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.



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John Cole

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. wottpiMay 19, 2016 at 10:42  The wording in the prospectus doesn’t make clear if the IP Agreement that would come in effect after a potential SDI buy out would be the same as (and I presume there must be one) the IP agreement that is part of the overall retail agreement.
    The admission document is strangely silent on the IP Licence Agreement- it is only mentioned in the context of a takeover under the terms of the joint venture. My assumption has always been that the terms set out apply to an existing licence agreement- all that a takeover triggers is a royalty payment to TRFC on undiclosed terms. Here is an interesting snippet, though, which I missed from the extract in my previous post-

    Mandatory share transfer provisions apply at the same transfer price where ashareholder undergoes a change of control or an event of default (including insolvency,material breach or if the IP Licence Agreement is validly terminated).

    That can only mean that the IP Licence Agreement did exist throughout, and could be validly terminated. The consequence is that mandatory share transfers are triggered, leaving SD as the 100% owner of Rangers Retail. SD would have to pay TRFC 50% of a year’s profits. And without the IP Licence, what use is Rangers Retail to SD?
    Maybe TRFC could then retail stuff with their badges on their own account? They would have to access suppliers and outlets, but that is surely feasable. They could sell the stuff on line only, or use Edmiston House. And there must be suppliers in the far east who would jump at the chance of supplying all the stuff required. It might take a year to set up properly, but their getting nothing from Retail as it is, so where’s the downside.
    I’m beginning to think that King is maybe smarter than he looks. He gets SD off his back, gets a few hundred thousand for the RR shares, and is free to set up an in-house retail venture. Can Ashley’s legal boys really have left such a huge loophole in the Retail deal? Maybe RR has exclusive rights to retail anything “Rangers” for the next 6 years? We’ll soon find out.

  2. We have taken the sidebar ad away to see if that is the culprit. Let us know if you still have the problem with that arrangement.

    If so, we will get rid of ads one by one and then some plugins to find the culprit.

  3. With regard to the ‘freezing/errors’ on the site… for me the problems occurred whether I used IE(11), edge or chrome, though they showed up in slightly different ways. It was happening on my home desktop, my home laptop (both win7) and on my work machine (win10) too.
    But the good news is i have noticed a vast improvement this morning!

  4. BarcabhoyMay 19, 2016 at 02:25
    “…I’m sure you never meant to offend, but given everything this blog has to contend with from those who’s clear intent is to undermine, calling a post a big squirrel is pretty strong stuff..”
    Barcabhoy, the last thing in the world I would do is knowingly  give offence  to any poster.
    I was , I realise, well  over the top in using the ‘squirrel’ reference , with its implications of ‘evil intent’ a la Level 5 or the 6th Floor.And I’m truly sorry that my anxiety left me so unable to find a better way of expressing itself as to cause offence.
    That anxiety is rooted in the fear that there could begin an unconscious drift towards a de facto  acceptance that the baddies have won, and that the mere passage of time has normalised Scottish Football   as a clean and honestly administered Sport.
    There are, I know,  hugely important ,and absorbingly interesting actual football matters to be discussed, not least of which is the marginalisation of small countries, small clubs in the European/World competition schemes. My fear would be that we might, in discussing these matters, simply forget that the very foundations on which, the very context in which such discussions  take place , the very Boards to which we would look for solutions to the ‘football’ issues  have lost all credibility as honest brokers anxiously defending the Integrity of the Sport.
    A governing sports body (or bodies) that can shield and protect a delinquent member which deliberately and cynically broke serious rules  and in doing so abused the trust reposed in them themselves by UEFA and by the football supporters of this country simply cannot be allowed to get away with it.
    Anything they say or do is tainted, unless and until the wrong they did is openly acknowledged and, to the fullest extent possible, corrected.

  5. JOHNBUD78MAY 19, 2016 at 08:13  On the trfc/mash IP issue, have to say that looks like a squirrel to me! Agree with a couple of previous posters that this is to deflect attention from the lack of funds or player acquisitions, or possibly to get some quick cash from MA to keep the lights on
    I certainly think its a squirrel
    Hers my take on the TRF /Mash issue
    The biggest issue for TRFC is running out of money for working capitalThe  loanees currently keeping the lights on are most unlikely to  lend indefinitely. For all we know their exisitng loans are predicated on DK releasing his warchest as soon as he finds a “legal”method of getting money out of SA
    I cannot see MA loaning  funds as long as DK is around
    This leaves the RRM needing another share issue to get working capital 
    As long as MA retains his shareholding in RIFC he can block any attempt to dilute his holding providing he retains the same support he had at the last AGM
    If so
    The real intention of the IP squirrel is to force a negotation that would lead to  MA either selling his holding to the RRM or voting to accept dilution of his holding. In exchange he gets retention or possibly even an improvement in the Retail Deal
    Alternatively …thinking outside the box
    Perhaps  DK wants out having concluded he can`t exploit the TRFC situation to make or export money in the way he envisaged
    If so
    He may be willing to sell his shares to an Ashley funded surrogate thus enabling MA to acquire control of TRFC when his holding is combined with the non RRM holders
    On that scenario
    This  end game would be an Ashley surrogate running TRFC  on behalf of MA and SDI

