Time for SPL to take the trash out


Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson gave what passes as an unusually honest and frank interview to BBC Radio Scotland before his team beat champions, Celtic, this afternoon.  Thompson represents one of the four SPL clubs on the league board who, unless the entire league agrees to change their constitution, will vote on whether a Newco will inherit the void when Rangers die next week.

I’m pretty sure Thompson’s mind was made up weeks ago, he clearly planned to vote Newco into the league, despite misplaced brinksmanship, but he’s been spooked by pressure from his own fans talking about boycotting games if he votes Newco in.

Here’s the dilemma.   Gang of 10 clubs have pushed a mantra for years that they have been exploited by a Glasgow duopoly (although clearly they use less accurate phraseology).  They complain about “the Glasgow media” and, don’t laugh, referee favouring the “Old Firm”.

Now, if he votes for Newco, he makes a lie of all of this. The power to change one of the key concerns for fans of provincial clubs lies in the collective hands of their chairmen. Can they really pass this up?

It’s decision time.  Since Celtic Quick News first raised the alarm on this issue in October last year we predicted that only Celtic would vote against Newco.  We are about to find out if we have 12 independent teams in the SPL or 11 Rangers supporters – and if they change the rules to give support to Rangers, this is exactly what they are.

I had a bit of sympathy for Thompson, a first for me.  He spoke about the money going into United causing issues in his family and the consequences of losing circa £1m per year in a league without Rangers.  Some harsh decisions ahead, if he does the right thing, but the alternative, voting for Newco and having Dundee United fans walk out on the club at the betrayal, gives him what he called a “lose-lose” situation.

I was delighted to hear this.  He claimed to be undecided, but at least he is a man who now understands there are huge consequences if he votes for Newco.  There are three potential financial hits if he does: some United fans will turn away from the game, Celtic fans will boycott next season and even Rangers fans have threatened to boycott if Newco is subject to penalties associated with their terminal football team.  The combined cost of this may be less than £1m but not by much.

There are two extra points for Mr Thompson to consider:

Without Newco in the SPL he and he the Gang of 10 can breeze through their future-revenue-changing plan to alter the voting structure, which should help fill any shortfall.  It would be humiliating if they had the chance to deliver what they wanted long-term but couldn’t pass up a chance to help the Rangers.

Also, this is not the end of the road for the terminal football club. Any Newco inheriting Rangers SPL share will also inherit the punishment for the alleged improper Registration of football players for a decade or more. The only appropriate penalty for this would be expulsion from the league.

It’s perhaps best to man up and take the trash out now.

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  1. Don’t worry read the article – Your Rangers til next week, Rangers til next week!

  2. voguepunter on

    Patrick27 on 6 May, 2012 at 19:05 said:





    Has anyone ever told you about B.O?

  3. Patrick27 on 6 May, 2012 at 19:10 said:



    Tony Wattesque Mate…



    I hope you don’t forget all the people who helped you on your way to superstardom!!

  4. Paul67:



    It is indeed refreshing that a Chairman is taking stock of what their Supporters are saying.



    Always finish on a positive I say, a great birthday present to yourself:



    …Any Newco inheriting Rangers SPL share will also inherit the punishment for the alleged improper Registration of football players for a decade or more. The only appropriate penalty for this would be expulsion from the league…



    I still smell that liquid…



    Keep the Faith!



    Hail Hail!

  5. hamiltontim on

    Oh just back on and its a new article.



    Quick survey amongst the bus members.



    Bus will be full next season.

  6. starry



    Haha don’t worry I won’t ;)






    The perfect hatrick! ;)




  7. Alex Thomson’s take on tomorrow’s vote.



    So now the dust has slightly settled and we are on the eve of another Scottish Premier League vote (barring another postponement), let us strip away all the froth and hype and see where we really are.



    On Thursday, Ibrox was a deeply bizarre place. Over the phone Rangers tried to make out their “press conference” was for “sports reporters only”. Even over the phone they quickly realised from my incredulity, this was a non-starter.



    So we got a “press diktat” instead. It’s a press conference where they read at you from a prepared statement and you are not allowed questions. A press conference without the conference, if you like.



