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

Danish PastryPosted on9:05 pm - Nov 22, 2012


zoyler says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:26
8 0 Rate This

I hope Danish Pastry won’t mind if I make a comparison with a case in the US. If I remember correctly the dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case over the election of Bush The Simple in Florida highlighted how the conservative members of the Court went against their previously expressed views and inclinations on federal involvement in state law to get their man into The Big White Hoose!
—————

Why on earth would I mind?

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ddmc999Posted on9:07 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Iceman, never a truer word written in a blog ! Democracy is an illusion.

Marty, maybe the 2-1 result is the nuclear option, we always assumed it would be against old rangers not for.

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AgrajagPosted on9:10 pm - Nov 22, 2012


campsiejoe says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:59

Agrajag @ 20:52

That is precisely the point
Why would money you have worked for, your own money, only be available to you by way of a loan
We all know the answer, don’t we

As far as recovering these “loans”, that is a non starter
RTC said many times that when the money was paid into the trust, RFC(IL) lost all claims on it

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

And I agreed many times. In my opinion the club paid the money into the trust which then made the loan to the player.

However I really think the tribunal ruling has cast doubt on that. I think that is possibly the most important issue just now (financially). Who does the borrower owe the money to. If it is the club then liquidation and BDO taking over has put the proverbial mockers on that. The club management may not have sought it back, BDO however.

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neepheidPosted on9:13 pm - Nov 22, 2012


campsiejoe says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:59

As far as recovering these “loans”, that is a non starter
RTC said many times that when the money was paid into the trust, RFC(IL) lost all claims on it
====
That is my understanding too- once you put money into a trust, you have no further claim on it. So BDO will have no claim against either the trustees or those people who received these “loans”. That money is gone, never to return.

That is a matter of general law. The tax treatment can sometimes look through that, but BDO, as liquidators, are stuck with the fact that the money was put into trust. They have no valid claim.

In my opinion, but happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

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iceman63Posted on9:17 pm - Nov 22, 2012


RTC said it Campsiejoe, many many times – and she is the Goddess – but the FTTT from my reading seems to argue not that these were discretionary loans paid in Trust but that they were employee loans – and as such subject to interest and consequently repayable.

The majority two may not be the stooges we think but may be pulling a fast one by taking the claims of loans at face value -to allow BDO to pursue the moneys. In that way the HMRC will get much of their money back. Hence the “Pyrrhic” victory. It would be deliciously ironic to see Captain Ipswich suddenly realise that he had just done himself out of the best part of 4 million quid by winning a tax case!

But RTC will no doubt explain why I have got this wrong when she returns.

From my readng the loans were deemed to have emanated from the club and not the trust – the trust was a failed trust – and so its role cannot be that of an offshore EBT but merely a functionary of the club. If that is the case then the irony is complete. Murray and Rangers could have called these in years ago – wiped out the debt and had a wee cash sum to keep the club competitive. I do hope that my interpretation is right. it would be deliciously ironic if Murrray destroyed the club by not treating his “loans” as real loans when by so doing he could have resolved all of the debt issues arising.

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easyJamboPosted on9:23 pm - Nov 22, 2012


iceman63 says: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:15
The bizarre scenario of Mr Ogilvie – uncolour coded – I think he’s Red but I am probably wrong
=======================================
Ogilvie was definitely not Mr Red who was identified as a Tax specialist employed by Murray. More likely to be someone like Ian MacMillan, Group Tax and Pensions Manager at Murray International Holdings Ltd.
————————————————————————
Re your point about the MSM reporting the key extracts.

It is utterly damning of the MSM that they chose not to publish the key extracts relating to rangers behaviours with regard to reporting these to the SFA – and the deliberate nature of withholding the side letters – concede by all – and their deliberate obfuscation and obstruction of HMRC in the course of their duty.
========================
As someone pointed out earlier. In the Mure judgement (para 120), RFC’s undoing in the SPL’s undisclosed payments investigation will actually have come from their own QC, Andrew Thornhill.

Mure comments as follows:

Mr Thornhill submitted, the employee should be taxed not on the emolument but on the benefit. It was irrelevant, he continued, whether the Remuneration Trust benefit was contractual. He conceded that where it derived from a (footballer’s) side-letter it was contractual, but not in the cases of bonuses paid to employees of other Murray Group companies.

Basically, Thornhill was only concerned about minimising the tax liability, arguing that Loans cannot be treated as payments or emoluments. It was immaterial to him whether the loans were funded from contractual or non contractual arrangements for the purpose of his argument to the FTTT.

The fact that he conceded that the side-letters were indeed contractual should be sufficient to have RFC hung by the short and curlies by Lord Nimmo Smith come Jan/Feb.

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twopandaPosted on9:28 pm - Nov 22, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says: at 19:35

C/Pasted this list to a spread sheet – applied filters blah etc – could play around more but, anyway
70 there – totals near enough – 44.3m
6 – Director-ish- 11- Mangers/Coach/Docs/ Assist – and 53 Players
Reportedly 108 active – 81 players – 27 other employees
MSM listing [think aligns with BBC] missing 38 total from FTT data – about 35% [27 players – 10 others] 38?

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on9:31 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Just a thought:
Say I’m a Trust,dishing out all this cash which someone has given me.Remember,legally that’s what happens.
In this case MIH gave Trident trustees all this cash,giving up any rights to the ownership of said amounts.That has passed to the Trustees(independent of course) who dish it out as they see fit.
I’ve 2 questions regarding this.

1.Why would a company give up control of the best part of £50m,never to see it again,if it could,I assume,just arrange employee loans itself?.
2.If the Trust got into financial difficulties,could it recall the loans as technically the money belongs to them?.

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AgrajagPosted on9:32 pm - Nov 22, 2012


iceman63 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:17

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

In effect, if the trust failed, then the loans were through it, rather than by it.

So the lender was the club, not the trust. making the recipients debtors of the club, rather than the trust.

Making the money (all of it) repayable.

The club would never have collected, BDO may well.

Like I said there is still seems to be confusion in relation to this.

