Season will be decided on the field, not in the courts


I received a text early evening on 18th August last year: “Gongalves starts”.  Former Hearts player, Jose Gongalves, was one of a handful of players FC Sion signed illegally in the summer 2011 transfer window and he had been named to start against Celtic in the Europa League qualifier, first leg.

As a contest, the tie was over.  There followed two matches with considerable effort and drama from both teams but the eventual outcome was, literally, never in doubt, the courts would have their way.  Sion would be expelled from the competition and Celtic would progress to the group stage.

Today Celtic’s only remaining competitor from the chasing pack for the SPL title is up in court to face the HM Revenue and Customs.  The courts will have their way again but although you may feel the outcome of Rangers tax case is inevitable (I do), the impact on this season’s league championship is less assured.  Should they lose, Rangers have the option to appeal, postponing any negative impact on the company until next season at the earliest.

If Rangers have, or can generate, enough cash to keep the lights on this season the league will be nip and tuck until the end of the season. The tax case will attract most attention but if you are looking for indications of how the season is likely to go, keep an eye open for cash related incidents.

Well done to Rangers’ broadcast partner, STV, for their story this morning on SPL discipline.  They report the Ibrox club have the worst disciplinary record in the league, having accumulated a total of 41 bookings, contrasting starkly with the cool class at Celtic Park who are best behaved in the league with only 20 bookings.

With Beram Kayal out for the season Ki Sung-Yeung is the Celtic player closest to a suspension, a further three yellow cards would put the Korean over the threshold.  Rangers have Lafferty one booking, Edu and Bocanegra two, with Goian, Broadfoot, Bartley and Whittaker all three away from a suspension.  Lee McCulloch has only been booked twice this season but shows enormous potential.

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  1. Paul67



    Lee McCulloch has only been booked twice this season but shows enormous potential.



    Almost in tears at this comedy gold!




  2. MM Canny sell Jelavic so they’ll try and sell Hooper.



    Hope Lenny gets the Bhoy on a decent contract.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    We owe Rogue Leader an acknowledgement for reminding us of the Media Profit Filter in is article for Celtic Underground on Friday night.



    The Profit Filter is one of a number of filters, according to Herman and Chomsky, to which ‘news’ stories are subject when media organisations assess and report them.



    The essential principle here is that media outlets generate their income through selling their readership to advertisers. The presentation of any given story is influenced not only by the relative worthiness of the story itself, but how it will be received by the readership. By applying editorial policies that reflect and reinforce the values and interests of the readership, the medium attracts and retains its audience and thereby its advertising revenue. Few folk after all wish to read stories that consitently challenge their views and biases. We’ve been over this course before with Cognitive Dissonance theory.



    This strategy, to define and grow a readership base that shares a common point of view, has led newspapers, radio stations and indeed New Media, to increasingly target profitable segments of the available population. There may be little difference between the social status of Daily Mail readers in comparison to say Guardian readers, but the effect of editorial policy on the prioritisation and presentation of ‘news’ is stark: Each medium is careful to ensure that the content and messages contained in its paper reflect and reinforce the views of the reader to which it is targetted, thus at once ensuring that the reader’s choice of paper is reaffirmed, and the strength of the advertising proposition is maintained.



    In my youth as a paperboy (NB for younger lurkers, parents used to send their kids out at dawn to deliver papers or milk to the doorstep) I was often struck by the differences in the content and style between the local, Scottish titles and the UK nationals. The Sunday Standard might be leading with the impact of Miners’ Strike on the Steel Industry in Scotland, while the News of the World was reporting ‘insider info’ on the vexing matter of whether Diana would have a boy child or a girl child.



    Looking back, Scotland was well probably served by independent, often campaigning newspapers producing copy and material that reflected the interests and concerns of its City or region, whereas perhaps the nationals, without the same sense of location, were producing copy that appealled to the more ‘human interests’ of a geographically wider audience.



    The Evening Times’ campaign in the 80s on Knife Crime is a good example of a local paper using its reach to change attitudes and behaviour, and contrasts sharply with the creation of the ‘Have a go Hero’ of the national Sun at the same point in time.



