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

Charlie BrownPosted on7:29 am - Nov 23, 2012


stevensamph i’ll admit my posts do suggest an uncomfortable possibility that wealth and social status might still afford some preferential or lenient judgements from the legal system than say taxi drivers or small businessmen might be afforded? It sees to me that the 2 chaps on the panel looked more favourably on the arguments presented by a knight of the realm chap and the leading QC in his field chap? The FTT returned such a conflicting assessment of the evidence and legal argument presented and indeed it was the non-chap on the panel that returned such scathing parts of the verdict.
It’s almost as if the panel was split down gender and social background lines?

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mocticalPosted on7:29 am - Nov 23, 2012


These are the Bluedo players I’ve got so far:

Mr Red – Donald McIntyre (I think)
Mr Yellow – a member of the seniormanagement team of Murray International Holdings
Mr Turquoise – a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers
Mr Green – a senior member of the management team of the Premier Property Group
Mr Violet – Alex McLeish
Mr Grey – Rob Segal?
Mr Black – David Murray
Mrs Crimson – a director of Trident trustees
Mr Silver – a Spanish football agent who acted for several Rangers players
Mr Gold – former Rangers player, now assistant coach for a national age-group football team, only person not to take out a loan
Mr Purple – Neil McCann
Mr Blue – a senior member of the Group’s management team, currently a senior member of the management team of Premier Hytemp
Mr Indigo – John McLelland
Mr Magenta – Andrew Dickson
Mr Scarlet – probably Martin Bain, possibly AJ

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manandboyPosted on8:52 am - Nov 23, 2012


When Murray and gang have finished with their celebrations over the FTT ‘ victory ‘, they will turn away from the public gaze, look at one another and engage, without a word, in a mutual understanding that the con was successful.

Not even Messrs Mure & Rae don’t know it was a con.

Everybody in the whole country knows.

When you are innocent, you have nothing to hide.

Throughout the FTT, the Murray gang tried to hide everything.

Rangers/Sevco aren’t fooling anyone – except themselves.

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TartawulverPosted on8:53 am - Nov 23, 2012


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
—————————————————–
It is a bit of a tactical risk to raise this idea surely, because if someone was to put forward a call for signatures for a petition asking for debate of some relevant aspect of ex-Rangers’ approach to tax avoidance, for example, it would in all likelihood garner many more votes than this will.

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finchleyflyerPosted on9:09 am - Nov 23, 2012


Presumably, consequences of the FTTT decision will be:-

1) Baxendale Walker’s phone will be going mental
2) Every SPL club’s salary bill will increase by about 40% next season in the stampede to register EBTs

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Robert CoylePosted on9:10 am - Nov 23, 2012


TW (@tartanwulver) says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 08:53
0 0 Rate This
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
—————————————————–
It is a bit of a tactical risk to raise this idea surely, because if someone was to put forward a call for signatures for a petition asking for debate of some relevant aspect of ex-Rangers’ approach to tax avoidance, for example, it would in all likelihood garner many more votes than this will.
————————————————–
Celtic should now come out with a public statement offering full support to David Murray and oldclub rangers in their quest for a full public inquirey into everything that’s went on.

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doontheslopePosted on9:12 am - Nov 23, 2012


Given the result of the FTTT, I wouldn’t be asking whether Lord Nimmo Smith has enough evidence to find Rangers (IL) guilty of SFA/SPL rule breaking.

I’d be asking if he has enough to justify letting them off the hook. That seems to have been the modus operandi of two members of the FTTT.

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jimlarkinPosted on9:14 am - Nov 23, 2012


another msm rediculous article basically claiming rangers ‘won’ the recent case -v – hmrc and that it was unfair that the spl scheduled into the 5way agreement that an investigation will take place and that the most severe penalty of the independent commission can recommend the stripping of titles.
do these clowns never learn?

richard wilson – i don’t believe it !

so much for accuracy in the “reporting” of the issues?

what about mr red – who was evasive and missleading and who possibly influenced other witnesses to do the same.

what about the concealment of documents.
documents that were UNCOVERED only because of a police raid [on another matter]

what about the cases that rangers EVENTUALLY agreed they WERE GUILTY of
[before the end of the trial]

what about the cases the judges DID find rangers GUILTY of ?

if the loans were not a financial transaction related to their employment and therfore – a benefit – why would the employer agree to such financial transactions, if they were not benefits related to their employment?
as they were financial transactions related to their employment, they should have been disclosed to the sfa.

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coineanachantaighePosted on9:18 am - Nov 23, 2012


Has anyone sent @Stephen Fry a link to the FTT report with hints as to the best bits to look at? Might get the truth more widely known. Don’t want to swamp him. On other hand if no reply to this within the hour I’ll have go myself.

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Robert CoylePosted on9:28 am - Nov 23, 2012


Phil mac

http://www.philmacgiollabhain.ie/grown-up-reporting-required/#more-3351

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coineanachantaighePosted on9:31 am - Nov 23, 2012


It occurs to me that though that if tweeting Steven Fry should do it to tweet not connected directly with his appeal tweet. If folk think not a good idea to do any kind of tweet to him about this, then TD me and I’ll wait a bit longer to see the result.

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Danish PastryPosted on9:35 am - Nov 23, 2012


monsieurbunny says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 09:18
0 0 Rate This
Has anyone sent @Stephen Fry a link to the FTT report with hints as to the best bits to look at? Might get the truth more widely known. Don’t want to swamp him. On other hand if no reply to this within the hour I’ll have go myself.
———

Stephen Fry? Norwich City fan I believe. This line he uttered in Blackadder seems entirely on the ball though 🙂

“General Melchett: If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

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ClashCityRockersPosted on9:38 am - Nov 23, 2012


I have this image in my head. Rangers fans and certain churnalists are now Tressells Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. They are cheering on the wealthy for shafting the poor via tax scams. In fact they seemingly are ready to do “battle” on behalf of the wealthy and engage the system and force it to apologise, force it to desist any and all investigations. Truly bizarre in 21st century Scotland.

Which brave journalist would be willing to be “Owen” and explain to these impoverished philanthropists what really happened with the FTTT result.