    The charming Ba’athist thugs in Baghdad used to do this in the 90s, I recall. Bosnian Serb commanders likewise. Congolese child-soldier commanders do it. Duff & Phelps did themselves no favours. Of course, they’re neither criminals nor mass murderers. But questions were banned, the Rangers press officer said, “Because we don’t want this turning into a circus.”



    So why do Rangers FC and Duff & Phelps think the normal rules of a press conference are a “circus”?



    I suggest because of all the difficult questions they cannot answer.



    They cannot explain how the Old Rangers company will somehow be “cleaned up” when it is left, toxic, mired in debt and – according to three insolvency experts I’ve now spoken to – inevitably heading for liquidation by the back door.



    They cannot explain how a club banned from European football for three years, and with a one-year player-buying ban, is supposed to retain its key players who can – and very likely will – move elsewhere in the summer.



    Nothing was said of the Sky/ESPN Premier League TV deal. SPL boss Neil Doncaster says it’s up for renegotiation this summer, but four Old Firm fixtures are the lynchpin of it.



    So how does the shiny new, non-toxic Rangers team fulfil that next season? They’d have to stay up there with Celtic in the top half of the league with their squad of well-motivated 17-year-olds and has-beens.



    So what will Sky/ESPN want? Equally, why should anyone in Scottish football listen or let them dictate the game?



    Answer? Money. And if anything represents Oscar Wilde’s definition of the cynic as a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing right now, it’s Scottish football with its Glasgow media cheerleaders.



    Consider Michael Johnston, chairman of Kilmarnock FC, who is quoted by the BBC as saying: “Members (of the SPL) see the commercial benefits of having Rangers, even as a newco. The clubs are mindful of a sporting integrity aspect but the commercial benefits may outweigh that.”



    That is, Scottish football clubs know there’s a thing called integrity out there but it’s money that matters. What a world you are in, Mr Johnston.



    Of course, it’s turkeys and Christmas and all that, and if club chairmen see an escape route for Rangers after their catastrophic lack of financial fair play (yes, financial fair play, Mr Platini and Uefa), then such kid-glove treatment will also come their way when they’re in trouble (as several clubs are).



    And what of Craig Whyte? We speak frequently, though as yet off the record.



    In all our dealings he has remained adamant that, as the major shareholder, he wants a return. Clearly, Bill Miller is openly antagonistic to Craig Whyte personally and financially – the Miller plan is designed to squeeze Whyte out. Put two and two together and you can quickly work out how all this is playing chez Whyte.



    So be in no doubt, huge obstacles are being ignored in public by the administrators of Rangers, Duff & Phelps, who never mentioned by name either Craig Whyte or the major creditors, Ticketus or (incredibly) the taxman, in their press-diktat on Thursday at Ibrox. Funny, that.



    So here, with apologies to Jonathan Swift, is A Modest Proposal. Crazy, I know, but I’m going to imagine a world where Scottish football is about sport, sporting values – integrity, morality, justice – all the kinds of things people care so much about in Scotland but see so little debated in their media.



    The Scottish media, many clubs and all kinds of powerful voices seem to want Rangers kept in the Premier League at all costs. Life itself appears untenable without this. To any outsider, looking beyond money, this is ludicrous. Why?



    If Rangers lost the (currently unmentioned) Big Tax Case, what’s the point of staying, without European football, with a wrecked squad in the SPL?



    Why not (assuming by some miracle the Miller idea even works) opt to start with the new Rangers (Newco) at the bottom of the Scottish football league and work your way back?



    Thus Rangers would be morally unimpeachable. They’d send a memorable message that Scottish football has, after all, got integrity. Newco and Oldco “cleaned up” at a stroke. Uefa proud, delighted and trumpeting the Rangers stance to Fifa and beyond.



    Moreover, if my Scottish football-watchers are right, they’d be back at or near SPL status around the expiry of the Uefa ban. They’d attract new, affordable young talent whose agents would sniff European competition just around the corner.



    So what if the TV deal goes into the ground? Either Scottish football runs Scottish football or the toxic hand of Rupert Murdoch does? Time to decide.



    Were I a Rangers fan, were this my beloved Newcastle United, I’d be actively campaigning for this. The way to cleanse Rangers, cleanse Scottish football and cleanse big sporting governance in this country. The way for fans who don’t walk away to stay with a club they – and all of us – would be rightly proud of.



