2007 - 2021

Tainted League

A man born in Devon who’s been involved in Scottish football for three years has just decided the fate of  the game north of the border. What he’s decided is that one club can behave with complete disregard to others and face no significant sanction. The problem isn’t Craig Whyte, who’s a chancer, but Neil Doncaster, who’s a clown. Rangers chief executive Martin Bain was part of  the SPL sub-committee that carried out the recruitment process, and former Rangers director Campbell Ogilvie who presided over the EBT scam for years (from which he received £95,000) is President of the SFA today. Ogilvie replaced another Rangers man, Gordon Smith, as El Presidente. Friends in high places are useful, and this is the Jubilee year, in which you and I will pay for a Royal f****** barge (“Gloriana in excelsis”) to be floated  down the Thames, but this is really taking the piss.

What’s not clear yet is the extent of complicity between the other clubs and the Doncaster. When and how we’re these ‘assurances’ made to Bill Miller. There is contradiction in reporting on this issue and it remains key. What is clear is the revolving door policy between Rangers Fc and the footballing authorities is extraordinary. If aggrieved fans want to vent their spleen they’ better examine these relationships.  The huge sense of entitlement expressed by club and fan base and repeated faithfully in the Scottish media reveals a deep conservatism. For large sections of the footballing world it’s simply impossible to conceive of a league without Rangers, or any other models or structures which have brought Scottish football into the current glories. We are addicted to the stability of failure.

Of course none of this is possible without an unflinchingly pliant set of journalists and a supplicant media. There are a few exceptions.

As Alex Thomson wrote: “Announcing the US trucking magnate Bill Miller as the bloke-most-likely to buy Rangers FC, they refused to take questions at what was absurdly described as a press conference. Nor did they mention at any stage in this, the three really key things which have to be mentioned in connection with owning this club. Not one mention of assured creditor Craig Whyte who, he tells me, wants, £30m. No mention either for the ticket company Ticketus who may require around £27m. And the small matter of HMRC the taxman, who could end up due around £75m if the club loses a major tax hearing due any day now. Other fans will be outraged. Because what they’re attempting to pull off here is a huge tax avoidance and debt avoidance plan from the club already notorious for both.”

This is a huckster nation, where the filthy rich can do whatever they like. It’s a business free-for-all. It’s shameful.

It’s not just the EBTs – Rangers owe us at least £47 million – it’s the injustice of operating a league cartel (there’s no other name for the SPL now) dominated by one of Scotland’s largest football clubs that seems to be run by a gang of semi-feral businessmen whilst one in four Scottish children live in poverty.

The Beautiful Game? Unless Europe do what Scottish football have seemingly failed to do, then the game will wither and die. Not because we don’t have great potential, not because we aren’t a nation still football daft (against all the odds, weather and facilities), but because we allowed chasing money deals and SKY tv packages to ruin an entire sporting culture. We separated the game from the fans and then let ruling bodies be dominated by thugs in suits. It will die because who in their right mind would pay money to go and see a fixed-league? Never mined being awarded for failure, this is being awarded for fraud. It will die because we said that one club could act with total reckless abandon, then walk away…

Comments (15)

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  1. andywightman says:


  2. Jacquie Johnstone says:

    Money corrupts, are Rangers going to be forced to repay all monies they are due to taxman? little people have to. It seems Rangers is a win win situation, oh yes I am not a football supporter, your article is one of the reasons why, so I have no bias.

  3. John Campbell says:

    Kick them out of the SPL…to be (hopefully) closely followed by the ‘other half’.
    We don’t need their religious bile and I feel Scotland would be better off without the pair of them.
    Having said that I have no doubt that they will be given privileged status and be allowed to go their own sweet way. Unless of course HMRC puts a spanner in the works…

  4. seven says:

    I’d encourage everyone to use this

    Route de Genève 46 Tel: +41 (0) 848 00 2727
    Case postale Fax: +41 (0) 848 01 2727
    CH-1260 Nyon 2 Web: UEFA.com
    Switzerland Media desk: Tel: +41 (0) 848 04 2727

    1. seven says:

      It’s the hypocrisy and rewriting of rules that gets me. Outrageous doesn’t even cover it. I’m a united fan but look at what happened to Dundee,Livingston etc

  5. J McIllaney says:

    Great piece. But don’t be so despondent. I doubt very much Millers convoluted plan will work despite the SPLs shameful conduct.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      It may not work (although it worked for Leeds when they almost went into liquidation), but that’s not the point. It shouldn’t be up to Miller’s ability to pull of his hair-brained scheme whether Rangers get away with this or not – the footballing authorities should be treating Rangers like every other club that enters administration.