  6. JC (if I may be so presumptions to call you that), I have this view of Scottish football being a microcosm of the UEFA problem. Leaving aside the historical side of things that allowed two behemoth teams to develop in Scotland, UEFA has found itself in a similar mess pretty much of its own making.

    It bowed to pressure applied by the “big” teams, and ignored what impact this was going to have on the rest. What we have now is a situation where the gap is now so massive that to be honest a Super-league is pretty much the only viable way out of this. Those folks that find that kind of football interesting can go and pay their £100’s to gain entry to these footballing cathedrals. The rest of us, those that enjoy football for excitement and that little bit of tribalism that excites every man (and I’d probably say at least some women – but some women are just to sensible for that sort of thing!) and not for celebrity and hair products, can stick to the real game. I don’t have the money to support a Man City, or a Arsenal nor would I want to. I love a good signing, but I get far more excited about the development of a new youngster through the ranks. A foreigner in the ranks adds a touch of something, but give me 11 talented local lads anytime.

    Scotland, dare I say it, is lurching back to 2 big clubs, 2 clubs that will no doubt pretty much rule the roost over the rest of the game here (thanks to the bewildering decision by AFC to allow the voting nonsense to continue). Thats the source of almost all our problems. Same as UEFA – big clubs holding all the power, draining as much of the money as possible for themselves and balls to the rest of the footballing community. Moving up to Euro scale and then of course Celtic and the failed RFC were minnows, and like it or not will ever be thus. The boat has sailed on that one, and nobody from Scotland even got into steerage.

    Until the big picture is examined we are screwed. Until the development of ALL clubs is taken into account when decisions are made, when money is handed out, when caps are handed out by the national manager, when referees are allocated to games, when stadia are selected for important games, when kick-off times are decided based on Glasgow time with no thought as to travelling fans…. oh the list goes on and on, you get the picture. 

    So, yes, we have issues here just in Scotland to deal with. But many of those issues spill over into what is happening in UEFA (and FIFA), and what happens at UEFA level has a massive impact on our game and the perception of where Scotland is in footballing terms. Why limit ourselves to just sorting out Scotland? I want to help rescue the game from eating itself.

  7. neepheid
    May 19, 2016 at 09:28
    *Contrary to the BBC report, Rangers Retail is in fact controlled by its minority shareholder, Sports Direct, whose 49 shares carry two votes each on any significant matters, so 98 votes compared to The Rangers 51 votes from its 51 shares.
    Neepheid your memory is spot on, Ecobhoy spotted that one  (Class A and Class B shares)
    *Not only the BBC but also, the Daily Record today,  and  last Friday
    It’s our Keith again, no fact checking at all.01
    A great deal was made out of the 7 year notice period but was there anything similar in this deal?
    JJB Sports and the Ibrox club entered a 10-year merchandising contract in 2006.

  8. woodsteinMay 19, 2016  
    Neepheid your memory is spot on, Ecobhoy spotted that one  (Class A and Class B shares) *Not only the BBC but also, the Daily Record today,  and  last Friday It’s our Keith again, no fact checking at all. A great deal was made out of the 7 year notice period but was there anything similar in this deal? JJB Sports and the Ibrox club entered a 10-year merchandising contract in 2006.
    Yes, let’s never ever forget Ecobhoy’s superb contribution to this forum. I disagreed with him a few times, but his contribution was invaluable.
    As regards JJB, wasn’t their contract wiped out by administration? Or if not then, by liquidation?
    However, I believe King was on the Board which signed a 10 year deal with JJB. So how can King now call the SD deal “onerous” just because it lasts 7 years?

  9. Purely in the interests of habitual pedantry  08 I’m fairly sure the additional voting rights within the Retail structure were for all “Financial” matters as opposed to Woodstein’s “significant.”  The discussion at the time debated how a financial matter could not be considered significant, and when a matter considered significant would not have a financial implication.

    As you were.

