I loved the Newco statement from yesterday evening, it betrayed the reality that they’ve lost their nerve in the face of panic among fans and a complete lack of knowledge of what to do about History overtaking them.
They cited that the SPFL had a conference call on the subject of the Court of Session Oldco EBT ruling, but quickly got onto the subject that “our Club’s (sic.) history, including its many successes, is beyond debate”.
Those of us who supported another team during the EBT decade know well that history is beyond debate. We paid money to see those competitions and there will be no denying what happened.
At a stroke Newco took a debate, which was hitherto the exclusive domain of fan comment and the occasional journalist repeating the words of well-paid Newco and Ladbrokes SPFL PR team, that there was “no appetite” for title stripping, and made it a subject football people could legitimately be drawn on. In short, they made Rangers historical successes THE debate.
I’ve spoken to Celtic on various potential public statement matters over the years. They don’t always get it right, but they know when to shut their mouth and win support for their objectives, at the cost of taking flak for not making grandstanding public comments.
While many paid to inform us were repeating paid PR as news, Channel 4’s Alex Thomson had no qualms calling-out the cheats in his blog yesterday: Rangers cheated at football: the fraudulent silverware must go. And that was just the blog title.
Oh Mr Black! The Rangers v HMRC First Tier Tribunal was held in private, with witness names given anonymity in the written report. Mr Black, the name of a key figure at Rangers, who signed and sold up to 400 footballers, and, I guess, took a senior role from late 1988 until 6 May 2011, provided damning evidence against the former football club at the Tribunal.
“Why did this powerful but busy character introduce a scheme of wholesale – and now proven to be unlawful – avoidance of NI and income tax?
Why – so the club could gain advantage on the pitch, of course: sporting advantage. By attracting and keeping players they otherwise could not afford. How do we know?
Because the powerful but talkative “Mr Black” was good enough to spill the beans to the Tax Tribunal: “Mr Black did not consider the Trust as a means of tax avoidance, but rather as a means of retaining and rewarding loyal employees. So far as Rangers was concerned it enabled the Club to attract players who would not otherwise have been obtainable.”
““Mr Black” didn’t see it as a tax wheeze at all, he said, but a football wheeze. Sadly for him if you’re now found to have been cheating the taxman you’re also cheating football – so now his unfortunate admission is a smoking gun
There is more: “As for Mr Black, he denied that the scheme was for tax avoidance in cross-examination, though he went on to describe the scheme as ‘a method of us acquiring, especially football wise, better players in a more cost effective manner than we would be able to do so’; that the club had been ‘very ambitious at that time’; and ‘it was seen as a correct and proper way for us to proceed’; that Rangers ‘have been very successful, because we’ve been able to attract players of a certain standard that, perhaps, we may not have been able to otherwise’.”
One more time: “especially football wise better players in a more cost effective manner”. Sporting. Advantage.”
“It is time Campbell Ogilvie explained his conduct – the man who played a part in the tax avoidance and personally benefited before going on to be SFA President.
It is time Sir David Murray – the conductor of this disastrous orchestration, by overseeing EBTs at Rangers – is similarly held to account for what he did and now, why Rangers did it for advantage on the field: cheating.
Above all, it is time the SPFL members came out from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and beyond to denounce cheating as cheating and take action as fans from Kelso to Thurso are begging them to do.
All the titles and silverware from all the years Rangers cheated at football, as they cheated at tax, must be null and void and wiped from the record.
Let nobody try and tell me it isn’t the same club – I have always said it is and now Rangers have to take the consequence of that reality right on the chin.
Turnbull Hutton RIP – how your godforsaken Scottish game needs you now.”
‘Mr Black’ really has dropped Sir David Murray in it. I hope he stays away from Charlotte Square. This situation reminds me of that scene from Blazing Saddles, where the sheriff turns his gun on himself. Alerts in advance for the use of racial pejoratives, appropriate for the environment, in this clip: