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

bogsdolloxPosted on2:16 am - Nov 24, 2012


Charlie Brown says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 01:38

something that i find a bit mystifying is the apparent reluctance of any of our clubs to remove the various heads of our football organisations for their ineptitude and mishandling of events over the past year.
How on earth can Doncaster still have the support of the SPL clubs?
How do Longmuir and Ballantyne still command a majority of the SFL clubs?
How do Regan and Ogilvie survive when they are answerable to all clubs?
These guys utterly botched events over the summer as well as tried to connive, bully and deceive and yet every single one of them remains in post to negotiate league reconstruction.
How? Why?
========================================================================

The dust hasn’t settled yet and that’s why no club has moved.

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john clarkePosted on2:21 am - Nov 24, 2012


bogsdollox says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 22:43
‘.BRHT-
“I have been out of the court game for many years now and spend most of my time working away from what might be termed “Legal stuff”— so I am not holding myself out as any sort of expert at all and have no firm thoughts on how to interpret Ramsay and so on..”

So why post a legal analysis in the way you did? Are you familiar with the Ramsay principle and the taxes since.?”
———–
Come, come, bogsdollox!

BRHT has no more need to justify his post than you or I.

He very clearly stated that he does not claim , any more than the rest of us do, to be posting as anything other than an intelligent, thinking person who carefully reads what other people have said, and gives his own reasoned response to, or view of, what they have said.

His reading of Tribunal decisions would naturally, given a legal background, be easier for him than for the rest of us.

His familiarity with the language of the law and the everyday working environment and culture of the law courts makes what he has to say of great interest to many.

His ‘legal analysis’ is exactly his.

It can be disagreed with.

You are allowed to present your own analysis.

So, why merely querulously ask somebody why he has posted, instead of posting your own analysis in rebuttal?

The floor is yours.

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bogsdolloxPosted on2:28 am - Nov 24, 2012


Keep up JC – I posted mine yesterday.

As to his “legal analysis” you miss my point. He carries a lot of weight around here amongst the non legal types and when he pasts his analysis it was taken up as being the bogs dollox because he spent a lot of time analysing the opinion and reporting on it in legalese.(in a field he never specialised in – if you think I’m over emphasising the specialisation – ask a family lawyer to represent you in a banking law case. He won’t)

His analysis is fundamentally wrong as Slim pints out in a fraction of the words.

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rabPosted on2:30 am - Nov 24, 2012


Charlie Brown.

I have emailed every club in Scotland to ask what, if any, appetite there is to have these bufoons removed from office. I recieved 1 polite reply with no reaction to my question.

I will strive to have them removed until such times as they are departed and unable to pass judgement on our game. I wonder if anyone could find instances of any of them having smaller clubs removed from competition for improperly registered players, while knowing full well that rangers had many players in that category but did nothing to bring it to the SFA’s attention.

I think we should identify these people from there colour in the FTT report and copy and paste the damning evidence to UEFA and FIFA, maybe there will be a stronger will there to ask just what the hell has been going on in Scotland. Worth a try.

Could UEFA or FIFA request an unredacted version to ascertain if the rule book was dismissed, and by whom.

I move house tomorrow, ( gotta stay one step ahead of plod ) so my blogging time is cut short but i will try and keep up with any replies, ideas or developments.

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rabPosted on2:40 am - Nov 24, 2012


Bogs dollox.

How can you be certain that BRTH’s analysis is wrong when the three people who sat in judgement at the FTT couldn’t agree.

Or two judges had different opinions when presented with the same facts on the transfer embargo.

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john clarkePosted on2:58 am - Nov 24, 2012


bogsdollox says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 02:28
‘Keep up JC – I posted mine yesterday……’
———-
I am truly sorry that I missed your analysis.’
I plead that ‘ I grow old, I grow old, I will wear my trousers rolled..’, and I’ll scroll back.

But I’m even more sorry if you are posting on any kind of basis of professional and/or personal antagonism to BRHT.

It matters not one hoot on this blog whether BRHT just missed becoming Lord President or whether he just missed being struck off ( like Baxendale- whatever- his- name), or whether he is/was a lawyer at all.

He posted like the rest of us.

His post has no more ‘authority’ than any other poster’s.

He knows that. We know that.You know that.

So, no need to ask him why he posted, or what his agenda might have been.

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willmacufreePosted on3:04 am - Nov 24, 2012


What is becoming increasingly evident is that legal tongues can semanticise until the cows come home. Every phrase is justifiable. But what if the opening premise is wrong?

Shake the kaleidoscope and the colours change, never to be repeated. Lewis Carroll was ahead of his time. We’re all in Wonderland.

As a well-known lawyer once said, “justice and law are two different things”. How much taxpayers’ money is being taken by these “experts”?

BDO? Off contract contracts? Don’t wait up.

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TallBoy Poppy (@TallBoyPoppy)Posted on3:14 am - Nov 24, 2012


corsicacharity says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 23:04
——————————————————————————————————————————-
Can anybody post linky to the Boumson chatter on twitter? That particular episode may well come back to haunt a few. It’s not nuclear – but it is quite radioactive.

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jimlarkinPosted on4:21 am - Nov 24, 2012


hector’s latest pash/push

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20466304

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doontheslopePosted on7:18 am - Nov 24, 2012


If you were Rangers(IL) minded, what would you like to see happen?

– Win the Big Tax case. Tick box.
– Keep Campbell Ogilvie in place. MSM proclaiming this week that he has been vindicated and can now look forward to another two years in charge. God help us.
– Get dual contracts investigation dropped. MSM have spoken about little else this last few days.
– Get league reconstruction implemented to facilitate quicker return to SPL. Pending.

Everything moving along quite nicely, I’d say. A wee bit concerned perhaps that the SPL have stated that dual contracts hearing WILL go ahead, despite numerous helpful delays. But ultimately that wont matter a jot if LNS toes the party line.

