This, That and Everything. Rangers Football Club.

A lot has been happening in the short time since i last decided to comment on a subject that either interested or Irked me.

First of all let’s comment on the ever-present tax case involving Rangers Football Club. The tribunal is now well underway and yet no one is willing to gamble on the outcome of such.Mainly due to the fact no one is entirely sure of the facts.

Other websites/blogs on the internet have an in-depth fascination with the tax case and for that purpose i do not see any merit in me making much comment on the possibilities. What i will do is comment on Scottish Football and the future of Rangers Football Club in my own view.Nothing of authority, just simple point of view.

Glasgow Rangers are classically known as one half of the ‘old firm’ and in a statement that will no doubt get the kickers of every provincial club supporters in a twist : They ARE Scottish Football.

Much speculation is being made on what should happen to Rangers should they cease to exist. Should they have their trophy and titles removed from their period of ‘cheating’ – well, the simple answer is no, because at no point was this system of paying through EBT’s ever expressly implied as an illegal method of finance in the SFA/SPL/ FIFA/UEFA/any other guideline or constitution at this time. Therefore, we cannot punish in retrospect. Simple. Although this idea may be a ‘wet dream’ in the eyes of many  it is an otherwise non – starter unless someone somewhere could present a very concluding argument on it’s failure of ‘natural justice’. This would further be hampered however, in a world where World Football Governing bodies allows a club like Monaco to be run through funding from a Principality, Real Madrid by loans issued by Spanish Government concerned banks (Caja Madrid) to sums beyond their ability to pay back and at hugely subsidised rates .Not to mention numerous clubs funded by Russian ‘alleged gangsters’. It would be hard to punish Rangers for flaunting tax laws (If that is found to be the case) when other clubs, much larger and with much more power are arguably up to similar or worse . Not defending Rangers here, merely pointing out other frailties in the system.

What if Rangers were to disappear though and re-emerge as a new company?  Well, common sense says that as a new company – they should start as a new company. This, in my opinion would involve starting as a new member to Scottish Football in the bottom tier of such: The Third Division!  It makes perfect sense for this to happen, if a company wishes to start a fresh in this style of competition thus removing its responsibility for debts in the process it cannot inherently ‘pick and choose’ what parts of its former self it retains. It cannot free itself from debt, yet choose to keep the ‘good bits’ (ie) Premier League status.

If a Rangers ‘newco’ company is to develop then it should do things the hard way, the proper way. But this won’t happen.

WHY?

Well again the answer is rather simple: Money! Some people out there would have you believe that Rangers being accepted is a sure sign that the ‘establishment’ is  ‘anti Celtic’, you don’t need to google search too long and hard to find evidence of this believe. Another nonsense. It would happen because the other 11 institutions of the SPL would WANT it to happen. Most prominently: Glasgow Celtic.

Many have criticised Peter Lawwell from both sides of the Glasgow divide: but during his tenure at Celtic the club have remained on a steady financial footing despite a lack of revenue from Television and European football. This is not something to be sniffed at in the current financial climate. Of course Celtic, like Rangers have the great reliability on brand loyalty that would not be seen in business out with that of sport. I believe that in all honesty Celtic Football Club will do their DAMNEDEST to keep Rangers football club in either their current format or as a newco playing alongside them. Why? Because it is financially the only way forward.

Celtic WANT Rangers, i refrain from using the word NEED like so many others as it cannot be guaranteed to be the case. Without Rangers to play, the small revenue gained from television will disintegrate into absolutely nothing. It is money that Celtic can not afford to lose lightly. The rivalry of the Old Firm is what keeps many fans from returning, from giving their club their backing. Yes there are exceptions, of course there are, but in the main part- the rivalry is what the game is about, it is what makes them bleed their own pockets dry for their club- it breeds loyalty.

The major problem that strikes me from this is the obvious conflict of interest. If financial interest becomes part of the SPL voting procedure then surely this cannot be judged as fair. It is a legal nightmare for the SPL and SFA and one that i am sure they do not wish to face. The SFA is to represent all football teams in Scotland, so just because the SPL clubs may require a ‘new’ Rangers for their leagues finances so it could be argued do the 3rd Division sides represented by the SFA who might feel that they have a lot of gain from increased crowds at their own stadia.

