Why the Beast of Armageddon Failed to Show?

A Blog for Scottish Football Monitor by Stuart Cosgrove

At the height of summer of discontent I was asked to contribute to a BBC radio show with Jim Traynor and Jim Spence. ‘Armageddon’ had just been pronounced and if the media were to be believed Scotland was about to freeze over in a new ice-age: only a cold darkness lay ahead.

To get the radio-show off to a healthy and pretentious start I began by saying that Scottish football was experiencing an “epistemological break”. It was an in-joke with Jim Spence, who I have known since we were both teenage ‘suedeheads.’ I was a mouthy young St Johnstone fan and Jim was an Arabian sand-dancer. But even in those distant days, we shared a mutual distrust of the ‘old firm’ and in our separate ways wanted a better future for our clubs. We both grew up to become products of the fanzine era, Jim as a writer for Dundee United’s ‘The Final Hurdle’ and me as a staff writer for the NME. Without ever having to say it, we had both engaged in a guerrilla-war against what Aberdeen’s Willie Miller once characterised as “West Coast Bias”.

The term ‘epistemological break’ was shamelessly borrowed from French Marxist philosophy. It means a fundamental change in the way we construct and receive knowledge and although I used it on air as a wind-up to test Spencey’s significantly less-reliable Dundee schooling, deep down I meant it.

Social Media has proved to be one of the greatest disruptions in the history of the football supporter – greater than the brake clubs of the 19th century, the football specials on the 1970s; or the fanzine movement of the post-punk era. The pace of change in the way we send, receive and interrogate information has been so dynamic that it has wrong-footed administrators, asset strippers and sports journalists, alike. No matter who you support we are living through media history.

2012 had just witnessed an unprecedented summer of sport. The Olympics provided a snapshot of how sudden and pervasive the shift to social media has become. Over 40% of UK adults claim to have posted comments on websites, blogs or social networking about the Olympics and in younger age-groups that figure tips conclusively to a majority – 61% of 16-24’s posted Olympic comments. Think about that figure for a moment. Well over half of the young people in the UK are now participants in social media and pass comment on sport. The genie is out of the bottle and it will never be forced back. That is the main reason that Armageddon never happened: we no longer live in an age where the media can guarantee our compliance.

On the first day of the 2012-13-season, Rangers were in the deep throes of administration and facing certain liquidation. With no accounts to meet the criteria for SPL membership, one among a body of rules which the old Rangers had themselves been an architect of, the new Rangers could not be granted entry without a wholesale abandonment of the rules. It was not to be.

St Johnstone launched their new season at Tynecastle so I travelled with misplaced hope. We were soundly beaten 2-0 and both Hearts goals were entirely merited. On the day, I did a quick if unscientific survey of two supporters’ buses – the Barossa Saints Club, a more traditional lads-bus and the ‘208 Ladies’ a predominantly female and family-friendly bus. On both buses, over 75% of fans had mobile phones with 3G internet access and the majority of them posted updates or pictures before, during or after the match. They mostly posted via micro-blogging sites such as Facebook or Twitter, many commenting on the game, their day-out and the surroundings. Most were speaking to friends or rival fans. Some were publishing pictures and updating forums or blogs. And when he second a decisive goal went in some were undoubtedly taking stick from Gort, Webby DFC and DeeForLife, the pseudonyms of prominent Dundee fans, who as the newly promoted ‘Club 12’ were suddenly and very temporarily above St Johnstone in the SPL.

By my rough calculations, well over half the St Johnstone support was web-connected. I have no reason to think the Hearts supporters were any different. This small experiment reflects an unprecedented shift in the balance of communication in Scottish football and in the truest sense it is an ‘epistemological break’ with past forms of spectatorship. Social media has been widely misrepresented by old-style radio ‘phone-ins’ and by journalism’s ancien regime. The presumption is that people who are connected to the web are at home, in dingy rooms where they foam at the mouth frustrated by loneliness and mental illness. The term ‘internet bampots’ (coined by Hugh Keevins) and ‘keyboard warriors’ (Gordon Strachan) speaks to a world that is fearful of the web, irked by alternative opinions, and the threat that the new media poses to the traditional exchange of knowledge.

It further assumes that opinion from social networks is naïve, ill-informed, or unreasonable. Whilst some of this may be true, mostly it is not. No one would dispute that there are small enclaves of truly despicable people using social networks and comment sites, but they are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the multitude of fans who simply want to talk about their team and share their dreams and memories.

Social media is porous. By that I mean it has cracks, lacunae and fissures. This inevitably means that information leaks out. It can be shared, released and in some cases becomes so energetic it becomes a virus. It is no longer possible to ‘keep secrets’, to withhold information and to allow indiscretions to pass unnoticed. Newspapers have been caught in a whirlwind of change where views can be instantly challenged, authority quickly questioned and pronouncements easily disproved. Many papers – almost all in decline – have been forced to close down their comments forums. Undoubtedly some of that is due to breaches of the rules, the cost of moderation, and the rise in awareness of hate crimes. But another significant factor is that ordinary fans were consistently challenging the opinions and ‘facts’ that newspapers published.

Talking down to fans no longer works and we now have evidence – Armageddon did not happen. The beast that was supposed to devour us all was a toothless fantasy. In the more abrasive language of the terraces – Armageddon shat-it and didn’t turn up.

In one respect the myth of Armageddon was an entirely predictable one. Tabloid newspapers make money from scaring people – health scares, prisoners on the run, fear of terrorism, anxiety about young people, and most recently ‘fear’ of Scottish independence is their stock in trade. Almost every major subject is raised as a spectre to be fearful of. Most newspapers were desperate to ‘save Rangers’ since they themselves feared the consequences of losing even more readership. It was easier to argue that a hideous financial catastrophe would befall Scottish football unless Rangers were fast-tracked back into the SPL. Newspapers found common cause with frightened administrators who could not imagine a world without Rangers, either.

So we were invited to endorse one of the greatest circumlocutions of all time – unless you save a club that has crashed leaving millions of pounds of debt, the game is financially doomed. You would struggle to encounter this bizarre logic in any other walk of life. Unless Rick Astley brings out a new album music will die. That is what they once argued and many still do. That is how desperately illogical the leadership in Scottish football had become.

Armageddon was a tissue of inaccuracies from the outset. It tried to script a disaster-movie of chaotic failure and financial disaster and at the very moment when senior administrators should have been fighting for the livelihood of the league, they were briefing against their own business.

Armageddon was a big inarticulate beast but it faced a mightier opponent – facts. One by one the clubs published their annual accounts. Although this was against the backdrop of a double-dip recession and fiercely difficult economic circumstances it was not all doom and gloom. The arrival of Club 12 (Dundee) meant higher crowds and the potential for increased income at Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Johnstone. To this day, this simple fact remains unfathomable to many people in the Glasgow-dominated media. The arrival of Ross County meant an exciting new top-tier local derby for Inverness Caley Thistle and a breath of fresh air for the SPL. St Johnstone insisted on the first ever SPL meeting outside Glasgow to reflect the new northern and eastern geo-politics of the Scottish game.