For the future health of Scottish football we can only hope that LNS remembers his Latin – PRIMA FACIE case to answer.

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Long Time LurkerPosted on7:24 am - Nov 24, 2012


corsicacharity says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 23:04

“It appears that xxx and others have been asked some very searching questions by HMRC, the Insolvency Service and City of London Police (not Strathclyde – apparently they are being kept in the dark for “political” reasons) about a certain football club’s affairs and one individual in particular. Apparently, there is some unfinished business and some fishy business that certain government agencies would like to put to bed. It would appear therefore that not only are the club being used as a test case but so too is that individual.”

I often find the phrase “government agencies” intriguing. Total speculation on my part – how many government agencies are recognised in popular terms by 3 alphanumeric characters, or letters? MoD, FCO, HSE, ICO, MI5, MI6.

Is “xxx and others” is a clue, or perhaps just an accident of expression?

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Lord WobblyPosted on7:58 am - Nov 24, 2012


Long Time Lurker says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 07:24
0 0 Rate This
corsicacharity says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 23:04
“It appears that xxx and others have been asked some very
searching questions by HMRC, the Insolvency Service and City of
London Police (not Strathclyde – apparently they are being kept in the dark for “political” reasons) about a certain football club’s affairs and one individual in particular. Apparently, there is some unfinished business and some fishy business that certain government agencies would like to put to bed. It would appear therefore that not only are the club being used as a test case but so too is that individual.”
I often find the phrase “government agencies” intriguing. Total speculation on my part – how many government agencies are recognised in popular terms by 3 alphanumeric characters, or letters? MoD, FCO, HSE, ICO, MI5, MI6.
Is “xxx and others” is a clue, or perhaps just an accident of
expression?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ah…that makes more sense. I was thinking Vin Diesel and chums 😯

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Long Time LurkerPosted on8:02 am - Nov 24, 2012


corsicacharity says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 23:04

The chat on Twitter last night was very interesting indeed – a sample selection – there is more!

TheBlackKnight TBK ‏@THE_TBK
I am hearing that an ‘investigations unit’ from North West is showing interest in RFC liquidation/ Taxcase etc

TheBlackKnight TBK ‏@THE_TBK
@BartinMain @campsiejoe B R I N G. I T. O N !!’ :£

9h One Star Trumps Five ‏@1_Star_trumps_5
@THE_TBK @bartinmain @campsiejoe surprised SDM has come out. Might have waited to see if hmrc appeal. Oops… #prematurecongratulation?

9h TheBlackKnight TBK ‏@THE_TBK
@1_Star_trumps_5 @bartinmain @campsiejoe As @BroganRoganTrev alluded to, very strange.

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AgrajagPosted on8:51 am - Nov 24, 2012


john clarke says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 00:18

campsiejoe says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 23:20
‘..I don’t see how they can use the minority finding in that way
The majority ruled that the trusts were for the most part legal, and so it follows that the “mechanics” were also legal.’
—-
I suppose the question is: do the liquidators, in exercising their responsibilities to creditors, have any ‘locus’ in the matter of mounting a legal challenge against the FTTT’s decision ( either independently of, or in conjunction with, HMRC) in their attempts to find as much money as is properly due to be included in the assets available for disbursement to creditors?

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

My point is that the liquidators, as i understand it, are appointed by and responsible to the Court. Therfore anything they do will be via a Court. Any civil Court outranks the tribunal, especially the FTT.

So, in a possible scenario, the liquidators decide that the trusts were a shame and that the “loans” were actually made by Rangers, making the recipients debtors to Rangers. That would then be tested in a Court.

Now the Court would be cogniscant of the tribunal ruling, but in no way would b bound by it. That is where Dr Poon’s detailed destruction of the ruling by her two colleagues really comes into play. It would be the basis for arguing that the trusts really were a sham, even if the two lwayers (appelant and respondent) agreed they weren’t.

The idea that a Judge (a real one) would “overturn” the ruling given by a couple of lawyers sitting on a Tribunal is far from outlandish. Indeed it’s not that long ago that we saw a Judge in the Court of Session over-turn a ruling by another Judge (albeit retired I think) sitting as the chair of a panel. If I remember right he basically said that said panel did not have the power to act as it did.

In my view, post the ruling by that tribunal BDO would beperfectly entitled to, at the very least, explore the possibility that senior management at old Rangers and players there, were still ddebtors to the club (in liquidation) and that it was their duty to recover those tens of millions of pounds for the creditors.

The result as i have said before would be ironic in the extreme. The y would have to repay all of their loans, rather than about half of the money if it had been treated as salary.

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AgrajagPosted on8:53 am - Nov 24, 2012


“shame” = “sham”

Though maybe not.

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twopandaPosted on9:17 am - Nov 24, 2012


Trying to objective here – Majority Judges View

If HMRC are saying that sub-trust loans have to have a `legal effect` – then there is a solid case to say a loan through a sub-trust cannot be a form of payment of money to be taxed. Then Ok – A loan is un-taxed. [Legal big pile of money] Why should EBTers pay tax if they `intend` to repay the loan? OK.

But that’s as far as it goes – except an estate debt could have other advantage’s for inheritance tax.
But where is the `legal effect` to repay that loan? – To validate the `legal effect` of the loan. [2 bits to work]

Second bit is vague – was there a real `legal effect`– to actually repay? [Legal big pile of money]

The judges have found that the loans “remain recoverable and represent debts on their estates” – then ok – fine. The judges conclude the EBT trust and sub-trusts subsists and is valid / legal – Then ok fine – and justify in part that conclusion opinion and now a majority ruling so;

[“231. The trust structure and loans bear to be of legal effect. They were not paid over absolutely and so do not become earnings or emoluments. We do not regard the liability to make repayment as a remote contingency which might in the context of a purposive construction fall to be disregarded as too remote for practical purposes c/f Astall & Anor v R & C Commissioners.”]

