Imagine, if you will, a property developer called Mr. Emerald who had recently acquired a large lawn surrounded by some red bricks. Having bought it for at about a tenth of its possible value, he felt that he had got himself a bargain. He could see considerable potential for developing the acquisition by changing it from a football stadium into a far more sensible business which might actually generate a profit.
There was a slight problem, in that the previous owners were an unsavoury assortment of Crafty Rogues who still seemed to harbour ambitions of controlling future uses of the site. When it suited them, the Crafty Rogues could threaten and intimidate their enemies by activating mindless mobs of Vicious Hooligans. One toot of a magic flute could send these maniacs into a frenzy of homicidal hysteria. Until they were required to wreak havoc, it was vitally important to keep them distracted with preposterous myths about their supreme birthright, feed their bizarre sense of entitlement and regularly warn them to look out for the Unseen Fenian Hand.
So why did the Crafty Rogues sell the original business in the first place and why do they think they still have a say in what it can be used for? The answer to the first part is a mere technicality. Their stewardship of the football club had run into a trifling practical difficulty. Through a mixture of complacency and arrogance, they had inadvertently drawn unwelcome attention to their propensity for spending everybody else’s money. The business was so saturated with debt that it had been noticed by the Unseen Fenian Hand so a decision was taken to shuffle it out of sight and replace it with an upgrade. The Crafty Rogues agreed amongst themselves that the best way to do this was to engage the expert services of some professional Shameless Chancers to perform the kind of dirty work which would ultimately enrage the Vicious Hooligans. Shameless Chancers are hardwired to run that kind of risk if they think they can make money for themselves in the process. Only after the Shameless Chancers had been chased out of town by the Vicious Hooligans could the Crafty Rogues openly resume control of their reconditioned enterprise.
The Crafty Rogues had planned well in advance. They had installed their members and allies in numerous positions of influence, far from their operational headquarters. A few remained near the base but most of them were embedded in rival clubs, the mainstream media, the football administrative offices, a bank or two, the Referees’ Lodge and wherever else they might be useful. They could be depended upon to spring into action to perform their part as and when they were needed but for the most part they were expected to maintain as low a profile as possible and avoid unnecessary scrutiny.
And so it came to pass that the Shameless Chancers began their assignment while the Crafty Rogues in the media threw up a smokescreen around them. Reports began to emerge that nameless Vicious Hooligans believed that they had been poked with a stick which, according to the testimony of various eyewitnesses, had been wielded by the Unseen Fenian Hand. Intrepid investigative journalists heroically researched the allegations and eventually produced the sensational revelation that the Unseen Fenian Hand was bringing troubles on itself. For one thing, it had invented internet bampottery, a development which neither the Crafty Rogues nor the Shameless Chancers had fully anticipated. It was also beginning to assert an unexpectedly strong grip upon the supporters of un-Feniany football clubs. Even football club chairmen with lots of surnames and no Christian names would ultimately be suspected of being locked in its dread grasp. And it had already demonstrated that it was controlling the tax authorities and numerous other law-enforcement agencies.
By this time, the first of the Shameless Chancers had already decided to pass on the baton in order to concentrate on spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. The response time of the Vicious Hooligans was now being periodically tested for battle readiness with exercises involving, amongst other things, postal sorting offices.
When the baton eventually reached Mr Emerald, the last of the Shameless Chancers, the Crafty Rogues deployed more of their operatives, mobilised the Vicious Hooligans and prepared to smite the Unseen Fenian Hand with mighty blows. Accompanied by the toot of a flute, Crafty Rogues from Hampden Stadium took turns to propose surreal solutions to the crisis, each of which was duly shot down by the Shameless Chancers with an inspired series of catastrophic PR stunts. “Who are these people? We demand to know!” was followed by an excursion to the Court of Session, a disruptive March Of The Zombies to besiege empty Hampden offices and other examples of pantomime villainy which stretch credulity. Even for Huns, this is just about too stupid to be real. It’s scripted.
Up until that point, it seems that everyone was playing their role more or less properly. The club’s core support saw that Mr. Emerald totally lacked credibility as a football club owner. Their distrust was reinforced by the demonstrable fact that he still didn’t actually have a football team, wasn’t giving much attention to the acquisition of football players and didn’t have a single fixture arranged. Season tickets remained unsold and no money was coming into Mr. Emerald’s brand new enterprise. This should have been the point at which he could throw up his hands and say, “Eeeeh, I gave it my best shot but, unfortunately, I don’t have t’confidence of t’Rangers support. There’s nowt I can do to change that. This job needs proper Rangers man to lead t’club back to glory days. I’ll sell up – at slight profit, mind – and wish you all t’best of luck.”
