Why the Beast of Armageddon Failed to Show?

ByTrisidium

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.

About the author

Trisidium administrator

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 Comments so far

ddmc999Posted on8:27 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Where were his morals and ethics when it looks like he didn’t contact the SFA/SPL/SFL about what was going on?

fair point but you assume Mr Gold was aware of the widespread avoidance at old rangers & the potential of invalidating his registration by having a side contract, isn’t this why they employ the rocket scientists aka footballing agents. I’m not aware at any point in following this conspiracy has anyone stated the players should have made the SFA aware they were being asked to accept a tax avoidance scheme as part of their contracts.
You could be onto something here in that players have certain responsibilities to the rules of the SFA & should have registered concerns with at least the union rep Mr Wishart.

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Danish PastryPosted on8:28 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Graham Spiers on the moral dilemma of EBTs. Says he feels ‘relief’ for Murray. Lamb Navarin anyone?

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/opinion/spiers-on-sport-rangers-ebts-whats-right-and-whats-wrong.1353522759

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briggsbhoyPosted on8:33 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I caught a brief 10 mins of SSB tonight and I find it mildy amusing or baffling that some Rangers Supporters think that because CG or AJ are quoting as saying the dual contracts investigations should now be dropped in light of yesterdays decision it should be accepted as fact. I also find it amusing that SDM has come out of this image restored and CW is now the main fall guy. I recall one actor/ex US footballer getting off with murder as the glove didn’t fit but eventually he got what was due to him, here’s hoping we see something similar.

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ordinaryfanPosted on8:34 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Caught cheating, lying, evading tax, using dual contracts, concealing documents to hinder HMRC investigations, obstructing an investigation by HMRC, admitting liability for tax evasion, and this is lauded a victory by Scotland’s MSM?

Then again, the same fools who lauded. Walter ofMyths dozens of loses in Europe as outstanding results that made him a tactical

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Palacio67Posted on8:42 pm - Nov 21, 2012


briggsbhoy says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 20:33

I think CW thought he was just a bit part player in the whole scam, always quoting the mismanagement of Club before he took over. Yesterdays result was a game changer for him, he now alone, without doubt will be blamed for the death of RFC1872IA. How will he be feeling now, I wonder what else he has in his secret recordings, he might need to out them soon, or stay in Monaco for good in disguise.

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StevieBCPosted on8:43 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Danish Pastry says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 19:35

If anyone needs a bit of cheering up get over to SkySports 2 and check out Michael Owen’s moustache. It’s a brammer!
======================

Just spotted it on TV and got a fright !!

That fine specimen of facial hair ‘handle bars’ deserves a website all of it’s own… 🙄

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ShooperbPosted on8:49 pm - Nov 21, 2012


areyouaccusingmeofmendacity says:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 20:19

Seriously, I’m struggling with it! Somebody enlighten me!

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Danish PastryPosted on9:09 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Palacio67 says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 20:42
5 0 Rate This
briggsbhoy says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 20:33

I think CW thought he was just a bit part player in the whole scam, always quoting the mismanagement of Club before he took over. Yesterdays result was a game changer for him, he now alone, without doubt will be blamed for the death of RFC1872IA. How will he be feeling now, I wonder what else he has in his secret recordings, he might need to out them soon, or stay in Monaco for good in disguise.
—————-

Yes, he has gone awfully quiet. Perhaps he has that Gary Oldman feeling from JFK?

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Madbhoy24941Posted on9:09 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I am sure I saw David Murray on TV a couple of months back claiming that the EBT payments were all loans with an agreed timeframe for payback, I could be wrong but I don’t think so. If that is the case, what are the payback dates?

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ddmc999Posted on9:29 pm - Nov 21, 2012


210. Finally, Mr Thornhill noted five cases where peculiarly trust payments were
made in respect of guaranteed bonuses. These relate to Messrs Selby, Inverness,
Doncaster, Barrow, and Furness, as confirmed by his instructing solicitor’s letter of 29 September 2011. The Appellants concede that in these cases there is a sufficient
nexus with a contractual right to create a tax liability (paras 19 and 20 of
Supplementary Skeletal Argument of 4 November 2011).

In laymans terms those 5 are paying back some tax then ?

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HirsutePursuitPosted on9:41 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Apologies in advance, this is quite long and only covers one point in the FTT(T)s majority decision; but I’d ask you to stick with me.

http://www.financeandtaxtribunals.gov.uk/judgmentfiles/j6851/TC02372.pdf

189. Crucially the difference between Mr Thornhill and Mr Thomson was whether the anti-avoidance principles set out initially in Ramsay and other related decisions could be invoked here to extend the charges on earnings to the loans. Helpfully, Mr Thomson presented us with detailed and meticulously drafted written submissions on which he addressed us, and which develop a Ramsay plus argument focussing on Ramsay but fortified by other propositions in support of the tax charge on earnings and NIC liabilities being applied.

190. We agree – and this was conceded by Mr Thornhill (see, for instance, Notes of Evidence, 18 January 2012, p60) – that we should adopt a purposive interpretation of earnings in our approach. In relation to statutory interpretation we note the comments of Ribeiro PJ in Collector of Stamp Revenue v Arrowtown Assets Ltd at para 35:-

“The driving principle in the Ramsay line of cases continues to involve a general rule of statutory construction and an unblinkered approach to the analysis of the facts. The ultimate question is whether the relevant statutory provisions, construed purposively, were intended to apply to the transaction, viewed realistically.”

This was noted approvingly in Barclays Mercantile Business Finance Ltd v Mawson at para 36, infra.

191. However, that approach, on one view, is circumscribed inasmuch as there are already specific statutory provisions affecting loans (Sections 173-175 and 188-189 ITEPA) and from the 1960s and 1970s there date more general charging provisions in 30 respect of benefits-in-kind of a non-cash nature. Further, the legal effect of the trust structure and loans (all of which, it was conceded, were not in law a sham) reinforces these constraints. This qualification seems to be reflected in the Court of Appeal’s recent deliberations in Mayes v HMRC (albeit a highly artificial scenario) per Toulson LJ at the conclusion of the decision especially paras 102, 103, 105, 106 and 35 107:-

193. In short it would seem that even in cases of “aggressive” tax avoidance, such as the present case, the application of the Ramsay doctrine to strike at tax saving arrangements may be fettered in a context where there is already a highly prescriptive statutory code and, also, enforceable legal structures in place which are of fundamental practical effect, and not merely incidental or artificial for tax avoidance purposes only.

“The driving principle in the Ramsay line of cases continues to involve a general rule of statutory construction and an unblinkered approach to the analysis of the facts. The ultimate question is whether the relevant statutory provisions, construed purposively, were intended to apply to the transaction, viewed realistically.”

In other words: do existing provisions in law to deal with the individual components bring a perverse outcome when viewing the overall effect of a transaction?”

However, that approach, on one view, is circumscribed inasmuch as there are already specific statutory provisions affecting loans (Sections 173-175 and 188-189 ITEPA)…

If I understand the majority’s argument; their view is that the loan arrangements (in this case) are so specifically dealt with in law that the “overall effect” of the EBTs cannot be viewed as the principle issue.

In short it would seem that even in cases of “aggressive” tax avoidance, such as the present case, the application of the Ramsay doctrine to strike at tax saving arrangements may be fettered in a context where there is already a highly prescriptive statutory code and, also, enforceable legal structures in place which are of fundamental practical effect, and not merely incidental or artificial for tax avoidance purposes only.