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TartawulverPosted on9:39 am - Nov 23, 2012


Robert Coyle says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 09:10

—————————————————–
It is a bit of a tactical risk to raise this idea surely, because if someone was to put forward a call for signatures for a petition asking for debate of some relevant aspect of ex-Rangers’ approach to tax avoidance, for example, it would in all likelihood garner many more votes than this will.
————————————————–
Celtic should now come out with a public statement offering full support to David Murray and oldclub rangers in their quest for a full public inquirey into everything that’s went on
————————————————–
No need for Celtic to do anything, and in fact that would be equally divisive and counterproductive.

As I understand it, anyone can propose a petition, the website is a government channel for encouraging debate. My point was that supporters of MANY clubs would vote for such a petition, outnumbering the Rangers supporters, which is why it was a tactical error of them to push this idea.

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oldconewtricksPosted on9:44 am - Nov 23, 2012


Testing

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midcalderanPosted on9:47 am - Nov 23, 2012


john clarke says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 01:25

Rate This
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, ………….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 meringu
————————-
I agree JC that some jumped ship but most didn’t. On another theme though, here’s some detail out there in the public domain.

Mr Red, witness at FTT(T)
Mr Maggenta, witness at FTT(T)
Mr Scarlet, witness at FTT(T)

Ian Macmillan left Murray International Holdings Ltd in August 2011. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ian-macmillan/1b/947/91b

Donald MacIntyre “has won his legal bid to have £300,000 of the club’s assets frozen pending a breach of contract case.” October 2011.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15353713

Donald Macintyre and “Rangers FC have agreed to settle a £300,000 compensation claim for damages brought by the football club’s former finance director.” December 2011.
http://local.stv.tv/glasgow/286391-rangers-fc-settle-300000-damages-claim-with-former-director/

Martin Bain “has launched legal action against Rangers, claiming an alleged breach of contract, and the extent of the breakdown in his relationship with the Ibrox hierarchy” June 2011.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/suspended-bain-prepares-to-challenge-rangers-in-court.14128794.

Martin Bain “has abandoned his £900,000 damages claim against the football club.” March 2012.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-17547717

Does anyone know the identity of Messrs, Red, Magenta & Scarlet?

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Robert CoylePosted on9:56 am - Nov 23, 2012


Great piece from BRTH,letting rip into FTT decision.

http://broganrogantrevinoandhogan.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-hoover-the-runaways-and-a-judicial-nod-is-as-good-as-a-wink-on-the-rangers-tax-case/

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bluPosted on9:56 am - Nov 23, 2012


forweonlyknow says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 00:03
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.
=======================================================================
forweonlyknow – I’m afraid there are too many ifs and buts in there and most of the ‘evidence’ you cite comes from the minority opinion of Dr Poon. You, I and player Purple “know” that is was tax evasion rather than avoidance but that isn’t enough.The Tribunal decision was reached on the basis of evidence presented to it – the three judges didn’t gather any evidence. The decision was that HMRC had not proven that the EBT scheme set up by Rangers and run by Trident was wholesale payment of salaries and therefore subject to NIC/Income Tax. I hate the fact that someone earning £16,000 (ballpark figure) each week decides that he doesn’t want to pay the same tax as the people paying his wages – some of whom scrimp, save and borrow (with appropriate interest rates) to buy season tickets and club merchandise, but it’s apparently compliant with the tax regime in place at the time the player was at Rangers (although player Purple and Rangers may have some questions to answer).

The matter doesn’t end there of course as It may be appealed by HMRC and the UTTT may arrive at a different conclusion when considering the same evidence. There has also to be a resolution both with HMRC (Income Tax/NI due) and the SPL (details of payment provided in player registration). Finally, if HMRC’s view is, as presented by Mr Thomson and detailed by Dr Poon, that Rangers deliberately withheld and obscured evidence they should have used the many powers available to them to seize that evidence. I’d give them some leeway on that though because they may have been tied up investigating 41,000 other tax avoidance rackets.

The club of queen, country and David Murray acted immorally of that there is no doubt. Give that man a gong.

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wottpiPosted on10:06 am - Nov 23, 2012


So the way I see it

The law has decided on a 2:1 majority that based on the interpretation of the law a number of loans from the EBT scheme were not considered as being emoluments/earnings that PAYE and NI was required to be paid.

However………………….
1) The oldco Rangers appear to have conceeded that a number of loans, for whatever reason, were not administered in a similar way to others and this tax is due. (Amount as yet unknown)
2) Similarly a number of limited cases considered by the FTTT are due for tax.
3) Despite much talk of loans having a repayment period or schedule, there is no sign of any money being paid back. Nor isi it clear if tax is due on the cheap loans as being ‘benefit in kind’
4) It would appear that the player’s whole package including the loan were used when making insurance claims, thus raising the question of possible insurance fraud as a false income/loss of income was declared/used in claims.
5) A person on the board decided their own bonuses without recourse to anyone else.
6) A person who was an Inspector of taxes was employed as a game keeper turned poacher to run the EBT scheme.
7) This same person appers to have withheld documents from HMRC and refused to have meetings with HMRC in the course of their enquiries. Some doucements only provided after Police involvement
8) When questions were asked by the first trustees they were replaced by a more sympathitic group, who appeared to merely rubber stamp all applications
9) Highly paid individuals with six an seven figure salaries were welcomed into the EBT scheme while lowly paid staff and young players were excluded and had to pay full PAYE and NI.
10) In helping to delay the HMRC enquiry the club failed to resolve its tax affairs in a manner that discouraged potential buyers
11) Having debts to a ‘not so friendly as the last crowd’ bank and, as it now appears, a range of creditors the club was sold off to a spiv for £1.
12) The spiv then realised the thing was a basket case but instead do cutting costs decided to avoid paying tax
13) Club into administration owing millions and now currently being liquidatied
14) New version of the club now in DIV 3 and being run by another bunch of spivs who have a tendency to tell porkies and are after all of the supporters cash.

What a fine institution. What tradition. Just what this country needs.