A man in a cardigan, epitomising the very essence of staunch dignity, should have emerged at that point and introduced his millionaire backers to the roar of thunderous, Hunderous applause. While Mr. Emerald was legging it back to Yorkshire, a few million better off than when he’d arrived, Crafty Rogues in the media would inform us that relief was sweeping across an entire nation. Now that the Most Respected Human Being In Scotland’s History had stepped in to salvage a previously hopeless position and compromises would somehow be reached in all of the seemingly intractable football disputes that mere mortals were struggling to resolve.
But that didn’t work out.
The Unseen Fenian Hand had struck again. Mark Daly revealed details of the EBT scam on the BBC and triggered a stampede of Rangers legends galloping out of the public eye as far as they possibly could. Mr. Emerald’s prospect of a quick success with his buy-low, sell-higher wheeze was on the back-burner.
Increasingly worried Crafty Rogues desperately engineered a glimmer of an opportunity to smuggle Sevco into the SPL to replace a club which no longer exists. But, at the meeting, the Shameless Chancers ignored their coaching and played the “We Are The People” card with consummate arrogance to ensure that not even a Crafty Rogue from Ayrshire could bring himself to vote in their support. That has really tipped the Crafty Rogues into a serious panic, suspecting that the Shameless Chancers are now out of control. They fear that Mr Emerald may have abandoned the original understanding and decided upon a new, more self-serving agenda. This would NOT involve selling the upgraded Huns v2.0 back to the Crafty Rogues, ready to be rebooted in the SPL as if nothing much had happened. He has also stated that he’ll have to throw in the towel if FC Pseudo-Hun is placed in Division 3 of the SFL.
Friday the 13th is going to be very interesting. The outcome which the Crafty Rogues are trying to steer the SFL clubs towards is also the only one which Mr. Emerald hasn’t yet admitted would impel him back to the property development business. I’ll be interested to see whether he or his people contrive yet another reason for people to turn even further against the Zombies.
Scandal. Disgrace. Corruption. Cheats. Laughing stock. Fraud. Incompetence. Cowardice. Fiasco.
Nowadays, these are just some of the words that are most likely to spring to the minds of objective onlookers as an automatic first response to a mention of Scottish football. It would be foolish to think that the reputation of any Scottish club is not being tarnished by the outrageous conduct of the former football club which was known as Rangers FC. The stench that continues to emanate from Ibrox is making the entire game stink to the high heavens. Let us recall that Rangers have already been found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, a conviction which even their own shameless representatives have sullenly accepted.
Let’s emphasise that point. They were not found guilty of bringing Rangers into disrepute; they brought the game itself into disrepute.
So now the Scottish game is officially disreputable. Thanks for that, Huns.
Scottish football has already reached an all-time low. It can sink lower still and seems hell-bent on doing so. It will continue to sink for as long as it clings pathetically to the shattered hull of Minty’s Titanic as if no other course of action could be possible. One club is entirely responsible for the catastrophic condition of professional football in Scotland. One club infected what was a reasonably healthy body, polluted the atmosphere and poisoned the well. Even from beyond the grave, its putrefying remains present a mortal danger to the rest of Scottish football, not least while its own deluded pall-bearers defiantly insist that the corpse is still alive and about to resume its business.
There are others who, as yet, have not dared to believe that a stake has finally been driven through the cold, flinty heart of the club which, like a vampire, spent most of its existence recoiling from the light while sucking the life blood from its prey, using every dark art and nefarious device at its disposal.
It is now time to truly believe and it is time to start anew. The first part of the renewal requires facing up to the world as it is and to reject the insubstantial pseudo-reality which is peddled by media spin-doctors and self-serving publicists. The world as it is sees the potential for a perfectly viable, sustainable Scottish professional football industry which cuts its cloth according to its means. It has to stop pretending to be something which it is not. It is not a smaller version of the English Premier League. It is not currently capable of producing an international team which can qualify for major tournaments. It is not a major force in European club football.
However, it is capable of being much better than it is. Once it takes the necessary steps to release itself from the dead hand of the extinct Rangers FC (1872-2012), a vast panorama of opportunity can open up. Pre-Minty, the SPL was ranked as the fourth best league in Europe. Aberdeen and Dundee United were setting the standard for other Scottish clubs to aspire to. I want to see that level of competitiveness returning to Scottish football. To achieve that, the first myth that must be destroyed is the notion that the future SPL will be a one horse race which Celtic will win at a canter. There is a simple counter to that concern.
Now that the Celtic-Rangers fixture is a thing of the past, Sky Sports has no excuse for continuing to dictate – against the wishes of the clear majority of Scottish football supporters – that the top division cannot expand. There will no longer be four Glasgow derbies every season. There won’t even be one. Hooray! So I see no argument against a top division of twenty clubs, playing each other once at home and once away. This could completely open up the title race. Even if a club lost both of its games against Celtic, it would still have thirty-six games against the other opposition in which to make up the loss of those six points. That is a huge change from the twenty-four points which the wee clubs have contested in the past. It brings the championship well into striking range for the better clubs (and those clubs will also be stronger for the fact that their best players will not be lured away to Ibrox!) At a stroke, we will have a more competitive league and a more attractive competition.
