Enormous congratulations to Georgios Samaras, Celtic’s Player of the Year, 2012-13. Scoring in five consecutive Champions League away games this season was a remarkable feat. His last minute winner in Moscow was a seismic moment in our progress in that tournament. Georgios is a player who thrives on positive reinforcement but endures negative sentiment without hiding. No wonder all his managers have valued him so highly.
I was also delighted Fraser Forster won the Players’ Player of the Year award. His performances against Barcelona were nothing short of incredible. It should surprise no one that Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson received a large number of votes for the Players’ Player award. Kelvin will play for England if he continues to perform at the level he has this year. Victor was a genuine contender for all awards, including goal of the year, but was honoured only as the Young Player of the Year, reminding us all that his is gifted beyond his years.
I was referred in the direction of yesterday’s Sunday Mail online story about Rangers International FC’s finance director, Brian Stockbridge, showing a reporter the “deeds”, made eloquently famous by John Brown. Stockbridge used the deeds of Ibrox, Murray Park and the Albion car park to “prove Craig Whyte is on a loser”.
Craig Whyte’s current actions against the newco club and his report to the Serious Fraud Office are based on the belief that RIFC inappropriately took possession of Rangers assets, including Ibrox, when the club were liquidated last year. Proving RIFC have the deeds is no defence against Whyte’s claims, in fact, this merely establishes the premise of his point.
Despite discussing these matters with a reporter Mr Stockbridge made no comment on how Sevco Scotland Ltd (since renamed as The Rangers Football Club Ltd), acquired the entitlement to the assets which Sevco 5088 Ltd had an irrevocable agreement to buy after paying an exclusivity fee.
This interview contrasted with Scotland on Sunday’s interview with former oldco Rangers director, Paul Murray, who without a whiff of irony said, “Whoever is involved going forward has to look after the club’s interests first and their own interests second. You are a custodian of the assets and you’re passing it through the generations. That’s your role.”
Well done as a custodian, Mr Murray. I wouldn’t let you be custodian to corner flag (memories of Dougal from Fr Ted on corner flag-watching duty). He also suggests the club “should also get back to some of the values that were there under Bill Struth and William Wilton”. “Some of the values”, do you think he means that most distinct value? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but why on earth could he not chose an inspiring custodian from a period when oldco was not blighted by their controversial employment policy? There must be someone. Surely?
Murray does, however, nail several issues in his interview. “You have Charles Green who said he had no involvement with Craig Whyte and that was patently not correct.
“The problem is that when you get found out on these things you then start to question other things. And one of the most important things in all of this is the SFA. The SFA sought very direct and specific assurances that Whyte was not involved and Charles Green gave them those assurances and I’m not sure that was actually correct.
“If Charles Green had a set of documents that proved that Whyte is lying then this thing would have been put to bed in two minutes, but it was then discovered that what Whyte was saying was broadly true.
“I’m not saying he does, but say Whyte owns the assets but on the other side he’s just lost a multi-million pound claim to Ticketus. Are we saying that Ticketus would then own the assets by default? And if they own the assets they’ll want to be paid in order to give the assets back to Rangers, but how will the club do that bearing in mind that it had an IPO [Initial Public Offering of shares] that is potentially not valid?
“It was then discovered that what Whyte was saying was broadly true” is perhaps the most significant understatement I’ve heard in years. The moment Pinsent Masons report will be a watershed.
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