Any change in rules to accommodate Rangers will be done with the blessing of the other SPL clubs and the parting words of the former St Johnstone chairman Geoff Brown cements this issue,” not to wish the worst for Rangers – because their demise could spark a catastrophic chain reaction.” and that “any fan hoping the Ibrox club hit the skids and fall into administration should think twice, fearing it could put the entire SPL in jeopardy”.

Brown, who was Scotland’s longest-serving club chairman suggested: “The mess Rangers are in just now doesn’t help any of us. None of us can afford that to happen.

“If Rangers do go into administration and the club aren’t earning money, of course it has to go down the chain, one way or another.

“If you take even the television contracts, it’s really important Rangers are a part of that.

“There’s no way anyone should be wishing the worst for them – that’s the last thing we should be doing.”

This is not the words of a paranoid man, but one of a man who has held Scottish Football dear in his heart for many years. If he can foresee problems then I think it would take a foolish person to doubt his opinion considering he has arguably been in charge of one of the smoothest run clubs in the country.

Please do not get me wrong here, I am not by any means excusing Glasgow Rangers for any possible wrong doing. I don’t for a minute think that Scottish Football would die without their presence but what I will say is this: without the cash generated by Glasgow Rangers in the SPL many clubs will suffer financially and need to further cut back their cloth to suit their needs. This will involve job losses, quite simply and a possible reduction of quality in a product where quality is already at rock bottom.

Take a club like Motherwell for instance, and I use them as an example because they are a well run club, post-administration, of their own and -as I was an employee of the club at the time of administration I understand the strife that can follow. Motherwell will only probably play Rangers twice a season at Fir Park however this adds approx. 6000 people per game – 12000 per season. If at a minimum this was £15 per ticket (It is more) this would involve a minimum total of £180’000 revenue over the course of a season because of Rangers visiting their stadia. That is a lot of money for a club in Scotland and the sort of cash that without, they would struggle to maintain their current level. Again, Motherwell do not receive much in TV revenue however if that cash were to be hampered on top of the £180’000 lost in ticket revenue then…where does that leave their budget. They would need to start again, rip up the books and plan appropriately. To their supporters this may not matter much, Motherwell fans from my experience are a very hardy bunch and ones that care about nothing but their own club no matter what many may say about them as being ‘without a bus fair’ to either side of Glasgow. Believe me, this is not the case. They are MOTHERWELL fans. They may not think twice about a drop in standard of football due to Rangers demise however I am sure they would be first to commiserate with those that may lose their livelihood as a consequence.

I believe the rest of the Scottish clubs to be the same, of course there is the argument that without a Rangers to support it would free up 50000 supporters to make their way to their local clubs for their football fix. The problem is that this is a hypothetical hope and not based on fact, especially when you consider the ‘brand loyalty’ that football entails. Supporting another club is hardly an easy thing to adopt – it is unrealistic to believe that the fan base would disperse in such a way to balance the books.

Others have argued that before David Murray established control of Rangers they were nothing but a side-show in Scottish Football with Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic flying the flag for Scotland. This may admittedly be the case, but this is not the 80’s and Aberdeen and Dundee United are not the clubs that they once were. In the current climate the level of control and power held by Rangers, in a sport that has moved on tenfold financially in the intermittent decades , has not to be sniffed at. Big fish in a very small pond, but big fish all the same.

I do honestly believe that, as much as there are many Celtic fans that would love the bragging rights of Scotland without Rangers, the Celtic board do not. Turkeys do not vote for Christmas and messurs Lawwell et all may also wish that some form of survival is available to Rangers to continue business as usual at their own end. I am far from saying they would lose support but TV revenue will certainly be lost without Rangers. The ‘old firm’ selling/bragging/loyalty rights would be lost, maybe not immediately but no other club could possibly step up to the mark to rival Celtic who would be the entirely dominant force in Scottish Football.

On the other hand, this is all my opinion many other people have voiced theirs on the matter so I thought I was due my own 50p. Like everything it is all hypothetical and of course as a Rangers fan I will always be tarnished with looking upon them favourably even though I sometimes feel that I am shooting right down the middle of fairness. I have expressly stated that I do not think re-admission to the SPL is the CORRECT thing to do in terms of fairness but I do think it is probably the INEVITABLE thing to happen due to their financial clout in terms of support.