OK – The majority judges have upheld the appeal partly on the `legal effect` of the loan and liability / repayment

OK – that’s fine – the judges have ruled. Repayment is not a remote contingency to be disregarded as too remote for practical purposes. So, and is not too remote, EBTers can practically;

• Repay the loan
• If they can’t or won’t repay the loan – they could pay tax on the benefit just like everyone else
• If they don’t know when they’ll repay the loan – they could pay tax on the benefit in kind until they do know – and get tax back as a rebate [with interest] when the loan is eventually repaid

Or can EBTers practically not repay the loan and practically not pay tax – and then could claim advantages on an estate debt for inheritance tax purposes? Not at all fair or moral one would say – but legal at the time apparently and the majority judges agree `in principal`. OK – by the letter of the Law.

But surely if there are side letters to particular sub-trusts, and incomplete records [mislaid whatever] withholding information and multiple so on`s – It simply cannot be – under any reasoned conclusion be construed or interpreted including those aspects integral to the specific appeal case they are judging – as simply `legal in principal` – It is just plain wrong.

The dissenting judge, with extensive reasoning, concluded that the appeal be rejected on legal interpretations and the specific failings in this particular case as detailed in the dissenting opinion, and apologising in the process that the opinion couldn’t do it justice as there was so many of them.

So HMRC has the opportunity to appeal.
What chance does it have, and on what grounds? [simply must leave that to the professional experts]
But, if they don’t appeal, they’ll also forego on the Corporation Tax stuff associated with EBTs at that time.

Still think they’ll appeal

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manandboyPosted on9:21 am - Nov 24, 2012


As a society, we have not yet fully emerged from the time when professionally qualified individuals were assumed always and everywhere to be correct in their statements and actions.

This resulted in a populace which was deferential, trusting and compliant.

Few questioned any professional, not because they were accurate and correct, but simply because they were a ‘professional’.

And so was born the myth of the professional.

However, to state the obvious, professionals are human. They are therefore flawed.

Like the rest of us, an occasional darkness will choose to wander through their mind and blind them to the truth of any given circumstance – the same truth which even the simplest minded can see at the time.

In short, even the most intelligent, the most accomplished and the most fastidious of professionals make mistakes, and dare I say it, even glaring mistakes. While the common man shakes his head in disbelief.

So may we always celebrate the gifted and the clever – on here and elsewhere – and may they rightfully enjoy whatever reputation they have acquired, but please, may the truth always be placed above reputation and profession.

The FTT was crammed full of both reputation and professional skills, but did they come out with the truth?

Meanwhile the common man continues to stand and shake his head.

View Comment

jimmyfiddlesticksPosted on10:06 am - Nov 24, 2012


Goosy,

As you stated yesterday it seems possible that HMRC actually want the case to go to the UTT in order to set precedent. Delving deeper into the reasoning behind that it seems obvious that a precedent setting ruling would aid them in going after clubs down South which got me thinking as to why go about it in the way they have:

Well, what they have done is effectively let RFC argue the case that the EBTs where no side letters exist are genuine loans and not contest it. The question is why? If the UTT now reaches a precedent setting verdict that says those EBTs are not genuine loans and side letters are not required to prove it then HMRC are free to go after those clubs down South safe in the knowledge that side letters, whether they exist or not, are not required to prove that the EBT schemes are in fact a sham. Thus leaving those who administered the schemes nowhere to hide when their turn comes.

And thanks BRTH for your quite brilliant and thought provoking blog.

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Danish PastryPosted on10:15 am - Nov 24, 2012


Good morning from an overcast Northern Sjaelland. I posted a link to BRTH’s blog on the Big P&B admin/liquidation thread last night.

I’ve more or less given up that thread because of the way it’s degenerated into name-calling. But two posters (Cliche Guevara and Paquis) had a sane and thoughtful dscussion about the BRTH blog from opposite sides of the fence, so to speak.

It occured to me while reading their posts that one wormhole into a parallel universe could be if all those who took these legal loans from Rangers oldco decided to pay them back voluntarily, ‘because it’s the moral and right thing to do’. Can you imagine Murray and Ogilvie holding a press conference on Monday to announce that they will be returning monies they owe to oldco Rangers trusts in order to make sure none of the creditors lose out? And that they hope all others – managers, players, and board members – still owing money to oldco via the loans that they took out will follow their example?

How would the LNS tribunal then rule if all the loans were paid back by the players and managers? Might the final years of oldco Rangers be untarnished by rulings that certain trophies and titles are nul and void. If I was concerned about the history of my old club I might start an e-petition to urge all loan recipients to pay their debts to oldco, pronto. They were just loans after all, and not payments.

It’s novel thought.

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AgrajagPosted on10:18 am - Nov 24, 2012


Danish Pastry says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 10:15

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

I don’t really see how that would change what was notified to the SFA / SPL at the time.

Either the old club made proper declarations or they didn’t.

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bad capt madmanPosted on10:29 am - Nov 24, 2012


Danish pastry / agrajag says

A good novel thought at that, however as others have previously pointed out, it would be like the burglar returning your stuff and the court saying, ” thanks chum, now go home, be good, and don’t let it happen again”. Where’s the actual punishment, sanction, justice???

Oh, of course, its RFC thats involved….

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TommyBPosted on10:48 am - Nov 24, 2012


A laudable suggestion and whilst true that it doesn’t change what actually took place, I would think that all fair minded folk would appreciate the gesture. As to the possibility of it happenning, well the big problem is that the majority of the recipients of said loans, actually see the monies paid into their bank accounts as having been wages, paid to them as part of their “deal” when signing the contract to play football. I don’t see players or other employees volunteering to hand back what they think they justifiably earned just because someone has now called it a loan.

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nowoldandgrumpyPosted on10:49 am - Nov 24, 2012


While I think that CO will try and divert the dual contracts hearing, allied with no faith in the SFA, SPL, to carry out any serious level of punishment, I am wondering how they try to explain away any lenient decision.