European football meant new income streams for Motherwell. Of course times were tight, football is never free from the ravages of the economy and some clubs predictably showed trading losses. But the underlying reasons were always idiosyncratic and inconsistent never consistent across the board. Inverness had an unprecedented spate of injuries and over-shot their budgets for healthcare and so published a loss £378,000.

Meanwhile Dundee United published healthy accounts having sold David Goodwillie to Blackburn. Celtic reached the Champion’s League group stages with all the new wealth it will bequeath. St Johnstone – led by the ultra-cautious Brown family – had already cut the cost of their squad, bidding farewell to the most expensive players Francisco Sandaza and Lee Croft. The club also benefited from compensation for their departed manager, Derek McInnes and player-coach, Jody Morris. Paradoxically, Bristol City had proven to be more important to the club’s income than Rangers. Again this was not part of the script and proved unfathomable (or more accurately irrelevant) to most in the Glasgow media.

Hearts failed to pay players on time due to serious restraints on squad costs and internal debt. They were duly punished for their repeated misdemeanours. Motherwell and St Mirren despite the economic challenges were navigating different concepts of fan ownership. By November most clubs – with the exception of Celtic – were showing increased SPL attendance on the previous season. Far from the scorched earth failure that we were told was inevitable what has emerged is a more complex eco-system of financial management, in which local dynamics and a more mature cost-efficient reality was being put in place.

It may well be that Armageddon was the last desperate caricature of a form of media that was already in terminal decline. Flash back to 1967 when Scottish football had a so-called ‘golden age’. There was European success, we tamed England at Wembley and names like Law and Baxter brightened dark nights. Back then access to knowledge was a very narrow funnel. Only a small cadre of privileged journalists had access to the managers and players, and so fans waited dutifully for the Daily Record to arrive at their door to tell them what was happening. That system of ‘elite access to knowledge’ was in its last decadent throes nearly thirty years later, when David Murray would dispense wisdom to his favoured journalists. We now know they drank fine wine and ate succulent lamb in Jersey and the most loyal attended Murray’s 50th birthday party at Gleneagles. One journalist was so proud of his invite he danced round the editorial office mocking those who had not been invited. This was the early height of the Rangers EBT era but it is now clear that difficult questions went unasked by either journalists or by football administrators.

Although it may not suit the narrative of this particular blog my first realisation that David Murray’s empire was living on leveraged debt was from a small cadre of Rangers fans. It was around the early years of the Rangers Supporter’s Trust (RST) and they were determined to shake more democracy from the Ibrox boardroom. Whilst real fans of the club argued from the outside, the press took Murray at his loquacious word. He was in many respects their benefactor, their visionary – their moonbeam.

By the 1990s onwards, football journalism had ritualised and festered around the inner sanctums at Ibrox. This was an era where relevance meant being invited to a ‘presser’ at Murray Park, having Ally’s mobile or playing golf with ‘Juke Box,’ ‘Durranty’ or ‘Smudger’. Many journalists, showing a compliant lack of self-awareness, would use these nicknames as if conveyed closeness, familiarity or friendship. It is desperately sad that careers have been built on such paltry notions of access and such demeaning obsequiousness.

Around this period I had become a freelance radio-presenter and was presenting Off the Ball with my friend Tam Cowan, a Motherwell fan. We both wanted to fashion a show which saw football not trough its familiar narratives, but through the lens of the ‘diddy’ teams, a term so demeaning that we tried to reclaim it. Refusing to peddle the inevitability of ‘old firm’ power we sensed that journalistic compliance at Ibrox was now so ingrained that it was ripe for satirising. This was the main reason that Off the Ball branded itself as ‘petty and ill-informed.’ It was a self-mocking antidote to those journalists that could ‘exclusively reveal’ breaking stories from ‘impeccable sources,’ which usually meant they had heard it on the golf-course, from Walter, a man who needed no surname.

Many fans are astonished when I tell them how the journalism of this era actually functioned. On Champions League nights, journalists from opposing papers gathered together to agree what to write. Circulation was in decline, money was tight, agency copy was on the increase and foreign trips were under-scrutiny. No one dared miss the ‘big story’. So sports journalists who commonly boasted about their toughness and who ‘feared no one’ were often so fearful of returning home having missed an angle, that they agreed by consensus to run with variations of the same story. Celtic fans may wish to recoil at the image – but journalists would go into a ‘huddle’ at the end of a press-conference to agree the favoured line.

So the summer of 2012 witnessed an ‘epistemological break’ in how knowledge and information was exchanged. But let me go further and taunt Jim Spence one more time. It was the summer we also witnessed an ‘amygdala-crisis’ exposing the way the media works in Scotland. Amygdala is the nuclei in the brain that manages our tolerance for risk and is the key that often unlocks creative thinking. Many people in relatively high places in the media – a creative industry – demonstrated that they could not conceive of change, nor could they imagine what football would look like if Rangers were not playing in the SPL. They not only resisted change but lacked the imagination to think beyond it. A common language began to emerge that tried to ward off risk and an almost a childlike fear of the dark. ‘Scottish football needs a strong Rangers,’ ‘But there will no competition’; ‘other clubs will suffer’; ‘Draw a line in the sand’; ‘It was one man – Craig Whyte’, ‘They’ve been punished enough’ and of course, the daddy of them all – ‘Armageddon.’

The biggest single barrier to change was the lingering and outmoded notion that Rangers subsidised Scottish football. As a supporter of a club that had spent seven economically stable years in a league that Rangers have never played in made me deeply suspicious and I was in the words of the we-forums ‘seething’ that St Johnstone were portrayed as somehow ‘dependent’ on a club that was already fatefully insolvent. Because so little is known about the experience of the fans of smaller clubs, they are often misrepresented. For seven years my friends and I, travelled home and away in the First Division, often narrowly missing out on promotion as rival clubs like Gretna, Dundee and Livingston all used money they did not have to ‘buy’ success. It remains an incontrovertible fact that St Johnstone FC has been among the most consistent victims of fiscal misdemeanour in Scottish football. That is the irreducible issue. Several clubs have very real reasons to loathe financial mismanagement, rogue-trading and those that gain unfair advantage on the back of unserviceable debt.

Social media has allowed these smaller incremental versions of history to be told when the established media had no interest in telling them. Blogs can dig deeper than the back pages ever can and fans are now more likely to meet on Facebook than on a supporter’s bus. Many players now bypass the press completely and tweet directly with fans. Rio Ferdinand’s recent attack on racism in English football has been conducted entirely via social media, over the heads of the press. In the Rangers Tax Case context, restricted documents are regularly shared online, where they can be analysed and torn apart. Those with specialist skills such as insolvency, tax expertise or accountancy can lend their skills to a web forum and can therefore dispute official versions of events.

Not all social media is good. Open-access has meant a disproportionate rise in victim culture. The ‘easily-offended’ prowl every corner of the web desperate to find a morsel that will upset them but that is a small price to pay for greater transparency and even the most ardent bore is no excuse for limiting the free exchange of information.

