Armageddon? What Armageddon?

ByBig Pink

Armageddon? What Armageddon?

Now that we are at the end of the league season, and with respect to the job still to be done at Tannadice and McDiarmid Park, it seems like a good time for a post holocaust report.

Average Weekly Attendances SPL 2011-2014

Fig 1 Average Weekly Attendances SPL 2011-2014

Peppered around this page are three charts and a table* showing the attendance figures for the SPL in the last three seasons. A school kid could tell you that there is a positive trend in those charts and figures, but the people who run our national sport will look you straight in the eye and tell you “that can’t be right – Armageddon is coming!”

It is one of the most ridiculous and mendacious situations I have ever come across. The people who run our national game, aided and abetted by those in the MSM (sans the eye contact though) are actually trying to persuade us of how awful our game is and how unsustainable it will be in the absence of one, just one, club.

Think about that. The SFA and the SPFL trying to talk us out of supporting the game unless we all recognise the unique importance of one, just one, club. That is what has happened, no matter how they try to spin it. And despite evidence to the contrary contained in these figures, not one of them has admitted to an error, never mind the downright lies that they told to support the position they held, the one where anyone speaking of sporting integrity was mocked and ridiculed.

 

Whilst growing up as football supporter in the 60s, one of things I was constantly bombarded with via the medium of the tabloid newspapers was that football clubs should be grateful for the publicity afforded them via their back pages. These were probably reasonable claims, especially in the light of the relative lack of access to players and officials conceded to the hacks in those days, and the pre-eminent cultural position in which they helped to place football. Alongside that, the broadcast media, particularly Archie Macpherson’s Sportscene and Arthur Montford’s Scotsport could be relied on to talk the game up. Of course, there was something in it for the papers – sales. The more column inches devoted to the national sport, the further northward their sales, and consequently advertising revenues travelled.

ex Celtic & Rangers

Fig 2 Avg. Attendances excl Celtic & Rangers

The situation was further cemented by the fact that the press in that ante-interweb era held a monopoly over the exchange and dissemination of information. That symbiotic, win-win relationship between football and the press was as much a part of football reality as the Hampden Roar. It also endured for decades. The press would talk up the game to such an extent that folk often remarked that they hadn’t realised how much they had enjoyed a particular match until they had read Malky Munro or Hughie Taylor’s report the next day. Archie Macpherson is on record as having said the same thing about legendary commentator David Francey, “It was a much better game to listen to than to see!”

Today that symbiosis is broken. The press themselves, in print and in front of microphones consistently belittle the product, talk of crises and Armageddon, of our own version of the Eisenhower domino effect of clubs going to the wall one after another.

Aided and abetted by the two chief bureaucrats in charge of Scottish football, Stuart Regan and Neil Doncaster, who have consistently helped to hammer home the message that Scottish football is not good enough, and cannot sustain itself financially without Rangers, a club that could not itself sustain itself financially to the extent that it is being liquidated.

At a time when Scottish football was clearly in crisis, and badly in need of sponsorship which could mitigate the effects of that crisis, the press and the authorities sought to strengthen their own negotiating hand by making negative claims about the state of the game which never came to pass, and for which they have never apologised. The actual situation, which would not have been hard to predict had anyone actually bothered to analyse the business of Scottish football, is summarised quite easily by saying this;

  1. Since Rangers’ liquidation and subsequent absence from the top league, the average home attendance of the other clubs has INCREASED overall (See Fig 2).
  2. In this season, the other clubs have added 50,000 fans to home attendances compared to 2011-12 (the last year Rangers were in competition).
  3. In that time the league has been won (twice) by Celtic, and the other honours have been claimed by St, Mirren, Aberdeen, Celtic and (either) Dundee United or St Johnstone.
  4. In that time, both Dunfermline Athletic and Hearts (who both had historical financial problems) entered – and exited – administration after fan-led buyouts.
  5. Dundee United have cleared off their bank debt.
  6. Kilmarnock have restructured their bank debt, freeing the club from a precarious long-term situation.
  7. League reconstruction has allowed some money to trickle down to the second tier clubs in an attempt to mitigate the immediate effects of relegation and to reward ambitious clubs.

table

Looking at the table of attendances above, it is pretty clear that immediately upon Rangers exit, the overall figures took a dip. However there was little difference the in the figures if you leave Rangers out of the equation (Fig 3) – despite Celtic’s attendance taking a hit that year (down by around 5,000 per home match).

Taking Celtic out of the calculations, it is clear that there is a 6,000 uplift in this average (Fig 2).

It is still undeniable that less people overall are watching football (Fig 1), but the trend is upward if one leaves the Ibrox club out of the picture.

Furthermore, this statistic exposes the double edged sword that is retention of home gates. The fact that gates are not shared is predicated upon the notion that the bigger clubs do not depend on the smaller clubs for income. And since the smaller clubs are no longer recipients of big club largesse, their fortunes are not affected, at least not as much as was suggested by the Regans, Doncasters and Traynors of this parish. The “Trickle-Down” theory of Reganomics said otherwise – but clearly and demonstrably it was wrong.

The abandonment of gate sharing has made Scottish football less interdependent than it once was, but the irony is that it works both ways. There is hardly a club in the country that depends on Rangers for their own existence, and here is the news; small clubs are no longer financially dependent on the former Old Firm.

Excluding Celtic

Fig 3 Excluding Celtic

The fact, that is F-A-C-T, is that Scottish Football attendances in the top division are on the increase. The absence of Rangers has made no appreciably negative difference to any other club, far less caused a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

Even if the fools who were the harbingers of our doom were simply guilty of making an honest mistake, it is clear that they are uncontaminated with the slightest notion of how the game in this country operates. The Old Firm may be dead, but the OF prism is still being peered through by Stuart Regan, Neil Doncaster and the vast majority of print journalists. The latter who failed to honour that age-old football/press symbiosis because they believed, erroneously that David Murray’s dinner table was the hand that has fed them for over a century.

The irony is that as job opportunities diminish in the print sector, so too will the fine dining and patronage. I think they call that evolution.

 

Two years ago, in the wake of the fans’ season ticket revolt which saw the new Rangers forced to apply for membership of the league and begin at the bottom, those same MSM hacks taunted fans about putting their money where their mouths were. The fans responded splendidly as our statistics demonstrate, but typically there has been no recognition of this either at Hampden or in the media.

And the message from those fans is this: Scottish football is not dying. Not any more. At least not as surely as it was when David Murray started to choke the life out of it in the late 80s. The supporters are returning in numbers to see a competition untainted by the outrageous liberty-taking and rule-breaking of the last couple of decades, and all but one club has emerged from the mire of the Moonbeam Millennium looking forward to a new era.

If authorities allow the new era to thrive by restoring sporting integrity to the agenda, then the numbers, like the opportunities available to more and more clubs, will grow. The question is … will they?

Admittedly, these figures, like any set of statistics, can be cherry-picked to suit almost any argument that you care to construct. The fact remains though, that whilst it would be fanciful and ridiculously over-optimistic to claim that they bear witness to a burgeoning industry, it is utterly dishonest to conclude that they represent financial Armageddon. Armageddon? Aye right!

* Source ESPN          

About the author

Big Pink administrator

Big Pink is John Cole; a former schoolteacher based in the West of Scotland, He is also a print and broadcast journalist who is engaged in the running of SFM . Former gigs include Newstalk 106, the Celtic View, and Channel67. A Celtic fan, he is also the voice of our podcast initiative.

