The Day I was on the Scotland U-23 Bench

It’s been a crappy year. If you don’t believe me, look at the two lists below this piece – full of people who have left us since Jan 1 2016. Some might say in a post Brexit/Trump world they are all better off, but that is neither here nor there.

In addition we have witnessed yet another year of the “black is white – new is old” suspension of disbelief argument from the football authorities. The same dysfunctional crew who gave us the 5-way agreement and whose cerebral CPU cycles are dominated by a strategy to choose the correct term to use for various concepts like; liquidation, Rangers FC, pitch invasion, independent inquiry, (to name just a few).
They now think we will be satisfied with what their crack investigation into child sex abuse – and its no doubt cherry-picked and narrow terms of reference – will come up with.

Still in place at Hampden, is a Press Officer who thinks he IS the SFA, and a chief executive who should BE the SFA, but who prefers, in his own words to do “nothing”. These are the people who, in the midst of a public debate over concerns for racism and homophobia in the game, have given a coaching job involving young people to a man who has been proven a racist and a homophobe.

These are the people who constantly have their hands out for public funds, including one to fund a grade-A bonkers facial recognition scheme to root out sectarianism (and all the other ISMS that they have just endorsed by appointing Malky Mackay).

Yet we complain about the Americans when they elect an insane man to power?

All is however not lost. Within living memory, and since it is Christmas, I’d like to relate a warm, cuddly, sentimental and very true story about the late Jock Stein. It is proof that there was a time before the madness that has enveloped Scottish Football when real people of quality, blessed with empathy for fans, roamed these lands.

Rewind to 13th May 1975. Myself and three great friends, two teenagers from each half of the Old Firm, decided to walk over to Hampden Park to see Scotland playing a friendly match against Portugal. Two of the guys – ironically the Rangers ones – lived in a wee street right across the road from Celtic Park, and we set out from ‘their bit’, walking through Strathie’s Park and down Springfield Road into Dalmarnock Road. We were a bit behind schedule and of course we were all skint so we had to walk. As my mates dithered, I walked on ahead shouting at them something like ‘hurry up!’ (although a tad less politely).

As I approached the junction of Dalmarnock Road and Adelphi Street, I absent-mindedly did a bit of jay-walking and was nearly hit on the backside by a ton of German tin making a left turn. The passenger window of the car was rolled down, and I prepared an impetuous come-back to what I was sure was going to be a rollicking.

Instead, a strangely familiar man in a thick Irish brogue poked his head out of the window and said; “Where you going?”

As my brain registered “Sean Fallon”, I made a quick connection, turned to the driver and saw that it was Big Jock. Thoughts of “what an honour to be knocked down by Jock Stein” flashed through my befuddled between-ear mass.

Recovering quickly;  “To the game” I said.

“Jump in!” shouted Mr Stein

“My pals are just behind me”

“Tell them to jump in as well”

I never asked the guys when they realised it was the greatest living Scotsman driving the car, but we didn’t know many folk with a Merc, so I suppose they knew it wasn’t a relative who had stopped me.

The four of us climbed into the spacious big bench seat in the back of the car for the fifteen minute journey. Immediate questions.

Yes Jock (we were pals by now 🙂 ) was going to the game and so was Sean, but they were going home for something to eat first. Yes, it was a great perk of being a manager that you didn’t have to queue, but what did we think of the team?

The chat at the time was that Kenny Dalglish hadn’t hit it off with Scotland because Bremner was cramping his style. Bremner was injured that night, so my pal Gerry Connor (permission to use his name has been granted!) told The Boss (we were really close by now) that we expected KD fireworks.

What did we think of Hutchinson? Since it definitely appeared to be posed in rhetorical fashion we chose “not very much”.
The Gaffer concurred.

One of the Rangers guys (Big Jimmy) wondered aloud why Alfie Conn, by then of Spurs, was not selected. It was a ridiculous situation said my mate. Probably keeping him for the U-23s he thought out loud, before realising that Jock was the then Under 23 manager.

“Oh, eh, um, sorry! I forgot that was you!” said Big Jimmy. “No worries, he’s a very good player” said Big John (by now we felt we had known him forever).

Truth is, we were scared shitless; totally in awe of the man driving, DRIVING US, to the match. He really wanted to know what we thought, who we liked to see play, who we would pick who wasn’t in the squad.

Another thing was that despite it being huge for us all, we all wanted it it over with as quickly as possible so we could talk about it. But it wasn’t over yet. The final flourish was when we got dropped off at the Beechwood. We got out of the car as the crowds were descending on Hampden. Stein’s car was noticed right away, but who were these young scallywags emerging fro the back?

“Thanks Boss, thanks Sean!” we all shouted so the bystanders could ear. Stein smiled, waved at us and sped off to Kings Park for his dinner.

“See you in the morning Gaffer!”

Chests puffed out, we all assumed the pose of Scotland Under-23 starlets. Scotland won 1-0, but I can honestly say I don’t remember a bloody thing about that match. I do remember being on the Scotland U-23 bench though 🙂

The moral of the story is clear to me. In the background of Dave Scott’s claim in our podcast that the SFA needed to get its act together, and to engage more with the fans, the men of the Stein mould, our greatest football generation, are perhaps the last generation to possess the ability to do that.

He could have just beeped loudly in frustration and went off home for his dinner that evening, but he saw four young fans – guys who loved the game anyway – and made us love it a bit more after that fifteen minute ride. For a few minutes out of his time, Jock Stein gave us all a lifetime of a cherished memory, which I have dined out on, and will continue to dine out on, forever.