The statement, “Mr Indigo(rangers player) believed that the Trust had been used to pay appearance money and bonuses.” “Mr Thornhill conceded that where it derived from a (footballer’s) side-letter it was contractual”, is a pretty damaging statement. (Though you would be hard pressed to find it in the MSM).

The BBC prog said that over 40 side letters were seen and the vast majority were player related. It should follow from any reasonable conclusion, that the highest level of punishment be applied
to a club that deliberately withheld this information from its governing body.

Do I expect the punishment to be severe, like many others no I do not.

As European games were involved, I fail to see why UEFA cannot become involved or at the very least, notified of the details of the investigation.

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goosyPosted on10:50 am - Nov 24, 2012


Tommy says:

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 20:32

I think a prime example of that was last year (?) when the Daily Record had the banner healine, “Old Firm player on rape charge” (or words to that effect).

This ‘tawdry rag’ (copyright The Sun) deliberately linked Celtic’s name to a matter it had absolutely nothing to do with.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

With Rangers now deid they wont be able to use that term again

View Comment

AgrajagPosted on10:53 am - Nov 24, 2012


tombrann says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 10:48

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

Which is when the Court cases become really interesting.

BDO – We would like Mr Ferguson to repay the £2m loans he received, however he refuses, please order him to do so.

Mr Ferguson’s Lawyer – No My Lord, Mr Ferguson was receiving part of his salary. This money was not a “loan” per se and Mr Ferguson was told he would never need to repay it.

The trial continues.

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pau1mart1nPosted on10:55 am - Nov 24, 2012


nowoldandgrumpy says: I am wondering how they try to explain away any lenient decision

I am wondering how they will explain away the lenient decision

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AgrajagPosted on10:58 am - Nov 24, 2012


pau1mart1n says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 10:55

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

“In the interests of Scottish Football” seems to be the default response.

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willmacufreePosted on10:59 am - Nov 24, 2012


I posted @ 03.04. (Not many people know that.) No reflection intended on the legal guys on here, in whom I have every confidence.

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Danish PastryPosted on11:04 am - Nov 24, 2012


Captain, Agrajag, tombrann
Just thinking out loud. It seems obvious to everyone that they were payments for services rendered. And I don’t see how it changes the historical record either.

I’m just trying to follow the judgement to one logical conclusion in the here and now. If the people who ran and benefitted from the imaginative renumeration system in place at oldco Rangers follow the logic of their own case then there must be an argument to be put to them by fans of the former and present club that they should now pay back their loans, if for no other reason because it is the fair and just thing to do. And perhaps also to save some of the reputation of the old club.

At present, blue fans seem to be celebrating that their club got away with a tax dodge – that’s probably due in part to the perceived kicking they’ve been getting. But still, it’s hardly something to celebrate, especially since the songbook of patriotic British melodies is regularly performed at the home of quintessential Britishness in Scotland 🙂

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AgrajagPosted on11:10 am - Nov 24, 2012


Danish Pastry says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11:04

The reputation of the former club is well beyond saving.

It was before that tribunal ruling came out, even more so now.

Concealing material from the SFA / SPL as a policy, in effect lying and cheating to allow the fielding of ineligible players. Doing everything they could to confound an enquiry into their true tax position by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, in effect lying and cheating. So as far as the business and the sporting communities are concerned the reputation, or what may have been left of it, is totally wrecked.

That’s to say nothing of the individuals concerned.

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essexbeancounterPosted on11:16 am - Nov 24, 2012


manandboy says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 09:21
25 0 i
Rate This

And so was born the myth of the professional.

However, to state the obvious, professionals are human. They are therefore flawed.

Meanwhile the common man continues to stand and shake his head…(my edit)
====================================================================

manandboy…I have been trying to say this from the date I first read RTC.

However, yiu have put it over so succinctly…many thanks.

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slimshady61Posted on11:29 am - Nov 24, 2012


Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 22:33
————————————————–
Absolutely BRTH and I concur with most of what you say. I just think if we take that to its logical conclusion, HMRC (we?) are being punished for honesty.

So if counsel Mr Thomson had just banged on and on about the trusts/loans being a sham, even though he thought they weren’t, would HMRC have won?

He said what he thought, the trusts were validly constituted, albeit the administration of them was very poor. A trust of course can be created verbally and stand up to scrutiny.

But the issue for me was never the trusts – “it;s all about the money, money…” as the song goes. Were the loans just pay by another way?

Every indicator other than the facile “off the shelf” loan documents indicates that they were and Dr Poon has laboured over her decision, parts of which I believe in years to come will become part of the seminal discourse on unacceptable tax avoidance.

There are still many strands in this case to go –

whether HMRC appeal,

the extent to which they go after David Murray and the other directors for the PAYE & NIC admitted to be due (including on the hefty loan David Murray had from his trust); that is still likely to amount to an eight figure sum anyway

the extent to which they go after the players whose payments have been admitted to be taxable (Doddsy, how lucky do you feel today?)

what BDO make of the directors’ conduct over the years – Dr Poon suggests that documents specifically requested by HMRC were removed from files or redacted for no apparent reason before being handed over

whether BDO report any director to the DTI (Paul Murray, instead of demanding retribution from HMRC you would be well advised to say nothing until the DTI report aspect has exonerated you, as I am sure it will)

what the SPL enquiry into dual contracts concludes – remember the case has established that over 80 players over 10 years received half their pay, even if not taxable(!), from a third party whose existence was never disclosed to the football authorities; payment for playing football from anyone other than the employing club is absolutely forbidden under the rules of association football

So Media House are having their 72 hours in the sun but some very dark clouds loom on the horizon. Any prudent advisor would have counselled silence until the 56 day appeal period has expired.

Oh and Rangers are in liquidation – a fact that seems to have been forgotten in all of this.

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Danish PastryPosted on11:29 am - Nov 24, 2012


Agrajag says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11:10
1 0 Rate This
Danish Pastry says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11:04

The reputation of the former club is well beyond saving.