2,810 Comments so far

parttimearabPosted on9:59 am - May 16, 2014


Taysider says:
May 16, 2014 at 9:49 am
“a reminder of one of the most important developments in Scottish Football in recent years, a growing realisation of the power of the fans.”
——————————————————
Regardless of whether the current ST boycott at Ibrox is the correct way for Rangers fans to deal with their on going crisis at the very least they will realise the power they have to influence their club at boardroom level and however the current scenario plays out I don’t think they’ll forget it.
For a club whose fans had (imo) an unusually deferential attitude to those in power this represents a potentially significant cultural change.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on10:02 am - May 16, 2014


Smugas says:
May 16, 2014 at 9:45 am

Eco

Excellent summation on armageddon to which I would only add that it remains a large weeping sore, that we (most of us anyway) believe that our clubs were in some way complicit, possibly in the cover up pre 2012, certainly in the stramash in summer 2012 and potentially remain to be so.
=====================
Totally agree with your addition and I accept Celtic could have done more but whether it should have I am still undecided about. Not because to do more is the absolute correct thing to do morally but because the motive for any move by Celtic can easily be misinterpreted by those of ill-will and used in a way to create even deeper bitter division.

And when I refer to those of ‘ill-will’ I don’t refer to ordinary Bears but rather those walking the corridors of power and pulling the strings.

View Comment

occamPosted on10:17 am - May 16, 2014


Spence, Cosgrove and Cowan entertained in Perth last night. Jimboy didn’t mess around when calling out those who had forecast (hoped..) that ticket uptake for the final would be poor .. ‘get it right up ye’ says he! Then went on to comment about the fact that for most people, the old f no longer exist. Hope the Final is a great day for all the fans and both teams.

Football needs more like Jim Spence!

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on10:31 am - May 16, 2014


Wottpi

Absolutely. My lot get average crowds of 4500. Stadium capacity about 8000. We are serial finishers in the bottom six in the top division. Not much scope for massive influx of cash there (but likely would be on TV I suppose). Better to finish one place further up the league.

View Comment

neepheidPosted on11:09 am - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 10:02 am
.
I accept Celtic could have done more but whether it should have I am still undecided about. Not because to do more is the absolute correct thing to do morally but because the motive for any move by Celtic can easily be misinterpreted by those of ill-will and used in a way to create even deeper bitter division.
==========================
As an absolute minimum, Celtic could and should have blocked the re-election of Mr C Ogilvie as President of the SFA at last year’s AGM, An alternative candidate should have been put in front of the member clubs, and the result of the vote made public, with each and every club stating openly its position for the benefit of their fans. That is what is called transparency, something I vaguely recall being promised oh so sincerely by Mr Regan at the time of his appointment.

If such a move towards an open and transparent system could have been “misinterpreted” by those of “ill will” in the corridors of power, then so be it. I’m struggling to see what kind of misinterpretation there could have been though, especially given that Mr Ogilvie is known to be in receipt of £90k at the behest of a member club.

If any member of the Celtic hierarchy ever turns up for a podcast interview, this is a matter that I would like to be raised. I want to hear the weasel words from their own mouths.

And by the way, I do know that Ogilvie is a thoroughly decent man. I have been told as much by several Scottish sports “journalists”, so it simply must be true. And Celtic clearly agree.

View Comment

Corrupt officialPosted on11:13 am - May 16, 2014


I just read this on continuingrandomthoughts from a bluenose.
Something to ponder for the guilty !

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5412612.stm

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on11:31 am - May 16, 2014


Neepheid

Can you or anyone point to the SFA rules that allows one club to block the election of an SFA President and under what conditions a club or even a number of club’s can invoke the blocking rules?

If such rules exist then Celtic can be asked why they did not make use of them.

If such rules do not exist is that really a bad thing?

It sounds like a be careful what you wish for thing to me.

However reading your post it strikes me that it would be beneficial if there was a “How Things Work” article explaining the inner workings at the SFA and indeed the SPFL , that would enlighten us all.

It might even be that in writing such an article if the source were either or both of the two authorities, everyone might find that rather than a coherent set of rules, we had uncovered in the current set the genetic DNA code that produced the duck billed platypus.

View Comment

SmugasPosted on11:37 am - May 16, 2014


My interpretation of the ST stand off is this.

GW – so Mr RFC lawyer, what we need you to do is provide a letter of undertaking that the fans can have the stadium and training ground

Lawyer – you mean a security?

GW – Jeez no, don’t be silly

Lawyer – Ah I get your drift, something a bit more flowery, pandering to the masses and all that. A cosmetic promise to do something sometime..

GW – Exactly.

Lawyer – Right I’ll need the deeds.

GW – Ah…………

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on11:44 am - May 16, 2014


Corrupt official says:
May 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

Something to ponder for the guilty !
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5412612.stm

The jury heard the club operated a shadowy system of parallel contracts and secret payments which enabled them to recruit the best players which they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

That rings a bell but it couldn’t have happened in Scottish Football or I’m sure I would have known about it.

Still I’m sure Boston has learnt their lesson that a bank of shredders is essential for a football club and that ‘Bryson’ should have been playing in defence as he is such a good sweeper under the carpet 😆

View Comment

AuldheidPosted on11:48 am - May 16, 2014


Corrupt Official

Funny you posting that. I have written to HMRC to find out if they ever approached the SFA or SPL about ebt payments and when.

I have tried the FOI route but suspect they will use the fact that whilst not mentioned in the enquiry itself the answer could be associated with an individual club/client.

Just in case I have asked which part of HMRC to contact re their policy on dealing with football authorities where it is clear the rules to prevent tax going unpaid are not fit for purpose.

Whilst it is standard policy for government not to get involved in matters of football governance, I think government nevertheless has a duty to the tax payer to ensure that when arrangements are simply not up to the task ( otherwise the taxpayer would not be short of £18m in unpaid tax possibly rising to £42m if UTT finds for HMRC not counting penalties.) then the football authorities are asked to account for their role in the tax loss.

View Comment

readceltPosted on12:04 pm - May 16, 2014


Auldheid says:
May 16, 2014 at 11:31 am
2 1 i
Rate This

Neepheid

Can you or anyone point to the SFA rules that allows one club to block the election of an SFA President and under what conditions a club or even a number of club’s can invoke the blocking rules?

If such rules exist then Celtic can be asked why they did not make use of them.

If such rules do not exist is that really a bad thing?

It sounds like a be careful what you wish for thing to me.

However reading your post it strikes me that it would be beneficial if there was a “How Things Work” article explaining the inner workings at the SFA and indeed the SPFL , that would enlighten us all.

It might even be that in writing such an article if the source were either or both of the two authorities, everyone might find that rather than a coherent set of rules, we had uncovered in the current set the genetic DNA code that produced the duck billed platypus.

————————————————————————

Further to that, it may have been your good self who pointed out that the criteria to qualify for election by an individual simply did not exist when CO was up for re-election.

4 years served in an equivalent post springs to mind but I’m sure someone will correct me on that with the specific details.

Hence all the headlines about changes to SFA rules in the press a few weeks back, specifically to counter this egregious position.

View Comment

Para HandyPosted on12:08 pm - May 16, 2014


Taysider says:
May 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

Within hours of PTFC’s original announcement a Thistle messageboard was alive with organising a fans response, petition and letters to the club on why season ticket holders would not renew.
==========================
The emails. letters and petition happened before the Club made the official announcement!

In what was a typical Firhill fiasco, the Club met with two fans who had championed the singing section immediately before Saturday’s match and told them it was happening and gave pretty lame reasons for it. This came out at the game and there was apparently songs sung against it and then the forum came alight immediately after. It was two days before the Club made any official announcement.

With this one decision, taken by the Club without even any fan consultation, they managed to lose any trust and credibility built up since the last shennanigans (and trust me, there have been plenty at Firhill: from Propco to shareholder conflicts of interest, Machiavellian oustings of directors, reneging of fans promises, it has all happened up in Maryhill).

Had the media ever taken an interest it could have had its own dedicated website!

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on12:26 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

“There are no Gods and precious few heroes” in this saga.

Sadly, it is quite apparent which side the old Premiership clubs were on, and, it was most definitely not the side of the Angels. All their repudiations have been, and continue to be, tarnished by this disgraceful episode.