Many years later, footballers of that era told me that it was commonplace for the likes of Billy McNeill and John Grieg to do the same in Glasgow, for Pat Stanton and Davie Holt in Edinburgh, and for Alex Hamilton and Jerry Kerr in Dundee.

Sadly, three decades later, I regularly witnessed footballers go to extraordinary lengths to avoid autograph hunters, ducking out of back doors and having stewards deliver their cars to remote places away from the public gaze.

Of the four lucky boys who chanced upon Jock Stein that night, I am still in touch with two. Big Jimmy has fallen of the radar, last heard of in England somewhere – as is Gerry, condemned to a purgatory of watching Blackburn Rovers!

Despite that, we will always share the bond of the night we were on the Under-23 bench seat in the back of Big Jock’s Merc.

We should remember that the game in this country prospered when it was more in tune with the people who followed it. Perhaps market equilibrium will one day bring it back, who knows, but for now, football is an industry where no-one in control at the clubs gives a flying doo-doo what we think.


At least we still have our memories. Of the great Jock Stein, to whom I was briefly related, of his assistant Sean Fallon, who I got to know a bit in later years, and of many football folk I was privileged enough to know, and who are no longer with us.

Just like the class of 2016 below, we miss them all.


Non Football Deaths in 2016

Date Name Age
04 Jan Robert Stigwood Producer 81
08 Jan David Bowie Musician 69
14 Jan Alan Rickman Actor 69
15 Jan DanHaggerty Grizzly Adams Actor 74
18 Jan Glen Frey Musician 67
28 Jan Paul Kantner Musician 74
19 Feb Harper Lee Author 89
28 Feb George Kennedy Actor 91
08 Mar George Martin Producer 90
09 Mar Robert Horton Wagon Train Actor 91
10 Mar Keith Emerson Musician 71
17 Mar Larry Drake LA Law Actor 66
18 Mar Joe Santos Rockford Files Actor 84
22 Mar Richard Bradford Man in a Suitcase Actor 81
24 Mar Garry Shandling Comedian 66
06 Apr Merle Haggard Musician 79
21 Apr Prince Musician 57
24 Apr Billy Paul Musician 81
19 May Alan Young Mr Ed Actor 96
03 Jun Muhammad Ali Boxer 74
14 Jun Ronnie-Claire Edwards Waltons Actor 83
28 Jun Scotty Moore Musician 84
19 Jul Garry Marshall Actor/Producer 81
13 Aug Kenny Baker Star Wars Actor 81
20 Aug Gene Wilder Actor 83
06 Sep Hugh O’Brian Wyatt Earp Actor 91
25 Sep Arnold Palmer Golfer 87
28 Sep Shimon Peres Politician 93
14 Oct Jean Alexander Coronation St Actor 90
24 Oct Bobby Vee Singer 73
24 Oct Pete Burns Musician 57
03 Nov Kaye Starr Singer 94
07 Nov Leonard Cohen Musician 82
11 Nov Robert Vaughan Actor 83
13 Nov Leon Russell Musician 74
25 Nov Fidel Castro Politician 90
06 Dec Peter Vaughan Porridge Actor 93
07 Dec Greg Lake Musician 69
08 Dec John Glenn Astronaut 95
18 Dec Zsa-Zsa Gabor Actor 99
24 Dec Rick Parfitt Musician 67
24 Dec Liz Smith Royle Family Actor 95
25 Dec George Michael Musician 53
27 Dec Carrie Fisher Actor 60
28 Dec Debbie Reynolds Actor 84



Football Deaths in 2016

Date Name Club Age
22 Jan Tommy Bryceland St Mirren 76
22 Jan John Dowie Celtic 60
04 Feb Harry Glasgow Clyde 76
24 Feb Jim McFadzean Kilmarnock & Hearts 77
11 Mar Billy Ritchie Rangers Goalkeeper 79
20 Mar Alan Cousin Dundee, Hibs & Falkirk 78
24 Mar Johan Cruyff Ajax, Barcelona 68
31 Mar Jimmy Toner Dundee 92
06 May Chris Mitchell Queen of the South 27
11 May Bobby Carroll Celtic 77
14 May John Coyle Dundee United 83
20 Jun Willie Logie Rangers, Aberdeen 83
03 Jul Jimmy Frizzell Morton 79
06 Jul Davie Nicol Falkirk 80
08 Jul Jackie McInally Kilmarnock 79
21 Jul Dick Donnelly East Fife Goalkeper/Journalist 74
05 Aug Joe Davis Hibs Captain 75
21 Aug Rab Stewart Dunfermline 54
05 Sep Max Murray Rangers 80
13 Sep Matt Gray Third Lanark 80
01 Oct David Herd Man United & Scotland 82
10 Oct Eddie O’Hara Falkirk & Everton 80
16 Oct George Peebles Dunfermline 80
18 Oct Gary Sprake Leeds United 71
08 Nov Ian Cowan Partick Thistle, Falkirk & DAFC 71
16 Nov Daniel Prodan Rangers 44
25 Nov Jim Gillespie Dunfermline 69
26 Nov Davie Provan Rangers 75
10 Dec Tommy McCulloch Clyde Goalkeeper 82
11 Dec Charlie McNeil Stirling Albion 53
This entry was posted in General by Big Pink. Bookmark the permalink.