Again, their argument is that the individual element in question (the loan) is so specifically covered by legislation that it undermines the principle of viewing the overall effect of an EBT arrangement.

This is essentially the difference between the majority and minority views of the FTT(T) panel.

Two of the members gave great weight to the statutory provisions for the individual elements of the scheme and the other member felt that the intended overall effect of the EBT scheme should be the principle issue.

So when the majority have founded their reasoning on: “specific statutory provisions affecting loans (Sections 173-175 and 188-189 ITEPA)…” you would expect that the quoted statutory provisions would apply in this case.

Wouldn’t you?

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/1/part/3/chapter/7

173 Loans to which this Chapter applies

(1)This Chapter applies to a loan if it is an employment-related loan.

(2)In this Chapter—
(a)“loan” includes any form of credit, and
(b)references to making a loan (and related expressions) include arranging, guaranteeing or in any way facilitating a loan.

(3)Sections 288 and 289 make provision for exemption and relief for certain bridging loans connected with employment moves.

174 Employment-related loans

(1)For the purposes of this Chapter an employment-related loan is a loan—
(a)made to an employee or a relative of an employee, and
(b)of a class described in subsection (2).

(2)For the purposes of this Chapter the classes of employment-related loan are—
A
A loan made by the employee’s employer.
B
A loan made by a company or partnership over which the employee’s employer had control.
C
A loan made by a company or partnership by which the employer (being a company or partnership) was controlled.
D
A loan made by a company or partnership which was controlled by a person by whom the employer (being a company or partnership) was controlled.
E
A loan made by a person having a material interest in—
(a)a close company which was the employer, had control over the employer or was controlled by the employer, or
(b)a company or partnership controlling that close company.

(3)In this section—
“employee” includes a prospective employee, and
“employer” includes a prospective employer.

(4)References in this section to a loan being made by a person extend to a person who—
(a)assumes the rights and liabilities of the person who originally made the loan, or
(b)arranges, guarantees or in any way facilitates the continuation of a loan already in existence.

(5)A loan is not an employment-related loan if—
(a)it is made by an individual in the normal course of the individual’s domestic, family or personal relationships, or
(b)it is made to a relative of the employee and the employee derives no benefit from it.

(6)For the purposes of this section a person (“X”) is a relative of another (“Y”) if X is—
(a)Y’s spouse,
(b)a parent, child or remoter relation in the direct line either of Y or of Y’s spouse,
(c)a brother or sister of Y or of Y’s spouse, or
(d)the spouse of a person falling within paragraph (b) or (c).

Benefit of taxable cheap loan treated as earnings
175Benefit of taxable cheap loan treated as earnings

(1)The cash equivalent of the benefit of an employment-related loan is to be treated as earnings from the employee’s employment for a tax year if the loan is a taxable cheap loan in relation to that year.

(2)For the purposes of this Chapter an employment-related loan is a “taxable cheap loan” in relation to a particular tax year if—
(a)there is a period consisting of the whole or part of that year during which the loan is outstanding and the employee holds the employment,
(b)no interest is paid on it for that year, or the amount of interest paid on it for that year is less than the interest that would have been payable at the official rate, and
(c)none of the exceptions in sections 176 to 179 apply.

(3)The cash equivalent of the benefit of an employment-related loan for a tax year is the difference between—
(a)the amount of interest that would have been payable on the loan for that year at the official rate, and
(b)the amount of interest (if any) actually paid on the loan for that year.

(4)If there are two or more employment-related loans, this section applies to each separately.

(5)This section is subject to—
section 180 (threshold for benefit of loan to be treated as earnings);
section 186 (replacement loans).

So, Chapter 173 tells us that “This Chapter applies to a loan if it is an employment-related loan.”

So let us look at Chapter 174 where it describes the various categories of employment-related loans:
“(1)For the purposes of this Chapter an employment-related loan is a loan—
(a)made to an employee or a relative of an employee, and
(b)of a class described in subsection (2).”

Does subsection (1)(a) apply? Well no.

The loans are made by the independent trustees – not by the employer. So, unless the beneficiary is employed by a trustee in some obscure capacity, subsection (1)(a) category cannot be relevant.

So, what about the classes described in subsection (2)?
“(2)For the purposes of this Chapter the classes of employment-related loan are—“

“A
A loan made by the employee’s employer. “
Nope – the loan was made by a trustee: nothing to do with the employer.

“B
A loan made by a company or partnership over which the employee’s employer had control. “
Nope – the trustees were said to have had independent mind to authorise or approve loan applications: nought to do with the employer.

“C
A loan made by a company or partnership by which the employer (being a company or partnership) was controlled. “
Nope – the trustees were not owned nor controlled by the employer. That would have undermined the entire EBT scheme.

“D
A loan made by a company or partnership which was controlled by a person by whom the employer (being a company or partnership) was controlled. “
Nope – if someone who owned or controlled the trustee’s company was employed of controlled by the employer, that too would have undermine the EBT scheme.

“E
A loan made by a person having a material interest in—
(a)a close company which was the employer, had control over the employer or was controlled by the employer, or
(b)a company or partnership controlling that close company.”
Once again… Nope. If this was true, the EBT scheme could not operate.

So, as far as I can tell, the majority view is that the “big picture” cannot be put in focus because the legislation is so tightly written that the loan element of the scheme cannot be disregarded in its own importance.

The problem is: in order to ignore the “big picture” they are relying on the legislation which applies to employment-related loans. The legislation, in its description of employment-related loans, does not, as far as I understand it, cover loans made by “independent” trustees.

I have to say, on this crucial point (and on several others), I do not comprehend their reasoning.

Perhaps, I am missing something obvious. Perhaps they have simply made an mistake.

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ikiPosted on9:57 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Short statement from HMRC will suffice ……’Surrender No’

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easyJamboPosted on10:01 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I’m with you HP.

My understanding is that the decision hinged on Thornhill’s arguments re dissecting the series of transactions while Thomson sought to have the end to end transactions viewed as a single entity as per the Ramsay doctrine.

For info: HMRC’s official Loan Rates for preferential loans which should be applied if the loans are deemed as Benefits in Kind

2000-01 6.25%
2001-02 5.94%
2002-03 5.00%
2003-04 5.00%
2004-05 5.00%
2005-06 5.00%
2006-07 5.00%
2007-08 6.25%
2008-09 6.10%
2009-10 4.75%
2010-11 4.00%
2011-12 4.00%
2012-13 4.00%

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paulmac2Posted on10:04 pm - Nov 21, 2012


If it’s such a victory jabba …why did they want it anonymised? Guilty on at least 30 counts! Accused of over 100 counts of tax evasion…found guilty on over 30…the remainder found not proven…not proven based on concealment…obstruction…and determined corruption to avoid the truth being discovered!…and that my friends is what Jabba and others within the Scottish MSM consider a victory…

Go on HMRC…take these cheating…lying…obstructing…concealing ratatouille the upper tier!

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paulmac2Posted on10:05 pm - Nov 21, 2012


If it’s such a victory jabba …why did they want it anonymised? Guilty on at least 30 counts! Accused of over 100 counts of tax evasion…found guilty on over 30…the remainder found not proven…not proven based on concealment…obstruction…and determined corruption to avoid the truth being discovered!…and that my friends is what Jabba and others within the Scottish MSM consider a victory…

Go on HMRC…take these cheating…lying…obstructing…concealing rats to the upper tier!

