Comment on Daft and Dafter by broganrogantrevinoandhogan.
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Time to Make Things Happen
HomunculusJune 18, 2017 at 10:11
I doubt you will ever find any post or opinion from me that suggests that a club should be run in anything other than in a proper businesslike manner or that I suggest anywhere that a club should speculate to accumulate or measure its success or its very being by the performance of its first team.
Nor have I ever suggested that a club should be run by fans.
On the contrary, let me make it clear that I personally think that a club should always be run by professionals and by people with business expertise in a variety of areas.
The entire thrust of my point was that the promise and method of fan ownership promoted by Fergus McCann was simply never going to be although he personally may well have believed that was possible.
No matter what form of ownership is in situ, and irrespective of the legal structure that governs the true ownership of any football club, you are still going to need a board of professional directors and managers throughout the footbal club who will take charge of finances, management decisions, management strategies, business plans and so on.
I have never suggested management by fan committee as that would clearly not work and would be utter folly.
Anyway, enough of me and my opinions. I will go back to lurking and sleeping.
Time to Make Things Happen
John ClarkJune 18, 2017 at 00:08
And therein lies the rub of why I never fancied the PLC model for the ownership of the football club.
I fully appreciate the legal benefits of limited liability in corporate business and the principles behind a PLC owning a business and in turn shareholders owning a PLC or even a private limited company.
However, when Fergus McCann sent out his prospectus offering shares and “ownership” of the football club (as he was perfectly entitled to do) my own view was that his stated intention of ordinary fans always owning 66% of the club was never going to be deliverable.
It was always going to be likely that true fan ownership was likely to be diluted as a result of a second share issue and that the legal structure of a PLC plus the provisions of the Companies and others Acts, would mean that investors (who were not necessarily Celtic fans) could take a legal interest in the club, could hide their true identities behind nominee companies (this is perfectly legal) and would view the business of Celtic from an investors or business point of view as opposed to that of a fan.
Whilst all fans want to see the business of the club run properly and successfully, A fan may have a very different idea as to what constitutes a successful business plan in comparison to someone who is looking at matters purely from a business perspective and who may very well just want to maximise yearly returns.
Another issue is the status of season book holders. Over the years, season books have brought in hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue yet a season book holder has no say in how the club is run. It can be argued that season book holders are no more than customers and as such they do not legally deserve any say in the running of the club.
However, contrast the amount of money season book holders have contributed over the years with the fact that fairly recently someone bought £10Million worth of shares and acquired 15% (I think) of the voting rights in the club.
I appreciate that investment in shares and buying a season ticket are two very different beasts, however at the time of the initial share issue what was supposedly on offer was a promise that Celtic fans would always have a majority share and a significant voice when it came to the running of the cub.
That could not be delivered then and it certainly isn’t being delivered now.
This was most evident when, at a fairly recent AGM, the show of hands in the room was overwhelmingly in favour of a motion only for the “corporate votes” or “board votes” to completely sink the motion with something like 96% of the “shareholders” in terms of votes (as opposed to those present) voting in the opposite direction.
It is for this reason that I personally see very little purpose in attending the AGM on an annual basis though I recognise that such a meeting does give some shareholders an opportunity to address directors and key employees.
Time to Make Things Happen
chill ultraJune 16, 2017 at 11:15
Auldheid. To the best of my knowledge only two of the four requisitioners attended this meeting. One of these individuals had connections with the Plc; he had been name-checked, praised for his charity work for Celtic charities in the club’s annual reports (my bedtime reading).That someone with this connection, (his professional background is another story for another day) self- appointed to represent 100 signatories should have influenced the decision to adjourn the resolution smacks of a conflict of interest. Regarding representation, I have asked repeatedly if the four requisitioners were shareholders at the time of th 2013 AGM but no one, including you Auldheid, seems able to give me simple binary yes/no answer for all four.Auldheid, if you really want to convince me that the Plc are not in complete control of the ‘Resolution 12’ project, you could accede to my request to let me meet personally with a donor who you say funded the early legal work – and had apparently wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with me to ‘put me right’.You withdrew this earlier offer only after I had agreed to meet the mystery benefactor.Lack of transparency; lack of representation; lack of accountability; lack of keeping financial records; lack of fit and proper person scrutiny. I won’t comment further on the uncanny comparisons.
I have not posted on this forum for many months on any matters including Res 12 related issues choosing to leave that to Auldheid, who, as everyone is aware, has an excellent grasp of the detailed evidence which can and cannot be used in correspondence.
The fact that some of the material available cannot be legally referenced, or would call into question the ethics and motives of some who would might want to use it, is a matter of complex legal and business judgemet an opinions differ from person to person and from organisation to organisation.
However, Auldheid alerted me to the post above from Chill Ultra and has encouraged me to make some response which I now do.