  10. Direct entrants to the Champions League group stages are awarded coefficient points because they don’t have the opportunity to earn any in the qualifying rounds. This would actually put them at a slight disadvantage to the clubs who had qualified by that route. (Cue world’s smallest violin etc.)
    Incidentally, Bert Kassies has changed his mind about whether UEFA would award Rangers the oldco’s coefficient points from 2011-12; he now thinks they will, because that’s what they did with Derry City. It may however escalate the question of RFC(IL)’s eligibility to gain those 2011-12 points in the first place.

  11. wottpiMay 19, 2016 at 15:09 
    Who is Brian McTaggart and where does he fit into the jigsaw puzzle?
    The general consensus seems to suggest…someone the mods prevented from posting ‘her’ information because of it’s questionable origin!

  12. According to philmac latest if Ashley doesn’t get legal very quickly then a loophole has been found however as of a few hours ago his legal team can’t find one still the way they have performed recently I’m not sure that is saying a lot.

  13. Isn’t clear if its the original poacher or the corrupt gamekeeper that purchased and used the information.  JJ being understandably cryptic. 

  14. Big PinkMay 19, 2016 at 11:39

    “Let us know if you still have the problem with that arrangement.”
    Sorted it for me. Coming through loud and clear now.

  15. If I remember correctly RIFC/TRFC regained control the Intellectual Property rights back in early January. We’ve been repeatedly told that control of the retail sales is vital for RIFC/TRFC, so why has it taken so long for the “loophole” to be discovered? I believe that an expert in commercial contracts would be able to find such a flaw, in a matter of days or even hours, so why the four month delay?

    If it has taken four months the bill for hiring such expertise would be considerable.

  16. GIOVANNIMAY 19, 2016 at 15:52

    They have been reviewing the retail contract for a lot longer than that.

    Funnily we are only a week away from the anniversary of last years press release saying they were going to rip the thing up and spill the beans to shareholders and fans.

    So as King took control in early March 2015 they have had 14 months to review/resolve matters.

    King has had the clubs potential retail income at the front of his agenda so you would have thought if a loophole was spotted it would have been exploited before now.

    Maybe not while Ashley controlled the IP via the loan arrangement but pretty dam quick after they paid him back his £5m and regained ownership.

    Given its new strip launch time, the timing does seem somewhat unusual other than stoking up a frenzy prior to the cup final.

    On past evidence Ashley looks to be on sound ground re getting paid for gear that is sitting in boxes or left on the shelves. 

    Interesting times ahead.

  17. Re the loophole and remembering back to James Doleman’s tweet about an unauthorised signatory – could it be as simple as King questioning if Ashley’s man (Llambias?) had the authority to sign whilst on the board – and on the board of what?  Club, company, t’other company, or the board that King sits on which now just seems to be an Ikea board.

  18. John Clark,

    Thanks for your words.

    I understand that the current system is a compromise. However it’s gone too far when the 3rd place team in England gets automatic group stage entry ( and the co-efficient points that go along with that) and the Champions of Scotland have to play 6 games to get there.

    I would dispense with the country co-efficient contribution to individual club ranking.

    I would also deny automatic entry to any club not the Champion of their country which frees up 9 places and i would award those to the Champions of countries ranked 13 – 21.
    I would also remove the automatic entry to the final qualifying round for the 4th placed team in the top 3 countries. I would award that direct entry to the final qualifying round to the Champions of countries ranked 22 – 24.

    This would guarantee Group stage football for the Champions of the 24 top ranked countries (21 guaranteed in the CL)
    I would then dispense with the Champions and non Champions route for all clubs remaining and have a qualifying route based on seeding. That certainly means that when a Barcelona or Real Madrid have to play a qualifier they only have one round to navigate successfully .

  19. John ClarkMay 19, 2016 at 01:11

    “It’s only gombeen men who tug the forelock and sell their souls.”
    Forgive them John; they know not what they do.

  20. SMUGAS
    May 19, 2016 at 16:20

    I thought the “onerous retail deal” predated Mr Llambias and went back to the Charles Green days. I am not certain however.

