Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?

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Did Stewart Regan Ken Then Wit We Ken Noo?

 

Thoughts and observations from watching and reading a transcript of Alex Thomson of Channel 4’s Interview with Stewart Regan (CEO of the SFA) Broadcast by Channel 4 on 29 March 2012.

http://www.channel4.com/news/we-run-football-were-not-the-police-sfa-boss

Introduction. I came across the above interview recently and listened to and transcribed it again as it reminded me of questions it raised then that the passage of time since has provided some insight into.

There is a lot to digest so the blog is broken into four sections.  Three parts cover the Interview plus what they seem to tell us now, knowing what was not known then viz:

  • Why No independent or independent element to the enquiry that became the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission. given the potential extent of the corruption at play?
  • Why no effective fit and Proper Person scrutiny and the absence of real governance?
  • EBTS and whether they constitute wrong doing and why that mattered so much and still does. plus
  • The “hard to not to believe” conclusions about the whole exercise with the benefit of what we ken noo.

There is also an Annex at the end with excerpts from the Lord Nimmo Smith Decision for ease of reference:

The comments (in bold italics) are based on what Regan said then and what we ken noo, either as facts or questions arising from them. It is a long read but hopefully readers will be enticed by this introduction to stay the course.

In the following “SR” is Stewart Regan CEO of the SFA and “AT” is Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News.

No Independent Enquiry?

SR No

AT I’m just curious as to why they wouldn’t. With something as big as this potentially this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport, which is – a thought – and yet the SPL deem themselves fit to investigate themselves.

SR Well I think you are calling it potentially the biggest corruption case, at this stage there has been no wrongdoing proven.  There is an investigation going on

AT But you would accept that potentially, potentially that if guilty there is no question this is the biggest corruption scandal in British sport.

SR There is no wrongdoing as I said at the moment and there is nothing yet that has been established as far as the club registering players without providing the appropriate documentation, so I think it would   be wrong to jump to conclusions and even use words like corruption. You know there are a series of issues here. There are some footballing matters which are being dealt through the football authorities and there are tax mattes which are being dealt with through HMRC and there is to be a Tax Tribunal due to be heard as I’m sure you are aware in April.

So even before the investigation got underway Mr Regan was saying that it would be incorrect to assume that any wrong doing took place in terms of the registration process and use of ebts. He later expands on this point in relation to EBTs as a legitimate tax arrangement device. Given that the FTT did not rule until November 2012 that the ebts issued under the Murray Management Group Remuneration Trust (MMGRT) were legal then this stance by Mr Regan appears justifiable at the time of interview – but more on that later. 

AT I’m just wondering why at no stage anybody seemed, or perhaps they did, to think we need an independent body coming in this is big this is huge, potentially  we need somebody from the outside  or we are going simply going to be accused of investigating ourselves.

SR Well I think that might be one for you to ask the Scottish Premier League as far as their Board..

AT Well they appeal to you so I’m asking you.

SR   No as you said we are the right of appeal so if the club is concerned with any punishment it has been given well then they can choose to appeal to us. We as a body have the provision in our rules to carry out independent enquiries, indeed we did so very recently by appointing the Right Honourable Lord Nimmo Smith to carry out our own investigation into Rangers and we are part way through disciplinary proceedings and they will be heard on 29 March.

Given that player registrations are ultimately lodged with the SFA where Sandy Bryson has been doing the job for some years, I did wonder why the SFA were not the body taking the lead. They had the expertise on what turned out to be a key issue, the eligibility of players if misregistration occurred.  Indeed Sandy Bryson was called in to give a testimony to Lord Nimmo Smith that most folk involved in running a football team from amateur level upwards (as I was) had difficulty accepting. The Bryson interpretation suggested us amateurs had been daft not to take the risk of being found out if we did not register players correctly if only games from the point of discovery risked having results overturned. The Bryson interpretation on eligibility made no sense against that experience and it still does not to football lovers. I’m not sure if the rules have been amended to reflect the Bryson interpretation yet, but cannot see how they can be without removing a major deterrent that I always thought proper registration was there to provide.

The point about their having to be a body of higher appeal sounded plausible then, but could the Court of Arbitration on Sport not have been that body?  Or did that risk taking matters out of the SFA’s control even though it would have introduced an element of the independence that Alex Thomson raises in the following paragraphs in his interview?

AT But did anybody at any stage at the SFA say to you I have a concern that we need an independent body, that the SPL can’t and shouldn’t handle this?

SR Well under the governance of football the SPL run the competition

AT I’m not asking, I’m saying did anybody come to you at any stage and say that to you. Anybody?

SR No they didn’t as far as the SPL’s processes is concerned. The SPL ,

AT Never?

It is notable here that Alex Thomson pushes the point about lack of independence, which is where we enter “wit we ken noo territory”.  

Given that it is now known that SFA President Campbell Ogilvie sat on the Rangers FC Remunerations Policy Committee in September 1999 where it was decided Discount Option Scheme (DOS) ebts would be used as a matter of club remuneration policy using the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT).

Given that we know that Campbell Ogilvie instigated the first ebt payment to Craig Moore using the Discount Options Scheme.

Given that Ronald De Boer and Tor Andre Flo had both been paid using the same type of DOS ebt as Moore from 2000 to 2002/03 but accompanied by side letters, later concealed from HMRC  in 2005 and of course the SFA from August 2000.

Given that Mr Ogilvie was also in receipt of the later MMGRT ebts disputed by HMRC in the big tax case on which the FTT had still to rule

Given that Mr Regan must have been aware at time of interview that Sherriff Officers had called at Ibrox in August 2011 to collect payment of a tax bill, which means even to a layman that it must have gone past dispute to acceptance of liability and so crystallised sometime after 31st March 2011.

Given that Craig Whyte had already agreed to pay the wee tax bill in his public Takeover statement in early June 2011.

Given that on 7th December 2011 Regan had written to Andrew Dickson at RFC, who had sat on three of the four SFA/UEFA Licensing Committee meetings in 2011, to approve a draft statement by Mr Regan on the SFA’s handling of the UEFA Licence aspect of the wee tax case, which arose as a direct result of the use of the DOS ebts to Flo and De Boer during Dickson’s ongoing tenure at RFC from 1991.

Given that Campbell Ogilvie accompanied Stewart Regan to meet Craig Whyte at the Hotel De Vin on 15th December 2011 as a result of an invite stemming from that consternation causing draft that RFC thought likely to cause problems for the SFA (having agreed before the hotel meeting that no comment should be made on the wee tax case)

Given that the wee tax case was a direct result of those early types of DOS ebts being judged illegal by an FTT considering an appeal by the Aberdeen Asset Management company in 2010.

Given all of these facts, how credible is it that no conversation took place between Regan and Campbell Ogilvie on the requirement for an independent enquiry?

If a conversation did not take place as claimed, the question has to be should it have?

Given the foregoing facts on the early ebts, how credible is it Mr Regan during this interview did not know as a result of his involvement with the overdue payable and the UEFA licence in 2011 of the illegal and therefore wrong doing nature of those early EBTS with side letters concealed from the SFA and HMRC in 2005 just before Mr Ogilvie left RFC?

SR The SPL run, the SPL run the rules of The Scottish Premier League and they apply that. There are a whole host of people raising issues on internet sites and passing comment s about various theories that they have about Scottish football particularly in the West of Scotland. I think it’s important to establish that governance of Scottish football is managed by the appropriate body whether it is the Premier League, The Football League or the overall governing body. So that as far as we are concerned we let the   Scottish Premier league manage their own rules and if those rules are then broken and the club is charged they have the right of appeal to us as the Appellant body.

Given all of the now known facts listed above how credible is it that the reason given by Stewart Regan to Alex Thomson for the SFA being the appeal body was indeed the only one?

Given the foregoing how credible is it that Mr Regan was not aware that he was being economical with the truth during his interview or had he indeed been kept in the dark by others in the SFA?

Fit and Proper Person and Absence of Governance

AT Let’s talk about Craig Whyte. Ehm   – Presumably when Craig Whyte was mooted as coming in as the new owner – for the grand sum of £1 – for Rangers Football club, presumably the SFA took a keen interest in this and did some kind of due diligence on this man.

SR Well we have under our articles, Article 10.2, we have a process which sets out a number of criteria for what defines a fit and proper person within football. Now as you know we cannot stop people getting involved with a business and we cannot stop people getting involved with a PLC, all we can stop them doing is having an involvement with football, so what we do as part of that process is we ask for a declaration from the Directors of the club that they have a copy of the Articles,, that they have gone through the conditions and criteria within Article 10.2 and they have confirmed to us that they meet those criteria. If subsequently those criteria are breached then of course we take appropriate action.