It was before that tribunal ruling came out, even more so now …
——-

You don’t need to convince me Agra 😉

I suppose my thought is really aimed at Rangers fans. Appealing to their better nature. Not too many here on here though. Like to see you wade in on the P&B thread. Mr Cliche Guevara needs someone from the Sierra Maestra to offer some moral support.

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ekbhoyPosted on11:48 am - Nov 24, 2012


Slimshady61

Agree completely, any other more complex explanation does not pass the commonsense test. The 2 male QCs saw a route out and grasped it, end of it.

It is all hidden in plain sight.

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Danish PastryPosted on11:52 am - Nov 24, 2012


slimshady61 says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11:29
3 1 Rate This
Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan says:
Friday, November 23, 2012 at 22:33
————————————————–
Absolutely BRTH and I concur with most of what you say. I just think if we take that to its logical conclusion, HMRC (we?) are being punished for honesty.
———-

Slim, BRTH has received a lot of justifiable praise for his piece, but just as important to me are the ripostes from yourself and others. It’s hugely helpful to those of us sitting on the sidelines trying to make some sense of it all. Thank you and please don’t stop 😉

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greenockjackPosted on11:55 am - Nov 24, 2012


A question for some of the oldtimers from the RTC blog.

Whatever happened to the nuclear thingy ?

Now I know there is a lot of talk about MSM misinformation on here so I would hope there might be debate as to what the poster Barcabhoy described as “nuclear”.

He said someone in the media had the information.
RTC backed him up.

It was wheeled out in so many conversations, at times almost like a comfort blanket and it possibly served to keep some of the MSM treading water.

The twitter feed from TBK (last night in the NW of England) tends to remind me of it.
Not that it is nuclear but that it´s probably misinformation.

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twopandaPosted on12:12 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Not sure MSM is having it`s time in the Sun – think they`re all at sea actually.

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TSFMPosted on12:14 pm - Nov 24, 2012


BRTH

Your mailbox is full (probably congratulatory messages on your blog!).
Can you mail TSFM?

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readceltPosted on12:15 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Sitting on a train to Southampton catching up on posts.
For me the FTT should not be the main focus here.
Undeclared payments/remuneration for playing football should be the focus.

People associated with Rangers(IL) and their cheerleaders have constantly tried to tie the EBT issue together with the non registration of paperwork.

First we were told EBT’s are legal so Rangers have done nothing wrong. Now we are told the FTT proved ‘our’ EBT’s were legal all along so again we have done nothing wrong.

They are playing the same record and sticking to the same line by trying to muddy the issue by confusing the legality of a method of remuneration with the failure to lodge that remuneration/benefit with the authorities.

The focus needs to switch to the side contracts. Who had them. What they say. Why were they not lodged with the governing body, in contravention of its strict rules by supposed football and business experts, for over 10 years?

There should not be so much talk of the why and wherefore of the FTT ruling. In a footballing sense it is and always was a side show.

The deliberate withholding of documentation in clear breach of the governing body’s rules is the main issue.

(Hope this reads ok, having serious iPhone issues)

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doontheslopePosted on12:22 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Stuart Cosgrove and Tam Cowan going for it on Off the Ball.

They have invited fans to contact the show and point a finger of blame at who is responsible for the Rangers (IL) debacle. Should be interesting.

Opening comments taking the p@sh out of the claims from Rangers (IL) fans about Armageddon – yet their very own match this weekend has been called off because it was oversubscribed!! Stuart commented that maybe they should have got Ticketus to handle the tickets!!

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Bill1903Posted on12:30 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Thank god for off the ball is all I can say

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jimlarkinPosted on12:36 pm - Nov 24, 2012


good on tam cowan – asking [out loud] – why did graeme souness get an ebt payment/loan – 10 years after he left rangers ?

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liveinhopPosted on12:39 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Gothamcelt24 Nov 2012, 11:39 AM
Fat Sally still bitter and twisted. (DR)

SPL to push on with probe into Rangers’ use of dual contracts

THE SPL last night refused to relent on their probe into Rangers’ alleged use of dual contracts as a new hearing date was set for the turn of the year.

And in a double whammy the SFA have rubbished calls to lift the club’s transfer embargo.

But it is the SPL’s decision to continue with their EBT investigation that will anger their fans most.

Lord Nimmo Smith’s independent commission will have a hearing on Tuesday, January 29 that could see the club stripped of the five league titles they won between 2001 and 2010.

The hearing was scheduled to start earlier this month but was postponed when Rod McKenzie – the partner in law firm Harper MacLeod who was to present the SPL case against Rangers – was involved in a car crash.

Ibrox boss Ally McCoist yesterday again slammed the decision to potentially take titles off his club.

Speaking before the hearing date was announced he said: “I would hope the tax case outcome will influence the SPL inquiry but I wouldn’t put my last pound on it.

“I just want this whole chapter shut. No matter what happens I won’t accept it anyway. I don’t care what they attempt to take from us.

“I won’t accept it and our support won’t either.

“It would be great if we could move on but, having been privy to a few
meetings and situations with SPL chairmen, I won’t be holding my breath.

“Some of the experiences I had in the meetings were eye-openers. One of the disappointing things was the pre-judgment by a lot of people.

“I remember when they were coming up with the five-point agreement. I couldn’t take my eyes off the stripping of titles – that was the one thing.

“There was no way I was going to accept anything that would allow them to go down that road. I was of the opinion that the commission should not even be formed.”

McCoist refused to respond to Neil Lennon’s claims back in the summer that titles should be taken off the Govan outfit if found guilty.

The Celtic boss had said: “I will see what the commission finds and, if they are found to have broken rules, they should be stripped of titles.”

Asked if he had an opinion on Lennon’s stance, McCoist said: “I do. I have a big opinion which I’ll keep to myself, sadly for you guys!”

The SFA are also sticking to their transfer embargo.

