Disguised renumeration. Your triggered emotion


Yesterday, the Premier League charged Manchester City with more than 100 financial rule breaches over the period 2009 – 2018.  The club have not cooperated with the ongoing inquiry since 2018.  A lot of water has flowed under the bridge, but the cuts from 2010-12 run deep, when similar charges were successfully brought against Rangers.

Problems started for City over innocuous-sounding investigations into Related Party Transactions.  These are areas where an owner or controller of a club pays money, for example, to sponsor the stadium.  Uefa Financial Fair Play rules prevents clubs artificially inflating such deals in order to pump more money into their coffers.

The Premier League charge, among other matters, that City did not disclose full player and manager renumeration between 2010 and 2016.  City deny all allegations.

The clearest difference between City and Rangers is the protagonist.  HMRC were active against Rangers and other Murray Group companies.  They pursued the club for disguised remuneration through the inappropriate use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs).  The matter went to the Supreme Court, which rules these Trusts were renumeration and should have been subject to employment taxes.

HMRC are not involved with City, so it is unlikely public services have lost out on this occasion.  The League have appointed a KC to head a commission of inquiry to investigate.  Before the HMRC action against Rangers concluded, but after liquidators were appointed, the Scottish Premier League asked Lord Nimmo Smith to investigate rule breaches.  Nimmo Smith found Rangers broke player registration rules of both the SPL and SFA.

In surprising testimony, the SFA’s Sandy Bryson gave evidence to the inquiry that, “even if there had been a breach of the SFA registration procedures, the registration of a player was not treated as being invalid from the outset, and stood unless and until it was revoked.”

So if you break the rules, you get away with it unless and until HMRC catch you.  The gods of good governance hid their faces.  England is different, of course.  There, their administrators, public prosecutors and police are not partial to any one club.  Without the City of London Police raiding Ibrox and passing information along Whitehall to HMRC in 2007, Rangers liquidation would never have happened.

If charges against them are upheld, Manchester City’s period of domination of English football is over, a return to the days of the enigmatic Kinkladze beckons.  Few will weep.

Throughout season 2011-12, Rangers, their fans, much of the media and several football administrators, backed owner Craig Whyte and his plan to flush the club’s liabilities, form a Newco and apply for SPL membership.

They were stopped by fan action which started on these pages in October 2011 with ‘The prepack route for Rangers Newco FC’.  I did not dream this up on my own.  The day before, Peter Lawwell called, worried that this would happen, “We need to stop this.”  He called practically every day for the rest of that season urging more action.

I was given credit for my prescience, he took the blame for not going public, believing it would undermine his influence with other clubs.  Neither were deserved.  Without his Machiavellian strategizing, you would have lived under a red, white and blue cosh for the last decade or so.  There’s more I could write, but probably best not.  I just thought you should know some of what happened.

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  1. ST TAMS on 7TH FEBRUARY 2023 2:26 PM


    Personally, I would be happy if we never had to play the huns again.





    I AGREE Mate…100%.



  2. I see Ange is maybe off to Leeds. Peter Lawwell back and within weeks the manager is away.



    It’s all to preserve rangers of course. We can’t have them chasing us for too long. Bad for business.

  3. From the mouth of el supremo and Lawell’s boss, Dermot Desmond : “Rangers are a fantastic club with a great history. They will, in not too long a time, be back in the SPL. I have no doubt about that.



    “And they’re needed for Scottish football because of their following, the size of the club and especially their history. We certainly would like to contest with them every week.



    “For us, it’s disappointing that they are not there but that’s decisions by the various clubs and leagues and we accept those.



    “Rangers are one of the great clubs in Britain and we have to acknowledge that.



    “They are a motivation for us to go along and beat them in every Old Firm match, so we miss that opportunity.”

  4. I noticed the media described our win in Perth as bit of a smooth glide to 3 points.



    I saw it as a decent performance by St Johnstone who had a good go at us and could have have more success with better runs into the box.



    As such, i was really pleased with our win against a tough opponent. I suspect it may be similar on Sat vs St Mirren and expect a low scoring win.



    Aberdeen have been a mess but will be up for it at CP. This is great for keeping our sharpness before the LC Final which inevitably will be a battle.

  5. Many of us posted at the time


    “Whatever part of my club’s future is dependent on *rangers, I am willing to forgo”


    I meant it then and I continue to mean it now.



    *in liquidation

  6. Back in the day I think we all knew Paul got his info from PL, it was a way for the club to communicate directly with the fans without going through the tabloids. Blogs and online forums were the future.



    In those heady days each CQN article would regularly have around 1000 comments below it. I am pretty sure there were a lot more contributors and readers back then.



    No doubt Paul is still on good terms with PL, but what outlet would the board now favour if they wanted to get a key message out in a Machiavellian way?



    Anyone offer an opinion as to which Celtic blog/forum/podcast reaches the biggest audience? Any of them really significant and able to influence a large percentage of the support?

  7. UNCLE JIMMY on 7TH FEBRUARY 2023 4:06 PM



    I suppose I agree with that but I WOULD like a genuine rival.

  8. “Deniabhoy:


    if they wanted to get a key message out in a Machiavellian way?”



    Considering the Scottish Media,is it really Machiavellian or is it simply the only option available ?

  9. paulsthroughball88 on

    I’d always prefer to have Celtic in a league based in reality rather than in one that requires me to suspend my powers of disbelief.



    I need to do that for the cinema, tv drama etc but shouldn’t have to do it for watching sport.