AT You keep quoting rules back to me that’s not what I’m asking, I’m asking is did the SFA conduct any due diligence on this individual.

SR No we asked for a self-declaration from the Directors of the club and the individual himself.

AT Forgive me that sounds absolutely incredible this is the biggest club in Scotland which has been brought to its knees by a whole range of fiscal mismanagement, it is all on the record and proven. A new man comes in claiming all kinds of things, just like the previous man, and the SFA did not check or do any due diligence whatsoever.

SR That is part of the process of governing football, we

AT That’s, that’s NOT governing football that’s the exact opposite to governing football that’s running away from governing football.

SR No if you let me, if you let me finish my answer the point I am about to make is we govern the entire game from the top of the game down to grass roots. We have changes of Directors we have changes of ownership throughout the course of the year. I’m sure that if we were to spend football’s well earned money on doing investigations into potentially every change of Director, then there would be a lot of unhappy Chairmen out there.

AT You could have easily have googled (?) for free

SR Well we rely on the clubs telling us that the Articles have been complied with and that is the process we undertake.

AT This is extraordinary I say to you again  you have years of fiscal mismanagement at Rangers Football Club, a new man comes in you are telling me that nobody at The SFA as much as got on to Google  to get any background information nobody did anything ? That is extraordinary.

SR Well you refer to alleged years of financial mismanagement. I think it’s important to separate out the previous regime at Rangers and the new owner.

AT Rangers were a mess financially everybody new that

SR But I think it’s important in the case of the point you are raising regarding the fit and proper person test, to separate out the previous regime from the new owner. The club was in the process of being sold, they were challenging a tax bill that had been challenged by HMRC,* and the club had been sold to a new owner. That new owner had come in, he had purchased the club, the paper work for that sale had gone through and the club had complied with our Articles of Association. We run football we don’t, we are not the police we don’t govern transactions, we don’t govern fitness, we run football and we had asked the club to declare whether or not that person was fit to hold a place in association football. They had gone through the articles they’d signed to say that they had read those articles and that there had been no breaches of any of the points set out there. That included whether a Director had been disqualified. That wasn’t disclosed to us, indeed it did not come out until the BBC did their investigation back in October of last year.

(* note that in spite of all the “givens” listed earlier,  Mr Regan fails to distinguish (or appreciate) that there is more than one tax bill at play and the one for the wee tax case was not under challenge or Sherriff Officers would not have called in August 2011 to collect it.)

 AT So the BBC did due diligence on fitness (??) not the SFA?

SR No, as I said it came out in October 2010 primarily as a result of a detailed investigation. We then have to respond to potential breaches of our articles and we did that We entered into dialogue with the solicitor who was acting for Mr Whyte and we were in dialogue until February 2011 (?sic)  of this year when the club entered administration.

AT What I’m simply asking you to admit here is that the SFA failed and it failed Rangers in its hour of need over Craig Whyte and it failed Scottish football.

SR We didn’t fail.

AT You didn’t do anything, you said you didn’t do anything.

SR We complied with the current processes within our articles. That said I think there are a number of learnings and I think the same goes for football right across the globe. People are coming into football into a multimillion pound business and I think football needs to take a harder look at what could be done differently. We are currently exploring the possibility of carrying out due diligence using the outgoing regime to make sure that there is a full and rigorous research being done before the transaction is allowed to go ahead.

AT Do you feel the need to apologise to Rangers fans?

SR I don’t need to apologise because we complied with our articles. I don’t feel there is a need to apologise whatsoever. I think….

AT You need some new articles then don’t you?

SR Well I think the articles

AT Well let’s unpack this. You said there is no need to apologise because we followed the rule books so that’s all right. So you must therefore admit you need a new rule book.

SR No well I think it’s easy at times to try and look around and find a scapegoat and try and point fingers at where blame is to be apportioned. I think perhaps it might be worth looking at the previous regime who for four years when they said they were selling the club, said that they would sell it and act in the best interests of the club. With that in mind I think the previous regime also have to take some responsibility for selling that club and looking after so called shareholders of Rangers football club and those people who that have put money into the club over the years.

AT ??  (Interrupted)

SR the Scottish FA, as I said have a process, that process has been place for some time. It has worked very very well until now I think there are learnings undoubtably and as I said we will review where we can tighten up as I know is happening across the game right now.

The above segment on Craig Whyte and Fit and Proper  Persons is a timely reminder to supporters of all clubs, but particularly of Rangers FC of what happens when those charged with governing Scottish football hide behind the letter of the rules when convenient, rather than apply the true spirit in which those rules were written. It is the approach of The Pharisees to make a wrong , right.

To be fair to the SFA though, I doubt anyone could have imagined the degree of deceit and deception that they had allowed into Scottish football in May 2011 and how useless their rules were as a result, but I am not aware to this day if the SFA have apologised to Scottish football generally and Rangers supporters in particular, not only for failing to protect them from Craig Whyte, but also failing to protect them from the consequences of the foolish financial excesses of Sir David Murray, especially from 2008 when the tax bills in respect of the MMGRT ebts began to arrive at RFC . Some intervention then, assuming something was known by some at the SFA, who also held positions at Rangers, of  those  huge tax demands,  might have cost Rangers three titles from 2009, but what Ranger’s supporter would not give all of that up to protect their club from the fate that the failure of the SFA to govern has caused?

Also to be fair the SFA have changed the rules so that the outgoing regime is responsible for doing due diligence on any new club owners rather than relying on self-certification by the incoming club owner, but we know that did not work particularly well when Rangers Chairman Alistair Johnstone did due diligence on Craig Whyte , but then again Sir David Murray  was under pressure to sell and the guy coming in, everyone was told, had wealth off the radar.

The Nature of EBTS.

AT Let’s look at EBTs. Did nobody question ebts in the Scottish game in the English game come to that simply because nobody thought they were illegal in any way and indeed are not illegal in any way if operated correctly? Is it as simple as that?

SR There is nothing wrong with ebts when used correctly and ebts are a way of providing benefits to employees and if managed in a correct manner are perfectly legitimate. I think that the issue that we know is under investigation at the moment by both HMRC as part of the large tax case and the SPL as part of their own investigation into potential no disclosure of side letters is whether or not there has been any wrong doing and I think the issue at hand is that wrongdoing or potential wrongdoing has been discussed with HMRC for some time for several years in fact so we would not get involved in anything that there is no wrongdoing   taking place and ebts are, as I said, a legitimate way of doing business when used correctly.

Again taking the “givens” into account, particularly the significant event of Sherriff Officers calling to collect unpaid tax in August 2011 and the logical deduction that the SFA President must have known of the difference between the two types of ebts Rangers used, (and perhaps why they were changed) why the insistence at this point that all the ebts used by Rangers had been used correctly? Mr Regan at the time of the interview was either kept in the dark by his President, given he claims to have spoken to no one about the independence of the enquiry, or being economical with the truth.

The whole of Lord Nimmo Smith’s judgement made months after this interview, where Mr Regan stressed again and again there is no wrongdoing in the use of ebts if arranged correctly (or lawfully) is predicated on all ebts with side letters used by Rangers since 23 November 2011 actually being used correctly and in Lord Nimmo Smiths words on being “themselves not irregular”. (Para 5 of Annex 1). It is almost as if Mr Regan knew the outcome before Lord Nimmo Smith.

(In fact the ebt to Tor Andre Flo had a side letter dated 23 November and it related to a tax arrangement that had not been used correctly (using Regan’s own words) The irregular ebt for Ronald De Boer with a side letter of 30 August was placed beyond the scope of the Commission because in spite of it meeting the criteria specified by Harper MacLeod in March 2012 asking to be provided with ALL ebts and side letters and any other related documentation from July 1998 to date (including the HMRC letter of Feb 2011 that fully demonstrated that those particular ebts under  the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust (REBT) were not used correctly) and so were unlawful, NONE  of that documentation was  provided when requested.

This enabled Lord Nimmo Smith to state in para 107 of his Decision “while there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate” which is a statement he could not have made had he had all the requested documentation denied to him either by dishonesty or negligence during the preparation of his Commission.

How would he have had to judge one wonders if deception and dishonesty was indeed the factor we now ken that it is?

 

What exactly were the consequences of the failure to provide Lord Nimmo Smith with the required documentation?