View Comment

SmugasPosted on12:38 pm - May 16, 2014


Re the Evans/Boston article

It is interesting to note the liberal sprinklings of “shadowy,” “cheats” and “jailtime” in the report. Whilst the rest of it definitely has an aura of recognisable history about it those bits are definitely new additions!

View Comment

parttimearabPosted on12:42 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 9:52 am
I have never seen figutes for any club but I would think the non-renewal rate for ST holders must be pretty high in years 1 & 2 in any case and much higher than for established attenders.
————————
Rather helpfully the bears den has been running an ST renewal poll – not quite Ipsos/Mori I grant you but interesting nonetheless.
It currently stands at;
Renewed/renewing 58.69%
Not renewing due to board 17.09%
Not renewing for other reasons 8.26%
Undecied 15.95%
[Based on 351 responses]

I’d expect a significant number of non reviewers to “crack” before the season starts regardless of any change in the boards position, but factoring the pro board stance (by in large) of RM those in charge at Ibrox have some persuading to do.

View Comment

SmugasPosted on12:45 pm - May 16, 2014


Auldheid

There is a world of difference between throwing out press articles re “our sources tell us clubs are unhappy,” “clubs forced between rock and hard place” or even a sycophantic “I can see how CO got himself in this position” whilst continuing to do what they wished anyway (which, we assume, was to vote the contorted one back into power) and simply getting on with the vote and pretending that nothing had happened.

A massive world of difference even if the end result was the same, which it isn’t because now we’re all bitter, cynical and suspicous as F….

As I commented to Eco earlier, it is the (unnessecary) massive weeping open sore that I fear time will not heal over.

View Comment

Billy BoycePosted on12:48 pm - May 16, 2014


Unhappy bears are Tweeting this morning.

Retweeted by Bartin VidmarFF ‏@VidmarFF 20m

It follows that you can’t give a guarantee over a training ground if your big summer plan for generating funds was to sell it.

Retweeted by Bartin VidmarFF ‏@VidmarFF 33m

As matters stand, we won’t meet the May salaries. Source? A good one.

VidmarFF ‏@VidmarFF 14m @_siMan

I trust the source.

VidmarFF ‏@VidmarFF 47m

The Board are refusing to tell journos how many STs sold. This is painful, and it’s no fault of the fans.

Andy McKellar ‏@AMcKellar89 41m @VidmarFF

And if that’s even close to being true, what does that mean for June / July? Expand

VidmarFF ‏@VidmarFF 37m @AMcKellar89

Loans on MP?

View Comment

Billy BoycePosted on12:53 pm - May 16, 2014


Oh, and a couple of tweets from Phil …

Finding out just how “onerous” these contracts are. Some of them are for as long as 20 years. The retainers are a nice little earner

Oh…and the contracts are with the parent clumpany-RIFC. That is an important detail. Many of these contracts are virtually unbreakable…

View Comment

SmugasPosted on12:54 pm - May 16, 2014


Andy McKellor – the thinking man’s bear.

Vidmar FF (final comment) – depends on the lender?!?

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on12:57 pm - May 16, 2014


wottpi says:
May 16, 2014 at 9:52 am
==============================
Agree with you on the revenue streams. What amazes me is the number of media people who are now portraying the potential loss of Hibs to the top league as another disaster. For most games Hibs don’t take a huge travelling support so there’s no real loss there. Dundee Utd will benefit from from two games at home v Dundee and vice versa. Both Dundee teams will benefit from the large travelling support Aberdeen take to that city, and St Johnstone will also get a decent sized Dundee support twice, added to that of Dundee Utd.

The media’s attempts are now to somehow ignore meritocracy and promote the 2nd tier Scottish League as better simply because of the names of clubs who are, or might be playing in it. Yet the facts are those in the 2nd tier are there because they’re not good enough for the top tier. Why the media find that so hard to accept says much more about them than the league itself.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on1:10 pm - May 16, 2014


neepheid says:
May 16, 2014 at 11:09 am

If any member of the Celtic hierarchy ever turns up for a podcast interview, this is a matter that I would like
to be raised. I want to hear the weasel words from their own mouths.
=======================================================
Well I assume that it will be a long time before we have a member of the Celtic hierarchy on a podcast if they are to be insulted before they actually say anything. I actually think your comment is uncalled for and damaging to this blog.

Before I publicly condemn anyone for uttering ‘weasel words’ I actually like to hear what they have to say and if they feel unable to say anything then I would expect an explanation as to why that is. And there might be good or at least understandable reasons as in business some things have to remain confidential.

However IMO the Board of Celtic’s first legal duty is to its shareholders and its premier moral responsibility is to its fans. They don’t have the right to be sole judge and jury of how Scottish Football is governed and nor should they. And they have no more responsibility for it IMO than any other team.

I genuinely thought that the podcasts were a means of bringing fresh insights – from a variety of sources – to the blog and to provide a solid reputational foundation for TSFM with all football fans. I didn’t realise that they were to be used to pillory those stupid enough to agree to appear on the misapprehension they were adressing at least half-open minds.

Personally I think CO is a busted flush and no longer of any real importance – he’ll see out his days and be gone. I really believe it’s what we build and demand for the future that’s important. And no I forget nothing because if we did we would have learnt nothing from what has taken place and therefore be unable to create a better governance regime.

Would I like to see CO held accountable for any transgessions that he may be party to? Of course I would but a sense of perspective is required and for me trying to make Scottish Football a more level and fairer playing field is much more important than hounding yesterday’s man who is now largely irrelevant and IMO utterly discredited.

View Comment

Billy BoycePosted on1:14 pm - May 16, 2014


looks like Phil is trigger happy today

I am told that even an Administrator would struggle to find any legal means to break some of these contracts. #CleverBoyCharlie

These contracts-because of the retainers-represent a bleeding wound in RIFC that cannot be stopped. #HemorrhagingMoney

View Comment

JimBhoyPosted on1:20 pm - May 16, 2014


If Phil’s recent posts have any semblance of truth the last thing some of the larger more shady investors will want is administration. Their 20 yr onerous contracts would cease then.. Charles/Imran have done them up like a kipper.

I am beginning to think Waldo was handpicked to do a job of staving off admin. If things are as bad or worse than we expect now and for the future bound to crazy contracts then the correct course of action would have been admin as speculated a few weeks back prior to season end.

View Comment

Para HandyPosted on1:24 pm - May 16, 2014


Billy Boyce says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I am told that even an Administrator would struggle to find any legal means to break some of these contracts. #CleverBoyCharlie
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Can any of our resident insolvency experts explain how this is so? Does it make a pre-pack admin impossible so the only possible route is liquidation and another newco?

View Comment

pau1mart1nPosted on1:26 pm - May 16, 2014


“Finding out just how “onerous” these contracts are. Some of them are for as long as 20 years.”

jings, maybe Ally is there for 20 years !

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on1:39 pm - May 16, 2014


I have been looking at Phil’s tweets and if accurate – and I have absolutely no reason to think they aren’t – then eberything that has gone before is kindergarten stuff.

Unbreakable 20 year contracts – No wonder Wallace has never been able to identify where all the money has gone. I wonder how the fans supporting the Board and the supposed transparency of its 127 day repoirt feel now.

We have all looked at this on the basis that TRFCL was the ‘sick man’ in the Group. Now it looks as though RIFC is rotten at the core. Should AIM not have been told that 20 year unbreakable contracts are in place? Surely existing and potential investors have a right to know.

I saw an earlier tweey by Phil that the rights issue will probably be announced shortly. Why would any investor want to put cash into a company to see it disappear into the contracts that have been revealed.

The only investor IMO that would want to do that is one who had one of these contracts. If Wallace really is the honest broker that some still claim why doesn’t he name the people who have the contracts – don’t other investors have the right to know.

And surely the fans have the right to know as well before they throw their ST money into a bottomless pit which I can’t see lasting 20 years.