    Regrettably, it appears that our ‘local’ press, or what remains of it, is now owned and managed by large corporations. In Glasgow, the Herald Group is owned by the US firm Gannett Inc, while the Edinburgh titles are owned by Johnston Press. If you jump onto the websites of Newsquest (Gannett’s UK operation) and JP, you could swap the brand names on each site and be none the wiser as to the differences between them.



    The Daily Record, the first paper in the UK to introduce colour presses, and at one time enjoying the 2nd highest reader penetration of any paper in the WORLD, is now editorially the Scottish Mirror, with content and style directed by its UK management, just as the now dominant Scottish Sun is little more than The Sun with a saltire. Lord Kemsley may have owned the Daily Record, but the management and editorial decisions were all taken in Glasgow. Not so now.



    And as local titles have been subsumed into national management, so market differentiators have become increasingly apparent, with reader segmentation becoming ever more clearly the arbiter of content than good news judgement or ‘national interest’. A touch of ‘War on Terror’ xenophobia laced with some Celebrity shagging on the front page, coupled with the sports scoops du jour on the back, is a profitable enough recipe at a national level. Sports Stories Sell. To get a local profit though, you need a local angle, and in this country, this 21st Century Scotland, particularly through the central belt, that local angle has been skewed towards the values and interests of the larger segment of the sporting demographic split.



    Contributors and lurkers on this blog will need no reminding of how Moonbeams can be juxtaposed with Thugs and Thieves, and it seems apparent that the seeding and presentation of Sports ‘news’ has been managed within the context of audience affirmation.



    The Profit Filter determines how a story (if there is one at all!) is prioritised and presented.



    As New Media progressively replaces Old, so titles lose readers, and as readers diminish, so does advertising revenue. There has been a battle royal between the Record and Sun in particular to hang onto what remains of its central business proposition: Its Readership. Without the readership, there is no business in newspapers.



    Let’s take a step forward in time, a month or two at most. Rangers are on tenterhooks awaiting the decision in their tax case. An adverse decision will effectively destroy them, consigning a century and more of constancy to the history books. Dissolved. Evaporated. Gone.



    There are umpteen suggestions for how Scottish Football might react to and repair what will inevitably be a hugely damaging episode, some ‘corinthian’ in nature, others commercially minded. Ultimately, it boils down to whether a New Rangers will emerge from the wreckage, and thereafter, at what level will they be invited to compete.



    If you have built your business on the dominant sporting demographic segment; If your journalists and editors and advertising staff have built their careers on the presumption that there will always be a dollar to spin from a good Rangers story; If your proposition to your advertisers is your consumer platform; What do you do when confronted with the likelihood that in a short number of weeks the key segment of your readership will no longer exist? Your capital, your investment, your livelihood depends on it.



    Applying the Profit Filter, how will the various options open to Scottish football be reported in light of Rangers’ probable extinction?



    Just askin’




  4. Lee McCulloch has only been booked twice this season but shows enormous potential.






    Let’s hope the thug receives his just desserts.



    And I don’t mean an egg pudding cooked by ouef-dodging oaf Kirk Broadfoot. (thumbsup)

  5. According to the beeb Southampton are going to make an improved offer for Hooper.



    I am worried the money men at the club will sell if the money is right. At this stage in the season it would be disaster imho.

  6. playfusbal4dguilders on




    “keep an eye open for cash related incidents.”





    more court cases?








    pray tell



  7. From Garngad to Croy I am Neil Lennon. on

    Nice to see (not) the Rangers Media outlet keeping the referees up to date !

  8. playfusbal4dguilders says:


    16 January, 2012 at 12:10





    “keep an eye open for cash related incidents.”





    more court cases?







    pray tell



    I think that Aluko will be asked to pay his wages in cash for a while.

  9. WGS says:


    16 January, 2012 at 12:09



    Heskey is one of those footballers who everyone slates but was key to England’s recent success. When Heskey plays England score goals.



    I would take ther big man up here until the season end. It would give us a player good in the air.