It is stated in the Decision (Annex 1 para 104) that the Inquiry proceeded on the basis that the EBT arrangements (by which it meant the MGMRT ebts) were “lawful”. As it transpired the outcome of the FTT decision announced in November 2012 was that the MGMRT ebts indeed were (although this is still under appeal by HMRC.)

However, because Lord Nimmo Smith treated the MGMRT and the Earlier Trust (REBT) as one and the same, (para 35 of Decision) this meant that the Inquiry failed to distinguish between the two trusts and necessarily treated the Earlier Trust as also being lawful (without however having properly investigated its operation). However, the MGMRT and the earlier REBT were two separate trusts and there was no necessary reason to treat them as one and the same. Had evidence relating to the REBT been produced and examined, the Inquiry could hardly have treated them) as “continuous” or allowed Lord Nimmo Smith to say “we are not aware that they were different trusts“(Annex 1 para 35)

From the Decision (Annex 1 para 40), it would appear that the President of the SFA gave evidence only as to his knowledge of the MGMRT (not the REBT). We know now that the President of the SFA had knowledge of the Earlier Trust (sitting on the RFC remuneration policy committee that agreed to their use in 1999 and indeed was active in its setting up). Why the President failed to volunteer such crucial information is surely something he should now be asked?

By the time of the Inquiry, Rangers FC had already conceded liability in what has become known as “the Wee Tax Case” (which related to the now unlawful REBTs). Having regard to the wording at para 104 of the Decision (that is an echo of what Regan stressed to Alex Thomson about ebts) where it is said that to arrange financial affairs in a manner “within the law” is not a breach of the SFA/SPL Rules) the clear implication, must be that to arrange financial affairs in such a way that they are not lawful, must be a breach of the rules.

Given the admission of liability in the Wee Tax Case, payments made in respect of the REBT could not be “lawful” (to employ the language used in the Decision) or disputed, but Mr Regan presumably did not enquire too much into the history of the wee tax case before agreeing to talk to Alex Thomson.

It will be obvious from the above that the unlawful nature of REBTs had been masked from SPL lawyers and Lord Nimmo Smith as a result of:-

(a) the failure by the Administrators of Rangers FC to provide the documentation required of them;

(b) the failure of the President of the SFA to provide to the Inquiry his own knowledge of, involvement in, and presumably as a result of it, an appreciation of the differences between the two types of ebts and the consequences thereof for the investigation.  

Had the REBT been the sole subject of the Inquiry (rather than in effect not being examined at all) the following must have been different:-

(i)            the President could hardly have failed to give testimony of his knowledge and involvement;

(ii)          the Inquiry could not have held that the use of the REBT ebts was lawful;

(iv)       the “no sporting advantage” decision given in respect of the lawful ebts could not have been applied to unlawful ebts.

The real issue in the case of the unlawful ebts was not one of misregistration (Annex 1 para 104) which in turn justified the no sporting advantage decision in paras 105/106 but of paying players by an unlawful means which “constitutes such a fundamental defect (Annex 1 para 88) that the registration of players paid this way (i.e. unlawfully) must be treated as having been invalid from the outset.

Had the true nature of these early ebts been known to SPL lawyers the Terms of Reference of the Investigation would have to have addressed the wrong doing that Mr Regan was so keen to argue with Alex Thomson had not actually occurred (long before Lord Nimmo Smith agreed with him) or had President Ogilvie made the distinction in his testimony, it would have been impossible for Sandy Bryson’s to advise as he did regarding the effect on eligibility. He would have to have been asked questions about two types of ebts not one. Finally Lord Nimmo Smith could not have treated both as continuous.

Finally, given this incidence of non-disclosure by the Rangers Administrators (an identifiable trait of RFC dealings with authority from August 2000 to date), it is impossible to see how paragraph 107 (wherein it is stated that there is “no question of dishonesty”) can be allowed to remain unchallenged.

Of course the failure to supply the key evidence could just be an oversight given Rangers Administrators were hardly likely to have established of their own volition the importance of the documents to the enquiry and yet, had they been supplied, the enquiry could not have been based on the defence Stewart Regan was at such pains to stress in his interview with Alex Thomson at a time only 3 months after Mr Regan and Campbell Ogilvie had joined Craig Whyte for dinner as a result of an invite prompted by questions on the SFA UEFA Licence handling of the wee tax case , created by the very same unlawful ebts.

AT But as the governing body why did you not say to Rangers “look guys this this smells really bad, this looks bad you look (and you have admitted you have not paid your tax) you know we can’t do this, we have got to be open and above board, it looks bad.

SR Well think you need to look at what is legal and above board. At the time the club, were in dispute with HMRC. There was a tax case ongoing the new owner was in discussion with HMRC. In fact he has made comments and the club have made comments to that effect and because the amount was not crystallised under UEFA guidelines, whilst ever it’s in dispute it’s not classed as overdue.

AT Sometimes

SR So you need to separate out the licensing requirement, which is what the Licensing Committee did, from the tax that was owed to HMRC which is as we know what is still ongoing.

Mr Regan was not being accurate here.  The Big Tax case was in dispute and the bill has not crystallised as a result. However the wee tax case crystallised in mid June 2011 and at 30th June 2011, the UEFA licence checkpoint under Article 66 of UEFA FFP, did not meet the conditions to excuse it as being an overdue payable to HMRC. Quite how the SFA handled the processing of the Article 66 submission from RFC is subject to a resolution asking UEFA to investigate put to the Celtic AGM in November 2013 which is still in progress. As has been mentioned twice before Mr Regan has either been kept in the dark or was being less than honest with Alex Thomson. Interestingly Andrew Dickson who has been at Rangers in various administration and executive capacity since 1991 sat on 3 of the four UEFA Licensing Committee meetings during 2011. He may of course have excused himself from any discussions on this matter as the rules allowed, but was a full explanation why he did so, if indeed he did, offered? Would such an explanation have enlightened Mr Regan of what he was dealing with?

AT Sometimes things can be within the rules but from a PR point of view, indeed from a moral point of view, hate to introduce morality to football but can be the wrong thing to do. You would accept that?

SR Well I think that football around the world is going through a difficult time, clubs are in difficult financial circumstances, not just in Scotland, you look down into England and look at the clubs in Administration at the moment. You know Portsmouth and Port Vale in recent times and I think Plymouth is as well again. As far as that is concerned you know that indicates that clubs are living from hand to mouth and there are deals being done all the time with HMRC, payment plans being agreed. There is huge amounts of debt in football.

AT I’m just inviting you to accept that sometimes things can be within the rules but just look bad because morally, they are bad.

ST I think when taxes aren’t paid ehm VAT in particular, National Insurance Contributions of course that’s bad and I think we accept that and we know that in the current regime there is evidence to suggest that Rangers has not paid its taxes since Mr Whyte took over the club. That’s wrong that is against the spirit of the game and certainly we would look to deal with that and stamp out that type of behaviour which is not acting with integrity.

If Carlsberg did irony!

End of Interview.

The Hard Not to Believe Conclusions

There is always the danger in examining anything of finding what you want to be there rather than what is there and it is a danger any writer has to be aware of, but given the responses from Harper MacLeod on TSFM and the total lack of response from the SPFL and SFA when being informed of the missing evidence along with what has been written here it is hard not to conclude that the Lord Nimmo Smith Inquiry was deliberately set up in such a way as to produce two results

  • The minimising of the wrongful behaviour that had taken place from 1999 to 2012 when The Commission sat
  • The avoidance of the consequences of admitting that serious wrongdoing in the form of illegal payments had been made via irregular EBTs, which consequently made the players involved ineligible from the outset, making the Bryson ruling inapplicable in those cases with the consequences of that ineligibility on trophies and remuneration won.

The reader will find it hard not to conclude that either

  • there was a huge screw up by the SPL lawyers charged to set up the Commission which they might be able to defend
  • or
  • Vital knowledge was concealed within the SFA itself in order to achieve the above two results and
  • This knowledge was deliberately concealed because had it not been The Inquiry could not have come to the conclusion it did on player eligibility, not only because unlawful ebts were used in early instances, but also because the deliberate concealment from HMRC of the side letters to De Boer and Flo, the former also kept from Harper and MacLeod, suggests Rangers knew all along and in 2005 in particular that what they were doing since 2000 was morally wrong and against the spirit of the game. It perhaps also explains why HMRC is determined to push an appeal all the way.
  • This failure to supply all documents meant that the line being taken by Mr Regan in March 2012, when the Commission was being set up into the use of ebts and failure to register them with the SFA, came to fulfilment in the Decision of Lord Nimmo Smith himself, achieving the two aims suggested above.