We have witnessed a summer of seismic change. A discredited era that largely relied on ‘elite access to knowledge’ has all but passed away and information, however complex or seemingly unpalatable, can no longer be withheld from fans. The days of being ‘dooped’ are over.

It has been a privilege to participate in the summer of discontent and I yearn for even greater change to come. Bring it on.

Stuart Cosgrove
Stuart Cosgrove is a St Johnstone fan. He was previously Media Editor of the NME and is now Director of Creative Diversity at Channel 4, where he recently managed coverage of the Paralympics, London 2012. At the weekend he presents the BBC Scotland football show ‘Off the Ball’ with Tam Cowan. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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About Trisidium

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

3,744 thoughts on “Why the Beast of Armageddon Failed to Show?

  1. twopanda says:
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 21:43
    3 1 Rate This
    ordinaryfan says:
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 21:30
    Not to mention the possibility of a HMRC appeal.
    And RFC were guilty of nothing? Jabba again distorting facts and muddying waters, because RFC had accepted liability of the “wee” tax bill accumulated under Murray, and non payments of NIC and VAT payments under Whyte.

    Fascinating stuff there – bravo


    Pompous snobbery – superb.

  2. beatipacificiscotia says:

    Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 22:27

    I would hope that is the reason, but it does sound unlikely. “If I told you, I’d have to kill you”

    Just to be clear, I’m quoting a cliche – I’m not threatening anyone, before anybody thinks they’ve accidently wandered onto Rangers Media…..

  3. I am still confused as to the 30 + figure of uncontested cases.

    If this is the case then why is anyone calling this a victory for RFC in any way? Does anyone have any actual detail on these numbers? i am awars that if they were uncontested they would form no part of the appeal so no detail would appear in the judgement. i am just wondering how this figure was arrived at! The fact that the loans were contractual ( with letters signed on the same day as contracts) and the fact that these were not shown to the SFA and SPL renders all such players registrations illegal. Why has no-one in the press – nor even the BBC pointed out this truth to the public?

    Further to the above why has no-one in our esteemed media seen fit to comment on the sustained non-cooperation, duplicity and concealment practiced by Rangers throughout this entire episode. It is meticulously detailed in the judgement such that even someone as unskilled and utterly inexperienced in reading any legal document as me could pick out damning fact upon damning fact about the conduct of the club such that the overall effect is to leave one in no doubt as to the true intent of the scheme and the utter disreputability of the organisations involved.

    I cannot of course comment on the legality of it as I have absolutely no knowledge of the relevant statutes.

    As regards the LNS enquiry – all efforts will now focus on having it dropped – a barrage will be unleashed of the vendetta, the vindictiveness shown already, the complete innocence of a club destroyed by the HMRC attacking them for nothing, etc

    They cannot allow this to go ahead , and CO will ensure along with Donkey and others that it does not. Only the clubs themselves can force the issue here – they need to make it clear that they will not countenance any further delay nor will they countenance any “deals” being done. If this enquiry is cancelled – my gut feeling is that it will be, then Scottish football is dead.

    I have already stopped any interest in it because of the summer shenanigans – in truth we should all have done the same to force effective action. I would trust that this outrage might make those who continued to support it this season to reconsider their position.

  4. Tom English @TomEnglishSport 6m
    Scotland on Sunday piece tomorrow: The rise and fall of the
    rangerstaxcase blog

  5. Lord Wobbly says:
    Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 23:49

    FFS. What about the decline and fall of the MSM?

  6. paulsatim says:

    Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 23:53

    I’d wait to see what he has to say before de-crying it. His last piece wasn’t bad, and yet if you’d just gone by the title….

  7. Was it Bill Nighy who said I’ve had an epiphany? Well I’ve just had one too – with knobs on!

    Were any cases dropped from the appeal as guilty? Don’t really care how many – one’s enough. No my new beer is, at what time were these dropped? The LNS guilty verdict, by which I mean actions proven to be in contravention of SFA/SPL rules could have been on Neil Doncaster’s desk anything up to two years ago. And that’s a long time in football.

  8. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/sfl-division-three/tom-english-blogged-down-by-its-own-hubris-1-2658640

    The final message was plaintive and pitiful. “This blog brought light to a matter of public interest,” it read. “This blog has been accurate on all of the major points of the case except the one that matters most to date – the FTT outcome.”

    Haven’t most non rangers people/apologists thought the decision, considering the evidence, unbelievable?

  9. English’s piece changes nothing, whereas the RTC blog changed substantially the view of thousands of us of the administration of Scottish Football, throwing plenty of light into dark corners, shaming the professional hacks who did not do so (out of whatever kind of self-interested motivation (lamb, anybody?).

    The football authorities now know that by Jings they’ll have to amend their laws and rules and actually police them properly to prevent any club in the future, particularly any club with an unfortunate stigma attaching to it,acting the goat on the ‘fair play’ front.

    The clubs themselves have found the moral courage to resist attempts to bludgeon them into obedience and compliance with policy lines that they did not think to be right.

    Scottish football is all the better for it.

    And of course, there are a few further little legal matters to be gone into.

  10. I do wonder how foolish our friends in the MSM will look if HMRC decide to appeal
    and win . The fat Lady has not yet sung only the 3 Degrees have performed as the back up act
    and 2 of them were out of tune.

  11. Have I got this right?
    The Trust is legal
    The £40m or so of funds deposited by RFC are legal
    The loans to players are legal
    The repayment due to the trust by the players are legal
    Actions by the Trust to award loans of certain amounts to certain players on certain dates in return for certain services done on behalf of RFC were discretionery decisions made at the request of RFC using a process controlled by RFC
    The Trust could legally have ignored any request from RFC to make any loan to any player at any time. But they never did because the Trust followed a process designed by RFC
    Or put another way
    For over 10 yrs
    RFC have used a compliant Trust who do their bidding despite not being legally obliged to do so

    So whats the problem?

    All RFC (BDO) need to do is request the Trust to collect in the loans and send the money to RFC

    What reason could the Trust give for refusing to action this request?
    They have demonstrated over 10 yrs that they never turn down any request from RFC regarding
    movement of Trust funds
    Why should they start being nasty now?
    Particularly as HMRC are now involved

  12. Just catching up and want to say thank you to BRTH for a terrific Blog – well reasoned and entertaining at the same time’

    As BRTH says Judges can be clever bastards – A few years ago in the west of Ireland a farmer was convicted and jailed having killed a gentleman well known to the Guards who trespassed on his property. About two years later he was released on appeal as the presiding judge was found to have misdirected the jury. When I mentioned to a lawyer friend how surprised I was that such a highly regarded and eminent judge should make such a mistake I was told that it was the general view among ‘my learned friends’ that the judge had deliberately misdirected the jury! He was aware that the jury were itching to find the farmer not guilty but that his direction made it extremely difficult for them to do so and he was determined to do his best to make sure that the farmer spent a period in jail before his certain release on appeal.

    That judge did his best to serve justice and I think the two QCs who came to the majority decision could have done more to serve the same end. But then what dose the ordinary man know?