View Comment

andygraham.66Posted on1:47 pm - May 16, 2014


with each passing day its becoming more and more apparent that Lyle Langley, the Monorail salesman in The Simpsons, has got nothing on Charles Green’s ability to hoodwink

THE IMDB plot summary fits into this narrative rather well

After receiving a considerable donation of money, the people of Springfield decide what to spend it on. Enter Lyle Langley, a jocular salesman who gets Springfield hooked on a monorail system. After the monorail is up and running, and with Homer as the conductor, it’s time for the maiden voyage. Little do the people know they have just boarded a one-way train to Hell

View Comment

SmugasPosted on1:50 pm - May 16, 2014


andygraham.66 says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm
0 0 i
Rate This

with each passing day its becoming more and more apparent that Lyle Langley, the Monorail salesman in The Simpsons, has got nothing on Charles Green’s ability to hoodwink

THE IMDB plot summary fits into this narrative rather well

After receiving a considerable donation of money, the people of Springfield decide what to spend it on. Enter Lyle Langley, a jocular salesman who gets Springfield hooked on a monorail system. After the monorail is up and running, and with Homer as the conductor, it’s time for the maiden voyage. Little do the people know they have just boarded a one-way train to Hell
========================================

And on a completely unrelated subject – Have the edinburgh trams started yet?

View Comment

andygraham.66Posted on1:52 pm - May 16, 2014


Mr Burns has been hiding toxic waste throughout Springfield, but is finally caught in the act, and forced to pay a $3million fine.

More from the plot, its getting more and more like this saga the more i read down the page.

View Comment

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on1:53 pm - May 16, 2014


Re the Cup Final and comparison between 1997 and present day – I never understood why the absence of TRFC from the SPL/Premiership would have any effect on attendances in the Scottish Cup. They took part in the tournament along with every other eligible club. If the logic of the “Armageddonists” is to be followed surely the Scottish Cup be held as an example of how everything would be so much better with them in the top league?

Maybe they could have talked up the Scottish Cup as Scotland’s new premier competition they way they seem to be doing with the Championship next season.

Or is there merely a campaign to relentlessly talk down the whole of Scottish football until the media and Rangers fans (no discernible difference in their opinions to distinguish the two groups) get their way?

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on1:55 pm - May 16, 2014


I’ve been thinking about the ‘unbreakable’ nature of the contracts and I wonder if the that isn’t so much in the nature of the legality of the contract dicumentation. But could there be some kind of hold on the property.

I know that might seem ordinarly a daft thing to say that a supplier of services has an ‘onerous’ ‘unbreakable’ 20 year contract. However there is nothing ordinary about this freak-show so how else can this work? How can the contract be virtually ‘unbreakable’?

View Comment

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on2:02 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm
0 0 i
Rate This

I’ve been thinking about the ‘unbreakable’ nature of the contracts and I wonder if the that isn’t so much in the nature of the legality of the contract dicumentation. But could there be some kind of hold on the property.

I know that might seem ordinarly a daft thing to say that a supplier of services has an ‘onerous’ ‘unbreakable’ 20 year contract. However there is nothing ordinary about this freak-show so how else can this work? How can the contract be virtually ‘unbreakable’?
————————————————————–

Is there such a thing as a ‘breakable’ contract?
How do you legally ‘break’ a contract?

Surely if a contract is broken, then by definition, one side has defaulted and has liability to compensate the other party? Or am I missing a distinction between breaking and breaching?

Of course a contract could be created with various clauses to allow each party to end the contract where certain conditions are met or occur but that is not the same as ‘breaking’ a contract is it?

This perhaps explains the 20 year timeframe, the contracts are in practical terms ‘unbreakable’ because the cost of buying them out – to compensate for 20 years of lost revenue – is unaffordable. Therefore not legally ‘unbreakable’ but in practical terms they are.

View Comment

tykebhoyPosted on2:15 pm - May 16, 2014


MCP A contract can be broken on the mutual consent of all parties in the contract but it looks like mutual consent won’t be applicable here. Contracts can also normally be broken by an administrator in an insolvency event. PMGB is suggesting that the contracts are so watertight that not even an insolvency event could disolve them unless its liquidation.

View Comment

Shyster Flywheel ShysterPosted on2:17 pm - May 16, 2014


MoreCelticParanoia says:
May 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

This perhaps explains the 20 year timeframe, the contracts are in practical terms ‘unbreakable’ because the cost of buying them out – to compensate for 20 years of lost revenue – is unaffordable. Therefore not legally ‘unbreakable’ but in practical terms they are.

—————————————————————————————————

A contract is an agreement between two (or more) parties. A contract can be broken at any time by either party but as you rightly point, one party having to compensate the other party for 20 years of loss becomes too onerous.

As Doc Daneeka replied to Yossarian concerning Catch 22 “It’s the best there is,”

Flywheel

View Comment

hamemadesoupPosted on2:18 pm - May 16, 2014


Smugas says:
May 16, 2014 at 11:37 am
15 1 Rate This

My interpretation of the ST stand off is this.

GW – so Mr RFC lawyer, what we need you to do is provide a letter of undertaking that the fans can have the stadium and training ground

Lawyer – you mean a security?

GW – Jeez no, don’t be silly

Lawyer – Ah I get your drift, something a bit more flowery, pandering to the masses and all that. A cosmetic promise to do something sometime..

GW – Exactly.

Lawyer – Right I’ll need the deeds.

GW – Ah…………
———————-
GW- ….. Mr Whyte isn’t returning our calls .

Lawyer – Craig or Thomas ?

GW – Neither .

Lawyer – I’ll get my coat , have a nice day .

😉

View Comment

wottpiPosted on2:20 pm - May 16, 2014


MoreCelticParanoia says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm

What you have to remember is that the media need a story.
Yesterday on Radio Scotland the morning phone-in had Louise Whyte trying her best to portray doom and gloom over the Commonwealth ticket’fiasco’. FFS a web site crashed and the small amount of remaining tickets ain’t going out to punters as quick as ideally would have been liked.
Funnily enough as an alternative to the people who were stuck on the web in a queue other folks told Louise that when they got fed up waiting they simply called up and BINGO found they could order the tickets over the phone.

In football terms the media believes they need a tight finish in the league between Celtic and Rangers to make a story and sell the papers. Ideally a double or treble is the icing ont he cake with a cherry on top.

However football fans on the other hand, like last week at Pittodrie, are happy to turn out in large numbers to pay handsomely for a match revolving around 2nd place.

Football fans are happy to turn out in numbers that match or exceed the capacity for the out of action Hampden Park for both the diddy cup and the national trophy when Celtic and Rangers are not playing.

Football fans are happy to turn out to watch a team that were in all probability in the relegation spot from day one of the season.

Football fans are often happy to turn out in good numbers to watch a team in the lower divisions whether that be be relegation or otherwise as an act of defiance / true support for their club.

The sooner the media see the bigger picture and give us decent reporting across the whole football spectrum the better for the game in this country.

Surely the days of a three page spread for an ex-old firm second stringers girl friend being done for drink driving must be coming to an end!!!!

View Comment

twopandaPosted on2:53 pm - May 16, 2014


Why does it take a 4 month review to `try` to explain where the cash disappeared to?
Why were `onerous` contracts not highlighted in Deloittes Accounts?
Is there any point in treating `official` reports seriously?

Either they portray accurate statements on financial health – or they don`t
Blimey

View Comment

whispererPosted on2:57 pm - May 16, 2014


Just a wild shot in the dark here guys …
What if the contracts were say rental agreements
i.e. …
Craigy has The Main Stand … Chico The Govan … BPH The Copland and Maggie The Broomloan …
The only way they could break those contracts would be to leave ? … Aye / Naw ?