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Kenny DuthiePosted on10:06 pm - Nov 21, 2012


My teamleader (?) at work is a sevcovian & we’ve had a few discussions!! regarding this but today took the biscuit….
TL – Kenny have you seen the sun newspaper today?
Me – No,I’ve not had time 😉
2hrs later
………………………………..
TL – have you seen the paper yet ?
Me – Yes,I saw the headline “They died for nothing”,what’s your point?
TL – We won,we’re on the way back up
Me – What part of deid do you not understand? They went into admin because GEF didn’t pay around £14m in paye/NI,they still owed millions more over & above that & they were liquidated.
TL – But we won & we’ll be back in the spl soon because we’re going to sue the sfa for putting us into the 3rd division
Me – well,actually I just stared at him open mouthed & thought to myself,how the fech can this man be in charge of me 🙁
……………………….
sorry for going OT,this is the nonsense we’re having to listen to now.

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redetinPosted on10:09 pm - Nov 21, 2012


HirsutePursuit says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 21:41

Apologies in advance, this is quite long and only covers one point in the FTT(T)s majority decision; but I’d ask you to stick with me.

_____________________________________
HP,

A close analysis of every paragraph is required, kudos to you.

In any case, surely on an individual’s tax return you have to include all sources of income from employment, loans or gifts. I trust the individual players or their accountants would be diligent in this matter.

I’m still smiling at:

“Mr Inverness’s loans were used to fund lifestyle spending.”

I do hope he kept some back to repay the loan…..or was he not clear that it would have to be paid back.

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AgrajagPosted on10:17 pm - Nov 21, 2012


iki says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 21:57

=============================================

HMRC and Rangers (BDO) will come to an agreement on how much is still owed post tribunal.

However they will both already know, as it is the payments made to certain players.

I would be very surprised if this comes out, unless someone has inside info. HMRC do not discuss stuff like that.

Hopefully someone will be able to get the figure so that we get the final figure of tax actually stolen. If I remember correctly it will be

1, c£15m already agreed for VAT PAYE and NI.
2, c£3m already agreed in relation to the “wee tx case”
3, Unknown, in relation to the amounts outstanding from the EBTs

So the figure will be somewhere upwards of £18m if I remember correctly. My guess is around £20m – £22m.

Do people really see stealing around £20m from the UK taxpayer as OK. To say nothing of lying to the tax authorities, concealing documents, blocking enquiries. Remember a lot of this seems to have come post the City of London Police investigation. Where they executed warrants at Ibrox and actually searched the place.

Sounds like stealing, lying and cheating to me.

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AgrajagPosted on10:21 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Question.

Can someone give me a difinitive here.

I was always undee the impression that Rangers paid amounts into trusts and the trusts made loans to the players.

However I am now unsure and think that the loans (according to the tribunal) may have been made from the club, to the player, via the trust. And that the player was therefore a debtor of the club, and not the trust.

Does someone know the answer to this difinitively. Who do the players who received the “loans” owe the money to.

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easyJamboPosted on10:23 pm - Nov 21, 2012


It seems that Tom English is doing a column on “Mr Red” tomorrow. I will be interested to see whether he agrees with Mure’s description of him as “somewhat defensive” or Poon’s descriptions of “obstructive and obscurantist” and “evasive and disingenuous”

Tom English‏@TomEnglishSport
My Scotsman column tomorrow: Mr Red and his role in Rangers’ downfall. A preventable trauma

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TSFMPosted on10:26 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Doontheslope,

I agree that scrutiny is desirable – even of the the judiciary, but it should be enough to publicly disagree with decisions and give reasons for that disagreement.

My problem is with those who, in the face of a decision which has disappointed them, are reverting to claims of structural bias in the UK judiciary in favour of Rangers FC – claims made without any basis in fact.

That is the kind of rosette-waving characterised by fan sites where emotion, and not critical judgement is used as the rule – and that is where that kind of stuff belongs.

TSFM is better than that. Do I agree with the FTT decision? Of course not. Nor do I agree with many of the injustices (as I see them) meted out on a daily basis, but I don’t immediately ascribe them to some kind of anti-Celtic bias, and I have no reason at all to think that the judgement was not made in good faith. I also think it is fair to assume that those who would like to spin that judgement as a victory for the old Rangers regime will be able to point to the needless outrage over the decision in these parts and others that it is indeed a victory – which it is not.

Some real perspective. Want to get really angry? Get angry at the suffering of a wee six year old boy in Clelland who only a week ago happily went off to school where he collapsed after contracting meningitis. He died on Monday – but not before having a limb amputated every day for three days in a desperate, but ultimately fruitless effort to save him.

For him and his parents, I’d like to scream in rage at the injustice and anguish that has visited them.

For the FTT? We can still take the arguments forward. We can still demand that those involved in this sorry mess be held to account. We can still continue to ask questions without throwing around allegations based on nothing more than a gut feeling.

We have to find a collective way to look forward instead of constantly looking for people to blame. If we can’t do that responsibly, temperately and intelligently, the BTC will outlast us yet.

The purpose of this blog is not to sue for punishment of Rangers. Our purpose is to ask questions of the media and the football authorities and ask that rules are applied fairly and squarely to everyone. I hope we are still equipped to do so.

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redetinPosted on10:32 pm - Nov 21, 2012


easyJambo says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:23
________________________________
Mr Red’s meeting Mrs Crimson at Edinburgh airport and passing over a “brown envelope
containing copies of Murray Group company minutes of meetings deciding on the
contributions to the trust”.

Mrs Crimson was obviously put on the spot .”She gave the impression of being aware of what her professional dutiesas trustees should have been, but knew well in practice that the trustees had no independence, and that there was no exercise of any discretionary powers at all in the
40 granting of loans.”

Poor Mrs Crimson, poor Mr Red, I’m sure they are blushing now! 😳

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Lord WobblyPosted on10:47 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Poor lambs. To think that if they’d not wasted all that time and energy (not to mention money) trying to emulate Celtic, or even Aberdeen, the club might have survived.

http://www.causes.com/causes/803037-demand-an-enquiry-into-hmrc-v-rangers-fc

You’ll notice that they are not demanding an enquiry into why Sir David Murray put Rangers in such a position that HMRC had no choice but to pursue them.

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briggsbhoyPosted on10:48 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Palacio67 says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 20:42

Things could only get worse for CW if it was found that he socialised with the late Jimmy Saville. I can see him approaching Mr Clifford to see how he change the poor press he is getting, I doubt even Max could help him regardless of how many recordings he had.

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ShooperbPosted on10:51 pm - Nov 21, 2012


TSFM says:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:26

Well said. Like others, I’m confused as to how the result was arrived at, especially when you look at posts such as Hirsute’s above, and the fact that this is being portrayed as some sort of victory in the media – the tax bill may have been reduced, but it’s not gone away.

However, were this blog to turn into yet another Phil MacGiollaBhain type rant site, then I’d be among the first to depart. If I want to read pandering-to-victim-mentality diatribes, then I’ll go to Phil’s. The reason I come here is because it is refreshingly different, it deals in actuals, and I like the fact that when people come on here and spout the usual persecution nonsense, they get told where to go. Long may it continue. The reason that this blog is such a threat to the mainstream media is precisely because it doesn’t deal in hysterical ‘infamy! infamy!’, and is therefore very difficult to dismiss. Hence, rather than spout ‘tarred with a sickening sectarian brush’ etc., we instead had to have our own terms invented for us – internet bampots, anti-media nastiness. It’ll be interesting to see what else comes our way in the coming days.