Given that Harper MacLeod have said they passed on to the SFA in September 2014 the evidence kept from them by Rangers Administrators, has Stewart Regan spoken to either Ogilvie or Dickson since then about keeping him in the dark? Or did he know all along?

Of course these hard to believe conclusions could be discounted as delusional ramblings if either the SFA or SPFL were to say they would investigate the evidence kept from Harper MacLeod. It would also help if only one of the thirteen main stream journalists would look at the hard copy of the concealed documents they were provided with, because until someone who values sporting integrity does, the stench of corruption will hang over Scottish football for years to reek out anytime the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission is used as a justification for anything that it contains.

Annex One – Extracts from Lord Nimmo Smith Decision

[5] Although the payments in this case were not themselves irregular and were not in

breach of SPL or SFA Rules, the scale and extent of the proven contraventions of the disclosure rules require a substantial penalty to be imposed;

 

Outline of the Scheme

 

[35] As we have said, a controlling interest in Oldco was held by David Murray through the medium of Murray MHL Limited, part of the Murray Group of companies. Murray Group Management Limited (MGM) provided management services to the companies of the Murray Group. By deed dated 20 April 2001 MGM set up the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust (the MGMRT). (We note that the MGMRT was preceded by the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust, but we are not aware that they were different trusts. We shall treat them as a continuous trust, which we shall refer to throughout as the MGMRT.)

 

[40] Mr Ogilvie learnt about the existence of the MGMRT in about 2001 or 2002, because a contribution was made for his benefit. He understood that this was non-contractual. Although as a result he knew about the existence of the MGMRT, he did not know any details of it. He subsequently became aware, while he remained director of Oldco, that contributions were being made to the MGMRT in respect of players. He assumed that these were made in respect of the players’ playing football, which was the primary function for which they were employed and remunerated. He had no involvement in the organisation or management of Oldco’s contributions to the MGMRT, whether for players or otherwise. He said:

“I assumed that all contributions to the Trust were being made legally, and that any relevant football regulations were being complied with. I do not recall contributions to the Trust being discussed in any detail, if at all, at Board meetings. In any event, Board meetings had become less and less frequent by my later years at Rangers.”

He also said: “Nothing to do with the contributions being made to the Trust fell within the scope of my remit at Rangers”.

However it should be noted that Mr Ogilvie was a member of the board of directors who approved the statutory accounts of Oldco which disclosed very substantial payments made under the EBT arrangements.

 

[88] In our opinion, this was a correct decision by Mr McKenzie. There is every reason why the rules of the SFA and the SPL relating to registration should be construed and applied consistently with each other. Mr Bryson’s evidence about the position of the SFA in this regard was clear. In our view, the Rules of the SPL, which admit of a construction consistent with those of the SFA, should be given that construction. All parties’ concerned – clubs, players and footballing authorities – should be able to proceed on the faith of an official register. This means that a player’s registration should generally be treated as standing unless and until revoked. There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches. There was therefore no breach of SPL Rule D1.11.

 

[104] As we have already explained, in our view the purpose of the Rules applicable to Issues 1 to 3 is to promote the sporting integrity of the game. These rules are not designed as any form of financial regulation of football, analogous to the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations. Thus it is not the purpose of the Rules to regulate how one football club may seek to gain financial and sporting advantage over others. Obviously, a successful club is able to generate more income from gate money, sponsorship, advertising, sale of branded goods and so on, and is consequently able to offer greater financial rewards to its manager and players, in the hope of even more success. Nor is it a breach of SPL or SFA Rules for a club to arrange its affairs – within the law – so as to minimise its tax liabilities. The Tax Tribunal has held (subject to appeal) that Oldco was acting within the law in setting up and operating the EBT scheme. The SPL presented no argument to challenge the decision of the majority of the Tax Tribunal and Mr McKenzie stated expressly that for all purposes of this Commission’s Inquiry and Determination the SPL accepted that decision as it stood, without regard to any possible appeal by HMRC. Accordingly we proceed on the basis that the EBT arrangements were lawful. What we are concerned with is the fact that the side-letters issued to the Specified Players, in the course of the operation of the EBT scheme, were not disclosed to the SPL and the SFA as required by their respective Rules.

[105] It seems appropriate in the first place to consider whether such breach by non-disclosure conferred any competitive advantage on Rangers FC. Given that we have held that Rangers FC did not breach Rule D1.11 by playing ineligible players, it did not secure any direct competitive advantage in that respect. If the breach of the rules by non-disclosure of the side-letters conferred any competitive advantage, that could only have been an indirect one. Although it is clear to us from Mr Odam’s evidence that Oldco’s failure to disclose the side-letters to the SPL and the SFA was at least partly motivated by a wish not to risk prejudicing the tax advantages of the EBT scheme, we are unable to reach the conclusion that this led to any competitive advantage. There was no evidence before us as to whether any other members of the SPL used similar EBT schemes, or the effect of their doing so. Moreover, we have received no evidence from which we could possibly say that Oldco could not or would not have entered into the EBT arrangements with players if it had been required to comply with the requirement to disclose the arrangements as part of the players’ full financial entitlement or as giving rise to payment to players. It is entirely possible that the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed to the SPL and SFA without prejudicing the argument – accepted by the majority of the Tax Tribunal at paragraph 232 of their decision – that such arrangements, resulting in loans made to the players, did not give rise to payments absolutely or unreservedly held for or to the order of the individual players. On that basis, the EBT arrangements could have been disclosed as contractual arrangements giving rise to a facility for the player to receive loans, and there would have been no breach of the disclosure rules.

[106] We therefore proceed on the basis that the breach of the rules relating to disclosure did not give rise to any sporting advantage, direct or indirect. We do not therefore propose to consider those sanctions which are of a sporting nature.

[107] We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June 2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the side letters need not be or should not be disclosed. No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

Auldheid  Feb 2015

About the author

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Auldheid author

Celtic fan from Glasgow living mostly in Spain. A contributor to several websites, discussion groups and blogs, and a member of the Resolution 12 Celtic shareholders' group. Committed to sporting integrity, good governance, and the idea that football is interdependent. We all need each other in the game.

5,190 Comments so far

woodstein

woodsteinPosted on12:53 am - Apr 30, 2015


SFM says:
Moderator: (184 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Come on guys (and gals) like this!!

Click on image to enlarge.

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douglas reynholm

douglas reynholmPosted on1:01 am - Apr 30, 2015


sitcom says:
Member: (2 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 12:23 am

It’s a hard call. Sure, ronny deila has had resources at his disposal that most managers don’t and Robbie neilson is a good call. Paul Hartley and John Hughes Too. Alex Neil done well and got the Norwich Job…..which I think if ronny deila had been offered, he’d have taken it before the Celtic job!

I’d go for ronny deila. Yes, I know even John Barnes would have won the league in these circumstances however he’s had a huge effect on the club and I think Celtic have pulled out a diamond there and the best is yet to come.

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on1:09 am - Apr 30, 2015


Chi is genuinely a good ‘un. It has to be said.
Been trying to politely engage with Mash on Football and 0HC for some time and making constituents aware of progress (or lack of).
THIS is how you apply pressure to MASH, guys.
Politely, assertively, evenly, and publicly but not too loudly.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/mike-ashley-invited-house-commons-9138177#ICID=sharebar_twitter

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TrisidiumPosted on1:11 am - Apr 30, 2015


Have chosen my cuddly new nickname. Very grand – and nobody knows what it means 🙂

Trisidium

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Resin_lab_dogPosted on1:31 am - Apr 30, 2015


Trisidium says:
Moderator: (185 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 1:11 am

Have chosen my cuddly new nickname. Very grand – and nobody knows what it means 🙂
____________________________________

BUSTED!

http://www.victorhornetcomics.co.uk/trisidium.html

(btw… Some organometallic Tris-iNdium complexes are used as luminescing agents?)

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TrisidiumPosted on1:44 am - Apr 30, 2015


Got me RLD 😳

Didny know about the spray-tan though 😎

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redlichtiePosted on4:49 am - Apr 30, 2015


Peter22 says:
Member: (10 comments)
April 29, 2015 at 11:52 pm
One of the most frequently used phrases/mantras in business, is “make our product obsolete, before our competitors do.” Quite a few variations of this phrase can be found in many business magazines or journals, etc. Can’t think of anyone who has actually achieved this ,any ideas anyone?
———————————————————
Apple? Sometimes it’s just keeping ahead of the competition. The confectionery and drinks sector as examples are continually innovating and ditching products whose life cycle can’t be extended. Look at the brand extensions currently underway with an old name like Bird’s Eye.