In his Record Sport column yesterday, Ibrox legend Mark Hateley demanded the beaks cut Gers some slack after they won the Big Tax Case.

But an SFA spokesman said: “The embargo on buying players has nothing to do with EBTs so I don’t know where this is coming from. It was about the club not paying taxes under the Craig Whyte era.”
Sally needs a swift toe in the hee haws.
Perhaps he should concentrate on managing his team, rather than spending so much time on a team that no longer exists

View Comment

twopandaPosted on12:39 pm - Nov 24, 2012


readcelt says: at 12:15
Sitting on a train to Southampton catching up on posts.
For me the FTT should not be the main focus here.
Undeclared payments/remuneration for playing football should be the focus.
_
With respect I don`t concur
The side-letters invalidate the `loan` EBT scheme for certain individuals and the FTT also acknowledges that some have agreed to settle and others on the way. Those with these side-letters and obliged to settle in the future – may just consider this set-up in future to be a `football debt` – we`ll see – but if it does the numbers need to be known. The FTT side letter acknowledgments give the SPL no excuse to wiggle out, and provide a quantum, and identify players, and in which years. It sets the tone for the SPL Inquiry and reasons it should not be blocked.

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Lord WobblyPosted on12:45 pm - Nov 24, 2012


‘But it is the SPL’s decision to continue with their EBT investigation that will anger their fans most.’

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/spl-to-push-on-with-probe-into-rangers-use-1453867

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’m not sure how many fans the SPL actuall has ( 😉 ), but I can assure you Gavin, what would have angered fans most would have been if they had discontinued the investigation. The FTTT report is unequivocal in its comments about the lack of disclosure to the football authorities (amongst others).

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AgrajagPosted on12:48 pm - Nov 24, 2012


twopanda says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:39

One hopes UEFA and FIFA are watching what happens next very closely.

Prior to the FTT an independent firm of lawyers confirmed that there was a prima facie case that Rangers fielded ineligible players.

The ruling of the FTT has done nothing but confirm this. That Rangers players had side letters, that they received payments not in their contracts, and that the club had a policy of concealing this from both the HMRC and SFA / SPL.

It is difficult to see how that can be ignored.

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TSFMPosted on12:53 pm - Nov 24, 2012


It would be good to get more information on this arrest report concerning the RTC blog. As of now, we have absolutely no idea of the details, context, or actual situation.

I am confused personally, because RTC has not accepted comments for several months. The reports in MSM (therefore to be read with care) allege “offensive” and not “libellous” comments.

Since the media chat this week in the wake of the RFC “win” in the FTT has centred around DM’s threats of legal redress, one would assume this to be in response to what he considers libellous material and not offensive stuff.

This brings me to the conclusion that either RTC has received some offensive email communication or other, or that someone has retrospectively complained about an historic offensive post.

My own take on “offensive” is that it includes (but is not restricted to), sectarian, racist, homophobic, sexist or sexually explicit material. I have seen none of this on RTC, although like us, I am sure he has had occasion to moderate out truckloads of that kind of material.

I hope RTC might contact us to clarify, but my inevitable conclusion given experience, and the wording of the so called “news reports” is that RTC has received some offensive communication recently.

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doontheslopePosted on12:56 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Chapeau to Hogan Brogan

Cosgrove states that he gave brilliant blog explaining FTTT result and NOT ONE MSM article came anywhere close!!!

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TSFMPosted on12:59 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Same source who told us that the FTT would be published last week, has informed us that HMRC are confident of winning the appeal they WILL be lodging.

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AgrajagPosted on1:01 pm - Nov 24, 2012


TSFM says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:59

Wonder who would pay for the MIH side.

I know there’s no new evidence, but presumably HMRC have to put a case forward to demonstrate how the ruling was flawed with the original appellant also having a say.

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coineanachantaighePosted on1:05 pm - Nov 24, 2012


goosygoosy says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 10:50

I think a prime example of that was last year (?) when the Daily Record had the banner healine, “Old Firm player on rape charge” (or words to that effect).

This ‘tawdry rag’ (copyright The Sun) deliberately linked Celtic’s name to a matter it had absolutely nothing to do with.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

With Rangers now deid they wont be able to use that term again

………………………………………………………………………………….

The “half-new, half-old firm”?

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Lord WobblyPosted on1:09 pm - Nov 24, 2012


TSFM says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:53
0 0 Rate This
It would be good to get more information on this arrest report
concerning the RTC blog. As of now, we have absolutely no idea of the details, context, or actual situation.
I am confused personally, because RTC has not accepted
comments for several months. The reports in MSM (therefore to be read with care) allege “offensive” and not “libellous” comments.
Since the media chat this week in the wake of the RFC “win” in the FTT has centred around DM’s threats of legal redress, one would assume this to be in response to what he considers libellous material and not offensive stuff.
This brings me to the conclusion that either RTC has received
some offensive email communication or other, or that someone has retrospectively complained about an historic offensive post.
My own take on “offensive” is that it includes (but is not restricted to), sectarian, racist, homophobic, sexist or sexually explicit material. I have seen none of this on RTC, although like us, I am sure he has had occasion to moderate out truckloads of that kind of material.
I hope RTC might contact us to clarify, but my inevitable
conclusion given experience, and the wording of the so called
“news reports” is that RTC has received some offensive
communication recently.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was possible to post on the RTC About section. I popped in on the day RFC were officially liquidated (nothing untoward, just marking the day). If you look now, you can see that 3 posts have appeared since. ‘Adam’ (presumably our old RTC poster), ‘Seminal’ (don’t recall that name) and ‘Droid’ (another old RTCer). The comments are no longer available.

Or, as you say, its a historical post. But I don’t recall anything that would warrant an arrest.