  13. Having read half of Paul mcConville’s latest blog with the excerpts from the tribunal evidence/findings I can honestly state that IMHO the law is an ass. For any group of learned people to hear and read what was put forward via written, omitted and verbal account beggars belief to t a layman such as myself.

    Why the hell do ordinary working men pay taxes? Why not club together and fund an aggressive scheme to save a few bob?

    If this is not appealed I will be disgusted. If this is not reversed on appeal I will be amazed. If the SPL commission does not find that the rules have been broken for a decade or more I will be astounded.

    If none of the above happens I will not however be surprised.

  14. areyouaccusingmeofmendacity at 22:22:

    The figure of “over 30” comes from a paragraph of the verdict where it reports a number of cases were conceded.
    The number “35” appears.
    This was the line number on that page, which appeared when people reproduced the paragraph.
    In short, a few cases were conceded. The assumption that it was over 30 is based on an erroneous reading of the above-mentioned paragraph.

  15. Tom English @TomEnglishSport 23m
    rangerstaxcase was a phenomenon. Total respect for the
    quality of that blog’s information. But it became bitter and
    pompous and lost its way
    The RTC blog was a phenomenon. It started small but steadily grew. As the readership grew, people from any and all clubs and walks of life were welcomed. The small number of Rangers fans who joined in were actively encouraged and defended, at times robustly.

    Yes there were also obvious trolls who were only on to wind up and deflect. Such posters were quite rightly given short shrift.

    Meanwhile, posters applied their skills to uncovee, scrutinise and interpret anything that related to the leading characters, Rangers finances, the tax cases, big and small.

    The camararderie amongst the varied readership was a joy. The self-policing was, in the most part, of excellent quality. There were occasional lapses, of course there were, but by and large the behaviour was exemplary.

    Did blog get a bit pompous near the end? Certainly some comments did.
    Did the blog lose it’s way? Maybe, but there was still many quality posts which perhaps became diluted due to the level of traffic.
    Did the blog become bitter? Again, there may have been some bitters comments posted, but these were usually rounded on and told to desist

    All in all, I am immensely proud to have played a small role as a regular poster in what was, and Tom is quite correct, a phenomenon.

    I’ve just been a little pompous there, haven’t I? 😀

  16. OT,

    ESPN America, sky channel 426

    Notre Dame final game of season to finish with 100% record.

  17. the rtc blog won the orwell award and yet like the orwellian ministry of truth the blog has completely disappeared as if it’s existance had been erased from history. Perhaps Eric Blair was more prescient than we could yet imagine?
    As for Rangers new and old, truth is their greatest weapon. If they truly believe they have acted correctly and will be vindicated then there is no UTT appeal or SPL enquiry they should fear if they have done nothing wrong?
    Or as SDM might say ‘IF I had to do the same again i would my friend Fernando’ afterall Rangers are innocent right?

  18. Tom English has a point, I’m afraid.

    This and the RTC blog became bogged down with a smug righteousness, groupthink and logical analysis came to be replaced by wishful thinking and conspiracy theories. Any dissenting opinion was rewarded by a flurry of TDs and the author denounced as a troll.

    Examples of wishful thinking that did not and will not come to pass:

    Various SFA/SPL rules will lead to the expulsion of Rangers (oldco)

    UEFA and FIFA will step in to punish RFC

    Lord Glennie’s ruling will cause FIFA to expel RFC

    There is a Nuclear event (like Hitler’s secret weapon at the end of the war) that will bring down everything. From my own discussion with barcaboy on the old RTC site it transpires that this is mostly about payments to ex managers at other clubs and BB had a misunderstanding of the mechanism of the EBT. Redknapp’s dog would attest that bungs to managers are hardly nuclear events these days.

    Greens consortium will not be allowed to buy the assets of Rangers if the CVA is rejected

    BDO will unwind the sale to CG

    Green is a frontman for evil genius Craig Whyte

    Whyte is a frontman for evil genius Minty

    Ticketus is still involved (why oh why do people give oxygen to the theories of a particular poster whose obsession is this wild conspiracy)

    Sevco are desperately short of cash and close to administration.

    And lately,

    The FTT defeat was an HMRC trap so that they could set precedent in the UTC

    BDO will reclaim the loans from various players.

    The SFA will have no choice but to expel sevco after the LNS report.

    None of the above has or will happen I’m afraid. Wishful thinking and TUs will not make it so. What I think will happen will be more or less (and it’s not all bad):

    HMRC may or may not appeal. Hard to say. 50/50. They probably don’t know themselves yet.

    BDO will not get much joy for the creditors. However Whyte will be everyone’s fall guy. Minty et al will get off chastised but essentially Scott free.

    Ticketus will attempt to get recompense from Whyte and Collyer Bristow. They won’t get much if anything. However they don’t care. It is tax payers via EIS who lose out.

    D&P will try to keep their heads down.

    LNS will give some rudimentary punishment to Sevco but will possibly bottle the stripping of titles.

    League reorganisation will give Sevco one less year away from the top flight (i.e. 2 seasons instead of the current 3 if they get promoted each season)

    The share offer will raise a slightly disappointing £15M for 50% of the company, most of which will go into repaying the initial £8M to £11M “start up” loans from the CG consortium who will still be left holding 50% of stock – this will be their profit – and will be released by selling their shareholding over a period. I think they genuinely believe that a well run sevco would be worth as much as £50M in 5 years time or at least as much as Celtic (£35M). However post the IPO I believe the shares will drop by 50% or so and value the company at a more realistic £20M given where they are and what Celtic’s value is. It will not recover.

    Over time the bears will become bored with the redemption story and the large number of them who support the club for reasons of the feeling of supremacy (footballing or otherwise) will drift away. The new Rangers will be caught in a vicous spiral in that the absence of trophies, lording it over the rest of us and landmark signings will cause many to walk away over time thus reducing revenues thus in turn further inpairing the ability to make those signings and compete. The patience for the bluster from CG will run out. They will reach an equilibrium at about the 25,000 crowd level and will have to cut their cloth accordingly. Perhaps like Leeds United their return to the top will not be so straightforward and they may miss a promotion or two.

  19. Lord Wobbly says: Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 01:02

    All in all, I am immensely proud to have played a small role as a regular poster in what was, and Tom is quite correct, a phenomen…

    Was reading that – waiting for the Balvenie reference which never came… 😉

    Unfortunately, English et al are simply reverting to type, having learned nothing from the RTC impact.

    The MSM sports ‘journalists’ continue to repeat their mistakes: fools indeed.

  20. The Tom English piece is well written, but oddly, betrays some of the bitterness he’s accusing the RTC blog of. Of course, he is part of the media which has been so vilified and so a few digs at his prize-winning persecutor are only to be expected.

    Perhaps too, he reveals a slight envy – of someone who had access to information that he didn’t. Strange thing though, very few reporters questioned those at the heart of the story to see if what was written on the RTC blog was true. Not many Woodwards and Bernsteins in Scotland. Except for a few notable exceptions, no one really ran with the revelations.

