I enjoy Roddy Forsyth’s articles and broadcasts but I’m staggered at today’s article in The Telegraph. The initial headline read “Scottish clubs fear bankruptcy if Rangers are stripped of titles for tax avoidance”, but was amended to “SPL (sic.) clubs fear they will be hurt financially themselves if Rangers stripped of titles”.
Justification for this claim lies with the fact that clubs who lost a cup final to Rangers during their tax evasion (not avoidance) era, may have to pay a win bonus to players, which would be enough to tip them into bankruptcy.
These clubs would, we are told, prefer to sit tight as runners up, than be awarded a cup win. One chairman told Roddy, “Celtic might be able to afford that but nobody else could”.
Nobody else could afford a win bonus, so let’s not impose the unwelcome burden of winning on them! Consider what that makes supporters of these clubs!
Another chairman told Roddy, “my view is that the EBT scheme was questionable and maybe even reckless from the start but they were given expert advice and they acted on it”. “Questionable”, “reckless”, I think the word you’re looking for is illegal. Paul Baxendale-Walker’s expert advice was only one aspect of his flamboyant commercial undertakings.
Documentation was also hidden from HMRC, the SFA and SPL, and as ‘Mr Black’ told the Tax Tribunal, the ruse was designed to recruit better players. Who win more trophies.
Falkirk, Queen of the South, Dundee, St Mirren, Dundee United, Motherwell and Ayr United all lost finals to an EBT-fuelled Rangers, as well as Celtic, of course. Let’s hear from any of them who don’t want the matter formally examined. And let the door slam on their backside on the way out of competitive sport. Forget what’s happening in Russia, this is going on TODAY in Scotland!
If any of these clubs are campaigning for Rangers to keep their EBT trophies, it’s important their fans know about it. Roddy doesn’t suggest his two chairmen-sources come from any of these clubs, in fact, he describes them as “SPL” chairmen, the former name for our top flight.
So who are they?
Celtic, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hearts can all be excluded from consideration. Think what you like about any of these clubs, but I cannot imagine any of their chairpersons considering this nonsense. Which leaves:
Kilmarnock. Michael Johnston is no longer chairmen, that role is fulfilled by Jim Mann.
Partick Thistle: David Beattie.
Motherwell: Brian McCafferty.
Inverness: Kenny Cameron.
Dundee: Bill Colvin.
Hamilton: Les Gray.
Ross County: Roy MacGregor.
St Johnstone: Steve Brown.
To the horror of Accies fans, in 2012 Les Gray said “SFL clubs should not be put in the position to vote on something which may destroy Scottish Football”. I wonder what Les is saying off the record now.
The Brown family have chaired St Johnstone through many issues, but their fans were off the mark quickly in 2012 to let Steve know their thoughts the last time Scottish football faced a decision to follow the rules, or not.
Roy MacGregor bristled with irritation when others tried to influence him in 2012. He has a reputation of knowing his own mind.
I don’t know anything about Bill Colvin, Kenny Cameron, Brian McCafferty, David Beattie or Jim Mann, but I suspect the names of both Roddy’s chairmen are on this page.
You’ll never read a better insight into why corruption was allowed to fester in our game than the glimpse available in today’s Telegraph, or that it remains endemic. Scottish football cannot be a comfortable haven for lawbreaking.
Remember, there’s a Christmas toy collection for Maryhill Foodbank at Wild Cabaret, THIS Saturday, 14 November, from midday to 4:30. Families who don’t have money for food don’t have money for Christmas toys. If you have something you can donate, drop it in. There’s mulled wine and mince pies on the go.
You’ll find Wild Cabaret at 18 Candleriggs (0141 552 6165).