Before I move on to Mr Craig Whyte I would like to ask what on earth is happening to Hearts? Between the financial situation at themselves and Rangers you need to ask if something more should be done to protect such institutions from getting involved in the financial black holes they have obviously subjected themselves to. Between David Murray and Vladimir Romanov two clubs from Scotland’s largest city and capital city are on the brink of extinction. Hearts have a debt not out with the same levels of Rangers potential debts these days and that is something that scares me for the future of their club. The future of both of these clubs has got to be taken seriously as there is a distinct possibility that both could vanish within the same season. If the financial figures without Rangers looked bleak, then without the 3rd biggest club we must be talking a budget black hole of massive proportions. In a business sense, if these institutions were not Football clubs with the brand loyalty I have previously alluded to: they would have been closed long ago.

Anyway, Craig Whyte. I do not know the man, I do not know his background or his plans for Rangers. I am prepared as a supporter to follow his lead, mainly as there is no real choice in the matter. He is the main shareholder in Glasgow Rangers and for that he has the power to move as he wishes.

Craig Whyte cannot be judged for Rangers current mess, it is not of his doing. One one hand his moves in financing Rangers documented on companies house allude to either a man with a cunning plan of spider web like ideas to fight Rangers through this financial plight. Either that or he hasn’t a clue. Either would be difficult to argue with at this stage.

The BBC may be banned from Ibrox, their documentary has come under close scrutiny on both Kerrydale street, The Rangers Tax Case Blog and FollowFollow respectively. The reaction has been massively mixed as you would expect, Euphoria on one community, Outrage in the other and somewhere along the line the removal of any hint of sanity.

The Rangers Tax Case aside, a blog that I am happy to give total respect for some of the work it has uncovered. I do not always agree with the sentiments but in the same breath I feel no right to disagree as I have no substantial proof to back up my own theories whilst the owner of that website seems to take a lot of time and effort to research their own opinions on the matter. One thing is certain, I will never slate or rubbish the website like so many others do. I understand that it is run by a Celtic supporter and under those circumstances their ‘agenda’ will always come under scrutiny from certain individuals but they have uncovered enough fact within their blog to be allowed to voice their opinion on the matter no mater what ends they please to meet. No one else has bothered to do so, in particular the Scottish press so in some terms , no matter who you are, dues have to be paid for their diligence.

Kerrydale street and Follow Follow are fans websites, I had never heard of Kerrydale street until it was flagged to my attention that a large number of the hits on this blog come directly from that website. Upon investigation I seen a whole mix of reaction to my comments, some positive and some negative. Opinion will always split on any published piece be it in blog format or in press publications. Similar to the chap that owns the Tax Case Blog, me being a ‘Rangers’ fan means that many feel I also have an ‘agenda’. But such is life. Further to that I cannot comment on kerrydale street, I have funnily enough, never posted on it and I know none of the people who do so any opinion would be totally misguided.

Follow Follow on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. I have been a member of such a website, however I was banned for voicing an opinion that disagreed with the masses ( I support the SNP ) on a thread that was ironically on the subject of ‘Losing the right to freedom of speech under the new sectarianism law’. Something that I found far to ironic to do anything other than laugh at my computer screen. Again, I am not having a go at those who run Followfollow, the website or the publication. Good luck to them. Going against the grain is not something that seems to be tolerated mind you.

Another reason I was banned was for this opinion on Craig Whyte that I will now eventually get to. Craig Whyte has claimed that further to the BBC documentary that revealed he was disqualified for 7 years from practicing as a company Director in the UK – he was banned for  failure to submit tax returns making him guilty of incompetence and was a first offence. Without opening myself up too wide here i would like to state that Craig Whyte clearly knows his own circumstances far better than i do but to claim a 7 year ban on the ground of a ‘technicality’ seems very harsh. I would like to suggest that perhaps his years abroad have perhaps allowed him to forget the reasons for his actual ban.

I have an issue with this claim: my issue is that in my opinion, backed up with relevant legal authority – he is lying. My reason for thinking this, simple: re Sevenoaks stationers(retail) Ltd [1991] BCLC 352. This relates to a major case in the definition of disqualification of directors.