The time has also come to revisit the idea of Scottish football taking control of its own television broadcasting. The Sky deal is lousy. £16 million per year pales into insignificance in comparison with other second-tier leagues in Europe. Denmark, whose population of roughly five and a half million is similar to Scotland’s, receives nearly twice as much TV money than the SPL does. Belgium and Portugal have populations of 11 million but their leagues receive roughly four and five times more respectively than the SPL can attract under the incompetent management of half-man, half-mollusc, Neil Doncaster. The Eredivisie runs its own subscription TV channel and sooks in around £60 million pounds per annum. When you see these figures, it’s hard to see why Sky is considered to be a benefactor of Scottish football! It should also go without saying that the TV revenue must be more evenly distributed than it is at the moment. I do not think that there will be huge resistance to that argument from Celtic, especially if a well-run subscription based TV service is putting far more money into the pot in the first place. (There’s a splendid article by Cardiff Bhoy on Celtic Underground which looks at this subject.)
These wheezes are viable. But they must go hand in hand with a complete house-cleaning of the completely discredited structure of Scottish football as it stands. A total relaunch is required and it is of paramount importance that the new, improved, shiny clean organisation makes a complete break with its sordid past. This requires the courage to fully address the extent of the malign influence of the former Rangers FC and declare unambiguously that its financial doping and associated skulduggery mean that no form of the club can be admitted into the league until there has been a complete, thorough investigation into its affairs by the competent authorities. The brand is too strongly tainted for Scottish football to risk any further contamination from associating with any manifestation of it. If it looks like Rangers, sounds like Rangers or smells like Rangers (especially if it smells like Rangers!) there is too great a danger that it will continue to behave like Rangers. For the good of Scottish football, the brand must be retired until further notice.
If nothing else, Sevco 5088 Ltd FC (or whatever it will be called this time next week) actually needs someone to throw in the towel on its behalf. When a boxer is being pummelled by a superior opponent, the referee or his corner men actually do him a favour by stopping the contest. He can then take time to recover from his injuries before getting himself into shape for a future contest. That’s the position that Zombie-Rangers FC are in just now. It will do them no good to carry on stumbling blindly onto left hooks and right uppercuts. There are plenty more of them in store for them. It’s time for them to touch a knee onto the canvass and if they won’t do it voluntarily, the referee needs to step in.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can look forward to playing and watching football.
Rangers haven’t even begun to taste proper punishment.
At least ten years of cheating cannot be atoned for by anything less than expulsion. I, like tens of thousands of other Scottish football supporters, spent years paying to see what was advertised as a sporting competition but was in reality a fix. Looking only at ten years of buying two season tickets in the first decade of this century and ignoring for the moment the likelihood of previous fraudulent activities perpetrated by the same Rangers organisation, I personally have been defrauded to the tune of well over £12,000.
I am by no means alone or even exceptional in that respect. Many, many others have been cheated.
Taking Celtic alone (but also recognising that supporters of every other club were cheated, particularly the supporters of every SPL club which suffered the relegation which should, by rights, have been the fate of the club which lost every match 0-3) and looking only at the seasons in which Celtic were cheated into 2nd place instead of 1st — that gives us five seasons. 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Hugely simplifying the numbers to a low-end, estimated annual average of ~40,000 tickets @ c.£500 each, we get a ball park figure of £20,000,000 worth of mis-sold tickets.
Twenty million pounds minimum.
Without counting millions of pounds of extra prize money.
Without counting millions of pounds of extra revenues from Europe.
Without counting enhanced reputation and consequent sponsorship potential worth millions of pounds.
Without counting potential for merchandising based on 12 In A Row and related achievements.
Twenty million pounds is the tip of the iceberg of the damage and disruption for which RFC were responsible.
Not to mention that tens of millions of pounds more would have been paid into the national tax coffers if Celtic and other clubs had been receiving the prize money which was due to them.
Yet we are currently hearing Rangers apologists telling us that Rangers “have already been punished heavily” or even, “have already been punished enough!” A fine of £200,000 for doing at least £20,000,000 worth of damage to a single set of supporters? A three year exclusion from Europe as a punishment for ten years of European participation? A ten point deduction after stealing five championship titles?
Proper punishment hasn’t even come into the frame yet.
Some things really are too big to be allowed to fail.
But Rangers Football Club isn’t one of them.
The principle that it is wrong to spend other people’s money, without their permission, in order to advance your own self-centred agenda is a big idea which is absolutely central to the core values of a civilised society. There’s a closely related idea that it’s not okay to exploit the good faith of service providers, businesses, emergency services and individual workers, then leave them whistling in the wind for the payment which they’ve earned.