  21. stevo
    May 19, 2016 at 15:02
    Incidentally, Bert Kassies has changed his mind about whether UEFA would award Rangers the oldco’s coefficient points from 2011-12; he now thinks they will, because that’s what they did with Derry City. It may however escalate the question of RFC(IL)’s eligibility to gain those 2011-12 points in the first place.
    Stevo, if that’s true it indicates UEFA must be treating them as the same club (which is, of course, wrong imo).
    If they are to be seen as the same club, however, that surely means they’ll be excluded because the same club still hasn’t paid the Overdue Payable which has been the subject of such debate on here recently. I couldn’t get a straight answer on this out of Darryl Broadfoot a week or so back. All he would say was that “all potential European participants have been notified to UEFA as per their regulations.”
    When I pressed him on my point about FFP Article 66 being applied to the ‘same club’ (1 The licensee must prove that as at 30 June of the year in which the UEFA club competitions commence it has no overdue payables (as specified in Annex VIII) towards its employees and/or social/tax authorities (as defined in paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 50) that arose prior to 30 June.) he would only reiterate that details had been submitted to UEFA but refused to answer my direct question “Did the SFA’s submission mention the overdue taxes?”
    If the cup final is decided in favour of TRFC, at that point we must all very quickly be emailing UEFA pointing out that TRFC must be treated either as a new club, or be excluded due to the Overdue Payable outstanding since at least 2011 (earlier if you agree with TOG’s view). 

  22. A bit of a stab in the dark but could king be trying to goad Ashley into putting the latest incarnation into liquidation ?   Therefore breaking all agreements that the new club had and starting up Rfc3 ?  Again , with leaving behind their debt and claiming big bad mike done it .   Stranger things have happened .     05

  23. I should probably add that Bert Kassies also compared second-guessing UEFA to “Kremlin-watching in the old days” so he has no insider knowledge of what coefficient points they would assign to Rangers in the Europa League qualifiers next season. The ranking lists on his site are not official. if you want to see the (brief) discussion.

  24. SMUGASMAY 19, 2016 at 16:20

    As I recall the Rangers Retail joint venture was set up between Green and Ashley and it pre-dated the formation of the PLC. Ashley was a major shareholder in the limited company at that time and his shares were converted into shares in the PLC. I have always felt that the deal was so favourable to SDI because they basically put it together, to favour them, and Green simply signed it knowing he needed Ashley on board and buying a large tranche of shares in his company.

    If someone like Llambias was involved in signing anything then it would really only be a variation to the deal. Bearing in mind the deal was between Ranger FC Ltd (the subsidiary) and SDI. Presumably if there are questions over who signed anything then it would be based on them not being on the board of Rangers FC Ltd at the appropriate time. 

  25. The Retail deal was signed on 31 July 2012, as evidenced by the AIM admission document.

    “12.1.3 Sports Direct joint ventureOn 31 July 2012 RFCL entered into a joint venture shareholders’ agreement (the “RangersRetail SHA”) with SDI Retail Services Limited (“SDI”) relating to terms under which thejoint venture vehicle Rangers Retail Limited (“Rangers Retail”) would operate with RFCLholding 51 per cent. of Rangers Retail. Through Rangers Retail the parties agree to run jointlythe production, supply and sale of branded products and carry out retail activity at the Club’ssuperstore at Ibrox and on the Club’s online webstore.”

    The directors of Sevco Scotland at that date appear to have been Malcolm Murray, Ahmad, Stockbridge and Green.

  26. Johnbud78May 19, 2016 at 08:13

    “…but taking SFM into the mainstream, or someone somewhere launching a truly independent paper/online news channel/something…”
    This would get swept up in the first filter of Chomsky’s propaganda model:

    1. The size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms.

    ‘Manufacturing Consent’ lists 24 major media outlets in the United States. The smallest of these has an asset worth of $200M. If you wanted to play in the Champions League of media ownership you would be obliged to shell out £Plenty to be able to compete. Of course you might enter at a much lower level (with proportionally reduced revenue gathering potential) but the costs would be far beyond the TSFM community even as a start up project.

    Even then you would likely fall foul of the second filter:

    2. Advertising as the primary income source of the mass media.

    Advertisers don’t want content that is focussed around virtually intractable concepts. They want stories about puppy dogs. No point in cluttering up consumers minds with thinking, no, they must be made susceptible to product placement and autosuggestion. Advertisers don’t want to be associated with potentially brand damaging content (I’ll exemplar this in a further post).

    That’s even before we get to the potential flak that might be attracted from those who might litigiously challenge our contentions.

    SFM as a semi-underground, semi-subversive forum works well I think. Who knows where it might go to in the future however.

  27. I’m not sure we should be involving ourselves in speculation that consists of bandying about the names of people who may or may not have been involved in practices that we are keenly interested in. Whilst the curiosity is entirely understandable, if someone bearing such a name ends up in a pool of their own blood in a dimly lit Glasgow back court, the MSM will not be slow in making a connection back here.

  28. Homunculus
    May 19, 2016 at 17:34
    Agree,  this is the timeline I remember.
    In June 2012 Jim Park contacted Craig Whyte saying he had arranged a meeting with Mike Ashley and felt he could do a deal with him.
    No information on what deal this was.