View Comment

causaludendiPosted on2:58 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Eco, with the greatest of respect, if you truly believe that RC Ogilvi e shall simply meander off into the sunset then you are very much sadly mistaken – in my honest and humble opinion. I hesitate to use such a term as deluded but if we don’t awaken to the fact that he has his eye on a UEFA /FIFA post then we are all guilty of being as such.

It’s coming folks, the ground work is already afoot to facilitate such an installation.

But then again, what do we know, we are merely the underclass who pay to be made such fools of… ours is not the place to question why (sorry Tennyson!)

Back to lurking! 😎

View Comment

wottpiPosted on3:02 pm - May 16, 2014


If Phil Mac’ s information is correct and heading where it looks like it is going, time to settle down in our seats.
The fat lady hasn’t even begun to put her costume on!
Plenty twists and turns to come.

View Comment

yourhavingalaughPosted on3:02 pm - May 16, 2014


Gary Locke for the #2 position at Celtic ,anyone?

View Comment

Tic 6709Posted on3:12 pm - May 16, 2014


yourhavingalaugh says:

May 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm
Gary Locke for the #2 position at Celtic ,anyone?
=====================
Yourhavingalaugh.,

View Comment

causaludendiPosted on3:15 pm - May 16, 2014


Tic 6709 says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:12 pm
_____________________________

Heisindeed.,

View Comment

twopandaPosted on3:20 pm - May 16, 2014


Let’s see now
Ruinous `Onerous` Contracts signed
Lack of Legal Oversight
Took quite a while to discover
Financial Director backed by Board at AGM

Were 6 month interim Accounts passed to Authorities Accurate?
What did the SFA receive?

View Comment

CastofthousandsPosted on3:24 pm - May 16, 2014


Taysider says:

May 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

” We no longer rely on spoon fed succulent lamb MSM articles. We communicate instantly through social media with fellow fans,..”

I think in many ways we are living in halcyon days where the dark forces are in disarray and struggling to figure out how to respond to the new environment. Once they have got the measure of the proletariat’s thrust I suspect a dark cloud will once again descend over the information age and our judgement will again be obscured. We should make the most of the current influence since it is unlikely to persist.

There was a medieval conqueror called Charles Martell who lost his first battle but never another. He would change his strategy constantly and deprive his opposition of the ability to predict his tactics. I think if bampottery is to endure it will likewise have to morph its tactics.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on3:25 pm - May 16, 2014


causaludendi says:
May 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm
ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

@ Eco, with the greatest of respect, if you truly believe that RC Ogilvi e shall simply meander off into the sunset then you are very much sadly mistaken – in my honest and humble opinion. I hesitate to use such a term as deluded but if we don’t awaken to the fact that he has his eye on a UEFA /FIFA post then we are all guilty of being as such. It’s coming folks, the ground work is already afoot to facilitate such an installation.
============================
If any hard evidence emerges that CO is angling for a Euro post – other than SMSM drivel – then Scottish Football fans should mount a petition to UEFA /FIFA expressing our concerns. I certainly think there are far better candidates ahead of him in the race and I do believe more important issues can be tackled in the meantime till there is some evidence he actually is a runner never mind a shoo-in as some appear to believe.

Ogilvie ascended the SFA hierarchy through ‘buggins turn’ or possibly ‘hobsons choice’ through the way the selection process worked. I might be deluded in thinking that more will be required of a Euro position and I could well be deluded in believing that the same criteria that has formerly guaranteed escalation at Hampden might not cut-it in Europe.

But I firmly believe it’s counter-productive to get a horse in a lather before the race – so I for one will wait for some more concrete signs other than speculation.

And rightly or wrongly I happen to believe that what is happening now in Scottish Football and how things could be bettered is more worthy of attention than Ogilvie. I don’t ask anyone else to share that opinion and I am a great believer in team effort and I know that if anyone can tie CO into anything it will be the likes of Auldheid. It also can only be done through painstaking, analytical work and I’m afraid just venting hot air will achieve nothing IMO.

I have my own areas of interest that I work on. And I might well be a member of the underclass in the eyes of some but I can assure you that those who think me a fool are usually the ones who pay dearly for their mistake and not I 😎

View Comment

loamfeetPosted on3:32 pm - May 16, 2014


I don’t understand how Ogilvie has not been forced to step down; I am mystified as to how he was re-elected; I have no desire to see him rewarded with a position in FIFA/UEFA and I will gladly sign a petition to that effect. However, I think the best we can hope for is that he ends up relieving himself in somebody else’s close.

View Comment

readceltPosted on3:37 pm - May 16, 2014


loamfeet says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm
0 0 i
Rate This

I don’t understand how Ogilvie has not been forced to step down; I am mystified as to how he was re-elected; I have no desire to see him rewarded with a position in FIFA/UEFA and I will gladly sign a petition to that effect. However, I think the best we can hope for is that he ends up relieving himself in somebody else’s close.

————————————————–

As I already mentioned earlier today, there simply was no one in a position to stand against CO due to the SFA’s rules.

You need to have served something like 4 years in a similar position at the SFA to qualify to stand for president.

I dont have the relevant info to hand but this has been discussed on here before i’m sure, or maybe on fields of green?

View Comment

readceltPosted on3:47 pm - May 16, 2014


Re Ogilvie

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27094798

The key point i this story, which tells the reader very little is this section

‘In addition, he and the SPFL board believe the procedure for becoming an SFA office bearer is needlessly restrictive’

That statement relates to why CO was re-elected unopposed.

Due to the SFA’s archaic procedures there was nobody who could stand against him.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on3:49 pm - May 16, 2014


whisperer says:
May 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Just a wild shot in the dark here guys … What if the contracts were say rental agreements
i.e. … Craigy has The Main Stand … Chico The Govan … BPH The Copland and Maggie The Broomloan … The only way they could break those contracts would be to leave ? … Aye / Naw ?
=======================================

Funny rental agreements were going through my mind but I was thinking more in terms of rental of say the Ibrox food outlets or catering or whatever. Say a 20 year lease is given on the actual premises that those activities take part in.

My mind has gone down this track because all contracts can be broken even 20 year ones. OK there are legal ways of going to court to argue the contract is oppressive and so on. But an easier way is to prove the contract is not being fulfilled and with any kind of catering activity there are many ways this can be achieved if the financial stakes – should that be steakbakes – are high enough.

But if you have a poorly drafted contract for one side possibly becauser legal representation hasn’t been sought you could have say a food outlet contract terminated due to non-performance. But the actual lease on the property could survive so you end-up with an empty unit that you can’t do anything about unless you buy the lease off for an arm and a leg.

Just an idea – but there must be something there. I am certain that if these long term contracts were in place pre-flotation then they should have been in the AIM Prospectus. So the dates are important as well as the identities. OK SMSM are you going to earn your wages and ask the pertinent questions of Wallace?

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on3:53 pm - May 16, 2014


Re all this talk of onerous contracts down Ibrox way. I suspect we may have had another documentary well before now, but understandably people simply don’t want the intimidation and threats that follow. The trouble is many of the bears would probably like a media scandal now in order to bring some things to a head, but the reaction previously has almost certainly put off anyone putting themselves in the spotlight.

View Comment

readceltPosted on3:58 pm - May 16, 2014


readcelt says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm
1 0 i
Rate This

Re Ogilvie

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27094798

The key point i this story, which tells the reader very little is this section

‘In addition, he and the SPFL board believe the procedure for becoming an SFA office bearer is needlessly restrictive’

That statement relates to why CO was re-elected unopposed.

Due to the SFA’s archaic procedures there was nobody who could stand against him.

———————————————————–

The SFA is a good ‘ole boys club, where time served ranks higher than ability, competence and integrity.

See Peat, Farry et all

Did you ever wonder how in the name of god these guys were running the show? This is why.

Or, who in the name of god they were?

Their main qualification for the post was they had done the necessary years and could qualify as an ‘SFA office bearer’

That has now changed. Scottish clubs have been active in getting this nonesense changed.

