End of the Road for King?

Since Dave King & Co took over TRFC a year and a few months ago, there have been, almost daily, reports of the imminent demise of the club, or King, or both. At the same time, again on a daily basis, there have been those who proclaimed the imminent ascendancy of the club to the top of the pile.

Up to now I have subscribed to neither theory on the basis that the former was wishful thinking based on very little evidence, and that the latter was something that Santa had passed on just before he disappeared up the chimney.

Not that I am the oracle on these matters. I confidently predicted that a reasonably healthy Rangers would see out the season clinging on to a top six place, and not for a moment did I imagine they would be sitting on the second top rung of the league ladder with half the season behind us.

Of course the notion that the newly promoted Rangers would provide serious competition for Celtic was always fanciful given their resources, and few of us on here would have raised little more than a titter at the very idea that they would; but that imminent demise theory has always had traction – a traction which until now never took hold in my mind.

The reason for that is simple. King & Co had a plan. The plan involved gaining proper control of the company via dis-application of preëmption rights and doing a soft-loan for equity swap (the company already has control of the club), building a consensus among the major shareholders, divesting itself of the onerous contracts, and enlisting as much financial support from the fans as possible before challenging an admittedly financially superior but somewhat mediocre Celtic for the league title.

The latter theory was probably based on the not unreasonable idea that a good manager with mediocre players can realistically overcome superior players with a mediocre manager.

King & Co had a plan.

In the meantime, King & Co would keep TRFC afloat with soft loans which gave them, as creditors, more and more clout come the day that the PLC (RIFC) needed to be ditched along with its shareholders, who had been expertly kept in line via some very good PR control of the MSM.

Three things have gone wrong with that plan;

  1. King & Co seriously underestimated Mike Ashley’s ego and his capacity for resentment. Consequently, the onerous contracts are here to stay, income streams for the team and manager throttled, and that consensus remains elusive. In its absence, they board can do very little other than posture for fear that Big Mike will drag them into court yet again.
  2. Compounding the problems caused by the short-fall in income, Celtic became and raised the stakes in the game by hiring a manager of some pedigree – a manager who against the odds, delivered an extra £30m into their kitty by qualifying for the Champions League.
  3. The tight control of the media appears to be slackening.

In short, I think the board have been guilty of believing their own hype, and underestimating the enormity of the task before them. But doubts are most assuredly creeping into their thoughts. They are running out of time and money.

The stark reality for those on the board who are providing the soft loans at Ibrox is this; they will have to keep providing those loans just to stand still in playing terms. That is a situation that some on the board now see as unsustainable, and they may turn the soft-loan tap off.

How likely is that to happen?

The club (TRFC) owes its parent company (RIFC) something in the region of £26m. The parent company is running a £4.5m structural deficit and owes King & Co around £15m.

the board have been guilty of believing their own hype, and underestimating the enormity of the task before them

I would suggest that the overall position is far worse than it was five years ago and if no major new investor was willing to come forward then, it seems difficult to see why they would do so now.

I will forgive Rangers fans if they say I am painting a bleaker picture than the reality suggests, but even if I am, one thing is clear, the current situation is unsustainable. Even if the soft lenders were to revisit their cash reserves ad infinitum, the club would fall foul of, and be sanctioned by the FIFA Fair Play directives. Something desperately has to change.

Firstly, that consensus. Ashley needs to be coaxed out of the ‘enemy’ camp. He could still be an ally of course, but that will mean King has to go. If King is still there by the end of the season I believe that the current alliance on the board will crumble, the soft loans will dry up, and of course unless a high net worth individual comes along to bail everyone out, the PLC could easily go into administration.

A few months ago, I would have thought that impossible, but maybe not so much now. I doubt there are many Rangers fans who don’t realise that King is the single biggest obstacle to any accord with Ashley, but perhaps more importantly, there are also, finally, some rumblings among the fans and in the media that King’s unequivocal promises of £30m for the team have simply not been honoured.

Douglas Park and others would like to see King gone – and Ashley needs to be coaxed out of the ‘enemy’ camp.

It is rumoured, although we cannot corroborate, that he is unable to get funds out of South Africa (this being part of his plea agreement with his SARS business). It would explain the failure to deliver on the cash promises, but his personal dispute with Ashley makes it unlikely that a solution can be found that involves both, and Park and others are aware of that. If King was as big a Rangers man as he has led us to believe, one would expect that he would be happy to step aside for the good of the club.

My belief is that Douglas Park and others would like to see King gone, and recent press coverage (not Gordon Waddell’s piece in the Sunday Mail but the recent Daily Record piece sniping at King) reinforces my belief that the unity of the current board is falling apart.

But even with King out of the picture, even with a new found boardroom unity including Ashley, the club is still a bucket with a £4.5m per annum hole in it, owing £26m in loans to RIFC. It also has a refurbishment bill for the stadium conservatively estimated at £15m, and a significantly inferior (to Celtic) playing squad and manager.

All this whilst the life is still being choked out of merchandising, the reality that football clubs in the 21st century don’t have lines of credit at the bank, and ST sales are maxed.

The income ceiling has been reached, and that £4.5m annual shortfall can only increase – especially if better players are sourced.

That is the very definition of unsustainable.

In order to meet the expectations of the fans, potential investors in the club won’t get change out of £50m, and of course those investors would be unlikely to see a return on that investment for a considerable period.