    I still think Mr English is one of the better reporters. He comes across as being his own man and did interview Whyte early on. He is polite towards James Traynor and certain other media icons, but you get the feeling that he is also a tad dismissive of their chosen role as the authorized cheerleaders.

    I reckon Murray isn’t receiving the same level of threats as the whistleblower whom English unfairly describes as having run away. Media assets are even revising and restoring the image of the ex-owner. What is the price of lamb these days?

    RTC did say his work would be over when the verdict arrived. Although I think he hoped to post a final blog on the interpretation of the judgment. I’d like to see that.

    The whisky and cigars are on hold, and for all we know RTC might be in the Ecuadorian embassy! But maybe a 2-1 defeat wasn’t that bad anyway, especially if away goals still count double in the next leg 🙂

  21. Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75) says:

    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 01:45

    I think you are correct, a lot of what was and continues to be written is wishful thinking, but that does not make it pie in the sky. It’s seems logical, to the unbiased, normal thinking person, that the FTT should have delivered a positive outcome in the favour of HMRC. Just because that was also a thinking that many people wished for, does not make it wrong.

    Everyone is entitled to come on, offer an opinion, explain why they believe that to be the case and then await the analysis from others.

    You cannot on one hand say everyone is posting purely outcomes based on wishful thinking and then proceed to make a list of what you believe will happen, how is that any different? It is only individuals offering an opinion, how passionate they are about seeing that come to fruition is not really the point (in my opinion).

  22. who decides the editorial content of radio scotland sport fooball productions? It seems that latterly Stuart and Tam are the anti-dote to Jabba and Chick however Jabba is still given far more airtime to proffer his sermons. Who decides such things?
    Regards Tom English he’d do better starting his own blog and trying to find some audience and relevance as newspapers like his own are dying and the churnalist propaganda they promote so easily exposed as lies or mistruths by blogs like this one and previously RTC.

  23. Johnbhoy75

    Need to also state the other side of the conjectures going on – many posters have been on both RTC and TSFM stating various doomsday scenarios and beliefs – that Celtic were conspiring to make sure TRFC stayed in the SPL, that TRFC would be shoe horned into SFL1 no matter what, that the transfer embargo would be dismissed etc etc

    So I don’t accept everyone has been one sided in their projections – part of the debate was between those who thought the establishmnet would do the right thing and those that did not believe theyr would.

    To date its a draw – the new club is in SFL3 as it was broken by SDM who in a panic gave it to CW who evaded paying taxes for a year to subsidise his purchase – that is not innocent club – for this they were given a transfer embargo as a punishemnt – so Hately should understand that this is a punishment for a serious breach of rules – nothing to do with EBT – and MSM shoudl take note this was not an innocent mistake by an innocent party.

    The FTT was surprising to everyone but I still think it is not finished. However getting money from MIH and/or RFC would be impossible anyway so Hector was only going for moral victories there.

    Was hoping to see some side letters with CO’s signatures on them.

    Was not surprised that Gio Van Bronkhurst was shown to have declined such items – he always struck me as not only a very good player, but someone who carried himself very well.

    In the end SDM killed them – not Hector.

    He delayed their enquiry – he never put aside money in case they lost.

    Ask any TRFC fan this simple question.

    If SDM had put aside 80 million in case they lost the case, how many players would that bring to a team in the SPL aspiring to win something in Europe?

    Because that is the position they would be in right now, if only SDM had not been a gambler!

    Instead they are making friends in SFL3 with the choice of giving money to an unknown spiv and his cohorts or see their club go out of business for successive seasons………

    Only one man to blame – and its not RTC!

  24. what kind of society are we living in where rtc blog has to be erased from existance?
    Will this blog be next?
    Will the vested monied interests and their legal and media whores seek to suppress all attempts of those seeking to uncover truth?

  25. I have been an avid reader and occasional poster on RTC & TSFM since almost day one, there have been a few trolls, a few posts that came from people who were just frustrated by the whole attitude of the msm etc and got a bit ‘excited’ let’s say, I’ve even had the odd personal insult because I was a woman voicing my opinion about football, (and may I add a lot of support) but on the whole I think it was moderated very well and the majority of posters stuck to the rules and the nasty stuff was left to other forums. Really miss the early RTC days but keep up the good work TSFM you’re doing a grand job 🙂

    Ps I think the day of the big cull of posts was 19 Jan 2012?? Though I may be wrong, I have been known occasionally in the past to be wrong ( though not very often 🙂 )

    Stay safe and have a good Sunday 🙂

  26. Tom English @TomEnglishSport 23m
    rangerstaxcase was a phenomenon. Total respect for the quality of that blog’s information. But it became bitter and pompous and lost its way
    Tom English draws wrong conclusions. RTC’s blog (and this one) accepted/accept people’s conjecture, because often we had/have so little by way of facts to build on, given that the Scottish news media had/have no taste, in general, for asking probing questions and joining the dots. Some mad theories were put forward at times, but then again, many of the factual aspects of the Rangers tax avoidance story and its continuing aftermath were scarcely more credible. Against that backdrop, RTC and this blog have allowed discussion, and whenever debate lapsed into aggression, it was quickly slapped down (which stands in stark contrast to many other sites that have discussed the Rangers issues. I’m sure no names need to be mentioned). When compared with most single-topic blogs on the internet, it has been a model of openness and civility.

    Mr English, you have gained respect on this site because you are prepared to challenge what you see. But bitter, pompous and lost its way? Lift up your eyes, what you are describing is your own profession and those who surround you in their miserable handling of this affair.

  27. I can’t help but wonder if the Tom English article is driven by a resentment of the role RTC played in showing up the severe failings of the MSM in Scotland? For sure there were moments when contributions to the blog strayed but Tom English gives the game away when he comments on how:

    “the blog slowly metamorphosed into a nasty anti-Rangers, anti-media rally”

    To me the thrust of the blog was a critique of the financial mis-management of Rangers. It was how I and thousands more, found out how serious the problems were for the club. If I was a Rangers fan it should have led to a serious critical look at how the club was being run, if not on RTC then elsewhere. Instead there seems to have been an alarming reaction of anger with the messenger rather than serious analysis on any Rangers forum of their financial mis-management.

    But I’m sure the “anti-media” bit is what has upset the MSM fraternity. RTC provided a far more reliable source of facts and analysis of the facts than the succulent lamb brigade. That is the real story here. How RTC together with a few others including Mark Daly and Alex Thomson have shown up the failings of the Scottish football MSM. What a surprise that I won’t get a serious analysis of how the Jabbas of this world look to spin every story to suit their agenda in the Scotsman (or will I Tom?)

    No one is perfect. A degree of hubris did creep in latterly in the RTC blog. But it was a critical element in an “Arab Spring” in Scottish football. Our perception of the Scottish MSM and Scottish football authorities has forever been changed this year. There is no doubt that the information available through internet forums and discussion of it gave voice to the Scottish football fans and forced the clubs to respond and not accept a planned stitch up that would have seen Rangers straight back in the SPL.