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HirsutePursuitPosted on10:11 am - Nov 23, 2012


Agrajag says:
Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 21:32
6 1 Rate This
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.
=========================
The ultimate trust beneficiaries are nominated by the employees – usually their wives and/or children. The money paid by the club is theoretically (and legally) held in trust for those nominated people – to be paid on the death of the employee.

On his death, outstanding loans and interest are classed as a debt on his estate. In reality, the nominees can use the “debt” in their trust fund to mitigate some or all of the inheritance tax due on the employee’s estate.

Unless they were shown to be a sham. the legal position is that the club (bdo) have no interest in the trust funds. Mr Thomson (acting for HMRC) appeared to concede that the trust funds were not a sham.

I think the confusion is because the majority decision made reference in their judgement – and appeared to rely – on the statutory provisions covering employment-related loans. However, the trust loans, as far as I can ascertain, could not be classed as employment related – else the trustees would fail the necessary test to be acting independently of the employer.

This was an important point in that the majority asserted that the overall effect of the EBT arrangements could not trump the statutory provisions that covered each of its elements. It was in this context they referred to the loans as being employment related. Indeed, they referenced, what they considered to be the appropriate sections of the legislation.

It appears to me that this was a mistake.

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broganrogantrevinoandhoganPosted on10:12 am - Nov 23, 2012


Robert Coyle,

Thankyou for the kind words above.

Basically, I would have found in favour of MIH/Rangers had I been sitting in judgement ( Deo Gratias and a word of thanks to all the saints and sinners that I was never inclined to follow that line as a career ).

I think the decison as reached is dead fair and absolutely spot on in its presentation.

Whether there is an argument to say that Poon is actually correct in law?????/

Not sure on that one if the Court/Tribunal is effectively given a joint submission that the trusts and loans were not a sham.

Where both parties essentially agree something– can the court overlook agreed facts and interpretations?

On the other hand– if it appears clear from evidence that the agreed facts are in fact nonsense or are not safe top rely upon– can a court or Tribunal ignore that?

Interesting jurisprudential argument– clearly Dr Poon things that to do so is complete balderdash!

Anyway here are my thoughts so far:

The Hoover, The Runaways– and a judicial nod is as good as a wink on the Rangers Tax Case

http://wp.me/p1G95H-I

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TommyBPosted on10:15 am - Nov 23, 2012


Can someone please point me in the right direction. I’m quite keen to get one of those non repayable loan thingees. I’ve already tried the two banks that I currently deal with but that product is unavailable from them. I’m quite happy to sign whatever piece of paper is necessary, I even have my own shredder. Anyone help?

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wottpiPosted on10:19 am - Nov 23, 2012


From my list above I think No4 is most interesting.

While the oldco is toast it would be nice to see various insurance companies get in touch with BDO to get themselves on the creditors list for having paid out too much being claims for certain players with EBT’s may indeed have been based on incorrect figures for loss of wages being the loans are loans.

Just saying like 🙂

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stmileyPosted on10:31 am - Nov 23, 2012


Just finished the epic BRTH Blog – will find time on my night-shift to read it again, it’s that good.

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FinlochPosted on10:42 am - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH

That wasn’t just honest dispassionate analysis.

It was Brilliant, honest dispassionate analysis.

And it was free.

I accept the bias of the MSM red tops and they will never seek the truth but the BBC should be beating a path to your door.

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tomtomPosted on10:43 am - Nov 23, 2012


Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 10:12

Robert Coyle,

Thankyou for the kind words above.

Basically, I would have found in favour of MIH/Rangers had I been sitting in judgement ( Deo Gratias and a word of thanks to all the saints and sinners that I was never inclined to follow that line as a career ).

I think the decison as reached is dead fair and absolutely spot on in its presentation.

Whether there is an argument to say that Poon is actually correct in law?????/

Not sure on that one if the Court/Tribunal is effectively given a joint submission that the trusts and loans were not a sham.

Where both parties essentially agree something– can the court overlook agreed facts and interpretations?

On the other hand– if it appears clear from evidence that the agreed facts are in fact nonsense or are not safe top rely upon– can a court or Tribunal ignore that?

Interesting jurisprudential argument– clearly Dr Poon things that to do so is complete balderdash!

Anyway here are my thoughts so far:

The Hoover, The Runaways– and a judicial nod is as good as a wink on the Rangers Tax Case

———————————————————————–

Therein lies the problem with the law. Commonsense is very seldom applied, possibly for good reasons, but when decisions like this are made you can only wonder why we bother. I don’t know what the collective noun is for them but maybe a “mockery of lawyers” fits the bill.

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easyJamboPosted on10:44 am - Nov 23, 2012


My colour coded list of witnesses with info from the FTTT report

Mr Red (Ian MacMillan) – senior member of the group’s tax function
Mr Yellow – senior management team of Murray International Holdings
Mr Turquoise – a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers
Mr Green – a senior member of the management team of the Premier Property Group
Mr Violet (Alex McLeish) – a former Rangers Manager (manager at the time of the Famagusta matches)
Mr Grey (Blair Morgan) – solicitor and agent of Mr Violet
Mr Black (David Murray)- his role within the Group is in providing strategic guidance to the individual companies, a group director, had been involved in “signing and selling” 350-400 players in 20 years of involvement at Rangers, also owns a villa in France (sub-trust 1)
Mrs Crimson (Rosemary Marr?)- a director of Trident Trust, Jersey
Mr Silver (Jorge Lera) – a Spanish football agent who actet for several Rangers players
Mr Gold (Giovanni Van Bronkhorst) – former Rangers player, now assistant coach for a national age-group football team, only person not to take out a loan
Mr Purple (Neil McCann) – a Rangers player and client of Mr Grey, now works in the media, £500k payment into trust at transfer to another club, joined Rangers in 1999 left in 2003 (sub trust 13)
Mr Blue (Donald Wilson) – a senior member of the Group’s management team, currently a senior member of the management team of Premier Hytemp
Mr Indigo (John McClelland) – a board member of Rangers since 2000, initially non-exec (Subtrust 46)
Mr Magenta – worked in football administration at Rangers, started negotiating player contracts in 2004
Mr Scarlet (Martin Bain) – a senior official at Rangers (Mr Shred it)

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billyj1Posted on10:55 am - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH
Thank you very much for taking the time to write such an excellent summary for us lay persons. Since the very beginning of RTC your contributions have been looked forward to, and much appreciated by me if not by most on this blog.
Hang on in there though.
I have a feeling that there is much more mileage in this yet.