So aside from the personality clashes which are hampering the smooth running of the business, the traditional aspirations of Rangers, the size of the fan-base, and the costs of an infrastructure commensurate with that are a problem. These aspirations, in the short-term at least, are also unsustainable. They are the aspirations that saw RFC fail catastrophically, and they will, if nothing changes, do the same for TRFC.

If Dave King jumps or is pushed, the first task for a new board, if it is to succeed will be to build a consensus around survival, not immediate on-field success. PR goals need to be set to manage expectations.

I think the end of the season will see significant changes at Ibrox. The permutations of what happens next at Ibrox are too many to mention, but all of them, other than the sugar daddy or a healthy dose of realism lead us back to 2012. Of that I have no doubt.

That realism needs to include a willingness to dispense with a preoccupation over the possibility that Celtic will have a record-breaking run of league victories. It also needs to recognise that the old traditions of Rangers, where they were expected to be the top dogs in the league, are gone – perhaps forever.

And a sugar-daddy? Yes, there admirable individuals in boardrooms all over the country who constantly go into their own pockets to pay bills and keep the doors open and the lights on at their clubs.

However, the amounts required to make Rangers a top team are way in excess of what anyone outside of Stamford Bridge or the Etihad can manage. Stewart Milne doesn’t do it at Aberdeen. Dermot Desmond doesn’t do it at Celtic. And why should they?

What Rangers fans should be asking is, “Why would anyone?”

I earnestly hope that the current Rangers survive. Scottish football needs them as much as it need any other club. We all regret the demise of Third Lanark and Gretna. We feared for Hearts and Dunfermline before they emerged successfully from administration. All of our clubs add colour and sparkle to the game, so the loss of any of them is sad. And whatever side you are on in the OCNC argument, no one can deny that tens of thousands of fans are emotionally invested in Rangers’ future, and that they are well placed – financially in the long-term – to compete at the top.




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About Trisidium

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

357 thoughts on “End of the Road for King?

  1. Just caught up on James’ court tweets, (cheers James 04) and have to say, is the OC/NC scenario relevant? 
    I can see Corals losing, as they have repeated the word “relegation” in their promos. Whether that is what actually happened or not, would appear irrelevant.     What is relevant, is the fact that Corals have used the word “relegation” themselves, as a perfectly acceptable word to describe what did happen, and fairly recently
       Replace the word relegated with any word….Earwig for example.
    Punter……£100 on Rangers to get earwigged
    Bookie…..Celtic set to face Rangers team who were earwigged. 
    Punter……Cough up please
    Bookie…..Errrrr ..We meant a cockroach kind of earwig thingy. 

  2. HOMUNCULUSJANUARY 18, 2017 at 22:04 

    Could Rangers have afforded Dembele (or more accurately his registration).
    The answer to that is indeed yes. His registration was bought by Celtic based on a development fee as I understand it.


    Forgive me if I’m looking at this too simply. Rangers needed loans around October/November 2016, just to keep the lights on for part of the season, with more loans required this year to get to the end. As has been explained many times on here they are way beyond what UEFA FFP allows in terms of loans.  Rather than signing anyone in the Summer they should have been offloading and cutting costs. They could not actually afford to sign anyone, let alone Dembele.

  3. Corrupt official  January 19, 2017 at 00:18 
    Just caught up on James’ court tweets, (cheers James ) and have to say, is the OC/NC scenario relevant?  I can see Corals losing, as they have repeated the word “relegation” in their promos. Whether that is what actually happened or not, would appear irrelevant.     What is relevant, is the fact that Corals have used the word “relegation” themselves, as a perfectly acceptable word to describe what did happen, and fairly recently
    The reference in the promotional material was explained as being an article written by a freelance journalist as a preview to an upcoming game, rather than written by a Coral employee. Simon Fox for Coral said they would only stop publication of such articles if they are deemed offensive.

    On the balance of probabilities I think Coral will win, particularly if today’s witness (Mr McKenzie) confirms what happened to Rangers as something other than relegation.

  4. I’ll defer to EJ who was there obviously but OC/NC is irrelevant if they refuse to bring it up as they appear to have done.  If Coral think they can win without doing so – demoted versus relegated – then good for them but I’d doubt it and in truth I’d favour the punter in those circumstances.

  5. Thanks EJ. I never noticed that amongst the tweets. (maybe my bulbs were getting bleary). A bit like the FIFA magazine then.
        I assume both sides have already had the opportunity to interview McKenzie, but phone charged, I will be watching with interest. 

  6. And just to add that whilst there are specific circumstances to this case if the concept of a separate club and company does take root then the role of Whyte becomes horribly (for him) transparent.  Remove the bank’s security over ‘the club’s’ ground, fold the company, bankrupt yourself to avoid repaying whoever funded the bank pay off (and I’m guessing be rewarded for doing so – what’s that you say, Mr Grier was in attendence!), transfer ‘the club’ and everyone goes home happy apparently.

    now in common conversation, taxi driver bar speak, I can just about live with that.  Let’s find out if the SPFL’s own lawyer is willing to hang his hat on it.  And as a starter, show me the other clubs’ minuted agreement to transferring ‘the club’ under conditions of insolvency.

  7. CORRUPT OFFICIALJANUARY 19, 2017 at 00:18

    Get where you are coming from and indeed the courts will take a view on matters on how the man/woman on the street would view things.

