The Day I was on the Scotland U-23 Bench

ByBig Pink

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

About the author

Big Pink administrator

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 Comments so far

upthehoopsPosted on6:01 am - Jan 3, 2017



I note the writer refers to TRFC not beng refused a Euro licence as long as they ‘provide sound financial expectations.’ Yet those very expectations seem to be dependent on European football itself. I doubt UEFA accept predictions based on always qualifying and presumably lasting more than one qualification round. None of this makes sense. As far as I can see the only sound financial prediction they can make is to not spend more than they earn, with anything from Europe being a bonus. As for a ‘hefty seven figure fee’ for Barrie McKay, what is that based on? Yes, he played well on Saturday but much of his work had a poor end product.  Many Rangers fans will tell you he has been inconsistent and also he is yet to star at International or European level.  So I doubt would any club pay that type of fee. I see quotes ging around that Johnny Hayes of Aberdeen may be the subject of a £500k bid from England. There was talk of Calum Paterson of Hearts being the subject of a £750k bid before his recent injury. Who can seriously make a case for Barrie McKay leaving for significantly more than that? I wonder what ‘a hefty seven figure fee’ means to the writer – £3-4M? Absolute fantasy if that’s the case. 

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Charlie_KellyPosted on10:55 am - Jan 3, 2017

Re that Vanguard Bears “article”. Where to even begin! I think it does highlight that one of the main issues when dealing with an extremist or an ideologue is that there is never any middle ground. Its their way or no way.
So for example he bemoans the fact that rangers fans are often called derogatory names such as “hun” or “zombie” but he fails to explain how this is any different to football fans the world over having derogatory terms for fans of their main rivals. Celtic fans are referred to as “Taigs” “Bheggars” “Bheasts” etc… Fans of all Glasgow teams are called “soap dodgers” by fans outwith Glasgow. Aberdeen fans are called “Sheep shaggers” and so on and so on. We all have derogatory terms for our rivals.
I agree its not nice but its not meant to be nice. Indeed to whole point is to rile and upset the other lot. What any of this has to do with “cultural genocide” is anyones guess. Football fans sometimes say/chant horrible things at the opposition but in the grand scheme of day to day problems is it really that big a deal when measured next to people dying of cancer, homelessness, war, terrorism, murder, rape…… An anonymous twitter egg calling you Hun/Bheast/Sheepshagger is pretty low down on that list of problems.
But like I say there is no middle ground with these guys. Hun/Zombie are not on but Bheast, Bead-rattler, Tottie-muncher etc… are just fine and dandy.
Also his gripes about the cup-final. Again he fails to acknowledge that almost 150 people have been arrested and charged since then. There was anything from 5-10,000 fans on the pitch that day It’s logistically impossible for the authorities to identify them all and prosecute them. Personally I think the police have done quite well in the aftermath to identify so many (its not as if they ran on the pitch holding up their passports, driving licence etc..). But of course none of this fits the victim narrative that the writer is trying to construct. The narrative is that 10,000 Hibs fans came on the park and attempted mass murder of the entire rangers squad & staff. No-one is saying “nothing happened” all we are saying is that the truth is in the middle.
Hibs fans came on the pitch. Some of them verbally abused rangers players and staff, some of them shoved, spat on, rangers players and staff. Some of them ended up fighting with rangers fans. All of that is true and I haven’t read a single person dispute that. But it all goes back to the logistics of identifying the culprits withing the crowd. I think identifying 150 or so (so far) is a pretty good effort. Its not perfect and no doubt some Hibs fans will have gotten away scot free with a few liberties and that is regrettable. But what does the author want done about it?
It seems to me he wants every Hibs fan who had a ticket for the match arrested. He wants every Celtic fan (or just anyone really) who has ever used the term Hun/zombie to be locked up and anything short of that is just an example of the genocide of the indigenous protestant Scottish people. Its bonkers!
Finally, does anyone honestly think that this article would have appeared had Kenny Miller’s shot, that hit the post, gone in and rangers had gone on to draw or win the match?

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Billy BoycePosted on12:13 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Charlie_Kelly Jan 3, 2017 at 10:55Re that Vanguard Bears “article”.——————————————————————————-I think you will find that the Vanguard Bears ‘author’ stumbled across the Wikipedia page on cultural genocide.
After doing a neat C & P job he then went on to include his normal drinking-den ramblings.  No doubt his fellow eejits would have been impressed with this 2017 Pulitzer Prize attempt.  Next they will be thinking that the august articles they read in the Daily Record all come entirely from the sweat of Keith Jackson’s brow.

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paddy malarkeyPosted on12:43 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Re the VB copy and paste, when did they become the indigenous people of Ireland ?

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jockybhoyPosted on12:48 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Re: cultural genocide. Been a while since I read anything from the Vanguard Bears – my life was not worse for that.
i assume only a lack of space precluded the writer from mentioning any period in Scottish history say, banning a long standing religion, enforced conversion, destroying of cultural and religious works and the seizing and reallocation of assets based on religious preference?
And btw mocking of any illness is a sh1tty thing to do, but  it’s hardly cultural genocide. I do recall a lot of similar mocking being directed at another former player with the identical illness. This is not “whataboutery” – mocking of any illness is despicable – but an example of hypocrisy at its finest…

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Big PinkPosted on12:54 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Folks, let’s not get drawn into a debate about post-reformation spoils or the histories of the indigenous peoples of the British isles.

I think we can draw attention to the article in question without becoming embroiled in an historical can of worms.

I think StevieBC and Billy Boyce’s tone were both appropriate responses. Let’s leave the whataboutery alone eh?

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AmFearLiathMòrPosted on1:19 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Wooft – that VB article! If their ‘culture’ dies, it won’t be through any form of genocide, it’ll be through embarrassment at being associated with those ramblings.

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jockybhoyPosted on2:15 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Sorry BP. Assume that was aimed at me ???.

To change the topic then: I watched the Rangers/Celtic game here at my in-laws apartment in Brazil, broadcast live on Fox sports. As much as we like to point out the fact that Rangers is a new club etc, I do not believe other Scottish games get the same profile worldwide. Why not? Well there is the clash of the two historical giants (I didn’t not think the finer points of Rangers travails has reached here TBH), as they did have graphics based on number of league wins. The commentators (I am informed by my father in law) did reference religious differences but also discussed the political differences between the two supports, given the Republic of Ireland flags one end and the British flags at the other.

A more positive difference they also discussed Celtic’s youth development and policy of buying younger players and developing them, with a nod to McKay from the blue side as a positive, if singular, example if same from the blue side.