Those are ideas which are too big to be allowed to fail.
There’s an enduring concept that trustworthiness is a virtue while cynical exploitation of people’s trust is reprehensible. Similarly, quality of life is generally enhanced when decent people can reap the just rewards of their honest labours without being robbed by scam merchants, fraudsters and sharks. And that principle, by extension, demands that those who insist on conducting their affairs in an exploitative, predatory fashion must face a level of punishment which is in proportion to the damage they do to their victims. The penalty for undermining essential foundations of social stability should reflect that selfish parasites and shameless free-loaders are unacceptable infestations which are unacceptable to decent society.
These principles are too big to be allowed to fail.
Vital ideas and fundamental principles such as these are constantly assailed and relentlessly undermined by the very last people for whom we should go out of our way to offer assistance or protection. Allowing these people to prosper from their malevolent, anti-social machinations not only encourages them to continue in the same selfish, destructive vein; it also sends out an intolerable and dangerous message to others that the most profitable way to operate is by abusing trust, practising deceit and exploiting vulnerability at every possible opportunity.
Why work for a living when you can steal someone else’s dues?
Why play fair when you can win more by cheating?
Why bother about doing the right thing when moral standards are merely obstacles in the way of your ambitions?
These are the traits of the psychopath. Psychopathic thinking infects every society where it is allowed to spread. Where it is not challenged, it takes an ever firmer hold until it ends up overwhelming the decent humanity of the overwhelming majority of the population. Academic study after academic study has shown that the prevalence of clinical psychopaths is in the region of 4% of our society. Most people are unaware that it is more common in the boardrooms than in the maximum security prisons; very, very few psychopaths are serial killers or axe-murderers but a hell of a lot of them are at the core of vast financial scams, vulture capitalism, national and international banking scandals, insider trading, fraudulent investment schemes, general corporate misgovernance and money-laundering.
Criminality on that scale adversely affects the 96% of us who, for the most part, just want to get on with our lives in peace with each other. It corrodes the most basic principles of our communities and sucks the vitality out of a society’s confidence in its own sense of justice, honour, purpose, fairness and integrity. In short, it attacks all of the most important values which give human beings their deepest, richest sense of well-being.
These are the values which really are too big to fail.
If we them, we lose everything that makes us decent. What price is worth paying to defend these values? Downsizing a few football operations, whose worth has been artificially inflated, to a scale that is a truer reflection of their genuine worth is well worth the longer term benefits. If the prestige of Scottish football depends upon its economy being regularly injected with huge streams of laundered cash; or relies upon unsustainable levels of borrowing from unreliable banks; or cannot function without tax-scams designed to protect some of the highest wage-earners in the country from the demands that apply to the rest of us; if this is what the prestige of Scottish professional football depends upon then that prestige is an illusion for the gratification of fools.
It’s only a bloody game of football. It is certainly not so important that we need to turn a blind eye to the fact that professional football in its current structure could have been specifically designed by money-launderers as a perfect conduit for cleaning up the proceeds of international drug running, illegal arms dealing, child prostitution and a plethora of other nefarious activities. The most cold-hearted gangsters on the planet clean up their money in collusion with their criminally-inclined (but ever-so-respectable) collaborators in the boardrooms of all of the major banks and financial institutions.
In other news, Liverpool FC paid £35 million pounds for Andy Carroll. That’s pretty close to the figure which Dick Advocaat spent in a single season when he was the manager of Rangers FC (now defunct) at around the same time that Dave King “invested” around £20,000,000 of “his own money” in the club.
Former CEO of JJB Sports, Chris Ronnie, has been charged with several counts of fraud and money-laundering. In 2006, JJB Sports entered into a ten-year sponsorship deal reportedly worth up to £48 million with the now defunct Rangers FC. By an amazing coincidence, the 322 charges which long-serving Rangers director Dave King faces in South African courts also include fraud and money-laundering.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a bank formerly known as the Bank of Scotland/HBOS/Lloyds handled the accounts of every SPL club except Celtic. (Latterly, when Vlad took over Hearts, the Jambo’s account was transferred to Romanov’s own bank.) Every one of those clubs would have struggled desperately to survive if its credit facility had been called in by the bank. That remains true today. That left (and still leaves) all of those clubs very vulnerable to pressure from the bank in their handling of day to day business. Say, for example, that BOS’s successor, Lloyds TSB dearly hoped that enough directors would vote for a certain club to be parachuted straight into the SPL. They would be able to exert enormous pressure on any club which was not enthusiastic about following LTSB’s plan. Not that I would suggest for a moment that distinguished banking figures would even consider such a shameless piece of blackmail. Ian Fraser wrote a fine article which shows exactly how honourable and honest high-level bankers really are.
(Just thought I’d mention those few random facts there for no particular reason.)