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on9:46 pm - Nov 22, 2012


twopanda says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:28

torrejohnbhoy says: at 19:35

C/Pasted this list to a spread sheet – applied filters blah etc – could play around more but, anyway
70 there – totals near enough – 44.3m
6 – Director-ish- 11- Mangers/Coach/Docs/ Assist – and 53 Players
Reportedly 108 active – 81 players – 27 other employees
MSM listing [think aligns with BBC] missing 38 total from FTT data – about 35% [27 players – 10 others] 38?
———————————————————————————————–
Just about fits with the reports of over 30 agreed to be liable.
Some will be MIH employees.
One is “A Good Night Out”

Who else?.
Sir Walter of Cardigan.How about King or maybe Paul Murray.they were directors after all.
all suggestions welcome 😆

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Danish PastryPosted on9:48 pm - Nov 22, 2012


zoyler says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:26
8 0 Rate This

I hope Danish Pastry won’t mind if I make a comparison with a case in the US. If I remember correctly the dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case over the election of Bush The Simple in Florida highlighted how the conservative members of the Court went against their previously expressed views and inclinations on federal involvement in state law to get their man into The Big White Hoose!
—————

Oh, I get it. Well, if you think it was me who removed your post comparing the tax decision to a failed trial of protestant terrorists in NI, it wasn’t. I’m not an admin or mod. I gave you an honest opinion about why I felt it was inappropriate on a blog like this. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. But I do agree with you regarding Taysider’s post.

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Madbhoy24941Posted on9:53 pm - Nov 22, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says:

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:31

____________________________________

The trust cannot get into financial difficulties as it has no overheads other than arranging the loans, the costs of doing this are paid by the company making the deposits. They are also paid a sum of money for doing the job and as they completey control all funds after the deposit, they also gain interest.

The key question for me is this: Just how independant is the trust? It is afterall a business making money, who owns it?

MIH, Trident, Ticketus investers, Sevco investers….. One in the same?

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Not The Huddle MalcontentPosted on9:56 pm - Nov 22, 2012


liveinhop says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:44
2 1 Rate This
is this odd?

This message has been generated in response to your request to monitor the
following company:

Company Name : THE RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB P.L.C.
Company Number: SC004276

The following form/document(s) have been filed for the above company and are
available to order from our Companies House WebCHeck service:

Document Type Form
————- —-
Change of RO AD01

……

thought this is called rfc 2012 now and why would they change the registered office?

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

because the registered office is now BDO’s address

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BrendaPosted on9:57 pm - Nov 22, 2012


When the SPL dual contracts investigation commences will they be taking into account any European games, cup games or international games these players with ‘the big loans that didn’t need to be paid back’ participated in or will that be another investigation altogether. And why oh why is Campbell ogilvie’s name not on any of the lists published in the msm of those who received these ‘loans’. He openly admitted to receiving somewhere in then region of £90000 which was described by a ‘sportswriter’ ( I admit to giggling now) as being enough for a good night out!!

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on9:59 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Okay I am way out of my depth with all of this stuff. However can I ask you clever lot a question?

Who gave authority for the trust to pay the loan to a particular player and authorise the amount of that loan. Surely there was not an open ended agreement that any player could ask for any number of loans and for any amount. Would there not be someone at RFC(IL) who would have to authorise and monitor each application and amount?

Or am I wide of the mark?

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expectinrainPosted on10:01 pm - Nov 22, 2012


madbhoy24941 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:53

—————————————————-

Trident is an interesting one. The original trust operator (Equity?) was prevented from continuing with the (mal-)administration that MIH seems to have wished for, by the Jersey regulator (not always renowned for its strictness, but in some areas quite focused on potential international reputational issues). Odd then that MIH were apparently able to reject Equity’s demands for a more tightly-run operation, and find an alternative, Jersey-based trust operator to continue things as before.

Here is another ‘what if?’ for MIH to ponder – what if they’d decided to stick with the original operator? But another question is raised: why were Trident apparently allowed to operate in exactly the way the Jersey regulator had just prevented their competition from doing?

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Not The Huddle MalcontentPosted on10:01 pm - Nov 22, 2012


madbhoy24941 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:53

The key question for me is this: Just how independant is the trust? It is afterall a business making money, who owns it?

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

what would be funny is that if just after RFC was liquidated, the TRUST decided to call in all the loans

after all, it is THEIR money

and WHO from RFC would be able to stop them? RFC are no more

All the players might have side letters saying the loan doesn’t need to be repaid – but those letters are with Rangers – not the trust, and I’m sure the courts would rule against the players claims – given that the FTT have just confirmed they ARE repayable loan

wouldn’t be funny if some greedy trust manager though – i could call in £49M here, stick it in my own bank and feck off!

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zoylerPosted on10:02 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Hi Danish Pastry – I was not aware that my earlier post had been removed – maybe your reference to it will now have to me removed as well!! It was merely intended to highlight how perverse the decision in this case was and did not see it in anyway as being inflamitary

My reference to you minding was just a gentle jocous ‘dig’ – no harm or offense intended

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ordinaryfanPosted on10:08 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Torrejohnbhoy says: Just about fits with the reports of over 30 agreed to be liable.
Some will be MIH employees.
One is “A Good Night Out”

Who else?.
Sir Walter of Cardigan.How about King or maybe Paul Murray.they were directors after all.
all suggestions welcome

……………………………………….

So it all points to missing names = those where liability was not contested.
So Sally and Walter Myth appear to be recipients of payments through tax evasion.
Very dignified.

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SeniorPosted on10:08 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Agrajag,

‘If it’s a loan then in theory you pay that all back. Not a proportion, all of it’
_______________________________________________________________
Correct me if I’m wrong (it hasn’t happened yet!) but if they haven’t paid the loan back then it would be considered a gift and that in turn would trigger gift taxes or as it is called here Capital Gain Tax, circa 40%?

