Bad Money?

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It’s now seven years since the festering sore on the skin of Scottish Football became fully septic, causing the liquidation of Rangers Football Club. Many of us at that time felt that the environment which had enabled the systematic, industrial scale cheating by that club, having now been exposed as unfit to fulfil its purpose, would be dismantled and replaced by something more accountable, more transparent, more honest.

Many more of us thought that other clubs who were the victims of the cheating that had gone on would be seeking a clear-out and a rewrite of the rule book, if for no other purpose than to ensure that a repeat was not possible.

We were all mistaken.

Let’s be honest about this. Football, whether it is played in Scotland or Argentina, at the Maracana Stadium or at Fleshers Haugh, is a rules-based endeavour. The rules of the game – both on the field and in its administration – are there to ensure as level a playing field as possible, to ensure that the constraints put on one club are the same for the rest.

Referees are in place to ensure the rules are complied with on the pitch, albeit with varying degrees of success. No matter what you might think of the guys in black, their craft is carried out in full public gaze, and consequently they are accountable to public opinion.

Off the field though, things are rather more opaque. Without the revelations of Charlotte Fakes for instance, we would never have known that a club had applied for a licence with false information, to a committee partly comprised of two folk who were employees of that club, and by extension part of the deception. Nor would we have known that the Chief Executive of the SFA had written to the club in question looking for approval on how the controversy surrounding the issue of the licence could be managed in the media.

The detail of the crimes of the people in charge of our game are the domain of those who have relentlessly pursued the truth of these matters. The devil is always in the detail, and the real devil is concealed in the fact that many of us are forced to switch off when confronted by the daunting prospect of having to follow that multi-threaded narrative.

In that regard, we owe much to the likes of Auldheid and EasyJambo (and many others) who unravel those threads for us and present the facts in a way most of us can follow. By doing so, they have allowed us to keep our eye on the ball.

Despairingly though, the upshot is that no matter what the facts tell us, Scottish football, at boardroom level, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, has no interest in seeking justice, or more importantly, clearing house.

The sins of the past will be the sins of the future, because the authorities have learned no lessons in the wake of Rangers’ liquidation, and in fact have now enshrined Doublespeak as the official language of the game.
No sporting advantage is a curious phrase used to describe sporting advantage
Imperfectly registered in lieu of not registered
Same for Different

I could go on, but the sins of one club, whilst fundamentally undermining the integrity of the sport in this country, are not the real problem. The authorities who set out to distort, bend, break, and tear up the rule-book are.

So too are the clubs who have refused to back their fans’ demand for proper oversight of the game, who have stood back and said nothing (except: “nothing to do with us guv!”) whilst their Patsies at Hampden do their dirty work, refusing to engage with or explain themselves to fans. These are the real culprits, they who have betrayed the trust of their own supporters. And if we are looking for a reason, look no further than their bank balances.

The recent scandal where the SPFL shared the outcome of its Unacceptable Behaviour report with the Scottish Government on the basis that it would not be made public shines a harsh spotlight on this.

The football authorities currently receive public funds from government, but in a “have your cake and eat it” scenario, they are accountable to no-one but themselves – and that’s how they want to keep it.

Publication of the SPFL report would put them at risk of having the accountability that they fear thrust on them. No-one in football wants the sectarian blight on our game to be cast under the glare of public focus. Especially if it becomes apparent that the game itself is the medium in which sectarianism thrives best.

And they know that it does exactly that. The trouble is that the societal divisions caused by sectarianism is a money maker. The old adage sectarianism sells has never been truer. The divide and rule model of empire applied to football. It is good box office.

But making football accountable could force measures to be put in place to cut out sectarian behaviour – and the clubs do not want that. It’s not the fear of being held responsible for their own fans’ behaviour under Strict Liability that worries the CFOs of our clubs – it’s the fear of losing the hatred which sees the money – bad money if you will – roll in.

Why did the cover up take place? Because losing Rangers was just not acceptable to football. Removing one of the vital protagonists in a money making cartel that thrives on hatred was a greater fear than any altruistic notion of sporting integrity (also now Doublespeak for “lack of integrity”).

Who could have foreseen that amidst the chaos surrounding Rangers demise, that they were only a symptom of the greed and couldn’t care less attitude of the money-men in football, and that our eyes would eventually be opened to the possibility that the football industry in Scotland is itself the enemy of public harmony?