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Lord WobblyPosted on10:58 pm - Nov 21, 2012


TSFM says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:26
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Your finest post.

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beatipacificiscotiaPosted on11:00 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I’m still not seeing where the information that Rangers are guilty / have admitted figure of 35 is coming from. There are figures being thrown around with nothing to back them up. I can see only 5 cases, those relating to guaranteed bonuses.

Where are these details coming from???

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on11:02 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Lego at it again read at your own risk.

http://thedailyranger.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/the-reckoning-starts-here/

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briggsbhoyPosted on11:03 pm - Nov 21, 2012


areyouaccusingmeofmendacity says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:51

Your on the money there. I just by default after googling something found myself on a Rangers fans site and dear oh dear, this site is miles away from where these type of website are and long may it continue.

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Robert CoylePosted on11:04 pm - Nov 21, 2012


HP on Mr Red.

35. It is not accepted that there had been no deliberate concealment of the side-letters,
in view of how the first side-letter only came to light through the seizure of
Mr Berwick’s file nearly four years into the enquiry. It is not accepted that the nondisclosure of the side-letters arose from a ‘credible’ view that Mr Red considered the
side-letters irrelevant to HMRC’s enquiry. As a former Inspector of Taxes, Mr Red
knew, or should have known, that the side-letters were highly relevant to the enquiry.
The side-letters showed a form of contractual arrangement, and they proved linkage
between the sums contributed into the sub-trusts at the appointed dates and their
withdrawal as loans from the sub-trusts as contemporaneous transactions. The
contractual aspect and the linkage between the amounts of contributions to the main
Trust and the sums loaned had been repeatedly raised in the enquiry correspondence.
A fair conclusion to be drawn from the circumstantial evidence on the one hand, and
Mr Red’s oral evidence on the other, is that the side-letters had been actively
concealed. The reason for the concealment might have been, in Mr Red’s view, the
side-letters could be incriminating evidence against the impression of the trust
operation that he had been trying to give.

36. The side-letters would appear to negate many of Mr Red’s assertions regarding the
nature of the trust arrangements. They answer HMRC’s question concerning ‘what
projections or calculations have been produced to allow the magnitude of
contributions to be matched with the expected future bonuses or benefits’ (14/47).
They are contrary to the claim that ‘there are no projections or calculations produced
specifically for this purpose’ (14/51). The side-letters prove the linkage of events
between amounts of contribution to the main Trust and the granting of loans through
the sub-trusts, and negate the assertions that there is ‘no trigger for the chain of events
that led to an employee being told that they could apply for a loan from the Trust’;
and belie the statement that ‘the loan amount was not specified’ (14/47).

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broganrogantrevinoandhoganPosted on11:05 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Good Evening.

Well— that was the tax case that was– and for my tormented and legally twisted brain– what a fascinating argument it turned out to be.

I will not hide for a second the fact that the arguments put forward on behalf of MIH and Rangers PLC as very very clever indeed and can only equate them to someone gingerly crossing a rampaging river by gingerly stepping on a series of stepping stones to get to the other side.

I admire such legal dexterity inso far as the quality of the argument goes.

That does not mean to say I have any time at all for the need for such an argument– or in other words whilst I may admire the means used to cross the river– I have severe reservations about the motives for crossing the river in the first place.

The other thing to remember about crossing a raging river is that once you have crossed you are very likely to be stuck there— you might never be able to come back and so you are stuck with the decision to be very clever in picking your way across the stepping stones.

For David Murray and his fellow directors this is a victory of sorts.

The majority of the transactions conducted under the Baxendale Walker devised Tax scheme have been declared as not liable for tax. However, the Murray team did not contest that there was indeed tax due on certain payments made under the scheme.

These appear to include either appearance bonuses or contractual bonuses which were paid to Rangers players by the trustees of their respective loan trusts.

Forgetting for a moment that tax falls to be payable on these sums, it would appear that what has been conceded is that certain players were in fact paid by the trusts in connection with their contractual obligations to play football for Rangers FC,

It is this very point that lies at the heart of the forthcoming SPL enquiry– which is not an enquiry into dual contracts– although there is an interesting discussion regarding that— but an enquiry into whether or not these players ( and others ) were “Paid” by third parties in connection with their playing football for Rangers?

The Majority view of the tribunal, which finds in favour of MIH and RFC, is predicated on the legal fact that the EBT trusts and loans were indeed real and legal entities, with the benefits from those trusts and loans not being the exclusive property of the players concerned.

What appears to be accepted as Ultra Vires in any trust payment to anyone, is any payment that totally and completely arises as a result of a contractual term which involves playing football– and the MIH team appears to have accepted that certain payments were made by the trust ( a third party ) which relate to playing football and upon which the players concerned should have been taxed as part of their “standard” salary.

However what is interesting is whether or not any argument will be presented to the SPL enquiry by old co or new co. I suspect that neither party will make any representation.

Old Co is now controlled by BDO. Are they likley to spend taxpayers money proffering any argument that will not result in any monetary benefit to the creditors? Further, will they proffer any argument which might just prejudice any action they decide to take as liquidator acting on behalf of creditors?

I don’t think so.

So what about Charlie Green? Is he going to spend a right few bob on lawyers where his new Co and new club cannot be held fiscally liable and which does not relate to his company nor his governance? I suspect not– especially where a finding against Old Co could be a very useful tool in driving some fans towards their piggy bank in search of money for his share issue.

So– the effects of the judgement (if any) in that regard are yet to be felt– especially where some of the points in issue appear to have been conceded.

Turning to the other points in the judgement there really is a lot to consider.

For a start, the majority decision relies heavily on the fact that the loans and the trusts were real in legal terms and were not a “sham”. This is something that was conceded by HMRC
( perhaps surprisingly?) and as such this was something that was agreed by both parties.

What HMRC went on to argue was that although real, the trusts and the loans were purely a false mechanism designed solely for the purpose of avoiding tax– and that in essence the trustees and all the mechanisms they employed in administering the scheme– were only acting as agents and on the instructions of MIH and Rangers.

The dissenting judge not only agreed with this, but went on at length to demonstrate several examples of how, she believed, the trusts were really controlled by the Murray group and were mechanised means of making payments to the players.

Legally, the majority position, prevailed and the scheme declared legal and free of tax charges.

However, remember that this is no more than a tax forum.

As this is a blog about Scottish Football– what do we make of what we have heard in evidence?

There was no attempt at disguising the fact that this scheme allowed Rangers to field players that they could not otherwise afford. That was neither hidden nor avoided.

Further, the Tribunal held that whilst the payments to the players were not taxable, it was a part of their overall package and contractual agreement with Rangers, that Rangers would agree to “fund” loans to someone else entirely in return for them playing football.

Is that a good thing for football? is that the way we want football to be run?

In relation to the side letters: Rangers argued that as these only related to the funding of trusts with a view to creating loans– and so were not direct payments to the players— they did not have to be disclosed to the SFA etc.