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SmugasPosted on10:56 am - Nov 23, 2012


Excellent work BRTH.

TSFM, I think in fairness the next blog genuinely should be a blue response (and I don’t mean sweary words). An informed blue response mind.

WOTTPI – yes I picked up on the same point. Dr Poon described at length the co-incidental payment level incurred should one of the players get injured long term. I also note BRTH’s highlighting the stage in the middle – would such a claim have actually been made, fomrs signed etc by a director, or the player? If it was a director, would it have been one whom also claimed that such loans did not need to be declared to football authorities? Delicously, could said conflicted director currently hold a position of power?

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Banners to the BreezePosted on11:04 am - Nov 23, 2012


Stick Jabba, KJ, CY, HK and BL in a room with 100 chimpanzees – give them 104 (Hugh can’t type) typewriters and a 25 year deadline … and let’s see if they could they come up with anything as enjoyable and as informative as the latest BRTH blog.

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on11:13 am - Nov 23, 2012


Posted on Friday, 23rd November 2012 by Joe McHugh

Charles Green newsBDO have issued a statement which could delay Charles Green’s proposed £20 Sevco share issue.

With the First Tier Tribunal in the big tax case finally delivered BDO are ready to begin their task of identifying how the club crashed out of business- and recovering the best possible deal for creditors.

BDO have issued a statement promising to recover all possible monies for creditors.

While there are a number of areas that they will have to forensically investigate the £5.5m sale of the club assets to Green’s consortium is likely to come under scrutiny particularly with Green going on record claiming that the new club have assets rated at £80m.

In a statement for the Daily Record, Malcolm Cohen, the company’s business restructuring partner and Joint Interim Liquidator, said: “As Joint Interim Liquidators, our main objective is to maximise returns to creditors.

“By investigating the reasons for the company’s failure, we will better understand the avenues available to enable the recovery of all possible monies for the creditors.

“Only after we evaluate all the options available to us will the Joint Interim Liquidators be able to comment on what approaches we may pursue.

“This is a complex case with many potential areas for us to investigate.

“Throughout the liquidation, and once our appointment is ratified, we will be working closely with the Liquidation Committee and the appropriate bodies to assist us with our investigation.”

Green announced his intention to raise £20m from a share issue on October 12 but has so far failed to publish a prospectus.

It’s likely that any question mark or investigation into the ownership of the assets would need to be stated in the share prospectus.

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doontheslopePosted on11:18 am - Nov 23, 2012


St Mungo

Keevins once defended himself and his succulent cronies stating that they were football writers who knew nada about financial/tax/law matters. We slaughtered them.

I think we are owe them an apology. From the guff I’ve read in the last 48 hours, he was telling the truth. They clearly are a collection of ignorant fools after all.

(I wonder how long it will take for the FTTT ruling to appear on line with the quaint colour codes removed and the actual names of those involved inserted instead. It would make things much more visible and immediate.)

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jimlarkinPosted on11:19 am - Nov 23, 2012


allegedly chuckle green has a meeting with sdm today.

on the agenda

1 – buying the building next to ibrokes

2 – asking for a Loan

3 – asking, is it time to change the colour of his name

4 – asking for sdm if he wants ‘back’ on the board since his “win” as non-exec director

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on11:27 am - Nov 23, 2012


Latest from tom English:

http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/sport/tom-english-we-need-to-know-what-happened-when-and-how-it-happened-and-whether-it-was-dodgy-1-2542656

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easyJamboPosted on11:37 am - Nov 23, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 11:27

Latest from tom English:
=====================
The article in your link is from two months ago.

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AgrajagPosted on11:42 am - Nov 23, 2012


HirsutePursuit says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 10:11

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

Thanks for that.

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torrejohnbhoyPosted on11:51 am - Nov 23, 2012


easyJambo says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 11:37
—————————————————————————–
Sorry,
Never noticed.Link posted on Twitter a few minutes ago and I went with the date at the top.
Naughty Step for me!

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beatipacificiscotiaPosted on12:20 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH, what an excellent piece. There is reference again to 35 cases either accepted or found guilty, but again no reference to where that came from and what sort of money we are talking about. I am personally very cautious about saying too much about it until I have seen this information.

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ordinaryfanPosted on12:42 pm - Nov 23, 2012


doontheslope says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 09:12
18 1 Rate This
Given the result of the FTTT, I wouldn’t be asking whether Lord Nimmo Smith has enough evidence to find Rangers (IL) guilty of SFA/SPL rule breaking.

I’d be asking if he has enough to justify letting them off the hook. That seems to have been the modus operandi of two members of the FTTT.

……………………………..

I know it gets lots of posters backs up when things like this are posted. However I can’t help but look at the tonnes of circumstantial evidence. How can one group of people get away with so much? It is extremely unlikely at best.
Nimmo-Smith will not give RFC a public flogging, it will not happen. Just as BDO will not be going to go in trailing a blaze of justice.
Nimmo and BDO are both part of Scotland’s small society. Anyone with Google can see how intertwined all of those involved are through business dealings and memberships of Old Boys Networks.
Nimmo and BDO’s head honcho are both members of the ICAS, as is David Murray, Hodge and many, many others in this tangled web.
I don’t know if they know each other personally, but it is certain that they move in the same circles, and likely that at the very least they have shared the same room space, and know someone who would know the other.
That on its own might not be enough to shout conspiracy for most, but it certainly raises interesting questions for me anyway.

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iceman63Posted on12:48 pm - Nov 23, 2012


I think TSFM should simply post up BRTH’s blog on here – if BRTH is amenable – a clear dispassionate account. Breathtaking in its clarity!

My own confusions and misreadings have been exposed – that’s good.