    Or fight on, toxic, tainted and hated in the SPL – a club without an ounce of sporting integrity, helped back in by others who see only money and the short-term.



    And likely the cause of significant fan protest and boycotts as well.



    The choice for Rangers, football governance, sport and – yes – politics in Scotland is obvious. If Rangers really is “part of the fabric of Scottish life” as First Minister Alex Salmond says, let that fabric be about values supremely, not money.



    Sport celebrates competition – business seeks to eliminate it.



    This is the time for leadership, from Scottish football’s governing bodies, from the chairmen of the SPL clubs – but above all from Rangers Football Club.



    As yet, I see little sign of leadership emerging, of men who see values, not just figures.

  8. theglasgowcelticway on

    What do you think would happen if Celtic were to refuse to handle the tickets from these clubs?

  9. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Margaret McGill on 6 May, 2012 at 18:17:



    “I think its a good analogy for Celtic self flagellists who think they need huns around or are blind to the mechanisms that do…ok change women tae I dunno ……puppies? Budgies? junkies?…what would you suggest?”



    I’d suggest keeping things in context and maybe using a description that makes sense – what are ‘flagellists’?

  10. Thompson sounded to me like he will probably vote in favour of the Newco. His remarks can be interpreted as simply showing his fans how much he listens to them and what a dilemma he has.



    “Any Newco inheriting Rangers SPL share will also inherit the punishment for the alleged improper Registration of football players for a decade or more”



    Will they? I don’t see how a true Newco, ie a different company run by different people, can be punished.



    I saw the press article that talks of some acceptance of an as yet unknown punishment being the price clubs will want for their vote. But what if Miller (or whoever) says no? The clubs hardly have a strong bargaining position when they apparently need the Newco so much. What if the Newco says No Deal?

  11. You can support the work of The Little Sisters Of The Poor by bidding for this Celtic top signed by the first team squad:





    Bidding which ends tomorrow Monday 7th May is now at £510.00.


    Fellow Celts, I need your help.


    My parents recently had to go into full time care in Wellburn Care Home, Lochee, Dundee. Run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.



    Welburn offers incredible residential support for those in need in the Dundee area. It is only a viable concern through the dedication of the sisters and volunteers and fundraising initiatives such as sales of work, coffee mornings etc.


    The sisters need cash to maintain the home for the benefit of the residents, you cannot visit there and not be inspired by the work the sisters do.



    All our favourite players have signed the top which is in mint condition and in a fantastic presentation box.






    Your help is greatly appreciated and very much needed.

  12. Larsson and McStay on

    Bhoys…..have the season ticket renewals went out yet ?



    Just that I’ve not had mine, which means either they’ve not been sent out , or the wee bitter huns who deliver Her Majesty’s mail around here have failed to deliver it.



    What the stupid hun postmen don’t realise is that mine’s renews automatically unless I say otherwise.

  13. well said paul67


    keep up the good work


    that goes for everyone on here






    even the huns themselves

  14. Steinreignedsupreme on

    hamiltontim on 6 May, 2012 at 19:16:



    “Quick survey amongst the bus members.



    “Bus will be full next season.”



    But will everyone be at the back of the bus as some have suggested…

  15. ElDiegoBhoy on




    Suggested last night that few supporters will give up their season tickets.



    Certainly no need to adhere to daft “sign up or else” pleas. Renew at your leisure. Or don’t.

  16. Francois Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France for 17 years.

  17. blantyretim on

    can we give the bhoys who support the team away from home support….



    the team did not turn up away from home today but the fans did…



    My dad who is 72 this year prefers away games…

  18. theglasgowcelticway on

    With the rest of the SPL teams crumbling I wouldn’t be surprised if newco started next season with a ten point lead.

  19. Paul67, any idea when, or if, Celtic are going to speak out and voice their opinion? Is there a political game, or lobbying, going on in the background that is preventing them from doing so?



    I can’t help but think if Paul McBride was still with us, he would have had a lot to say on the legalities of all these decisions?

  20. gordybhoy64 on



    thanks for your suggestions,Ricks looks nice and i will consider it,


    The hudson is sold out for the dates i was looking for,will have a look at your


    other one now

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