WRT this and an earlier comment perhaps Theodore Levitt’s classic “Marketing Myopia” might be of interest?

https://hbr.org/2004/07/marketing-myopia

Scottish Football could do with proper marketing and not this amateur hour performance from administrators who are clearly out of their depth.

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The Rangers nil? Who missed the penalty?Posted on5:40 am - Apr 30, 2015


Allyjambo says:
Member: (848 comments)
April 29, 2015 at 11:11 pm

“The Karma is, that the same WATP belief is what has led them to be so blind to the Whytes and Greens and many others. It continues to blind them.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Regarding the WATP mentality, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

What they regard as their greatest strength is, in fact, their biggest weakness.

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yourhavingalaugh

yourhavingalaughPosted on6:46 am - Apr 30, 2015


I would imagine this would be a big day for Keef and co to be in and around Ibrox asking serious questions,financial questions,but we all know they won’t,anyone willing to pose some questions for him to be asking.

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upthehoopsPosted on7:12 am - Apr 30, 2015


douglas reynholm says:
Member: (33 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 1:01 am
==============================

Manager of the year, especially the one chosen by sportswriters, can be a hollow award if you ask me. I have listened for the past two evenings several writers stating their case for who they think it should be and if we are to accept for example that Chick Young’s opinion on this is more worthy than ours then we might as well give up. I couldn’t care less who wins it because the people voting are full of the same personal preferences, bias, and undisclosed reasons for disliking others as we all are.

As an aside I don’t believe ANYONE could win the league with Celtic as the job brings so many other areas of pressure to counter the obvious financial advantages. I don’t believe anyone can make a case that Ronny Deila has been treated fairly by the media and it can’t be easy going to work every day knowing a group of people are doing everything they can to trip you up and sometimes subject you to downright ridicule.

I would see no issue with Robbie Neilson winning it though. He came into the job facing a barrage of questions why he had been preferred to Gary Locke. He was supposed to be fighting for 2nd place at best with Hibs, with Rangers expected to romp the league, while still spending millions more than they can afford. Hearts meanwhile for the first time in years were properly managed financially, and Neilson mostly had to make do with the young talent already at his disposal. He romped the league, and his team can consign Rangers to third spot this weekend. My (worthless) opinion is Neilson would be a deserving winner.

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Danish PastryPosted on7:14 am - Apr 30, 2015


Rangers reveal they WON’T back down in play-off ticket row and insist: It’s WRONG to charge fans twice

Finally some good news for the 6,000 debenture holders of the ‘same club’ then…

…or as Laurie in Dennistoun might say: ‘If you’ll indulge me panel, and I say this with the utmost seriousness of motive; aye, ay, a grandiloquent gesture of this character is totally at one with the glowing perception that — aye — and I say this as a Celtic fan who misses Rangers — the glowing perception of oor city rivals, whose tragic decline has pained us all, that a grandiloquent, ay, substantial demonstration of admirable loyalty towards fans is something that we on the East side of the city could take multifarious and various other lessons from. Whit dae ye think panel? I’m ready to take your questions …”

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upthehoopsPosted on7:25 am - Apr 30, 2015


Anyone else thinking the only thing that is preventing the SFA confirming King is F & P is an inability to get a statement worded that doesn’t look absolutely ridiculous in its justification?

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yakutsuki

yakutsukiPosted on7:51 am - Apr 30, 2015


Off topic, but I just watched the BBC clip of Ken Buchanan being interviewed by Tom English about his battle with booze. Heartbreaking!

You can hear the despair from this once proud man as he is literally ‘On the ropes’ this time.

Tom English sounds way, way out of his depth on this one – but who wouldn’t?

I hope Ken gets the help he needs as he is
suffering terribly on his own. So sad.

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theredpillPosted on8:17 am - Apr 30, 2015


Allyjambo says:
Member: (848 comments)
April 29, 2015 at 11:11 pm

Can’t help thinking that the follow follow song was meant
for them.Also sheep should have been in there too apologies
to Aberdeen : )

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Matty Roth

Matty RothPosted on8:20 am - Apr 30, 2015


‘ave a tar.

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oddjob

oddjobPosted on8:37 am - Apr 30, 2015


SFM, thank you !!

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Cygnus X2

Cygnus X2Posted on8:47 am - Apr 30, 2015


Avatar test

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Allyjambo

AllyjamboPosted on9:06 am - Apr 30, 2015


Allyjambo says:
Member: (848 comments)

April 29, 2015 at 11:20 pm

I guess I’m Chick Yucked! This avatar thing is doing my head in.

AJ
Mail me at sfm@sfm.scot. Send the pic you want to use.

SFM
____________

The one you’ve given me will do very nicely, indeed.

Cheers SFM

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wottpiPosted on9:45 am - Apr 30, 2015


Can I just get this straight?

A fans organisation that calls for a boycott of Sports Direct and especially buying club merchandise complains when SD closes its loss making Airport T’Rangers shop and a board who encouraged people not to buy season tickets will now reward those who went against such wishes by giving them free entry to play-off games, while many boycotters may have to pay full price?

Confused, you won’t be etc etc

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Tartanwulver

TartanwulverPosted on9:51 am - Apr 30, 2015


upthehoops says:
April 29, 2015 at 8:59 pm

A snippet from the Michael Grant article states
‘…the SFA should adopt the brace position and let him in’
————————————————————
Not sure that the ‘brace position’ is the most relevant to what King is quite likely to do to them.

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Tartanwulver

TartanwulverPosted on9:58 am - Apr 30, 2015


As far as ‘Manager of the Year’ is concerned – surely it should be the result of a comparison between what reasonable expectations of the club’s season would be, and the final outcome. Hence, for Celtic, a reasonable expectation would be league champions + 1 cup final + not being humiliated in Champs league. Add to that that they have a new manager, and they score higher than the base line, IMO. But for Hearts, reasonable expectation might be a year of stability off the field + top 5 of their division + not being thrashed as they blood young players. And so on with other clubs. The outcome for me would be plaudits for Delia, but Neilson wins it for having added greatest value to the raw ingredients he started with.

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Prohibby

ProhibbyPosted on10:23 am - Apr 30, 2015


AllyjamboAllyjambo says:
Member: (848 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 12:15 am
cowanpete says:
Member: (20 comments)
April 29, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Sorry, wasn’t trying to make a point about Hibs, or their fans, but as I was making the point that only Rangers fans turned the blame on everyone other than their own people (the RRMs) I thought it right to pre-empt any whataboutery. Mercer’s involvement deflected from the failings/wrongdoings of the Hibs board, but, unlike the way the bears choose to blame everybody else (particularly Celtic,) Mercer was actually involved in a very public way, so the anger was understandable. The Hibs fans, though, didn’t let this stop them organising and saving their club.
………
Thanks for the clarification, AllyJambo. Although I had left Edinburgh the year before ‘Mercergate’, as I recall, the Hibs fans anger was primarily with the Board and the CEO, in particular. I can’t remember his name and have no desire to bring it back to mind, I have to add. I don’t remember Mercer being blamed in any way for Hibs’ troubles. That was down entirely to the board and the C.E.O, in my opinion of course! Mercer was just seen as a predator, a buzzard eager to clean up what was worth grabbing at firesale prices to benefit Hearts. His oft’ repeated mantra was, after all: “I am only interested in what is good for Heart of Midlothian Football Club”. So, Mercer was disliked and distrusted by Hibs fans, not without reason. As I also recall, he wasn’t all that well liked or trusted by many Jambos. At least one member of the Hearts squad made known publically his opposition to Mercers plans for the ailing Hibs remains.

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cavansam

cavansamPosted on10:59 am - Apr 30, 2015


That Avatar movie was terrible. Just my opinion seeing as it’s the hot topic of conversation this morning.

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mcfcPosted on11:10 am - Apr 30, 2015


If RIFC accept a loan from one of the many suitors, will they need to make an announcement to shareholders now they are delisted from AIM and not yet listed on ISDX. If the announcement requirement has gone away, the loan may be a moot point because King will have quietly slipped them £10mil to bide them over. Radar Jackson exclusive coming up.

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yourhavingalaugh

yourhavingalaughPosted on11:15 am - Apr 30, 2015


Surely some mistake,Sports Direct carrier bags full of readies was delivered to Murray Park this morning ,one for each member of staff and two for staff members on special privileges.