About Big Pink

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

653 thoughts on “The Day I was on the Scotland U-23 Bench

  1. It’s now just about 1.00 pm on Saturday 14th january here in Birkdale/Brisbane.Current temperature is 29.6 degrees celsius.
    I had the two younger granweans down at the park for an hour betwen 8.00 and 9.00 a.m (plenty of shade , as they played on the ‘flying fox’ etc…) Mrs C is just preparing a bit of lunch now, and I have had a few minutes to myself.
    During these few minutes, I have been ruminating, not for the first time, on the nuisance factor that arises when one is dealing with two entities which are pretending to be one.
    ( I have previously written to Companies House about what seemed to me to be an attempt by RIFC/TRFC to claim unbroken continuity with SDM’s/ CW’s RFC(IL) in the way they try to use ‘Rangers’ when referring to either)
    So, I had a mind to have a look at the web-site for Rangers Football Club. I find it to be here   
    I find, to my pleasant surprise, that when I click on ‘history’, the ‘history’ stops at the point where ‘Walter’ is about to hand over to ‘Ally”
    I turn then to have a wee look at  RIFC, the web-site of which entity appears to be
    I find under their ‘history’, the very same identical same page. BUT this is not at all updated to mention SDM’s sale for the £1 to CW , and the facts of ‘Administration’, and the fact that the club was NOT bought out of ‘administration’, but ws Liquidated, lost its SPL share, and LOST its SFA share.
    The RIFC board daren’t put in print the express claim to be the Rangers Football Club of old, by recording the history of the origins of SevcoScotland…..
    They try to do it by implication, sneakily, their lawyers knowing better than to try an obvious market con.

  2. JC @ 3.03

    i was always minded that on Doncasters desk somewhere was a file marked “Worst Case Scenario” whereby if matters apropos OC/NC were brought to a head by some legal challenge that “Rangers” would be so intertwined in common parlance and media speak as to make the distinction pointless and dismissible as “Timmy double speak.”&

    Two thoughts.  Firstly, they needn’t have bothered.  I never got too hung up on barchat and media headlines anyway which were always destined to shorten the name to the recognisable brand.   And secondly, in that “Worst Case” file you can take it for granted the subsection marked “Finance” contains the solitary sentence “it’ll all be fine, no really.”

  3. I found this on Twitter. A Rangers fan has posted the reply he received from the Ticket Office regarding the allocation of away tickets. An interesting response to say the least. 

  4. SmugasJanuary 14, 2017 at 08:08
    ‘…..whereby if matters apropos OC/NC were brought to a head by some legal challenge that “Rangers” would be so intertwined in common parlance and media speak as to make the distinction pointless and dismissible as “Timmy double speak.”’
    That is undoubtedly the dearest wish of Doncaster and Regan and probably of most of the clubs ( in particular the one club that had a golden opportunity in market-place, investor, shareholder terms to destroy the myths) in the SPFL.
    Dr Josef Mengele no doubt had aspirations to become world famous as a geneticist, hoping that the mere passage of years would cause people to forget what a  murdering, lying, sadistic, evil  brute animal of a human being he was.
    Instead, I read today that the Nazi perverted bastar.d’s   bones are themselves being used in scientific experiments ( article in the ‘Times’, reproduced in ‘The Australian’ today).
    Because, of course, Truth will out. Liars , even in relatively piddling little matters like false  claims to football identity and football honours, are always exposed.
    They may be as dead as the RFC of SDM when that exposure occurs, just as Mengele has been long dead ( well, in 1979, a few years before my dad, who was wounded fighting the bast.rd Teutons).
    But exposed they will inevitably be. And when people read their obituaries, they will remember the dirty wee deeds they perpetrated in manufacturing and mainting a huge sporting lie.
    While it seems that people like Mengele might be deemed to have been clinically insane ( or might have claimed to be so if  brought to trial in Nuremberg), that line of defence would not be available to ‘Scottish Football administration and its officers’ as a whole.
    Or to the kind of journalists that Mengele had on his side in his ‘glory’ days under the Third Reich.
    Neither RIFC nor TRFC is the RFC betrayed by SDM in his cowardly sale to CW, nor is either the RFC that CW put into Administration, nor the RFC (IA) that the administrators ( the wonderful D&P) could not bring out of Administration, and which Lord Hodge had the task of consigning to BDO to kill by Liquidation.
    No one in the entire world could rationally argue to the contrary.
    Ergo, those who do so are either knaves or idiots.
    I think they are money-grubbing , unprincipled knaves ( with a sprinkling of deluded people among them) and, in essence, in essence, men of the same stamp as the serious distorters of truth and honour, as the Josef mengeles of the world.
    If one is prepared to lie for the sake of a few bob from football, what might one day when the stakes were really high?
    There is the real question.

  5. upthehoopsJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:06

    Is that the sound of pennies dropping? Interesting, though, that away tickets are so difficult for them to get their hands on – wasn’t there supposed to be some sort of ‘getting their own back’ boycott once they reached this part of ‘the journey’?

    Interesting, also, that now the SMSM are being a tad more realistic about King that the supporters are changing their tune about him too. To quote the attachment;

    ‘So bcause of Cross eyes I am getting less tickets.’ (my bold)

    Just goes to show that the part played by the SMSM in keeping the wool over the bears’ eyes really did have a major effect*! I wonder if that fact will ever sink in to their collective conscience?

    * I acknowledge that the bampots were always aware of this.

  6. Big PinkJanuary 14, 2017 at 11:33
    ‘…The problem in a nutshell..’
    I would not disagree with that observation,BP.
    I would add, of course, that the readiness of the Scottish Football authorities has worsened matters by their being prepared to deem that the emphasis on the two cheeks of the same arse is so necessary as to be prepared to lie  about the death of one of the cheeks and insist  that a new plastic cheek, transplanted to the healthy half-arse was really the same diseased cheek that had had to be cut away because of its cancerous rottenness!
    If only they had done their bounden duty, declared openly the truth that RFC was no more, and that any new club admitted to Scottish football might, indeed, call itself what it likes, but simply CANNOT claim to be entitled to anything won, achieved, recorded, by the the old RFC!
    We would all, probably, have accepted that.