There is a certain type of mindset which has been unstoppable in its insistence that a now-liquidated football club is too big to be allowed to fail and that the national sport will collapse without it. I’ve dismissed the stupidity of that position in previous blogs and I feel no need to go over the same ground again.
Instead, I’ll finish off by talking briefly about something completely different.
A mindset which carefully plans a corporate heist to shaft creditors to the tune of up to £150,000,000 before re-emerging on the other side of a long planned liquidation, ready to carry on as if nothing had happened; that is indistinguishable from the mindset of the psychopath.
A so-called businessman who acquires all of the assets of a failed business by effectively paying millions of pounds to the administrators in whose gift the assets lie – and leaving approximately zilch to the hundreds of legitimate creditors of that business – is operating in exactly the way that a corporate psychopath would be expected to.
Administrators who state, upon being appointed, that their responsibilities are to transform an ailing business into a going concern and also get the best possible outcome for its creditors; who charge millions of pounds for their work; who oversee the liquidation of the business; who salvage absolutely nothing at all for the creditors; and who strike an exclusive deal with a man who is willing to pay a sum of money which is almost exactly the same as their extortionate fees – in effect, a bribe – to acquire undervalued assets; such people are classic examples of the psychopathic consciousness at work in corporate life.
This is an evil which is too big to be allowed to succeed.
I mentioned Suicide by Cop in a recent blogpost because it seems to me that D&P are actively trying to provoke some other party to bring on the liquidation event. They would prefer to be able to blame the SPL or SFA or UEFA or FIFA or HMRC or SVDP or anybody at all for kicking the ladder away from under them just as they were supposedly on the point of delivering the Holy Grail of a successful CVA outcome. The fact that they hadn’t a hope in hell of getting 75% in favour of their derisory CVA proposal would be neither here nor there if they could paint some other party as the baddies who had thwarted their rescue strategy just at the point when it was coming to fruition.
That, however, leaves Emerald Green with a slight problem because he apparently, for reasons which I can’t fathom, had given an undertaking to spend millions of pounds which he does not have – where have we heard that before? – to acquire the mortal remains of the deceased club. There is a possibility that at some point he had some kind of vague plan to present a regenerated, viable NewClub for future sale. Or at least to make it look as if that’s what he intended to do. His get-out clause is that he can’t be held to this commitment if Rangers or Frankenstein’s Rangers are disqualified from any of the domestic competitions. (We must presume that European competitions were not involved in the conditions.)
It looks as if it is now a matter of urgency for Rangers (in administration) to:
a) get themselves disqualified/suspended/expelled/ejected from at least one domestic competition.
The Scottish Cup would do for this purpose, hence the stories before the original SFA Disciplinary Hearing that Rangers (in administration) had sounded out the beaks with a view to intimating that a fine and “ejection” from the Scottish Cup would be acceptable to the Dignified Ones.
b) be seen to have been forced into liquidation by an unseen Fenian hand (including the papists of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs or the Vatican puppets at FIFA or the Opus Dei-infiltrated SFA).
c) achieve both of these objectives, preferably in that order from Emerald Green’s point of view, before the risible CVA proposal is exposed as the crock of horseshit that it undoubtedly is and firmly rejected by the creditors.
I suspect that the members of both the original tribunal and the subsequent Appellate Tribunal were well aware of this and that’s why they tried to improvise a punishment which didn’t quite put Rangers out of business but nevertheless left them facing a formidable challenge in the unlikely event that they’ll still be around to limp onto the starting line for next season’s campaign. Unable to prevent their seasoned professionals from stampeding out of the club during the close season and unable to register experienced replacements in their place, Rangers would be in very poor shape.
It was an elegant attempt to inflict a painful punishment on the wrongdoers without playing into the hands of any of the miscreants. Alas, it has been foiled, for the time being, by the ruling of Lord Glennie in the Court of Session that the tribunal was obliged to order a punishment à la carte, as it were. The tribunal must select one of the punishments already on the menu and no Chef’s Specials are permitted. However, that is not the victory that it might have appeared to be if, as I suspect will be the case, the tribunal take their time to fins a space in their diaries when they can all get together again. They could delay this for weeks and that does not suit Rangers at the present moment.
The D&P gravy-train is nearing the end of the line. All of those delicious millions of pounds which Clark and Whitehouse have been hoovering up over the last four months are nearly finished. The pesky footballers are once again expecting to be paid the wages which they agreed to when they signed for the club. D&P want out now and quickly. A meeting with the creditors has been called for the 14th June. It is apparently to be a very short meeting with only one item on the agenda. Might this be the latest possible moment when the court-appointed administration team can fulfil their obligation to inform the hapless creditors that the jig is up and the padlocks are going onto the gates?
If it is, then the need to provoke someone else to cause the liquidation event is now desperate. One of the last things that Duff & Phelps want to have to do is take full responsibility for having made a complete James Hunt of the administration over the course of the last four months. (The very last thing that they want to do is walk away without an obscene profit at the expense of the creditors and employees but they have already taken good care of that priority.)