    The very fact that we won’t read proper analysis of the facts that emerged in the FTT in the MSM should be all we need to convince us to continue to look to the internet, to bloggers and forums, for the facts and a more balanced analysis of them. RTC had a large role in bringing about that shift. The Orwell award was well deserved recognition for it. So thanks RTC for your courage in bringing us the truth.

    As for Tom English, well I look forward to reading his comments about other football forums if he thinks RTC, one of the most restrained and intelligent forums I’ve ever read, was nasty!

  28. More coincidence?




    Registration Date: 04/05/2012
    Registration Number: SC423503
    Type: Private Limited Company
    Registered Address

    EH3 8HA


    Lynne Higgins


    Appointment Date: 01/07/2001
    Resignation Date: 06/07/2011
    Position: Director
    Company Status: Active


    EH3 8HA

    Note the address of both links.Also Lynne Higgins is not a director of RFC acquisitions but she is a director/secretary in over 20 david murray/micheal mcgill companies.
    Does anyone recognise this name miss sherri louise ellison,i think it’s been mentioned on RTC before but i’m unsure,thanks.

  29. johnboy5088 says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 00:59

    That makes sense. Someone my well have copied and pasted a portion of the ruling without realising that there are line numbers included every fifth line. Leading others to think that a specific number of individual sub trusts had not been appealed. Nothing sinister, just a genuine mistake.

    What would remain though is the 5 players with guaranteed bonuses. If we take one of them as Mr Ferguson, on c£2m, plus another four on say c£1m each (on average) that would be £6m. So around £3m tax. However you need to add interest and penalties to that. Given the total non-compliance the penalties could be as much as 100%, with interest being the same depending on when these players were actually paid.

    That would make the bill for them anything up to about £9m. Realistically it will be less, so taking a half-way point it would be c£6m.

    So that would give a total of tax etc not paid by Ranger (in liquidation) around £23m.

    For clarity that includes the 1, “wee tax bill” and 2,VAT / PAYE that the media have now chosen to ignore. In spite of the fact that the former caused service of an arrestment order by Sheriff’s Officers / freezing of the bank account and 2, the administration which led to the liquidation.

    I find the reaction by the MSM that “Rangers were innocent” even more bizarre than the ruling by two members of the FTT. And that’s without said MSM also ignoring the actual comments within the ruling, with regard systematic lying to both the tax authorities and footballing authorities.

    Let’s make this quite clear, and take it as a headline in it’s own right, taking away everything else which has happened. If the headline this morning was “Ranger hit with £6m tax bill. False declarations made to Football Beaks. 5 Stars fielded were ineligible players. Titles to be stripped”. It would be enormous news, it would rock the Scottish football World. It is being somehow portrayed as a victory … for whom. You, me, Scottish Football, UK taxpayers, common decency, morality.

    RTC said right at the start that his blog was more about the quality of reporting in Scottish football than anything else. About how they were singularly failing to report on probably the biggest story in the sports history. We have now come full circle, and all their reporting on the result of this Tribunal (pending possible appeal) has shown is that nothing has changed. They have ignored the substance and reality of what was said, in order to produce popular shallow headlines, and to serve their own agenda.

    They would now like all of you to go away, so they “can get back to talking about football”. Which you can take to read “setting the agenda and manipulating public perception and opinion”. The ball really is in your court. Pun very much intended (if metaphorically inaccurate).

  30. Just out of interest did anyone hear SSB on fri night ? About 20 mins from the end of the show a young girl Susan called in to clarify the fact that sevco had not been punished it was simply the rules that a new club had to start at the bottom even although they did not have 3 yrs audited accounts…… And that David Murray should not take all of the blame for rfc(il) demise because journalists were frightened from him and only did as he said, guidi went on to agree that DM had been a very powerful man but that Alex Salmond should order an enquiry into all this….. Deflect deflect!!! During her call where she was a little nervous but put her point across very well keevins twice interrupted her firstly saying ‘ARE YOU GOING TO SEE JLS AND MCFLY WHEN THEY COME UP HERE??????’ and ‘ WHAT ELSE HAS YOUR DAD WRITTEN DOWN FOR YOU TO SAY????’ what a patronising old git well done Susan 🙂

  31. Would Mr English care to peruse the comments on Followfollow and Vanguard Bears over the last 6 months or so? I am sure that he could fill a couple pages of his newspaper with his observations. But please make sure that you arrange that essential safe house for yourself and your family first, please, we would hate to see anyone get hurt.

    And therein lies the difference, Mr English. On one side a group of people who seek after truth and justice, sometimes get it wrong, but would never threaten anyone with physical violence just for expressing a view that they disagree with. And on the other side? The opposite. And where does Tom English direct his fire? Well, doesn’t that just say it all.

    The conclusion I draw from the events of the last 6 months is that mob rule and violence will always triumph over justice and reason in not so bonny Scotland, and in my view with the active collusion of the “establishment”. Mr English, you have just confirmed me in that view. Enjoy the lamb, I hope you choke on it.

  32. I believe the LNS result will be a half way house verdict…in so much as they will pass a conclusion based on the players payments they have made aware of…and will not go looking for those they have not..

    As in the FTT they will arrive at a decision that appears to have delivered a fair appraisal leading to a minimal punishment…but not the full bloodied punishment the overall dishonesty and immoral conduct it should receive..

    Ps. The SEVCO finances are still an issue.

  33. Lord Wobbly says: at 23:49
    Tom English @TomEnglishSport 6m
    Scotland on Sunday piece tomorrow: The rise and fall of the
    rangerstaxcase blog

    The earlier Tom English article is worthy of comment – it’s wrong in concept, misdirected and inaccurate.


    rangerstaxcase not visible at the moment, but right from the outset there were some insidious attacks – some intimidating, some quietly menacing posts, that betrayed the reality of the subject. Only some made it to the RTC public interface but goodness know what they received `behind the scenes`, and from whom or on whose behalf. Tom English article accuses RTC of hiding – and others standing foursquare to the wind – is such a distorted one-sided perspective. Is there a rejoinder?

    One aspect that interested me enormously at the time and still does was an occasional RTC observation that there were so many posts in RTC moderation – never published – that they could almost fill a separate or parallel blog.

    When you think RTC with 140,000 posts on-line – that could be some `anti-matter` parallel timeline blog!

    Do they still exist? I am curious as anything if the choice examples could be separately compiled and put up on a separate forum. That would be a fascinating exercise if still possible – if legal – but probably wishful thinking on my part – but it would represent the reality here in Scotland that has naturally informed and influenced many posters on RFC and here on TSFM.

    I can understand their action to remove RTC visibility if some have declared open season – and for twitter they did say weeks back the account would cease on publication of the FTT – job done essentially. I hope, and I`m sure many others do that rangerstaxcase is not lost or forgotten forever.

    What is true – alas it can`t be referenced at the moment – but it was evident that earlier RTC blog post comments sections were pared to the exact pertinence and informative. The result was concise quality – from all sides in combination – interspersed occasionally with sometimes negative trolls – forming dramatic reading in sequence including key moments of events in progress – and no lack of humour – or creativity.