Does that then mean that If I sign for a football club and have a contract of employment that says I am entitled to £100/week, it is of no concern at all to the SFA etc if there is a second contract which says that so long as I play for the club my wife/son/daughter will receive £1M per year?

Such an arrangement would not be a payment BY a third party but a payment TO a third party!

is that good for Scottish football?

Further, it appears to have been accepted that there was a lack of transparency and an unwillingness to co-operate with the tax authorities by not volunteering the side letters and the trust documentation. I wonder why?

If you were confident in your legal position ( ultimately supported by the Tribunal ) why not simply disclose exactly what you were about?

Although it should be noted that the dissenting judge commented at length on not what documentation had eventually been produced, but rather on the remarkable amount of documentation which seemed to be still missing.

Further things of interest.

David Murray appears to have been at pains to stress that on deciding the level of his own bonuses etc he always had regard to how much money or cash MIH needed in terms of its obligations elsewhere!

Now this is an interesting statement– because on the basis of this statement he presumably had regard to the same sort of thoughts when it came to Rangers?

Now, as the judgement stands, Rangers appear to have paid millions of pounds to trusts which were not part of anyone’s salary or remuneration package.

At the same time, Rangers PLC regularly incurred losses that ran into Millions of pounds per year, and of course ultimately the club was declared insolvent.

So– if these payments were not part of anyone’s salary– what were they?

Note the terms used by the judges in the majority verdict. They say that there was an obligation on Rangers (in terms of the side letters) to “fund” or “advance” monies to the trusts with a view to those same trusts ultimately making loans to the nominees of the players.

In Scottish law there is a presumption against gift– in other words when one party pays money to another– it is presumed not to be a gift. Therefore, if these payments were not salary and were not gifts, the question arises, was it intended that the money was ultimately to be paid back to Rangers– and if so, is any right to those monies now to be considered an asset of Rangers PLC in liquidation?

As I said, the judgement uses words like “Fund” and “advance”, and of course the judgement says that the loans to the players beneficiaries were real and capable of, and legally intended to be, repaid!

In other words, it appears on the face of the legal documents produced to the FTT that it was never intended that any of this money was ever to be regarded as being for the sole use of the players– otherwise tax would be due.

Further, if the loans were intended to be repaid ( with interest ) and the trust was funded or advanced the money by Rangers PLC, do the liquidators have the right to claim the advanced money back from the trust?

Now there is an interesting question.

Further, bearing in mind, DM’s concern about how much money was in the MIH business, can the former Directors of Rangers be criticised for wrongful trading, malfeasance or even making gratuitous alienations ( gifts? ) to the trusts– when such payments ( no matter how they are classed ) left Rangers showing repeated losses and potentially trading whilst in an insolvent position?

Of course there are defences to any such allegation and contention but the fact remains that Rangers were hugely in debt– even without the tax case.

In the Murray era, there had to be a whopping great share release that was underwritten by Murray to reduce their debt.

Rangers had been run for years on a culture of inter company loans, the EBT schemes and so on– and when those schemes were declared illegal or the banks support was withdrawn when HBOS went bust, then Rangers PLC were forced to cut their cloth accordingly.

It will be interesting to see whether or not BDO pursue any claim of any sort, and if so on what basis that claim would be pursued.

Of Course, D& P, Craig Whyte, Ticketus, Charlie Green and whether or not there will be a sale and leaseback of Ibrox in due course are separate matters entirely!

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ShooperbPosted on11:07 pm - Nov 21, 2012


beatipacificiscotia says:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 23:00

The appeal that Rangers launched didn’t actually cover the whole tax bill – what Rangers actually ‘won’ was the majority of the individual assessments on the EBT’s that they contested. They didn’t contest 30+ occurrences (I think it was 35, but I’m sure someone will correct if this figure is wrong), and of the ones that they did contest, they found to be liable for 5 of them.

I’m sure I’ve put that in very vague terms, and some of it could probably do with some factual tidying, but I think that sums it up!

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Long Time LurkerPosted on11:08 pm - Nov 21, 2012


paulsatim on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 19:40

Excellent – do you mind if I use that image to get a t-shirt made?

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zoylerPosted on11:13 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Two points –
A man is charged with multiple homicide – is found guilty of 5 and innocent of 15 – in the logic used by the MSN in regard to Rangers he is innocent!

In a well reasoned contribution Hirsuite Pursuit concludes that the two who reached the majority decision misunderstood the legislation and were mistaken – no doubt innocently so!

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campsiejoePosted on11:13 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I stopped buying newspapers many years ago, and now very occasionally look at the on line versions of their ramblings
However, can anyone tell me if any of the MSM, both broadcast and printed, have actually read the judgement, and told the truth about its contents

Have they actually told those who rely on them for their information, that in actual fact RFC(IL) have not been found not guilty of all of the charges, and actually have been convicted on 30 plus of those charges

Have they said that RFC(IL) will still face a bill, the amount of which is still to be determined, along with those individuals who have received what amounts to contractual payments via EBTs
Have they told their readers and listeners, that representatives of RFC(IL) have been labeled obstructive, and have admitted to withholding details of the side letters from the football authorities
Even the two members who found in their favour, were critical of aspects of their behaviour

As expected the Sevcovians and the MSM are hailing this as a great victory, without actually reading or understanding what was in the judgement
They now want action taken against anyone who dared speak out against them over the case
They want RTC’s head on a plate, and HMRC to compensate RFC(IL), and Murray, Johnston et al are back on the bandwagon, threatening and posturing, since they feel they have been vindicated, even though that is far from the truth

There is no doubt that they have won a partial victory, but they are very far from being the innocents that they are portraying themselves as

I feel there is a long way to go yet, and they would be well advised to “haud their wheesht” until the final act is played out
They should remember the old saying – he who laughs last, laughs longest

As for Murray taking legal action, I very much doubt it, as he will not want to have any of this played out in open court

And one final thought, RFC(IL) were always headed for insolvency, even without the BTC
It was only a question of when, and who would pull the trigger

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easyJamboPosted on11:15 pm - Nov 21, 2012


redetin says: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:32

Poor Mrs Crimson, poor Mr Red, I’m sure they are blushing now!
=======================
I wonder if whoever did the redactions had a view on who were the most problematic witnesses given that there seems to have been a “Red Alert” re Mr Red, Mrs Crimson and Mr Scarlet in terms of their credibility.

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Not The Huddle MalcontentPosted on11:24 pm - Nov 21, 2012


beatipacificiscotia on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 23:00 0 0 Rate ThisI’m still not seeing where the information that Rangers are guilty / have admitted figure of 35 is coming from. There are figures being thrown around with nothing to back them up. I can see only 5 cases, those relating to guaranteed bonuses.Where are these details coming from

—————————–

Yeah. Me too

If rfc have conceded 30 were paid via ebt illegally…where is this stated? Or is it not in appeal at all? So can hmrc confirm amount owed for these 30

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campsiejoePosted on11:28 pm - Nov 21, 2012


A final question for tonight
Why are HMRC being portrayed as the bad guys here
They found records, sent RFC(IL) a bill, which RFC(IL) decided to appeal
RFC(IL) alone are responsible for this FTT
All of Sevconia should bear this in mind

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ShooperbPosted on11:30 pm - Nov 21, 2012


http://www.scotzine.com/2012/11/the-legal-view-rangers-tax-case/

The 30+ appears in the article here.

