John Clark Meets “The SFA”

ByJohn Clark

John Clark Meets “The SFA”

Regular posters and contributors to the SFM may remember that in October last year I wrote to Mr McRae, President of the SFA.

I posted the text of my letter on 28th October

I had not received a reply or acknowledgement by 12th December, so I sent a reminder. I received a reply to that reminder, dated 16 December 2015, in which Mr McRae apologised for not having responded to my previous letter, and invited me to come and see him. We arranged that I should visit him at Hampden on 19 January 2016 at 2.00 p.m.

Following the meeting, I wrote a summary of the conversation. I emailed that summary to Mr Darryl Broadfoot, Head of Communications, asking him to check whether my recollections were accurate, because I was my intention to post the summary on SFM.

I have not had a reply and I think I have waited a fair enough time, so, here is the summary of an approximately 45 minute conversation.

I should first make it clear that Mr McRae said that he had no recollection of airing any of the views recorded in my letter as attributed to him. I should also say that I made it clear that while I contribute to SFM, I was not there as ‘officially representing’ SFM, although what I would say broadly reflected the view of many.


“Note of informal meeting between me, and Alan McRae, President of the SFA, with Darryl Broadfoot, Press Officer, at Hampden park, 2.00 pm Tuesday, 19th January.

Background: I had written to Mr McRae in October 2015, to ask whether Mr McRae had really (as had been reported to me) aired the following opinions:

  1. that Rangers FC were not Liquidated
  2. that Rangers FC were put down to the third Division
  3. that Rangers FC were bought by Charles Green and that the team currently playing out of Ibrox Stadium and calling itself The Rangers Football Club Ltd is one and the same as the club known as Rangers Football Club, which is currently in Liquidation.

Mr McRae, through Mr Broadfoot, went through the points one by one.

On point one, there was no difficulty in agreeing that RFC had been Liquidated. That was accepted as a matter of fact.

On point two, I argued that;

  • Mr Green’s new club had had to apply for league and SFA membership, and were therefore admitted as a new club to Scottish Football and allowed into SFL Third Division.
  • They had as an emergency measure been granted conditional membership, and had had to seek the Administrators’ and Football Authorities’ agreement to the use of certain RFC (IL) players who had decided to sign on with the new club in order to play their first game as a new club.
  • They were ‘put in ‘the Third Division as a new club, not as an existing club being relegated.

Mr McRae, through Mr Broadfoot, argued that ‘put in’ and ‘admitted to’ are pretty much the same thing, and that the legal advice obtained was that Mr Green’s new club was not a new club, and the Authorities were stuck with that.

I referred to the 5-way Agreement, and made the point that two entities other than league or SFA representatives were signatories to that agreement: RFC (IL) and Mr Green’s new club. The two could not be one.

Mr Broadfoot said that was a matter of opinion.

I said that it was rather a matter of fact.

Likewise, on the third point, there was disagreement.

Mr Broadfoot, for Mr McRae, argued that Charles Green bought the club (and Mr McRae personally added ‘and the “goodwill”’).

I pointed out that Mr Green had NOT bought the club out of Administration, as had happened with other clubs, but merely had bought the assets of a former club that was NOT able to bought out of administration and was consequently Liquidated.

Mr Broadfoot said that Celtic and Rangers supporters might continue to disagree but that could only be expected.

I pointed out that this was not at all a Celtic-Rangers supporters’ issue, and that the Scottish Football Monitor, for instance, represented the views of supporters of many clubs. I further made the point that many sports administrative bodies had come under the spotlight in current times and people were naturally concerned that the governance of football should be above suspicion: and that substantial numbers feel that the Football Authorities have been at fault, in permitting a new club to claim to be an old club and pretend to the honours and titles etc etc.

Reference was made in the passing to some allegations that had been made that certain evidence relating to the Discounted Option Scheme had been withheld from the LNS commission, which occasioned Lord Nimmo Smith to be misled; and to the apparent negligent performance of the SFA administration under the previous President, who, both on account of his personal knowledge of the use of the DOS by Sir David Murray, and as a subsequent recipient of an EBT, might reasonably have been expected to ensure a thorough and diligent examination of the information provided by clubs about payments to players.

Mr Broadfoot ruled out discussion of the first of these matters because ‘there was no evidence’, and the second matter was also ruled out because, he asserted, the previous president is a man of the highest integrity.

I replied that work was in hand to provide evidence, and that the question of negligent performance of duties was not a question of ‘personal integrity’.

Mr Broadfoot opined that the future would show whether Scottish Football supporters were really concerned about the old club/new club debate, if huge numbers turned their backs on the game.

I replied that a sport based on a false proposition, on what could be seen as a lie, no matter on what pragmatic reasons, would certainly wither if and when people thought the sport could be rigged.

As the meeting drew to a close, I was asked if, coming from Edinburgh, I was a Hibs or Hearts supporter, or perhaps a Celtic supporter? And whether I was going to tonight’s (Celtic were playing that evening at home) game?

I replied that as my name suggests, I was of Irish extraction and perhaps conclusions could be drawn from that. Also that I would not be going to tonight’s game, and that my interest in the present matter was rather more academic and objective than partisan.

The meeting ended cordially at about “


I think I can say that Mr Broadfoot, opening the meeting, explained that

“for the purposes of this meeting, I am the SFA.”

Mr McRae’s personal contribution to the conversation was therefore very little more than mentioned above, Mr Broadfoot doing most of the talking.

I will say further that I spoke to BP, and consulted one or two other posters before I went to the meeting, in order to make sure that my general understanding both of the principal events of the ‘saga’ and of the thrust of most of SFM’s contributors, who are drawn from supporters of many clubs, was sufficiently sound.

I give it as my opinion that I may have been invited to a personal meeting only because it might have been thought in some quarters that I was in possession of an electronic recording of what I told Mr McRae that he was reported as having said.