    Therefore it can be argued for most people’s general understanding  relegation in football means dropping down via a low points total or loss in play-off games. Relegation by other means tends to be unusual event and one that is not normnally considered in terms of going down the leagues by other means.

    In your scenario as part of their defence Coral have been trying to show that Mr Kinloch is more of an entomologist trying to exploit a loophole he has spotted and that his interpretation of relegation (earwig v cockroach v generally creepy crawly thingy) goes beyond that which would normally be expected in a bookies and in football betting.

    The case could be argued on that alone without bringing the oldco/newco stuff into it. As it would have been if the Juventus match fixing demotion/relegation example was being heard.

  8. The usual censorship on BBC Sport Scotland following the critical discussion about the lack of autonomy from SPFL Premiership clubs of the SFA on Sportsound yesterday evening.


    I wonder who made that editorial decision?

  9. Confirmed it is Rod McKenzie of Haper McLeod and lawyers for the SPFL is in the witness box today.

  10. WOTTPIJANUARY 19, 2017 at 09:52
          “Get where you are coming from and indeed the courts will take a view on matters on how the man/woman on the street would view things.”
        I have no idea how long this has been in the pot waiting to come to court. It might actually be the case that the old boy, (fly man or not, I couldn’t say), grudgingly accepted the decision originally. (He appears to have lost, or launched his slip). But he did emphasise, “It’s what was written on the slip that counts”. 
       And here, after refusing to stump up, we have in Corals own promos, talk of O** F*** and relegation….Exactly what he had on his slip, (Which I assume the bookie has a counterfoil of). I’m not a gambler,
        If Corals win, will they then be in bother with the advertising folk, and maybe some kind of bookie watchdog.?
       If Corals have been trying to profit and promote gambling, on the back of a myth, then its their own dumb fault if it comes back to bite them in the bahookey. They can’t have it both ways. 
       I think its a tight call. A bit like if Red Rum keeled over the night before the national, with all the houewive’s money on it. They can’t just saddle-up Red Rum’s foal, kid on its still Red Rum, but refuse to pay out if it wins.
       Would the bet be void and cash returned? (Is that possible?)……Along with every other bet on it. 

  11. Coral’s argument seems to be that they offered 2500/1 on relegation because at that stage in the season rangers were top of the league and relegation was “impossible”. 
    They are saying that if rangers playing in a lower league due to “liquidation” was factored in then the odds would have come down but I think Corals are forgetting that liquidation was also impossible due to the common knowledge that “The big hoose must stay open”. So 2500/1 odds seems about right.

    JANUARY 19, 2017 at 06:52

    They bought Garner’s registration, allegedly paying something like £1.8m, so if Dembele’s was available for £500k they could definitely have afforded his instead. However as I said, the important thing in a position like that is convincing the player to agree a contract. 

  13. Less faffing about in this session, the word Liquidation has even been mentioned.  But I don’t want to get my hopes up too soon.

    JANUARY 19, 2017 at 10:55

    Anyone who had a bit of inside knowledge could have predicted liquidation way before it happened. All you really had to know was that Rangers were likely to go into administration, with over 25% of the debt being to HMRC. As soon as that actually happened liquidation was pretty much a stick on, short of someone coming in and agreeing to pay all of the debt. An unlikely scenario. 

  15. McKenzie – “The club with a capital C was sold to Sevco Scotland”

    That’s a lie, the assets of the club were sold.

    The club was in the process of liquidation.

  16. SmugasJanuary 19, 2017 at 08:54 
    Let’s find out if the SPFL’s own lawyer is willing to hang his hat on it.  And as a starter, show me the other clubs’ minuted agreement to transferring ‘the club’ under conditions of insolvency.

    So in summary; so far he’s hung his hat on an ethereal coat hook and everyone is pretending that they don’t notice it continually falling to the floor. 

    Edit: And WTF is a Club with a capital C that isn’t a company with the word Club in it exactly? They’re now somehow distinguishable are they?

  17. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 3m3 minutes ago McKenzie says SFL chairman “sanctioned” Rangers because assurances not given. Hence they were sent to 1st division

    Dear Mr Mackenzie

    You are skating on very very thin ice here

    yours etc

    The Chairmen of every club expecting, no, now hoping dearly to sell season tickets in three months time. 

  18. It is absolutely mind blowing that such an open and shut case has turned in to a 3 day farce (does the tax payer pick up the tab for this?) and all because the people who run our game, the clubs, the media, the legal profession and now the bookmakers it would appear have all colluded to cover up the simple fact that Rangers Football club entered liquidation in the summer of 2012.

  19. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 1m1 minute ago “”McKenzie says SFL chairman “sanctioned” Rangers because assurances not given. Hence they were sent to 1st division..
    So, McKenzie utters an absolute statement that Rangers were sent to Ist Division, while knowing better than anyone that it was CG’s new creation that was admitted for the first time to Scottish Football, while ‘Rangers’ are in Liquidaion.
    He is a disgrace to his profession and a morl coward to boot , having previously refused to answere a question on the grounds that it would require him to define ‘relegation’.
    He will, with luck, go to the bad fire when he pops his clogs.

  20. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 33s33 seconds ago

    McKenzie on definition of a club. ‘ We choose to define our rules based on clubs having an existence…that’s not the way FIFA operate.”