So if not “Celtic good: Rangers bad” certainly the Hoops have a positive profile here. Wonder what their scouting system is like out here? Or if their Scheidt experience put them off?

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jockybhoyPosted on2:51 pm - Jan 3, 2017

In fairness to Fox Sports Brasil, 30 seconds of research has shown they broadcast numerous foreign leagues including Scotland, Belgium and the like. These are presumably deals done with their European cousins under Murdoch’s global satellite TV empire.y

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John ClarkPosted on3:25 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Ex LudoJanuary 2, 2017 at 23:31
‘..“Rangers remain a curiosity of a club, burdened by the hopes and expectations of the pre-liquidation era ”New Year. Same old nonsense.
jockybhoyJanuary 3, 2017 at 00:47
‘..Ex-Ludo: i think you are being a bit harsh. I read that article first thing and was pleasantly surprised by what was written…Firstly the article starts off with “THERE is no Old Firm any more. Not in a competitive sense at least” something we Celtic fans have been saying for a good few years now….’
I have to say, gentlemen, that I think both of your interpretations are valid enough.
It was very  brave  of Graeme Macpherson to begin his article with a bluntly honest statement of fact  ” …There is no Old Firm any more.”  But he does chicken out of fully explaing why that is the case.
We know that it is because RFC(IL) ceased to exist as a football club, and that TRFC, not being RFC(IL) , have had no cosy, mutual backscratching relationship with Celtic of the kind that made honest men coin the tag ‘ The Old Firm’.
Macpherson though is really only saying  ‘ there is no Old Firm any more’ because, in his view, what he considers to be RFC(IL) has lost that parity of competitiveness that RFC(IL) once had. [ And, of course, he is  silent on the fact that for many years it was cheating on a monumental scale that  enabled RFC(IL) to be  competitive in domestic football  and gave them , to boot, some CL monies they were not entitled to ].
That is, he relates it merely to the recent, current, and (possible/probable) continuation for some seasons to come, of the disparity in quality-of-footballing-competitiveness  between TRFC and Celtic.
In other words, and regrettably, he , like all the rest of the SMSM hacks, denies the objective truth and spins a wee yarn.
But let me add a thought: some people think that as far as not only the hacks, and the supporters of TRFC, are concerned, Macpherson is wrong in saying, so bravely, ‘there is no Old Firm’.
And they base this on the evidence that the Board of Celtic plc have prostituted themselves by accepting meekly the loss of millions, in order to foster the myth of the ‘Old Firm’, rather than discharge their fiduciary duty to their shareholders by giving effect to a Resolution passed by an AGM.
That bloody rankles with me.
And an I will be be writing to that Board to seek a full  explanation for their refusal to act on that Resolution, and their refusal to explain their decision not to act.
If there are bad in Scottish football, there is nothing to say that some of them may not be on the Board of Celtic. I hope not, I am ready to believe not. But by God I am no TRFC-like fan, gullible enough to swallow everything I am told to take on trust.

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easyJamboPosted on4:51 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Interesting parallels with 2012 following the liquidation of Rugby League side Bradford Bulls.

Despite the liquidation, the Rugby Football League has confirmed that a new Bradford side could compete in the second-tier Championship in 2017.

The new Bradford team would start the season, which gets under way on the first weekend of February, with a 12-point deficit.

The RFL said in a statement: “To clarify the next steps for all concerned, the independent RFL board has met to determine how the future of professional rugby league in Bradford can move forward in 2017.

“While a number of alternatives were considered the board were most mindful of the planning already undertaken by all other clubs in the competition structure, the season tickets already purchased and the players and staff who will now be seeking employment in and around the sport in 2017.

“Accordingly the board has agreed that the wider interests of the sport is best satisfied if it offers a place in the Championship to any new club in Bradford and that such a club start the 2017 season on minus 12 points.

“Any interested parties should contact the RFL directly.”

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SmugasPosted on5:42 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Simple question, one I’ve raised on forums before but have yet to get a substantiated answer.  Had Doncaster, on behalf of the clubs, made a statement akin to the Bradford Bulls one quoted (new club but all the ideals, mantra and yes, even the history of the old one) how many fans would have been lost to the game?  They might not have filled Ibrox to the watch Peterhead (and I’d even debate that tbh) but then as few dared to mention, they didn’t need to.  But Saturday?  Pittodrie? Tynecastle?  No chance, in my always humble opinion anyway.  

Doncaster sold them his mythical alternative.  One that couldn’t and certainly shouldn’t have been anywhere near the damn table!

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TrisidiumPosted on5:46 pm - Jan 3, 2017

I don’t believe it was necessary, but that’s what happens when the people who run the game are so hopelessly out of touch with the people who bankroll it.
They didn’t understand the bond that fans have with the idea of their club, so they felt they needed to provide them with something ‘tangible’.

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Big PinkPosted on5:47 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Oh. Happy New Year to you T ??

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Elijah BaleyPosted on6:12 pm - Jan 3, 2017

In fact by their actions, the SFA/SPL/SFL sentenced TRFC fans to a world of pain that has no end in sight.
The existential question has become the most important one for them because they were sold a pup by the above and Charles Green. They can’t ever (not now) back away from the ‘same club’ myth, and the rest of us won’t accept the flat-earthism it entails.
A publicly acknowledged New Rangers would have been on the receiving end of some GIRUYs for a year or two and then things would have settled.
That’s is no longer possible.
If only the words of the great Asimov had been heeded in 2012;

Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely.

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Cluster OnePosted on7:36 pm - Jan 3, 2017

When BDO bring an end to the Liquidation process of RFC 2012 P.L.C. (formerly The Rangers Football Club P.L.C.)and release a statement that the liquidation of RFC 2012 P.L.C. (formerly The Rangers Football Club P.L.C.) has now been completed and clarification of payment of  dividends to creditors.
Just how will the SMSM go about reporting on the completion of the liquidation? the ‘same club’ myth,will and shall be laid bear for all to see

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tonyPosted on7:39 pm - Jan 3, 2017

that’s really easy mate,like the offshore report they will just blank it

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Cluster OnePosted on9:49 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Did anyone have a clue about celtic singing Eboue? Looks like TSMSM never had a clue either.No Back page headlines of Rogers jetting off somewhere.Looks like celtic blind sided the smsm or maybe celtic do their transfer buisness in private and no need to pay a Level5 back page spread to grab some headlines and fill some column inches

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coatbridgeloyaltycadPosted on10:08 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Old news from the tail end of last year,
LONDON, Dec. 22, 2016
PRNewswire/ — GFI Group, Inc. (“GFI” or “the Company”), a subsidiary of BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC Partners” or “BGC”) operating as an intermediary in the global OTC and listed markets, today announced that an affiliated entity has entered into an agreement to acquire Micromega Securities Proprietary Limited (“Micromega Securities”).
Micromega Securities operates in the South African fixed income, rates and foreign exchange markets, via its three subsidiaries: TTSA Securities (PTY) Ltd, SA International & Capital Market Brokers (PTY) Ltd and Micromega Africa Money Brokers (PTY) Ltd. GFI and Micromega Securities have operated a joint venture since 2013. Micromega Securities is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Micromega Holdings (PTY) Ltd (JSE: MMG), a public company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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paddy malarkeyPosted on11:13 pm - Jan 3, 2017

ELIJAH BALEYJANUARY 3, 2017 at 18:12

Since we’re going SF for quotes 
“One time we had the whole world in our hands, but we ate it and burned it and it’s gone now.” ― Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room!
And ,imo ,this guy was close to being fascist in some of his ideals .
Kindred spirit on the loose .