And, finally, I declare here that my note of the meeting was written within two hours of the meeting, and reflects the substance of the conversation. It is exactly the note I sent by email to Broadfoot, except that I corrected a typo in the spelling of Darryll (I had ‘Caryll’), have omitted my own surname, and changed references to myself from the third person to the first person.



About the author

John Clark author

1,392 Comments so far

essexbeancounterPosted on11:58 am - Jan 29, 2016

friendlybear 29th January 2016 at 11:38 am #Ah come on Bawsman, I hope you are going after the likes of google, amazon, starbucks etc. as vigorously as rangers for non payment of tax! 
Friendlybear, you are, deliberately or otherwise, allowing yourself to either fall in or be dragged in, to a veritable pit of mass induced hysteria and ignorance…!
How long have you got.?..if you can wait until after the tax filing deadlines of Sunday 31 January next….but do you really want to be aware of the difference?

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Paulmac2Posted on12:07 pm - Jan 29, 2016

I believe the Herald needs to reconsider whether it is appropriate to define itself as a Newspaper….
To isolate its columnist Graham Spiers based on approaches from SEVCO fc….and now to sack another Columnist…Angela Haggerty based on her support for Graham Spiers….is shameful…words fail me…
The editor should be ashamed….

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RyanGoslingPosted on12:10 pm - Jan 29, 2016


“I have the memory of being dispatched in Gulf War 1 to Dhahran in heavy duty Green camouflage gear where the temperature reached 55 degrees C with 85%+ humidity. The Ibrox club, during all that time, were evading paying the tax for the gear we needed.”

The first Gulf War ran from 2nd August 1990 until 28th February 1991. Could you please point me in the direction of evidence that “during all this time” Rangers were “evading paying the tax for the gear” needed?

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YellohoosePosted on12:17 pm - Jan 29, 2016

 “Angela Haggerty, editor of Common Space and Sunday Herald columnist, unceremoniously ditched by the Herald editor Magnus Llewellin after pressure from the Rangers board. The reason? She was told that “representatives of the Rangers board” threatened legal action after she expressed solidarity with Graham Spiers on Twitter”

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TBKPosted on12:33 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Utterly disgraceful treatment of Angela Haggerty! Mob mentality now control the media.

Perhaps the reason The Herald will not take on the legality issue is because its true……… I imagine UEFA and FIFA wouldn’t be too concerned over a Club Director expressing his delight at a song about genocide?…. no …. me either.

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CrownStBhoyPosted on12:33 pm - Jan 29, 2016

I seem to recall, only just a few months back if memory serves, a similar tack as that now being employed by friendly bear by another poster since left the scene.
The obvious intention was, as is now, obfuscation in an effort to steer from present day events.
The sacking of Herald reporter Angela Haggerty is disgraceful but if nothing else it shows they’re on the run.

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TBKPosted on12:38 pm - Jan 29, 2016

RyanGosling at 12:10 pm

Correct Ryan, the tax evasion was 10 years later

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erniePosted on12:43 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Borderdon, I agree, and when this joyous fact is suggested (i.e. there are places in Scotland where no one gives a phuck about this) td’s abound as if that is an affront to their perception. I, in my naivety, believe that most people go to the fitba to see the fitba.  I know some don’t and that is a problem but don’t dismiss those who do.  I am proud of my heritage btw, we all have one you know, but it’s got nothing to do with a game of fitba.

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CrownStBhoyPosted on12:45 pm - Jan 29, 2016

JJ seems to have gone walkabout…no posts or comments since last night…just coincidence?

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Paulmac2Posted on12:53 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The threat of legal action?
If it’s legal action they fear…Angela should seek legal opinion based around loss of income…possible damage to her professional reputation…the stress and emotional upset to both her and her family.

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dj7Posted on1:11 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Feel sorry for @AngelaHaggerty – she speaking out suggests no compromise agreement in place – she needs to let us know terms of release if she can, sue for unfair dismissal – as “threats of legal action” is weak as reason to sack someone – industrial tribunal will find in her favour no problem – that’s £20k for the tribunal , Herald will have to pay her legal fees and years salary up front – that’s starting to get to RFC withdrawing £40k and costing Herald £100k for Haggerty alone.
Herald is doomed – not supporting its journalists – its gone. Its just going to post PR releases.

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BawsmanPosted on1:45 pm - Jan 29, 2016

RyanGosling 29th January 2016 at 12:10 pm #

TBK 29th January 2016 at 12:38 pm #

The Wee Tax Case EBTs was operated by Rangers FC between 1999 and 2002/03.

Rangers Football club pleaded guilty to tax avoidance during the period I (with some mates) was in Dhahran.

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Big PinkPosted on1:50 pm - Jan 29, 2016

bordersdon 29th January 2016 at 12:18 pm # Edit 
“Bawsman…In Scotland, ANYTHING deemed Irish/Catholic (especially in song) is generally deemed sectarian by the Scottish population, it is an institutionally sectarian country, until that issue is addressed, we will stagnate as a nation.”
Sorry Bawsman, I don’t think the majority of people in Scotland would agree with you on that at all.

I certainly wouldn’t!

Nor would I. I am all for people getting a fair hearing, but we are straying into territory where we are just not equipped with the correct compass to find our way out. Let’s close that one off please. I am sure there are plenty of places you can fill your boots.

Also, one of our new posters has had three direct attacks on individuals removed. Please try to read how other folk deal with arguments before posting.

All welcome except trolls – and of course playing the man is exactly that – trolling

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Big PinkPosted on1:52 pm - Jan 29, 2016

dj7 29th January 2016 at 11:51 am

BigPink: we need means to raise issues/questions to you (own article – sfm suggestion box) – as otherwise you miss questions to you.

Can’t you just use the “contact us” page?