In the case mentioned above criteria was set out in relevance to disqualification of directors:

2-5 years for cases involving negligence or incompetence ( AS CRAIG WHYTE CLAIMS)

6-10 years for cases involving misappropriation of company assets & prejudicing the creditors. (THE LENGTH OF HIS ACTUAL BAN)

11-15 years for serious cases.

The court gave guidelines for the periods of disqualification to be applied for company directors under the Act. The maximum period of ten years should be reserved for only the most serious of cases. Periods of two to five years should apply to cases at the bottom end, and the middle bracket of 6 to 10 years for serious cases. The period should be fixed by the allegations made in the charge, not in the evidence coming out later. Non-payment of crown debts was to be treated more seriously than for other debts, though non-payment of Crown debts is not per se evidence of unfitness: “it is necessary to look more closely in each case to see what the significance, if any, of the non-payment of the Crown debt is.” “(i) the top bracket of disqualification for periods over ten years should be reserved for particularly serious cases. These may include cases where a director who has already had one period of disqualification imposed on him falls to be disqualified yet again. (ii) the minimum bracket of two to five years’ disqualification should be applied where, though disqualification is mandatory, the case is, relatively, not very serious. (iii) the middle bracket of disqualification for from six to 10 years should apply for serious cases which do not merit the top category.”
Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 6 – Companies (Disqualification of Unfit Directors) Proceedings Rules 1987

I rest my case 😀

Let’s see what unfolds shall we……

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3 Comments on “This, That and Everything. Rangers Football Club.”


  1. Garry,

    Thanks for letting me know about your blog. A very interesting piece looking at the broad issues across Scottish football. The fact that you have been in the midst of an administration process means you are, sadly, acquainted with how brutal it can be.

    I find it odd that the mainstream media has not, in the contxet of Mr Whyte’s “technicality”, mentioned the Sevenoaks Case. It seems to be obvious for somene to see what the gravity of the offence was, but he has been able to get away with fudging the issue, and not wanting to go into the specifics of the matter, without anyone seeming to pursue him for answers. Fear of litigation? Fear of alienating the RAngers fan-base? Who knows.

    As I have said though, this provides lots of stuff for bloggers to write about!

    Paul


  2. I think there is a lot to be said for ‘alienating the Rangers fan base’ as you have suggested. I was recently interviewed by a student journalist on the matter of press coverage of ‘The Rangers Impending Tax Case’ as it were only last week. I alluded to the fact that most red-top press for example relied heavily on the Rangers/Celtic fan-base to fund their business. Hardly a week goes by without Rangers/Celtic being on both covers of their publications and that is no coincidence.

    I fear that it is simply a case of ‘biting the hand that feeds’. Alienation from inside either of the main institutions in Glasgow results in your own publication suffering as a consequence and in turn, flourishing your competitors.

    I imagine the press have almost self-moderated that they will not comment in detail the tribunal facing Rangers. This, coupled with the fact that from the little facts that ARE known on the case there is relatively little precedent on this scale to give a definitive outcome. Much of the ‘fact’ is actually informed speculation from those that have been diligent enough to dig below the surface of Rangers.

    Another possibility is the obvious, let’s be honest. The in’s and out’s of the Tax case may be of interest to people like me and you but it could be difficult for mainstream press to put an interesting spin on a rather complex matter.

    Who knows.

    Anyway thanks for your comment i look forward to looking at parts of your blog that are obviously far more informed than my own, i am currently only a law student making the simple mistakes that inexperience always will. Company Law was never a module that i found particularly entertaining may i add but the sevenoaks case is one of those hammered into you by lecturers and one that sprung to mind very quickly in relation to Craig Whyte.

    Many Thanks,

    Garry MacInnes

  3. Sarah Says:

    Gary,

    Isn’t ‘Released Assets’ merely a placeholder name for the things which have NOT been released from the floating charge?

    (See S.4 – ‘excluding the Released Assets’)

    I admit it’s an ambiguously worded statement but close inspection shows it to be the opposite of what one would think upon first reading. What S.4 asks is to detail that which no longer forms a part of the floating charge hand the answer is the floating charge itself, over all company assets, excluding the

    Hence all company assets have been released with the exception of what hasn’t been released, and that which hasn’t been released could be called anything at all but just happens to be called ‘Released Assets’ – deliberately I suspect.


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