View Comment

ordinaryfanPosted on1:10 pm - Nov 24, 2012


The only way RFC and those involved in this intricate long running scam will be punished, is through “outside influence”. Forget BDO HMRC and City of London Police

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ikiPosted on1:11 pm - Nov 24, 2012


TSFM says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:53
…….. or that someone has retrospectively complained about an historic offensive post.
=================
Some people are easily offended whilst retaining the right to be offensive with impunity.

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coineanachantaighePosted on1:31 pm - Nov 24, 2012


nowoldandgrumpy says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 10:49

The BBC prog said that over 40 side letters were seen and the vast majority were player related. It should follow from any reasonable conclusion, that the highest level of punishment be applied to a club that deliberately withheld this information from its governing body.

————————————————–

If BBC say 40 side letters, how come only 5 appeared in the case? Does that mean they had a mole inside Ibrox and after BBC exposed the other side letters the shredder went into action??

Actually the above contains a serious question and would be happy if anyone could answer it for me. Did I miss something? Were there a number of these admitted and said they would be paid back and so didn’t figure in the actual tribunal?

BTW I don’t agree HMRC were “punished for honesty” – my guess (not guess not legal opinion as it couldn’t be) is that they weren’t prepared enough on that particular point and failed to be prepared to emphasise how it was a technically legal setup being used inappropriately.

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Danish PastryPosted on1:43 pm - Nov 24, 2012


TSFM: Tommy in Glasgow has rebranded himself as Rangers Tax-Case TIG. He does put his point across, well, somewhat colourfully at tmes. I got the impression there might have been a complaint about something on his bampot radio page. At least from this tweet:

@tommyinglasgow
1st case of slander im 40,not 37.2nd case of slander,i wouldnt have handed myself in without doing a live show as it happens 🙂

But on reflection, it may not have been him at all. Could it have been someone who issued threats to RTC?

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slimshady61Posted on1:47 pm - Nov 24, 2012


monsieurbunny says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 13:31
————————————-
RFC were asked by HMRC for side letters in connection with 3 specific players, after 8 months delay, they handed over the files for 2, neither of which contained a side letter. The enquiry stalled until the police raided Ibrox at 6am one October 2007 morning and came up with the file of the third player.

Very surprisingly they found a side letter on that file.

Work it out….

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prohibbyPosted on2:03 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Can anyone confirm that the arrest was directly related to an RTC blog. I don’t waste my pension on MSM nowadays, especial the Scottish Daily Ranger and the BBC text service provides no more detail.

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coineanachantaighePosted on2:11 pm - Nov 24, 2012


slimshady61 says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 13:47
———————————————
So does that mean the BBC report might have alerted the good folk at Ibrocs to the fact they had better do something about these side letters.

Won’t see any responses for a while – heading out to see what should be a good game of football. Hope we’re the better team on the day.

Kids go free btw if you’re interested … I hear there are some fans without a game today.

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prohibbyPosted on2:13 pm - Nov 24, 2012


I see “FORMER Rangers chairman Sir David Murray has called for a police investigation into the suspected leaking of confidential information to an award-winning BBC Scotland documentary about the Rangers tax case.” (The Herald – online version, of course) Makes me wonder whether Al Capone called on the FBI to investigate the leaks that brought him down!

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Lord WobblyPosted on2:19 pm - Nov 24, 2012


prohibby says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 14:03
0 0 Rate This
Can anyone confirm that the arrest was directly related to an RTC blog. I don’t waste my pension on MSM nowadays, especial the Scottish Daily Ranger and the BBC text service provides no more detail.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Details seem sketchy. Most reports don’t make specific reference to the blog, instead referring to ‘offensive online material relating to the Rangers tax case’ and the like. However, The Herald does:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/police-arrest-man-over-post-on-rangers-tax-case-blog.1353690540

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prohibbyPosted on2:23 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Thanks Lord Wobbly. Appreciate your help.

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jimlarkinPosted on2:31 pm - Nov 24, 2012


lord wobbly

i reckon you are spot on there

the harald doing their usual – misrepresenting the story !!!!!!!!!!!!

if rtc got arrested – plod really need to have a decko at follow follow or rangers media, i think plod will get their eyes opened then

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timtimPosted on2:41 pm - Nov 24, 2012


We were often reminded by Mr Traynor , Charles Green ,Ally McCoist and the rest of the gang that Rfc* hadnt been found guilty of anything as the case was under appeal .
If HMRC do decide to appeal the decision would it therefore conclude that Rfc havent been found innocent of anything yet either.

As for hiding evidence ,it reminds me of the official NIST report into 9/11
NIST “did not find any evidence that explosives were used to bring the building(WTC7) down,”
That would lead one to believe that the use of explosives can be ruled out,as it is a statutory requirement to test for explosives in instances such as 9/11
-however when asked if they had looked for explosives NIST replied No,because there was no evidence of that.”
“But,” asked the reporter “how can you know there’s no evidence if you don’t look for it first?” Newman replied: “If you’re looking for something that isn’t there, you’re wasting your time . . . and the taxpayers’ money.”
So when they tell us there are no side letters we must ask did you look for evidence of side letters ,if Rfc* then tell us that it was pointless to look for something that wasnt there and was a waste of time and money we should be sceptical
The highest level of punishment be applied to a club that deliberately withheld this information from its governing body but as with the case for NIST when the investigating body is in cahoots with the governing body then facts and evidence really dont matter

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spaldingbhoyPosted on2:44 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Long time admirer of both RTC and now TSFM however regarding recent arrest of “blogger” by Strathclyde’s finest reported in the press does anyone on this site honestly believe that if it had been our very own RTC it would not have been leaked or fully revealed in either the RM or MSM (in the public interest of course) .

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ekt1mPosted on2:49 pm - Nov 24, 2012


I’m coming round to the view that this arrest for an offensive blog about the “Rangers Tax Case” and nothing to do with Rangerstaxcase who is our original patron. Please feel free to comment.

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TallBoy Poppy (@TallBoyPoppy)Posted on3:01 pm - Nov 24, 2012


ekt1m says:
Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 14:49
—————————————————————————————————————————-
Information published on the ff website by someone who appears to be a copper – or someone close to the action, anyway – indicates it was a Rangers supporter who posted the offensive material.