Would be nice if upvote/downvote included name of voter…. so we see who always votes me down (2 votes every time – guessing its pzj and phantomblogger in disguises).
Getting upvote from auldheid would be grand…. downvote from him means try harder.

There is no easy way to identify TUs or TDs – although it might be thought of as a bit Big Brother if we did – so we won’t.
I hope most of us post because we believe something we say to be true and of value to the rest of us. It’s not a beauty contest. I assume Auldheid will give me a TU for that 🙂

Anyway, TUs and TDs can be performed by people who are not logged in – one of thr reasons they are not a very reliable source of agreement

wordpress has lots of options to add – is it time to add things to improve site?

🙁 I thought we had …

first and second post on new page – hoorah seen by millions, ok 100s but every time they come for next few days – they see me first…

um… why?

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CrownStBhoyPosted on1:54 pm - Jan 29, 2016

If longevity equates to wisdom then I should be as wise as Methuselah.
I’ve been hovering around this site for quite a long time now but I’m not a very regular poster so I’ll tabulate “hounding the rangers fans” as a euphemistic expression for your obfuscation.
You are perfect fully entitled (and welcome to) your opinion as far as I’m concerned, as I am mine (” if that’s alright with you”).
On your support of Speirs and Haggerty, I fully concur and echo your sentiments.
BTW, I don’t TD any comments.

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shugPosted on2:19 pm - Jan 29, 2016

JJ is back up and running.

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paddy malarkeyPosted on2:22 pm - Jan 29, 2016

For them as ha e ‘t been tbere(a d Pat Nevin), the top divise in SPFL is called “The Pre.iership” . 

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Kilgore TroutPosted on2:30 pm - Jan 29, 2016

paddy malarkey

Step away from that keyboard cleaning liquid.

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goosygoosyPosted on2:31 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Yellohoose 29th January 2016 at 12:17 pm #
Disgraceful.  “Angela Haggerty, editor of Common Space and Sunday Herald columnist, unceremoniously ditched by the Herald editor Magnus Llewellin after pressure from the Rangers board. The reason? She was told that “representatives of the Rangers board” threatened legal action after she expressed solidarity with Graham Spiers on Twitter”
Why don’t they go the whole hog?
And name all job applicants rejected  for attending the wrong school?
Thar ought to bring in some advertising  money

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shugPosted on2:45 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Typical no negative press allowed only nice puff pieces in newco land.

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ThomTheThimPosted on2:53 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Has the Editor of the Herald resigned yet? 
If not, why not?
Surely his position is completely untenable, even if he only acted, in that manner, due to pressure from above.
In a country, not under the influence of threats and terror,( Civil Unrest), there would be no edition of the Herald, or any other title, on the streets tomorrow.
Union solidarity and all that.
What will it take to galvanise the very silent majority of the Scottish people?
The line has been crossed and it is not just a football matter now.

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dj7Posted on3:05 pm - Jan 29, 2016

BigPink: thanks’s for reply.
>I hope most of us post because we believe something we say to be true and of value to the rest of us. It’s not a >beauty contest. I assume Auldheid will give me a TU for that
Agree – but I will never know he did vote for me? On rangersbearden I would! People who like post listed by username.
>Anyway, TUs and TDs can be performed by people who are not logged in –
>one of thr reasons they are not a very reliable source of agreement
Exactly my point leave the count – but if my 30 downvotes are 28 anonymous, 2 members – that’s a very different picture being told and clearly count could be being rigged by trolls
How about a compromise – see if there is wordpress add-on to show count of anonymous voters – or only allow members to vote?

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AllyjamboPosted on3:22 pm - Jan 29, 2016

And there it is, courtecy of James Doleman

“Lord Malcolm says Rangers only talked about two different entities ‘so they could still say they won the league””

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SmugasPosted on3:24 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Give James Doleman his due.  How he can be tweeting the last ten minutes or so and not scream out loud


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vansenPosted on3:24 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The Herald is effectively dead as a journalistic endeavour and their employees now know that their employer will only stand behind them with a knife pointed at their backs. 

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TrisidiumPosted on3:32 pm - Jan 29, 2016


Let me answer on BP’s behalf (he is away practicing his chords in preparation for a gig tonight in the West End).

The TU/TD position was only narrowly retained despite our wish (as mods) to bin it, because those people who are over-aware of it draw inappropriate conclusions from the numbers and there is more than a little evidence that people post to attract TUs.

There is in our opinion no value whatsoever in extending the function. If people are mightily fussed (either positively or negatively) about a post, they will usually write about it. We would like to encourage people to write more and TU/TD less, because we see the role of SFM as more an exchange of views, less of a polling station.

So regretfully – unless there is some overwhelming clamour for it, you’ll have to make do with the TUs as they are.

Meanwhile I am off to the pharmacy for some cotton wool to insert in my ears in anticipation of BP’s gig, as reluctantly, I have been coerced into attending – again – by the missus.

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dj7Posted on3:40 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Trisidium thanks for reply – my last post has 28 down votes – is this trolling ?
Phantomblogger posted two of my comments on his flagrant breach of (c) on his twitter feed – so it this just gers fans downvoting me en masse?

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normanbatesmumfcPosted on3:50 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Reading James Doleman’s tweets; this is comedy gold hearing all the various learned friends using their verbal gymnastic skills to avoid stating the blatantly obvious. With the fraud cases still to come it’s only going to get better.12

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bluPosted on3:59 pm - Jan 29, 2016

dj7 29th January 2016 at 3:40 pm #

Maybe posters (who are these people?) just disagreed with your original point? He who complains about TDs gets even more.

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ThomTheThimPosted on4:03 pm - Jan 29, 2016

I like the TU/TD feature of the blog.
I don’t bother too much whether my posts get one or the other, although I notice my most recent post received a TD.
I can only assume that the provider of said TD was under “severe pressure” to so do.22
The reason that I like them is that it shows that at least somebody has read the post.
Another blog which I sometimes post on doesn’t have this feature, therefore you don’t know if anyone has actually bothered to read or are you on the fabled scroll by list.

