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. When you consider the answers to my 7 questions above then surely it makes sense to liquidate hun FC.



    If the judiciary also want to cut down on their case load it would seem that the durty dawg that done the durty deed will indeed be put down.



    Hail Hail

  2. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    “It all depends if the Tribunal states there were 2 contracts and Rangers lodged false contracts with the SFA. If it does the SFA have to do them, if not they’ll get away with it unless a criminal investigation/trial discloses it.”



    We’ll get the usual for the sfa, lienency, then loopholes closed with threat of severe punishment for anyone else, innit.

  3. Just been looking at my blog. WordPress tells you how many people have come to it though search engines and the terms they have used. It can be an interesting list.



    The must common for several days now has been combinations of HMRC and Rangers.

  4. greenjedi



    My point is if points are deducted mid season does that mean they start next season in a minus position but could have won the league in the prior season,and, gained the financial benefit from that?

  5. Blantyre Kev- Sir David Attenborough has an echidna named after him [‘ Sir David’s lon gbeaked Echidna’]



    It can only be a matter of time before some big ferocious cat is named after Victor Wanyama.

  6. BlantyreKev – I think a few folk when they talk about a “2nd contract” actually think it means a whole second document, hidden away. Not necessarily.



    If the said side letter contains the comfort for tax PLUS an undertaking to pay x,y and z via EBT outwith the original contract then the side letter itself is the second contract…..

  7. RogueLeader says:



    17 January, 2012 at 10:25



    I like the Naismith stretcher analogy for that is the line that will be deployed.



    Regardless of what happens after the verdict, time to pay (however unlikely), man on a white horse rides in and pays (even more unlikely – how do you saddle a bottle?), administration, receivership, insolvency, whatever- fair play demands that all of Rangers titles of the last ten years be removed from the record.



    The sporting advantage gained principle is the basis for a points deduction after a club enters administration, it basically says by paying more than you could afford you got better players than clubs who lived on their earnings and paid their dues/debt. Accordingly you have to be stripped of that advantage in the future to compensate for the advantage in the past.



    Past titles are not normally removed for clubs entering administration although a points deduction is applied because the administration is an accumulation of past unaffordable overspending that can only be recognised as a result of the administration event itself.



    However in this case it is not overspending that is the factor, it is spending other peoples money, taxpayers money, season upon season in an attempt to gain advantage and that pattern of spending other people’s money can be seen by comparing titles won with EBT contributions.



    Rangers EBTs and Titles Won 2001 to 2011




    Thus the 2003 and 2005 titles were the result of the sporting advantage they gained.



    At this point there is an argument that Celtic had used debt to gain sporting advantage from 2000 to 2004 but this is how football operates and if that debt is repaid (as it was from 2004) or reduced to bear some relationship to affordability, as has happened, it does not breach the UEFA FFP principles, even if they have just been codified by UEFA in 2010. To be clear: manageable debt is OK, unmanageable debt and paying less tax by dubious means is not.



    There will be an argument that as EBT usage/contributions dropped from 2007 the three titles won since were won fair and square. However examination of Rangers net debt figures from their accounts as an indicator of their indebtedness will show that as EBT contributions went down, net debt went up.



    So what? Manageable debt is OK. Two things: it has proved far from manageable, resulting in the sale of Rangers for a penny to someone who specialises (it says) in helping clubs in distress, through – guess what- unmanageable debt.



    However the stronger case, put forward by BRTH and TBB is that somewhere after 2007 when debt started to mount, Rangers became aware of the possibility they were sharing the premises with a gorilla, but rather than make provision to store up bananas to satisfy it’s hunger (and it was hungry), they opted (to stay with the primate metaphor) to feed the troupe of performing monkeys on a high quality diet of bananas and honey. Had they made provision to feed the gorilla, it would not now be in a position where it can do irretrievable damage. and perhaps bring the house down.



    Thus the titles won in the last three years were still won with other peoples money that perpetuated the sporting advantage the original EBTs provided..