The trusts despite having no controls and being blatantly misused were deemed by HMRC themselves to be legal; so therefore the tax was not liable.One wonders though, why they acknowledged this given the facts about the governance and blatant abuse of these trust by MIH. Perhaps the judgement given in this peculiar way is to make that very point to HMRC themselves. It was their acknowledging of the legal reality of a sham trust that forced the verdict to be as it was.

On a wider note, I think all of this shows why no tax breaks – however well intentioned – should ever be sanctioned by governments- crooks and shysters and accountants will always use them for purposes for which they were never intended and stretch the legal position to breaking point.

Aiding business and growth and entrepeneurship – all of which are valid and necessary must, in future be done in ways which do not allow any undue offsetting of tax in any way.Grants would be better or possibly subsidies per new employee but something tied to the activity of the business and not to taxation. As a society we should demand that from our government at least. I think we need a single tax rate for all personal and company taxes and very few allowable deductions in the tax code. A simple allowance on small amounts up to a reasonable living wage level and then no other tax breaks at all.

Simple and unavoidable taxation for all – would put a lot of clever if questionably ethical accountants out of business though.

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AgrajagPosted on12:50 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH

Excellent. Thanks for the effort.

In other considerations I know of a Judge in the Court of Session who effectively said to a QC (I paraphrase) “I can rule on this, based on what I have heard, but you wouldn’t like it and I don’t really want to have to. I’ll give you til’ this afternoon to think about it”. All parties were satisfied when the QC decided to withdraw there and then.

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angus1983Posted on12:50 pm - Nov 23, 2012


ordinaryfan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 12:42

Nimmo-Smith will not give RFC a public flogging, it will not happen. Just as BDO will not be going to go in trailing a blaze of justice.

——

Whilst hoping otherwise – that we’d seen the beginnings of a new era of “enlightenment” in Scotland (and Dog knows the chance was there) – I suspect with sadness that you’re entirely correct.

As you were, everyone. Forget that the last year happened. The “plebs sordata” remain in their place.

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coineanachantaighePosted on1:04 pm - Nov 23, 2012


OK guys enough TDs for me to throw that idea out the window.

Still I wonder – MSM and the Sevco supporters are going to be pushing the idea that “we wuz robbed” out into the wider world. What can we do to counter this?

Who should we contact and how and in what manner? (Well the latter isn’t really a question, obviously politely but with facts backed up with evidence and good argument).

I fully expect to see someone on and English news or sports channel repeating the pro-Murray/Rangers line.

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TommyBPosted on1:10 pm - Nov 23, 2012


That they havev scored a small victory may be true. However it appears that the cost of their victory is far greater than any penalty that could have been inflicted upon them. The phrase “shooting youself in the foot” springs to mind. Evading/avoiding tax and simply ignoring all other bills has given them the glorious victory of playing in the bottom tier of scottish football. Even if they had managed to pay the bills due in full, then I doubt if the amounts would total what will be the eventual costs to them, totalled up over the next couple of years in lost revenue. Victory. I don’t see it.
The only victory that they have is one of semantics.

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tomtomPosted on1:11 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Not connected to football so slightly off topic but let me share with you an involvement I had with the judicial process that, for me, highlights how stupid and crass our laws can be.

Around 20 years ago I sat on the jury for an attempted murder case. The judge, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, informed us that, as the accused was pleading guilty, he would simply need to hear some evidence before passing sentence.

There where two Crown witnesses, the two victims, who had both been stabbed, taken to hospital, stitched up and had now recovered. Now, from what you read so far this should be an open and shut case. Spend ten minutes listening to the PF and then off home for the day. But no. When the witnesses came to give evidence they both stood up and claimed to have no recollection of ever being stabbed, despite one of them having 13 stitches to a neck wound. The PF stood up and told the judge she was withdrawing the case (or whatever legal jargon you use), the judge thanked us for our time and the defendant walked free.

I suppose the point I’m making/asking is why did he need to hear additional evidence. The accused had plead guilty and should have been given a custodial sentence. Instead he walks out of court, probably to commit further such crimes.

It’s this lack of commensense that really irks me.

Again, sorry for veering off topic but even 20 years later this still sits uneasily with me.

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AuldheidPosted on1:14 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Notwithstanding our fears about Rangers ability to wriggle their way out of any corner…

On Side Letters.

Would players have signed any contract without a side letter? Clearly no or none would have been needed

Could Rangers have risked a no answer from SFA as that would have torpedoed the object of the scheme?

Thus side letters had to be kept from SFA not because they were not about payment but because SFA might say from the outset that they were under SFA rules.

Thus Rangers could not afford to take the risk of asking SFA. In doing so they usurped SFA authority by deciding the matter themselves.

How on earth such an important decision re the nature of ebt payments as the SFA would see them was not referred to the SFA from the outset is unbelievable, unless of course Rangers feared the answer they would get under the principles of footballing fair play the SFA rules are intended to uphold.

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AgrajagPosted on1:20 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRHT

Can I just pick up on one point

“He also pointed out the difference in approach of the Revenue arm and the Customs arm of HMRC saying that the Revenue arm tend to be much more softly softly and said that had this been a VAT case then there was no way that HMRC would have said anything other than that the trusts and loans were fraudulent shams. ” The Vat guys would be much more in your face about the whole thing!”.

HMCE would have done exactly the same as the Police. They would have gone into Ibrox with a Search Warrant and taken all of the records. They woud nt have asked nicely and been fobbed off for years.

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obonfanti88 (@obonfanti88)Posted on1:35 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Fair play to the SPL for not caving in and disbanding the inquiry. I honestly fully expected that they would just hide behind the FTT.

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ianagainPosted on1:41 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH

Superb.

In a marginally related tale and re civil servants swapping coats. I referred to a customs duty case from many moons ago that I was involved in that took 15 years to finalise (at least in law).
During one of the meetings we had at the old investigation branch we armed ourslves with some heavy duty tax advisors (Baker McK) and their, (now our) pet ex commisioner.

During the discussions of classification duty rates and amounts due etc. Our hero brought the whole thing to a halt when he said to the assembled army of customs experts ” I hear what you say but believe me that was not what I intended when I drafted the law. You are mistaken.”
Collapse of case.

