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Fit & Proper test opens Pandora’s Box

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I hear the SFA had asked for clarification on Craig Whyte’s alleged disqualification as a director, without getting confirmation one way or another, since the issue was initially brought to their attention by the landmark BBC documentary, Rangers: The Inside Story.  Rangers disclosure to the Plus Exchange (where the club’s shares are traded) on Wednesday that this specific BBC allegation was correct, was the information the SFA needed before they were in a position to act and apply a Fit and Proper Person (FPP) test to Whyte.

Dramatic though it sounds, failing a FPP test, in itself, is only likely to cause superficial damage to a club or its owner.  An owner would need to resign as a director but he could allow the other directors to continue running the business, or he could appoint a proxy to take control of the business, which is often the way controllers run football clubs anyway.

What is of more interest, however, are matters likely to be disclosed as part of the SFA investigation.  The Association would require Mr Whyte to explain what he did to be barred from holding a directorship for seven years, something the BBC lawyers would be able to question Whyte on in the witness box, should he actually sue, instead of repeatedly threatening to do so.

Of most interest to the SFA will be Rangers financial submission for their Uefa licence, which enabled the club to be nominated as Scotland’s participants in this season’s Champions League.  A condition of participation in Uefa competitions is that no debts to tax authorities due on 31 December the preceding year remains unpaid on 31 March.

In September HM Revenue and Customs gained permission from the court to freeze £2.3m of Rangers money in connection with an unpaid tax bill.  The principle element of this bill has not been disputed by Rangers.  The SFA will now be keen to establish if any part of this bill was in connection to taxes due in prior to 31 December 2010.  If it was, Celtic were entitled to be Scotland’s Champions League representatives, when overcoming the likes of Malmo stood between them and a £15m pay-day.

This is a legal minefield for the SFA chief exec, Stewart Regan, who has my sympathy. Things are about to become interesting.

While we are on the subject of that £2.3m tax bill, HM Revenue and Customs are due to get their hands on the cash after Friday next week, the last day Rangers are able to dispute the debt. If Rangers enter administration prior to that date, the cash would revert to the administrator and the club’s secured creditors would be entitled to it.

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  1. I am Neil Lennon … Cathal says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 10:59

     

     

    I always find such a notion strange, in that in almost no other part of anyone’s life (apart from purchasing from Nestle perhaps) do people generally consider that they are giving money to an individual whilst making purchases. Stranger still, is that if they do, they would normally (and I include Nestle in this) make a purchase of a similar product from elsewhere.

     

     

    There’s really no replacement to supporting Celtic. I don’t get this at all to be honest.

  2. Ernie Lynch

     

     

    What is your intuitive understanding of the heritage, traditions and ethos that make the Club unique and special ?

     

     

    TT

  3. Br\o/gan R\o/gan Trevin\o/ and H\o/gan on

    Good Morning,

     

     

    Amidst all this talk of chancers and swindlemen over Ibrox way and legislators obsessed with sectarianism, offensiveness and populist soundbites in the depths of Holyrood, let me invite you on a short holiday or vacation down memory lane — at least for some.

     

     

    Let us start our trip in the proud Etruscan town of Lucca in Tuscany. These days Lucca is renowned for its architecture, its resplendent renaissance city walls and the very fine music festivals that take place there each summer. It was the birth place of Giacomo Puccini and so has resounded to the odd good tune for centuries. Interestingly, as far back as the 6th century, it was unique amongst “Italian” cities in that it had an Irish Bishop–one Frediano.

     

     

    However let us come forward in time to the 1920’s. Mussolini has seized power in Italy and is well on his way to declaring himself Il Duce and “Founder of the Empire”.

     

     

    In any event, On June 4th 1924 a young couple in Lucca gave birth to a son. Italy was on the up under the fscist dictator– notwotshtanding the fact that an Irish woman called Violet Gibson had shot Il Duce in the nose in April 1926–and there is no doubt that the sunshine and climate would be a great improvement on the harsh Scottish rain that we see here.

     

     

    Notwithstanding the weather difference, in 1927 the young Italian couple gave up their home in Lucca and travelled to Scotland where they eventually settled in the — eh— equally picturesque setting of——- Armadale!!!!

     

     

    Armadale? Yes Armadale!!!!