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beatipacificiscotiaPosted on11:34 pm - Nov 21, 2012


The fact that Rangers accepted liability / guilt in some cases is news to me, and I am still to see some evidence of this. I appreciate the details, but where is this coming from???

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Lord WobblyPosted on11:37 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Rangers Supporters Club secretary calls for payments hearing to be scrapped

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/9694347/.html
~~~~~~~~~~~
Of course they do. That’s what SDM and cohorts would have preferred all along. To work in the shadows, without scrutiny.

That, if nothing else, is why RTC and others were absolutely necessary. The MSM must never again be allowed to get away with their quite disgraceful approach to reporting. And, for the avoidance of doubt, that applies to everything, not just their sycophantic approach to SDM and the club that was Rangers FC.

Question everything. Because you know they won’t.

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beatipacificiscotiaPosted on11:40 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Thanks for the link, but one line in an article is not confirmation. The reason for my concern is this is not being reported anywhere else. I would a have thought these details explosive!

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campsiejoePosted on11:47 pm - Nov 21, 2012


beatipacificiscotia @ 23:40

You are joking, aren’t you
The MSM will not report anything that is negative
There are some very damning comments in the judgement from the two who voted in favour, never mind the lone dissenting voice
Yet, as far as I am aware, not one of these comments has seen the light of day in the MSM

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beatipacificiscotiaPosted on11:54 pm - Nov 21, 2012


I assure you I am not joking. Figures are being thrown around as fact with nothing to back them. We can do something with hard facts.

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paulsatimPosted on11:58 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Long Time Lurker says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 23:08

LOL, LTL. Knock yourself out, mate!

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fanclubcharityPosted on11:59 pm - Nov 21, 2012


Is it not slightly ironic that the party who has evidently done the most shredding in the whole Rangers episode is none other than RTC himself?

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doontheslopePosted on11:59 pm - Nov 21, 2012


TSFM

Thanks for your response.

In the past six months I have made a three figure sum donation to a small club in Scotland to pay for two season tickets to be given to unemployed supporters of that club.

I then made a four figure donation towards wee Oscar’s treatment in the US, a cause presently being supported by Celtic fans, and fans of other clubs who have become aware of Oscar’s plight.

I think I got my priorities right there.

You are right to express anger and outrage at the seemingly meaningless and random suffering of a child. Why did it happen? Why does it happen? It is an ‘evil.’ I made the donation in the hope that it will somehow ease the suffering of that kid and his family.

I made the smaller donation to a football club because I wanted to reward that club’s stance on football integrity. A group of people have taken a series of decisions at a football club which were, in my opinion, evil (corrupt, selfish, greedy…) It wasn’t random. They actually made a decision to do it.

That ‘evil’ spread to the media in Scotland, to the football governing bodies, even to the government. From succulent lamb, to rule breaking and attempted parachutes into the SPL, to fabric of the nation and covert meetings with HMRC.

I am finding it difficult to intellectually accept the default position that the judiciary is above reproach. I cited examples of questionable decisions in courts of law from the ‘world’ of Scottish football. Two of the judges yesterday failed to join up the dots. Why?

I hope and pray that wee Oscar makes a full recovery. But I also hope that he can return to lead a full and happy life in a less corrupt country.

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neepheidPosted on12:01 am - Nov 22, 2012


TSFM says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:26
12 1 Rate This
Doontheslope,

I agree that scrutiny is desirable – even of the the judiciary, but it should be enough to publicly disagree with decisions and give reasons for that disagreement.

My problem is with those who are, in the face of a decision which has disappointed them, are reverting to claims of structural bias in the UK judiciary in favour of Rangers FC – claims made without any basis in fact.

That is the kind of rosette-waving characterised by fan sites where emption, and not critical judgement is used as the rule – and that is where that kind of stuff belongs.
========
Scrutiny of the judiciary is not only desirable, but essential. These people are not Gods, but human beings, just like you and me. When they make decisions that are simply perverse, and when those decisions serve an obvious purpose, then questions should, and must be asked.

The FTTT decision issued yesterday will be appealed, and will be overturned on appeal. To me that seems obvious. So two learned gentlemen have put their reputations on the line, for what? To buy a bit of time for TRFC. Maybe a year, maybe even two, at the rate the mills of God turn in this country.

Let’s now rewind 5 months or so. Late June. D&P had offered a CVA to the creditors. The creditors have refused a proposal so laughable it was clearly designed to be refused. At that point, the administration should have ended, and RFC put into liquidation. RFC’s membership of the SFA would have ended there and then, leaving Sevco to apply for a brand new SFA membership, and without accounts, they simply could not qualify.

That should have been it. But,no, no, wait a minute, enter stage right Lord Hodge, who suddenly has a problem with a potential conflict of interest, a conflict which was blindingly obvious from day one of the administration. So he blocks liquidation, asks the administrators to submit a report on the day he pops off for his holidays, then 3 months later, he does exactly what he could have done in June. Does not release the administrators, pending further enquiries, but lets the liquidators take over the company. What this did was to keep the RFC membership alive until the start of the season, so that Sevco could take it over. If RFC had been in liquidation in June, there would have been no membership to transfer, and the Sevco project would have been dead in the water, with no chance of senior football for 3 years.
i
All of that is fact, so far as I am aware. I don’t know Lord Hodge, who his friends are, what allegiances he might have. But I can put simple facts together and draw conclusions from them. I have asked before for a precedent. Several times. No answer, because there is no precedent. RFC should have gone into liquidation by the end of June, following due process. Their SFA membership should have died with them. The Scottish legal system, in the person of Lord Hodge, took the unprecedented step of blocking the liquidation of RFC for 3 months, so allowing Sevco to acquire their SFA membership. There was no valid reason for the delay, as subsequent events have demonstrated.

I have been banging on about this since June. The insiders tell me what a great, impartial judge Lord Hodge is, incorruptible, noble, all the things I’m not, no doubt. Well fine, but can somebody explain to me the sequence of events described above in terms that do not involve the “establishment” looking after their own? If I really badly needed a liquidation delayed for a month or two, and maybe just mentioned it to the judge,what would happen? Summary justice springs to mind. Contempt of court,at least, and off to the cells. And quite right too.

The FTTT decision will be overturned in due course, no doubt. The delay in liquidating RFC is the real crux of the matter. If that delay had not been imposed by the court, then the FTTT decision wouldn’t even register, because Sevco would now be dead.

For those who are bored by my repeated rantings on this theme, just give a TD and be happy, because I promise not to say any more on the subject. For anyone interested in the workings of this scam, do your own research by all means, but this, believe me, is the key.

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tomtomPosted on12:04 am - Nov 22, 2012


zoyler says:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 23:13

Two points –
A man is charged with multiple homicide – is found guilty of 5 and innocent of 15 – in the logic used by the MSN in regard to Rangers he is innocent!

In a well reasoned contribution Hirsuite Pursuit concludes that the two who reached the majority decision misunderstood the legislation and were mistaken – no doubt innocently so!
===================================

This is a man who is found in a locked room with 20 bodies, being found guilty of murdering 5 of them, not proven on the other 15 and then proclaimed innocent because the others may have comitted suicide.

One day the truth will come out. I can’t believe messrs Daly and Thomson will let this lie.