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SmugasPosted on11:30 pm - Jan 3, 2017

Coatbridgeloyaltycad @ 22.08

Not to send smoke on a positive air current down any alleys 07 but its worth noting that JJ ran with this story at 6.10 this evening.  Good story too.  Just needs the punchline.  How much did King raise, how much of it is already spoken for and of what’s left, how much is he willing to throw on the vanity bonfire.

But credit where its due and all that, especially in these touchy times.

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coatbridgeloyaltycadPosted on11:55 pm - Jan 3, 2017

SmugasJanuary 3, 2017 at 23:30

I know JJ ran it on his blog,
unlike JJ I did not claim it as an exclusive,
News that has been out there since the 22 December, on another website, is hardly an exclusive or is it?
It is now midnight and still only one vetted comment on JJ’s “Exclusive” from the The Mensh,a comment that comes across as sock puppetry at it’s best.

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Ex LudoPosted on12:44 am - Jan 4, 2017

This is a very belated response to Jockybhoy from earlier. Like you I was surprised and indeed shocked by the opening section of GM’s article however a lot of things were left unexplained and like all good nonsense there was a measure of truth in it. He could as JC suggests really have gone for it and really made a name for himself.

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BarcabhoyPosted on1:14 am - Jan 4, 2017

what it’s going to take for Dave King’s plan of Europa League funds to bring solvency

Rangers have a number of obstacles to overcome before getting access to Europa League Group Stage monies.
A) They have to finish 2nd or 3rd in the SPL………..That looks probable at this time
B) They could qualify by winning the Scottish Cup……. That is much more of a long shot
C) Should they qualify either through A) or B) then they have to gain a UEFA licence
D) Rangers do not have automatic entitlement to a UEFA Licence . The SFA would have apply for Rangers under the exemption basis.
The discussion over whether Rangers would be appropriate for an exemption could and would last for ever.

The SFA though have to decide whether Rangers merit achievement is considered worthy given the huge losses incurred and the view that exemptions are meant for clubs outside of a National Top Tier.

 I don’t propose here to debate the merits of Rangers being awarded a UEFA Licence, just to point out it’s not automatic and it’s highly sensitive.


Not to mention that if the Supreme Court rule against Rangers or refuse to hear the appeal, the pressure on the SFA increases enormously.

Assuming though that all of the above is negotiated and Rangers enter the Europa League Qualifying in 2017-18 , then here’s what they can expect to have to overcome before they get any access to Group Stage funds.
1 ) Rangers would enter in the 1st Qualifying Round if awarded a Uefa Licence. The coefficient awarded would be exactly the same for any Scottish Club who haven’t earned points in their own right in the last 5 years.

This would result in Rangers being unseeded from the outset.

Using the current season as an example , these are the opponents Rangers could face in Q1

Stabæk IF, Linfield Belfast, FK Ventspils, FC Midtjylland , Víkingur, Brøndby IF, Dinamo Minsk, Kalju Nomme, Shamrock Rovers

Some tricky ties there and Rangers would not be favorites against all of those clubs

2) Assuming the draw was favorable and /or form was good , this is what would await in Q2 ( based on 2016-17)

(FK Aktobe), (Brøndby IF), (Shakhtior Saligorsk), (HJK Helsinki), Austria Wien, PAS Giannina, (Slovan Bratislava), (IFK Göteborg), (Omonia Nicosia), NK Maribor, (Admira Wacker), (FK Ventspils), (DVSC Debrecen), (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Hajduk Split, BK Häcken

Again a lot of difficult ties there, and it’s debatable whether Rangers would be favorite against more than 2 or 3 of those clubs

Assuming the draw was again favorable and / or form was good , this is what would await in Q3 ( based on 2016-17)
AZ Alkmaar, FK Krasnodar, (Partizan Belgrade), Sassuolo, Rio Ave, (Omonia Nicosia) , AA Gent, Slovan Liberec, West Ham United, (FC Midtjylland), (HJK Helsinki), Apollon Limassol

We are now deep into underdog territory, however if Rangers prevailed ,

this is who they would face in Q4 (final qualifying round )

Shakhtar Donetsk Ukr Olympiakos Gre Anderlecht Bel AZ Alkmaar Ned Fenerbahçe Tur Sparta Praha Cze PAOK Thessaloniki Gre Racing Genk Bel BATE Borisov Bls

AS Saint-Étienne Fra AA Gent Bel FK Krasnodar Rus Rapid Wien Aut Slovan Liberec Cze NK Maribor Slo

Maccabi Tel-Aviv Isr Austria Wien Aut West Ham United Eng Panathinaikos Gre FC Midtjylland Den Sassuolo Ita Qarabag Azb

Getting Europa League Group Stage monies is going to be incredibly challenging for Rangers.

 To add a little context, for Celtic to get that amount all it will take is for Southampton to sell Van Djik


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paddy malarkeyPosted on1:40 am - Jan 4, 2017

Am sitting here with the youngest’s boyfriend ,John, after a wee tour of the locals (he’s back at work ramorra, I’m retired and killing myself laughing !), and his answer to the financial disparity that he now sees is evident in Scottish football is a salary cap until other clubs (TRFC) can compete with CFC .But only for CFC . TRFC could not limit themselves to the budgets of the lesser clubs like Aberdeen or Hertz (not brave enough to mention The Mighty Jags) as we need to showcase the best of Scottish football talent  in Europe and beyond . When I tell him that there’s nothing wrong with us  and that only fear, and a mibbes goalie who did his best ,was the difference between two losses and two wins for us, he decided that we should actively support the two “biggest” clubs to enhance our European credentials. I agreed and said Tims and Sheep ,and he decided it was bedtime . I will ambush him in  the morning and give him the choice between a Morton’s roll and the one you can buy from the low price supermarket .It’ll take time – he rears up on his hind legs if it’s CFC but is less confident with others . He still thinks that SMSM is an extension of the CFC PR department . And that Walter did ” nae dough, four in a row ” Jeez, level playing field now !