TUs for me!

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HomunculusPosted on4:10 pm - Jan 29, 2016

dj7 29th January 2016 at 3:05 pm

The problem when they are named is that it can often lead to personal arguments. Which people have out in open forum. If they try to do it by PM and one doesn’t reply then the other often feels they have to take the matter back in the open.

Identifying nay sayers can easily lead to moderation issues.
I have no strong feelings either way, I’m not fussed if people know I disagreed with their point. If I do strongly enough I will reply to it anyway, and explain why I disagree.

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paddy malarkeyPosted on4:18 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Kilgore Trout 29th January 2016 at 2:30 pm #

Sorry  ! Was trying to be gallus and post from my phone on a bouncing ferry . Had just read a statement from Mr Nevin in an old paper regarding ‘when Rangers get back in the SPFL’.

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TrisidiumPosted on4:19 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Earlier protestations aside, I was actually was looking forward to night out in the West End when the news broke that Angela Haggerty had been added to the top of the Herald scrapheap directly on top of the freshly dumped Graham Spiers.

It is totally depressing to see that the truth has a price.

Here’s the thing. When Graham Spiers filed that story and it was subsequently published, it was regarded as being true. Had the threat to withhold £40k of advertising money not arisen, it would still be true. So the sanction effectively altered the status of the story from true to false (or perhaps mistaken).

I always thought that it was the job of a journalist and his editor to make a story stand up before publication, NOT the purview of an advertising agent seeking to exert control over editorial policy.

If the Herald truly believe the story is false, then the editor has failed to do his job, and ought to resign as well. Of course the Herald believes nothing of the kind – its editor has merely bowed to pressure from the accounts department.

This blog is no supporter of GS. he may not share our deep convictions and horror over the corruption in our game, nor share the anger of this blog at the historical behaviour of RFC, but both he and Angela Haggerty have shown remarkable courage in the face of threats to their persons and their livelihoods.

They have stuck to their principles in the face of the most appalling online abuse, often of an unspeakably disgusting nature, and that is worthy of our admiration, even if we don’t agree with their views.

The pressure on journalists (not at all highly paid individuals) is enormous when it comes to the reporting of Rangers.

I cannot think of one instance where a football club in this country has actively campaigned (whether it is because of legal blackmail or withdrawing advertising) in order to have someone’s employment terminated because of a negative story.

I can think hundreds of occasions when yet another journalistic howler of a prodigiously (and sometimes deliberately) false nature was met with dismay, scorn and derision on our comments pages, yet I cannot think of any single comment where we wanted someone sacked.

It has been said before, but each week gives us new evidence for the proposition that we were never paranoid enough.

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SmugasPosted on4:20 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Interesting stuff from James D.


I don’t have the court experience of JD or JC but feel that this is one these cases where one judge pulls off his wig at the end of a testing day in the wee rooms out the back, pours three large brandies and says to the other two “well what do you think?”  “No doubt about it” say they, “They’re both just as guilty as hell!”  

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friendlybearPosted on4:38 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Interesting tweet from Lawrence Donegan on the whole Herald affair…”Lesson to all you kids: when u write something, your version of the truth isn’t enough. You better have proof.”

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BarcabhoyPosted on5:04 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The behaviour of The Herald has a significance beyond the treatment of their columnists and the lack of support for those columnists.

Quality newspapers, whether tabloid or broadsheet , have played an incredibly important role in the history of democracy. Much more important issues than Rangers Football Club have only become public knowledge because of the actions and efforts of journalists.

A US president who sanctioned criminal behaviour was exposed by the Washington Post . He lost his job because journalists and Editors had the courage not to be bullied into silence. The Editor of that paper didn’t give in to threats , he supported his journalists . Now Rangers are an irrelevance compared to that issue, or the issue of The Washington Post showing Senator MacArthy’s claims were deranged and baseless.

However the principal remains. The Herald has given succor to the violent criminals behind Sons of Struth, has caused a bigot like Chris Graham to celebrate the removal of journalists who are not prepared to remain silent. At the same time The Herald employs and continues to employ journalists like Chris Jack and Matthew Lindsay who’s devotion to and compliance with the agenda of King , shared by Sons of Struth and Graham, is an embarrassment .

The Herald has aligned itself with the views of the violent criminals and the bigots. They quite clearly cannot be trusted to report without bias or to report truthfully. I suspect they have lost quite a few customers today, including me.

In all of the S**t storm over Graham Spiers column , the central issue has not been denied by Rangers. That is that one of their Directors stated he thought the Billy Boys was a great song. There has been no denial from Rangers or the individual that this comment was made. Instead they attacked Spiers conclusion that this showed lack of mettle for attacking bigotry amongst the Rangers support.

My understanding is that the Director Spiers claimed made that comment is ” tight” with the Fans Group spokesmen described above. Rangers should be looking at the problem they have in their own boardroom before siding with bigots and violent criminals. The Herald have shamelessly capitulated .

They have made the job of all journalists , at all publications, much more challenging and have encouraged the likes of Sons of Struth , Follow Follow and Chris Graham to continue to harass and intimidate those who don’t slavishly back King & Co

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Carfins FinestPosted on5:04 pm - Jan 29, 2016

For anybody on here who does not use twitter or visit TRFC ‘Fan Sites’ you will probably be ignorant of how emboldened some of the most bitter supporters of the club and their sites have become. I will not regurgitate on here but ‘Bitter Supremecists’ does not come close to doing them justice. The list of people in public life who are to be targeted in the next few days, because of the 2 ‘Victories’ against the press, is frightening. This has absolutely nothing to do with football. Nothing at all. We? have created a monster who will  not be going back into his cage anytime soon.