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rabPosted on12:13 am - Nov 22, 2012


Hirsuite pursuit.

Have you just highlighted the point in law that would enable the appeal at the upper level.

An upper level that sets the precedent that the first tier does not.

A precedent that allows HMRC to move onto its other targets.

Hopeful or deluded? Im not sure.

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ordinaryfanPosted on12:18 am - Nov 22, 2012


neepheid: I completely agree. I mentioned before that Hodge, Murray and at least 3 other main “players”, I’m sure it was more, involved in this saga are members of the Scottish Institute of Chartered Accountants. Let’s be realistic, Scotland is a small country, especially in those circles.

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broadswordcallingdannybhoyPosted on12:20 am - Nov 22, 2012


The ultimate reason Rangers were destined for the broth pot is that their supporters failed to rally, there were a few false dawns (“We Deserve Butter” etc etc) but ultimately they damp squibbed.

Murray was always able to pull a rabbit out of a trustee’s hat and The Bunco Booth was spared the scrutiny that could have eventually saved it.

I’m seeing the same thing happening now to Scottish Football as a whole.
Fans of all clubs know or feel that we are at a critical point in the history of our game…. OUR GAME.

We know we deserve better, but will the latest conjuring trick do to us what it did to those fans who felt the same way about their club. If we lose heart and become enthralled by the propaganda then the house that Jack builds will not be one in which I’ll want to live.

TSFM is riding his horse back and forth in front our ranks and asking us what will we do with our freedom and if i was more eloquent I’d be able to change the Braveheart script to suit our current predicament, but I hope I’ve made my point.

Are the MSM “too many?”

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briggsbhoyPosted on12:30 am - Nov 22, 2012


I’m thinking of writing to Martin Lewis at “Money Saving Expert” as he’s missed a trick. 🙂
I always thought Martin was on the ball.

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midcalderanPosted on12:31 am - Nov 22, 2012


easyJambo says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 22:23

It seems that Tom English is doing a column on “Mr Red” tomorrow. I will be interested to see whether he agrees with Mure’s description of him as “somewhat defensive” or Poon’s descriptions of “obstructive and obscurantist” and “evasive and disingenuous”
———————–

Thanks for the alert Easyjambo. I’ve read the findings of fact and I’m in no doubt that Mr Red’s treatment of HM Inspector on both a personal and professional level is appalling. He dragged this out for more than five and half years, by refusing to meet HMRC, – as most reasonable tax representatives would – as well as seeming to, among more serious matters, attempt to humiliate them in correspondence.

The statement of fact indicates Mr Red failed to comply with a S20, TMA 1970 notice and removed documents from files with which he was personally involved in handing over to HMRC. Mr Red is described as a former HM Inspector of Taxes and a tax practitioner so he must surely have been aware of the consequences of his action as prescribed at that time by S20BB TMA 1970.

“20BB Falsification etc. of documents

20BB(1) Subject to subsections (2) to (4) below, a person shall be guilty of an offence if he intentionally falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of, or causes or permits the falsification, concealment, destruction or disposal of, a document which–

(a) he has been required by a notice under section 20”

We’re already hearing from MSM, MPs and business commentators that HMRC have dragged this out for far too long, that they need to get their act together and we need a public enquiry etc. etc. etc. However, no one is condemning Mr Red’s performance who no doubt was acting on behalf of his employer and seems to have shown no willingness to negotiate with HMRC until such times as he became aware that HMRC were possibly in possession of o r about to take possession of documents seized by City of London Police.

FTT(T) has decided for the time being that everything was above board. If that’s the case, why did Mr Red behave in such in odd manner over a period of FIVE & A HALF YEARS? All he needed to do was meet HMRC, hear their concerns, tell them what it was all about, do a bit of negotiating, horse trading, bun fighting and then do a deal which satisfied both parties.

To the MSM, MPs and business commentators, I say; don’t blame HMRC for raising an honest enquiry into a well-known avoidance scheme of the day. Take a look at those – Mr Red & others – who obstructed for five and a half years what would have been a routine HMRC enquiry. They apparently refused to cooperate until such time as they became aware that HMRC may have been in possession of documents which should probably have been produced much earlier in response to the S20, TMA 1970 notice.

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ordinaryfanPosted on12:34 am - Nov 22, 2012


Anyone hoping BDO will scrutinise and challenge anything that has gone on, is going to be very disappointed. Trust me on that. They are there for the whitewash.

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broganrogantrevinoandhoganPosted on12:36 am - Nov 22, 2012


Eh– and does anyone really think that Murray, Bain, or anyone else involved at Ibrox or MIH welcomes the idea of a full independent judicial enquiry into what happened here?

Not in a Million years m’Lud!!!!

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AgrajagPosted on12:54 am - Nov 22, 2012


ordinaryfan says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 00:34

Anyone hoping BDO will scrutinise and challenge anything that has gone on, is going to be very disappointed. Trust me on that. They are there for the whitewash.

======================================

Can you tell us what you base that on.

I’m not saying you are wrong, just looking for a bit more than “Trust me on that”.

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Stifler’s MomPosted on12:54 am - Nov 22, 2012


The rhetoric impressed upon the obedient fools, eager to accept today’s offering from the lickspittle that is JT, smacked odiously of the ‘I told you so’, when in fact RTC ‘told him so’ and all along he, (JT), cowered in a corner fearing the worst for his waiter who had ‘served him up’ copious plates of slaughtered sheep that he’d been eager to scoff for years.

Hunter S Thompson once said: “If I’d written the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
—Rolling Stone, February 15, 1973

Thompson never did win the Orwell prize for outstanding political journalism. RTC won it, hands down and we should never forget the seismic shift in Scottish, British and Worldwide opinion that ensued.

Let’s applaud RTC, the catalyst that precipitated everything that has gone before us. AND for writing the absolute truth.

Keep the faith.

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SeniorPosted on12:56 am - Nov 22, 2012


I don’t normally curse on blogs, but FFS how can you describe a payment as a loan when there is no time limits on its redemption and no penalty for non payment of this money.
Oh how I wish those two learned gentlemen were my bank managers. I was always told that there is a huge difference between education and intelligence/common-sense – now I understand clearly the difference.
As far as I know not one penny has been paid back on these hundred or more loans, some of which were sanction over ten years ago!! and our learned friends still considered them loans.
Absolutely baffling.

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ExiledCeltPosted on1:31 am - Nov 22, 2012


I have worked in the banking industry for over 25 years – in the banking indsutry loans have a schedule to be repaid and if they are not paid as per schedule they become “bad loans”. The bank crash was due to the inordinate amount of bad loans sitting on banks’ books.

There is a loan product sold in UK where elferly folks could borrow some money and it woudl be taken out of their house proceeds on death – however this is a limited amount and is like a reverse mortgaeg – but is registered against the property.

Does Captain Ipswich aka Marvelous Barry have this?

In no way shape or form are these loans since no one is going to pay them and on their deaths nothing wil be given back.

If this is a loan, where can I get one of these?

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RayCharlezPosted on2:10 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/sfl-division-three/tom-english-if-only-murray-and-his-men-had-been-co-operative-from-day-one-1-2650192

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Long Time LurkerPosted on6:53 am - Nov 22, 2012


I was just wondering if RTC has went dark / off the radar in the event that HMRC launch an appeal and that he/she wants to make sure that there is no way that their blogging could be seen to have any adverse impact on that process?

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stunneyPosted on7:13 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/rangers-must-wait-until-new-year-for-side-letter-verdict-despite-ebt-reprieve.19486807