Every party which has had a chance to fire the fatal headshot has held back. HMRC, the SFA and the SPL have tiptoed all around the houses for months. That may yet prove to have been not such a bad thing, frustrating though it has been. It is better that Duff & Phelps should be forced to fall upon their own swords, not least because their professional regulator, the Insolvency Practitioners Association, is currently licking its lips and sharpening its knives in readiness for a forensic examination of the conduct of this bizarre administration process.
Charles Greed is a psychopathic predator who may have originally spotted an opportunity to make a dishonourable fast buck if things had all gone his way but he was wily enough to build in enough conditions to every one of his commitments to make it possible for him to find a way to wriggle free if events took an awkward turn. And they have become very awkward. It has become apparent that the mood of the general Scottish football-supporting public is firmly opposed to allowing any form of Rangers to carry on more or less as before. That is a game-changer in every sense. Green may have initially believed that the combined forces of the laptop loyal, a short attention span amongst many supporters, SFA President Campbell Ogilvie, the SPL’s spineless Neil Doncaster, various brown brogue-wearing chairmen of other SPL clubs and the scapegoating of Craig Whyte was capable of enabling the switcheroo to proceed, relatively unopposed. That has proved to be a false expectation.
I think of Greed in terms of the looters who appear in the aftermath of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a devastating hurricane. Where all around is chaos, carnage and confusion, furtive figures dart in and out of shops and warehouses, grabbing whatever is available or slipping back into the shadows to avoid being caught in the act. Chaz saw a scene of chaos and carnage and fancied his chances of bagging a few sackfuls of designer trainers but it’s becoming harder and harder for him to smuggle his stash through the cordons and back to his base. The Feds have got an eye on him so he’s pretending to tie his shoelaces while he chooses the best escape route. In this case, he badly needs Rangers to be ruled out of at least one of next season’s competitions as soon as possible. It’s just possible that the Tribunal may feel that there’s no point in reconvening to discuss punishments for a club which no longer exists after the L-bomb drops. That detonation may now be just over a week away. That is how long Emerald has to weasel his way out of having to make a multi-million pound offer for a business basket case.
In the USA there is a phenomenon known as “suicide by cop.” If some poor, troubled soul wants to end it all but doesn’t have the bottle to throw himself in front of a train or hang himself, he creates a disturbance to which the police are summoned. When the cops arrive, they find the suspect recklessly waving around a firearm (which is frequently unloaded) and call upon him to drop the weapon. Instead of complying, he points it at the police. They shoot him to death.
My feeling is that Rangers FC (In Administration) have been actively trying to provoke a punishment which will tip them into liquidation.
That might seem odd but it fits the facts.
McCoist’s “Who are these people?” statement was designed to stir things up and tempt the appeals panel to increase the original punishment.
The decision to go to the civil courts was designed to bring FIFA into the equation to put pressure on the SFA to expel the Huns.
So why would they do that?
First of all, I presume that Rangers FC (In Administration) have prepared a lifeboat for when the ship goes down. They may have recognised that there is now hee-haw chance of playing in the SPL next season (having been knocked back in their attempts to sound out the possibility of taking over St. Mirren) but they have calculated that a single season of SFL Div 1 football is not a bad second option. They could achieve that by taking over Cowdenbeath FC.
Cowdenbeath will need a new place to play very soon because their stadium is under threat in the short-term. Cowdenbeath have an arch-Hun chairman (Donald Findlay QC). Cowdenbeath play in blue and were previously called Cowdenbeath Rangers FC. (But not Cowdenbeath Rangers In Administration FC.)
For the average supporter of Rangers FC (In Administration) to buy into this new arrangement, it’s important (and easy) to convince them that someone else is to blame for the demise of Rangers (in administration). As usual.
The plan is to be liquidated because of the Feniany skulduggery of the SFA or FIFA or Peter Lawwell or Lord Carloway or HMRC or Ticketus or Mark Daly or Catholic Schools or Alex Thomson or the local newsagent or Lord Nimmo-Smith or Neil Lennon. (Delete as applicable.)
The story will be spun as a dastardly example of the club’s enemies putting the boot in just as Mr. Emerald Green was on the point of successfully presenting a CVA worth 0.000000001 pence in the pound to the grateful creditors and thus guaranteeing a glorious future for the Huns.
If that’s not the lifeboat plan in detail, then there will be something similar gestating in the bowels of the Beast.
One way or the other, Rangers FC (In Administration) are actively trying to commit “suicide by cop” at the moment but HMRC and the SFA haven’t fallen for it yet.
An Appellate Tribunal has upheld sanctions which were imposed upon a tax-dodging football club by an SFA judicial panel last month.