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AuldheidPosted on3:09 pm - Nov 24, 2012


TSFM

I’m with you in that RTC called in the cops. There is a deliberate campaign to go after those whom Rangers men see as enemies. I got abuse on Twitter from a half wit that I indulged as it was fun making up for the missing half, but gave up after realising his years of experience as an idiot gave him an unfair advantage.

Slimshady/BRTH

I think you are both right. A form of malfeasance took place, two parties felt they could not say so and found justification under the law for not saying so, possibly to be able to say “it wisnae us” to any charges from like minded associates, but allowed the alternative judgement more leg room. The other party called it as she saw the reality. It gives some temporary succour to Rangers men but leaves the door open for a wrong to be righted.

If I might digress at this point it is the ability to deny wrongdoing that is the key factor here, not the consequences of admitting to it. The relief at the decision was that the charge of cheating could be denied. Dignity preserved, but the Nimmo enquiry will nail this one IF honestly approached. Which takes me to:

According to the FTT the guy making the decision not to ask the SFA if what Rangers were about to embark on was kosher, was a tax fella not a football fella. He could take the decision, upheld by the FTT , that the payments were ok under tax law.

What he could NOT do is take the decision, as he did by not asking the SFA, that the payments did not need reporting under football law. That decision was footballs to take, not Rangers.

Now say the SFA had been asked, chances are they would have asked HMRC who would have sought details and either cut scheme off at its knees or okayed the scheme. Had they done that then all of football would have known this was a legal way of paying players and offered ebt contracts to their signings.

By not asking the SFA, Rangers not only were able to sign players others could not afford, but as a result of their secrecy their competitors were discouraged from/ unable to use the same scheme.

So there are two reasons why Rangers action was in breach of football rules and more important the spirit behind them

1) It was not Rangers place to make the decision they did that ebts met football rules.

2) For the scheme to work and get the football advantage they sought they HAD to keep the side letters describing the additional amounts paid from the SFA.

The whole point of SFA rules are to stop clubs being able to make “bungs” and the ebt loans by not being reported come into that category in football law.

They might be ok under strict interpretation of tax laws but not only did Rangers not register players properly under football law it is clear why they did not ie to ensure they got the footballing advantage they sought by deploying ebts in the first place.

They cheated ok,

This avoidance of seeking SFA approval is important. It is crystal clear that the full remuneration, in terms of what a player got paid into his bank account ,was not reported to the SFA so their rules were breached.

This being so Rangers men will try and spin it that it was an administrative oversight but the question of who benefitted most (Rangers) and who lost out (the rest of Scottish football) from this decision, that was never Rangers to take, renders the administrative error argument derisory.

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AuldheidPosted on3:16 pm - Nov 24, 2012


PS

and that is not to mention the possibilit that player were paid by a third party under the ebt arrangement. Double whammy.

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readceltPosted on3:41 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Auldheid (@Auldheid) on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 15:16
0 0 Rate This
PS

and that is not to mention the possibilit that player were paid by a third party under the ebt arrangement. Double whammy.
—————————–

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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tic6709Posted on4:51 pm - Nov 24, 2012


test

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nostarsandbarredPosted on5:25 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Seems a long time ago that this was said; that’s because it is;

A statement from the SPL read: “The SPL Board heard a report from its solicitors following the investigation into payments to, or for the benefit of, players allegedly made by Rangers FC outside of contract.
“The delay in concluding the investigation was caused by an initial lack of co-operation from Rangers FC.
“The investigation has now been completed and, in the view of the SPL, there is a prima facie case to answer in respect of its rules.
“Disciplinary charges will be brought when the future status of Rangers FC is clarified and prior to the start of season 2012/13”

————-

The FTT detail adds weight to the above declaration re “prima facie case to answer” – in no way does it diminish it.

No debate on this, surely ! The only extraordinary issue here is the length of time its going to take to get there…. SPL are lacking in authority here, and living in fear no doubt; meanwhile the SFA sit back and consider how they’ll get out of this one; again.

Tick Tock

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Bill1903Posted on5:27 pm - Nov 24, 2012


Good luck to Stuart tonight on your call with jabba

Hopefully he’ll be able to keep the fat oaf from gloating too much

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Long Time LurkerPosted on5:31 pm - Nov 24, 2012


greenockjack says:

Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 11:55

I remember Barcabhoy when commenting on the nuclear event said that the story was not his to tell. I remember the use of the word story. There was no suggestion that the story was confirmed by information available to the media.

RTC confirmed that he was aware of the nuclear event and verified Barcabhoy’s claim that it was indeed nuclear.

Found the Barcabhoy posting from KDS:

“What may be of interest to him, and others, is that the very worst of the offenses committed by Rangers have yet to be properly put into the public domain. In fact they haven’t been put there at all.

They will be and when they are, they will be beyond belief. In fact I had a problem believing it myself initially. At the point of disclosure I very much look forward to reading Adam’s efforts to put forward the alternative view.It’s not my story so i can’t control the disclosure timescale, but when it comes out it will be nuclear

Just to make this clear, what has still to come out is worse than illegally registering players, is worse than using VAT and PAYE as cash-flow, is worse than deliberately not paying fellow clubs, is worse than deliberately abusing the EBT system

its much worse……

My advice to those who know what they have done……don’t walk away…….run away as fast as you can,preferably to somewhere without an extradition treaty with the UK……because you know what you have done, and you know that its coming out.”

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Madbhoy24941Posted on5:33 pm - Nov 24, 2012


If any of the prophets of doom are on, have a quick look at the SPL table…

Place Points
01 25
02 24
03 24
04 23
05 22
06 21
07 20
08 19
09 18
10 16
11 15
12 11

Had a quick look but I cannot see another league that is so competitive…

As Jim Royle would say “Armageddon my arse!”

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