The Offline Game

The scandal in which Scottish football has become embroiled is neither equivocal nor complicated. It happened. It is easily seen to have happened. It is certainly not a degree course in nuclear physics. Why then, are simple facts ignored day after day, week after week, by not just the so called purveyors of truth in the media, but the body of the SFA itself, the clubs?

Five years or so ago, systematic cheating by a club involved in Scottish football was uncovered as a consequence of the club slipping into liquidation. This is easily established as fact.

It soon became clear that the authorities had been aware of the situation for as long as it had been going on, but instead of applying their own rules, which would have saved that club from it’s ultimate demise, they chose to enable it and cover it up. Also, backed up by documentary evidence.

As a consequence of the slide towards liquidation, the authorities went into cover-up overdrive to protect their own position. Inquiries based on rhetorical “you’ll have had your tea!” questions were set up to arrive at predetermined conclusions. The post-truth era in Scottish football had begun in earnest.

The claims of corruption which subsequently emerged were dismissed out of hand by the authorities and the press; first by accusations that it was only Paranoid Celtic fans looking to put the boot into Rangers who were behind the claims, then, when it became clear that it was not only Celtic fans who were angered by the way the integrity of the sport had been shattered, the “mad Celtic fans” epithet was amended to “mad online conspiracy theorists”.

The tactic was clear. NEVER address the issue. Attack the messengers. Ridicule them, mock them, demonise them. Despite that, the message of SFM and others was gaining traction and dangerously for the authorities, becoming difficult to ignore.

Last Autumn SFM was approached in confidence by senior figures in two print media outlets. The request was for us to provide them with the facts we had in bullet points – to make it easier for them to reach their audience, an audience they claimed was not sophisticated enough to absorb the detail and minutiae of the story.

The role of journalists is to do exactly that of course. They had access to the same documentary evidence we had (we know this because we gave it to them), but they wanted us to do their job for them? Leaving aside the scant regard I have for football journalists in this country, I don’t believe they are incapable of carrying out that simple task – but we humoured them anyway and provided them with the “SFA Corruption for Dummies” guide that they asked for.

But what were they really up to?

Remembering the RTC thread where he pointed out that genuine whistle-blowers in this saga were reluctant to come forward because of trust issues – they feared any contact with the MSM would result in their details being provided to those they were exposing – we proceeded with some caution. Amusingly, the same three questions was asked at each meeting; “You must know who Rangers Tax Case is?”, “any idea who John James is?” and, “what team do you support?”. (FYI, my answers were, “No”, “No”, and “Celtic” respectively).

Interestingly, for people who needed clarification by bullet-point, they were well enough versed in the minutiae to attempt to argue the flat-earth case and try to sell us the “it has been established legally that <insert something that hasn’t been established legally here>”

Our only conjecture was that they were trying to convince us we were wrong,  or ascertain how firm a grasp we actually had on the facts to better see who and what they were dealing with, or (most probably) they were reacting aimlessly to online pressure and not really following any plan at all. Perhaps they were seeking to reassure themselves that it was just Celtic fans who were angry – although I fail to see how Celtic or their fans have less credibility when asking legitimate questions about the running of the game just because Rangers were involved.

Subsequently, despite the platitudes of “print and social media should work together” and the like, and despite being furnished with the aforementioned bullet points, no further contact was made with SFM other than a couple of childish comments about SFM on Twitter.

Facts might be facts to us all, but in the case of the print media, they can be ignored on the basis that mad internet bampots are not a credible source, although metaphysical hypotheses are clearly thought to be a far more sensible line of inquiry!

However, facts ARE indeed facts, and in the hands of real journalists like Alec Thomson and those in The Offshore Game (TOG), they are given the credence they merit. Since TOG published the report on the SFA (see below), the facts have emerged from not just the so-called internet bampots. Those facts have survived the scrutiny of several reputable journalists involved in TOG – and their legal advisers.

Accusations more blunt and unequivocal than we have ever made have been published. The genie is most definitely out of the bottle, but the prodigious MSM Twitterati, so meticulous in their investigations into the occupation of Craig Whyte’s female companions, appear to have run out of batteries on their keyboards. “No answer” is the loud reply, since TOG cannot be ridiculed quite so easily without exposing themselves to the same scrutiny they have failed to apply to the SFA.