For a start, let’s be clear that of the four so called requisitioners, when Chill Ultra refers to someone who has a connection with the PLC and who has a professional background worthy of comment on another day, he is refering to me.
Let’s also be very clear on a number of other things while we are about it.
Chill Ultra and I have never met, never had a conversation of any kind, nor exchanged views re Res 12 its aims, history, tactics, direction of travel or any other detail on a face to face basis.
There is also no doubt, that Chill Ultra is a genuine Celtic fan, someone I believe to be a Celtic shareholder and supporter, and like many others is someone who is very disgruntled with the events of 2011/2012 and the actions of the SFA during that period.
Obviously, I sympathise with that viewpoint.
However, when it comes to the detail and history of events surrounding Res 12, with respect to Chill Ultra, he is incorrect in many ways and on more than one occasion he has been asked to exhange his views and opinions with me by e-mail if not in person.
Thus far he has declined to do so despite being given my e-mail address.
Turning to the detail of the post above, let me pick out some specifics:
“To the best of my knowledge only two of the four requisitioners attended this meeting. One of these individuals had connections with the Plc; he had been name-checked, praised for his charity work for Celtic charities in the club’s annual reports (my bedtime reading).”
In the past and on another forum, Chill Ultra alleged that at the time of the meeting in question I either worked for Celtic PLC or for the Celtic Charity Foundation. To be clear, I have never worked for either organisation (they are legally separate but obviously linked) but I am a founding member of the fans committee of the Charity Foundation and I do help with Foundation events. I am also the chairman of the development board for the west of Scotland for a national charity and I carry out voluntary work for a number of charitable institutions. The CFC foundation just happens to be one.
Whenever I have attended committee meetings neither Peter Lawwell nor any member of the board have been present and the Res 12 meeting concerned was the first time I had met Peter Lawwell in my life. I have met him twice (very briefly since).
“That someone with this connection, (his professional background is another story for another day) self- appointed to represent 100 signatories should have influenced the decision to adjourn the resolution smacks of a conflict of interest.
My background is a legal one as i pratcised as a solicitor with my own firm for some 23 years before choosing to go into a number of more business related roles working for various companies in 2005/2006.
In the past Chill Ultra has alluded to the fact that I was connected to the Celtic Company Secretay namely Michael Nicholson.
It is true that before the Res 12 meeting I had come across Michael Nicholson before when he was on the other side of a court case many years before. This is not unusual and many many other solicitors would have been in the same position. However, not only was he not someone I knew well and whom I have only ever met professionally, I was not even aware that he had left private practice to take up the position of Company Secretary at Celtic PLC.
At the meeting it was he who recognised me and with all due respect to him I had to be reminded that our pasts had crossed before.
As for being “self appointed” — with respect to Chill Ultra that is clearly untrue that it is hard to fathom how he reaches that conclusion. Any enquiry of the other requisitioners will reveal that I was asked to attend the meeting after it had been arranged and knew nothing about it until I was contacted.
There was absolutely no conflict of interest at all.
“Regarding representation, I have asked repeatedly if the four requisitioners were shareholders at the time of th 2013 AGM but no one, including you Auldheid, seems able to give me simple binary yes/no answer for all four.”
I can only repeat the answer that I have previously given in relation to myself which is that I was at the time and remain a shareholder in Celtic PLC under the explanation that I have never agreed with the PLC structure as being the correct one (a discussion for another day which I have embarked on many times) and that the nominal number of shares I hold were in fact bought and paid for in my name without any consultation by my late father who took a different view to me regarding share ownership.
“Auldheid, if you really want to convince me that the Plc are not in complete control of the ‘Resolution 12’ project, you could accede to my request to let me meet personally with a donor who you say funded the early legal work – and had apparently wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with me to ‘put me right’. You withdrew this earlier offer only after I had agreed to meet the mystery benefactor.”
I will leave it for Auldheid to comment on much of the above but I would stress that not even I know who paid for some of the legal work.
What I can say is that to demonstrate the Celtic PLC are not wholly in control I would just point out that it was on my advice that the requisitioners were advised to seek independent legal advice about approaching UEFA and that this was done without even advising Celtic PLC we were going down such a formal and independent route. Not only that, but finding the right calibre of firm without a conflict of interest was not easy and literally took months with many unsuccessful meetings.
We were of the view that shareholders had to be represented independently of the PLC and went to great lengths to ensure that this was done professionally with no conflict in terms of the PLC and others who had a primary or secondary interest in the enquiries we wanted made.
Re matters of finance I know that individuals contributed towards fees but I am not privvy to the detail of who these are nor the actual payment. I was privvy to agreeing the accounts and keeping costs to a reasonable level.