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Allyjambo

AllyjamboPosted on11:21 am - Apr 30, 2015


Prohibby says:
Member: (46 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the clarification, AllyJambo. Although I had left Edinburgh the year before ‘Mercergate’, as I recall, the Hibs fans anger was primarily with the Board and the CEO, in particular. I can’t remember his name and have no desire to bring it back to mind, I have to add. I don’t remember Mercer being blamed in any way for Hibs’ troubles. That was down entirely to the board and the C.E.O, in my opinion of course! Mercer was just seen as a predator, a buzzard eager to clean up what was worth grabbing at firesale prices to benefit Hearts. His oft’ repeated mantra was, after all: “I am only interested in what is good for Heart of Midlothian Football Club”. So, Mercer was disliked and distrusted by Hibs fans, not without reason. As I also recall, he wasn’t all that well liked or trusted by many Jambos. At least one member of the Hearts squad made known publically his opposition to Mercers plans for the ailing Hibs remains
_________________________

Glad I managed to get across my reason for including ‘Mercergate’ in my post.

We are not at one on how much the majority of Hibs supporters view the level of Mercer’s ‘blame’, but best we leave it at that as, as you intimate, some things are best left in the past!

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Allyjambo

AllyjamboPosted on11:27 am - Apr 30, 2015


Just leaving now for the big game on Saturday (via Blackpool) and the Championship trophy presentation. Should he be in attendance, I will do something that is quite unusual for me, and boo Mr Doncaster. Please be assured that my boos will be sent, on behalf of, and with the best wishes of, all SFMers 😉

I hope to follow the blog but doubt I will have much chance to post my thoughts on developments over the weekend, in what could be quite an eventful few days.

Good luck to all, sadly we can’t all have the results we’d hope for 🙂

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Prohibby

ProhibbyPosted on11:46 am - Apr 30, 2015


Allyjambo says:
Member: (851 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 11:21 am

Fair enough Allyjambo. Enjoy the moment on Saturday. The trophy is well deserved.

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mcfcPosted on11:55 am - Apr 30, 2015


yourhavingalaugh says:
Member: (212 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 11:15 am

Surely some mistake,Sports Direct carrier bags full of readies was delivered to Murray Park.
==============================================================
I hear the head groundsman was well pissed off – there were these four blokes with big carrier bags picking fault with his pitches – apparently they are highly qualified, horticultural experts.

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bards

bardsPosted on12:27 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Testing avatar.

@John Clark

Is this Brisbane weather making you homesick ?

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neepheid

neepheidPosted on12:34 pm - Apr 30, 2015


No Klaxons from Jackson this morning, so it looks like someone has ponied up for the April wage bill.

Now that RIFC are delisted, there is no need for any further announcements of every embarrassing begging bowl operation, so in Dave King’s regime of total transparency, we can now be kept totally in the dark.

So who has paid the bills, and in return for what? The easiest solution would be to use the second £5m from SD, but having rattled Ashley’s cage, the Board might find SD less than cooperative.

Could King have finally managed to get his short arms into his deep pockets? I doubt it, because any sign of cash from King would have Jackson’s Klaxon going off the decibel meter.

So maybe the poor old three bears (again)? Another million unsecured? If so, this isn’t business, it’s charity work.

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bfbpuzzledPosted on12:34 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Might I be awarded the chick young avatar ? folk often assume that I mean something different to what I say and that what I think is not what I say.

Excuse the ad hominem – lauri from dennistoun can only be described as a tube and strikes me as a Russell Brand type auto didact, of itself that is a very good thing but I find his type of meretricious sesquepedalianism very wearisome. I am not a Churchill fan but agree with him that plain words are the best as long as they are accurate. I like a good long word as much as the next person when using it in a proper context but to do so as a matter of course is not needed. Some of the greatest writing is in the plainest of terms.Orwell Vonnegut Steinbeck and so on. There is much wisdom in Peter Maurin -see his easy essays – all in the plainest of terms.

This is not far off topic because there is a lot of Humpty Dumpty in many of the statements issued by the SFA and so on ‘Words mean what I want them to mean nothing more nothing less’

End of rant (again)

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y4rmyPosted on12:58 pm - Apr 30, 2015


No Klaxons from Jackson this morning, so it looks like someone has ponied up for the April wage bill.

Now that RIFC are delisted, there is no need for any further announcements of every embarrassing begging bowl operation, so in Dave King’s regime of total transparency, we can now be kept totally in the dark.

So who has paid the bills, and in return for what? The easiest solution would be to use the second £5m from SD, but having rattled Ashley’s cage, the Board might find SD less than cooperative.

Could King have finally managed to get his short arms into his deep pockets? I doubt it, because any sign of cash from King would have Jackson’s Klaxon going off the decibel meter.

So maybe the poor old three bears (again)? Another million unsecured? If so, this isn’t business, it’s charity work.

As was picked up on here, Roddy Forsyth mentioned that another 1.5m was being loaned by Park et al.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/11562357/Rangers-news-Mike-Ashley-takes-on-SFA-over-7500-fine-for-dual-ownership.html

The final paragraph…

The incoming regime chose not to draw down a second tranche of Ashley loan funding which was open to them. Instead, a second loan of £1.5 million from the Three Bears consortium of wealthy Rangers supporters – the first £1.5 million was made available last month – will shortly be accepted to bridge cash flow needs until season income for 2015-16 begins to flow in to the Ibrox coffers.

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Para Handy

Para HandyPosted on1:05 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Chust sublime, Dougie

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John ClarkPosted on1:06 pm - Apr 30, 2015


bards says April 30 @12.27 p.m.
‘…is this Brisbane weather making you homesick?..’
————————–
It’s now 9.42 pm.The temperature at Cannon Hill not too far away from where I now sit in Carina Heights, is 20 degrees Celsius.
And I am not exaggerating when I say that my son and his wife and my wife and I are
wearing cardigans/pullovers as we sit here, feeling chilly.And my grandaughter (5) and I got quite wet at 3.00 pm on the way back fro school.
As I remarked to the young mums with whom I chat as we wait to collect kids/ grandweans, today’s weather reminded me of high summer in
Edinburgh.
What it didn’t do was make me homesick!

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Tartanwulver

TartanwulverPosted on1:09 pm - Apr 30, 2015


I’m a bit perplexed why the football authorities would want to pronounce on King and Guidetti this week, when next Thursday / Friday would seem to be a much more appropriate time, given the various distractions. Today’s Telegraph are even reporting that the prospective Royal baby might be ‘postponed’ until the day of the election (make of that what you will)!

So a note for the diaries of those seeking good days to bury bad news. Perhaps a week’s delay before making any announcements?

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melbournedee

melbournedeePosted on1:11 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Avatar test

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Joethebookie

JoethebookiePosted on1:20 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Could it be that Mr King has eventually got his short arms to the bottom of his deep pockets and given his beloved some cash?
Only he can’t make this public in case SARS are listening?
Hence the lack of a Jackson Klaxon.

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AmFearLiathMòr

AmFearLiathMòrPosted on1:26 pm - Apr 30, 2015


I’m guessing Darren Young and James Fowler have been passed over for manager of the year, then?

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oddjob

oddjobPosted on1:36 pm - Apr 30, 2015


“Short arms and deep pockets” indeed.
Shades of Charlie Endell there. Maybe Laughing Spam Fritter and Starting Handle Harry have had a quiet word !

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berrtyPosted on1:40 pm - Apr 30, 2015


As far as manager of the year goes. Delia – considering the advantages that Celtic have over the rest of the Scottish teams I cannot see any case for him to be manager of the year. At the start of the season Celtic were favourites for all three trophies available plus a decent run in Europe. They will finish with 2 trophies and had an acceptable Euro run (just about) so no more than could have been achieved by the majority of managers in the premier league.

Macinnes – The best that any one could have hoped for would have been 2nd in the league and a cup final along with Europa league. 2nd is secure but no cup final and unlucky with the draw in Europe but a decent effort overall.

Nielson – Took over a squad that at the end of last season was going very well, full of young players who had gained a lot of experience in the premier league. I, and many other thought that they would be the league winners this year and have been proven right. I’m pretty certain that the previous manager would have achieved the same outcome. Nielson has brought a little more experience in but I don’t think that he has added much more than that.

Hughes – At the start of the season most would have said mid-table, possibly top 6. Achieved (so far) 3rd, Probably qualified for Europe, 2nd cup final in 2 years with little money to work with. From my perspective he is the standout, the other three have only achieved what was expected from them, no more.