    Well that explains a lot.  SFA interpretations to suit themselves and ‘certain circumstances’. 

    At least that’s my take on it, but I am cynical when it comes to the SFA.

  21. One more and then I really must do some work.  This is SSSOOOO unfair! 

    McKenzie on definition of a club. ‘ We choose to define our rules based on clubs having an existence…that’s not the way FIFA operate.”

    Now is that a club with a small ‘c’ or a Club with a big C, just for the record.

  22. OK one more because its a biggie!

    James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 55m55 minutes ago McKenzie “Since 1989 Rangers operated two, we could call them, tax avoidance schemes,” he was asked to undertake investigation in 2012

    Highlights are mine.  Simple mistake? (perhaps just by James Doleman reporting?)  So really 1999 then. But then second emphasis (again mine to be clear) says “avoidance.”  But I thought….  Thank goodness this guy speaking isn’t a lawyer… in court….

  23. Closing arguments.

    Not expecting much from Ms. Poole, she after all wants the ‘relegation’ argument to win.

    As for the Coral QC, well he seems to be in a dilemma.  On the one hand they don’t want to pay out £250k and perhaps set some kind of precident (don’t know what though).  And then there is protecting the blue pound revenues.  Although I don’t see why all the multi-coloured pounds from all over Scotland is not equally valuable.  I would imagine if the supporters of all the other clubs were counted, it would outnumber the Ibrox support.  So why is that not important?

    It’s a mystery.

  24. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 5m5 minutes ago
    Poole “The ultimate question is what a reasonable person would think the word relegation means.’
    James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 5m5 minutes ago
    Poole “The ultimate question is what a reasonable person would think the word liquidation means.’


  25. I cling faintly to the hope that , emboldened by the fact that the Court of Session held that the EBT schemes as used by the cheating SDM for many years were used as a tax evasion ploy, Lord Bannatyne will have the common sense and courage to point out that RFC were liquidated, out of football altogether, and not in existence as a sporting entity and therefore not in scope for relegation or promotion or even to play any games.
    And that therefore Coral have no case to answer. Kinloch’s bet was that Rangers would be ‘relegated’. Rangers, Lord Bannatyne  must be brave enough to say , were not in existence enough to be relegated whether under normal ‘botttom of the league’ consequences or for pitch-side  disciplinary reasons.
    And, in my opinion, he should go on to slate Mckenzie in particular for daring to practice a kind of sleight of hand in telling an actual, legal and commercial and sporting untruth.

  26. From James D’s tweets.
    Judge; “surely main issue is the meaning of the relegation.’
    Poole “I’m not going to agree with that’
    Judge “I was inviting an argument’
    What does his Lordship mean by using ‘the’ relegation’?

    Has he already decided that there was a ‘relegation?’

    Or was that a slip of the tongue, when he meant to ask ‘what does relegation’ mean [ since lawyer McKenzie, who would be expected to know, was too afraid to give a definition]

    With respect to his Lordship, the main issue is whether RFC went out of business as a football club, and were in no way able to be relegated( or promoted) or even take part in Scottish professional football competitions.

  27. Poole “it is unfair to try and bind consumers to terms they do not know about.’

    What a load of rubbish.  How many times do we agree to Terms & Conditions in small print, 3 pages long and which is gobbledygook to most of us.  But we are  still bound by them.

  28. The definition of relegation is at the crux of this case.  Not just the football meaning of relegation either. The Punter is trying to argue an everyday use of relegation and Coral have made a clumsy attempt to argue the football definition of relegation.
    Reading through the excellent reporting from James Doleman it is obvious that Coral have handled this badly.  The letter sent to the Punter explaining their decision apparently says Rangers were “demoted” rather than relegated.

  29. John  Clark at 12.56

    In fairness Coral took in Mackenzie as a witness did they not?  Presumably to explain why they weren’t relegated to win the case.   Their witness a/ refused to answer (ref the definition) and b/ proceeded to explain why in Scotland as opposed to FIFA they apparently continued despite being insolvent, were transferred and therefore could only have been relegated in terms the average Scottish punter would understand.

    I said at the start, if their case was solely Relegated versus Demoted with no reference whatsoever to liquidation then they should just have settled out of court. In fact one has to ask why they didn’t.

  30. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 1m1 minute ago
    “Poole notes that Coral have given 3 different versions of the meaning of the word relegation.’
    What puzzles me is why Coral , having been prepared to let the matter go to Court rather than ( as they might see it) buy off a troublesome nuisance, seem to be happy to fight with two hands tied behind their back!
    They must, surely to God, KNOW that no Ibrox club was relegated. 
    Kinloch lost his bet. RFC was not ‘relegated’: it was not around to be put in any division. The new club was told to take a hike by the SPL, which, rightly, sussed that there was NO quiet ‘transfer ‘ of a share from one owner to a new owner.
    Why doesn’t Ladbrokes Coral Group plc go for the jugular, with the plain, unvarnished truth?
    Why put up with the arrant nonsense  about ‘relegation’, and what it means?
    There was no relegation. One  club , RFC,died.
    A new club was ( generously, in the opinion of many)admitted into Scottish Football.
    What’s in it for Ladbrokes Coral group plc to lie down and accept the crap being fed to them by Mckenzie ? Another wee sponsorship deal?
    Or are they afraid that their betting shops in the West of Scotland ( and, indeed, worldwide!) will be wrecked by raging mobs of Liquidation deniers?