     

     

    Father of the family eventually opened a fish and chip shop and it was reputed to be the best Fish and Chip shop in the area. Of course later, in the war years, things were not too good here for Italians and many were treated disgracefully. In this instance, Dad was interned for a short time in the Isle of man.

     

     

    Anyway I digress, because we are really interested in the boy who was born in Lucca in 1924. He of course was schooled in Scotland, loved his football and played a bit for Armadale Thistle. He was even given a trial by Hearts but eventually he was “Chuffed to bits”, to use his own words, when he was signed by the famous Glasgow Celtic.

     

     

    He spent just over 4 years at Celtic park between 1944 and 1948 and appeared for the first team on a grand total of 5 times during that entire period!

     

     

    Remember, that the Celtic team at that time were noted for being very poor indeed, with the forward line being dubbed the “5 sorrowful mysteries”. The results were inconsistent to poor and many of the celtic faithful would go to the games fully expecting to lose. You would therefore be entitled to presume that if the young Italian could only get 5 games in 4 years he must have been even worse than the poor team on the field?

     

     

    Wrong. In that 4 years he was just plain unlucky. You see the young man was a goalkeeper and his name was Rolando Ugolini. Many of you will say “who”?– Rolando Ugolini. Whatsmore I will bet that many reading this post will in fact have met Mr Ugolini without ever knowing it.

     

     

    When Ugolini signed for Celtic, the position of Goalkeeper was the one position where the team had a true star in Willie Miller. Many older fans– including my father and John Cairney– have told me that they are in no doubt that Miller was the best Goalkeeper they have ever seen. With no disrespect to Ronnie Simpson, Arthur Boruc and even the Prince of Goalkeepers, Miller is said to have been extraordinary in the goals– agile, brave and with the ability to save shots that defied belief. Probably the best that Celtic ever had.

     

     

    Therefore it is really no surprise that young Ugolini didn’t really get a chance at Celtic park. Miller played for Celtic consistently between 1942 and 1950 before going on to Clyde and then Hibs. He was hugely popular, with International caps and league appearances to his name.

     

     

    Unbelievably, Ugolini was also popular because those who had seen him play had seen enough to know that the lad was a good keeper. It is said that there was once a protest against the team after a defeat where Celtic had conceeded 4 goals. A Crowd had gathered and were making their feelings known when young Ugolini appeared. Apparently the crowd greeted him with a great cheer as they knew it was clearly not his fault that the ball had gone into the net 4 times– and after a few words they soon dispersed.

     

     

    However by 1948, The young man decided that he had to move on after 4 years of kicking his heels at Celtic park, and so he moved down to Middlesborough where he managed a few first team appearances. To be precise he kept goal for Middlesborough on no less than 320 occasions over a 9 year period ( far more appearances than Miller made for Celtic ) and became an absolute hero at Ayrsome Park.

     

     

    He was not Big for a keeper, but incredibly fit and very agile. To this day he is referred to in Middlesborough songs and he played in the same team as the great Wilf Mannion ( who some rated as the greatest footballer ever ) and the young Neily Mochan.

     

     

    When he left Middlesborough he played a further 83 times for Wrexham between 1957 and 1960, before moving to Tannadice and serving Dundee United on 48 occasions from 1960-1962. His last game was one solitary appearance for Berwick Rangers.

     

     

    Ugolini has been described as a Flamboyant goalkeeper and someone whose “antics” produced a regular laugh which together with his ability made him a favourite with the crowd. He is still sprightly at 87 and lives in the south of Edinburgh. He protested about Pension cuts along with other pensioners in 2009 handing petitions and letters to then Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, and he still attends the annual golf day for ex players of Middlesborough FC where he is fondly remembered.

     

     

    He apparently still swings the golf club on a regular basis and some readers on here will have surely met him at Dalmahoy where he is to be found several days a week acting as a “starter”.

     

     

    I have to confess that I had never heard of him until yesterday when my father suddenly referred to this young Celtic goalkeeper who only played a few games but went on to great success elsewhere. In the intervening hours when I looked through articles or references to him at various clubs, one thing becomes abundantly clear. Rolando Ugolini is a thouroughly nice man, a decent man who is well respected everywhere he goes—- and it is about time we were all able to read and learn about people of that ilk in football as opposed to the others who regularly hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

     

     

    Clearly, he could have been a Celtic great.