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twopandaPosted on10:10 pm - Nov 22, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says: at 21:46
twopanda says:at 21:28
torrejohnbhoy says: at 19:35
C/Pasted this list to a spread sheet – applied filters blah etc – could play around more but, anyway
70 there – totals near enough – 44.3m
6 – Director-ish- 11- Mangers/Coach/Docs/ Assist – and 53 Players
Reportedly 108 active – 81 players – 27 other employees
MSM listing [think aligns with BBC] missing 38 total from FTT data – about 35% [27 players – 10 others] 38?
———————————————————————————————–
Just about fits with the reports of over 30 agreed to be liable.
Some will be MIH employees.
One is “A Good Night Out”
Who else?
Sir Walter of Cardigan. How about King or maybe Paul Murray. they were directors after all.
all suggestions welcome
___

Suggestions ? – ok – must admit was not fussed about the whos or whoms – sort of overview thing. Sorry deleted the sketch spread sheet TJ. – but if one did it again with an annual /year filter and then considered the FTT investigation range – I think that went to 2008 – and that only players in the last couple of years – you could certainly discount a few `names` from the RFC MIH side of things – might help 😉

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campsiejoePosted on10:10 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Once again, Sevcovians and their cheerleaders are trying to blame HMRC for the demise of RFC(IL), accusing them of delaying the FTT and backing RFC(IL) into a corner

The opposite is true, and when you read the findings it seems that MIH and RFC(IL) continually obstructed the investigation
In fact, I seem to remember RTC hinting that Thornhill had deliberately stalled and extended the Tribunal

Far from being to blame for the delay it appears that HMRC were the ones being frustrated at the lack of urgency shown by those who lodged the appeal
Is it just possible that instead of acting the goat, and co-operating, RFC(IL) could have survived ?

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coineanachantaighePosted on10:11 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Danish Pastry says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 17:21

Is what an independent Scotland will look like?
—————————————————-

I don’t know. Maybe. But it is what non-independent Scotland looks like. Maybe we’d be better forgetting this kind of comment and concentrate on doing something to stop it regardless of union or non-union? We can start by keeping the spotlight on it and trying to embarrass the powers that be into doing a little.

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Bill1903Posted on10:16 pm - Nov 22, 2012


I think martybhoy is an orc is disguise.

If the NUCLEAR button had existed it wouldve been pressed by now of that im sure

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on10:17 pm - Nov 22, 2012


expectinrain says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:01

madbhoy24941 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:53

—————————————————-

Trident is an interesting one. The original trust operator (Equity?) was prevented from continuing with the (mal-)administration that MIH seems to have wished for, by the Jersey regulator (not always renowned for its strictness, but in some areas quite focused on potential international reputational issues). Odd then that MIH were apparently able to reject Equity’s demands for a more tightly-run operation, and find an alternative, Jersey-based trust operator to continue things as before.

Here is another ‘what if?’ for MIH to ponder – what if they’d decided to stick with the original operator? But another question is raised: why were Trident apparently allowed to operate in exactly the way the Jersey regulator had just prevented their competition from doing?
======================================================
Hypothetically speaking,what if a chairman of a scottish steel and property empire,also the owner of one of the “worlds biggest” football clubs had offshore accounts on Jersey,a holiday home on Jersey,even entertained family, friends, business connections including members of the local business community,hell even the chosen few from the MSM got an occasional invite.
What if said chairman was unhappy with the way a Trustee based in Jersey was administering his Trust Fund and just happened to mention it in passing whilst entertaining the cream of Jerseys financial circle.
Someone may get the wrong end of the stick!
hypothetically speaking,of course.

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ordinaryfanPosted on10:22 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Not The Huddle Malcontent says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:01
what would be funny is that if just after RFC was liquidated, the TRUST decided to call in all the loans

after all, it is THEIR money

and WHO from RFC would be able to stop them? RFC are no more

All the players might have side letters saying the loan doesn’t need to be repaid – but those letters are with Rangers – not the trust, and I’m sure the courts would rule against the players claims – given that the FTT have just confirmed they ARE repayable loan

wouldn’t be funny if some greedy trust manager though – i could call in £49M here, stick it in my own bank and feck off!

………………………………

Wouldn’t surprise me if that was part of the scam and Murray had his fat fingers in that pie as well.

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iceman63Posted on10:27 pm - Nov 22, 2012


@ senior 22.08

I don’t think it’s a gift – my understanding is an “employee loan” and as such is liable to be paid back with interest – but is non taxable.Of course my understanding is limited
_______________________________________

@ Now old and Grumpy –

Right on the mark I reckon – that was the crux of the argument – RFC were dictating how the loans were paid out who got them and what they got them for – hence they were not “discretionary” loans determined by independent trustees as EBT’s had to be.The FTTT explicitly denounced the management of the Trust in this regard. I think the decision of the majority of two has re-designated them to be “employee loans” which can be reclaimed by the employer ( in this case the liquidatoron behalf of the creditors) with set rates of interest.

The 38 uncontested EBT’s – 27 players – if true – couple with the admission in the tribunal that they had hidden the side letters from the SFA – has Rangers bang to rights. So a bill for 19 million or thereabouts ( see not guilty at all!!!) and an admission of serial cheating and rule breaking – a strange victory. Methinks the MSM are going to look really really stupid over this.

King still tax liable in SA – a curious rehabilitation then

The calls to halt the SPL investigation absolute desperation. Playing at least 27 illegally registered players , and possibly all of those who received EBT’s

Interesting reading tonight !

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expectinrainPosted on10:30 pm - Nov 22, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:17
Hypothetically speaking… [edit[
What if said chairman was unhappy with the way a Trustee based in Jersey was administering his Trust Fund and just happened to mention it in passing whilst entertaining the cream of Jerseys financial circle.
Someone may get the wrong end of the stick!
hypothetically speaking,of course.

——————————————————-
I think said hypothetical chairman could simply have moved his business if he’d wanted to; and if he had clout, hypothetically, to affect the regulator’s severity or lack of it, could presumably have applied that in order to continue with the original trust provider rather than have the upheaval of moving. So it seems a roundabout way to switch provider, if the hypothetical chairman had so desired. Perhaps, hypothetically again of course, one trust company might have been known to be better connected with Jersey high heid yins than another, and so that could have been a factor when choosing how to respond to the first trust company’s desire for stricter terms… But it’s all getting a bit, er, hypothetical, innit?

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ClashCityRockersPosted on10:40 pm - Nov 22, 2012


I think TSFM should invite James Traynor to do a blog. Thus we will be informed that the Earth is indeed flat and Columbus took a wrong turn, Ibrox is the centre of the universe and that David Murray dangles berries that are golden.

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SeniorPosted on10:40 pm - Nov 22, 2012


BTW the more I dissect these findings the more fascinating they become.
How come the majority decision commands approx one third of the document and the descenting voice approx two thirds. Either the original draft was nobbled or the two learned gentlemen were lazy, bordering on flippancy.
I venture in the fullness of time that lady, who was not for turning, will have her say.
The original draft would be very interesting, somewhere in the region of three hundred pages.
I find it well nigh incredible that the two learned gentlemen based their findings on verbal testimony, which, in their own words, they called obstructionist, and questionable whereas the good Lady based her conclusions on the the written statements submitted, as it should be.Of course the paper trail is much more revealing than an emotional verbal testimony.
In conclusion I will say this Lady has gone some distance in restoring my rather sceptical faith in the judicial fraternity.