  31. It’s going to be very annoying if Kinloch wins this case. All that would do is reinforce the lie to TRFC* fans about being unfairly relegated, which has become one of the tenets of their faith. We’ll then get that reinforcing their belief in the survival myth…”See, you said we were relegated and now that’s been proved wrong….legally (!), so you’re probably wrong about the new club thing as well. I knew we were still the same club and this is just another step toward the truth coming out. ‘Mon the Rangers!’
    I can do without that.

  32. My advice to Coral when they appeal.

    (You need to) Follow Follow (both Rangers to find the answer).

    Start with Rangers who came second in the Scottish Premier League before sliding into a messy liquidation scenario where they remain today.
    They were never relegated for either financial or sporting reasons.
    They just stopped trading and haven’t been fully wound up yet.
    They were the company and football club rolled into one.
    They are the people Mr Kinloch bet on because they were the only Rangers at the time.
    Mr Kinloch bet on relegation, not liquidation

    When you have done that then look at Charles Green a clever front man who bought some assets from the friendly (to him and his) Duff and Phelps people for his, off the shelf, Sevco companies (Be aware that there were two Sevcos at the time)
    Charles also thought he had bought the players too to sell but the good ones walked away using simple employment law legislation rather than play for a new un-relegated club starting off in the bottom division – check it out
    Sevco were treated with great deference way beyond their status as a new club, and way better than Edinburgh City or Annan were treated,. This was done by all the high heid yins though and Charles even had a signature on the 5 way agreement as did Rangers (in liquidation).

    Charles initially called his new company/club Rangers International and The Rangers.
    He was given this vacancy (that was never offered to other aspirant members) to apply for and was duly and quickly accepted into the lowest level of the Scottish League.
    In their first ever fixture the Ramsden Cup Charlie’s new club playing as Rangers were not seeded as per the performance of the Rangers club in liquidation.This is because Charlies club were not relegated but starting where all new clubs start and Rangers the old team were never relegated either.
    They just stopped playing and are now a bunch of documents in a box in a Duff and Phelps office somewhere

    In time Charles played a blinder and got very rich.
    He did this by managing to convince the fans (with the help of the SFA and the SPL and the MSM and all our greedy and scared chairmen)  that it was the same club.
    Playing at the same stadium.
    With some of the same players , but not the good ones.
    Keeping the same manager and Walter on the board too.
    He even had a city fundraising wheeze to get money for infrastucture.

    When Charlie dressed up the new club to look like the old club it made commercial sense for the SFA, the SPFL, the media, the other clubs who like money.
    And most of all the fans came aboard in droves.
    In fact everyone except for a few internet bampots said “Lets move on”.

    But the facts are 
    The Rangers Mr Kinloch bet on are in liquidation and are still there.
    Charlie’s Sevco applied for a new place and dressed like and more importantly acted like the team whose stadium they bought.

    Sevco have been promoted three times but never relegated.

    There sorted for you in double quick time.

  33. The idea that a club in liquidation can be ‘demoted’ is equally preposterous as relegation.  You can’t relegate or demote a dead thing.

    I’m surprised that Kinloch and his QC have not provided dozens of examples where the MSM have used the term relegation.  Also ex players and pundits.  There are plenty of occasions when they have all done verbal gymnastics to avoid the word liquidation.  Relegation being one example.  How good would that have been to lay some of the blame at that shower’s door? Kinloch could have stated that he thought he was on strong grounds for a pay out.

  34. Totally honest, I’m getting a bit pissed off with all this jinking around the word liquidation and that Coral seem to be only going half pelt to get a win here. I know it’s not over but if you go to court and handicap your own team from the start by trying not to offend anyone what exactly are you trying to do ? I take it their QC will be acting under instruction? It’s like they will be happy to win but not at all costs . I understand they don’t want to lose business but you’ve got to fight your own corner surely. Nearly five years down the line and the MSM won’t acknowledge it and now our Judicial system won’t even discuss it. Dearie me, we’re in deeper trouble than I thought. 

  35. GabbyJanuary 19, 2017 at 13:07
    ‘…Reading through the excellent reporting from James Doleman it is obvious that Coral have handled this badly. The letter sent to the Punter explaining their decision apparently says Rangers were “demoted” rather than relegated.’
    They certainly have, Gabby, even leaving aside the Liquidation issue. It seems a kind of a classic case of a local (betting shop) manager wisely seeking advice from his next level up, being given a bum steer by that next level up, and a wee mess being created which the next levels up have compounded in their ignorance? fear? need to not look like a soft touch? basic lack of savvy about how to get themselves out of a hole they dug for themselves?
    Maybe a good pointer to the need to review and update their staff/managerial training programmes.
    ( If Ladbrokes Coral Group plc are reading, how about giving me a call ( or sending me  a PM on sfm.scot)?19

  36. Wish Judge John Deed was on the bench, this would have been wrapped up on day one.  He would have called out the elephant in the room. Mind you he’s not very popular with his brother judges.

  37. Finloch, a pretty much perfect summary and it’s what we all know to be truth. Trouble is, it’s very apparent that even now, there are people unwilling to let that truth be known.

  38. I thought the most telling statement from Rod McKenzie this morning was his response to a question from Mr Sandison.

    Counsel asks “Was the football team called Rangers FC ever relegated from the SPL?”