    In the latter un-redacted blog sections the general criticism of smug self-righteousness is way inaccurate but there were a couple. More accurate would be some TUs chasers on repetitive messages – but they were a minority. Anti-RFC? There were many on RTC, including RTC pointing to solutions and warning of the media – and, it didn`t start off that way – anti MSM did and for good reasons still exampled daily. `Anti Rangers` was more curiosity observing the bizarre – coupled with denial and attitude issues that seemed to spiral problems. If anything MSM owe RFC explanations Mr English to justify their actions rather than casting around with unfounded stereotypes.

    I would have to add observations of the actions of the SFA, SPL cavorting and the curiosities of the take-over later the administration was the majority input postings supported by expert comment and analysis – so Tom English has that wrong too in his limited simple title generalisations that mentioned none of that – or is that RTC `losing sight of its principals`?

    Objectively there were latterly very occasional posts that were plain bitter/frustrated or camouflaged trolls that could undermine – but such aspects are / were evident on other sites – and that includes TSFM on v rare occasions – even with the best efforts of moderation. 99.9% not crap is still true Mr English.

  34. RTC and TSFM anti Rangers?

    As discussed before a hefty slap on the wrist for non payment of taxes, administration/liquidation and an apology for bringing the game into disrepute (proven by the SFA). Would have helped. A place in the SPL may have still been in order.

    However the attitude of the Rangers Family turned many reasonable people into a rabid anti Rangers mob.

    Why? Because what they did was immoral (those tax issues proven and not proven), the way they behaved, then and now, the underhand dealings , the rules being bent to suit them, the triumphalist, supremacist, arrogant BS.

    The rest for Scottish Football have had enough and the majority are happy to let them stew in a juice of their own making.

  35. paulmac2 says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 10:57


    Depending on the timescales the number of players may not really matter.

    1 ineligible player should lead to a 3-0 loss. I believe that is the standard punishment.

    Given that some of the famous five will have played in a large number of games in any given season, that’s kind of the point with star players, then that whole season could be re-written based on that one player.

    They would have to come to one of two conclusions really.

    1, We have decided that these player were not ineligible after all, so no punishment is due.


    2, We have decided that they were ineligible, but are going to invent our own punishment.

    Teams like Sion, who suffered 3-0 losses based on fielding ineligible may be perturbed about such a decision.

    Make no mistake, this really is another seminal moment for Scottish football.

    New Rangers, representatives of Old Rangers and the MSM would really rather it didn’t happen at all.

    To be fair it will be difficult justifying their current (unjustifiable) stance that Ranger’s didn’t cheat if / when the SPL rules that they cheated. And not only domestically. It’s hardly surprising that the propaganda war is going full swing, expect it to be ramped up.

  36. Agrajag…

    The other issue they need to bear in mind…it would have made those same players ineligable for European games…and that may or may not draw in UEFA…

  37. Agrajag says: Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 09:58

    What would remain though is the 5 players with guaranteed bonuses. If we take one of them as Mr Ferguson, on c£2m, plus another four on say c£1m each (on average) that would be £6m. So around £3m tax. However you need to add interest and penalties to that. Given the total non-compliance the penalties could be as much as 100%, with interest being the same depending on when these players were actually paid.
    The five players were identified as Messrs Selby, Inverness, Doncaster, Barrow and Furness

    Ferguson has previously been identified as Mr Ipswich so is not one of the five.

    There are few clues to the identities of the five, other than Mr Inverness, who is more than likely to be Nacho Novo (EBT £1.2M). Other snippets include Mr Selby who received £460K per annum via the EBT. Mr Barrow is only identified as a foreign player. Mr Furness was identified as the last player to benefit from the Equity trust in March 2006. There is no information on Mr Doncaster.

  38. Addendum to my last post – Novo played 179 games for Rangers between 2004 and 2010 according to his Wiki entry.

  39. paulmac2 says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:25


    The other issue they need to bear in mind…it would have made those same players ineligable for European games…and that may or may not draw in UEFA…


    Absolutely, and whilst UEFA make a huge play of not getting involved in purely domestic footballing matters that would make it a Europe wide issue and very much within their remit.

    It is entirely possible that they will await the action of the home association, and if satisfied with that do nothing else. If however Rangers are found guilty of fielding ineligible players, but receive a figurative slap on the wrist then other clubs may well complain to UEFA.

    Once again I cite Sion as an example. I believe the ineligible players they fielded in the Europa cup led to them being ejected from that tournament, after having played in it and qualified. If memory serves the results in the games were amended to a 3-0 loss.

  40. paulmac2 says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:25
    0 0 Rate This

    The other issue they need to bear in mind…it would have made those same players ineligable for European games…and that may or may not draw in UEFA…
    Genuinely don’t know the answer to this.

    Which UEFA rule(s) do you think rendered players ineligible for UEFA competitions?

    The SPL enquiry is regarding players’ eligibility to play in the SPL competition. It would not, in my view, extend out into European competitions – unless there are specific UEFA provisions to do so.

    Personally, I am not aware of any relevant UEFA articles or rules (with regard to lodging player contracts with the SPL) that would affect a player’s eligibility for European games. That is not to say that such rule(s) do not exist.

  41. HirsutePursuit says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:47


    If I remember correctly they registered players during a UEFA registration ban.

    They then played those player, having gone to the Swiss civil Courts to effectively “overturn” the ban.

    UEFA subsequently ejected them from the Europa League.

    I would have to check though, just from memory.

  42. From STV


    From BBC


    However I do take the point, if it was ruled that they had ineligible players in Scotland would that also mean they were also ineligible for European competition.

    In my view yes. If they are improperly registered in Scotland, then how can they be eligible to play in European competition, as part of a team representing Scottish football. That makes no sense to me. can they play in European competitions if they are not properly registered with one of the home associations.

  43. If this possible link has been made before then apoligies,again look at directors names and addresses.


    Appointment Date: 05/03/2010
    Position: Director
    Company Status: Active


    B3 2HJ
    Directors and Secretaries

    Mr Michael Scott McGill
    Ms Lynne Higgins
    Sir David Edward Murray
    Mr David William Murray Horne

    Appointment Date: 01/12/2001
    Position: Director
    Company Status: Dissolved


    B3 2JR
    Directors and Secretaries

    Mr Eric John Cater
    Mr Martin Randall Flitton
    Mr Charles Alexander Green
    Mr Paul Edward Rebeiro
    Mr John Francis Devaney
    Mr Peter Roy Teague
    Could be right next door l guess.

  44. Agrajag says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:54
    0 0 Rate This
    HirsutePursuit says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:47


    If I remember correctly they registered players during a UEFA registration ban.

    They then played those player, having gone to the Swiss civil Courts to effectively “overturn” the ban.

    UEFA subsequently ejected them from the Europa League.

    I would have to check though, just from memory.
    Sorry. Should have been clearer. I get why UEFA got involved WRT Sion.

    I’m just not sure why they would want to get involved WRT to players registrations for domestic leagues.