Rangers (in administration) had appealed against the 12-month transfer embargo and £160,000 in fines imposed on the Ibrox club for a series of disciplinary rule breaches under Craig Whyte’s ownership. On 23 April, Rangers were found guilty of five disciplinary charges, including bringing the game into disrepute. The independent inquiry was chaired by Lord William Nimmo Smith (who is a former Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session).
A three-man Appellate Tribunal, chaired by judge Lord Carloway (who is a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session) announced their decision to uphold the original decision, despite a legal argument put forward on behalf of the notorious, tax-swindling, bill-dodging football club by leading QC Richard Keen. (Richard Keen QC is NOT a Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session).
Rangers (in administration) had contested that Whyte’s actions should be treated separately to those of the arrogant, shameless, cheating, tax-dodging, football club. But the Appellate Tribunal ruled that the original decision was competent as the “conduct involved was attributable to the club as a member of the SFA”.
The tribunal will release a full report of its findings in due course but in the meantime it has revealed a few key points in a short summary.
“It was competent for the disciplinary tribunal to impose the additional sanction of prohibiting registrations of any new players of 18 years or older for a period of 12 months.
The disciplinary tribunal was correct to determine that the conduct involved – especially the deliberate non-payment of very large sums, estimated in excess of £13m of tax in the form of PAYE, NIC and VAT – was attributable to the club as a member of the Scottish FA.
Although the Appellate Tribunal has listened carefully to the representations from Rangers FC about the practical effects of the additional sanction, it has concluded that this sanction was proportionate to the breach, dissuasive to others and effective in the context of serious misconduct.”
Paul Clark, joint administrator (but NOT a former Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session), said: “The decision by the appellate tribunal to uphold the sanction, namely the suspension of registration of players for one year, is not competent in the view of the Club and its legal advisers.” (Note: the club’s legal advisers are not Senators of the College of Justice, judges of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session).
“Such a sanction was not available to the tribunal,” in the opinion of Mr. Clark (who is NOT a former Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session) “and should not have been imposed and it is the intention of the Club to challenge the determination. The Club will consider seeking review of this most disappointing decision and it is a matter of regret that the certainty and finality Rangers sought on this matter has not been achieved.”
Charles ‘Emerald’ Green (who is NOT a former Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session) said: “Our group went into the purchase of the Club with this sanction in place but we hoped the decision would at least be commuted. We fully support the Club as it considers an appeal against this latest decision.” The club to which ‘Emerald’ refers is, of course, the dishonest and disgraced Rangers FC (in administration) which has been found guilty by senior judges twice in the last month of bringing the game into disrepute through its deliberate non-payment of £13m of tax.
William Pullar “Sandy” Jardine, spokesman for the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund (but NOT a former Senator of the College of Justice, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, sitting in the High Court of Justiciary and the Inner House of the Court of Session), added: “Rangers supporters will be shocked and bitterly disappointed by this decision and will find it hard to take that the Club has been so heavily punished for the actions of individuals.” What Mr. Jardine means is that Rangers (in administration) should be allowed to spend millions of pounds on acquiring new players instead of paying their taxes. Even to the point of bringing the game into disrepute.
It is hard not to agree that the punishment which Rangers have been given is seriously wrong.
They are completely beyond redemption, incapable of recognising their guilt and determined to drag every standard of honesty and decency down to the level of shameless cynicism at which they themselves operate.
Rangers should have been expelled from Scottish football.
Sir David Murray
Mr. Craig Whyte
Mr. Paul Murray
Mr. Bill Ng
Mr. Bill Miller
Mr Charles Green,
c/o The Rangers*,
150 Edmiston Drive,
Glasgow G51 2XD
142 Copland Road,
Glasgow G51 2UB:
Dear Mr. Bhutta,
Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Charles Green. Some people call me ‘Emerald’.
I am a colourful businessman who has been a director of no fewer than fifteen companies which have gone into liquidation. My latest project is a football club called Rangers FC (in Administration) which I am hoping to gut and fillet in the coming weeks.
You may be aware that the Administrators of that football club, a firm called Duff and Phelps, are anxious to drag out the administration process for as long as possible because they are raking in a couple of hundred thousand pounds every week for as long as the money lasts. Who could blame them, eh? I’d do the same myself, given half a chance.
Speaking of me, it turns out that I am the latest one to have been offered the opportunity to buy Rangers FC (in Administration). My predecessor, an American chap called Mr. Bill ‘Liam’ Miller, had a quick look at the bookwork and, by all accounts, took suddenly ill. I, however, am made of sterner stuff, (not least because I’m English). Moreover, having been involved in fifteen liquidations myself, I can safely say that I’m quite an old hand at ignoring toxic debt. After the game against St. Johnstone on Sunday I had a quick butcher’s at the Orcs’ accounts and I have to say that of all the liquidations which I’ve been involved in, this one takes the biscuit! (As one businessman to another, let me just give you a quick tip – don’t give these people any credit or you’ll regret it. Make sure you get cash up front or no deal.)