  7. AllyjamboJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:44
    ‘…Just goes to show that the part played by the SMSM in keeping the wool over the bears’ eyes really did have a major effect*’
    Which reminds me, Aj: to ask from which source does the SMSM anti-King movement spring?
    I think I may have missed a beat or two in the saga-dance. Who is now pulling the SMSM strings in favour of whom ? I know what-y’-call him? Keef?- is their mouthpiece ( and what a mouth, that can accommodate so much crap).
    But who is pulling his strings?

  8. John C

    I agree with your conclusions. Trouble is that when the MSM insist on only recognising the ‘Old Firm’ brand it is hardly surprising that fans of other clubs will arrive at the ‘two cheeks’ juncture.

    And Celtic’s apparent willingness to ignore the licence shenanigans at the SFA would encourage most folks to think that the club mindset – if not the fans – is firmly wedded to the culture of duopoly.

  9. John Clark

    Zero doubt in my mind that Traynor is the puller of the Keef string. In fact the DR guys as a whole (reading between the lines in conversation) are sympathetic to Traynor, hostile to Jack.

  10. Big PinkJanuary 14, 2017 at 13:35
    ‘…And Celtic’s apparent willingness to ignore the licence shenanigans at the SFA would encourage most folks to think that the club mindset – if not the fans – is firmly wedded to the culture of duopoly.’
    In a (long ago?) previous post I used the words of a much more significant chap than I when I said that there was no duty on the part of Celtic to make a gift of its life to its enemies by leading the ‘football integrity’ charge while other clubs ( with the most honourable exception of Raith Rovers under Turnbull Hutton) sat back and uttered not a word, publicly( although, privately, one or two let me know their feelings).

    That was before the Res 12 at the Celtic agm in 2013.

    At that agm, the matter became a matter of shareholder, not ‘supporter’, business; a matter of share value, not club allegiance.

    And that was a perfectly legitimate , non-footballing, non-sectarian, non-‘Celtic- as- a- football- club’ but as a feckin business that ‘might’ have been done out of millions, opportunity to at least ask some searching questions.

    The fact that they have thus far failed to ask any question, and buggered people ( their shareholders) about for 3 years tells its own story.

    I have still to write to Celtic to ask them to explain to me exactly why they have thus far neither taken action on the Res 12 matter, nor totally dismissed the Res 12 resolution as being spurious and  not being worth pursuing, from a shareholders’ perspective.

    I will write.

    And will expect an answer.
    And a truthful answer, at that.

  11. John ClarkJanuary 14, 2017 at 13:19

    Not a great reader of the SMSM 14, so not read much, but get the impression that generally, the ‘Dave King love-in’ is on the wane, with Jackson getting, relatively, torn in about him. I don’t, myself, have the feeling it’s a ‘get rid at all costs’ type attack, more one that they could pull back from at any time, suggesting it may be, as BP suggests, Traynor and Level5 behind it all, trying to force King’s hand – either to pay their bill or stump up from the ‘Treasure Chest’!

    A couple of days ago there was a post from a bears site put up on twitter where one bear was vociferously defending King, but now it appears more and more are seeing that they’ve been ‘duped’ and are saying so, still, though, in somewhat muted terms.

  12. BP @ 11.33

    Tell me you haven’t just spotted that now BP? 22

    I think my recent favourite was

    Update on the progress of Celtic and Rangers and Andy Murray makes it to number 1. 

  13. AllyjamboJanuary 14, 2017 at 14:18
    ‘..A couple of days ago there was a post from a bears site put up on twitter where one bear was vociferously defending King, but now it appears more and more are seeing that they’ve been ‘duped’ and are saying so, still, though, in somewhat muted terms.’
    Aye, but who are the ‘duped’ now seeing as their wealthy ‘saviour’?

    Someone on the present RIFC board, or the TRFC board, or some other ‘Bill Taylor’ or Mr Ng, or brothers Mcgill or… CW clone?

    Dear God, was there ever such a tedious piece of nonsense as this whole wearisome saga about a four-year-old football club?

  14. JC @ 14.13

    Panic ye not JC.  There is no requirement for any club to “give its life.”  Not now that “the club,” magically isolated from its owner and operator”, is thus granted immortality.  Whoever thought Celine Dion, ably backed by the Gibb Bros, would have the final word!  

    That has to be the ultimate 6-step party challenge.  Can you link Gavin Masterton and Celine Dion in six easy steps?  Players should note don’t worry if you have to shed £168m in the process! 

  15. Smugas,

    Actually it was Tris who spotted it and tweeted, but point taken 🙂

  16. JOHN CLARKJANUARY 14, 2017 at 14:29 
    AllyjamboJanuary 14, 2017 at 14:18‘..A couple of days ago there was a post from a bears site put up on twitter where one bear was vociferously defending King, but now it appears more and more are seeing that they’ve been ‘duped’ and are saying so, still, though, in somewhat muted terms.’_______Aye, but who are the ‘duped’ now seeing as their wealthy ‘saviour’?
    Someone on the present RIFC board, or the TRFC board, or some other ‘Bill Taylor’ or Mr Ng, or brothers Mcgill or… CW clone?
    Dear God, was there ever such a tedious piece of nonsense as this whole wearisome saga about a four-year-old football club?
    I think, John, it’s the same saviour as the one they’ve been expecting since they first realised PMGB was right when he said RFC would die.