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Corrupt official

Corrupt officialPosted on1:48 pm - Apr 30, 2015


SHOCK SMSM EXCLUSIVE
Queen of the South confirm they will play by the rules.
http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/hibernian/318956-queen-of-the-south-plan-to-charge-season-ticket-holders-for-play-off/

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John ClarkPosted on1:56 pm - Apr 30, 2015


May I, before things move on, expres the deepest tongue-in-cheek regret that the avatars thingy created problems or extra work for some of our mods?
And may I simultaneously commend the generosity of spirit shown by them in responding to the upsurge in demand? And the humour and fun expressed by those who were prompted to encapsulate their blog essence in an avatar?
Apart from anything else, it is interesting to see the avatars that people have chosen.

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TheClumpanyPosted on2:06 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Good afternoon

I find myself still feeling incredulous at a Tweet from The Evening Times’ finest yesterday…

“Chris Jack ‏@Chris_Jack89: Can’t see the problem with RFC pricing decision. Doing what is best for their fans. Hibs set the precedent. SPFL rule & 50% cut is a nonsense”

So there you have it folks. Sevco are right to ignore a rule because it is a nonsense and because it enables them to do the “best for their fans”. Leaving aside the point about Hibs, who actually approached the SPFL regarding their intentions last year, has Chris Jack seriously thought about the implications of what he is saying?

If he hasn’t, here are some questions to help focus his mind:

– Were Rangers’ Discounted Options Scheme, the tribunal-conceded EBTs, side-letters, and flouting of player registration rules acceptable? After all, they were “best for their fans” as they allowed trophies to be won using players that couldn’t otherwise be afforded?

– Was not paying taxes during the 2011-12 season acceptable? After all, it was “best for their fans” as it allowed the Rangers roadshow to keep rolling to the end of the season?

– Was stiffing 276 creditors acceptable? After all, it was “best for their fans” as it allowed the “same club” (sic) to continue without any responsibility for “its” debts?

I sometimes wonder whether the Sevco reportage from parts of the MSM is so breathless because it is being produced in something akin to a (moral) vacuum…

Enjoy the rest of the day!

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John ClarkPosted on2:25 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Cygnus X-1 says April 29 at 9.40 p.m.
‘…..in life or in business all you have is your god name.Once that goes, it’s almost impossible to get it back.’
——————-
I wonder what it’s like to be party to a thing like the 5-way Agreement?
To betray a position of trust at the bidding of a hectoring,blustering charlatan who can read you like a book?
Or to abuse, say, the position of trust that a court of law saw fit to grant to you.
Or to abuse the trust placed in you by the members of the organisation you were elected or appointed to represent?
Or to crap in the faces of the hundreds of thousands of folk who pay good money in the belief that the sport they pay to watch is clean?
Is there anyone on,say,the 6th Floor of a football stadium, who might be able to tell me what it’s like?
Why,of course there is!
A handful of men whose names, reviled now, will be reviled for as long as there is Scottish football.
They forfeited their good names.
It’s a long way back for them.
For the keefs and the chicks and their likes, there is no way ba ck.

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senior

seniorPosted on3:29 pm - Apr 30, 2015


OT
If ever there was a reason to jettison Sky sport it has to be their frenzied attempts to drum up support and in turn viewership for the weekend’s title fight Mayweather v Pacquiao.
I wouldn’t mind but I’d beat the two of them with one hand tied behind my back.

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neepheid

neepheidPosted on3:35 pm - Apr 30, 2015


senior says:
Member: (37 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm
OT
If ever there was a reason to jettison Sky sport it has to be their frenzied attempts to drum up support and in turn viewership for the weekend’s title fight Mayweather v Pacquiao.
I wouldn’t mind but I’d beat the two of them with one hand tied behind my back.

============================

One at a time, or both at once? (I’m guessing the latter).

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magicroundaboutPosted on3:39 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Anything to avoid being Chick Young. 😎 🙄

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StevieBC

StevieBCPosted on3:40 pm - Apr 30, 2015


senior says:
Member: (37 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm
OT

I wouldn’t mind but I’d beat the two of them with one hand tied behind my back.
===============================
That’s fighting talk senior !

Going back to our favourite topic of the shameless Ogilvie, if the SFA wanted to make a bold, new statement of their intent to change for the better, [stick with me here, I know it’s only hypothetical], then the SFA President role – which I believe should be more of a figurehead role – should always be filled by a long-term, ‘real’ footie fan who e.g. has been a ST holder for at least x years and has followed his team to many away games.

This would always remind the d*ddies on the 6th floor about who pays their wages, and who are their most important stakeholders. And it should also reinforce the need to listen to, and answer to, the opinions of the fans.

…I know… 👿

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MoreCelticParanoia

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on4:27 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Barcabhoy says:
Member: (156 comments)

April 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Hopefully one of our Insolvency experts can explain this, because for the life of me i’m unable to undertand the basis for the decision that makes King a creditor of Rangers Football Club plc ( in liquidation)

1 King invests £20 million in Murray Sports, through Metlika Trading Ltd. This was in return for 3,064,627 shares in Murray Sports . The issued shares in Murray Sports are 19,757,053 . This results in King owning 15.5% of Murray Sports. This information is taken directly from the 2012 annual return of Murray Sports which is the last one produced before it was liquidated
___________________________________________________

Had a wee email exchange with a colleague about this. No further insights but attempts to join dots:

the oft trotted out statement “DK put £20m into Rangers” is not true. One of DK’s companies put £20m into one of DM’s companies. How that money is used by DM is the question, maybe it did go to the football club although no doubt a fair whack creamed off for his trouble.

This ties up with with some mention in DK’s SARS court case of money coming back from one of Murray’s companies? I would imagine this is par for the course with these shysters, moving money through a trail of companies to disguise and deflect the true intent/destination.

Could it be that at CVA time – DK did not want to put his head above the parapet to avoid SARS getting a whiff that this money was moved out of their reach intentionally and hee haw to do with RFC? But by May 2013 (how does this date tie up with his negotiated settlement… sorry choked on a piece of lamb there… paying the fine rather than doing the time agreement?) having squared SAS maybe the coast was clear to break cover?

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Palacio67Posted on4:52 pm - Apr 30, 2015


From the Herald…..

CELTIC striker John Guidetti has been found to have breached SFA disciplinary rules and censured over the singing of a song that featured the phrase “the h*** are deid”.

The SFA decision came after the Hoops star sang a song which contained the word at the end of an interview on Holland’s FC Rijnmond football programme.

He was reciting a song that is sung about him by fans.

Rangers fans have now taken to Twitter calling for the player and the club to issue an apology.

He sang: “Oh John Guidetti, puts the ball in the net-y, he’s a Super Swede and the h*** are deid, walking in Guidetti wonderland.”

The Celtic forward described the chant as “a good song”.

The SFA said the player had broken Disciplinary Rule 73 “in that on or around 6th March 2015 you did in the course of a interview given to the Dutch Television Programme FC Rijnmond, make comment of an offensive nature.”

The SFA added: “The player was found in breach and censured.

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ekt1m

ekt1mPosted on4:53 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Hearing that John Guidetti Censured for singing, I’d give long odds that a large number of fans will be singing his tune on Friday night. edit. Beat me to it Palacio.

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MoreCelticParanoia

MoreCelticParanoiaPosted on4:54 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Palacio67 says:
Member: (6 comments)

April 30, 2015 at 4:52 pm

From the Herald…..

He sang: “Oh John Guidetti, puts the ball in the net-y, he’s a Super Swede and the h*** are deid, walking in Guidetti wonderland.”
___________________________________________________

John Guidetti “sang” no such thing. The Herald should be receiving a lawyer’s letter.

They and the SFA are a joke

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jimlarkinPosted on4:54 pm - Apr 30, 2015


From BBC webshite

Celtic: John Guidetti given warning for making “offensive comment”

Celtic striker John Guidetti has been found guilty and given a warning by the Scottish FA for making an “offensive comment” in a television interview.
The Swede, who is on loan from English Premier League club Manchester City, sang a song on a Dutch TV channel which appeared to make fun of rivals Rangers.
Celtic had expressed their disappointment when the SFA announced the player was to be investigated.
During the broadcast he repeated a chant sung about him by supporters.
The SFA’s compliance officer said that the 23-year-old broke disciplinary rule 73 by making a “comment of an offensive nature”.
“We are very surprised and disappointed that this has even found its way to an SFA judicial panel,” said a Celtic spokesman at the time.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland last month, former SFA compliance officer Vincent Lunny said: “It would appear that their focus is on the comment attacking Rangers or making fun of Rangers for having gone into liquidation back in 2012.
“[Celtic forward] Leigh Griffiths this time last year was sent a charge for singing ‘Hearts are going bust’.
“For me, the problem with this case and with the Griffiths case is you’ve got professionals who are making fun of other clubs in difficulty. People are losing their jobs within football and it’s simply not appropriate for players to behave in public in that manner.
“There are different standards between the fans and the players. The players are directly under the jurisdiction of the SFA, the fans are not.
“That is not necessarily the case here with players. You expect fans to make fun of other clubs and taking delight in another club’s demise is not surprising for fans to do but for players to do it is perhaps something completely different.”
Guidetti, a Swedish international, has scored 15 goals this season but is yet to commit his future to the club.