    Rangers Retail Limited  08142409 Incorporated 13th July 2012; (Check Directors)
    Green, Stockbridge, Leach and Forsey  (2012)

    On the 5th August 2012 this appeared in a DR story.

    “A CLOSE friend of shamed former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been hired by the new Ibrox owners to find investors, we can reveal.
    Twice-bankrupt Jim Park – who has been a director of a series of failed firms – has been hired as a consultant at Rangers.
    And the 58-year-old has been helping to introduce potential investors to new owner Charles Green.”

  29. One for JC – re the Fraudco hearing.

    Both JJ and James Doleman have flagged up a new name in the court rolls for Glasgow High Court on 3rd June.

    The name is Brian McTaggart. I don’t know if his name is just misplaced on the rolls within the Grier, Whyte and Withey grouping, or he has indeed been indicted on a charge related to the Fraudco saga.  The case number and PF reference seems out of step with the others.

    JJ suggests that he may have a connection to the Charlotte Fakes material.

    A Google search on the name doesn’t throw up any obvious candidates, although I did find a convicted drug dealer of the same name.

    I guess we will have to wait until 3rd June to find out for sure.

  30. Wasn’t it one of the Easedales who wasn’t authorised to sign the retail deal?

  31. Folks, Hopefully the technical problems people have been having are over. Whilst we try to get the ads back online, Could everyone please remember there are ads – one at the top of the page and one at the bottom of the blog post. We’d hate folks should miss the chance to investigate these further.

  32. Would love it – just love it – if a brave/drunk SMSM ‘journalist’ asked at an SPFL presser; 15

    “So Neil, you have publicly stated in the past the necessity for ‘Rangers’ to be in the top league, “for the good of Scottish football”.

    So could you now enlighten the Scottish football paying punters: if ‘Rangers’ found itself at the bottom of the SPL next season, or any other season for that matter, can you confirm that ‘Rangers’ would indeed be relegated from the top league ?

    [Followed by an awkward silence, everyone staring at their shoes/brogues, tumble weed blowing across the presser room – and said ‘journalist’ being exiled from the West of Scotland, sine die !  
    …and with no direct answer forthcoming from the lawyer Doncaster.]

    But a legitimate question – considering that the SPFL CEO has readily revealed his bias towards one member club so publicly – even if that is exclusively based on – his perceived – commercial considerations.

  33. Maybe at last I can be of use on this site. My background in IT carried with it one major frustration and that was the way ads and scripts interfered with the speed I could do my work. I learned very early on to employ tracker blockers and to have as little as possible running automatically in the browser. My browser of choice is Firefox with Flash switched off by default(it can be switched on site by site as you find you need it). In addition I use Ghostery tracker blocker because of its flexibility. Blockers can cause occasional problems, logging in to the Johnston Press site is impossible with every tracker blocked, so sometimes you will have to spend a little time finding which tracker is tied so tightly into the page that it needs to be allowed just for the page to perform correctly. As an indication I have spent probably about one hour over the past three years tweaking the blocker. Having Flash autorun turned off by default also has a big advantage in that you don’t have to hear Craig Fowler’s whiny voice every time you go on The Scotsman site.
    Of course, I also avoid Microsoft as much as possible as I use Linux. I am a cheapskate and like it that all my software is free. For those that are tempted to try but are worried about changing can I suggest trying out PCLinuxOS as I find that it is perfect for the newbie in that it mostly works right out the box(so to speak) and runs in a very similar manner to Windows. Without all the Microsoft security issues(I don’t need to run an antivirus program for instance). PCLOS may not have the flexibility and techie kudos that other flavours of Linux may have but its ease of use is very attractive.
    To try it out you can, unlike Windows, run directly from a CD, so there is no excuse for not even looking. You can save £hundreds a year.

  34. Smugas
    May 19, 2016 at 14:15

    “Purely in the interests of habitual pedantry I’m fairly sure the additional voting rights within the Retail structure were for all “Financial” matters as opposed to Woodstein’s “significant.”  ”

    You are absolutely correct, I copied Neepheid’s text by way of  referencing the post. However, as you say, the additional voting rights were of  a financial nature.06

  35. woodsteinMay 19, 2016 at 20:05  
    Smugas May 19, 2016 at 14:15
    “Purely in the interests of habitual pedantry I’m fairly sure the additional voting rights within the Retail structure were for all “Financial” matters as opposed to Woodstein’s “significant.”  ”
    You are absolutely correct, I copied Neepheid’s text by way of  referencing the post. However, as you say, the additional voting rights were of  a financial nature.
    Guilty as charged18
    I have this quaint view that the only significant matters for a company with a real business are of a financial nature. But of course the actual wording of the agreement refers to financial matters.