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paddy malarkeyPosted on1:42 am - Jan 4, 2017

And listening to BBC Radio 6- do yourself a favour . You pay for it .

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paddy malarkeyPosted on2:06 am - Jan 4, 2017

Seems I’ve got an empty -can make as much noise as I like ! 
 On Jules Christ Kouassi Eboue, 10 games in Russia and a £3 mill tag is a gamble – mibbes see him in the first team in 2018 (or not).
BARCABHOYJANUARY 4, 2017 at 01:14
Great work . 

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jockybhoyPosted on2:39 am - Jan 4, 2017

Ex Ludo – no worries, 2 hrs behind where I am anyway… maybe I am a half full kinda guy – maybe I filled in the gaps in the article with what I “know” to be true. I was pretty much chased off CQN for being too “board friendly” many years ago… hence my concern that some Celtic fans seem to almost want to prove the board wrong under almost any circumstances. They demand we give x, y or z a fair hearing but go into discussion with their own club with preconceived grievances and axes to grind.

I support Celtic – our board have done well for Celtic, therefore I support our board. A Pyrrhic victory over some , effectively esoteric point, means little to me in the balance of things. I know this puts me at odd with many of the luminaries on here, but in football as in life, i take the wins where I can get them…

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Ex LudoPosted on6:58 am - Jan 4, 2017

Jockybhoy. It’s clearly an ecumenical matter and posters on here have far more in common than that which divides us.

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SmugasPosted on9:14 am - Jan 4, 2017


apologies, I don’t quite follow.  Now that RFC* have been members of an association for three years and may qualify (im giving them the benefit of the doubt as you did) surely they do receive an automatic licence, no?  I understand that it is then up to the SFA if they wish, due to FFP constraints, whether to withhold that licence, no?

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Big PinkPosted on10:42 am - Jan 4, 2017


The three years rule means they will no longer be automatically excluded. Other criteria are in place to trigger qualification.

Because of TRFC’s losses, they may not satisfy the FFP criterion. Therefore I think BB is referring to an exemption required to circumvent that.

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HomunculusPosted on11:04 am - Jan 4, 2017

I would make one obvious point with regards the SFA applying for an exemption on behalf of one of it’s members clubs with regards circumventing the FFP rules.

What of the other club which did not fall foul of those rules and would have been given the place if the SFA had not made such application.

The most obvious candidate currently being Hearts I think. If they do not win the Scottish cup and come 4th in the SPFL premiership then as I understand it they would not get an automatic Europa spot, depending on the vagaries of the cup competition. If however the 2nd or 3rd place team was not elligible then they would get the spot. Except if the SFA successfully obtained an exemption for the ineligible club.

Would the SFA take positive action which was to help one club, if the same action was to the detriment of another. 

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wottpiPosted on11:13 am - Jan 4, 2017

Interesting to note the arguments around Bradford Bulls appear to mirror that of T’Rangers.

Comments #1501 and #1504 on the link below could have easily been lifted from any blogs discussing T’Rangers over the years.

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Bryce CurdyPosted on11:18 am - Jan 4, 2017

The two posts by Smugas and Big Pink immediately preceding this post are likely to form the basis of an end-of-season huge elephant in the room.  Celtic will win the league, Aberdeen and Sevco will likely finish second and third, or third and second respectively, with Hearts probably coming in fourth.  If UEFA’s regulations are applied correctly then I believe BP is correct; the default position would be that Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts would qualify for Europe and the SFA would have to justify special dispensation re FFP for Sevco to receive a place at the expense of Hearts.  But you can bet your mortgage the MSM will have the default position as Rangers (sic) qualifying by default and active manipulation from the authorities being required for Hearts to be awarded qualification in their place.  The sleekit MSM realise how important it is to define and manage expectations making it so much easier for the utterly corrupt SFA to cheat yet again.  I sincerely hope Mrs Budge realises this already.

Edit – Homunculus posted while I was typing. Alludes to very similar.

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AllyjamboPosted on11:26 am - Jan 4, 2017

I see from twitter, thanks to Slimshady, that an SMSM hack, M Grant (sorry, don’t know what rag he writes for) has written an article that includes the ‘wish’ that HMRC lose the Big Tax Case! His supposed concern is, of course, only for Scottish football, he then changes that to west of Scotland football for some reason, as it might otherwise tear itself apart! How that might come about (tearing itself apart) is beyond me as RFC have already lost the case and so to lose the appeal would change nothing and, so far, this ‘tearing apart’ amounts to nothing more than insult hurling at matches and online laughter at the Govan club’s expense. Insult hurling and laughter that pales into insignificance after 100 years of sectarian bile hurling and much worse!

Anyway, a more important point is that he, allowed by his newspaper’s editor, is advocating that it would be better if a situation arises that a loophole for tax avoidance should remain open rather than to continue the insults (if truth can be an insult) that the supporters of a cheating club (now IL) have to endure! Yes, that’s what all newspapers should do, promote tax avoidance for the rich and powerful!

Of course we know what really bothers him is that he doesn’t want a situation to arise that might/should lead to LNS being revisited! It is, after all, only natural for wannabe journalists to hope that major stories never break and to believe that it is their job to stop corruption being exposed more fully than is already in the public domain!

I know that I really want HMRC to prevail because I want RFC to be shown, beyond doubt, to be the cheats they truly were, but I also know that, even if the case involved a company totally unrelated to football, I’d still be desperate for the common sense decision to stand so that those who have denied the treasury millions of pounds in revenue would not be allowed to get away with it, and a warning shot would be fired across the bows of those worthless individuals who make a fortune by using their expertise to deprive the treasury the money to fund the things that really matter, like the NHS!

Of course I may have misjudged Mr Grant’s motivation and it’s actually his newspaper’s concern that HMRC’s position should be undermined as much as possible, as it is in the best interest of their wealthy proprietors to do so! Surely Not!

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SmugasPosted on11:38 am - Jan 4, 2017

Definite familiarity in the comments section for sure, not least the rapidity that language such as “new” and “demise” changes into “stay” and “remain.”

but crucially the RFL have said that the new Bulls (them that are “staying”!) would be a new club that the Bradford fans are welcome to treat as the old club if they so wish.  As a new club they should ordinarily seek acceptance to C1 but the RFL have proposed that they could seek admission to the higher championship (I think, their equivalent of our championship?) for reasons of commerciality to use our old language but that fundamentally, despite their proposed bastardisation of an otherwise straightforward procedure, the fundamental link between unsustainable finance being dumped and supposed continuation had to be broken, and be seen to be broken.  