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AuldheidPosted on10:41 pm - Nov 22, 2012


iceman63 says:

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:27

Have not read the FTT but if the nature of the trust payments was redesignated by the FTT to make them really repayable then it is fireworks time. However before lighting any blue touch paper I would want to be sure a redesigantion took place.

On both FTT and SFA decisions what was and is killing them was the possibility of an uncontestable decision that they used illegal means to pay players to such an extent they would be forever stigmatised OFFICIALLY as cheats.

That the verdict was not so clean cut allows them to dispute that they cheated, ignoring all other salient factors like the ebts they did admit were used illegally or the huge unpaid debt they ran up to win trophies but does not carry an official stamp.

What now terrifies them is that the Nimmo enquiry will look at the SFA/SPL registration rules, look at the reasons for using ebts (to gain an advantage according to Rangers themselves) look at the documentation and decide that players were not only not properly registered but that Rangers hid the additionality and did not seek to clarify with the SFA whether the full amounts should have been registered or not.

It all depends on the value of the contract provided to the SFA and the full amount of remuneration a player received. The additionality cannot be ruled out because the FTT deemed it a loan. For footballing purposes that decision should have been made by the SFA under the principles of football rules, not tax ones, and the SFA were never given the opportunity. They now have it and must make it.

Whether titles will be stripped or not as a consequence is not what they fear so much as an official decision that they cheated to get an advantage. Taking titles away will be a permanent reminder of their behaviour and it is being exposed as we all suspect them to be – cheats – that will really hurt.

It also explains their campaign to have the Nimmo enquiry dropped.

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ekt1mPosted on10:42 pm - Nov 22, 2012


In reading all the posts since the Tribunal report was published, I have zeroed in on RFC(il)s Andrew Thornhill QC.He has in my opinion worked hard to clear any and all MIH employees (non footballing) of tax avoidance, and left all the footballing employees hung out to dry by admitting that sideletters some players had were contractual. LNS must consider all of this when his Commission sits.

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AgrajagPosted on10:45 pm - Nov 22, 2012


campsiejoe says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:10

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

That’s my reading.

It was Rangers (as was) who blocked the enquiry, didn’t produce documents requested, and did everything they could to stall the initial investigation.

It was Rangers (as was) who did everything they could to stall the tribunal and prolong it as long as possible.

If anyone is to blame for Rangers’ demise it was Rangers themselves.

Having said that, given that they never had the money to pay any assessment that was hardly surprising. They have been fecked financially for years, and some of us have been saying it for years. They spent money they didn’t have and that has come home to roost.

The tax issues were only a part of that. Rising debt levels, sans the tax issues, and failed share issues would have done for them anyway. If anything the tax problems have only masked that.

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on10:45 pm - Nov 22, 2012


expectinrain says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:30
——————————————————————————————————
Not arguing with you.Under normal circumstances normal rules apply.However this was a tax avoidance scam and normality was not on the agenda.Keeping info under the table,hidden from the public eye was important.Business carried out with a nudge and a wink,not in the open.Brown envelopes,not bank transfers.
Who knows what else.

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midcalderanPosted on10:46 pm - Nov 22, 2012


campsiejoe says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:10

…. Is it just possible that instead of acting the goat, and co-operating, RFC(IL) could have survived ?
————————-
Absolutely correct campsiejoe. A deal could have be done within a few years of the HMRC enquiry commencing in 2004 and RFC could have at that time taken stock of the validity of the EBT scheme and put an end to it.

The big problem for RFC however was they had too many high earners on the books so how could they continue to fund their wages if everything the players was due was subjected to PAYE & NIC in order to arrive at the previously agreed “netto”.

A further problem would be that they would have to unload expensive players and would no longer be able to sign new players of significant quality.

How could they explain this to the supporters and reconcile it with the “for every £5” boast?

As Bamber would say, looks like as case of “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.

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goosyPosted on10:46 pm - Nov 22, 2012


I make no apology
2012 was the year that Old Firm games died forever
I haven`t missed them one little bit
On the contrary
Its been very refreshing to play in a league of gentlemen where the game is usually won by the best side on the day
Wonderful
Absolutely wonderful

And the best bit is

It will go on forever

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ekt1mPosted on10:54 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Looking back at posts, EasyJambo at 21:23 says it all much better than me.

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ddmc999Posted on10:55 pm - Nov 22, 2012


ekt1m says: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:42

Yes because for MIH employees there are no side letters or the danger of a side letters being discovered, for them the EBT scheme was applied correctly even though morally tax avoidance is wrong. Thornhill like all good QC’s won’t lead evidence that could come back to bite him.

As were starting to realise the devil is in the detail, I havent finished it yet page 83, but it’s no victory, except for the MIH execs, with the exception of Mr Red, if he was so obstructive why didn’t HMRC use their powers to start a criminal investigation & apply for a warrant to seize records ?

Who is Mr Scarlet & where are the mysterons ?

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campsiejoePosted on11:02 pm - Nov 22, 2012


It is absolutely galling, but not surprising, that apart from blogs like TSFM, all of the negative parts of the report are being ignored, and the MSM and Sevcovians will shortly begin their attempt to airbrush them from the findings

Obviously, just like the much vaunted “history”, they only recognise and discuss the favourable comments, not that in truth there are too many of those
All of them, including Murray Johnston, and all of the old guard and ex-players now feel so empowered by this curate’s egg, that they feel able to demand retribution and recompense for their transgressions

As a company I once worked for was told, you may have acted within the strict interpretation of the law, but you most certainly did not act within the spirit of the law
Given what has happened over the last few days, this seems very appropriate

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Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75)Posted on11:02 pm - Nov 22, 2012


A lot of wishful thinking here tonight regarding BDO calling back the loans. It’s not going to happen I’m afraid.

Rangers paid the remuneration into the trust. The players are the beneficiaries of the (sub)trust(s). The player instructs the trustee to lend them an amount from the trust fund. This amount is usually identical to the amount of promised remuneration (as stated by Dr Boon). The trust is legally completely at arms length from Rangers.