    B*ggered if I can remember his name, though! But he must be out there, I’ve read about it in the papers…

  17. Cluster One

    Actually there is – looking at it with fresh eyes after a few months – a rather amazing outcome to Darryl’s indiscretions.

    To quote from John Clark’s account of the meeting;

    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.

    Amazing that from the “SFA’s” perspective that OCNC is NOT a matter of fact or article of faith, but one of “opinion”.

    At the time I took that to be an implicit rejection of JC’s position, but in fact it is a rather considered failure/refusal to commit.

    The SFA’s stance on Doncaster’s view then is just this; ‘that is his opinion – not in any way to be confused with a fact’.

    If the SFA were really nailing their colours to the same club myth, one would have thought that Darryl, especially the light of his own allegiances (which he is perfectly entitled to hold by the way), would have contradicted John’s statement completely.

    He didn’t do that.

    Funny how things can seem so different after a second look. 

  18. An interesting post over on PMGB’s site suggesting Red Bull change everything when they take over a football club, including ditching the club’s history, as they set up as a new club. Perhaps not such a big deal at a club like Leipzig, as they were formerly a communist controlled East German club, who would not be too bothered about a history from a time most of their supporters would choose to forget. I’m sure most of their support would be happy to have a well funded club to represent their city. I cannot imagine the same could be said of the bears, who tend to sing about a long dead Dutchman rather than the city they should represent!

    If this is true, how Red Bull treat a club they buy, then could you just imagine:

    ‘Hey guys, we’ve been saved and are gonna maulicate the tims, Red Bull have taken us over, they’ve got wealth off the radar…’

    Then a week later. ‘What’s that you’re saying? Red Bull Glasgow! Never heard of them, must be a new club. Follow, follow…what do you mean, they were Rangers? No, no, no, that was Sevco!’

  19. BIG PINKJANUARY 14, 2017 at 16:50       Rate This 
    Cluster One
    Funny how things can seem so different after a second look.
    It was a good read again.The Mr Broadfoot leaving the SFA(not seen any statement yet) and a Mr Broadfoot exchange with Mr Sutton twitter had me look it up.(search function helped)
    sometimes i’m like a dog with a Bone06

  20. Joey Barton on as a sub for Burnley – and then scores!

    Couldn’t make that stuff up. Sods law from a TRFC perspective, but I suppose it’s just yer luck.

  21. Big Pink
    The only matter of fact that matters in terms of authority to pass judgement on the status of the current club/company operating from Ibrox is that of UEFA.
    The SFA are bound by their Articles to UEFA regulations and SPFL are similarly bound via their SFA membership and Traverso in his response to Res12 lawyers (to a question never asked) is that UEFA view current construction ie  TRFC/RIFC as a new club/company.
    Now this is only putting in writing the principles behind Art12 of UEFA FFP that define an applicant for a UEFA licence first as a “club” which then take two constructs.
    Construct A is the one RFC operated under, ie a club in charge of running itself under SFA membership and Consruct B where a contractual relationship exists between a member of a national association with a company who operate it. That construct would seem to apply to the existing set up at Ibrox with RIFC being responsible for operation TRFC (presumably under a contractual relationship that goes beyond a nod and a wink).
    Hence Traverso saying UEFA viewed RFC as no longer sanctionable by UEFA and the current construct of the club as a club/company being new to UEFA and so ineligible to apply (in either Construct A or B form) for a UEFA Licence until they had been members of the SFA for 3 years.
    Apologies for going back into same club debate (I’m only setting out the meaning as I understand it of UEFA rules not the consequences ) but in terms of D Broadfoot’s exchange to John Clark there has not been to my knowledge any statement from the SFA to confirm or refute the same club argument in spite of UEFA making it quite clear to the SFA by copy of response to Res12 lawyers that UEFA viewed current entity  as a club applying from 2012 for a UEFA licence as a NEW club/company. It’s all in Art12 of UEFA FFP)
    In fact there is a bit of a mystery how the matter was reported in the media by STV who presumably liaised at some point with SFA Communications man.
    STV more or less published the relevant Traverso paragraph word for word but omitted reference to the new club/company words. This came, according to STV, from UEFA Media Dept and was reported some 10 days or so AFTER the SFA had received their copy of the UEFA letter dated 8 June.
    Quite why the key words were omitted or the STV report not corrected by the SFA after publishing  or ran past SFA before publishing is a bit of a mystery that the SFA could answer if the question was ever put to them by the media (other than STV although they may have been duped) but some matters seem to be taboo… but going back to your point on opinion.
    It would seem that the SFA are more than content to leave a matter of fact as a matter of opinion and the motivation as with any organisation/entity will be to protect itself before all else, including it would seem the integrity of the game they are no longer fit to govern.

  22. auldheid
    Is the current RIFC/TRFC setup any different from the previous one of Wavetower/RFC or Murray Sports/ RFC?
    All three models are holding companies but none of the HCs were members of SFA as far as I can see.

    JANUARY 14, 2017 at 18:14

    Indeed, when Rangers went into liquidation it did have a holding company, it was called The Rangers FC Group Limited (previously called Wavetower).

    That company still exists. The compulsory striking off was suspended in mid December 2016.