Had RFC/SFA taken this line from the start I personally believe they had a better chance of a championship insertion in 2012.  But then they had a different option made available to them didn’t they!

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Cluster OnePosted on11:48 am - Jan 4, 2017

ALLYJAMBOJANUARY 4, 2017 at 11:26       1 Vote 
I see from twitter, thanks to Slimshady, that an SMSM hack, M Grant (sorry, don’t know what rag he writes for) has written an article that includes the ‘wish’ that HMRC lose the Big Tax Case! His supposed concern is, of course, only for Scottish football, he then changes that to west of Scotland football for some reason, as it might otherwise tear itself apart!
The SMSM see the light at the end of the tunnel with the BIG TAX CASE,and it’s not a way out.It’s a Big bloody train coming at 100mph.They can’t hide no more and they know it.
Expect more SMSM cries of Scottish football,will tear itself apart!
This Grant guy is the first to show his hand in 2017,we should start collecting a list of the others.
Oh yes and there will be others

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SmugasPosted on11:57 am - Jan 4, 2017


i assume it’s Michael Grant being referred to who has definite (desperate?) Dandy tendencies !  I haven’t located his article yet (link anyone) but my interpretation from your words would be that for the appeal to be upheld then the move along continuation myth can proceed unabated.  For the absence of doubt it will still be unsubstantiated of course but that’s long since ceased to be the point.  If the appeal is turfed out though then that gives Doncaster and Co a massive head-ache.  One that I am delighted to say is entirely of their own making.  Their little vanity palace of sand does what they all do when the tide eventually comes in, as it has a tendency to do now and again.

before anyone gets too excited though I differ from Michael in so far as I don’t think an appeal rejection will change things one iota.  RFC will continue to make their farcical ethereal claims.  Celtic will continue their selective revisionism and the rest of us can go hang.  The distrust will be cemented in, the bubbling resentment will remain.  We might even get a token ‘head’ as one, T’other or even both head off to the sunset knowing that their clusterf@ck is no longer their problem.  

Such is scottish football life. Enjoy.

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AllyjamboPosted on12:16 pm - Jan 4, 2017

As we are again discussing the validity of TRFC’s possible qualification for Europe I’d like to put out an idea that has been in my head ever since Aberdeen made that excellent statement re FFP in their latest accounts, followed, I’m glad to say, by my own club, Hearts.

Wouldn’t it be a good thing for the SFA to make such statements compulsory in every Premiership club’s Report and Accounts, or at least those with hopes of European qualification? I’d take it even further and make it necessary for any club, such as TRFC, who might fail the financial criteria, to put forward, at that stage well in advance of qualification, their justification for special dispensation!

Something like that would take a lot of the weight off the SFA’s shoulders, and put so much more pressure on the clubs to adhere to FFP. It would also go a long way to removing the supporters’ demands to spend irresponsibly in pursuit of success.

And to add strength to this requirement I’d make it the case that any false claims to meet UEFA’s FFP regulations result in a fine or points deduction, as well as any penalty UEFA might hand out!

Something to bear in mind if considering this idea might be to ask what difference it might make to a club who has been operating within FFP to see that a rival for Europe is unable to state that they, too, meet the criteria. At the moment TRFC are in the lead for one of the two Europa places from Aberdeen and Hearts. Now the Dons and Hearts might decide that they want to give themselves a better chance of qualifying by spending more than might be wise, unaware (or uncertain) that TRFC won’t qualify! On the other hand, a statement in their accounts that TRFC have failed to meet UEFA’s FFP regulations but are appealing for dispensation on the grounds, say, that, ‘should we win the Europa League, we will have, retrospectively, met them’, might save both, or one, of those clubs from making unwise player signings!

Another thing that this might do is, by reducing supporter expectations, allow a club, like TRFC, to reduce it’s wage bill during the transfer window without too many repercussions and to use the rest of the season to blood youngsters, or to just act in a, financially, sensible manner!

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John ClarkPosted on2:24 pm - Jan 4, 2017

AllyjamboJanuary 4, 2017 at 11:26
‘…I see from twitter, thanks to Slimshady, that an SMSM hack, M Grant (sorry, don’t know what rag he writes for) has written an article that includes the ‘wish’ that HMRC lose the Big Tax Case! His supposed concern is, of course, only for Scottish football, he then changes that to west of Scotland football for some reason, as it might otherwise tear itself apart!…’

SmugasJanuary 4, 2017 at 11:57
‘…i assume it’s Michael Grant being referred to who has definite (desperate?) Dandy tendencies ! I haven’t located his article yet (link anyone) ..’
I imagine it is the Michael Grant, formerly of the Sunday Herald and now of the London Times, who famously got the job offer from the ‘Times’ on his mobile which was on the table to record at a press conference with Neil Lennon in 2013.

And the same Michael Grant who assured me in June of that year that he was not in the pay of TRFC for adverising their gigs in his journalistic pieces !

Irritatingly, The Times of London does not ( as far as I can see) show any part of its ‘Scotland’ edition online.
Nor does it give the usual ‘contact us’ details of the email address at the paper of particular journalists.

I need to see the article in question before I write to its author.

I cannot really believe ( “oh, yes you  can!) that any journalist would have the idiocy to argue that tax laws should not be enforced simply because a cheating Football Governance body would be seen plainly and absolutely to be confirmed as a cheating Governance body, and that a cheating club would HAVE to be  properly stripped of ‘honours and titles’ won by cheating on a monumentally cynical scale over an extraordinarily  long period.

If the Supreme Court uphold the CoS decision, Regan and Doncaster are toast, and the Boards of the SFA and the SPFL are shown to be little more than charlatans and carpet-baggers of the same stamp as those who destroyed RFC(IL) and those currently ‘running’ the  the 4-year old TRFC.

But I’ll need to read what Grant says, and ask him to explain himself and his motivation further.

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SmugasPosted on4:38 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Don’t like deflating ideals but (in the event the appeal is rejected of corse, not the done deal some seem to think) in my opinion Doncaster et al will be thrown to the wolves on both sides only if strictly necessary and as a sop to all.  With all that’s happened, I disagree with you that titles “have” to be stripped, only that they could be.  They won’t.


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FinlochPosted on5:15 pm - Jan 4, 2017

If the appeal is upheld nothing will change in Scottish Football.

If the appeal is rejected nothing will change in Scottish Football.

Doncaster and Regan will keep their well paid and bonused jobs.