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doontheslopePosted on1:41 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Ordinaryfan

It does get frustrating when we are not allowed to use the ‘M’ word on here. One former member of the Rangers(IL) Board has twice publicly referenced a secret society and it was batted down on here as the delusional ramblings of an out of touch fool. Scotland aint like that anymore, they tell us. It was veiled dog whistling, but dog whistling all the same. Why would he do that?

Look through the names connected with the colour codes. Only one name on the list is definitely not a brother and that’s because she’s a sister.

Discredited referees were found to be knuckle-crushers (one still managing to land a job with Uefa even after having been found to be a bogit and corrupt to boot.)

Members of Scottish football’s governance are no strangers to the dark side and if CO aint one I’ll eat my apron. Nobody can have been on the Board at Bad’gers for 27 years and not have been in the Ludge. And what about Longmuir and Ballantyne?

Decision after decision, delay after delay, the breaking of rules, have gone in favour of one team. The exception being the SPL declaring that Rangers(IL) have a ‘prima facie’ case to answer regarding dual contracts. Even that decision will be meaningless if LNS rules in their favour.

I agree that these peepil have to be gone after forensically and exposed for the corrupt individuals they are. However, I hope that when everything comes out in the wash, Scottish freemasonry’s part in all of this will be exposed too. Although I have to say, good luck with that one.

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redetinPosted on1:48 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH

I enjoyed your excellent digest of the FTTT findings.

It seems to me that:

1. There are a number of forums where the circumstances could be examined in more detail. Examples:
– the BDO investigation of the circumstances that led to administration
– the Nimmo Smith enquiry (will he have access to all the documents from the Tribunal?)
– the tax returns of individuals
– reexamination of at least one insurance claim
– the Jersey Courts

2. There are many more potential witnesses than those selected by MIH for the FTTT.

I’m also wondering

Might it be better for certain participants to be looking at voluntary disclosure to HMRC before this goes much further. This might be better for some than leaving the debt to be dealt with by your estate after death.

It was Inspector 1 who in evidence called the trust loans a “sham”. I wonder why the QC Mr Thomson, opined that it was not a sham. 😕

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AgrajagPosted on2:04 pm - Nov 23, 2012


obonfanti88 (@obonfanti88) says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 13:35
1 0 i Rate This

Fair play to the SPL for not caving in and disbanding the inquiry. I honestly fully expected that they would just hide behind the FTT.

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

I’m confused at you thinking there.

If anything the tribunal ruling seems to confirm (to me at least) that the prima facie case identified by the SPL appointed lawyers is correct. That Rangers fielded ineligible players.

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midcalderanPosted on2:15 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Agrajag says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 13:20
4 0 Rate This
BRHT

Can I just pick up on one point

“He also pointed out the difference in approach of the Revenue arm and the Customs arm of HMRC saying that the Revenue arm tend to be much more softly softly and said that had this been a VAT case then there was no way that HMRC would have said anything other than that the trusts and loans were fraudulent shams. ” The Vat guys would be much more in your face about the whole thing!”.

HMCE would have done exactly the same as the Police. They would have gone into Ibrox with a Search Warrant and taken all of the records. They woud nt have asked nicely and been fobbed off for years.
————–
AJ & JC: Ouch!! 🙂

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AgrajagPosted on2:29 pm - Nov 23, 2012


midcalderan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:15

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

As discussed before the former HMCE Investigation was much more adversarial than their counterparts in the IR.

If anything the HMCE chaps were more akin to the Police. Possibly because of some of the matters they dealt for example drug trafficking, money laundering etc. In addition they actually had the powers to do these things. They could apply for and execute search warrants, had the power to detain, charge arrest. The IR chaps did not have these powers and had to get Police Officers to do things like that for them.

But you know this already, methinks.

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jimlarkinPosted on2:38 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Agrajag says:

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:04
obonfanti88 (@obonfanti88) says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 13:35
1 0 i Rate This

Fair play to the SPL for not caving in and disbanding the inquiry. I honestly fully expected that they would just hide behind the FTT.

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

I’m confused at you thinking there.

If anything the tribunal ruling seems to confirm (to me at least) that the prima facie case identified by the SPL appointed lawyers is correct. That Rangers fielded ineligible players

—————————————————————————————————————–

yes, but, they would still have to play out the cherade to make it look like a bonafide investigation.

the ex chairman of oldcorangers – johnston said – they will get a slap on thw wrists.

what happenes to the [wee] teams that play ineligable players or have wrongly signed documents in cup games.
i believe there are precedents set that they have been thrown out of the competition.

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SouthernExilePosted on2:47 pm - Nov 23, 2012


http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/top-stories/arrest-made-for-online-posts-on-rangers-tax-case-1-2653860

Arrest made for online posts on Rangers tax case

A man has been arrested for allegedly posting offensive material about Rangers’ finances

Published on Friday 23 November 2012 14:27

A man has been arrested over alleged offensive online material surrounding Rangers’ financial affairs.

The 37-year-old went voluntarily to a police station in Glasgow yesterday lunchtime.

He was arrested by officers at the national Football Co-ordination Unit after arranging to attend the city’s Helen Street police office, Strathclyde Police said.

Officers said the allegedly offensive material related to the Rangers tax case.

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

Earlier this week, a First Tier Tax Tribunal found in favour of the oldco Rangers, who faced a claim by HMRC in relation to the use of Employee Benefit Trust.

???

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finchleyflyerPosted on2:53 pm - Nov 23, 2012


I made the mistake of looking at the Daily Record online this morning. I only stayed long enough to read a couple of articles, but both confirmed my belief that Scottish football is simply heading back to where it was before. Mark Hateley column was the usual pile of nonsense, centred round the assertion that the Sevco transfer ban should now be lifted. No, I’ve no idea of the relevance of that claim either, but there it was, clearly an opinion that the Record felt the Scottish public ought to hear.