Which brings me neatly, I feel, to the matter at hand. Looking at their accounts, I couldn’t help but notice a list of 277 creditors who are owed a total which is not far off £134,000,000. One of these creditors is your good self. You are still owed the sum of £567.45, although it’s so long overdue that you may well have forgotten all about it.
Incidentally, it did strike me that at the very least I might write a letter of apology to you expressing the club’s deep sorrow and acute embarrassment at this state of affairs. However, I was dissuaded from following this course of action by a geezer called Sandy Something-or-other. He seems to be well thought of in some quarters and he assures me that this is not the Rangers Way. Apparently it does not do for Rangers to show any signs of remorse or regret. I might say that this strikes me as odd but I must also concede that, as an Englishman, I am fairly unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of your fine country which I had rarely visited until this week. Indeed, I had never even heard of Rangers until they made the UK news headlines during their visit to Manchester in 2008. (Something to do with a broken television, was it? I think Chelsea were involved too? I can’t really remember the details.)
Anyway, Sandy says there’s to be no apology, that Rangers don’t show weakness, that you should consider yourself honoured to be a Rangers creditor and that you’ll be remembered as one of the bastards who stuck the boot in once the ‘Gers are back on top.
Would I dare to fly in the face of such sound advice on cultural manners from a local man? No chance. So. Up yours, it is, Mr. Bhutta.
That brings me to my next point. You’ve probably heard some talk about a CVA proposal. No doubt you will be too busy selling newspapers to have given the matter much thought. Let me give you a quick guide to what’s going to happen. If you saw the unfortunate headlines in some of today’s newspapers you may have gained the impression that I am spearheading a consortium of about twenty extremely wealthy partners who intend to pour vast sums of money into the club’s Warchest™ in the near future. This may have had the unintended side-effect of raising your hopes that you may finally see your £567.45 one day. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Those millions upon millions of pounds which my partners are going to invest are not for the likes of you, I’m afraid. That money is for Ally to spend on buying over-priced, over-paid, under-achieving no-marks for the Rangers first team of the future.
I may be new to this country but I’ve already done a bit of homework. Apparently, there is a newspaper called ‘The Scotsman’, which nobody ever reads these days. However, it was pointed out to me that its leader column just a few days ago stated that Scotland needs Rangers. I see no reason to doubt a newspaper which has been losing thousands of readers every month for many, many years now. It must know a thing or two about what Scotland needs. And it says that Scotland needs Rangers. Does it say that Scotland needs customers to pay their debts and settle their bills in full? No, it says that Scotland needs Rangers. So that settles that.
This means that instead of £567.45, the best you can hope for is £17.02, which is 3p in the pound. Frankly, I think you should be very grateful that you’re being offered that much.
Personally, I am tremendously excited about the future possibilities of this approach to business, if it succeeds. As a businessman yourself, I am sure you can appreciate the enormous cost-saving benefits of a scheme which reduces expenditure by 97%! Holy smoke, if I could have got away with only paying 3% of my bills in the past, I might never have had any liquidations at all, let alone fifteen of the buggers!
Now. In case you’re tempted not to accept this generous offer, let me just invite you to contemplate another very important consideration.
A man called Ally is thought to be very keen to have full transparency on the matter of the names and addresses of the creditors who endanger the future well-being of The Rangers (in Administration) by rejecting the CVA proposal.
Let’s look at it this way. That’s a nice business you’ve got there, Mr Bhutta. Sure would be a shame if anything were to happen to it, if you get my meaning. Of course, if you accept the CVA proposal of a measly three pence in the pound, you’ll probably not have to worry about that. You seem like a smart kind of guy. I really wouldn’t want to see you get on the wrong side of one of the notorious ‘small minorities’ who attach themselves in their thousands to Ally’s team. (No, not Chelsea; his other team.) You want to take my advice and do the sensible thing just in case things in the future get a little ‘transparent’. If you catch my drift.
If you bear in mind that the £550.43 which you’ll never see will play its part in encouraging almost two dozen multi-millionaires to pour millions of pounds into wages for Rangers bench-warmers next season then you will have some considerable consolation for having been ripped off. Alternatively, you should look at your £567.45 in a different perspective. Paul Clark makes more than that just by twiddling his thumbs for an hour. You’re in the wrong game, sunshine. Administration is where it’s at.
I have taken the liberty of enclosing a Rangers (in Administration) season ticket application form with this letter so that you can enjoy the Rangers experience next season. You may also want to be the first among your friends to buy the classic Sheffield United home kit from the 2006-2007 season so I’m sending you a catalogue for the Blades mail order service as well.
Sheffield United Rangers,
Charlie “Emerald” Green.
15 and counting.
P.S. These are very troubled times for The Rangers so I am sure you will understand why I found it necessary to send this letter to you without putting a stamp on the envelope.