  6. Doug Daniel says:

    Great article Mike, I believe I hear the sound of a nail being hit on the head.

  7. lupusincomitatus says:

    I used to go, as a kid, to Rangers’ games with my Father, he was a Plantation (Govan) man. He wasn’t a bigot, it was just a local tribal thing with him.

    He actually died at Ibrox Park with his grandson, before the start of a pre season game against a European team. He wouldn’t go to any “normal” game and certainly not with his grandson.

    When my Father stopped going to Ibrox, I took up going alone to Firhill, except when either of the Old Firm were playing the Maryhill Magyars. The Forfar Bridies on sale were, and their memory is still, a highlight of my youth.

    I stopped being interested when I started at Uni and have never recovered any interest of actually going to any match.

    I think that the removal of Rangers and Celtic from the fabric of the football culture would be like the first step in Mao’s long march in returning the People’s game to the People and as a wee bonus would be the equivalent of squeezing the puss infested boil and expunging a load of poison.

    Football could only improve throughout Scotland and maybe in a decade or more we might have a truly interesting national team.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Nice memories, thanks. The corporate takeover isnt confined to the Old Firm. Look at Hearts (or even Hibs). Its everywhere as we’re all tied to this model of chasing the money. It doesn’t work, it’s been proved to fail.

  8. the Knee says:

    Scottish Football Revolution in three parts:
    1: support your postcode
    2: turn off the TV
    3: Adults £10 Students/OAPs £5 kids go free

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Totally agree …

  9. Mike Gunn says:

    Great article. We are at the point of losing our game to the corrupt, thieving cheats in suits.

    Below is a post taken from another forum which I think sums up the mood amongst the paying fans. We need to organise and reclaim our game. We should do walking away. At least until the message gets across. Its the only way the men in suits will see their folly.


    “It feels horrible being the little guy. And I don’t mean as a Hearts fan, I just mean as a fan. Is that what it’s boiled down to? Supporters are the little guys, despite being the only people in this whole charade that actually spend their own money.

    Whatever happens to Rangers, and it’s nowhere near a certainty they’ll be in the SPL next year, this was a perfect opportunity to attempt some sort of life-saving overhaul of Scottish football. We talk all the time about league size, but what we’ve really been missing is competition. In Scotland we hardly had any as it was, now the people who run our game and make a living from it have come clean and told us, in no uncertain terms, the only competition they care about is the one between Rangers and Celtic. That is heartbreaking, no exaggeration.

    It’s a sickening show of disrespect to everyone else who means something in the history of our game – from Queen’s Park over 100 years ago to Aberdeen and Dundee Utd lording it over teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona on wonderful European runs. Shame on them. Utter shame.

    They talk of the game being killed if newco Rangers are not in the SPL. There’s no doubt it’s the opposite. Less than 6,000 at Pittodrie the other night – apathy and helplessness already has a few of our clubs at death’s door. This could finish them off. Expect record low attendances next year. But nobody will care. In fact, Traynor, Young, Jackson, etc. will probably blame usfor our spite.

    It’s crap being a fan – you spend thousands on your team to watch them in a sporting competition it’s pretty much impossible for them to win, and then when you think people are out there trying to remedy that, it turns out they’re trying to preserve that competitive imbalance.

    What a load of shite.”

  10. “Rangers owe us at least £47 million”

    In fact this means that we own Rangers. The value of the assets is less than the debt owed to HMRC. So why should we accept to give the assets away to a US tycoon/asset stripper for £11 million.

    The reality is that Rangers can be expected to generate significant revenues every year. Let HMRC takeover Rangers PLC and give 51% back to the supporters on condition that this stake cannot be diluted and the debt is paid back at an agreed rate over time. It will require savage cuts in Rangers operating budget but it is not beyond their capacity to overcome these over time.

    Lets also use this as an opportunity to move to a German style system that gives preference to 51% supporter owned clubs. We don’t need compulsory purchase orders but lets fix the tax system to treat supporters owned clubs preferentially. Lets fix the rules of the game in a fair way.

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