“Lack of transparency; lack of representation; lack of accountability; lack of keeping financial records; lack of fit and proper person scrutiny. I won’t comment further on the uncanny comparisons.”
At all times, there has been every effort to represent shareholders and we have taken proper professional advise about the details surrounding the avalailable and useable correspondence and the regulations relating to both tax and football.
The original meeting resulted in the resolution being adjourned because we were informed that Celtic PLC had changed their stated position (with which no one agreed) that the resolution was not necessary, as in light of information and argument provided by shareholders Celtic PLC now accepted that there was something very much worth looking into.
Throughout the subsequent months and years we have always sought to persuade Celtic that they should be asking questions, seeking answers from the SFA and striving for the truth in relation to the events of 2011/2012. Further, in light of correspondence which we (the shareholders) have forced we have pointed out to Celtic that there are major inconsistencies in the explanations provided by officials over the years and that taken as a whole the “story” doesn’t add up.
This is an ongoing position which, at times, has been halted or delayed by legal proceedings over which we have no control.
The payment of legal fees to the solicitors is a matter of trust between those who have made the payments and asked to remain anonymous and I, amongst others, have to respect the request for anonymity.
At all times we have sought to report, and can only report what we can report and when there is something to report.
Chill Ultra seems to suggest that there has been a failure to ensure that some of us (presumably me) is not a fit and proper person to represent shareholders. The reasoning behind this argument has never been explained to me though I have asked him to correspond with me but he has declined.
He has apparently written to Peter Lawwell on this topic but neither Mr Lawwell nr Chill Ultra have ever shared that correspondence with me nor communicated its contents. I don’t even know if Peter Lawwell is aware of it as it has never been mentioned to me by anyone.
I repeat my view, expressed at the very outset when I was asked to get involved with the resolution, that Res 12 will be a war of attrition, a long slow process where emotion and the understandable wish for a quick outcome should play no part and should not be expected.
It is a process which will lead shareholders into conflict wth the Celtic PLC board in certain respects at certain times and that should be expetced and it is a process which will very much alienate many in football administration as there is no desire for serious fan input amongst the clubs or the governing bodies.
Whilst communications are always friendly, civilised and polite, no one should be under any illusion that many people and organisations who have similar interests are not always singing from the same page and that in certain quarters those who pursue Res 12 are seen “As a pain in the arse!”
If Chill Ultra wishes to discuss all of this further he is free to contact me by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
Whose assets are they anyway?
I listened to the public broadcasting service of this country last nght and could scarcely believe what I heard in terms of what passes these days in the name of journalism.
It is one thing for footballers to express and opinion on sporting matters, but another altogether when footballers are put on the spot and repeatedly asked vague, general, and leading questions and invited to answer.
Any sportsman, be they footballer, athlete, swimmer, cyclist or whatever will always tell you that the battle is one or lost fairly and squarely on the field of play and in open competition.
That is the way sport should be and that is the way those who participate would always want it to be.
However, if the same sportsmen were to be asked, ” what should happen if it turns out that going by the rules of the game your opponent was not eligible to particpate at all?” might that bring about a different answer as opposed to the “should people be stripped of their medals?” mantra.
Last night’s “debate” on Radio Scotland completely ignored the fact that every other club in Scotland during the period concerned were required to comply with the corporate laws laid down by the SFA and the then SPL or SFL.
If they did’t they were punished accordingly.
Think of Spartans who did not fill a form out correctly or misplaced a signatue. They suffered the ultimate punishment on that oocasion.
Richard Wilson put up a staunch argument that A) EBT’s were not per se illegal and that B) at the time their use was not an intentional crime as Rangers, or those in charge of Rangers, believed that what they were doing was correct and lawful.
This is an argument which ignores fact, lacks analysis and any form of “common sense”.
EBT’s are perfectly legal items or mechanisms – provided that they are used for a legal purpose. As soon as you seek to misuse any otherwise legal item — whether it is a chequebook, a credit card, a loan application, a knife, a spade or a hammer – for an illegal purpose then the item concerned becomes a key part in an illegal scheme.
That is common sense — and the law.
So EBT’s are legal — but they automatically become null and void ( and therefore unlawful ) if they are used as part of a contractual arrangement designed to avoid tax. Who says this? Well try Paul Baxendale Walker during the course of his interview with the BBC in the mend who sold the jerseys documentary. He will do for a start.
Anyone selling a company an EBT scheme will spell it out loud and clear ” If you operate this the wrong way it becomes illegal” so you are put on notice that it may well be illegal for any kind of contractuallly related pay!
This then brings me in to te state of Rangers “knoweldge” of wrongdoing.
In the course of the FTT decision, the Court of Session findings and in the Lord Nimmo Smith report, one thing was unanimous and that was that officials of Rangers Football Club repeatedly lied when it came to the existence of second contracts. They denied they existed, swore blind there were no such contracts, and so deliberately and calculated decived the SFA, The SPL, HMRC and anyone else who asked.
later, this was all admitted.
Why would you lie about something you believe to be legal and above board?
So who knew about these second contracts that did not exist – and who in the footballing world sat back and said absolutely nothing about them in the knowledge that they existed yet were being denied and hidden?
Well among the list of EBT beneficiaries and those who were responsible for signing players in this fashion there is:
A former president of the SFA.
A Former director of Hearts Football Club
A former director of Ross County Football Club
Two former managers of the Scotland International team
Several people who have managed clubs in Scotland, England and elsewhere.
At least three managers who have manged major teams in Europe.
A former Dutch and Russian international manager and a French Manger.
Numerous former captains of Scotland.
Numerous International Footballers from various countries.
Numerous people who have sat on SFA and SPL committees respnsible for governing the game.
In short the EBT list reads like a chapter of the Who’s Who of Scottish Football at the time?
And why were Rangers paying a former manager and ex Scotland captain many thousands of pounds almost a decade after he left their employment?
Anyone think that is odd? Does it smell fishy and worthy of looking into?
Not one single journalist has ever asked any of these people what they think about the fact that the footballing authorities in this country were repeatedly lied to about the existence of the side contracts or the hidden payments?
Mark Daly did attempt to ask questions and none of these people were prepared to answer anything. They made no comment. He described it as an Omerta!
Nobody has asked any football agent about the fact that no other club in Scotland paid players this way?
Nobody ever asked any of the recipients what they thought about being unable to sign players this way when they became managers or what they thought about having two contracts?
Nobody ever asks those at Hampden what they think about the findings of the Court of Session about the so called obvious common sense interpretation of what was going on?
The SFA have full access to a host of lawyers who sit in the judicial panel. What do theu think?
What does Andrew McKinlay – the legally qualified corporate compliance officer think?
No, let’s just ask the players! In fact let’s just ask the players who received the money they are sure to give an objective and fair minded point of view.
Every club has to renew its licence to play each and every year. The SFA rules state that each club shall name a person or persons who will be responsible for making sure that all the documents and submissions are compliant with the rules — that there is nothing hidden, nothing left out and so on.
How come we never hear who that perosn was during the appropriate years and what role he played in failing to uncover the second contracts and the unlawful — yes unlawful Richard — payments to players?
The reason they were unlawful? Because either they were bot disclosed ( a breach of the rules ) or they were paid by a third party trust ( a separate breach of the rules ). Take your pick.
Scottish Football cannot afford to just cover this up and move on. There will be nothing to move on to.
The footballing public in Scotland now widely believe that for a decade at least football was fixed, there were deliberate rule breaches which were covered up, hidden by the club and kept secret.
Many believe that there are those within the SFA who are so afraid of this coming out that they have decided to bury it as deep as they can and will be reluctant to look at the whole picture for fear of uncovering a can of worms that the public won’t like.
Well the public have a really sour taste in the mouth as it is and they do not trust the footballing governance in this country.
For a number of years after the doping scandals in cycling, various networks, sponsors, advertsiers and so on all walked away from the Tour de France leaving it a far poorer event in terms of financial sponsorship and so on.
I would not pay a single penny into Scottish Football if I thought that there was no proper Governance and will be no proper governance.
Like the players or ex players — I am all for sport being won or lost on the field of play, but when there is an organised attempt to flaunt rules, gain advantage, cover up known and deliberate rule transgressions and it is simply accpeted that those who perpetrate such acts can simply be allowed to carry on as normal by those who govern the sport, then that is the day I decide that this has ceased to be sport at all as I know it.
Given those involved, those who received the payments, negotiated the contracts, submitted the documents and tried to cover them up, if the SFA and SPFL don’t allow a fully independent enquiry into this then Scottish Football is a thing of the past and Hampden Park can truly rebill itself as a Museum where you go to look at something that used to happen but is no more.
Then again, that museum could be housed in the Art Gallery or one of the other listed buildings we have in Scotland which is worth preserving.
Hampden, Celtic Park, Ibrox, Firhill, Easter Road, Tynecastle, Pittodrie, Dens, Tannadice and various other grounds are all perfectly suited for housing developements or community assets.
They have no future as sports stadiums if there is no sport worth speaking about.
Whose assets are they anyway?
For anyone who is interested, here is a LONG post I made on my Strandsky Tales and Stories blog way back before the FTT decision came in and before Lance Armstrong gave up pretending that he was on the level.
We now know so much more, but at the tine there were a whole load of questions to be asked in the event of the tax case going against MIH.
My apologies for the length of the post but the comparison was apt and I posed some questions and scenarios which the MSM were missing back in the day and are still missing now.