The movers and shakers in Scottish Football collectively decided long ago, for commercial reasons, that it needed to keep Rangers alive and history will record the boys done good.

There is no appetite by our chairmen to look for scapegoats.

Either way it will be documented as a joint and several success all round.

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tonyPosted on6:06 pm - Jan 4, 2017

going by this mate,we should all pack up and go home,and i probably agree with you

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HomunculusPosted on6:48 pm - Jan 4, 2017

I’m not sure why the Supreme Court decision makes any particular difference.

In a footballing sense the big issue was whether Rangers declared players income correctly, or whether they hid the payments through the “side letters”. The (old) club have already been found guilty of that and fined. That is a done deal, they are guilty.

Is it not kind of irrelevant whether it was through an EBT or handed over in a brown envelope, it was a concealed (from the SFA) payment either way. It breached the players’ registration rules either way.

What am I missing.

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AuldheidPosted on7:08 pm - Jan 4, 2017

The reason you are missing anything is the squirrel  cloak of minimised damage that the LNS Commission threw over the matter.
The charge was on improper registration as in an administration error as opposed to the higher crime of under the counter brown envelope equivalent payments.
In his Decision LNS makes a reference to a matter so serious that it would come under other charges than breaking the registration rules. I don’t have the Decision to hand but I know the reference exists because I was checking to see what alternative might be and the nearest is in one of the SFA Articles that a club will act honestly, but that is a lot less detailed than the registration rules and leaves less room to negotiate a path through their intent.
What the COS will do if HMRC get the nod is to bring that SFA honesty Article much more into focus and impossible to avoid.
This was always an exercise in damage limitation but in mitigating the short term damage, the long term integrity of the game continues to be compromised by a club for whom rules don’t appear to apply.

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HomunculusPosted on7:21 pm - Jan 4, 2017

JANUARY 4, 2017 at 19:08

I’m sorry and I don’t want to appear obtuse here. However let’s assume that the Supreme Court rejects the BDO appeal, and I believe they will. The matter is then over, there is no further appeal. Rangers used EBTs incorrectly and unlawfully and the tax they avoided is due along with penalties and interest. BDO have a claim from HMRC for about £94m and that claim is now confirmed. They will take the lions share of any payout to creditors. 

Working from that position, clearly that does not effect the registration issues, they are guilty, that’s done and dusted.

Are you now saying that there will be a further, totally new “case” in relation to a separate matter. The old club acting in an honest manner. I would suggest that deliberately lying to the governing body would already have called their honesty into enough question. Do you really think there is any prospect of this matter being looked at by the footballing authorities. 

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AuldheidPosted on7:29 pm - Jan 4, 2017

The relevant SFA Article is 5 Obligation to other members.
This seems 5.1
 (f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith.
There is a similar requirement in 5.2 for club employees.

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SmugasPosted on7:32 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Auldheid, “Impossible to avoid”

or simply (my version) brought even more sharply into justified focus by those who can be bothered but who will hopefully be kept to a mmanaged bampot fraternity by those who truly run the game?

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HomunculusPosted on7:48 pm - Jan 4, 2017

AULDHEIDJANUARY 4, 2017 at 19:29

Thanks for that, I appreciate the effort. However as I said earlier deliberately lying to the SFA with regards payments to player has already been covered and ruled on. They were found guilty.

Confirmation that the vehicle used (an EBT) constitutes tax avoidance doesn’t really significantly change that in my opinion. 

The fact that they lied to HMRC is basically irrelevant if the rule is in relation to “the Scottish FA and other members”.

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AuldheidPosted on7:50 pm - Jan 4, 2017

The LNS Decision should simply be set aside because
a) RFC failed to supply the documentation requested by SPL lawyers that would have changed the terms of reference from breach of registration to breach of Art 5 and made LNS statement that there was no question of dishonesty untenable.
b) If the latest TJN report is correct the SFA had the document kept from SPL lawyers in April 2012 in 2011 as part of the UEFA Licence process yet allowed the Commission to proceed on a false premise.
My view is LNS was an attempt at damage limitation but in basing his argument that no sporting advantage accrued because all clubs were free to arrange their tax affairs within the law,  LNS hoist the objective with its own petard if the ebts under appeal were not open to other clubs to use.
In spite of the foregoing I don’t get any sense of an appetite by the club’s to revisit and it will depend on the appetite of supporters of all other clubs to demand honesty at both club and association level.

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SmugasPosted on7:56 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Joking apart I think that’s the thrust of Grant’s article which is really what started this debate.  Really what he’s saying is that he would rather not find out (via an appeal rejection) what appetite there is for revisiting some of the more questionable elements in this story (such as LNS treating the EBTs as legal with the implications that had) preferring instead the status quo that an upheld appeal would bring (nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of paying tax JC just, I suspect, a desire by him for some kind of lumpy carpeted closure)  He assumes of course that the status quo is a case of better the devil he knows.  It’s kind of a path of least resistance thing.  So what if some of us get drowned in the flood waters. We’d just be  Collateral damage as far as he appears to be concerned.  Plus we don’t riot.  Yet.

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AllyjamboPosted on8:08 pm - Jan 4, 2017

I think the idea that LNS might be revisited comes from the ludicrous assertion by LNS that, because the EBTs were not ‘illegal’ (at that point), they were, therefor, open to all clubs to use, and so ‘no sporting advantage’ had been achieved. This, of course, completely avoided the fact that all clubs would have had to hide them from HMRC by deliberately mis-registering players, as to have registered them properly would have automatically made them remuneration payments and liable for tax.

Like everything given in evidence to defend RFC in the LNS enquiry, this nonsense went unchallenged, but it did make it clear that, by default, a HMRC victory would have meant RFC were guilty of a much more serious offence against the SPL than was determined by the inquiry. The hope now, I believe, is that, despite the pre-inquiry assertion that the LTT decision would be taken as final, as would be LNS itself,  there will be enough pressure put on the SFA to force them to revisit the decision, especially in light of the fact that a main part of the determination was based on a falsehood, and that the deliberate mis-registration was in furtherance of tax evasion, a criminal act, I believe.

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HomunculusPosted on8:08 pm - Jan 4, 2017

JANUARY 4, 2017 at 19:56

Can we just remember this, and not let it be something else which changes over time. EBTs were legal, provided they were used for the purpose they were intended and in the manner intended.

Rangers deliberately and systematically used them to avoid paying tax that was due.

What tax avoidance is
Tax avoidance involves bending the rules of the tax system to gain a tax advantage that Parliament never intended.

It often involves contrived, artificial transactions that serve little or no purpose other than to produce this advantage. It involves operating within the letter, but not the spirit, of the law.