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SmugasPosted on5:23 pm - Jan 29, 2016


Apologies I don’t know who Donegan is?  Is he supporting Spiers that his word should be enough or is he supporting (essentially via the Herald’s actions) Rangers, that bad stuff should not be printed without evidence to back it up i.e. the word of the journalist is no longer enough?  (Bear in mind that Spiers did not name the Director per se).

As a matter of principle I cannot write off Jack’s musings but then treat Spier’s word as gospel, no?   

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easyJamboPosted on5:44 pm - Jan 29, 2016

It was an interesting day in the CoS today, although nothing startling came out of it.I can’t really add much to that which was tweeted by James Doleman and Grant Russell.
There was much to-ing and fro-ing over the dates when Green was acting as CEO and what the parties really intended when writing Green’s compromise agreement. 
The Lady and two Lords hearing the appeal quizzed both parties extensively over what could/should be indemnified and what was on the wrong side of a hypothetical line.  Both sides struggled at times with the questions from the bench.
The whole “club” argument wasn’t about the new club / same club scenario. It had more to do with exact wording of the compromise agreement which blurred the differentiation between the club and the company. Green’s side arguing that he couldn’t have been a CEO of an entity with no legal status, while Rangers argued that the wording was deliberate in its differentiation of club and company.  I don’t think the Judges decision will be swayed one way or another by the club v company argument.
The Compromise agreement:

“The Company will pay any reasonable professional (including, without limitation, legal and accounting) costs and expenses properly incurred by the Employee after the date of this Agreement which arise from having to defend, or appear in, any administrative, regulatory, judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings by a third party as a result of his having been Chief Executive of The Rangers Football Club or the Company.”

I wouldn’t expect a decision for at least two or three weeks.
The next hearing on the Fraudco trial is now due at Edinburgh High Court on Tuesday.
Courtsandtribunals ‏@SCTScourtstribs 3h3 hours agoHM Advocate v Craig Whyte & others: hearing assigned for Monday 1/2/16 discharged. The case will now call on Tuesday 2/2/16 @JudgesScotland

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friendlybearPosted on5:58 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Hi smugas,  Lawrence donegan is famous Celtic fan, former member of pop band and golf caddy. Runs the by the min Twitter accounts I think. His point is if Spiers is saying something libellous such as a Rangers director in favour of a banned song, then he really should have proof to back it. Which is a fair point

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essexbeancounterPosted on6:02 pm - Jan 29, 2016

From John James’s website, still “up and running” 13
…”The Herald has no integrity whatsoever….”

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EeramacaroonbarPosted on6:02 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Today’s debacle at The Herald was as sad as it was predictable. There has always been an instituitonal bias with our press and the Ibrox club going back decades, but for me this bias grew into an uncontrollable monster post 2012. The reason ?
The great liquidation lie.
EVERY media outlet reported the truth around RFC’s demise when it happened in June 2012. As we all know soon after this changed. Whether it was economical necessity the media,SFA and the liquidated club’s supporters all decided to construct an alternate reality which they have existed in since. The consequences of this lie have been snowballing for years now. The dangers in letting a hurt,angry support with a history of disorder believe what it wants was obviously not thought through.
Countless times over the last 3 years the Ibrox faithful have vented their fury at simple facts and truths. Instead of concentrating on the issues at the heart of their club they have projected their anger outwards indiscriminately. A great deal of their protestations and claims have been truly laughable. Not only have these gone unchallenged at times and ignored by our media, they have even been endorsed by some hacks.
The pandering from the media has been getting steadily worse. You only have to look at the last year when they have jumped on any minor Celtic issue yet Dave King who is on camera promising “over investment” and “50m” has not even been pulled up ONCE by any of them on it’s whereabouts.
The cat’s out the bag now – the pretence that we have a fair and balanced media is frankly hilarious. I would have a great deal more respect for them if they were to admit they pander and don’t challenge the Ibrox club for fear of the mob.
I fear a lot like the SFA’s part in the LNS farce and the secret 5WA there is a lot more at hand here that we do not know about, and if it were to come out it would be as damning as it was shocking.
The media have reached a crossroads today – either they continue to pander and become so entrenched in their bias that all reality and honesty is lost or they decide enough is enough grow a set and with everyone’s support and backing they become the media our country needs and deserves

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TrisidiumPosted on6:09 pm - Jan 29, 2016


Lawrence Donegan is not defined as a Famous Celtic fan at all. he is a successful musician, writer and blogger.

Your description, was clearly designed to belittle him for whatever reason, but his tweet certainly was not intended to be interpreted in the way you say. Quite the opposite in fact.

Read Barca’s post earlier about the relationship between the public and quality newspaper journalists. That might allow you to infer correctly.

The trolling has to stop. If you have an an issue with this post, please reply privately, and not on the blog.

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essexbeancounterPosted on6:16 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Trisidium 29th January 2016 at 6:09 pm #FB

The trolling has to stop. If you have an an issue with this post, please reply privately, and not on the blog.
Tri…and here was me thinking, somewhat naively, that I had some genuine “missionary work” amongst the tax disbelievers post 31 January 2016…ach well…ah’ll just go and wash the windaes on Monday… 06

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CanuckBhoyPosted on6:24 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Haven’t had a chance to get fully caught up, as the news is moving so quickly, but one thing I think should be noted on what is another historic day in this saga:
This is very likely the end of any deference towards members of the “new” regime based on a presumption of common decency.
Charles Green cynically played to the mob to manipulate them for his own ends. The new regime is the mob.