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senior

seniorPosted on5:00 pm - Apr 30, 2015


neepheid says:
Member: (547 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 3:35 pm
senior says:
Member: (37 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm
OT
If ever there was a reason to jettison Sky sport it has to be their frenzied attempts to drum up support and in turn viewership for the weekend’s title fight Mayweather v Pacquiao.
I wouldn’t mind but I’d beat the two of them with one hand tied behind my back.

============================

One at a time, or both at once? (I’m guessing the latter).
_______________________________________________

Naw, once at both, more like.

I have to admit I typed the above when herself caught me on the computer (SFM) for the umpteenth time. I had to think of a squirrel quickly – it worked, she even laughed at the brag.
At my age I wouldn’t beat their shadow.

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castawayPosted on5:08 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Lunny on differences in standards expected between fans and players, might have added between fans and fans, and between the new club and other clubs.

Thanks SFM for sorting the Ava hitch.

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Matty Roth

Matty RothPosted on5:09 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Am I just too cynical if when I see a “leak” that the SPFL are close to agreeing a multi million sponsorship deal I find my brain wondering why they would leak this rather than close the deal and make a nice announcement?

They wouldn’t suggest a phantom sponsorship deal is close now in a cynical attempt to give themselves more “evidence” of armageddon when Rangers to fail to get promoted and they then swiftly announce the phantom sponsor has withdrawn the deal as a result.

Surely not, it must be me.

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Tartanwulver

TartanwulverPosted on5:10 pm - Apr 30, 2015


So did the SFA clarify then that Guidetti’s ‘crime’ was that he pointed out that the original club are ‘deid’, rather than the mention of the word ‘*uns’? Or not?

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StevieBC

StevieBCPosted on5:11 pm - Apr 30, 2015


“The SFA’s compliance officer said that the 23-year-old broke disciplinary rule 73 by making a “comment of an offensive nature.”

…but McCoist’s offensive “who are these people” incitement which actually caused real offence to many fans – and caused real harm and fear to individuals/families – was ignored by the SFA ?

It’s that SFA inconsistency yet again.

Court of Session…please ?!

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Bryce CurdyPosted on5:15 pm - Apr 30, 2015


So the SFA are fudging the nature of the offence. Quelle surprise.

Edit – thanks to whoever created my avatar from the photo I emailed earlier. These are my two boys.

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nawlitePosted on5:33 pm - Apr 30, 2015


I think we need to wait for the notice of reason to understand what JG has been found guilty of. We can’t take ex-CO Lunny’s word for it that it is for making fun of Rangers. He should no longer be privy to the SFA thinking. If it turns out to be guilty due to a comment of an offensive nature, the list of groups listed in the SFA rule is quite specific – “based on, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability”. I’m not sure which of these the word ‘h*n’ falls under. These days in football, it means Rangers fans, I guess, but is not a catch all word for all protestants. I had a lengthy email exchange with Darryl Broadfoot at the time of the charge trying to ascertain if it was for the ‘offensive nature’ or for making fun as suggersted by Lunny. He opted out on the usal basis of there being an ongoing case. I’ll go back to him once I know the reason.

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Ballyargus

BallyargusPosted on5:35 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Melbournedee, who is your Avtar? He does look familiar but his name escapes me.

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StevieBC

StevieBCPosted on5:43 pm - Apr 30, 2015


OT
===
Just a wee idea…

As we continue to slag off the SMSM since RTC days, nothing much seems to have changed.
And Keef is still officially the ‘bestest’ sports writer they’ve got. 😯

So, on a positive note and to try and motivate and encourage the SMSM to evolve from mere churnalists, we could vote for a journalist or reporter who has actually produced a decent article or TV piece.

Maybe on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the lucky winner could receive a ‘TSFM’ mug.

Having a TSFM mug sent to their place of work could get the site a bit of extra exposure, and the recipient might loudly appreciate the recognition from the discerning Internet Bampots ?

If the budget stretches that far mods/Bampots, is it worth a try ?

[Might not have to send out too many mugs anyway…]

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scapaflow

scapaflowPosted on5:50 pm - Apr 30, 2015


StevieBC says:
Member: (622 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Good idea, and maybe a squeaky plastic lamb chop dog toy for the most egregious piece of stenography?

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Bill1903

Bill1903Posted on5:50 pm - Apr 30, 2015


BallyargusBallyargus says:

April 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm
Melbournedee, who is your Avtar? He does look familiar but his name escapes me.
————————–
Looks like a young Jocky Scott to me

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dannyfergus

dannyfergusPosted on5:52 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Just saying hello, enjoying the comments

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mcfcPosted on6:00 pm - Apr 30, 2015


StevieBC says:
Member: (622 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Maybe on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the lucky winner could receive a ‘TSFM’ mug.

============================================

Stevie – I think you’ve invented the Golden Raspberry Award for churnalism 🙂

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Raspberry_Awards

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gogsPosted on6:27 pm - Apr 30, 2015


So according to SSB the SFA are waiting on Rangers to say they are ready to appoint DK before they make any decision. It’s up the the club to put the case forward before anything happens.
There you go then. Nothing to see here.

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causaludendiPosted on6:30 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Not sure I need to change my avatar – blundering buffoon talking utter mince… jeezobambeezo SFM, you know your stuff!

(Cheers for the ‘archive’ heads-up!
Mr Trainer, Gym, how’s about you let me keep my name (my mammy’ll be pleased!) but I’ll give you 25% of my body to advertise on as you please, forehead included…)
?

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Famous song

Famous songPosted on6:31 pm - Apr 30, 2015


I kicked off the avatar thing last night in genuine confusion. Many thanks to all and sundry for the help and advice. I should perhaps acknowledge that the Skating Minister send up is by Tim Cockburn, IMHO one of our finest contemporary artists. Every football fan should have his The Derby hanging on a wall of the stately pile.

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upthehoopsPosted on6:36 pm - Apr 30, 2015


nawlite says:
Member: (130 comments)
April 30, 2015 at 5:33 pm
I think we need to wait for the notice of reason to understand what JG has been found guilty of. We can’t take ex-CO Lunny’s word for it that it is for making fun of Rangers. He should no longer be privy to the SFA thinking. If it turns out to be guilty due to a comment of an offensive nature, the list of groups listed in the SFA rule is quite specific – “based on, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability”. I’m not sure which of these the word ‘h*n’ falls under. These days in football, it means Rangers fans, I guess, but is not a catch all word for all protestants. I had a lengthy email exchange with Darryl Broadfoot at the time of the charge trying to ascertain if it was for the ‘offensive nature’ or for making fun as suggersted by Lunny. He opted out on the usal basis of there being an ongoing case. I’ll go back to him once I know the reason.
===========================================

If people find the h*n word offensive, I have no issue with that. I do have an issue with them demanding it is sectarian though.

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ChristyboyPosted on6:43 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Av test

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Para Handy

Para HandyPosted on6:45 pm - Apr 30, 2015


magicroundabout says:

April 30, 2015 at 3:39 pm
Anything to avoid being Chick Young. ? 🙄
——————————-
I was really looking forward to Zebedee… ?

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tamjartmarquezPosted on7:27 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Some good opinions on Manager of Year. Agreed all have their merits, I think that Neilson has triumphed by such a margin, in his FIRST post, makes him a candidate for whichever manager poll is being run anywhere on the planet. Doubt if Mourinho, Van Gaal, Big Jock, Alex Ferguson, Matt Busby, Bill Shankly or Walter Smith 😉 were as successful in their inaugural season of football management. His record as a rookie manager is absolutely outstanding.

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Caveat Emptor

Caveat EmptorPosted on7:37 pm - Apr 30, 2015


Hi All, been in Espana for a wee while and it looks like I’ve missed the avatar stushie. Not sure what started it all but like some of the images. Have I also missed DCK weighing in with the much needed moolah? No? Didn’t think so.

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