Possibly more indicative of the lack of real change over the last year was the piece about Sevco’s visit to Elgin. The Elgin chairman was beside himself with anticipation about the match, fondly remembering their visit to Ibrox earlier in the season, and the “respect” shown to them during the day. Pathetically grateful just about summed up his attitude. He then went on to emphasise his disbelief about the way oldco/newco had been treated by Scottish football. Green’s PR team could have scripted it, so complete was the indulgence and praise heaped upon The Tribute Act.

(Note to the Elgin chairman – ask Dundee United about “respect” from Sevco)

Despite everything that’s happened, and the full implications of the FTTT, in five years’ time, I expect the landscape of Scottish football to be pretty much what it was before, in terms of the outright dominance of two teams, the obsequious attitude shown to both by all forms of media and football governance, coaches and cars heading from all points of Scotland (and Northern Ireland) to two stadia in Glasgow every weekend (one of which will still ring to the sounds of unacceptable songs), and the national team continuing on its downward trajectory.

I have no confidence now that the SPL commission will find oldco guilty of the dual contracts; not because I don’t think that they members of the panel will not do a totally objective job – simply because, I see that there is now enough grey areas over what may or may not be football payments, despite us all knowing the actuality of the situation.

Furthermore, despite the ardent wishes of many that BDO cause the whole Augean stable of Green’s deal to come crashing down, frankly, I don’t expect it. Things just don’t work out that way. And despite the contributions and input of many learned and professional people on this website and RTC, very few predictions made have actually come to pass. After all, aren’t we still waiting for the “nuclear button” to be pressed? It never really existed, did it?

The almost total lack of reason and humility from the RFC support depresses me beyond belief. Had my team (Dundee United) tried to pull an EBT scam like that and “got away with it”, I would have found it unacceptable, unedifying and beyond justification. There must be many RFC supporters who hate the Starbucks and Amazons of this world for their ability to trade in this country, enjoy its benefits and infrastructures, but not have to pay for any of it. But their support for their club transcends that morality. Well, mine doesn’t.

Anyway, as I see it, we’re just starting back on the road from whence we came. RTC, the diddy spring, Cosgrove & Cowan v The Rest etc will all be an interesting chapter in the history of Scottish football. As far as I’m concerned though, I doubt I will be on that journey. A return to the old status quo is not something I want to witness, and I will do my best to avoid it. The fact that I live in London makes that a slightly easier task.

It’s been interesting, and at times it seemed there was the real possibility of a sea change in Scottish football. But now . . . let’s not fool ourselves that it was anything other than the very temporary turning of the worm.

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olemungobhoyPosted on3:03 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Robert Coyle says:

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 09:56

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Great piece from BRTH,letting rip into FTT decision.

http://broganrogantrevinoandhogan.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-hoover-the-runaways-and-a-judicial-nod-is-as-good-as-a-wink-on-the-rangers-tax-case/

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Outstanding piece from BRTH. Cohesive, erudite, wide ranging and utterly persuasive,

Don’t miss it

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paulmac2Posted on3:06 pm - Nov 23, 2012


SouthernExile says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:47
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Offensive? surrounding finances? How bizarre!

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Peter DPosted on3:13 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BRTH

Thank you..a master class in analysis..

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abcottPosted on3:20 pm - Nov 23, 2012


tomtomaswell says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 13:11
5 1 Rate This
Not connected to football so slightly off topic but let me share with you an involvement I had with the judicial process that, for me, highlights how stupid and crass our laws can be.

Around 20 years ago I sat on the jury for an attempted murder case. The judge, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, informed us that, as the accused was pleading guilty, he would simply need to hear some evidence before passing sentence.

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You can’t find people guilty purely because they say they are.

I have another unrelated question;
How can the non-evidence of side letters be used in this case. Either you found them or you didn’t. The fact that some were found by other agents does not mean that the ones you were hoping to find later also existed.

Also; Why did HMRC not state that the trusts were sham? Surely that should have been the main thrust of their case?

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abcottPosted on3:24 pm - Nov 23, 2012


paulmac2 says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 15:06
2 0 Rate This
SouthernExile says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:47
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Offensive? surrounding finances? How bizarre!

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He just needs HMRC to provide evidence against him and should be in the clear.

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neepheidPosted on4:00 pm - Nov 23, 2012


finchleyflyer says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:53

“Despite everything that’s happened, and the full implications of the FTTT, in five years’ time, I expect the landscape of Scottish football to be pretty much what it was before”

===============
A great post FF, and I share your pain. However just one thing I disagree with is the excerpt above. Our football “authorities” have absolutely no intention of waiting 5 years for normal service to resume. They are currently straining every sinew to shoehorn TRFC into the top flight at the very earliest opportunity, next season would be fine as far as they are concerned.

Having observed the farce of the administration unfold over 6 months, the resurrection of TRFC and the transfer of the SFA share in circumstances that would bring shame on the most corrupt banana republic on the planet, all under the eyes of the court (and in my personal opinion with the complicit assistance of the court), I have lost all faith in the legal and judicial system of this country. And as for the police, it seems that on FF and RM, absolutely anything can be said with complete impunity.

And as regards the “nuclear option”, I totally agree. I’m certainly not holding my breath on that one. Does a nuclear device have a sell-by date? Because this one’s expired quite a while back.

I will watch the coming “reconstruction” with great interest, just to see how brass-necked the establishment chaps can be in their increasingly shameless efforts to serve the interests of TRFC. If anyone is dreaming of Lord Nimmo-Smith dishing out punishments, or action being taken by anyone regarding the obstruction of the Revenue’s enquiries, or BDO reversing the sale to Green, or Strathclyde’s finest actually arresting anyone connected with SDM or RFC, all I can say is enjoy your dream. Reality is going to be a rude awakening.

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coineanachantaighePosted on4:02 pm - Nov 23, 2012


paulmac2 says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 15:06
5 0 i
Rate This
SouthernExile says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 14:47
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Offensive? surrounding finances? How bizarre!
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Yes, when they used that word I thought, “when are they going to start arresting posters on Rangers forums??”

Maybe this is the MSM using their own words rather than the words the police actually used for the arrest? (Or maybe they they heard the word “offence” and thought it meant the same thing?)