    Will a case on these grounds (leaving out the monkey metaphors) ever see the light of day or will it be another case of the SPL/SFA seeing no evil, hearing no evil, speaking no evil.



    and with that I’m off for a scratch. ;)


    CONEYBHOY 1021



    I remember that one too,I put it down to the wee runt expecting a penalty.



    One of my worst memories as a Celtic fan was against Dundee United,the moment Dave Narey-what a player,btw-scored a late winner at CPto make it 3-2 and put them in the driving seat for the title in 83.



    Gubbing the huns the following week 4-2 from 2 down at half time didn’t quite make up for it….

  9. pintaguinness



    If they go into admin during the season. points are deducted for that season. If they go into admin between seasons points are deducted from the following season!

  10. BobbyMurdoch’s Curled Up Winkle pickers



    To be fair an excellent Dundee Utd side with Narey, Hegarty, Sturrock, Bannon and Ralph Milne.

  11. For what it’s worth Derry City in the League of Ireland were caught having 2 contracts with players, they were relegated right away, it was their way of paying for the better players in the league.



    Slap it up them anyway.

  12. Kit,



    SHugar … and I missed him …..




    Temperature’s rising


    Fever is high


    Can’t see no future


    Can’t see no sky



    My feet are so heavy


    So is my head


    I wish I was a baby


    I wish I was dead



    Tax malarkey has got me on the run



    My body is aching


    Goose-pimple bone


    Can’t see no body


    Leave me alone



    My eyes are wide open


    Can’t get to sleep


    One thing I’m sure of


    I’m in at the deep freeze



    Tax malarkey has got me on the run


    Tax malarkey has got me on the run



    Thirty-six years


    Rolling in pain


    Praying to someone


    Free me again



    Oh I’ll be a good boy


    Please make me well


    I promise you anything


    Get me out of this hell



    Tax malarkey has got me on the run


    Oh, oh, oh, oh



    Hail Hail

  13. Auldheid – there is a definite sporting case for titles won during the use of EBTs to be expunged from the books. They were gained using illegal methods (assuming the case goes against them of course). Stretching it out past the use of EBTs in my opinion holds no merit. All they did was behave recklessly from 2007. Linking the EBTs to fiscal irresponsibility is a stretch too far in my opinion.

  14. greenjedi – they also get a 10 point deduction for each season they are still in administration so if they went in now and didn’t come out by next year, they start next year on minus 10.

  15. AWE NAW ——



    Paul Baxendale Walker ?



    My totally unreliable memory has Private Eye linking him with a sex club in Ibiza which featured performances from an X Factor ” star ” called CHICO . Memory says Chico was described as being a former Goatherd..



    All very apt CSC -Way down south

  16. Billy’s Bhoy says:


    17 January, 2012 at 11:41


    BobbyMurdoch’s Curled Up Winkle pickers



    To be fair an excellent Dundee Utd side with Narey, Hegarty, Sturrock, Bannon and Ralph Milne.



    And Richard Gough sent off.

  17. Ten Men Won The League on

    Another avenue is closed off in Whyte’s pursuit to sell Jellylegs asap



    Brazilian striker Henrique has hailed the prospect of joining QPR as “a fantastic opportunity”.



    The 20-year-old Sao Paulo star revealed he had spoken to new Rangers boss Mark Hughes about signing for the Barclays Premier League strugglers on a reported 18-month loan deal, including the option of a permanent transfer.



    Henrique, who was voted player of the tournament at last summer’s Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, may struggle to obtain a work permit due to his lack of senior international caps. He said in the Sun: “I know a lot of clubs are interested in me. But when I spoke to Mark Hughes and QPR, they made me feel very excited about their plans.”



    Henrique added: “I want to go to a club with ambition and to play in London would be a fantastic opportunity.



    “The manager is known everywhere. He played for great clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona.



    “As a striker, I know I can learn so much from him. I’ve always wanted to play in Europe and, for me, England has the most exciting league in the world.”