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parttimearabPosted on6:44 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Roy Greenslade covering the Govan Herald’s shameless behaviour in the Guardian

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friendlybearPosted on6:54 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The NUJ have now deleted their statement since Herald editor made his statement.  That would suggest they accept the editors justification

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theoldshedPosted on7:05 pm - Jan 29, 2016

friendlybear 29th January 2016 at 5:58 pm #
Hi smugas, Lawrence donegan is famous Celtic fan, former member of pop band and golf caddy. Runs the by the min Twitter accounts I think. His point is if Spiers is saying something libellous such as a Rangers director in favour of a banned song, then he really should have proof to back it. Which is a fair point
“Friendly Bear”
If it was not possible to identify from Mr Speirs’ comments who the individual concerned was then, as I understand it, it wouldn’t be actionable (even if it was untrue), so I suspect your use of the word “libellous” may be inappropriate.
Still on the subject of the law (the real fabric of society) it would be interesting to know your views on the “myth of continuity” argument put by Alan Dewar QC to the Inner House today, as reported by John James? If you agree with Mr Dewar, does that make you a “Rangers Hater”? 


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redlichtiePosted on7:08 pm - Jan 29, 2016

What a pity Mr Spiers had not taken a page out of wee Craigy’s book (allegedly) and recorded events.

Having said that, it would be very interesting to see the e-mail trail of correspondence between GS and TRFC.

For the story to have been originally printed suggests, at least, a great element of trust from his editor.

What conceivable reason could Mr Spiers have to invent such a quote? If untrue, that could/would be the end of his career as a credible journalist. Such statements are not made lightly, especially in the atmosphere we have in Scotland.

And have we actually seen a clear denial from the Rangers Board that this statement was made?

Scottish Football and Scotland in general needs a media willing to stand up to bully boys and intimidation.

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friendlybearPosted on7:12 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Hi theoldshed I followed James doleman and stv grants updates from court today couldn’t make head not tail of what was going on.  Don’t understand why the same club issue is important to his case. Need to wait for the ruling I guess.

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Gym TrainerPosted on7:15 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The thing that continues to stick out at me throughout this saga is how thin-skinned some people appear to be. 
Seems to me that these people cannot handle any opinion that they dislike and must denounce it as lies and attack the messenger. This behaviour is repeated over and over despite the happenings of the last decade or so indicating that they might not like the news, but thus far it has proved to be more reliable than sticking their fingers in their collective ears and shouting “lalala I can’t hear you” or of course attacking the messenger…

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redlichtiePosted on7:34 pm - Jan 29, 2016

From the Roy Greenslade article in the Guardian :
“Questions about the two cases were emailed to Rangers’ press office. A spokeswoman later replied: “It would be entirely inappropriate for Rangers to comment on another company’s affairs.””.
Will the Rangers’ press office be having a word then with a certain Mr D. King of their ‘Club’ who said on 12 November 2015 :

“Finally, it is extraordinary that representatives of other Scottish clubs – who admit the damage done to Scottish football by Rangers’ removal from the Premier League – should even wish to re-engage with this issue. It is time those individuals, who represent other clubs, recognise their legal and fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and shareholders rather than submit to the uninformed ramblings of a few outspoken fans to whom attacking Rangers is more important than the wellbeing of their own clubs.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, however, I wish to make one point clear. If the history of our Club comes under attack we will deal with it in the strongest manner possible and will hold to account those persons who have acted against their fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and to Scottish football.”
How King avoided a disrepute charge is beyond me.

Perhaps Rangers are now going for the ‘Hypocrites of the Year’ award.
Scottish Football needs a strong media.

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CanuckBhoyPosted on8:09 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Another interesting angle is how disastrously poor of a tactical decision this has ended up for Rangers and their Board. From a passing comment in a column that would have been forgotten in months, if even noticed at all, now they have effectively signal boosted the comment they originally objected to. People well outside the Scottish football bubble are aware of it. And Spiers is standing by his reporting, effectively daring them to sue.

All just to give the “taking the fight to our enemies” crowd happy. The same crowd who would be most disappointed if the Board publicly and emphatically distanced themselves from any endorsement of the song in question.

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douglas reynholmPosted on8:10 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Got to be Honest, not sure what to make of the Herald’s actions.
Firstly, I believe a Rangers Director did make that comment to Graham Spiers however I’ve got a feeling the email exchange between them probably contains a denial from Rangers….even they ain’t dumb enough to put that in writing. So with out any evidence, where does that leave the Herald legally?
It’s an honest question. would he have likely lost in court…does the fact he mentions an un-named Rangers director give any legal leeway in this?  I know there are other more sinister factors at play here but is this one in itself a showstopper?
It wouldn’t be the first time a newspaper has had to issue an apology to a company.
As for the Likes of Chris Jack etc. , I can it from his point of view.  Celtic Have never really had pet journalists and don’t really engage with the media beyond their obligations (they’ve good reason).  Basically sucking up to Celtic doesn’t pay the bills however sucking up to Rangers gets you scraps and generally makes your job a lot easier. 
Yeah there’s no dignity or integrity in it however I’ve always believed the media is an industry where very few people can have success and integrity.  Chris jack probably got any dreamy notions of being the next woodward or Bernstein knocked out him early on in his career and settled for a role in PR. 

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bad capt madmanPosted on8:14 pm - Jan 29, 2016

good post, however at the end you wonder why Mr King didn’t face a charge of disrepute. This is not a difficult conundrum, it takes rather a lot for the SFA to even pretend to attempt to go through the motions to discipline their club of choice.
Think about everything Mr Green got away with, never mind all the recent song book renditions.

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John ClarkPosted on8:22 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Auldheid, sorry to be a nuisance, I have just this minute PMd you on a point of information I’m looking for.

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oddjobPosted on8:28 pm - Jan 29, 2016

You beat me to the punch!
Ben Bradlee, as editor of the Washington Post , listened to, evaluated, and supported, what Woodward and Bernstein were submitting to him.
He knew the consequences he faced. Not many people had gone one on one with the President of the United States. He supported his reporters, and the rest, as they say ,is history.
Would that his like were still alive today.