     

     

    If anyone happens to know Mr Ugolini then please shake him by the hand for me.

  4. Morning all from a wild wet and windy North Ayrshire.

     

     

    Some female BBC Scotland reporter was on 5 Live early this morning talking of Whyte and his wee problem and the SFA’s reaction. Through a thorough obfuscation, she managed to ignore totally the fact that the SFA rules and regulations demand a 5 year interval. She even managed to ignore the findings of the BBC’s own investigation.

  5. bankiebhoy1 ——

     

     

    Easy —–

     

     

    They aren’t proper ” journalists ” — they are mental and moral slaves to that Hun Hegemony thing. Write guff and you stay in the Club , write the truth and you are out.

     

     

    Scottish football is a Confederacy of Dunces . The LapTop Loyal are merely the Confederacy’s loyal scribes.

  6. dirtymac says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:13

     

     

    I’ve just become so disillusioned with this Board … I don’t feel they have the best interests of the Club at heart. Why should I put my “hard-earned” into a business when the management are basically downsizing? I doesn’t deter from my love for Celtic. The way I look at it is, if enough supporters followed this path, eventually, the Board would be removed/leave.

     

    Please don’t ask who I would replace them with, and please don’t suggest I’m dishonest.

     

    Thank you.

  7. For those who might be interested —

     

     

    7 45 GMT TONIGHT —-

     

     

    Inter ——- Udinese .

     

     

    Udinese will field a full strength line up —– Pinzi , Di Natale and Torje etc [ the latter is ineligible for Europe ]

     

     

    Might be a real good game.

  8. Vmhan♣ who Supports Neil Lennon/MWD:

     

     

    Cheers guys, I managed to call him back and although not one hundred percent he was as always a nutter and a laugh.

     

     

    Regards Scott Brown, he might not be everybody’s main man but he is mine.

     

    After the game down in Sydney, pre season, we bumped into Scott Brown in the hotel after the game, I told him to his face he best sign or else, “or else what” he asked, and my youngest butted in and said… “Or else we will find you and kick the.. out of you.!!!

     

    He said what a few others said “I don’t want to leave”.

     

     

    I am so glad he signed… it sends out a big message, and I might be in the minority, but I think he is an asset to us and our club.

  9. dirtymac says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:14

     

     

    ^^ I don’t get this ‘not going cos I don’t want PL to get my money’ at all to be honest

     

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

     

    Maybe yourself and a host of others will, get-it when PL disappoints in the window…paving the way for the huns again ?

  10. Regarding the Sleekits with their monotonous targeting, their relentless scripted invective, their ‘paid-for’ opinions……..they play the same tactics that Dougie, Shug, et al have adopted when dealing with Celtica – CELTIC QUICK NEWS is just another Celtic Park for these charlatans – they stifle, break up play, deflect, obstruct, cheat and lie. Their purpose is not constructive ( as opposed to genuine supporters concerns) these charlatans fear what we can achieve through platforms like this and what we have achieved already.

     

     

    They are more to be pitied.

     

     

     

    HH

  11. Great news for Celtic that Scott Brown has signed up, very much as expected despite the Hunique press speculation.

     

     

    Asset management at it’s best, whether you think he’s Celtic greatest captain or not, at least at some point soon the Celtic support

     

    will all get to do the \o/ again.

     

     

    Beram Kayal and now Scott Brown on long term contracts, who else have we got that’s catching the eye?

     

     

    Adam Matthews outstanding for Celtic, – the press have already switched targets, let them, I say our good players usually remain.

     

     

    Hail Hail

  12. Not sure how I feel about Scott Brown’s new deal.

     

    I really hope he kicks on and becomes a real captain. I don’t want to see players like Forrest becoming bit part players to accommodate higher profile players who aren’t on form.

     

     

    At worst Scott Brown signing is a transfer fee in the future.

  13. Great news that one of my favourite current players has signed a new contract. He could have earned more and played against better opposition in the EPL. Instead, he chose to stay in the mighty hoops.

  14. oops! It appears that a few envious huns are not too happy what with Scott Brown signing back on with his favourite club.

  15. Br\o/gan R\o/gan Trevin\o/ and H\o/gan,

     

     

    That is a wonderful tale, thank you so much. Makes this place so special…and on that note…

     

     

    KevJungle/MediaHouse interns, you can’t squash spirit like that with your tag-team crass interference plays.