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stunneyPosted on8:07 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/hearts-criticise-stern-barriers-to-clubs-survival.19484345

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stunneyPosted on8:09 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/top-football-stories/hearts-must-find-another-250-000-to-pay-players-1-2650243

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stunneyPosted on8:11 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/top-football-stories/famous-five-legend-lawrie-reilly-calls-on-hibs-fans-to-back-hearts-with-cash-1-2650203

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Peter DPosted on8:35 am - Nov 22, 2012


After many months of being an avid reader of both the RTC blog and TSFM since its inception I have finally felt moved to register and contribute a comment.

Of course I share the incredulity of many others at the result of the FTTT…quite what mental gymnastics were required for the two members of the panel to perform in allowing the appeal I cannot quite fathom. Maybe they are better minds that me…..sure…maybe….

However it is not the result of the tribunal that has finally made me want to join in rather than just watch from afar. No, rather it is after listening to the Radio Scotland Scottish Football Podcast of 2012-11-21 and the unchallenged utter drivel that was spouted by Mr Jim Traynor that has provoked me. Not only was it drivel, but as it went on it developed a rather nasty tone of spite and malevolence.

It seems the forthcoming agenda is becoming clear… all and sundry are going to go hell for leather and try and use this turn of events as a catalyst to turn the clock back to a darker time. “Social Media” is already a term used with utter contempt by the MSM commentators but it seems that the rhetoric is about to get ramped up. The threats are starting, dark hints about individuals being pursued, bears calling for “revenge”, calls for the blogs to be shut down, prosecuted (for exactly what I am not quite sure though), Rangers to be compensated for being wronged etc. Seriously?

Already there is a concerted campaign to rubbish the SPL hearings and a growing call within the MSM to call them off all together.

The FTTT result has roused the old guard and they really think that they have got the bit back between their teeth…back in control…in one foul swoop…just like that.

We are about to witness a whole scale assault to exterminate all the progress made by all the blogs, twitter message boards etc.in recent times. The modus operandi will be the usual obfuscation, deflection, outright lies and when all else fails, threats and intimidation will do nicely.

Already the bears are mumbling about actions against the SPL, SFA, journalists, bloggers etc. who conducted a “witch hunt” against “the mighty ‘gers” (not specific about what particular “Rangers” they mean of course). This is the campaign to get their team back to the top division. Work their way up through the leagues….yea sure….that was never the intention anyway but I believe that some now see a golden opportunity to use the FTTT result as the basis for this campaign. Small things like facts on why they are where they are and unrelated facts like what the FTTT was actually about of course are no impediment here.

I could find only one single reference to the fact that HMRC have seven weeks to decide whether to appeal to the UTTT. There has been virtually no mention of this distinct possibility in any of the MSM that I am aware of…no surprise there. Until this decision is made then all-out war will be prosecuted on the bampots and their ilk

If all on here think the summer was a time of turmoil I would venture that with the coming climate we “ain’t saw nothing yet”

Now more than ever the rest of Scottish Football must stand together.

Today, I formally join the battle.

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ja606Posted on8:57 am - Nov 22, 2012


I would suggest that RTC has went dark because he/she has no credibility left.

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borussiabeefburgPosted on8:58 am - Nov 22, 2012


Had a wee glance at the Daily Record’s attempts today at reporting, well, just at ‘reporting’. Remember, this type of organ is the source of information/opinion for a large if dwindling band of football supporters. Four different reporters, Jackson, Gannon, Berry and McLeod, make an effort to instruct their readers.

Keith Jackson: Murray said: “What we are dealing with here is the destruction of a 140-year-old Scottish institution.”

Michael Gannon: Dave Smith said “The club has been destroyed.”

Gavin Berry has ex striker Michael Mols stating “if there is any liability now, it’s not mine,” and “I was a footballer, not a financial expert, so I left it in the hands of those who knew the rules,” and “hopefully after this first victory the case can be dropped over the stripping of titles.”

Keith McLeod: “By that stage, Rangers could be back in the SPL if they win successive promotions.
But the tax wrangle which doomed oldco Rangers would still be dragging on.”

So, if I’m clear on this, Rangers of old were ‘destroyed’, ‘doomed’ and suffered ‘destruction’, while a player that club couldn’t really afford is telling us the spl must abandon any probe into improper registration, even although he has no expertise in the way he was registered.

Meanwhile, The Sun has wheeled out Goram again. Funny how all these guys who claimed not to be financially clued up suddenly have something to say about this financial news issued this week.

Here’s my financial input: over a number of years I’ve been paying money to watch football games which weren’t played by the sporting rules, both in a true sense and relating to those set down by the SFA. I’ve lost quite a bit of money watching unfair competition.

And I have to pay tax.

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ollielogiePosted on9:06 am - Nov 22, 2012


Chapeau Tom English – excellent article in the Hootsmon today – why did SDM offer £10m if he was so confident the scheme was legit? Why was Mr Red so reluctant to share information? If only MIM had shared 5 years ago then there would have been no sale to CW!

How deliciously ironic, SDM did this to RFC plc because he played the BTC long and “won”!

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Night TerrorPosted on9:10 am - Nov 22, 2012


Those converned about RTC (credibility gone my – sweet cheeks) – which includes me – may also want to consider that there may be some feverish activity going on to get a book finished, maybe even in time for Xmas.

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neepheidPosted on9:12 am - Nov 22, 2012


http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20439036

Guess who is rewriting history now? The wit and wisdom of Craig Whyte- only for those with strong stomachs.

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coineanachantaighePosted on9:24 am - Nov 22, 2012


beatipacificiscotia says:
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 23:00
———————-

FTT isn’t a trial: it decides whether or not they are due to pay tax HMRC claims they should. There were apparently c. 90 cases. They admitted they should in 30 cases, contested the rest and lost in 5 cases (I think that’s accurate but I know I will be corrected here if not).

They “won” in the sense they won’t have to pay tax in about 2/3rds of the cases. But there was no guilty/not guilty verdict. You could say (in a sense) they were found guilty in 1/3rds of cases but that wouldn’t be correct in a strictly legal sense though I think it is in an every day use of the word sense.

Rangers didn’t win – they are being liquidated. Their trubute club is in a bad way. But Murray to an extent has won (his business is still a mess) as have a few guys connected with him and Rangers who might have been pursued further over this if the case had gone the other way.

However regarding guilt – OK in the everyday sense – didn’t this FTT report state strongly that evidence was hidden, disappeared – in fact the only side letters they could get apprently the ones collected in a raid on Ibrox (assumption here but how else do you interpret “However, in files seized unexpectedly from the Club side-letters were present.”

So (and again the more expert will no doubt correct me, in fact please do if I’ve gone wrong here) surely this must mean that they “won” a lot of these cases because the evidence was hidden or destroyed by people at MIH or Ibrox? And if that’s correct I’d say that just as we can look at a legal case and see for instance a guy got off because witnesses myseriously didn’t turn up and we are entitled to draw our own conclusions, we can look at all this lost evidence and wonder how many cases MIH/Rangers would have “won” if it had been available.

Or am I talking rubbish here??

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Night TerrorPosted on9:31 am - Nov 22, 2012


That Tom English article is very sensible.

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tic6709Posted on9:35 am - Nov 22, 2012


monsieurbunny says:

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 09:24
============================
You are most certainly Not talking rubbish,I think, as will many others, that you are bang on the money.

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