  10. Tom McLaughlin on

    I doubt very much if there is a Celtic weblog, podcast, forum or website anywhere in cyberspace that reaches more than 5% of the worldwide Celtic fanbase.

  11. DENIABHOY @ 4:13 PM,



    Of course over the seasons the Board have used many techniques and outlets to get their MacHiavellian message across.



    F’urinstance they used several outlets and methods to control and pervert the narrative when Brendan Rodgers left; including Alison McConnell in the SMSM, Celtic Underground and Phil Mac in the blogosphere…



    How much these folk were willing to contrive to pervert the narrative and how much they were “duped” is open to interpretation



    Yet surely the question we should be asking is why Celtic PLC need to use such methods against the Celtic support



    The latest was “the worst kept secret in Scottish football”



    That of course was the return of Peter Lawwell to the Celtic board, it wasn’t even announced at our AGM



    Who did we need to keep this secret from!?



    The SFA? The SPFL? The Rangers board? The Rangers supporters? The Tartan Army!?



    No, it had to be kept secret from the Celtic support



    The MacHiavellian activity is targeted on the Celtic fans – why?



    Love Ange, I’m sure he is a ghuy who can keep his cards as close to his chest as anyone but he tries to be clear, honest, robust and brutally candid at times…









    Some of course migrated to SC and other sites but unfortunately most of the smarter contributors just got fed up with the BS and walked away.



    Hail Hail

  12. Burnley78


    Perusing Res12 through to the end would have been a noble fight for justice from a governing body that are still in place for the benefit of one team. It would have cleaned house with the knuckle crunching brogue and blazer Masonic bastards that cheat us to this day. Unfortunately, the same description could have been applied to our custodians at Celtic park who, when provided with a solid legal case to smash the cartel, sat back and said nothing. It is to their eternal shame. Celtic men, my arse.☘

  13. Is Peter Lawwell the most successful executive ( or non player ) in Scottish football history?




  14. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    ● One to ponder●


    First time that two opposing managers both black, of clubs in the UK ( in top tiers) met.The game involved Celtic and was a friendly encounter.John Barnes is one manager,who the other?


    History in the making CSC

  15. TEUCHTER ÁR LÁ on 7TH FEBRUARY 2023 5:04 PM



    ‘when provided with a solid legal case to smash the cartel, sat back and said nothing.







    They acted disingenuously by stringing along the Res12 guys.



    Paul67 was to some extent their enabler in that, whether he was aware of it at the time or not.



    Machiavellian right enough.

  16. ‘Hearts chair Ann Budge targets equality for the women’s team at Tynecastle’



    always known for her commitment to the parity of esteem of groups within society

  17. Interesting article on the BBC London re man city.


    When rangers entered administration they had their registrations terminated and they were forced to start again at the bottom of the football pyramid.


    You won’t read that on BBC glasgow.

  18. Welcome to Wrexham is well worth a watch, on Disney +,and all good Firestick apps…about the 2 Hollywood guys who bought the Club

  19. Westcraigs,



    it is inaccurate an awe.



    A business/club incomporated and in liquidation cannot “start again”




  20. paulsthroughball88 on




    At one time you would have. In 2013, following complaints to the BBC Trust on the way the liquidation of Rangers was being reported, BBC Scotland,in giving evidence of their accuracy of reporting, said:



    “A football club, once incorporated, is indistinguishable in Scots law from its corporate identity.



    “If the club was separate it would need its own constitution, committee members, trustees, etc.



    “Rangers Football Club does not have that because it is incorporated.”

  21. My friends in Celtic,



    If the huns were not in our league, who would provide the opposition to make it a competition.



    Hearts, Hibs Aberdeen et al are now a shadow of their former selves.. They are miles away from us on and off the pitch, with no chance of catching up.



    Would we be able to attract the players and manager we desire in a one horse set up. ?


    Would our supporters get fed up with the league and cups a formality ?


    Without domestic competition would European football be a pipedream?


    Would TV be interested in the diminished product and if so would the renumeration be derisory?



    As long as we are caged in Scotland then unfortunately the huns are a necessary evil



    HH, the journey continues.

  22. Jackiemac



    What is the background to the Budge comment? I only know her as a ‘got lucky’ business person and a face like a stuntman’s knee

  23. GP



    My faither stopped going to CP in the early 70s as we won all the time



    He didn’t want to go back due to the hoolies later. It was the next gen(me) that got him back in the 80s. My mam even said recently that she liked it when Aberdeen and Utd were our rivals

  24. Weebobbycollins on

    “As long as we are caged in Scotland then unfortunately the huns are a necessary evil”


    Unfortunately we do need a hun rival…otherwise…

  25. I remember in the late 80s, uni hun pals said they needed a strong Celtic



    It was meant to be patronising and it was. They had won their first league in 9 years but they knew they had the cash to go with the refs

  26. Sorry, one more point



    Are their restrictions in the SPFL on ticket prices?



    Why can’t St Mirren or Kilmarnock fill the ground with discounted and child tickets?



    Hibs/Hearts get decent crowds at full price



    They used to compete with Glasgow clubs on a similar ticket price so why not now?



    TV money doesn’t move the dial much



    No reason why Hibs/Hearts/Aberdeen can’t compete if they have a long view structure and management. Too much change



    Very poor youth dev too

  27. fourstonecoppi on

    Snyde Hun super dopeboard trying to punt Ange to Leeds…………..so desperate.


    If they can get rid they might have a chance at the title cos the ludge is not working.




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