The two learned gentlemen were of the opinion that the loan can be called back by the trustee at any time or at death. Strictly speaking, and in law, this is true, notwithstanding the hazy understanding of Ms Crimson, the trustee. Rae and Muir were of the opinion that upon death, the beneficiaries’ family, now as the beneficiaries themselves, would recall the loan, and thus reduce the dead players estate for inheritance tax. Afterwards they would be free to make themselves a new loan, or buy property etc with the trust fund.

A trust is a perpetual device. The only drawback are the annual fees to the trustee which are around 2 to 3 grand a year. Income Tax and NICs only crystalises when the trust is unwound or the monies paid out of it. The beneficiary would be hoping for an limited term liability or amnesty.

EBTs in general, and this rangers one in particular, make a sham out of trust law – which can have benign uses. However there is some legal merit – in a technical sense – of the view Rae and Muir took. However, if their ruling does stand, and I would like to see it rigorously challenged, then BDO/oldco have no more claims over those loans than do you or I.

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easyJamboPosted on11:20 pm - Nov 22, 2012


ddmc999 says: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:55

Who is Mr Scarlet & where are the mysterons ?

Here are a couple of items that may help you identify Mr Scarlet

http://www.2ndyellow.com/2012/channel-4-rangers-evidence-ebt/

(Look for the shredding request)

……. and from Dr Poon’s judgement

73. The episode itself suggests that what was agreed as salary increase was to be renamed as discretionary bonus in order that it could be processed as a trust payment. The gesture of Mr Scarlet passing the letter containing his contractual entitlement of a salary increase to be shredded was symbolic of this process of re-naming an agreed contractual entitlement. Furthermore, when Ms Cambridge asserted that she could not ‘put [his] salary increase through the trust’, Mr Scarlet said he ‘challenged this with Ms Cambridge and said this was not what was to be done’. From the context, it would appear ‘what was to be done’ was to put the intended salary increase through the trust as non-contractual discretionary bonus, ‘as [Mr Scarlet had done] with players, coaches and more recently Mr Burford’ (per Mr Scarlet’s email of 18/12/2003). The salary increase episode for Mr Scarlet was not an isolated incident, it would appear to be a recognised practice within the organisation, to convert what was understood by the parties to be a salary increase into a trust payment; it was a 20 rehearsed procedure, a ‘what was to be done’ in a salary increase situation.

It should also be possible to identify Mr Indigo from the two sources as the recipient of an email from Mr Scarlet.

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AgrajagPosted on11:25 pm - Nov 22, 2012


midcalderan says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:46

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

Well said Sir.

Chapeau.

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ddmc999Posted on11:26 pm - Nov 22, 2012


re why Trident was more amenable as trustees, in the findings in fact of Dr Poon she states
“The Murray Group’s main Trust and the 100 sub-trusts taken over by
Trident was the largest group of trusts managed by Trident, ‘the only one of this size’,
according to Mrs Crimson”. Also “She said at one point: ‘most of the remuneration trusts that
we have are Baxendale Walker advised clients. ”

Equity weighed up the pros & cons, ditching old rangers as they wouldnt tighten up the appearance of the sham, as baxendale-walker said something along the lines of I built a bus it’s not my fault they tried to drive it like a ferrari.

So to my untrained eye Trident was specifically set up or engineered to play ball with all the baxendale tax avoiders as the previous mob was getty fidgetty. it does make the decision seem strange given that the majority agreed that it was set up correctly even though the administration & record keeping of the trust was lax, the evidence she gave was formulaic, admitting that the loan applications weren’t vetted properly, sub trusts created & money immediately paid into them & magically a loan request for that exact amount, no credit checks, who gives a loan for real & doesnt do a credit check, thats the arguement accepted by the majority that these loans were real, there are so many aspects of evidence that Trident were just playing the role of trustees it’s evident they exercised no discretion & responded to every whim of MGH.

What I don’t quite grasp is what obstacles are in Trident’s way if they decide to call in the loans & Mrs Crimson & her gang pocket the money ? , mention was made “The trust indemnity was
“bullet proof” from the viewpoint of the trustee, and had been so deliberately drafted
by Baxendale Walker to ensure the trustee’s compliance.”
If there are potentially millions of loans due & remember these players were well paid & definitely worth the sheriff officers / debt collectors chasing, what’s to stop Trident pulling a fast one ?

Is Mr Blue Al Johnson ? I thought I’d read he was a CA

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manandboyPosted on11:32 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Success you know brings confidence.

I wonder how confident CO and his gang are that they can get a result in the SPL investigation.

With title stripping and expulsion at stake, I’d wager that even now, CO is beavering away, concocting another devious plan to reverse our expectations in February.

So I guess that we won’t be seeing or hearing very much at all from CO over the next few months.

CO and Jack make quite a team.

Soon to be disbanded I think.

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AgrajagPosted on11:36 pm - Nov 22, 2012


ddmc999 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:55

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

Just a small point, but one worth bearing in mind, at the time this all seems to have really started (2004) HMRC didn’t exist. It was the Inland Revenue.

Their powers, and the way they went about their business was very different from HMCE. The IR were much more into the “chaps sitting round a table discussing stuff” way of working. HMCE were more into the “let’s get a warrant and seize the records, we’ll argue it in Court”.

The IR method was country club and compromise, the HMCE method was more adversarial and they actually had the power to back that up.

They didn’t merge, to form HMRC, until 2005.

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expectinrainPosted on11:39 pm - Nov 22, 2012


ddmc999 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:26

[edit]
…Equity weighed up the pros & cons, ditching old rangers as they wouldnt tighten up the appearance of the sham…

So to my untrained eye Trident was specifically set up or engineered to play ball with all the baxendale tax avoiders…
—————————————

Thanks, very interesting. This scenario seems plausible for Equity and Trident; but it leaves me wondering where the Jersey regulator was. If they were willing to pressure Equity, why not Trident, I wonder?

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rabPosted on11:41 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Did murray insist on MIH lawyers handling the FTT because he knew his line of defence potentially hung the players out to dry in terms of BDO trying to reclaim the money. His defence has also hung the old club out to dry in terms of the Nimmo Smith enquiry.

And still he is hailed in sevconia as a visionary.

If you ignore the predictable hysteria of the msm on the “victory” and uncle jacks co-ordinated and long since prepared PR mush, then what you are left with is a pretty damning report on rangers usage of a bastardized EBT scam, designed and covered up to deliberately mislead HMRC and the SFA.