  10. Paul67



    I thought that if they lose the tax case then HMRC will demand instant payment. Rangers could and would appeal but they would have to pay the debt immediately.


    philvisreturns says:



    16 January, 2012 at 12:02








    You lurk all day,and hit the button at just the correct moment,my congratulations to you!



    I blame your ALMA MATER for your competitiveness,your desire to be top dog-all right,to p us off by being first-and your abhorrent right wing views,which of course I loathe even though I respect your defence of them.



    There is a point to this,of course.



    Sometimes I wish my mate had burned it down in the late 70s,instead of simply cocking it up and being expelled,haha!



    Alumni from that time might recognise the initials VMcB,he did his best.



    Close but no cigar….

  12. Dontbrattbakkinanger says:


    16 January, 2012 at 12:16



    Was it not a dance that originated in the USA in the 60’s?




  13. Just think of the fun Jack’s lads would be having with us if there was even the tiniest prospect of ‘cash-related incidents’ at our Club…….

  14. ‘Well done to Rangers’ broadcast partner, STV’




    Keep highlighting this partnership Paul. They are like two tramps at a bin.

  15. .



    ReTweeted from A Dull Door Black Hole..



    ernie lynch says:


    16 January, 2012 at 11:18








    Maybe we should get rid of the manager and replace him with a computer programme.



    Ernie (The ‘Lynch’ bit is a Pun Right)..



    Dinnae Ken how Olde Ye Are but..Do You remember Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio 1..



    He Did a ‘Mr Angry’ Parody..He Was Always ‘Angry’..”Hi it’s Mr Angry Again..I’m so Angry..”..



    Sammi Spreads the Love..Join in..It’s a Love thing..



    Summa ft HangMansNooseCSC

  16. hamiltontim



    That’s my understanding too, they are allowed to appeal but they have to stump up the debt first. I’m not sure if they also have to stump up any fine/penalty imposed.



    I’m sure we’ll read about the process in the papers before Wednesday, it IS the biggest story since Celtic almost went to the wall all those years ago after all.



    I remember we were told in graphic terms EXACTLY what was in store if we didn’t stump up the cash.

  17. Hamiltontim



    That is a possibility and as per HMRC it is a normal tactic.



    But… Dare I say it… This is the Quintesential British Club in the UK and… Well… bodies will be forward leaning in anticipation of long object insertion all for Queen and Country of course.



    Saying that. I can’t imagine HMRC wanting to set a precedent of Tax on HP repayments.




  18. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Good afternoon to the Celtic Family from a cold bright Central Region. The whole Rangers thing confuses me they are in court today on there tax case now it will not finish today as Rangers can appeal against any decision and of course are likely to do so.What confuses me is they are supposed to be skint and yet the papers have them going to sign two or three players is this just paper talk ? or is it likely to happen.Also rumours about Southampton coming back with an increased offer for Hooper is there a point where Lennie will be overuled on his no sale notice and the board will sell the player because they just cant turn down such a large offer? H.H.

  19. LiviBhoy, :-)



    playfusbal4dguilders, all of the above.



    hamiltontim, yes, but I understand HMRC need to demonstrate that any appeal was not nefarious.



    The Falcon, strange partnership that will not do either any good. STV journos are in a no-win situation.

  20. Paul67



    This from RTC:



    should the assessments of tax liability in Rangers’ possession be confirmed, the bill becomes due and payable immediately. Even if Rangers appeal the findings, HMRC has the right to demand payment without further delay. (If Rangers won their appeal, they would be entitled to full repayment plus interest, but that is academic as they would have already become insolvent).



    seems to contradict the point you made about Rangers appealing. Which is right?

  21. Am I correct in thinking that a set of accounts have not been prepared, submitted or audited under Craig Whyte’s ownership? I have recently wondered if the delay in submitting the accounts is due to the previous regime’s asset valuation, particularly Ibrox.



    If the value of Ibrox was heavily inflated on the previous accounts in order to balance the assets/debt ratio, then in an administration/liquidation scenario this could jeopardise any creditor’s attempts to take Ibrox in its entirety in payment for (for example) an 18m secured debt.

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