  36. Reiver
    May 19, 2016 at 19:49
    Interesting you use linux. Just last year first project after I retired, was to take an old HP laptop which was originally bought in 2004 and  replace  Windows  XP with Ubuntu. It is now working happily as a test pc for Python programming (grandson),  and internet access,  without as you say the security issues.

    neepheidMay 19, 2016 at 20:29


    From looking at that table, we can assume Rangers will be paid a maximum of £405,000 for their performance in the Scottish Championship this season, and a minimum of £126,000.
    The next, important matter lies in when the league makes its payments to clubs
    the link above is all i can find on the matter
    When will prize money be distributed to clubs, and when will the £250,000 LNS fine be deducted from the ibrox prize money?

  38. WOODSTEINMAY 19, 2016 at 20:34

    Indeed, a good use for older kit.

    Personally I prefer Linux Mint (Ubntu based) rather than Ubuntu itself, as I find it easier to use and a better GUI but it’s all down to taste I suppose.

  39. easyJamboMay 19, 2016 at 18:42
    ‘…The name is Brian McTaggart. I don’t know if his name is just misplaced on the rolls within the Grier, Whyte and Withey grouping, or he has indeed been indicted on a charge related to the Fraudco saga. The case number and PF reference seems out of step with the others.’
     I hope to be free to attend, of course.
    I think I  have heard a previous reference to the McTaggart name during a conversation I had recently about the Charlotte stuff.
    If JJ is right,though, I can’t quite see why he would be on the same indictment sheet as others rather than on charges relating to computer stuff and leaks and such like. If anything, I would have thought that rather than an accused, he would be some kind of witness!
    We’ll find out on 3rd June, although  reporting restrictions will no doubt continue and I won’t be able to say!

  40. New ad code added. Please let me know asap if problems reappear.

  41. TrisidiumMay 19, 2016 at 22:42  OK. Hooked again. Better?
    Much better,
    For the technophobs,when ads are running,Flash is running at around 300mb in memory.When ads are off this drops to around 13mb.
    Don’t know what it means but I think it’s causing the problem.Do we need Ads that use Flash or can we just use text ads instead?.

  42. CastofthousandsMay 19, 2016 at 23:56
    ‘…“You grow old and you calm down, ..
    Well, CoT, can I say a big ‘thank you’ to you, not so much for your actual post (I know you to be much, much younger than I) but for the ‘you grow old ..’.
    To go a million miles OT, those words sent me straight back to 1965, when I first came across ‘ The love song of J Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot.
    The lines  “I grow old … I grow old …I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled ” sprang immediately to my mind. I had only the haziest idea what those lines, or indeed, the whole poem, meant. But it struck deep.
    I’ve just re-read it  with something of the same but somehow ’50-year-older’ different mixture of intellectual half-  but wholly emotional -understanding .
    I was transported back to Gilmorehill with quite a powerful emotional thud.
    And in an extraordinary way, when I read the line “And would it have been worth it, after all, ..”, would you believe that I imagined that it was our Football authorities that were speaking? 19
    Anyone interested can click on this link
    And actually, quoting poetry is not reallyr OT-because , of course, poetry is about Truth, or the search for Truth.
    Which is what the SFM is about!

    MAY 19, 2016 at 20:59 9 1  Rate This 
    easyJambo May 19, 2016 at 18:42‘…The name is Brian McTaggart. I don’t know if his name is just misplaced on the rolls within the Grier, Whyte and Withey grouping, or he has indeed been indicted on a charge related to the Fraudco saga. The case number and PF reference seems out of step with the others.’________ I hope to be free to attend, of course.I think I  have heard a previous reference to the McTaggart name during a conversation I had recently about the Charlotte stuff.If JJ is right,though, I can’t quite see why he would be on the same indictment sheet as others rather than on charges relating to computer stuff and leaks and such like. If anything, I would have thought that rather than an accused, he would be some kind of witness!We’ll find out on 3rd June, although  reporting restrictions will no doubt continue and I won’t be able to say!

    This happened with one of the cases last year as well. A ‘stray name’ (possibly the same one) appeared amongst the Fraudco protagonists but was completely unrelated. As EJ says, the references are very different, so JJ may be jumping the gun here.