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woodsteinPosted on8:42 pm - Jan 29, 2016

2016 so far.
“Herald & Times to cut up to 25 jobs in fourth cut in just over a year”
“NUJ accuses The Herald of ‘pandering to mob’ in Rangers row”
“Two columnists depart from Glasgow’s Herald in row with Rangers”
The paper is published Monday to Saturday in Glasgow and as of 2015 it had an audited circulation of 34,379 wonder what it be in 2016?
Magnus Llewellin, something to aspire to.
“The Post’s Watergate coverage won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for public service”
“Ben Bradlee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2013”
“No matter how many spin doctors were provided by no matter how many sides of how many arguments,” Mr. Bradlee wrote, “from Watergate on, I started looking for the truth after hearing the official version of a truth.”
“The passage of time,” Mr. Bradlee wrote, “has done nothing to dim my enthusiasm for this story. No one should be able to perpetrate a fraud on the public and escape the modest consequences.”
“Put out the best, most honest newspaper you can today,” he said, “and put out a better one the next day.”
Ben Bradlee

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StevieBCPosted on8:49 pm - Jan 29, 2016

According to Wiki The Herald is the ‘oldest daily national’ 
paper – in the world! (But IIRC it’s now a regional paper.)
Founded in 1783 !
A reputation earned over 233 years…and seriously damaged
in a few short days.
For relatively few pieces of silver.
And because of a crappy little football team.

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tonyPosted on8:51 pm - Jan 29, 2016

guess who’s back 
Charlotte Fakeovers@CharIotteFakesI am in possession of incriminating emails from the Sevco board member, regarding views on singing of The Billy Boys. @Herald_Editor

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redlichtiePosted on8:54 pm - Jan 29, 2016

bad capt madman 29th January 2016 at 8:14 pm #Redlichtie,good post, however at the end you wonder why Mr King didn’t face a charge of disrepute. This is not a difficult conundrum, it takes rather a lot for the SFA to even pretend to attempt to go through the motions to discipline their club of choice.Think about everything Mr Green got away with, never mind all the recent song book renditions.
Sadly, BCM, I have to fully agree with you.

“I think that there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we’ve got. We have a cancer within – close to the presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding. It grows geometrically now, because it compounds itself….”
John Dean, March 21, 1973

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oddjobPosted on9:09 pm - Jan 29, 2016

You are a credit to your name!
Charles !

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douglas reynholmPosted on9:10 pm - Jan 29, 2016

tony 29th January 2016 at 8:51 pm #
That’s just kind of sounds too good to be true….i’d proceed with caution!

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parttimearabPosted on9:18 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Think this is spiralling out of control for the Herald – NUJ condemning and finally(?) appearing on the BBC website.
So a question for Magnus Llewellin – if the individual director was not identified and Mr Spiers did not accuse the Rangers Board as a whole of praising the “ditty” in question – who exactly was going to sue?

God almighty even Ruth Davisdson is having a go at the Herald on Twitter (sharing a Bella Caledonia article in the process !!!!)

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jean7brodiePosted on9:19 pm - Jan 29, 2016

douglas reynholm 29th January 2016 at 9:10 pm #
Correct douglas. Extreme caution.

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oddjobPosted on9:20 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Apologies, will I ever get used to predictive text ?

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tonyPosted on9:24 pm - Jan 29, 2016

douglas reynholm
yip mate i know
“don’t believe everything you read on the internet”…..william shakespeare

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AllyjamboPosted on9:25 pm - Jan 29, 2016

tony 29th January 2016 at 8:51 pm #guess who’s back Charlotte Fakeovers@CharIotteFakesI am in possession of incriminating emails from the Sevco board member, regarding views on singing of The Billy Boys. @Herald_Editor
I read this and my first thoughts were, is it genuine? Then I remembered, isn’t CF giving evidence in an upcoming trial, and perhaps facing charges of his own? Unlikely to be tweeting about having posession of emails, I’d have thought, presumably emanating from Ibrox, the source of his (potential) problems. It may be genuine, but as the ‘genuine’ CF is known to the police (not sure if he’s been publicly identified) I’d think access to any incriminating evidence from Ibrox would be shut down.

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parttimearabPosted on9:26 pm - Jan 29, 2016

Oh dear I’ve just re-read the article I pasted above and found this quote from Mr Llewellin
“While one of our advertisers is on the board at Rangers that was never an issue and we shall continue to report and comment on the pressing issues of the day without fear or favour.”

“without fear” ……aye right……I can see the broon stains on your breeks from here.

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woodsteinPosted on9:33 pm - Jan 29, 2016

oddjob 29th January 2016 at 9:20 pm #   
Thanks, I guessed, (always switch mine aff)10              

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StevieBCPosted on9:51 pm - Jan 29, 2016

The statement issued by The Herald, defending its action – and reaffirming its 
history of supporting free speech…

Yes, “Comments are closed” for this article on their website!


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parttimearabPosted on10:02 pm - Jan 29, 2016

I had missed the statement from the Herald earlier in the week, possibly just as well – I mean while I can admire a good grovel…..

“We acknowledge every member of the Rangers board is fully committed to fighting bigotry and offensive chanting, wherever it occurs in Scottish football, and that the club is actively tackling the issue.”

….it helps if the grovel doesn’t appear to refer to something that’s happening in a parallel universe…

” the club is actively tackling the issue.”

……err….well…yessss…..that’s going well, isn’t it….

……and you really, really have to love the
“wherever it occurs in Scottish Football” bit….

…just as well it’s not a major problem at Ibrox and they can devote some attention to any bad singing elsewhere….good of them don’t you think….

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ianagainPosted on10:10 pm - Jan 29, 2016


Can you use your contacts to get the finality of this, been burbling for a week now.

Monday, 1 February 2016
At half past 10
Part Heard
HC-2013-000389 Barker v Baxendale Walker Solicitors & anr

Have a feeling their is something related in here.