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borussiabeefburgPosted on4:03 pm - Nov 23, 2012


http://i46.tinypic.com/s3ht0p.jpg

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goosyPosted on4:11 pm - Nov 23, 2012


torrejohnbhoy says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 11:13

Charles Green news (DR to expats)
“BDO have issued a statement which could delay Charles Green’s proposed £20m Sevco share issue.
With the First Tier Tribunal in the big tax case finally delivered BDO are ready to begin their task of identifying how the club crashed out of business- and recovering the best possible deal for creditors.
BDO have issued a statement promising to recover all possible monies for creditors.”
While there are a number of areas that they will have to forensically investigate the £5.5m sale of the club assets to Green’s consortium is likely to come under scrutiny particularly with Green going on record claiming that the new club have assets rated at £80m.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Hers another thought that might delay Charles Green’s proposed £20m Sevco share issue.
The Green Consortium bought RFC assets from D&P for £5.5m less the value of any players who walked (up to £2.75m).So most likely Green paid no more than £2.75m.
Some of the sale terms were confidential. Thus it is possible that the sale included transfer to Sevco 5088 of certain RFC debts due to Spivs This would mean residual Creditors got a bigger share of the liquidation pot.
It also means the debts due to Spivs were rescued from the Creditor List.
If the floating charge debts of Whyte(£27.5m and Close Leasing( £xm) and the Ticketus ST contract worth £40m were indeed moved under the Sale Agreement then clearly the new business is immediately in debt to the tune of over £67m
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Which takes us neatly to todays BDO statement
I`ve always wondered why Green made a statement claiming that Sevco have assets rated at £80m. I was also puzzled why Green boasted that Sevco was “debt free”.
He could have said nothing.
However
If Sevco have £2.75m of assets revalued to £80m and liabilities valued at something over £67m then it is indeed “debt free” even though the arithmetic is still secret.
Why is it important for Green to have made these two statements?
Well
If you are appealing to thousands of gullible people to invest in Sevco, you have to claim it is debt free. Otherwise people will think their money will go to reducing debt. Particularly if you may be forced by events to disclose a massive debt that you had to take on to “save the club”
We will know on 3 Dec if any Creditors have been removed from the RFC Creditor List
On that date all Creditors of RFC must register with BDO if they want a share of the liquidation pot.

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thebasharmilestegPosted on4:38 pm - Nov 23, 2012


The wording on the BBC site is –

“A man has been arrested in connection with allegations that offensive material had been posted online relating to the Rangers tax case.”

I wonder if it was one of the posters from Rangers Fans Forum who was quoted on here yesterday?

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shooie 1967Posted on4:43 pm - Nov 23, 2012


BROGAN ROGAN The best post ever,I do not post,I only read RTC from the start and now TSFM dare I say it simply the best,and funny with it.

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coineanachantaighePosted on5:21 pm - Nov 23, 2012


The nearest I’ve come to confirmation about the BDO story is these links –

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-could-be-owed-tens-of-millions-1449760

Ah, wait there’s this too:
http://local.stv.tv/glasgow/105870-rangers-crisis-hmrc-look-to-investigate-those-responsible-for-meltdown/

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coineanachantaighePosted on5:23 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Damn no edit function ..but not much difference I suppose.

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easyJamboPosted on5:23 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Elgin v TRFC postponed by Grampian Police as Elgin was believed to have sold too many tickets.

What a nonsense, and doesn’t reflect well on the home team.

http://local.stv.tv/aberdeen/news/202362-police-force-cancellation-of-egins-sfl-match-with-rangers/

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obonfanti88 (@obonfanti88)Posted on5:37 pm - Nov 23, 2012


The first of many postponements for Sevco with winter a comin’ in.

What a shame.

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Robert CoylePosted on5:48 pm - Nov 23, 2012


James Doleman ‏@jamesdoleman
via @nickeardley: Arrest over Rangers Tax case blog material Scotsman understands relates to comment on RTC blog, not blogger themsel.
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coineanachantaighePosted on6:00 pm - Nov 23, 2012


obonfanti88 (@obonfanti88) says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 17:37

The first of many postponements for Sevco with winter a comin’ in.

What a shame.
_______________________________________________

Postponements will affect the other teams more than Sevco – they have an SPL standard ground, remember. (Though I seem to recall there was a problem with the drainage in the past.)

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wottpiPosted on6:02 pm - Nov 23, 2012


Further to my earlier post with regard to possible insurance fraud in relation to wrongly claiming that lost earnings included what the law appears to be saying were now loans, is there any chance that a similar ‘administrative error’ was made by individuals when applying for mortgages and the like.

I note that the majority decision seemed to dismiss Mr Aberdeen’s lack of disclosure of his EBT loan in his voluntary sequestration based on not knowing what legal/financial advice he was given.

However mortgage fraud seems to be pretty clear.

“2.2.1. Types of mortgage fraud

30. The British Bankers’ Association and the Council of Mortgage Lenders define
two categories of mortgage fraud in their 2008 joint best practice note7:

• Mortgage fraud for property – this is usually committed by an individual
to obtain a mortgage on a property they would not otherwise be able to
purchase through, for example, exaggerating their income, or providing false
employment details.

• Mortgage fraud for profit – this is usually perpetrated by a ‘fraud ring’
involving more than one individual. It can have links to serious organised crime.

31. Mortgage applicants can mislead lenders about their income and its source in a
number of ways:
• inflating their income;
• stating they are self-employed when they are not;
• not declaring where income was a bonus or overtime payment; and
• failing to declare poor health or impending redundancy. ”

NOTE EXAGGERATING AND INFLATING THEIR INCOME AND NOT DECLARING WHERE INCOME IS BONUS etc.

Now I am sure people on large salaries may be able to deal in hard cash but there must be a few who borrowed money for a variety of purposes, say for instance a mortgage on a big hoose.

Any guess what they might have put down as their income?
Was it what was on the wage slips or was it the ‘wage slip plus’ figure?
Or did they come clean and mention on the applications forms the tens to hunderds of thousands of pounds they had as loans to whoever was going to give them a further loan.

I know its a bit personal but maybe someone could ask Alex Rae next on SSB? 🙂

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