  44. James Forrest’s latest on the crowd funded newspaper adverts in the Guardian and the Swiss press. It will be interesting to see if these are met with the same derision by the Scottish media as the last newspaper advert. Especially so because they will contain material the Scottish media claim they can’t touch for legal reasons. Perhaps the Guardian don’t operate to the same high standards are Scottish newspapers though. Of course, that standard is simply:

    ‘We will never write about or discuss any content which alleges the Scottish Football Authorities took wrongful action that advantaged the old or new Rangers’

  45. Great news about the crowd-funded ad in James Forrest’s blog. Almost as interesting is the news of the attack on his site. Someone, or, rather, some people, must be a bit worried about the news getting out to the wider world!

    What I find interesting, in a rather sad sort of way, is the efforts some people seem prepared to go to to stop the flow of news to a wider public. It is particularly sad because all they might, at best, manage to do is delay that news, or the news that the news is getting out there.

    I expect the day that the ad is to be published will be made known to us all, then I can, for the first time in many, many a long year, go out and buy a newspaper04 Sadly, though, it will not be a Scottish publication!

    Copies of the ad might well join Reiver’s excellent initiative in finding their way onto bus seats and bookies counters over the next few weeks 22, and I might be buying one or two extra copies of the Guardian to ensure the ad is read by friends and acquaintances down here, too.

  46. Christyboy

    OK, one step at a time. Do you use Firefox for browsing the internet. If you do click the menu “hamburger” at the top right and select “Add-ons”. At the top right again type “ghostery” in the search box and hit enter. You should now see Ghostery in the returned list. Choose to install it. When installed you should see that you no longer have ads offering you things that you had recently been looking at on the internet.
    The number of trackers used by sites varies from site to site. For instance I can see that this one has 6 trackers attached. The maximum I have noticed is 73 on a Johnston Press site. They all add to the traffic that your browsing creates and can slow things down dramatically.

  47. OK now Flash.

    As before open menu select add-ons and search for Flash. This time when the list is returned select “My Add-ons” and you should see “Shockwave Flash”. There is a drop down list to the right. Click the down arrow on this and you will see three options – “Ask to Activate”, “Always Activate”, and “Never Activate”. The choice is yours but I usually set it to “Ask to Activate”. That way every time you go to a site running Flash for the first time you will be asked whether you Never run Flash on this site, Run it just this once, or Always run it. For a site where the reason to visit is to see video, eg Youtube, then you would choose Always, for a site like the Scotsman where you senses are pounded by Craig Fowler then choose Never.

  48. Interesting that someone does not approve of my Firefox instructions.

    Have I got them wrong?

  49. REIVERMAY 20, 2016 at 10:06
    Reiver i’m surprised you’re surprised!
    Some people just don’t like us even when we try to help .

  50. While I was jumping buses yesterday I found a couple of other places to put the flyers(No SFA not there!)
    The smokers tables outside pubs and cafes can easily be accessed anonymously and the condiment trays and menu stands in pubs that serve food are good. Certainly, for a guy like me who as classed as a senior citizen, it is easier on the old bones than running up and down the stairs on buses. The muscles are calling for surrender this morning.
    Oh and on the Edinburgh buses there is a tray for the Metro, take one and return it when you get off with flyers tucked inside.

  51. ReiverMay 20, 2016 at 10:06 
    Interesting that someone does not approve of my Firefox instructions.
    Have I got them wrong?

    I think you may have a ‘thumbs down’ on automatic! Set Firefox ‘Automatic Thumbs Down’ to No. Should solve the problem04

    Alternatively, you maybe have your own personal troll; you know the kind, they look a bit like this – 01

  52. scottcMay 20, 2016 at 06:22
    ‘…As EJ says, the references are very different, so JJ may be jumping the gun here.
    I have just discovered, as easy as kiss my hand, that the letters in the ‘PF reference’ number are the abbreviated version of the name of the town where the Procurator Fiscal’s office, that a case is reported to, is located. For example, AB would be Aberdeen.
    DN?  Dundee?
    Would anyone at all connected to the ‘saga’ have been questioned by polis in Dundee?
    I think it’s probably a mistake in the court roll.Shame for the poor chap, to be lumped in with them.

  53. AJ

    “you maybe have your own personal troll”

    Can you keep that to yourself, Matron doesn’t permit pets in our rooms.22

  54. Like many others on here I am just fed up with the someone condescending attitude of people ‘inside the game’ in relation to the running of Scottish Football and the ongoing ‘bigging up’ of T’Rangers.

    I know it is often said fans don’t have a true insight into how the game is played but last night Peter Grant was on Sportsound giving the usual nonsense that T’Rangers will be challenging Celtic next season and Celtic would need to watch out.

    All I would like to know is how can such a statement be justified and go unchallenged? Yes Celtic need to take a good look at themselves re getting the right manager, getting rid of some deadwood etc etc. However, in the end they won the league this year at a canter.