     

    Hopefully one day you’ll get real jobs and grow up to be real men.

     

     

    Hail, hail to all,

     

     

    Off out to chase cars down the road.

  16. I am Neil Lennon … Cathal says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:18

     

     

    Downsizing is a tad disingenuous in this instance – from what and when are we downsizing from?

  17. TootingTim says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:24

     

     

    Off out to chase cars down the road.

     

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

     

    Will you know what to do if you catch one ?

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  18. dirtymac says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:24

     

     

    You must be at the wind-up?

     

     

    Analyse (very basically) a mere 7 year and prior period, from today, and I’m sure you will notice a gradual “disingenuous” downsizing.

     

     

    I’m out of here – hope you have a good day today, and WE have a good day tomorrow.

     

     

    KTF.

  19. B -R-T -H @11 15 ..

     

     

    There is a good wee book about The Honourable Violet Gibson.——

     

     

    The Woman Who Shot Mussolini —– Frances Stonor Saunders [ faber and faber ]

     

     

    A pal sent it to me -it bears a Fopp sticker £3.

     

     

    A bargain !

  20. I am Neil Lennon … Cathal says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:31

     

     

    I have analysed that period, which is why I asked the question.

     

     

    You appear to be one of those people who would have us go down the orc-road to oblivion – well done :-)

     

     

    You do understand that during the very successful period we’re ‘downsizing’ from was financed by a couple of massive share issues, don’t you, that is, the level where we were operating was wholly unsustainable as a footballing operation?

  21. Love him or loathe him this goal goes down indelibly in Celtic folklore. Watch it again and see how good a team goal it really was, and after, one man stands still and in screaming silence he proclaims to the establishment… brothers, the sands are shifting. We are Celtic Supporters!

     

     

    Scott Brown

  22. BRTH

     

    Loved that story about Rolando Ugolini and would love to know what he thinks of our currrent crop of GK’s, especially big FF. Maybe he could still get a game for us.

     

    Brilliant stuff.

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    KINGLuBO

  23. Rarely post but feel I have to do today.

     

     

    Absolutely delighted Scott Brown has signed! A guy you’d want beside you when the going gets tough, a fact not lost on men such as Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon who know a helluva lot more about what takes to play for Celtic than I ever will.

     

     

    Also, anyone who thinks Beram Kayal is a coward needs their head examned.

     

     

    FT

  24. I guess the news that the huns wanted Scott to leave means he is a good player for us. Welcome back Scott. You have been missed.

  25. The Battered Bunnet on

    From The Scotsman

     

     

    Published on Saturday 3 December 2011 00:00

     

     

    FORMER Rangers director Paul Murray has claimed that reservations expressed six months ago about Craig Whyte’s takeover of the Ibrox club have now come to pass.

     

     

     

    At the end of a week when Rangers produced a set of unaudited accounts and Whyte disclosed that he was disqualified from acting as a director for seven years, prompting the SFA to ask the club for clarification over the matter, Murray has raised concerns over the direction of the club.

     

     

    Murray’s views were last night rejected as “irrelevant” by Rangers. But he spoke out after growing increasingly frustrated about talk of the club going into administration. Whyte has admitted that if Rangers lose a tax tribunal to HMRC and face a bill of up to £50m, administration is a possibility.

     

     

    “I am puzzled that administration is even being discussed, as there is absolutely no need for it,” Murray told The Scotsman. “The HMRC tax tribunal will not deliver a decision until well into next year so at the moment there is no tax liability to pay.

     

     

    “If Craig Whyte has delivered on the commitments he made in his takeover circular – he explicitly promised to invest new money in Rangers, and we have no reason to assume that he has not fulfilled his promises – then there should be no cash issues at the moment.

     

     

    “He has now produced a set of unaudited accounts. Why? What is [accountants] Grant Thornton’s view of Rangers as a going concern? Even last year when we had all the problems with the bank, we had the accounts signed off. In my 25 years in business I have never seen a company like this not have accounts signed off.”

     

     

    Murray was a member of the independent sub-committee of the Rangers board of directors set up to assess offers. In April, the sub-committee announced it had “major concerns” over Whyte’s proposal, and released a statement which expressed disappointment that documents they had reviewed “ultimately did not reflect the investment in the club that we were led to believe for the last few months would be a commitment in the purchase agreement”.