  18. Billy’s Bhoys



    Sorry had to go out, I agree. Don’t think Eubank was the same fighter after that. Really enjoyed boxing at that time, Eubank, Collins, Watson & Benn all great fighters.



    I don’t mind sending you the book, Can just send it back whenever you read it if you want & no rush. If not it should be easy to find. The man is an inspiration.



    I’ll have a look for that book you mentioned thanks, HH

  19. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo



    He has a new game plan at the moment, he tries to be non-sensationalist, non-confrontational, and tries to weasel in with any poster that gives him the time of day.



    He is a bore, always has been, and not really worth the time typing, but to give him credit he perseveres with his mentalist outlook on all things. Can never figure out why he bothers to change his name, everybody knows, or soon knows, he is the same fud.



    Bed time for me mate, new job, new start time, 5.00 am. I love it.

  20. googybhoy ♥ Celtic and Integrity says:


    17 January, 2012 at 11:28


    Roy Aitken quote about the sash in celticwiki



    Is it not from an anecdote of Bobby Lennox



    For a charity bet lennox was singing the sash, he stopped after first couple of lines



    Huns having a go as he was not carrying through the bet



    Lennox replies don’t know the rest as we have usually scored by now

  21. SOT



    I saw him in a porno film about two months ago … the lad gives me hope. ;-)



    I´d love to have watched that film in the close company of Sir David …. just to have seen his face…it would have been a George Galloway pretending to be a cat moment but only if George had taken a dump and buried it.



    Hail Hail

  22. Just dropped-in to say….



    If we are charged £2 more than all the other competing teams fans in the semi finals(like we were when we played RC), will some one from Celtic FC/PLC fight our case ?



    Off oot.



    Hail! Hail!



    May God Bless ‘Every’ Celtic Fan.

  23. Oh and by the way possum, (not you Awe_Naw) before you mess the carpet, I’m talking about super sammy, so Simmer down. I can do you a good deal on a fume cupbord to ease all that fuming possum.

  24. RogueLeader says:


    17 January, 2012 at 11:44



    I disagree, but largely depending on the side letters available.



    Rangers paid almost £4m into the EBT scheme after Kaunas, presumably to some of the new players who still make up much of the backbone of that team. The question is: would these players have signed (and then won the SPL last season) on the terms offered had they been gross (pay) as opposed to net of tax?


    Rieperman says:



    17 January, 2012 at 10:48





    I realise now the futility of the exercise. Keevins silenced me a couple of times last night. By that I mean he switched the fader and left me talking to myself as he preached on. I only discovered this on listening again. When he said there would be no return to full houses because of the economic situation, I countered that the same situation wasn’t exactly rosy in the eighties either before DM started flashing his tenners but I wasn’t even on-air.



    I will be back one more time though to demand an apology on air. he accused me of being “fuelled by hatred” later in the show and mentioned my name in association with people sending racist twitter messages. We will either have this conversation on-air or in a courtroom. His call





    Gaun yersel,bud. Donations to the legal expenses will not be hard to find.

  26. Rieperman says:



    17 January, 2012 at 10:48



    Funny thing is that after the same gentleman’s performance last week I contacted Clyde and suggested they may wish to revise their policies re the tax case as their reluctance to deal with it properly was leaving their pundits in a difficult position where conflict with callers was more likely.



    I used the contact form on their web site and did not keep a copy but my point was on those lines.



    I remember Peter Martin misrepresenting my position on a call and I had steam coming out my ears. Wrote to them but never got an answer. I can empathise with your feelings.


    JohnnyClash says:



    17 January, 2012 at 11:00



    During May I am mainly going to be over in Australia on an extensive house-breaking spree.





    That was a real laugh out loud moment,briliant!

  28. DBBIA



    Thanks for that, I think i’ll buy some online today. I’m going to watch Leonard v Hagler on youtube now. HH

  29. JAMES Forrest has been identified by FIFA as one of the most exciting young players in football who could be one of the stars of 2012.