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on4:09 pm - May 16, 2014


Billy Boyce says:
May 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Oh, and a couple of tweets from Phil …
Finding out just how “onerous” these contracts are. Some of them are for as long as 20 years. The retainers are a nice little earner…
================================
Just to be pedantic – and for some balance.

Presumably these ‘onerous’ contracts are only deemed onerous by one party – i.e current directors. This is the message they want out in the open: their narrative.

The referenced contracts may well turn out to be ‘onerous’ – but will anyone outside of Ibrox ever get to see/confirm that these onerous conditions exist ?

As ever, I’m just looking for any distracting, furry rodents… 😆

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on4:14 pm - May 16, 2014


upthehoops says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Re all this talk of onerous contracts down Ibrox way. I suspect we may have had another documentary well before now, but understandably people simply don’t want the intimidation and threats that follow. The trouble is many of the bears would probably like a media scandal now in order to bring some things to a head, but the reaction previously has almost certainly put off anyone putting themselves in the spotlight.
===================================
Their bullying ways haven’t changed and one of the Bear Land idiots has today put the phone number and contact details of two companies who had Celtic as a client for their recent planning applications to GCC over the new development at Celtic Park.

And he is urging Bears to phone these companies up – personally I think that’s harassment and if I was one of the companies I would make a complaint to the police because from some of the things said it looks as though some of the staff may altready havde been put in a state of fear and alarm.

I really wonder if Bill Struth ever contemplated that his vision would justify the actions of thugs who in their bitter hatred of Celtic ignore the perilous financial position of their own club in a vain attempt to damage Celtic.

I really hope that this is one call to action that decent Bears ignore.

As to journos and the threats made against them – yea it can be difficult to do the right thing especially if your actions might also put your family in danger. But this situation has been arrived at through years of cowardly journos supping the succulent lamb and feeding PR tripe to the Bears to keep them in the dark from the harsh realities of Ibrox finances for a couple of decades,

No matter what way things go at Ibrox I pray that enough Bears have their eyes opened to actually see what is going down wrt their club and to start organising to take control come the crunch because as night follows day that final destination is getting closer.

View Comment

Para HandyPosted on4:15 pm - May 16, 2014


readcelt says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm
———————————————————–

The SFA is a good ‘ole boys club, where time served ranks higher than ability, competence and integrity.

See Peat, Farry et all

Did you ever wonder how in the name of god these guys were running the show? This is why.
==========================
You can add Brown McMaster to that list. At one time he was part of the team who lead Save the Jags and for his efforts, he and a number of other individuals and the Jags Trust were given 1 million shares each in the Club effectively to act as the custodians.

He ended up as Chairman of the SFL having served his time in the blazer.

Move ahead a few years and Brown is effectively ousted from the Thistle board for various reasons and he heads off into the sunset and joins the board of Stenhousemuir.

It then transpired that you cannot hold shares in more than one Club so what does Brown do with the shares he was given for free as a “custodian” of the Club? Does he return them or pass them onto another Thistle-minded person?

Nope, he gives them to his family, pays no tax on their value (even though effectively they were an in kind payment) and suffers nothing other than maybe a wee bit of negative publicity.

Scottish football, gotta love it…

View Comment

StevieBCPosted on4:17 pm - May 16, 2014


readcelt says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Due to the SFA’s archaic procedures there was nobody who could stand against [Ogilvie].
=========================
In the absence of a ‘suitably qualified’ candidate, a year with no SFA President at all in position would have been a better option, [& to enable qualifying rules to be revised meantime].

That would have sent out the right signal to the paying customers, [I know].

View Comment

neepheidPosted on4:26 pm - May 16, 2014


readcelt says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm
1 0 Rate This

Re Ogilvie

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27094798

The key point i this story, which tells the reader very little is this section

‘In addition, he and the SPFL board believe the procedure for becoming an SFA office bearer is needlessly restrictive’

That statement relates to why CO was re-elected unopposed.

Due to the SFA’s archaic procedures there was nobody who could stand against him.
===============================
It is correct that the rules were very restrictive, but I do not believe it to be the case that there was no one else qualified to stand.

Basically a candidate must have served one year on the professional or amateur game boards, and have been a member of the SFA Council for 4 years.The SFA Council currently has 37 members (including HM The Queen), and it seems certain that a good number have done their 4 years, plus a stint on a Game Board.

So to say that there were no other possible candidates is a statement I simply do not accept, without evidence to back it up.

Of course I could waste a few hours of my own time coming up with names who met the criteria for nomination, but since the consensus here seems to be that this is much ado about nothing, let sleeping dogs lie, we have more important thingds to talk about, then it really would be a waste of time. For whatever reason, we must just accept that Ogilvie is above and beyond the normal rules of conduct, and leave it at that.

However before I let it drop, I will just comment on this from Ecobhoy at 3.25pm- ” I know that if anyone can tie CO into anything it will be the likes of Auldheid.”

Well let me save anyone else the trouble. Ogilvie was elected at the 2010 AGM for 2 years. At that point, when he stood for election (unopposed, I am sure) this man of unimpeachable integrity and decency was in receipt of a loan of £90k, granted to him on the say so of one of the member clubs of the association he was standing to be president of. Did he make a declaration of this clear conflict of interest to the clubs which voted for his election? The answer to that question is all that is required..

But of course, this is Scottish football, and it doesn’t matter much, if at all. So I’ll just shut up about it.

View Comment

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on4:29 pm - May 16, 2014


causaludendi says:
May 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm
5 3 i
Rate This

ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Eco, with the greatest of respect, if you truly believe that RC Ogilvi e shall simply meander off into the sunset then you are very much sadly mistaken – in my honest and humble opinion. I hesitate to use such a term as deluded but if we don’t awaken to the fact that he has his eye on a UEFA /FIFA post then we are all guilty of being as such.

It’s coming folks, the ground work is already afoot to facilitate such an installation.
________________________________________________

A week or two ago someone commented on CO’s brass neck and said surely UEFA wouldn’t be having this if they were made aware of the full circumstances of his “conflictedness”.

A few weeks/months after resigning/being sacked in disgrace, Hugh Dallas got a gig with UEFA as some sort of refereeing standards manager.

Unfortunately I think there’s a tendency to look at UEFA through rose tinted specs in this regard. They are just another corrupt self serving bureaucracy, maybe not quite as corrupt as the SFA but far from the sort of organisation capable of providing moral corporate leadership

View Comment

iamacantPosted on4:40 pm - May 16, 2014


RangersNews ‏@RangersInter 41m
Charlie, still using an official email account), and calling the shots. Cenkos to resign if Easdale appointed.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/224549250/Charlie-Says

RangersNews ‏@RangersInter 45m
Sandy Easdale forcing a correction from @tedermeatballs, but was this a fair comment?

http://www.scribd.com/doc/224549257/Correction

View Comment

GoosyGoosyPosted on4:49 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm
upthehoops says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm
No matter what way things go at Ibrox I pray that enough Bears have their eyes opened to actually see what is going down wrt their club and to start organising to take control come the crunch because as night follows day that final destination is getting closer
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
No Chance
The Spivs currently in charge (and those still to come) are in total control
They will dictate the timing the price and the manner of their exit from Ibrox
Thats If
They ever do exit Ibrox
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Consider this
Since
The Steel Spiv used EBTs to avoid paying tax and bankrupt the club
We have seen
The CW Spiv come along with a ruse to milk the Bears
The CG Spiv come along with another ruse to milk the Bears
The CM Spiv come along with another ruse to milk the Bears
The Bus Spivs come along with another ruse to milk the Bears
And we currently have
The GW Spiv with his ruse to milk the Bears
And the Big DK Spiv champing at the bit to get his ruse under way
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
There are two lessons to be learnt from the above
Firstly
TRFC are open to a large number of Spiv wheezes which show no sign of coming to an end
Secondly
The Bears cannot forcibly remove the Spivs no matter how united they are. At best they might force the Spivs to turn Ibrox and MP into cash. But this could take at least a season of no TRFC in any league
All the support can do is give up on Ibrox and MP as their traditional heritage and start a new club somewhere else

In a word

They`re stuffed

View Comment

TallBoy PoppyPosted on4:58 pm - May 16, 2014


Surely if the unbreakable contracts were with the parent company -(and of course the property assets) -who won’t go bust, then it doesn’t matter how many times the Club folds – the contracts remain in place. And that’s why Charlie-boy didn’t need a lawyer….that was the plan all along. Trebles all round!