  45. HirsutePursuit says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 12:07

    Because they did with Sion when they were unimpressed with the Swiss FA’s actions. Whether they’d care about it if it’s only historical rather than current is another question

  46. onceabhoy says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 00:58
    Yes, the law can be an ass and any lawyer worth his salt will tell you it always carries the risk of being a lottery; look down the years, from Christ in front of Herod, to Thomas More, to Oscar Slater, to Paddy Meehan, the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four.

    If HMRC believes it has been an ass on this occasion, it has the right to appeal.

    On the RTC blog, there was a certain amount of hubris but only to the extent that if anyone expressed an opinion that there was still a chance of HMRC not prevailing, they were rubbished. There was too much of the view that Rangers being found ‘guilty’ was a done deal. Anyone going into a court of law will always be told that the result can never be considered a foregone conclusion.

    My view was always that the longer we waited for a decision the more likely it was that there was uncertainty amongst at least one of the judges on the tribunal. Certainly once April had passed, it seemed clear that they were in a real struggle, each trying to persuade the other to his/her point of view.

    But English is being wise after the event and displaying the very hubris he loves to accuse other of.

    No one as yet has asked the hard question of Murray:

    Why did you say “for every £5 they spend I’ll spend a tenner” when what you actually did was
    only spend a fiver and get the wholly independent trustees of an offshore trust in Jersey, over whom you had absolutely no control (though you gave those trustees every single penny they possess and told them where it was to go and when) to lend a fiver ?

  47. Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75) says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 01:45

    Tom English has a point, I’m afraid.

    All the points you brought up would be 100% valid it wasn’t for the fact that most if not all of them were challenged by other posters. That’s the main strength of this blog. English’s slant is that RTC and this blog (by implication) became nothing but a rabid anti-Rangers blog is nonsense and deliberate twisting of the facts. Not that we shouldn’t always attempt to do better but without some strong caveats English’s statement is just plain wrong and to me dishonest.

    I’ll take him more seriously when he had a go at certain Rangers fan forums and ask why the police haven’t acted on them.

  48. The result despite what msm are saying was hardly a victory but we have to remember that it is us the fans who carry all the power,I see/hear the msm maneuvering themselves into a position to get sevco back into the spl as quick as they can,well rules are rules and if the usual suspects try to bend them again to get their own way it will be us who burts that ba,we’ll be the ones who decide the reconstruction via our respective clubs,try to shoehorn sevco back in & we’re outta here.We’re the ones with the power not msm & blogs like this will see justice prevail.

  49. HirsutePursuit says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 12:07


    I don’t have what would be described as a definitive answer. However in my view if the home association were to rule that a player was not properly registered then I don’t see how they could be ineligible for domestic competition but also eligible for European competition.

    The one presupposes the other surely. That in order for a player to be available to a team representing a home association, then that player must firstly be registered to play in that country.

  50. I noticed that FC Sion were also deducted 3 points for every domestic CUP game ineligible players were played in.

  51. Would it be the case that, if the SPL judgement goes against RFC and if enough domestic results are retrospectively amended to 3-0 defeats, by not winning trophies or sufficient SPL points, would RFC themselves be considered (again, retrospectively), “ineligible” for UEFA competitions the following season? Is that a can of worms UEFA want to open?
    Are the SFA only concerned with the SPL or are they to look at Scottish Cup results (either following the SPL lead or through their own investigations)? Similarly, what is the SFL view regarding the League Cup?
    All irrelevant, of course, if they’ve done everything in accordance with all the relevant rules.

  52. I asked the question yesterday. I was hoping some of the legal experts would have an answer. At the SPL enquiry and possibly subsequently, oldclub will attempt to defend the side letter issue. We all, even MSM, know the letters exist, double contracts. It should be “open and shut”. But are there loopholes in their admissibility as evidence? For example could provenance be a factor?

    Could it be argued that since these documents were confidential between oldclub and employees they could not be made public without the parties’ permission? Would they therefore be inadmissible as evidence? This would be another instance of justice and law diverging; another “victory” for the wrongdoers.

    Maybe there’s no chance of this happening, but racing certainties ( no such thing?) have been hampered by loose horses already at this meeting. I’d hate to see the decent punter lose again.

  53. exiledcelt says:

    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 08:24

    Was not surprised that Gio Van Bronkhurst was shown to have declined such items – he always struck me as not only a very good player, but someone who carried himself very well.

    Exiled…my thoughts exactly re Mr Van B., whom I had always admired as a player.

    Apart from my fellow (?) beancounter and member, Dr Poon, I think he is the only “player” to come out of this scenario with an untarnished reputation.

  54. Re Tom English’s Piece

    After Stuart Cosgrove’s mea culpa on yesterday’s Your Call me thinks this is TEs own attempt.

    As writer he never fell in totally with the MSM script re The Govan Club tending to sit-on-the fence.

    It’s a piece of ingratiation…”OK, can I get in now, boys?”

    But at bottom when TGC hit the dust much of Scotland’s power brokers turned to default.

  55. From Friday’s Herald:

    “The accused man was arrested by officers at the national Football Co-Ordination Unit after voluntarily attending the city�s Helen Street police office, Strathclyde Police said.

    He has been released on an undertaking and is expected to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on December 20. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.”

    I know little or nothing about Scottish criminal law, so I’m hoping someone knowledgeable in such matters can help me out.

    Has this man been charged with an offence? And if he hasn’t been charged, how can he be expected to appear in court on a specific date? Finally, what is an “undertaking”? Is that the Scottish equivalent of Police Bail?

    Just curious.

  56. willmacufree says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 13:41

    This is just my tuppence worth regarding questions of confidentiality. The SPL and SFA should have the full contract information of all players currently registered in Scottish football (as required by UEFA). This contract would stipulate basic salary, bonuses, appearance money and other payments as appropriate. Having all this information already, I find it inconceivable that additional football payments (i.e. EBT “loans”) could be withheld from them on the basis of confidentiality. They already have the promise that the details of the contracts on file would not be published by the footballing authorities.

  57. Oops! The SFA should have all players contracts, the SPL the contracts of all players in the SPL and the SFL the contracts of all players in the SFL.

  58. Been trying to get my head around the reaction from various groups concerning the FTT decision.

    Pre Tuesday: Old Company no connection to New Club (and New Company), regarding investigation into EBT use.

    Post Tuesday: Old Company/New Club/New Company all winners!

    Have I got that about right?

  59. essexbeancounter says:
    Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 14:50
    EBC, credit where it’s due – Andew Thornhill comes out with his reputation not just untarnished but positively enhanced.

    That was an outstanding result for him, just shows he still has his mojo, even if we may question some of the company he keeps

  60. I wouldve thought Walter Smith played a greater part in sinking Rangers so why is he trying to blame their downfall on DUFC?

    I dont recall Walter curtailing his forays into the transfer market when they were already up to their eyeballs. Added to that the contracts and wages he handed out to average players before he jumped ship.

    That headline should be rewritten as “I played my part in sinking Rangers, please forgive me”.

    None of their cheerleaders seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet we had bomber saying the boycott was because of the game called off in 2009 whereas Walter is saying that its because united were vocal about sevcos entry to the SPL.

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