  24. Cluster One
    That exchange between Sutton and Broadfoot is a very interesting one in terms of the dangerous waters that any sport sails into when you get lawyers involved.
    It’s the old unforeseen consequences thing. The independent panel approach is/was the right approach to disciplinary matters but there has to be a balance struck imo between what is fair to the player involved and what is fair to the game in terms of other players and referees.
    I speak from some amusing and enlightening experience in the late 70s as a member of an amateur league Disciplinary Panel when  after adjudicating on one memorable  melee at Glasgow Green, when “testimony” was heard on either side of the main League Meeting and sentences dished out after each,  that whilst justice had been served the right sentences had not necessarily been handed out in the right order to the right culprits.
    However the main driving factor at those meetings was protection of the game rather than fairness to the individuals involved, many of whom could hold a half pun of butter in their mouths for a day without any loss to melt.
    By the game I meant as I said the referees and other players. The first were a great group of guys, some of whom had top level experience (including Jimmy Callaghan) and turned out in all sorts of circumstances to make sure there was a game on a Saturday morning  and other players who just turned up to play in a football and not boxing match.
    Thus even if we felt there were some circumstances that might lessen a sentence, if a player admitted raising his hands or threatening in any way, even if in retaliation, there was a punishment to be delivered. 
    In the Tiernan case there is no question a hand was lifted and even if  it could have been proved  it was only to remove fluff from his opponent’s navel (with said fluff presented as  evidence) the question for the amatuer committee would be what impact does a not proven judgement have on referees and players in future matches?
    This is where lawyers don’t have a responsibility. Theirs is only to their client and not the game. That is where an independent panel need to take responsibility, to step back from the narrow confines of the case and consider the message their decision sends out especially when incident caught clearly on camera.
    If I were a referee or player who did not like taking a blow I’d be raising more than an eyebrow and asking to what extent independent panel guidance covered them.
    With regard to DB’s defense that SFA not involved, I think their processes should be under continual review and this case, not the offense,  but the process  itself, should be under review to keep unforeseen consequences in check.

  25. Trisidium 
    To UEFA an applicant has to be a football club which it then defines.
    I have no idea if a contractual relationship existed between MIH and RFC or Wavetower and RFC or even TRFC and RIFC or the details.
    UEFA records would show the football club who applied for a licence pre 2013 but it could not have been MIH in 2012 as RFC sold to CW (Wavetower? ) and it would be interesting if any applications pre 2012 were made by MIH or RFC. I doubt it was MIH.
    The idea of dodging responsibilities by offloading  on to a holding comany carries moral hazards and when Southampton tried it a few years back they got short shrift from the FA. UEFA are wise to it hence Art12.
    In UEFA terms insisting on being the same club should manifest itself by the next applicant from Ibrox applying as the same entity UEFA last granted a licence to in 2011, the 2012 application from CW’s Rangers being refused although that does not rule out Wave tower being the applicant.
    The downside of course is whose accounts get produced to support that application? UEFA only want accounts for the most recent FY and they don’t belong to RFC.Then there are sanctions for obtaining a licence when RFC had overdue payables that were avoided by liquidation. These would have been as severe as the recent Partisan ban imo.
    This pretzel of a situation emerging from the 5 Way Agreement was always going to run into a football administration rock and is going to need straightened out before it becomes a chocolate Curley Wurley and melts under the heat of scrutiny. 

  26. D. Broadfoot “I am the SFA”
    That is a matter of opinion.

    ‘Not proven’  Where was this verdict during the ‘trial’ of Tonev?  Racist charge, one player’s word against another.  The ‘independant’ panel used verbal body language to come to a judgement.

    Independent?  Appointed by the SFA?  Like LNS?

    Makes me sick.  Rotten to the core.

  27. AULDHEIDJANUARY 14, 2017 at 19:04
    If I were a referee or player who did not like taking a blow I’d be raising more than an eyebrow and asking to what extent independent panel guidance covered them.
    And just how independent is the panel and who get’s to choose just how independent the panel is

  28. Trisidium
    I mentioned Southampton previously in respect of football authority’s attitude elsewhere to using the holding company argument to get around football rules. 
    Here is an explanation of the circumstances. 
    The form of the wheeze might change but the underlying principle is the same, don’t dump debt and expect no football sanction to follow.
    RFC differed in that there was no club operating as a single economic entity left to sanction.
    What happened thereafter was the natural consequences of that situation.

  29. I’d say an independent panel is only as independent as the people who are paying for it! Or, at best, is only as independent as the perameters set and the information and evidence provided!

    Or as independent as rabble rousing such as ‘who are these people?’ might allow them to feel safe to be!

  30. Cluster One
    Just because we know they are out to get us does not mean everyone is. ?
    However in terms of improving the process why not expand panel beyond Scottish shores? Perhaps they have but a sprinkling of non Scottish neutrals from other UK FAs might help.
    That is the kind  of thing a continual review of the process might bring about.

  31. AULDHEIDJANUARY 14, 2017 at 20:41
    Have the SFA any mandate or proposals for a continual review of the process 

  32. I commented earlier that I wasn’t too bothered about the shorthand, brief and possibly (god forbid07) lazy use of the term “Rangers” when referring to OC/NC.  Regarding Broadfoot’s view I’ve said all along that the only body who couldn’t afford, nor be afforded such flexibility (or “opinion”) was the SFA.  They are either a new cub with all that entails, and most crucially that means not dumping debt without footballing sanctions such as Auldheid refers to in his Southampton scenario, or they’re not, inferring that dumping debt is now somehow ok AND indeed  to be encouraged.

    For the absence of doubt dumping debt is where a creditor is shafted against their will. A creditor accepting a CVA a la Hearts (or a governing body exempting a club from a requirement to achieve a CVA a la Leeds which I happened upon today) is entirely different in one basic facet – the creditor is protected such that the game is protected (both from being a creditor but also from continuing to receive the services and credit terms of service providers, the entire purpose of the authority’s long established solvency procedures.

