 17 Jul 2006
I am fascinated by the description of the multi-faceted Bob Carruthers. I thought I was alone in being a fan of Uriah Heep (the early albums anyway) and Scottish rugby! And Murrayfield certainly needs a Wizard to jolly things along...Great news anyway, because pro rugby sometimes can seem a bit one-dimensional. The man is clearly quite a character...
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