Ironic perhaps, that the beautiful game, born out of the sense of community felt by the founding fathers of all our clubs, would emerge as a major malign influence in those communities.

There is no doubt that football is not prepared to cede any of its sovereignty to its customer base. They will go on – as long as we continue to bankroll them – in exactly the same way, like their bedfellows in the media a self-regulating industry with little or no regard for the public.

I am a supporter of Strict Liability, and we have already had discussions on the pros and cons of such an intervention. It is also clear that there is no SFM consensus on that. I want to leave that aside for the moment, because we do have a consensus surrounding our desire to see greater accountability in the game, and it is clear that fans’ voices, however temperately and eloquently articulated, are falling on deaf ears at Hampden.

The women’s game at the World Cup has recently provided us a window into the past, of the origins of the sport in Scotland. That which is a celebration of each others endeavour, skill, excellence and culture. The spirit of our game nowadays is a million miles away from that, because the market has taken over. 

Taming the wild excesses of the market is the responsibility of government. It’s about time the Scottish Government did just that. It is certainly clear that the SFA or the SPFL have zero interest in reining themselves in.

We have suggestions if anyone is listening.

738 COMMENTS

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  1. Looks like TRFC's Europa League tie on Thursday…

    away…

    is shaping up to be potentially Gerrard's – and RIFC/TRFC's – biggest game of the season… already!

     

    A real, pressure game for all concerned at Ibrox.

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  2. Ex Ludo 5th August 2019 at 22:34

    '..I sense another summit on the horizon.'

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Ah, yes.Probably.

    And what will it be but  another bumping of the gums of gutless members of the football establishment whose commitment to the Big Lie renders them utterly untrustworthy and devoid of any kind of moral authority , in conjunction with  politicos (even more untrustworthy by definition!), and with a wholly partisan, monocular SMSM  ready to misreport if need be?

     

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  3. I’ve not posted for a while, but the events over the weekend and in particular the comments from Rangers leave me astounded;

    ”Rightly or wrongly a gate was forced”

    Sorry?  What?  What possible “right” reason could there be for fans to force their way INTO a stadium?

    Rangers have shown time and time again that they will accept no responsibility for their fans actions.  Unless someone does something people are going to get seriously hurt or killed.

    I won’t hold my breath though…

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  4. Ballyargus 5th August 2019 at 22:05

    ………… and certainly did not jump on a roof covering and endanger lives.

    =============================

    There is video footage of such behaviour at an Aberdeen v Celtic game last year, so perhaps Bordersdon was commenting on something with evidence to back it up.

    I have a much more general concern about unacceptable conduct by football supporters across the country, which if not addressed will lead to some poor soul dying ……… then watch for the Scottish Government stepping in.

    There is far to much whataboutery when it comes to fans conduct "…….. aah but did you see what their fans did …….." that somehow justifies the conduct of the fans of the team that an individual supports.

    If I was to rank the unacceptable conduct of the fans of Scotland's biggest teams it might be:

    1. Rangers, 2. Celtic, 3.Hearts, 4. Hibs, 5. Aberdeen

    Nah just scrub that.

    1st equal – Rangers Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen 

    Unacceptable conduct is unacceptable no matter what team's supporters are involved. Call it out for what it it.  But for heaven's sake do something about it, rather than trying to score points. 

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  5. easyJambo 6th August 2019 at 00:11
    It appears to me that Bordersdon was specifically referring to the weekend and not some past even, "Anent the crowd behaviour at Rugby Park at the weekend…".

    Everybody has a past and all sorts of unsavoury happenings whether for football clubs or individuals could be found and quoted.
    My point being than when the Rangers are mentioned doing wrong Celtic has to be brought into the equation with the 2 cheeks quotes. If anyone has a criticism of Celtic and /or their supporters, and many of them are no angels, then criticise them by all means but don't tag them onto someone else's bad behaviour.
     

     

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  6. There is a story in today's Edinburgh Evening News that Ann Budge was approached by a potential American buyer for Hearts earlier this year. Was it Ron Gordon, now the majority shareholder in Hibs, who was behind the approach?

    https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/latest-hearts-news/hearts-owner-ann-budge-i-rejected-american-takeover-bid-for-club-1-4977270

    The Stateside interest arose before the American-based millionaire Ron Gordon bought control of Hearts’ city rivals Hibs. Budge has since met Gordon but said she is unsure if he was behind the approach to buy Hearts.

    Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, the Edinburgh businesswoman said: “In the spring, I had a conversation with a representative of someone from the States who was interested in investing in a Scottish football club.

    “I was happy to have the meeting. I was then able to say up front that Hearts is not available because there is an agreement in place for supporters to take over the club. I genuinely don’t know if it was the same group.

    “When I first heard about it [at Hibs], I’ll be honest and say my assumption was that it was the same group because it seemed like a bit of a coincidence. However, there has been a lot of interest in Scottish football clubs so it could well have been a different source.

    Perhaps David Low's comment in the podcast about potential targets for American buyers was based on some prior knowledge.  

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  7. What is it about people in the world of finance generally and any relationship with factual truth?

    Here is a statement I just came across this morning. It is in the business magazine insider.co.uk on 29/05/19. Ken Symon (reporter) cites it as a quotation from the lips of one Ken Pattullo, of Begbies Traynor (Scotland)LLP:

    " “The huge waves caused by Rangers’ administration and subsequent journey through the tables have now settled down, [my italics] and to some degree have contributed to benefiting and stabilising other clubs.”

    What kind of 'insolvency' practitioner' can Mr Pattullo be, I wonder, if he doesn't know his arm from Liquidation, and fondly imagines either that a liquidated football club can exist in Scottish Football or that a new club founded in 2012 and admitted for the first time to the SFA in 2012 can be the very same club that even now is awaiting final dissolution by Companies House?

    I do not think I will be recommending Begbies Traynor LLP to anyone as any kind of expert company.

    [I'm not gong to waste time checking if there is any relationship between the 'Traynors' or the 'Pattullos', other than a shared capacity to deny a plainly obvious fact:that RFC of 1872 was Liquidated, and did not make any kind of 'journey through the tables'.]

    Honest to God!

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  8. Looking at the videos of the crush outside Rugby Park there at least 6 police officers on horses that seem to be just moving about on the peripheral of the small crowd. I seem to remember that they used to separate a crowd into orderly lines for entry into the turnstiles thus avoiding any crushing. I wonder why they didn't here and why there does not seem to be any blame attached to the police.

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  9. Ballyargus 5th August 2019 at 22:05

    Here we go again with the two cheeks. You sound just like the media, if Rangers have to be condemned for something Celtic have to be brought in to even things up. If you have something to say about Celtic and it's supporters then say what you mean. Don't use the two cheeks as it has no relevance here. Celtic supporters, including the Green Brigade, did not break down gates to illegally enter a Football Stadium nor did they enter the field of play, and certainly did not jump on a roof covering and endanger lives.

    So if you have a point to make re the GB then state it plain and simple and I'm sure many (including Celtic supporters) will agree with at least some of your criticisms.

    ————————————————————————————–

    Not hiding mate just been very busy today.

    The real point of my post was that the media are creaming their collective knickers at the possibility/reality of a return to the duopoly fighting it out for the honours this season! So Scottish football has returned to normal. The  2 cheeks was just being a bit cheeky (could have been the bigot brothers). IMO in that respect one is as bad as the other (with the obvious exception of the fair minded people who post here). 

    ANENT the GB I personally don't think their "political" stance (however sincerely or brainwashed held) has any place in football but that is my opinion. As is acknowledged here by many all clubs have their zoomer supporters and we are no exception. I am really sensitive to being called a SSB by other club's supporters angry.

    For the avoidance of doubt I am of the John C persuasion when it comes to the big lie and ALL our clubs involvement in keeping that narrative alive.

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  10. easyJambo 6th August 2019 at 17:52

    =====================================

    Am I right in saying that Dave King, his associates and their supports (Incl Club1872) now have in excess of 75% off the shares in the PLC and absolute control over everything, including special resolutions.

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  11. Homunculus 6th August 2019 at 22:07

    easyJambo 6th August 2019 at 17:52

    =====================================

    Am I right in saying that Dave King, his associates and their supports (Incl Club1872) now have in excess of 75% off the shares in the PLC and absolute control over everything, including special resolutions.

    =====================================

    The Concert Party holds just under 54%. If you add in Club 1690, directors Barry Scott, John Bennett and Julian Wolhardt plus all the others that bought into the targeted September 2018 share issue, then they collectively control 81%, so more than enough to vote through anything they want.

