“Get used to it, it will last for 100 years,” says Ralph Topping, the outgoing Chairman at the SPFL in an extensive interview this morning in the Scotsman.
Topping is talking title stripping after the Supreme Court judgment a few weeks ago established once and for all that Rangers cheated Scottish and European football and that there are at least 14 honours won by the old ‘organisation’ that must be challenged and removed from the record books for the good of the game.
Otherwise cheats win.
The Scotsman have done well to get the interview and Topping’s confirmation of the SPFL’s position although they curiously buried it at the bottom of a long feature, choosing to lead on the fact that Topping once attended a match at Ibrox with a Priest and the Rangers fans were all great with him, thanking him for coming along and so on.
Heartwarming stuff from the bears at Ibrox then. Little did they know that David Murray was concocting plans to sell them ‘seats for life’ at the club – or is is now an ‘organisation’ – and that even further down the line they’d hear that they’d actually bought seats for life in a holding company.
This Rangers holding company was the best kept secret in Scottish football for a century, it was never mentioned by anyone at all until after the 5 Way Agreement was thought up in July 2012.
The day they created their myth.
Topping’s view, the official line from the SPFL, isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone in the Scottish game. Indeed CQN told you back in April when we met up with Neil Doncaster at Hampden that regardless of the outcome in the Supreme Court there would be no revision of the LNS Enquiry and no review to look at the cheating that took place.
“Fans become polarised. It’s a fact of life in general. You have a view, and Twitter, Facebook and other mediums help reinforce that view,” Topping explained.
It’s all social media or the new media’s fault then.
“Whereas years ago if you were in a pub you’d get older guys in pubs going, ‘away you go, forget about it’. “It is going to last,” Topping continues.
“It is a cause. Everyone is a journalist now. Every one has a point of view. It’s a passion. I’d just like to see more (of these people) turn up for games.”
These people have been turning up for games, Mr Topping, year after year, to watch a game that was rigged. That’s why there is real and genuine anger.
“What I think you see is lots of activity, potential challenges and ways to challenge the process or outcome,” believes Topping, who has probably been told by Doncaster that he was put on notice by CQN about a Judicial Review if the SPFL fails to act in the event of an HMRC victory at the Supreme Court.
“The SFA are going to be a big target. The SPFL has been through (the) Lord Nimmo Smith (commission). A lot of fans will say Lord Nimmo Smith should be revisited.
“In these circumstances you have to rely on legal minds,” states Topping.
Just like David Murray, last week, even after his cheating was exposed, was still content to ‘rely on legal minds’ rather than man up and take the blame for the destruction he had caused to the game and indeed the public purse.
“We have not gone to a solicitor in Arbroath,” Topping revealed, insulting every legal professional in that lovely wee town, in the process.
“We have gone to the finest solicitor in the land and taken his view, which we were duty bound to do. He has given us what we think is very sound legal advice.”
Just like the SFA’s Advocat, the SPFL’s legal brain is completely anonymous other than we know he isn’t from Arbroath.
“We (the SPFL board) sat with him on what must have been four occasions – and he was challenged from everyone.
“We wanted to make sure we were ready for any challenges subsequently. And I think we are, I think we are.
“That won’t stop people having views,” Topping adds.
“It won’t stop people talking about it for years to come. It’s useless to say keep quiet. The fact is they won’t.
“There are a lot of wealthy people who support football clubs who will fund certain activities around challenges. The authorities just have to accept it and be measured in their response.”
Although the SPFL have said nothing officially about the Supreme Court judgment, Topping is speaking to the Scotsman, Doncaster spoke to CQN, their position is a surprise to no-one. So why no statement?
“You examine all the possibilities,” Topping says. “We had to think about everything.
“The guy’s legal advice has been spot on. He called it right. You have to be comfortable with the advice you are given. As things stand we did the right thing getting the opinion from the QC – the best in Scotland was available to us, so we got that.
“Are we going to please everyone? Fat chance. Will fans go on about it? Yes. It’s an emotional subject. When will the book be closed on it? Never.”
Did you notice that he didn’t use the word ‘organisation’ once in the entire interview.
Here is the new CQN Podcast…