If I can be as unequivocal about this as possible. Senior journalists in at least two MSM print outlets KNOW there has been a cover up, and that systematic cheating took place. They knew that before the TOG report, long before it, but still they did nothing. Even now they do nothing. They are now playing a reactionary role – as counterpoint to the accessible online truth –  involved in actively concealing that truth from the offline public. An Offline Game if you like.

Of course we are not surprised by that, and as the falling-off-a-cliff circulation figures show, fewer and fewer people are playing their game. Even those who still purchase newspapers believe little of what they read.

The clubs are a different matter. Fans of every single club in this country – and that includes TRFC – will benefit from an inquiry into the handling of this matter. In the light of the TOG report, there is no excuse for the clubs to ignore calls for an inquiry to be set up. In fact by doing so, they are actively embracing corruption.

As we have said time and time again, this is no longer about Rangers. It is about institutionalised mal-governance at Hampden. By assisting the cover-up, the clubs are ensuring that the same corrupt practices are in place, ready to go again when necessary. Those practices which saw journalists and SFA officials cede editorial control (both statements backed up by documentary evidence) of their output to one club, and allow damaging conflicts of interest to circumvent rules.

The Offshore Game has thrown a media spotlight onto a cover-up. The MSM have attempted to bury it in the offline domain, but corruption, however well established,is not unbeatable. We can beat it if we work together – and here is how.

Season ticket renewals are dropping through letterboxes as I write this. If we do nothing other than protest, the clubs will do – just like Stewart Regan says he will – NOTHING!

There is only one way to establish the Independent Inquiry that is demanded in the wake of TOG report. Ask your club if they will vote for an Independent Inquiry to be set up.

If they agree, there is no problem. They are doing the right thing and will be deserving of our support.

Otherwise, send their renewal forms back to them unsigned.

It really is that simple.



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.

1,833 thoughts on “The Offline Game

  1. As I’m sure you are all aware Big Brother 2016 has started tonight.  Now if there isn’t a Bear & a Tim in the house I give up. 

    Paddy Power odds at the moment:  Tim; 1/5  Bear 80/1.

    Honest.  21

  2. ALLYJAMBOJUNE 7, 2016 at 21:14
    Still no sign of Warburton, though everyone deserves a holiday, and there’s no doubt he’s worked hard for his.
    MARK WARBURTON is trying to reawaken Rangers.
    And the only way he believes he can do it is by working around the clock at Murray Park – with a 6am start every day.
    The new Ibrox gaffer is used to early rises, having been a City trader.
    He might not have the London rush-hour traffic to deal with in Milngavie. But it doesn’t stop Warburton being the first guy in at Rangers’ training ground as he tries to reinvigorate the club.
    The initial signs are good. So far, the Englishman’s methods appear to be having a positive effect on his squad. Warburton though isn’t getting carried away.
    That’s why he’ll be back at Murray Park early tomorrow, preparing for the first Championship match of the season against St Mirren.
    He said: “I’m in here at six-ish every day. Don’t forget, I’m still living in a hotel – my family are down south.
    “So if I’m tired I go to bed. I work in here, go back, have a meal then go to bed. Six hours of sleep is fine for me.
    “Thankfully, the gates at Murray Park are open 24/7. David Weir is usually here too. I’ve transformed him into an early bird – much to his disgust.
    “At our old place, Brentford, it was largely because of the London traffic. But here I’m in a hotel so I get up early and go to work. When I was a City trader I’d get the 5.20am train, get in at 5.50 and then leave at 8pm. They certainly had their pound of flesh.
    “Being in here at 6am is great because it’s so quiet. The first thing I do is have a cup of coffee.
    “That time allows me to go through training, think about my team, the staff and analyse things.
    “It’s nice and peaceful, as opposed to the noise when everyone gets here.
    “This is a Champions League facility here. The layout, the quality of pitches, it allows everyone to integrate – and also for the first team to be separate.
    “It allows the aspirational aspect to develop, where young players build up to the first-team dressing-room. I love that. You get that at Real Madrid.
    “Do I get knackered? No, not at all. You have to look after yourself, of course. I have to live like the players do.
    “So there are no heroics in me getting in here early. Some guys I know work until midnight.”
    well he said he does not get knackered,Six hours of sleep is fine for him and a 6am start every day is no big deal and it’s ok as murray park is open 24/7.
    maybe everything just caught up with him, you know the big crowds the history the fans etc.the full bingo card just got to much and a three week holiday was needed14

  3. TONY @ 23.17
    Thanks for that.
    Will the statement say something like
    ‘ The Board of Celtic Football Club plc , in discharge of  its fiduciary duties to shareholders, has given  serious consideration to the duty imposed on it by shareholders by the passing of a  Resolution ( Resolution 12) at at the Annual General Meeting of 2013.
    The Board has fully investigated the circumstances in which Rangers Football Club was granted a licence by UEFA to compete in UEFA competitions in season 2011/2012.
    The Board is happy to report that it has received satisfactory assurance from the SFA that everything was done in proper compliance with UEFA rules and regulations. And that no disservice was done to Scottish Football and in no way was the integrity of Scottish Football or its Administrators compromised.
    Keep buying the season tickets, bhoys!
    PS. Even if there had been hanky-panky, the time-bar has been reached. We played a blinder there, eh? Now, let’s move on, shall we?’

  4. My understanding, and no more than that is that the situation with regards SDI, TRFC and RR is as follows.

    RR, owned jointly between the other two, hold a Worldwide licence to produce and sell any official Rangers merchandise. That has another 6 years to run. 

    TRFC own the Intellectual Property (crests, badges etc) which relate to Rangers.

    TRFC have withdrawn the permission for RR to use that IP. In spite of the fact that they are joint owners of RR.

    We would appear to be in a position where no-one other that RR can produce or sell anything Rangers related. However that company cannot use any of the crests, badges etc. Therefore they effectively cannot produce any new Rangers merchandise either. 

    Basically no-one can currently produce new Rangers merchandise, including replica kit etc.

    As I said a wee while ago, a Mexican stand-off. 

    (If you look at the SD website you will see they are happily selling the old kit.)

  5. I need hardly add that I very much hope that the expected statement from Celtic on the Res 12 issue will be the very opposite of what I  wrote in my immediately previous post!
     I have grown old , and cynical, but, I hope, not hypocritical.
    The evidence of SFA skulduggery is there, the evidence of deceit on the part of the old SDM’s Rangers is there. What was to stop a request long ago for ‘clarification’ of what the SFA did?

  6. If and when CFC make an announcement on Res12 it will be when it is too late to do anything about it. You don’t have a problem in front of you to deal with for three years and wait until after one Statute of Limitations has passed and the second one is so close that you risk missing it. The third one doesn’t matter because, I believe, that the SFA can say that, Rangers having been put out of the competitions by then, they did not have to act because the club would not be competing in the competitions past that date.
    CFC, knowing that the deadline is fast approaching, would make an announcement on their position AFTER they had contacted UEFA if they truly wanted it to be acted on. That is the only order of play that we have time left for. An announcement does not reset the S of L clock, only a formal approach to UEFA ARRIVING at their HQ before the S of L date is reached will do that. This announcement is no more than a sop to those who have been complaining about the licensing issue. Unfortunately it is a sop that will be acceptable to 50-60% of the group who will, having been torn between supporting their team and protesting, see it as the green light to move on.
    As always, I hope I am wrong but even if I am I have to ask why such a half assed, time wasting and deflective set of actions were undertaken by the Celtic board over the last three years?
    I should add that worse can be said about the other clubs in the leagues who did not even respond to approaches on the subject by supporters.

  7. RANGERS have opened talks with skipper Lee Wallace over a new deal.
    Sun Sport can reveal negotiations have begun which could see the Ibrox captain pen an extended contract until the summer of 2019.
    Wallace has 12 months to run on his current deal and will be free to talk to other clubs in January if he doesn’t agree terms with Gers.
     Wallace led Mark Warburton’s side to promotion from Championship
    But it’s understood Ibrox manager Mark Warburton, pictured left with Wallace, has made it clear he wants his situation sorted now.
    As yet nothing has been finalised, but it’s believed Wallace, 28, is eager to stay.

    Looks like Warburton isn`t the only one getting short changed on his bonus

  8. Just been reading about BMA and the working practices what a load of old tosh.If workers don’t want fined for being late then don’t be late in my youth this was called being quartered once the time clock stamped red then you lost 15 minutes and that impacted on any overtime as you had to make that 15 minutes up before you were paid any overtime same thing if you were off a day those hours had to be made up first. No horseplay at work quite right leads to people getting hurt no using mobile phone correct again if you are on a personal call then you are ripping off your employer as you are being paid for chatting, a strike against you for not wearing the supplied health and safety gear again it’s there for the employee’s protection.Also seems they were getting the minimum wage but because they had to go through security checks before leaving they want paid lol bet asda don’t pay you for going through security checks before being allowed to leave in fact I know they don’t my neighbour works for them.Heavens workers today really do want everything for nowt seems they want to be mollycoddled.I see nowt wrong with wanting a fair days work for your pay time they grew up.

  9. Interesting post from John James. He appears to have done some research of the kind alien to the SMSM, and has come up with some interesting stuff on Ashley’s ‘climb down’ and ‘humiliation’.

    Justin Barnes, Ashley’s new boy on the RR board, is a registered trade mark lawyer, so one might think more of a strengthening of SD/MA’s position than any sort of ‘humiliation’. Barnes, apparently, was responsible for setting up the contract, so probably knows a lot more than anyone at Ibrox about it’s structure. If Barnes doesn’t know of any loopholes, with his first hand knowledge and obvious expertise, I wonder how much it must have cost TRFC if they have engaged a leading expert in the field able to outsmart this man! Warbo’s bonus maybe?

    I continue to have the feeling that this may well be King’s last huzzah, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at gaining control of the merchandising and, if successful, making enough in instant sales to pay off the legal costs with enough left to see them through the season. If it fails, well it won’t be his fault if the club goes under…

  10. Hearing that after G&SL ring-fencing of season ticket money last season, Uncle Mick has launched a revenge counter attack and ring-fenced Warbs. 21     
        Would Warbs consider an offer of U19’s coach at NUFC a step up?….What a mischievous, “Give me my effin’ bonus and a war-chest”, bargaining tool that would be…..Just saying like. 03
      Persistence beats Resi2tance T-shirt ordered.  

  11. BTC update from Alex Thomson

    alex thomson ‏@alextomo · 4m4 minutes ago
    Rangers Big Tax – Supreme Court update: court currently receiving papers and soon preferred counsel will be identified…
    Then it is a question of allotting requisite court time so hearing likely in first half of 2017. Likely to talk a few days, not weeks…
    Court decision then comes 2 to 3 months later and that is the end of it – no perceived human rights issue so no further appeal to Europe…
    Supreme Court proceedings are on camera

  12. Big Pink  June 8, 2016 at 12:24 
    EJ. Is that ‘in camera’ or ‘on camera’?
    On camera.  Supreme Court cases are filmed, although I’m not sure if you can watch live.
    There are links from the Supreme Court web site for some of the cases where you can watch recordings of the proceedings. I have previously used it to view a previous case, after the event.

  13. Very transparent and un-British! Thanks EJ. I thought it might be a typo?

  14. Corrupt official
    June 8, 2016 at 13:18
    The Guardian have cancelled the Res 12 advert in rather mysterious circumstances.
    That is truly unbelievable in a democratic society. This needs brought to wider attention – local MPs? Decent journalists? Could someone who is on twitter bring it to the attention of Alex Thomson?

  15. Corrupt officialJune 8, 2016 at 13:18 
    The Guardian have cancelled the Res 12 advert in rather mysterious circumstances.

    What can I say? Many years ago my distrust of the British media was born and I stopped reading newspapers, even those I found lying around, but now they have reached a new low. There can be little doubt that the Guardian is bowing to pressure from God knows where, and I shudder to think just what power must lie with people who would stoop so low as to prevent a football story reaching a wider audience. It’s only a bloody game! This is becoming ever more sinister.

    I don’t like the Masons, but I haven’t bought into the feeling amongst many ‘Rangers Scandal’ commentators that there is a massive ‘Masonic plot’ afoot, but there can be little doubt that ‘Rangers Men’ hold great sway in that secretive organisation, and that members of it infest the British media (with similar secret organisations doing similar in countries elsewhere)!

    But in an industry that is virtually on it’s knees, that someone should decide to pull an already paid for advert, beggars belief, and indicates more than just the odd bear reporter with influence pulling the strings.

    Far from weakening our beliefs about Scottish football, this just serves to bear them out, and take it even further into the realms of the ‘establishment’!

    Anyone who isn’t disgusted by this latest turn of events must buy into everything that the Kings and Murrays of this world want us to!

    I’m pretty certain there will be a few less copies of the Guardian sold as a result of this!

  16. Big Pink June 8, 2016 at 13:25 
    Very transparent and un-British! Thanks EJ. I thought it might be a typo
    As an example here is a link to the Eclipse Film Partners tax case that was recently heard by the SC.  You can view the proceedings via the embedded links.