     

     

    An alternative £25m investment proposal was then put forward by a consortium led by non-executive director Murray. But the counter proposal failed, and Murray was removed from the board shortly after Whyte completed his takeover in May.

     

     

    “Everything we said has come home to roost,” said Murray last night. “I don’t take any pleasure from that, because my overall view is one of sadness. Talking about administration, being pursued by suppliers, and the possibility of a fit and proper investigation at the SFA … it’s humiliating and embarrassing.

     

     

    “As a board we spent a lot of time with Craig Whyte ensuring that he knew what the cash flows were. There seemed to be an unwillingness to go into any level of detail of what the cash flow was. I could not believe that he took on an unquantified tax liability. I have never seen anyone do that. It’s like buying a house, finding out it has subsidence, then buying it anyway.

     

     

    “Mr Whyte indicated during the takeover that he was prepared to meet any tax liability arising from the current case up to a significant level. I am interested to know – and all Rangers supporters deserve to know – what has changed with the club’s finances since May to bring about the cash pressures we now seem to face, and whether players might have to be sold to make up the shortfall.”

     

     

    Murray added: “It is also important to acknowledge and defend the track record of the previous board.

     

     

    “Craig Whyte has criticised the past regime but in the two years since Sir David Murray stepped down as chairman, we reduced the club’s debts from well over £30m to well under £20m, and the football club won four out of six domestic trophies.

     

     

    “In addition, the bulk of the current playing squad, one of the strongest in recent times, was assembled at significant cost.

     

     

    “That is not a bad record, by any measure, and I am pleased to see Ally McCoist’s team doing so well in the SPL today.

     

     

    “I have no personal issue with Craig Whyte, and nor do my former colleagues who stepped down following the takeover and more recently. We just want to see the club’s best interests being served and for Rangers to remain competitive here in Scotland and in Europe.

     

     

    “We await news of when Rangers will hold their agm, when the shareholders and supporters of Rangers will have the first chance to put questions directly to Craig Whyte. They deserve answers.”

     

     

    A spokesman for Rangers said: “What Paul Murray has to say about Rangers is irrelevant and of no consequence, and most Rangers fans will be aware that he was a director when much of the mismanagement that got the club into its current position occurred.”

  26. Scott Brown’s re-signing will obviously divide opinion. I think he has been decent in his 4 years, if somewhat incosistent. He has not been value for money (transfer fee and wages) and I think his wages could have been better used elsewhere.

     

    We have a strong midfield and his departure would not have made us significantly weaker. My concern now is who is getting punted as we cannot keep Kayal, Ki, Ledley, Wanyama and Forrest all happy with Brown an automatic pick regardless of form. Kayal seems the obvious choice to go as he is closest in style to Brown and would attract a decent transfer fee from down South.

     

    However, now that Brown is with us for another three years I hope he at least comes close to becoming the player we thought we were signing in 2007.

  27. Headlines on Rangers newsnow… Lafferty won’t let sectarianism drive him out. I thought they meant he didnt like the huns singing but no, he had his car windown smashed last week. Thwe article then goes on to list the incidents against Neil Lennon, Paddy McCourt, Nial McGinn and Anthony Stokes and his girlfriend. Youve got to laff.

  28. coorslad is Neil Lennon on

    Poor wee Kayal,he is goin to be the new Sammi now at the games..every mis-placed pass,header he does’t win,tackle he loses,we will hear the slabbers,like the clown who give Lenny the abuse,hope im wrong but we all hear these slabbers at the games..As for someone earlier,appealing to Supporters not to call these phone ins to slag Kayal,your right,dont wadte your money on a phone call.come on here and do it for free,because enough have since Wed nite..

     

    Im glad Scott Brown signed a new deal,and I think some big fish will be for sale in the Jan window as a lot of Clubs down south will be costcutting.all I want is a proven centre-half and goalie,the rest im happy with..

  29. philhoopylogue says:

     

    3 December, 2011 at 11:11

     

     

    Spoke to Bren about you,says he ‘s never heard of you.

     

    Told him ,the guy the bird in sportsman fancied.

     

    Says he can remember a guy who used to hang around,

     

    a fantasist ,but still disnae know emby called Hoopylogue.

     

     

    Hail hail:O)