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John ClarkPosted on10:14 pm - Jan 29, 2016

woodstein 29th January 2016 at 8:42 pm
‘No one should be able to perpetrate a fraud on the public and escape the modest consequences.”
I wonder would Mr Bradlee possibly have included sports’ governing bodies in his ‘no one’?
Seriously, this could be the harbinger of the Herald’s doom as any kind of journal of integrity.Which journalist now would
a) want to work for it?
b) be respected by the public for working for it?
c) be respected by Llewellin for working for such a craven betrayer of journalism?
There is no way that that new club could have brought an action for defamation that had even a sniff of a possibility of succeeding!
There is likely to be much more of a Judas- type of betrayal for a few shekels of advertising revenue behind  Llewellin’s ( and is that an affected spelling of a famous name) failure to support Speirs, and, in my view,a more personal, vindictive reason for his totally unwarranted sacking of someone who merely supported a colleague.
Llewllin should resign-or be sacked himself.( And I think McKay should resign as well,for ‘obeying orders’ to sack one of his staff. Remember Nuremberg! should be the cry.
Incidentally, I read somewhere ( was it in Dante?) that there are many levels of wickedness.
I fear that sometimes newspaper editors reach the very bottom level.

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CanuckBhoyPosted on10:23 pm - Jan 29, 2016

douglas reynholm 29th January 2016 at 8:10 pm #
Got to be Honest, not sure what to make of the Herald’s actions.Firstly, I believe a Rangers Director did make that comment to Graham Spiers however I’ve got a feeling the email exchange between them probably contains a denial from Rangers….even they ain’t dumb enough to put that in writing. So with out any evidence, where does that leave the Herald legally?It’s an honest question. would he have likely lost in court…does the fact he mentions an un-named Rangers director give any legal leeway in this?  I know there are other more sinister factors at play here but is this one in itself a showstopper?It wouldn’t be the first time a newspaper has had to issue an apology to a company.

Douglas, I’ve been doing some reading, and am not an expert, but I can understand why the Herald would feel exposed if Spiers doesn’t have documentary proof, corroboration from someone else privy to the conversation, or didn’t get consent for publication.

Big caveat here: defamation is a complicated area of law. Also, don’t take this as legal advice!

First, this suggests that defamation in Scotland is pretty close to common law defamation: Wikipedia says that the only difference is that there is no distinction made between libel and slander, and that the defense of truth has a different name.

The traditional elements of common law defamation are: 1) defamation (yes, defamation is an element of defamation; I don’t make up the rules!); 2) identification; and 3) publication.

We can take #3 off the table right away. The actual threshold is very low — basically, communication to a third party, even if unintentional — and in this case we’re talking about a newspaper column.

The test for #1 is expressed in about 10 different ways, but from the Brodies piece is representative: a communication that “lowers a person in the estimation of a right-thinking member of the public.” This would actually be an interesting issue, depending on how the action is framed. If attributing “Billy Boys was ‘a great song'” to the unnamed director is alleged to be the defamatory statement then you’d have the spectacle of Rangers (or the director, see below) having to establish in court, as part of their case, that endorsement of the song is likely to “lower a person in the estimation of a right-thinking member of the public.” On the one hand, I think we’d all agree that it does. On the other hand, that’s not a position that is likely to be popular with the people most happy today. If the defamation is instead alleged to be Spiers’s questioning of the commitment of Rangers, the corporate entity, to combating sectarian singing, it could open an alternate defense to Spiers.

#2 would also be interesting. First, who brings the action? Rangers, the individual unnamed director, or the directors as a group? Each one has different implications. Second, it is very much possible to defame someone without naming them. The smallness of the group would be a factor here but it’s not automatic. I wouldn’t want to venture an opinion on the outcome because I think that this is very close to the border. It would almost certainly be a legal issue at trial. Alternately, as mentioned, Rangers could claim to be the party defamed. They are certainly identified in the piece and, ultimately, the alleged quote is used as evidence for Spiers’s larger point. Keep in mind, an opinion can be defamatory, but it allows a different defense.

The most important point is this: truth (veritas in Scotland, apparently) operates as a defense. Thus, if the plaintiff proves the three elements above, the burden would then be on Spiers (or the Herald) to prove the truth of the alleged statement. If it comes down to a question of testimony between the parties to the conversation, and they are equally believable, then the defendant would have failed to satisfy the onus placed on them. Put it this way: tie goes to the plaintiff. That’s part of why newspapers check quotes before publication, unless the conversation was recorded. This is probably why the Herald is backing down or, as I first observed, feels legally exposed.

Alternately, if the defamation is alleged to be Spiers’s opinion about Rangers’ willingness to combat sectarian singing, then he’d probably have a defense of fair comment open. Fair comment is even more complicated. The big problem, from my understanding, is that the opinion has to be based on a “true fact”. So we might be back to the question of proving the statement. I’m in no way sure about that, however, as it may be open to Spiers to lead other evidence as the basis for his opinion. I doubt he’d have much trouble making out the “honest opinion” and “public interest” components of the defense.

The bigger point though, is that the Herald has really, really botched this on multiple levels. The unattributed comment probably shouldn’t have gotten past editorial in the first place. But once they decided to run it, without getting confirmation, they look even more ridiculous backing away from it. If they had come out with a “we believe and back our journalist” the ball would entirely be in Rangers’ court and everyone would be on the Herald’s side. Even if a suit was launched, you’d have the spectacle of Rangers, or one or some of their directors, publicly arguing that being associated with The Billy Boys is defamatory. And the potential for them to have to testify as such. That alone should have been worth it for the Herald.

And, while damages are presumed in defamation, I’m not sure they’d be particularly onerous even if the Herald couldn’t successfully make out the defense. How much was the reputation of Rangers hurt by an alleged tacit endorsement of a song their fans are well known to sing? I could totally imagine fairly nominal damages being all that were awarded.

Worst, Spiers has doubled down on the truth of his original column. So if he’s not sued, what does that say about the Herald’s decision?

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