Now consider that this is the redacted version, edited to be as soft as possible, then you have to wonder just how bad the other (possibly) 150 pages were.

I also noticed that murray claims “rangers have been destroyed” and charlie hasn’t accused him of bogitry yet. Whats up charlie, are you realising that you will never be afforded the unfettered adulation reserved for murray, and when sevco burns ,you and your new club will quickly be left to your own devices.
As an aside, my mate gave me a brief rundown of bill ( he’s a big rangers man ) leckies article today in which he attacks RTC. It must be wonderful to be 100% accurate and non agenda driven throughout your career (cough cough).

Clown.

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ddmc999Posted on11:44 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Agrajag says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:36

I knew the’d merged but didn’t know the in’s & out’s of it, thanks

AllyJambo, nice 1, bartin main, lol & the bloke with the same name as an ex centre half.

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john clarkePosted on11:52 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75) says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:02
-‘However there is some legal merit – in a technical sense – of the view Rae and Muir took’.
——–
I agree your point about the liquidators not being able to call in the loans-if indeed they were loans.

Dr Poon’s view, as I read it, is essentially that the Trust was a sham.

It had been cleverly devised to have the outward appearance of a Trust, with a wholly independent Trustee.

But plenty of evidence was adduced to show that the Trustee’s independence was non-existent.

The Trustee acted merely as an agent to give effect to what were instructions from the Club, with no attempt to seek independent verification of the reason for the requested loan, the ability of the ‘protector’ to repay any loan requested, or with any regard to current interest rates and repayment terms.

Rae and Mure got themselves hung up on the ‘fact’ that the appearances of a ‘Trust’ format were , however inadequately, present. And although the deficiencies of the Trustee were clearly evidenced, they were irrelevant.

In their view, there was ( no matter how badly administered) a Trust. They therefore accepted that The Trust granted loans, which were not ‘payments’ or ’emoluments’ that were wholly in the control of the applicant.

In law, Rae and Mure misdirected themselves on the interpretation and application of the key judicial precedents.

In layman’s terms, these clearly say that if a bunch of crooks sets up a scam which involves some ‘rules’ ,and the appearance of adhering to these rules by showing wee bits of paper, it is still a scam; the bits of paper that purport to show that a ‘payment’ is a ‘loan’ are worthless.

The ‘loan’ is actually, in real commercial life, and no matter how artful the pornographer architect of the scheme and duped knights of the realm may have been, a PAYMENT, an emolument, in return for services rendered, such as playing football.

And as such is taxable.

I will say nothing about Rae and Mure other than that I think they are very poor lawyers.

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midcalderanPosted on11:54 pm - Nov 22, 2012


Agrajag says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:36

ddmc999 says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 22:55
========================
Just a small point, but one worth bearing in mind, at the time this all seems to have really started (2004) HMRC didn’t exist. It was the Inland Revenue.
——————————-
Argajag, in general terms your view is correct I’m sure – no, certain – that the shambolic merger of the Revenue with Customs would not have had any bearing on the conduct of this enquiry. Although they both merged, I believe both sides never really got together as an effective investigative single unit and it may still be the same today.

I accept that the old Revenue investigators were more relaxed in face to face investigation situations when it suited them but as far “chaps sitting round a table discussing stuff”, can I ask if you were you ever in a room where an old fashion Revenue serious fraud investigator was in full flow? It could be fun! 

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on12:00 am - Nov 23, 2012


might be OT but relates to HMRC an RFC(IA)

How low can some people go.

Stephen Fry is tweeting to ask people to sign up for the following:

Hours to stop Uganda’s gay death penalty. The Ugandan Parliament is set to pass a brutal law that could carry the death penalty for homosexuality. If they do, thousands of Ugandans could face execution — just for being gay.

In response to this he got the following tweet:

RK ‏@sherbetdab66
@stephenfry The whole #rangersfamily will sign it if you retweet http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42143 please.
Retweeted by Stephen Fry

Which is a e-petition for the following:

HMRC confidential info leak

Responsible department: Her Majesty’s Treasury

We the undersigned request that questions from the government are asked of HMRC over their handling of the ” investigation” into Rangers Football Club.

Over the last three years, HMRC have pursued Rangers Football Club for ” unpaid” taxes in relation to several EBT schemes operated by the club. These schemes were present in all of the clubs annual accounts for the years in which they operated.

The conclusion on the three year investigation was found on 20/11/12 stating that Rangers Football Club were indeed not liable nor had broken any law.

Throughout this ” investigation” there have been several leaks of confidential information relating directly to sensitive information about the club, the employees and the current state of play within the ” investigation”.

The source of this leak must be identified and dealt with accordingly due to the serious breach of protocols and completely undermining the role in which HMRC are charged facilitating.

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forweonlyknowPosted on12:03 am - Nov 23, 2012


Apologies, Link to page thing maybe not in keeping … I’ll paste ;

——————————————————————————-

I’ve been lucky (or unlucky) enough to have been able to find some time to read through sections of the FTTT ruling document.

There is a lot in it and I don’t blame the media for not publishing every paragraph ‘word for word’ … there are very few saddos like me out there would be that interested. However what is annoying is the blatant cherry picking going on with regards to the ‘Headlines’ over the last day or so. Even the good part for Old Rangers is, in many ways, quite damning. Not that this is the time for any more negativity for the fans of those who play from Ibrox stadium. Seize the good news lads … Run with it for as long as possible.

With regards to the things that were going on (based on the document obviously) at that club/company there are far too many things to comment on just now. The reason for writing this part, is that the MIH/RFC seem to have “won” their appeal (not on all of them may I add) based on some evidence not actually existing.

When HMRC requested information in relation to the EBTs there appears to be no evidence available, basically ‘mislaid’.

On the flip side … on files seized unexpectedly from the Club, side-letters were there.

Below are some extracts from the document that made me shake my head in disbelief. Are the Main Stream Media reading this document …. Maybe they are just taking their time? ;

By the way poor wee Shred-it Glasgow Ltd. one of the many creditors wont get their £444!

————-

The auditors were also told that the paperwork for Mr Purple was ‘mislaid’, (and therefore was not available for the auditors to inspect).

————————–

In the course of their enquiry there had been concealment from HMRC of many relevant documents. In footballer employment files volunteered to HMRC sideletters had been removed apparently. However, in files seized unexpectedly from the Club side-letters were present.