    McKenzie responds “that would require me to make a judgement on what is “relegation” and I’d rather not do so”

    Now that response came from the same person who admitted, in court, that he had drafted most of the rules of the SPL and had advised the SPL on many matters, yet as the person probably most qualified to make such a judgement, he is still unwilling to do so.  You would have to ask why. 

    Edit: I’m glad to see that Ms Poole picked up on this point:
    James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 4m4 minutes ago
    Poole notes that even the SPL rules have a definition of “relegated’ notes Rod McKenzie, who drafted the rules wouldn’t answer Q about it.

  39. Cut to the chase! No one need even care about the definition of relegation. One company (yes, I’d prefer club!) disappeared and a new company was admitted to the league. That’s all that needs said. It doesn’t threaten the ‘same club’ believers, so why not f***ing say it?!?!?!!?

    This is doing my nut in.

  40. FinlochJanuary 19, 2017 at 13:39
    ‘….for his, off the shelf, Sevco companies (Be aware that there were two Sevcos at the time)’
    What a smashing wee reminder about Sevco 5088!
    I had nearly forgotten Charles’ semi-drunken ( or apparently so, devious s.d that he was) assurance to Craig ” You are Sevco!”

  41. I admit I don’t know the etiquette for judges.  But I said on here many months ago that I didn’t believe that Lord Nimmo Smith was unaware of the wee tax case and its illegality.  Regardless of his terms of reference, he should have mentioned it and took it into account.

    Talk about common sense!

    In the same way I am calling out Lord Bannatyne, he knows Rangers were liquidated and that relegation is a stupid argument.  Bring the matter to the table and stop being a coward.

  42. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 23m23 minutes ago “Poole “There are a number of ways a club can go down.’
    And the most dramatic and conclusive way is ‘to go down to the grave!’ as some Biblical chap is reported as having said.
    As the Chancellor of the (Anglican) Archdiocese of Argyll and the Isles ought readily to acknowledge.19

  43.  james Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 2m2 minutes ago
    “Sandison “Rangers were not moved to a lower league, a set of circumstances arose that made them ineligible to play in the Premier League”
    No, Mr Sandison, a set of circumstances ( which you bloody well know) arose which ended their existence in Scottish football. Such circumstances, as I am sure you bloody well know,are called ‘Liquidation’, end of entitlement to a share in the then SPL and, consequenly, to a share in the SFA.
    How can you come out with such crap?
    And you a QC!
    Shame on you.

  44. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 8m8 minutes ago Sandison “Rangers were not relegated from the SPL, they were expelled from it.”
    He’s getting there,but he’s still not right!

    There was no ‘expulsion’ ( although many thought that that would have been proper).
    There was no ‘punishment’ as such; the bloody club just feckin died! Ceased to live. The result not of punitive action for sporting wrongdoing, but as a consequence of the non-tax paying by the biggest cheat in Scottish Football history that there ever has been.A man who makes CG and CW look like plaster saints.

    Sandison should really get his facts right, get the argument right.

    But, of course, guys have to watch out.Objective truth-telling comes at a price.

  45. Are we sure this QCs name is spelled correctly? Should it not be Sandybryson?

  46. They mention administration and liquidation but won’t be drawn on the meaning of relegation.As far as I can see this is a case of conman v con company.The guy is an ex bookie he knows the exact meaning of relegated of course his case maybe about the court ruling that the team he bet on is dead and the team now playing is in no way shape or form the same team.

  47. Re: the court case.

    The DR should have one of their ‘Live, as it happens’ updates for this case.

    At least James Doleman is doing a great job of keeping the Bampots informed…

  48. Relegation is a transitive verb ?  I think we will need the help of our resident English Teacher here .  Where are you PB ?
    My understanding is that it is a “doing ” verb  i.e.  Old Rangers would have to have something “done ” to them  . But nothing could be done to them  , not  demoted , sanctioned , punished or relegated because  they no longer existed . That really would  be  flogging a dead horse .
    They were expelled because  they expired .

  49. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 17m17 minutes ago
    “Sandison “Are we to surrender the decision on who won or lost a sporting event to the power of the popular press?”
    I love it, the predictabilty of language, the stale use of knee-jerking words, the targetting of the ‘enemy’…
    But I would not hire yer man.

  50. ‘James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 7m7 minutes ago Hearing ends and Lord Balantyne retires to consider his verdict. Should be given next month.’
    Many thanks from me to James Doleman, and to eJ for their live coverage of the case.
    I just wish I had been there!
    Although I think that I  might have thrown up in disgust at McKenzie’s pusillinamity and  readiness (redolent  in my opinion,of the worst type of ‘gauleiter’ placeman in Nazi Germany ) to act the smart lawyer and wriggle out truth-telling.
    A special place, according to Dante Alighieri, awaits such as he.

  51. I haven’t had time to check but how does what McKenzie said on use of ebts from 1989 or 1999 ( if he got date wrong) tie in with his replies to SFM letters in 2014?
    If he knew DOS ebts were irregular did he deliberately omit them from both the enquiry and the advice he gave SPL Board after LNS Decision reached?