  33. Cluster One
    The last evidence of the SFA’s approach to self improvement was their 20/20 Vision. Check via Google.
    I recognise a bit of the process behind arriving at the Vision and from that, based on my experience, what is needed to take that Vision forward, but taking the one on being trusted to govern as an example there is little evidence that a vision delivery mechanism has been installed.
    Taking Res12 as an example there is a prima facie case that the licensing  process did not work in 2011 and in most independent organisations that of itself would result in a review but the SFA are not as independent to act because of the self protection nature of their members looking after themselves more than the game.
    There is a lot more to it than “loaded” independent panels.

  34. Looks like FIFA have taken UEFA’s lead to expand their competition in the blatant pursuit of maximising profits.

    However, as many footy fans know, the ‘Champions’ League has been seriously devalued, and only becomes interesting (usually) at the knockout rounds.

    A further, bloated World Cup Finals means more games, more money…and even more first round tedium.

    At least FIFA, UEFA and the SFA/SPFL are aligned;

    – maintain short term focus on cash (& personal objectives / bonuses?)

    – ignore the fans (as most successful org’s ignore their customers… 09)

    – bend over as necessary for the TV companies, (until they don’t have the cash or lose interest in an overpriced sport.)

  35. For a good few weeks before Christmas we were reading, online, that nets were going up on the roofs of three of the Ibrox stands. This was never denied by the Ibrox incumbents, nor questioned by the succulent lambs of the SMSM, but it seemed to be generally accepted as a necessary step in restoring the stadium, and the club*, back to former glory, and that it was going to happen during the winter break.

    I haven’t read, anywhere, that the nets have appeared, though – has anyone else? I know no games have been played there since Hogmany, but surely, by now, reports of activity of the netting kind would have been doing the rounds if such work was, in fact, underway, and, indeed, necessary!

    Does this mean that reports of the dangerous state of Ibrox have been grossly exaggerated? Or does it, perhaps, indicate that the money to start the work just isn’t there, and that wise net sticker-uppers have asked for money up front before commencing their work?

    Or could it be that the money that was there has now been earmarked for something more urgent to men to whom money is more important than public safety, or even the continuation of a football club? Just think about it, would there be any point in committing, say, half a million pounds to repairs if, in the not so distant future, no one might be sitting under those repairs?

    Or put another way, in any struggling business, even one run by wholly honest men, there comes a point where the wisdom of carrying out major repairs, that will not lead to increased revenue, must be in doubt.

    It may well be that, as the bears, on their next visit to Ibrox, look skyward to inspect the roofs for netting, they might heave a collective sigh of relief and, as one, shout ‘get that up ya, ya Irish Blogger!’ or words to that effect, not realising that what they are actually seeing is the first visible sign of their new club’s fast approaching end!

    * All the usual caveats apply

    PS this post falls into the ‘delete me, please, Mr Mod’ category, should there be any reports doing the rounds of eagle eyed bampots witnessing the appearance of nets of the non-goal kind at Ibrox14

  36. I note some more anti-DCK posturing in the press this morning. It made me wonder who (well, not who, because we know who that is, don’t we readers?), but on whose behalf those briefings are being made?

    Could it be that DCK is doing it himself? Is he looking for a way out?

  37. Sanoffy,

    The most interesting part of that report (with the necessary caveat nowadays that it is ‘but a media report’) is the clarity with which it is written.  Failed to emerge from administration*, wasn’t available to transfer so Chalmers is welcome to set up a new club (repeated three times for clarity) which will “revive the club” and “protect rugby league in the city.”

    In other words, as I read that, it is a new club by necessity which the good citizens of Bradford are welcome to treat as their club, their bulls, whatever if they so wish.  Simples.

    Interesting point for me being neither a liquidation specialist nor a rugby league rules expert.  The CVA appears to have failed because the administrator rejected the bid (as opposed to the creditors)?  Is that relevant to Sevco’s alternative reality? 

    Only fair as well to remind ourselves of one of my favourite RTC quotes that is relevant here. I paraphrase “there will be many reporting inaccuracies regarding this (the Rangers) story but strangely the vast majority will all lean in the same direction.”

    Unlike Bradford Bulls it would seem.

  38. Looks like an all out attack on king for not spending cash.
    but i liked this one from.
    Davie Provan sun 15th 2017
    with Dave king unwilling to fund proper transfers warburton has used his contacts well to add to his rangers squad.
    (first we will see how “well” goes after the last additions)
    Anyway when was the statement released by Mr king or the ibrox board that Mr king was unwilling to fund proper transfers?
    Did i miss a day?
    The only statement i remember is millions will be spent on transfers.
    How does Mr Provan know that the transfers Mr Warburton is signing are proper transfers for the budget and a couple of years old club,Mr Warburton is getting
    what would proper transfers be for a four year old club surviving on loans be Mr Provan?

  39. On the subject of Darryl Broadfoot ( loosely in connection with Big Pink’s post of January 14, 2017 at 16:50 )   I was intrigued a week or so ago when I looked him up  on the web and saw  that his job at the SFA is as ” Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs’

    I’ve been a good few years out of the world of cv’s and job titles, and I am obviously way out of date.

    In my day, there were ‘Press Officers’ who read the papers and listened to ‘phone-ins’, and tried to ‘correct’ factual errors, and/or put a favourable spin on matters- and enjoyed cheap drink in the Press Club.

    None of them ever had such a grand title that suggests real executive, corporate power!

    Head of Corporate Affairs! Is he really the boss man at the SFA? Does Regan answer to him? Does the SFA Board take instructions from him?What does it all mean, to be Head of Corporate Affairs?


    Anyroads, he’s still there in post, whatever the rumours- although, of course, he may  just be working out his statutory period of notice for all I know.