————————–

The conduct of the Murray Group in general, and Mr Red in particular, in the course of HMRC’s enquiry went beyond the description of ‘a lack of candour’. It would be judicial to conclude that it had been obstructive and obscurantist, and there is evidence of active concealment of documents, as the Respondents submit. Equally, to describe Mr Red as ‘somewhat defensive’ in giving his sworn testimony (para 10 MD) would be an understatement. On more than one occasion, Mr Red had attempted to mislead the Tribunal. The following paragraphs give examples of how Mr Red had made certain assertions or denials in an attempt to create an impression of the nature and operation of the Trust, which was commensurate with his own understanding of what would be the legitimate scope of its use as a tax-saving scheme.

————————–

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.

————————–

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.

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AgrajagPosted on12:07 am - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:54
====================================

You can certainly ask, old bean. I couldn’t possibly comment.

I would however point out that a few chaps from City of London Police, with a search warrant and the right attitude secured more evidence in relation to this matter (an aside to them) than “old fashion Revenue serious fraud investigators” did in years of what they incorrectly described as investigation.

Harsh words round a table, which quite frankly was the IR’s farcical attempt at investigation, was not suited to dealing with proper liars chats and thieves. Much as they thought it was.

I mean that as no offence. It was people working in a World outwith their ken.

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midcalderanPosted on12:16 am - Nov 23, 2012


john clarke says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:52

Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75) says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:02
-’However there is some legal merit – in a technical sense – of the view Rae and Muir took’.
——–
I agree your point about the liquidators not being able to call in the loans-if indeed they were loans.
Dr Poon’s view, as I read it, is essentially that the Trust was a sham.
john clarke says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:52

Johnbhoy75 (@Johnbhoy75) says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:02
-’However there is some legal merit – in a technical sense – of the view Rae and Muir took’.
——–
I agree your point about the liquidators not being able to call in the loans-if indeed they were loans.
Dr Poon’s view, as I read it, is essentially that the Trust was a sham.
————————-
I’m with you on this JC. Dr Poon determined it was a sham, you and I and everyone else on here thought it was a sham.

That being the case, why did HMRC engage a QC who thought, as stated at Para 188:
“….Mr Thomson accepted that both the trusts and loan arrangements were not “shams”

I’m baffled. Can one of you legals guys help with this.

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doontheslopePosted on12:23 am - Nov 23, 2012


Wow! I think tonight made TSFM a worthy successor to Rangerstaxcase.

Superb.

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midcalderanPosted on12:28 am - Nov 23, 2012


Agrajag says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:07
1 0 Rate This
midcalderan says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 23:54
====================================

You can certainly ask, old bean. I couldn’t possibly comment.

I would however point out that a few chaps from City of London Police, with a search warrant and the right attitude secured more evidence in relation to this matter (an aside to them) than “old fashion Revenue serious fraud investigators” did in years of what they incorrectly described as investigation.

Harsh words round a table, which quite frankly was the IR’s farcical attempt at investigation, was not suited to dealing with proper liars chats and thieves. Much as they thought it was.

I mean that as no offence. It was people working in a World outwith their ken
——————————–

We are clearly comparing Revenue investigators from another era. I apologise, I can’t believe I’m this old.

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john clarkePosted on12:31 am - Nov 23, 2012


nowoldandgrumpy says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:00
‘..might be OT but relates to HMRC an RFC(IA).’
—–

I think that Charles and Sally and Walter- No- Names and the general run of traditional Rangers’ fans will be horrified and quick to distance themselves from this cretin’s reply to Stephen Fry’s tweet.

As do I.

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AgrajagPosted on12:35 am - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:28

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

To be fair I have have always been of the opinion that the description “Revenue investigator” was oxymoronic but that’s not important right now.

People desperately needing to compromise, and collect revenue never investigated anything properly.

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midcalderanPosted on12:52 am - Nov 23, 2012


Agrajag says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:35
0 0 Rate This
midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:28

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

To be fair I have have always been of the opinion that the description “Revenue investigator” was oxymoronic but that’s not important right now.

People desperately needing to compromise, and collect revenue never investigated anything properly.
—————————-
Come on now Agrajag, I hope you’re not starting to exhibit the traits – please don’t take offence – of Mr Red here. HMRC do a good job under difficult very circumstances. You are entitled to your view which I’m sure you have formed from personal experience of HMRC.

I can however assure you that the old Inland Revenue and the current HMRC had/have excellent investigators.

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john clarkePosted on12:57 am - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:16
‘..I’m baffled. Can one of you legals guys help with this.’
—–
I’m not a legal guy, I’m afraid.
But I, too,am also a wee tad concerned that Thomson should have apparently conceded that point.But it may be that even the Revenue’s approach was too narrowly based.

Dr Poon might be light years ahead!

And I firmly resist the temptation to put her picture on the page. Nothin’ but trouble doin’ that! 🙂

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bogsdolloxPosted on1:00 am - Nov 23, 2012


campsiejoe says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 20:59
Agrajag @ 20:52

That is precisely the point
Why would money you have worked for, your own money, only be available to you by way of a loan
We all know the answer, don’t we

As far as recovering these “loans”, that is a non starter
RTC said many times that when the money was paid into the trust, RFC(IL) lost all claims on it

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Correct.

What 2 of the FTT members decided was that most of the time the EBT made loans to players and in a some cases it was “disguised remuneration”. The dissenter said they were not loans but remuneration as argued by HMRC.

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midcalderanPosted on1:03 am - Nov 23, 2012


john clarke says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:57
0 0 Rate This
midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:16
‘..I’m baffled. Can one of you legals guys help with this.’
—–

And I firmly resist the temptation to put her picture on the page. Nothin’ but trouble doin’ that!

———————–
You seem to have a thing about lady legals JC. I assume Mrs JC is not watching!

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john clarkePosted on1:25 am - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:52
‘I can however assure you that the old Inland Revenue and the current HMRC had/have excellent investigators.’

Sadly, (and I speak with a degree of regret that I joined the wrong department!) some at least of the Inland revenue chaps ( and they were at the time all chaps!) that I had dealings with, had only one ambition: to get to be tax consultants in the private sector.

That is, to take the then excellent training (and publicly paid for qualifications) provided to inland revenue staff of appropriate ability, work for a few years as inspectors of taxes, make their contacts in the outside world, and then jump across as tax consultants with ‘inside knowledge’ ( Mr Red, was it?). Or a meringue?