  52. John ClarkJanuary 19, 2017 at 15:41       7 Votes 
    James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 8m8 minutes ago Sandison “Rangers were not relegated from the SPL, they were expelled from it.” _____ He’s getting there,but he’s still not right!
    There was no ‘expulsion’ ( although many thought that that would have been proper).
    No, as I recall, RFC were never expelled.
    The “big idea” (allegedly) was to exit admin via a CVA.
    The CVA was rejected by the creditors on 12 June 2012. Up to that point, RFC, although in admin, was still a member of both the relevant bodies- SPL and SFA. Even after a mandatory points deduction, they had finished second in the SPL.
    The administrators could, even at that stage, have carried on trading, and played in the 12/13 SPL, perhaps with another points deduction.
    However there was no money left to continue trading, so the administrators did two things. They applied to the court to liquidate RFC, and they transferred the assets to Sevco under a pre-existing agreement with Charles Green.
    There was no expulsion. RFC could not continue in the SPL because they had no assets, not because they had been liquidated. They only went into liquidation as late as October 2012, thanks to Lord Hodge’s intervention.
    Since Sevco had all the assets, they asked to carry on as “Rangers” as if nothing had happened. However the SPL blocked the transfer of the RFC share, and the SFA only eventually allowed the transfer of the SFA membership subject to the infamous 5-way agreement. The SFL had let Sevco join the bottom tier, but  subject to obtaining SFA membership.
    So RFC were never expelled from the SPL. They sold their SPL share to Sevco, but the SPL refused to ratify the transfer.
    The fact that the SPL’s leading rules expert thinks that RFC were expelled from the SPL is deeply worrying, but unsurprising, in my humble opinion.

  53. ‘To relegate’ – Transitive or intransitive, that is the question!  To be accurate, as far as I understand it, ‘relegation’ is the noun, not the verb.  The verb ‘to relegate’ is, in my humble opinion, a transitive verb which is an ‘action verb’ and can/will take a direct object. E.g. “They relegated the club.” ‘the club’ being the direct object. After the action ‘the club’ would be in ‘relegation’ (the noun being preceded by the preposition ‘in’.  Prepositions have influence on nouns, not verbs).  Now, what was the relevance of this point of grammar in Court today?

  54. Has James Doleman confirmed that “1989” was what was said and not a typo on his part? I’ve saw a few folk ask him to clarify on twitter but I’ve not seen a reply from him.

  55. If 1989 is not a typo maybe it refers to the signing of MoJo, there’s been a few rumours about underhand payments there. I doubt it though.  And remember not all EBT recipients have been disclosed yet.

  56. The “transitive” verb first came up yesterday when Ms Poole referred Prof Vaughan Williams to the Chambers Dictionary definition of “relegate”.  Sandison objected saying that the the dictionary had a (v.t.) notation, meaning “verb transitive” and that Ms Poole was seeking to reference the verb in a “passive” form. 

    Lord Bannatyne, in his own inimitable way, shook his head incredulously at the prospect of Counsel debating transitive and passive forms of verbs in front of a witness  and allowed Ms Poole to continue.  

  57. P.S. As a matter of interest, 
    1. The verb ‘to liquidate’ is also a transitive verb. The noun is ‘liquidation’.  So: ‘They liquidated the club”.  After the action of liquidating, the club is in liquidation!  Just saying, like!
    2. I’m not and have never been a teacher of English grammar, so I could be wrong!

  58. Thanks Easyjambo for that observation.  Here was me thinking this was a very subtle point on which an important legal point balanced!  I take my hat off to you and JD for your perseverence and dedication.

  59. McKenzie declines to reveal whole 5 way agreement as much of it is “confidential’
    McKenzie should have been asked. Is it normal for clubs who go into Administration to take part in a 5 way agreement.
    Or is it the norm for a club who is “relegated” to have a 5 way agreement. and if not why did rangers need a 5 way agreement
    All the money these lawyers are getting and they are fecking hopeless. they could have did a bit of research. God even i could have gave them a run for their money today

  60. JIMBOJANUARY 19, 2017 at 11:40   
    James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman 33s33 seconds ago
    McKenzie on definition of a club. ‘ We choose to define our rules based on clubs having an existence…that’s not the way FIFA operate.”
    Well that explains a lot.  SFA interpretations to suit themselves and ‘certain circumstances’. 
    At least that’s my take on it, but I am cynical when it comes to the SFA.

    So let me get this right.

    According to the SPFL lawyer, a club ‘having an existence’ is now sufficient for the SFA to recognise them as such, but not for FIFA and, via FIFA, UEFA presumably.

    Does that mean then, that any club defining itself in such a way would not ever be eligible to participate in European competition?

  61. McKenzie says he was the solicitor for the Scottish Premier league and advised them over the “administration and liquidation of Rangers FC
    Counsel asks McKenzie if he had a good knowledge of SPL rules “I suspect I am the person with the best knowledge. He replies
    “I am phoned up and asked about SPL rules on an almost daily basis,” McKenzie tells the court
    McKenzie: “The Club, with a capital C, had been sold to Sevco Scotland ltd.” Adds “We learned this from the press mainly ”
    Am i getting this right?
    A solicitor for the premier league who is the go to guy if you phone on a daily basis to ask about SPL rules.
    Learns most of the rules from the press.
    if you knew the rules you must know if it’s ok for a club to be sold,or if it can be sold or who it can be sold to.And you must know if it can be sold without your knowledge.
    Ps. thanks to James Doleman


  62. Will comment further later as the passage re Rod McKenzie being the go to guy for rules, right from the “we” “they” “confidential” and (I paraphrase the last one) “why we in bonnie Scotland are different to FIFA” are absolutely key.