Most tax avoidance schemes simply do not work, and those who engage in them can find they pay more than the tax they attempted to save, once HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has successfully challenged them.

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AuldheidPosted on8:23 pm - Jan 4, 2017

I take your point, however.
HMRC accused RFC of acting  fraudulently or negligently by deliberately not providing DOS side letters to HMRC.That evidence plus irregularity of DOS ebts was kept from LNS because it was not provided to the lawyers setting the terms of reference of the Commission. Duff and Phelps  knew all about the nature of the DOS ebts in April 2012 yet the De Boer side letter that accompanied the accusatory HMRC letter  was not provide to the SPL Lawyers.
The minimising of the charge on RFC  is only possible because of lack of evidence, that in spite of being an experienced administrator,  Mr Dickson did not think it necessary to provide DOS side letters to SFA, yet deliberately kept their existence from HMRC whilst at the same time in 2005  sitting on a small pile of BTC ebt side letters.
That he did not  act dishonestly and in bad faith  stretches credibility beyond breaking point and only a further investigation taking all now known facts into account would satisfy demands for LNS to be revistited as is, but will be amplified by a decision in favour of HMRC later this year ironically because of the sham the LNS Commission is viewed as.
My point about appetite still applies of course.

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upthehoopsPosted on8:30 pm - Jan 4, 2017

All this talk of the BDO appeal to the Supreme Court. If BDO lose that is it, but we have already had a taste of what is likely to happen with regards to LNS being re-visited. 

When the Court of Session ruled in favour of HMRC that was it, pending appeal.  For all the Celtic board get it in the neck on here they were the only club to go public and challenge the LNS assertion no sporting advantage was gained.  They were not the only club to lose out however.  TRFC then released a statement about nothing being removed from their history under any circumstances. Most of the media wanted to ‘move on’, with some almost apoplectic at the notion LNS could be revisited.  If the Supreme Court throw out the appeal, I expect much the same to happen again. Celtic will be the only club to go public, and the full venom of the media will be unleashed on a greater scale than ever, given there will be no comfort blanket of a further appeal to cling to.  I do however hope other clubs prove me wrong and also go public with a demand for LNS to be revisited. 

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HomunculusPosted on8:45 pm - Jan 4, 2017

JANUARY 4, 2017 at 20:23

My personal belief, and it has never changed, is that the failure to inform the SFA of the EBT payments was basically a result of the tax avoidance, and is indeed evidence of it. If they didn’t think they were doing wrong then why not declare the payments. 

They did not set out to hide these contractual payments from the SFA for any footballer registration reason. They simply had to, as to do otherwise would have meant the EBTs failed. That would have cost them millions in tax … D’oh.

The incorrect registrations are effectively a consequence of the avoidance rather than an end in themselves. It makes no sense otherwise. What possible advantage did they get from not informing the SFA of those payments (other than hiding their nature from HMRC). I think the answer is none at all. 

The notion that anyone else could have used EBTs is actually true, provided they used them properly. The notion that football players or their agents would have agreed to that is just plain stupid. I would use the word risible but I’m not really sure what it means. To suggest that other people could also have avoided tax is true, it is also a ridiculous way in which to make any ruling. If I go out and steal something tomorrow I could argue that other people could have stolen things as well. It would be a pretty rubbish defence though. 

Which brings us back to the point. The players were registered incorrectly, the ruling is there. It is based on what happened (the SFA were not informed of the side letter) as opposed to the reason for it (they couldn’t really afford to tell them because they were avoiding tax). 

The Supreme Court will at best confirm why Rangers did what they did, that they did it and that it was wrong has been beyond question for quite some time. 

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AuldheidPosted on9:01 pm - Jan 4, 2017

You said.
“Thanks for that, I appreciate the effort. However as I said earlier DELIBERATELY  lying to the SFA with regards payments to player has already been covered and ruled on. They were found guilty.”
My understanding is that the failure not to notify SFA of side letters was not pereceived by LNS as a deliberate act.
I take that from LNS saying there was no question of dishonesty, meaning it was an error of judgement, not a deliberate attempt to avoid the risks that admitting the existence of side letters would bring to the ultimate aim of the use of ebts  (brown paper envelope substitutes) that is that there was no deliberation involved.
As I said previously I think the admission of side letters to ebts to HMRC would have had the same effect of ending their use as a means of providing sporting advantage which SDM said was their purpose (as well as admitting to tax evasion by misusing the schemes) as would have admission to the SFA.
In short sporting advantage could only accrue as long as RFC kept quiet about side letters.

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AuldheidPosted on9:17 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Homunculus 20.45
Absolutely I agree, but my memory is LNS portrayed it as otherwise which goes to show the effort put into minimising the damage including withholding of material evidence.
I alway thought LNS was too hastily convened.It started on CQN as I recall when misregistration was the weapon of choice.
I thought then  it was one fired far too early and should have waited for final outcome.
If in effect LNS is removed from the equation what charges would be brought after the COS assuming HMRC win?
As I said in response to your original question LNS is a huge squirrel designed to prevent what is coming if HMRC win.
Without the deliberate concealment of evidence from it by RFC AND (if TJN have it right) the SFA, that might have worked because on the basis of what evidence was presented LNS was solid. 
It no longer is thanks to SFM.

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SmugasPosted on9:38 pm - Jan 4, 2017

I’d go further than that Auldheid.  My recollection is that LNS actually reported back BEFORE the FTTT (apologies if that is incorrect).  My view at that time and unchanged now is that it was damage limitation in anticipation of an initial HMRC win.

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easyJamboPosted on10:13 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Just a part of the article

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easyJamboPosted on10:19 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Auldheid January 4, 2017 at 21:17
Smugas January 4, 2017 at 21:38
LNS produced a preliminary report of “Reasons” dated 12 September 2012

The FTTT report was published on 20 November 2012

The LNS Commission “Decision” was issued on 28 February 2013

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Cluster OnePosted on10:48 pm - Jan 4, 2017
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Questions over Nimmo-Smith inquiry as leak reveals Rangers given no title-stripping immunity guarantee in secret SPL deal

Boiled down and stripped of legalese the shameful guarantee states: ‘The SPL hereby undertakes solely and exclusively to Sevco and to no other Person . . . that the SPL shall not . . . take or commence disciplinary proceedings against Sevco . . . in respect of any EBT Payments and Arrangements’.
A good read

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SmugasPosted on11:04 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Thanks EJ.  Yes it was the preliminary announcement I was thinking of, the one that accepted the given parameters and, I think, from ailing memory, may also have contained the infamous “when is a club not a club” address.

The sadly amateur Grisham in me also recalls that it was around this time the lawyer charged with, well to be blunt, that was charged with keeping his mouth shut ‘happened’ to drive off the road around this time also.  