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doontheslopePosted on1:40 am - Nov 23, 2012


One of the delicious ironies of all of this is a group of people demanding that the names of three individuals be made public – it wasn’t just, lets call him ‘Mr Yellow’, – who wanted the names out in the public domain. He was following instructions.

To see these same (former) bastions and stalwarts of the public’s right to know, cowering behind colours-for-crooks in a comedy parlour game for children, is so fitting. Karma. Some of your bairns will now be able to understand what you have been babbling about for the last year.

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john clarkePosted on1:48 am - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 01:03
You seem to have a thing about lady legals JC. I assume Mrs JC is not watching!
—–
Happily, Mrs JC knows that she is not threatened by women as young as the ‘legals’. She’s more concerned about the wee pensioner tea-dances and the lassie( now old woman) that I had a wee thing with in 19-oatcake! 🙂

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Charlie BrownPosted on1:52 am - Nov 23, 2012


I often wonder if what we are witnessing isn’t just as simple as the upper echelons of the class system protecting their own?
For all his rough edges Sir David Murray is still a ‘chap’ that was educated at Fettes College Edinburgh as were a lot of other important chaps of his generation namely one chap that became the longest serving Prime Minister since Thatcher.
It often struck me that perhaps the reason that MIH and RFC were lent money on such relaxed terms was because the chaps lending the money were indeed good ‘chaps’ themselves?
Perhaps it is so with FTT panel judges? If you or I had operated such a tax scam we’d be nailed to the floor for it but perhaps it more difficult to believe that a ‘chap’ with other ‘chaps’ of the right sort leading his defence woudn’t perhaps have in full consideration to perhaps have operated a scheme as opposed to a scam albeit a bit sloppily but still they are a ‘chap’ afterall?
Just saying likes!

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twopandaPosted on1:54 am - Nov 23, 2012


john clarke says: at 23:52
[Edit]
In law, Rae and Mure misdirected themselves on the interpretation and application of the key judicial precedents.

concur jc
I thought Dr Poon`s Introduction very clear. And that this was purposely a ruling on a – specific – case
I think they`ll appeal

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ordinaryfanPosted on2:20 am - Nov 23, 2012


twopanda says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 01:54
2 0 Rate This
john clarke says: at 23:52
[Edit]
In law, Rae and Mure misdirected themselves on the interpretation and application of the key judicial precedents.

concur jc
I thought Dr Poon`s Introduction very clear. And that this was purposely a ruling on a – specific – case
I think they`ll appeal

…………………………..

Any idea how often HMRC lose at this stage in an appeal and how often do HMRC appeal verdicts that go against them?
I know every case is different, particularly this one, but are usually aggressive with appeals?

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john clarkePosted on2:21 am - Nov 23, 2012


Charlie Brown says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 01:52
‘..Perhaps it is so with FTT panel judges? If you or I had operated such a tax scam we’d be nailed to the floor for it but perhaps it more difficult to believe that a ‘chap’ with other ‘chaps’ of the right sort leading his defence woudn’t perhaps have in full consideration to perhaps have operated a scheme as opposed to a scam albeit a bit sloppily but still they are a ‘chap’ afterall?’
—-
There is a multitude of examples of criminal behaviour being dismissed as ‘university high jinks’, when similar behaviour by boys from Craigmillar or Possilpark has seen them going to jail or a young offenders institution.

the ‘chaps’ in whatever kind of sphere will look after other ‘chaps’

It is indeed the very philosophy and bedrock of a certain building- trade association .

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ordinaryfanPosted on2:26 am - Nov 23, 2012


Charlie Brown says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 01:52
3 0 Rate This
I often wonder if what we are witnessing isn’t just as simple as the upper echelons of the class system protecting their own?
For all his rough edges Sir David Murray is still a ‘chap’ that was educated at Fettes College Edinburgh as were a lot of other important chaps of his generation namely one chap that became the longest serving Prime Minister since Thatcher.
It often struck me that perhaps the reason that MIH and RFC were lent money on such relaxed terms was because the chaps lending the money were indeed good ‘chaps’ themselves?
Perhaps it is so with FTT panel judges? If you or I had operated such a tax scam we’d be nailed to the floor for it but perhaps it more difficult to believe that a ‘chap’ with other ‘chaps’ of the right sort leading his defence woudn’t perhaps have in full consideration to perhaps have operated a scheme as opposed to a scam albeit a bit sloppily but still they are a ‘chap’ afterall?
Just saying likes!

………………………………………………….

Scotland is a very small country, the elite is tiny.

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ordinaryfanPosted on2:46 am - Nov 23, 2012


There is a multitude of examples of criminal behaviour being dismissed as ‘university high jinks’, when similar behaviour by boys from Craigmillar or Possilpark has seen them going to jail or a young offenders institution.

the ‘chaps’ in whatever kind of sphere will look after other ‘chaps’

It is indeed the very philosophy and bedrock of a certain building- trade association .

…………………….

Sorry totally OT but reminds me of a case only about 2-3 months ago in Hampstead London. Educated well to do teenage boys attempting to rob members of the public in the streets with an imitation weapon.
The Judge played it like it was all ever so comical, they walked, it infuriated me,if those boys were from a council estate they would have been locked up for a couple of years. .

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ordinaryfanPosted on2:55 am - Nov 23, 2012


KDS
sligobhoy 10 minutes ago Post #5229

Considering retirement
Group:
Snr. Member
Twitter Name
@sligobhoykds
Hope Hector is paying closer attention to Scottish QC’s !

And Scottish MP’s and MSP’s !
……..
Barcabhoys prediction set in motion?

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stevensanphPosted on3:16 am - Nov 23, 2012


guys… the recent posts are verging on accusing people of bias and conspiracy theory. TSFM asked us to refrain from such posts.

Come on… we’re better than this. Let’s stick to factual examination of the FTTT, rather than speculate on who is chums with who…

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Humble PiePosted on4:31 am - Nov 23, 2012


Hmmmmm!

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/ogilvie-emerges-from-the-shadows.19496696

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Lord WobblyPosted on5:17 am - Nov 23, 2012


Roddy Forsyth confirms that SDM could have resolved things with HMRC years ago if he hadn’t been so obstructive, offers support for the RTC blog and wonders if RTC himself/herself might be a disillusioned Rangers (deceased) fan.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/rangers/9697247/.html

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