    But for now if I could join the throng and being the non Tweety pie that I am could I also thank Mr Doleman for his sterling efforts over the last three days.

  63. James Doleman‏@jamesdolemanMcKenzie says the SPL refused to recognise the transfer of the share from RFC to Sevco. “It was a frankly bizzare situation” he adds
    So the SPL clubs(at the time) recognise Rangers(of old)  ceased to exist
    Company law  recognise Rangers(of old) ceased to exist
    Scots law recognise Rangers(of old) ceased to exist
    FIFA recognise Rangers(of old) ceased to exist
    UEFA recognise Rangers(of old) ceased to exist 
    But a secret 5 way agreement between the governing bodies, Rangers(I.L.) and Sevco (who claim to be the same entity) over-rides all of the above……..Somehow 
          Claims and allegations persist, from renowned investigative bodies, member club shareholders, and some respected journalists, all backed by convincing evidence, that the governing bodies, colluded with Rangers/Sevco to cheat the Scottish game, and effect a cover-up of events, including, but not limited to, hundreds of creditors out of pocket, untold millions deprived of the public purse, and decades of fielding imperfectly registered players, and unwarranted titles and trophies, and the granting of Euro entry and prize monies, contrary to UEFA edicts 
       In March, the Supreme court sits to pass final judgement on improper/illegal payments of 10’s of millions £’s by Rangers(I.L.) to parties, including officers of the governing bodies. 
       As yet, the governing bodies have refused to respond to the evidenced claims connecting them with Rangers(I.L.), or reveal the contents of the secret 5 way agreement connecting them to Rangers(I.L.) / Sevco, at the exclusion all other member clubs.
    Would that be a fair summation of where Scottish fitba stands?. 
    Pretty shit eh

  64. CO, in your litany of the status of Rangers at the time, remember what McKenzie said today:

    “McKenzie on definition of a club. ‘ We choose to define our rules based on clubs having an existence…that’s not the way FIFA operate.”

    Having an existence could be ethereal even.

    In other words for the SFA it is elastic. (unlike FIFA it would seem).

  65. A wee bit of reflection guys!
    This site is obsessed with the imminent (or not) demise of the new club (obsession with stealing water or crumbling big hoose closing it down, running out of money etc etc). There is no doubt now in my mind that they will stagger through and we will (in a few years) if nothing changes be back to a duopoly rather than the monopoly that we have now.  If we are seriously interested in improving football in Scotland we need to think seriously about redistribution of resources. The top league has not been won by anybody other than the Celtic or a Rangers since the Dandies in season 1984/85!!!!! We were second a number of times during the cheating years and maybe could have won a few of them? Who knows? Things have moved on and money differences have changed. Do we want a competitive league or do we want the richest to dominate? You have to have somebody to play against and if sky (or any broadcaster) wants the bigotfest 16 or 20 times a year let them.
    A bit of a rant but surely the site is about more than seeing sevco die? For the avoidance of doubt I will argue with anybody that the old club did die and we have a new club with new history.
    I have had a couple of refreshments tonight and heading to Glasgow tomorrow for a bit of Celtic (oops) Connections this weekend!




    24 Votes

    I haven’t had time to check but how does what McKenzie said on use of ebts from 1989 or 1999 ( if he got date wrong) tie in with his replies to SFM letters in 2014?If he knew DOS ebts were irregular did he deliberately omit them from both the enquiry and the advice he gave SPL Board after LNS Decision reached?

  67. JIMBO
    JANUARY 19, 2017 at 20:30

    CO, in your litany of the status of Rangers at the time, remember what McKenzie said today:
    McKenzie on definition of a club;

    “We choose to define our rules based on clubs having an existence…that’s not the way FIFA operate.”…
    Off the top of my head…

    That quote – and from a lawyer – just doesn’t make sense, IMO.

    The SFA is – I believe – an affiliated member of FIFA (& UEFA).
    As such, the SFA must comply with FIFA & UEFA rules & regulations.
    To ignore them could jeopardise Scottish participation in their sanctioned competitions.
    i.e. it’s not for the SFA to make unilateral decisions about something as fundamental about the definition of a ‘club’.

    If every national FA had leeway to choose how they operate whilst under the umbrella of FIFA / UEFA, then there would be chaos.

    I would doubt very much that FIFA or UEFA would condone local deviations – unless the SFA had obtained prior, special dispensation about how they defined a club ?
    [And a dispensation which I believe the SFA has neither requested nor obtained.]

  68. Stevie, you may well be right. But why would a lawyer under oath (I presume) say otherwise at the highest court in the land?

  69. Much hilarity has been provided by James Doleman these last 3 days (chapeaux x 3) however the jokes are of the Dr Strangelove/Donald Trump variety. The verdict in this trial almost doesn’t matter. In dystopian Scotland the invisible movers and shakers ensure the system isn’t derailed. I’m in the same camp as Corrupt Official. Scottish football is a farce.

  70. CORRUPT OFFICIALJANUARY 19, 2017 at 20:02
    From one CO to another04

  71. jimboJanuary 19, 2017 at 21:25
    Because he wanted to. This is a farce.

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