  17. I can’t believe The Guardian has been got at!  My last hope for the print media now gone.

    I think the Res. 12 guys will need to post the advert in The Celtic View and “L’Osservatore Romano.  Surely no dark forces at work there. (Unfortunately there have been many tales of Masonic influence in the Vatican.)

  18. I’ve just emailed my local mp. I don’t know quite what I hope he will do about it, but it is so concerning to me that some ‘powers that be’ seem to be trying to hush this up. Why would that be the case?!?
    We can’t say for sure that it’s outwith the Guardian, but that could be inferred from the CQN article. Why would that be the case?!
    If ‘powers that be’ can effectively (so far) hush this up, what are the possibilities of other matters more important than football being similarly hushed up?!
    The CQN article is a scary read!

  19. AllyJambo @ 13:58

    “I’m pretty certain there will be a few less copies of the Guardian sold as a result of this!”

    I’m pretty certain I can guarantee this.

  20. PAU1MART1NJUNE 8, 2016 at 15:38 
    Relaunch as the vanguardy yin ???

    I’m sure that when the original proprietors of that newspaper chose the name ‘The Guardian’ they were not indicating that they would be guarding the interests of the ‘establishment’, rather that they would be the guardians of, and endeavouring to ensure, the honesty and integrity of those in power!

  21. Further to the latest shenanigans with The Guardian refusing good money for advertising I thought I would send an email to Roy Greenslade the Guardian journalist who was very scathing of the smsm hacks in their failure to report the facts when this whole sorry saga began but no email contact details only twitter so maybe one of our chaps who is signed up for that could ask for his views on the Resolution 12 advert?

  22. The actions of the Guardian are reminiscent of other instances I’ve encountered where the “powers that be” are the UK security services in their various guises. They probably advised the Guardian executives that “armageddon” might ensue from the publication of such an advert. 
    We are all aware of the actions of certain groups and as an indicator I give you the photograph recently published on Mr Mac Gilloa Bhain’s blog which was taken from the Belfast Telegraph and the emblem on the individual’s replica top.
    I’m becoming more and more convinced that this “armageddon” is what is being used to suppress a lot of our aims.

  23.   It may be important to remember that behind our wee diddy fitba’ scandal, was the small matter of a billion pounds of bankers money.  It didn’t just disappear, but found it’s way into many a pocket. 
        This Rangers, Sevco scam was never about fitba’  It was a protection racket, designed purely to protect the racket.  

  24. You have to wonder just what exactly the Resolution 12 guys have stumbled on to here?
    I find it hard to believe that some un-named “powers that be” are going to these lengths over what…. A few Scottish football titles and maybe the odd blazer at the SFA/SPFL getting their P45? 
    At the risk of going full “tinfoil hat brigade” I can’t help but assume they are scratching at the surface of something way bigger that clearly involves a party (or parties) who do not want this story out in the open.
    Its on the verge of turning in to an episode of the X-Files or something! Yeah maybe thats it in fact, The SFA are actually aliens who helped fake the moon landings or something. We really are on the cusp of “you couldn’t make it up” territory so why not!

  25. GiovanniJune 8, 2016 at 16:30
    Corrupt officialJune 8, 2016 at 16:51
    Sad to say that, IMO, I think it is a combination of both . And the common denominator is power. Abuse of power. And all that that implies WRT bases of power!

  26. Aw f**k it you know what I mean. I’m too old and weary of utter sh*t being served up!!!06

  27. CHARLIE_KELLYJUNE 8, 2016 at 17:32 … The SFA are actually aliens who helped fake the moon landings or something…
    I think there is a consensus that any alien life forms found on planet Earth would be of a significantly more advanced level of evolution and intelligence.

    …which most definitely rules out anyone on the 6th floor at Hampden.

    Mibbees the blazers are not “alien”, but they’re definitely estranged… 09


  28. I had the same refusal from the Guardian and the reaction to Res12s advert triggers my old suspicions. 
    When you consider the reaction to which flag flies over Stormont then you get an inkling as to why there might by pressure applied not to rock the boat with regard to our concerns.
    I suppose it all depends on what price you put on integrity and honesty.

  29. Now that the Guardian has joined the Herald in refusing to take an advert on Resolution 12 It only reinforces the notion there is something to hide. If there is nothing to hide then why don’t these papers, and those who are influencing them, run with the advert then completely blow the argument out the water?

    Refusing to run the advert is almost like an endorsement in itself.

Comments are closed.