Or have I got this all wrong?

View Comment

Madbhoy24941Posted on5:03 pm - May 16, 2014


yourhavingalaugh says:

May 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Gary Locke for the #2 position at Celtic ,anyone?

——————————————————————-

Don’t think so, I think Davie Moyes will want his own man!

View Comment

CampbellsmoneyPosted on5:14 pm - May 16, 2014


To be honest, the question “what is an unbreakable contract in insolvency?” does not really mean anything. Certainly no insolvency professional would use it.

You and I have a contract whereby I agree to deliver to you 100 widgets for £100. If I refuse to deliver the widgets, I have breached the contract and you are entitled to sue me. Your remedies in that instance would be either to sue me for breach of contract (you would sue me for the loss that you have suffered) (this is a claim for damages) or alternatively you could seek an order of specific implement requiring me to perform the contract and to deliver the widgets.

On the other hand, if I deliver the widgets and you don’t pay, you are in breach of contract. I can sue you for the price (which really is a form of specific implement – your obligation was to pay me and I want you to implement that contractual term or I can sue you for damages (my loss, which is the price, so it will much amount to the same thing). How can I make such a contract unbreakable? Simple answer I can’t. If you don’t have enough money to pay me tough luck on me. Ultimately I have a claim in your insolvency.

From your point of view can it be made unbreakable? Simple answer – no. If I don’t have any widgets, no matter how tightly the contract is drafted, you cannot make me give you widgets that don’t exist.

However the question asked was “unbreakable in an insolvency”. What is the particular relevance of insolvency here? Well the simple answer is that in all insolvencies, the company that is insolvent will be breaching contracts left, right and centre. Most obviously it will be refusing to pay for things that it is due to pay for (it is the simple nature of insolvency that there is insufficient money to pay for everything – if there was enough, it wouldn’t be insolvent).

However take the example of my widget making factory. If the widget making factory company goes into liquidation and it is still manufacturing widgets, are you entitled to require the liquidator or administrator to perform on the contract to manufacture and deliver widgets? The simple answer is almost certainly not.

A liquidator or administrator may decide not to perform on a contract and that will give rise to a claim for damages. An order of specific implement is rarely available in an insolvency. It is necessary to remember why an insolvency practitioner is in place at all. The insolvency practitioner is there to look after the interests of all of the creditors not just one or two.

If an administrator or liquidator has taken the decision that it is not in the interests of creditors as a whole that this contract be performed, a court will be extremely reluctant to (I am almost tempted to say that a court will never) give a order of specific implement requiring an insolvency practitioner to procure that a contract entered into prior to the insolvency be performed.

Fundamentally this is because the courts are of the view that insolvency practitioners are the correct people to make decisions about the conduct of an insolvency – not the court. Forcing an insolvency practitioner to procure that a contract is performed may have many knock on effects in the insolvency. It may for example require the insolvency practitioner to continue to employ people and to order supplies when to do so may not be in the interests of the creditors as a whole. All of that simply to meet the wishes of one creditor (at the expense of the wider body of creditors). Accordingly, the remedy available is damages (and that will transmute into a claim in the insolvency and will almost always lead to at best a percentage return on the debt).

Interestingly much of this was discussed by Lord Hodge in the Ticketus case.

In many ways, this is basic insolvency law. I have alluded to this before. The ability to refuse to perform a contract is not a “get out of jail free” card because the failure to perform gives rise to a claim in damages. That may be small or indeed no comfort to the other party to the contract but can of course give rise to issues if for example a CVA is to be proposed.

So what can the phrase “unbreakable in insolvency” mean? My initial reaction on seeing this phrase is that it probably relates in some way to a real right rather than a personal right. Apologies for getting technical (once again) but let me try and explain.

A real right is sometimes described as one that would be effective against the world at large. A personal right is one that is enforceable against only the person with whom you have the contract. Thus ownership is a real right. A security interest is a real right. A right to buy something from someone is only a personal right.

In the event of insolvency, if I have an ownership right in an asset in the position of the insolvent company, then my right is enforceable against the world at large (and thus against an insolvency practitioner). This is why retention of title clauses work. Equally, if I have a security interest, that right is enforceable against the world at large and will work in an insolvency. If I only have a personal right – for example the insolvent company has agreed to sell me a piece of land for £X, it is unlikely that I will be able to enforce that right and acquire the land. Instead the liquidator will say no, I will sell this land to someone else because I can get a better price. My claim is limited to the loss that I have suffered. I cannot make the liquidator sell me that land.

Now in the context of onerous contracts, what can it mean? My feeling is that there must be a real right involved – my initial reaction was that the contract must be “secured” somehow. By this I mean that the party that is obliged to perform under the contract has granted a security for its performance. This is exactly what a mortgage/standard security is. You borrow money from your bank. You undertake to repay it. In security of your obligation to repay, you grant a security to the bank over your house. If you do not repay, the bank is entitled to have your house sold and to take the proceeds of sale in satisfaction of the debt. If the bank did not have the standard security over your house, the bank would only be entitled to a claim in your insolvency.

However, even that situation does not really meet the definition of “unbreakable in insolvency” as the repayment obligation has been breached (and in fact it is that very breach that allows the bank to enforce the security).

So, imagine that in security of its obligations under a 20 year catering contract, that a company has granted security over its property. In the event of an insolvency, the administrator could either chose to continue to perform the catering contract (and thus hang on to the property) or to breach the catering contract thus giving the caterer the ability to call up the standard security over the property and to sell it. The administrator may take the view that it is preferable to keep the catering contract in place for the benefit of the creditors as a whole and thus the administrator to sell as a going concern with the property still burdened by the standard security. That would mean that the new owner of the business would have to take on the existing onerous contract and the property subject to the security. No doubt that would impact on the price that any purchaser would be prepared to pay.

The problem with this analysis is that real rights invariably have to be registered or otherwise publicly apparent. Thus, securities granted by companies have to be noted at Companies House. If they are not registered, they are unenforceable against the insolvency practitioner. Now, that is the case for most securities (and in fact virtually all of the securities that are in common commercial use). However, certain types of securities do not have to be registered at Companies House. I wonder if somehow, it has been possible to create one of these and that this is the answer.

Apologies if this is somewhat rambling but at the moment, it’s the best I can do.

View Comment

upthehoopsPosted on5:21 pm - May 16, 2014


ecobhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

No matter what way things go at Ibrox I pray that enough Bears have their eyes opened to actually see what is going down wrt their club and to start organising to take control come the crunch because as night follows day that final destination is getting closer.
==============================
I guess it’s akin to someone being in serious debt, or having a drink or gambling problem. Once the problem is completely admitted and there is no more denial then things can move forward. Are enough bears truly ready to face up to their problem? Or are too many of them still convinced a windfall will arrive to clear their debt, or that they can control their drink if they really want to? Using the drink problem analogy maybe they simply can’t face up to never being able to drink again, which in this case is the equivalent of Rangers living within their means.

View Comment

scapaflowPosted on5:24 pm - May 16, 2014


Apparently the Empty Blazer is issuing a statement tonight. At some point the bears will realise that Mr King far from being part of the solution, is actually a major part of the problem.

Agree with Eco, if the fans want to salvage something from this mess, time is getting short

View Comment

Danish PastryPosted on6:00 pm - May 16, 2014


RyanGosling says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:03 am
154 1 Rate This

… I must admit to being one who thought that a lot of clubs would have suffered through the lack of gate money from Rangers fans. Not necessarily Armageddon, but I thought there would be a noticeable impact. I was wrong. From a Scottish football perspective I’m glad to be proved wrong, from a Rangers perspective I feel a little bit less important than I did before this all kicked off.
——————

I think you make very fair-minded comment above, Ryan.

It’s the lack of the catastrophic implosion that Regan, Doncaster & various media mouthpieces were happy to opine on. In that sense loving this Armageddon lark is not really another we kick at the struggling club, as some see it – more a sense of satisfaction that the doom-mongers were wrong then, just as they are now.

Of course, some will say the lack of a league sponsor is direct evidence that a top tier without Ibrox in the equation does not sell. I’m more of the view, though, that Scottish football has been sold short, talked down, and is perhaps now viewed with distrust by people who would otherwise want to associate their products with it.

Every time I see certain characters present cups or make draws, I cringe.

PS & OT
I chatted with another wistful ‘Rangers fan’ in the East End today. Very helpful technical chap. The Cup final came up and how I was repaying my older brother with a figurative lift over the turnstile tomorrow just as he had given me a lift into games (at Ibrox) many decades ago. ‘Ah, that was when they were a proper football club,’ he said. Subdued chap who seemed resigned to his club’s fate, no doubt feeling, as you do, that his fitba team is, in the grand scheme of things, a little less important than he imagined it was.

View Comment

James DolemanPosted on6:09 pm - May 16, 2014


upthehoops says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm
Re all this talk of onerous contracts down Ibrox way. I suspect we may have had another documentary well before now”

I’ve had one set of RFC stories rejected (although they offered to pay me anyway) as was told it was not worth the trouble it would cause the publisher, heard the same from people at the BBC.

They don’t do themselves any favour

View Comment

MartinPosted on6:15 pm - May 16, 2014


Forgive me if I’m reading the situation wrong. It seems that those among the Rangers support who sought assurance from the board that the most visible representations of the club they support (the stadium and the training facility) were ‘secured’ prior to renewing their season books have failed to meet their stated aim.

As I understand it the renewal date deadline falls today, though there is no impediment to extending this date. If the uptake is as low as some reports suggest, a bit of a rethink is probably in order.

As it is the fans who organised and or got behind the movement to withhold season ticket money have been the best organised group to emerge since Rangers hit the buffers.

That said I have never understood their alignment with Dave King, it’s a connection which looks to this observer something of a barrier to fully engaging with a greater number of Rangers supporters.

It will surely be their undoing.

There is a great deal or unrest among the Rangers support that at least tentatively supported the Graham Wallace vision of the future. A vision as we know based on an exhaustive exploration of the past.

When Graham Wallace sat down with the ‘Union of Fans’ those not in the ‘Union’ were, to put it mildly; unhappy.

Words like ‘betrayal’ and ‘appeasement’ became commonplace in the affected areas of the interweb. Talk of the board ‘crushing’ the rebels rather than speaking to them is…well…what can I say?

The furore among Rangers fans not in the ‘Union’ turned out, as is so often the case with such things, to be a little premature. The demands that the ‘union of fans’ made have not actually been met.

It is something of a curiosity that supporters of Graham Wallace were so quick to denounce his actions before any observable action had taken place. Support for the CEO it seems is not exactly staunch.

One wonders what it would take to actually unite Rangers fans in common cause when it is apparent that endeavouring to protect the stadium and training ground is divisive.

It surely can’t be enough to say that not parting with your hard earned cash for a season ticket, whatever the concern, is something akin to treason and worthy of exclusion.

An endless cavalcade of would be leaders with talk of investment and plans of a return to the place called ‘rightful’ might seem appealing but can only ever result in the division of a support whose heads are easily turned.

Rangers fans might wish to consider that any power they have rests in unity. It would be extraordinary if their aims for the future differed in any significant way.

The thing that divides them to date is who they choose to support to represent their interests.

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on6:20 pm - May 16, 2014


neepheid says:
May 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

@ Neepheid – What can I say – you say that there must have been more than Ogilvie qualified for the position but you say your aren’t prepared to spend the time to prove it. Well that’s your decision but I certainly am not prepared to do it as I have enough to do on issues that not only interest me but which I judge to be more important.

I actually doubt if you and I are very far apart in how we view CO but in the big scheme of things I see him as a mere pawn of much more powerful influences. I don’t say that to excuse any of his actions which might be questioned but more as how I rank him in order of importance as to how I allocate my time – and he is low down my scale.

But I take no issue with those who rate him of more interest and if hard facts are produced to support that position I may well change my view.

I should also say that IMO the jury is still out on the legal status of EBTs until the UTT and possibly beyond declare their verdicts so I am not so sure that the ‘loan’ disclosure argument holds much water at this time although that may well change.

View Comment

PhilMacGiollaBhainPosted on6:24 pm - May 16, 2014


JimBhoy says:
May 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm
If Phil’s recent posts have any semblance of truth the last thing some of the larger more shady investors will want is administration. Their 20 yr onerous contracts would cease then.. Charles/Imran have done them up like a kipper.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Laxey and most of the post IPO chaps want Admin.
The Pre-Admin fellows aren’t keen.

View Comment

martin cPosted on6:25 pm - May 16, 2014


These damn nightshifts. . . “vow the unbreakable contract” . . . all sounds rather Harry Poteresque to me?

“Page 666 of Craig Whytes film script”

Alan Rickman would play which part?

View Comment

ecobhoyPosted on6:37 pm - May 16, 2014


James Doleman says:
May 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm
upthehoops says:
May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Re all this talk of onerous contracts down Ibrox way. I suspect we may have had another documentary well before now”
————————————————————-
I’ve had one set of RFC stories rejected (although they offered to pay me anyway) as was told it was not worth the trouble it would cause the publisher, heard the same from people at the BBC. They don’t do themselves any favour.
————————————————-
And they most certainly don’t do Rangers or Scottish Football any favours or indeed wider Scottish Society. It might seem strange to include Rangers in my list but until the support is presented with the unvarnished reality they will continue to be ‘played’ by whoever lands at Ibrox intent on milking their cash.

Sadly large sections of SMSM have their own ‘survival’ issues at the moment and quite selfishly they want the Return of the Old Firm and to hell with what that brings in its wake as long as circulation can be bolstered.

View Comment

readceltPosted on6:49 pm - May 16, 2014


Re the whole CO issue.

I wasn’t trying to shut down debate on it. I think it is telling the clubs specifically went after the criteria issue the first chance they got.

I don’t see the fact CO was re-elected unopposed as a great conspiracy either, in light of what I’ve already mentioned. I think the criteria issue helps explain the wider issue of competency and suitability throughout the organisation.

What’s the saying ‘never assume conspiracy that can easily be explained by incompetence’? The SFA are functionally and focally incompetent.

I would expect the top flight clubs to act on this issue sooner rather than later. Procedure at the SFA is everything.

View Comment

JoethebookiePosted on6:57 pm - May 16, 2014


Campbellsmoney says:
May 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm
 15 0 Rate This

That’s the stuff that makes me visit this site every day.
It’s also the kind of thing that should be in the MSM.
Brilliant.

View Comment

TSFMPosted on7:09 pm - May 16, 2014


Right now, I still can’t see how admin helps anyone EXCEPT perhaps to get out of the onerous contracts that Wallace spoke of in his review.
My difficulty is that I don’t see how that affects the bottom line of the institutional investors like Laxeys.

How is administration a better tool for recovering as much money as possible for them, than simply selling their shares? Either way they take a hit. Not one I can quantify, but are the sums involved so non-trivial that there needs to be such a conspiratorial song and dance about it?

I just can’t see it.

Campbellsmoney?

View Comment

Leave a Reply