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coatbridgeloyaltycadPosted on11:12 pm - Jan 4, 2017

It looks as if i upset JJ by posting his so called exclusive on here last night, he has labeled me a troll, He then goes on to attack the SFM, is he hoping that i get banned off of here for posting an extract from his exclusive, an exclusive that he took from some other website.
“My exclusive on King’s sale of his trading division to a New York OTC boiler shop did not play well with the JJ dissidents who I banished from this site for being trolls. One thought he was too important to make donations to the site as he added so much value”
JJ passed plenty of my comments, on quite a few occasion he applauded the points I made,
He barred me from his site because I joked that I would continue to post comments free of charge, I made the joke only because in that particular blog he told his readers that the people that made comments added just as much if not more than he did to his site,
This appeared to trip his sensitivity fuses and I was barred, for making a joke.  He wiped out every comment of mine that he had previously vetted and passed fit for consumption on his blog,
As for making no donations to his site
PayPal logo 29 Jul 2016 09:59:48 BSTTransaction ID: 5YG326138F127071F
Dear C****** O****
This email confirms that you have donated £10.00 GBP to J**** K*** ( using PayPal.
I sent him an email to highlight that Paypal was revealing a/his name to all those that made donations, I received no reply or acknowledgment.
JJ would not have been able to tie in my donation to my WordPress username, My Paypal email is used only for Paypal not for any other reason, I never mentioned the donation on the blog, I prefer to donate anonymously.

Serious question,  Do people that ask and receive donations for publishing blogs have to declare that as earnings  

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SmugasPosted on11:39 pm - Jan 4, 2017

Regarding that Scottish Law Reporter piece linked above.  It is worth recalling, particularly given what we now know of Miss Fakeovers, that I recall at the time the primary purpose of that leak was not the immunity.  I believe it was a relatively cheap shot just to demonstrate continuing collusion between Green and Regan.  I vividly recall conversing with ecojon (ecoboy?) on this point that the releaser either didn’t understand the content of the immunity agreement or, more worryingly, was so used to the collusion and destabilising nature within it that they didn’t fully appreciate its significance or its tangential relationship from sporting normality.  

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Carfins FinestPosted on9:11 am - Jan 5, 2017

I have to take it that the revelation of the Sevco chairman salary and expenses sounds the death knell for Mr Robertson. He seemed to be the only voice of reason within the Sevco boardroom at times. Why throw him to the wolves at this time. Has he in fact resigned and this is the start of the window dressing for the masses? Timing seems to be a little odd.

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Carfins FinestPosted on9:20 am - Jan 5, 2017

Previous Post. Stewart Robinson is MD not Chairman.

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wildwoodPosted on9:53 am - Jan 5, 2017

Agreed Carfin’s Finest – looks like Mr Robertson is en-route towards the underside of the bus.

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TrisidiumPosted on9:55 am - Jan 5, 2017

Wildwood. Only makes sense if he threw himself under.

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AllyjamboPosted on10:07 am - Jan 5, 2017

Carfins FinestJanuary 5, 2017 at 09:11

That seems a rather strange article in the Herald. At first, when I saw a clip from it on twitter, I thought it was something from a year or so ago, it was so familiar, and was surprised to find it was published today, or, at least, the online version says ‘9 hours ago’!

Other than to say ‘New financial statements…’ there is no hint as to why the article was written, and looks like no more than an attack on Stewart Robertson and, yet again, Graham Wallace and the previous regime. There is no mention of what these statements are or why they were made, leaving me to wonder if this is a (very) belated look at the most recent Report and Accounts.

In truth, unless he’s completely forgotten to include a reference to what the source of these ‘statements’ was (and just how amateurish does that make the writer, Mark Williams), it looks rather similar to yesterday’s scattergun PR attack on Paul le Guen when an, apparently random, attack was made on the man in a number of different publications, using the usual EBT recipient rent-a-gobs for ‘I know, because I was there’ type input! Does anyone know if any of the hacks, who decided to write about PLG, all at exactly the same time, has given an explanation as to why he thought to write about this blast from the past at this particular time?  

For those wanting to read some PR guff, here is a link to the article:

I do think it might be the case that a few similar articles, or articles that include reference to Robertson, Wallace, the previous regime or all three, appear elsewhere over the next few days! We do look to be in the middle of a PR deflection storm, right now! Or is it the case that the storm is just starting and has a way to go before it passes?

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Cluster OnePosted on10:34 am - Jan 5, 2017

ALLYJAMBOJANUARY 5, 2017 at 10:07
“We at least seem to be gettin some transparency now regarding the payments being made to our most senior staff.”
Remember the outcry when Mr McCoists payments were made public

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Jingso.JimsiePosted on11:41 am - Jan 5, 2017

That Herald article is classic SMSM ‘half a story’…

‘Rangers’ biggest earner gets a £53k bonus in a £233k salary – as row erupts over former execs pay’

There’s no explanation that Robertson is RIFC’s employee (is he actually a board member, as he’s not on the list on the RIFC website?) & thus as MD likely to be that company’s highest earner. There will be a score or so employees of TRFC who will have higher salaries, including the manager, his assistant & many first team players.

It’s poorly written trash & can easily be construed as an attack on Robertson, whose jaiket seems to have been on a shoogly peg for a while. 

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John ClarkPosted on12:11 pm - Jan 5, 2017

Jingso.JimsieJanuary 5, 2017 at 11:41
‘….There’s no explanation that Robertson is RIFC’s employee (is he actually a board member, as he’s not on the list on the RIFC website?) & thus as MD likely to be that company’s highest earner. ‘
The Companies House entry for ‘The Rangers Football Club Ltd’ ( incorporated 2012) has this:
“ROBERTSON, Stewart Martin
Correspondence address Ibrox Stadium, 150 Edmiston Drive, Glasgow, G51 2XD
Role Active Director
Date of birth April 1966
Appointed on 16 June 2015
Nationality British
Country of residence Scotland
Occupation Company Director”

Robertson is not , as you say, on the Board of RIFC. Technically, the Board of TRFC can appoint anyone they like to that Board.
But, in reality, I suspect that the RIFC Board , under King, really contols the shots, and nothing happens for good or ill without their say-so.

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helpmaboabPosted on12:15 pm - Jan 5, 2017

Re the story about Sevco financial statement, there’s a very balanced and straight to the point contribution on the Evening Times online comments section. It’s kinda John Clark style.

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Big PinkPosted on12:17 pm - Jan 5, 2017


RIFC has NO executive directors.

One of the major reasons why raising money in the city is not possible

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