    I can see Aberdeen and Hearts trying to strengthen but not to the extent they will be able to match Celtic’s buying power. Yes it was the end of the season last weekend but with the right style of play and being up for it you can see how effective a Celtic team, with some second stringers,  can be.

    T’Rangers are an unknown quantity being they may indeed add some new players but, no disrespect, I can’t see the Accrington boys being much of a step up from the likes of Holt and Halliday or being streets ahead of players in the SPFL. 30+ year old midfielders with experience in England are ten a penny (if you can afford the wage demands), as are young rejects from top clubs academies. 

    From what I have seen this year I expect T’Rangers to come out playing a nice style of possession/attacking football. However given the financial constraints at Ibrox there is no way Warburton is going to build a team that is capable of catching Celtic. This year they only managed to win their home league games against Falkirk and Hibs. Therefore on what basis is it being assessed that they will go to Pittodrie, Tynecastle and McDairmid and pick up maximum points.

    A game of tippy tappy possession but little to show in the way of real attacks against a poor showing from Celtic in the cup semi seems to be what everything is based around. Hats off for getting the result but any sensible analysis would say that on another day Celtic could have won that game with ease.

    Hearts looked a cut above the rest when they won in the Championship but it was soon noticeable that once in the SPFL, teams were much harder to break down, quicker on the counter and an element of the flair play had to be sacrificed for a bit of blood and guts at times.

    A bling eye is shown to this season’s record against their closest rivals, the mid season slum and the fact that in some games towards the end of the season ‘lesser’ teams where forcing them to grind out a result by the odd goal.

    Yet no-one openly challenges the assertion that T’Rangers are going to be a force. Meanwhile if someone said the same re Hearts or Aberdeen a half hour discussion would take place on all their weak points, lack of finances  and why they will never be able to mount a challenge.

    Similar to the oldco/newco debate and the Euro Licence issue a sensible open debate does not appear to be possible as those ‘inside the game’ be it from clubs, administrators or the journos just don’t appear to want to have that discussion.

    If there is nothing to see then put it to bed by clearly stating the case for why we should be able to move on.

    I liked Homoculus’ barb the other day indicating that anything they don’t want to hear or is too hard for them to stomach  is merely ‘inconvenient’ to their agenda.

  55. ReiverMay 20, 2016 at 11:09 
    “you maybe have your own personal troll”
    Can you keep that to yourself, Matron doesn’t permit pets in our rooms.

    ‘Is that a pet you’ve got under your covers, Mr Reiver? Or are you just pleased to see me?’

    ‘Mmm, Matron,’ replied a speechless Mr Reiver!

    The varied trolls of the massed forces of Level5, had, for years, attempted to silence Agent Reiver of the SFM, without a modicum of success; but these days, whenever Matron entered his room in the retirement home…

  56. AJ

    What a perverted mind. No wonder you are a Jambo. 10  Imagine speaking to the son of a Sunday school teacher like that, you should be ashamed.

    And anyway, matron and I are just good friends. I have a super injunction so you can’t prove otherwise,

  57. Put in a phone call to the Guardian again this morning to inquire as to why they did not report on the TOG report despite me drawing it to their attention in a previous call. I got the usual “Aw it must’ve been somebody else you spoke to cos I wasn’t here that week.” which prompted me to go through it all again. This time though I added what I felt was a little encouragement, namely the fact that there was going to be an advert run in the press in the near future, perhaps in their own paper, and they might not look so neglectful in their duties if they got out in front of it. That did seem to stimulate a bit more interest because they requested that I gave them all the details in writing. They now have that in their possession so we can only wait and see. Like the breaking of my clubs 114 year hoodoo though I won’t be holding my breath while I wait.
    But Hey, nothing ventured nothing gained, and all that.

  58. Philmac latest is up and running Ashley team confident about contract lol we shall see.

  59. James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman · 2h2 hours ago
    Just had it confirmed that Brian McTaggart mentioned on this list has no connection with ongoing Rangers Fraud case

  60. SHUGMAY 20, 2016 at 17:18
    breaking news seemingly an hour ago lol
    Must admit – like the Joey Barton story – I initially thought this was a non-starter as Rodgers was well out of CFC’s price range.

    But as an experienced, high profile manager, you would expect that he would assume full control of transfer activity – and have demanded a decent-sized ‘warchest’, [a real warchest that is – and not one filled with ‘over investment IOU’s’ !].

    What will the Govan club/Level42 hit back with via the SMSM to counter this significant CFC development ?  

    Could be very interesting next season…

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