  40. Gordon Waddell has written an interesting piece in the DR (or is it the SM?). I’d say it was a good piece if he’d written it a year ago, a better/brave piece if written two years ago…and so on. Ignoring the obvious liquidation denial, it is a well written piece and attempts to make no friends with a number of popular RRMs, and, on first reading, seems a million miles from Keith Jackson’s ‘attack’ on King and his slobbering over Walter Smith.

    Ultimately, though, it fits in with the current ‘mood’ of the DR ‘Rangers’ centric reports, so could be seen as a part of whatever the apparent Level5 led agenda is, and is only taking a different approach to the peripheral characters in the saga, while adding a good dose of reality as to the true state of affairs at Ibrox. In that he is only a couple of years behind the bampots – in terms of King’s ascendancy, at least. How is it possible for newspaper men, traditionally the most cynical of people, to take so long for it to dawn on them that a convicted criminal isn’t being truthful? Surely the possibility should have been at the back (really should have been at the forefront) of their minds from day one, and obvious from not long after day two!

    Looking at it a little differently, though, and tying it to PMGB’s post today, could it be that he is acting independently of L5 and has been speaking to the dissident board members?

  41. ALLYJAMBOJANUARY 15, 2017 at 13:21


    The one part of Gordon Waddell’s article which stood out for me is the question over some people thinking Rangers are a national treasure.  He is spot on there in my view, and we saw it with our own eyes in 2012. Some Politicians, including senior ones, advocated Rangers not having to pay the tax they had illegally withheld from HMRC. These politicians were from across the political spectrum. The two most senior figures from the Scottish football authorities were quite willing to ignore the shedding of £160m worth of debt, and allow a new Rangers direct access to the top league,  meaning they would have been able to keep their star players and sell them for sizeable transfer fees if they chose to do so.  The Police and Ambulance services were ordered to provide staffing at Rangers games even though their bills were not getting paid.  People who are in charge of OUR money most definitely regard ‘Rangers’ as a national treasure. There is zero evidence that any other Scottish football club is regarded in this way.  In the eyes of the powerbrokers it is clear that no other club has social parity with Rangers. 

  42. ALLYJAMBOJANUARY 15, 2017 at 13:21
    in terms of King’s ascendancy, at least. How is it possible for newspaper men, traditionally the most cynical of people, to take so long for it to dawn on them
    I don’t know the answer to that but they have previous
    Craig whyte.
    charles Green
    Looking at it a little differently, though, and tying it to PMGB’s post today, could it be that he is acting independently of L5 and has been speaking to the dissident board members?
    It looks now to me at least,that they are trying to get it out there that the promised millions is not forthcoming.
    when the fans see to the end of season loan deals and not the stars they were promised.or nurture the talent through the ranks.Questions start to get asked and it looks like the board don’t have the answers.
    how can the board now turn round and say see the millions that you were promised for top quality signings,sorry it was never there and won’t be for a long time. But hey ST renewal shortly and we are looking to hold onto KM and CH and we are looking forward to some great new loan deals next season.Oh! and Ps a small % added to next seasons ST.
    WOULD THE FANS BUY INTO THAT? after all the promises

  43. With regards to the allegations of unrest amongst the board members at Ibrox, I suspect that if it’s true then the realisation of how fragile a financial situation they are in must be hitting home and they’re potentially looking for an escape route.

    Let’s be honest, would you want to be anywhere near the controls if the wheels come off again and Admin II happens?

    JANUARY 15, 2017 at 23:11

    Really, are we back to this second admin fantasy.

    It is of course possible to enter administration more than once. Not if you are currently being liquidated though.

    The board at Ibrox are not running a business which has been in administration before. Neither the PLC nor the Ltd Co.

  45. What’s that saying?  Something about one admin is unfortunate but two is just downright careless!  Particularly if you’ve suffered a liquidation in between.

    i just can’t see that they can chance letting matters slip to that extent.  Too risky.  I assume that is the position facing the nearly-but-not-quite-Real Rangers Men at the moment.  But that assumes they have something (anything) in the tank to leverage further soft loans.  To be clear by leverage I mean in the crowbar sense, not the commercial pound for pound sense.

    To a diddy of course the obvious trigger is second place.  Write off Celtic as the rest of us have and instead concentrate your efforts against the red maroon and blue invaders lined up to your rear.  Win that battle and it might afford you time and money (soft loans covering ongoing operating losses).  But lose that battle as well and the STs won’t quite fly as they once did and the battle for next year will be all the harder, on and off the park.
    And the magic 5 year anniversary where the nasty points deductions lie is just a month away…

  46. As Homunculus rightly says the present incumbents of Ibrox have never been in an admin. event.  The interesting thing will be, if one happens, what will be the points deduction?  I can’t remember for sure but I think it is 15 points for a first, 25 points for a second admin. event.  Since everyone and their granny have been telling us its the same club, will the SFA have the audacity to maximise the points deduction to reinforce the same club narrative?  Send The Rangers to the play offs or even worse, relegation?  Interesting.  Probably won’t come to pass they seem to keep managing to hang on.

  47. See my earlier post Jimbo.  It’ll be 15 points as a new club but as long as it’s post 14th Feb expect it to be dressed up as same club but more than 5 years since previous event.  I’m not clear if the liquidation events of August 2012 have any bearing on that.  

    But FWIW barring an unexpected development around March (Whyte, Ashley, Supreme Court) I just can’t see an admin occurring.  To what purpose?

  48. Smugas, Sorry I didn’t see your earlier post.  I didn’t realise there was a ‘within 5 years’ element to it. 16

    (To be honest I probably did know in the past but my memory is shot to bits!)

Comments are closed.