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  12. easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 00:06
    so more than enough to vote through anything they want.
    ……………….
    Could that include a nice pay rise, a renaming of ibrox, selling off some assets?
    ….

    Enough to vote through anything they want.And would i be correct in saying (and happy to be corrected)that club 72 shareholding is now so low that they now can’t call an EGM if king and co start to vote through anything they want and the fans start to not like what they (king and co) are voting through.

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  13. H & EJ. 

        The share percentage sounds really good, but what exactly do they have a share of?. 

        A club that is baw-deep in debt projecting future losses. A club that doesn't own the shirts on its back, and possibly not even the grounds it plays and trains on. A club that is a sweary word amongst kit suppliers and sponsors, and a laughing stock on the markets it was kicked out of. 

        A club so toxic that since its conception, has barely had a court-free week………..And then there is the impending actions ahead, concerning the club it is kidding on to be……………..

        I don't think there are many who would want a share of that. 

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  14. 'Disgraced MP struck off as Solicitor'.(page 13 report in today's print version of 'The Scotsman')

    Why was she struck off?

    Oohhhh? because she had been convicted of lying to the Police/CPS to try to escape a speeding conviction.

    Question: what might happen were a solicitor in Scotland to be publicly belted in a Judgment by a High Court of Chancery Judge for telling an untruth  in  written submission to the Court aimed at misleading the Court? 

    One wonders!

    ( and one wonders again at a little additional piece to the report: the Solicitors Regulation Authority had asked for £22,762 costs of their strike-off action. They were awarded £6,562 -because the Chairman of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal had "anxiety about the number of hours that have been claimed" [40 hours]

    Surely our solicitors do not deliberately overclaim ( or lie!) or even make honest mistakes on such a scale in calculating what work they have done?

     

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  15. easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 00:06

    '..then they collectively control 81%, so more than enough to vote through anything they want.#

    ++++++++++++++

    I thought I had seen a reference in something from the TOP to the effect that the concert party could not use the additional shares they were allowed to obtain to increase their voting power or some such. I didn't understand it then ( couldn't really see how they could be denied the voting rights attached to the extra shares) and am probably mistaken. . Any recollection?

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  16. eJ, just for absolute clarity…

     

    With this latest confirmation of share ownership, the only external debts for RIFC/TRFC would now be ;

     

    • Close Asset Mgmt. [£7M ?]
    • Trade creditors [suppliers waiting longer to get paid]
    • Big Mike [final bill tbc]

     

    With potentially other creditors to be crystallized indecision in the name of Hummel, Elite? 

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  17. StevieBC 7th August 2019 at 10:49

    eJ, just for absolute clarity…

    With this latest confirmation of share ownership, the only external debts for RIFC/TRFC would now be ;

    • Close Asset Mgmt. [£7M ?]
    • Trade creditors [suppliers waiting longer to get paid]
    • Big Mike [final bill tbc]

    With potentially other creditors to be crystallized indecision in the name of Hummel, Elite? 

    ======================================

    I have no idea where the £7m liabilty to Close has come from. Some Trade Creditors and Social Taxes are always due, but you should look to see if they are in step with previous years to see if there is a significant change in the balances.

    It will be instructive to see how the next set of accounts are presented re the DFE swap.  Approx £5.5m of loans were converted to Loan Notes, then shares, prior to the year end (30 June). The remaining £8.5m of "investor" loans were also converted to Loan Notes (possibly before year end), but were only converted to shares after the year end.

    The debt position may therefore look somewhat confused in the accounts.

    I would expect that there would at least be some mention of the SDI settlement as a post Balance Sheet event (assuming there is a ruling on damages following the 23 September hearing). If not there might be some mention of a contingent liability.  Those contingent liabilities may extend to Elite and Hummel if they also decide to to seek redress through the courts. 

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  18. John Clark 7th August 2019 at 09:17

    easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 00:06

    '..then they collectively control 81%, so more than enough to vote through anything they want.#

    ++++++++++++++

    I thought I had seen a reference in something from the TOP to the effect that the concert party could not use the additional shares they were allowed to obtain to increase their voting power or some such. I didn't understand it then ( couldn't really see how they could be denied the voting rights attached to the extra shares) and am probably mistaken. . Any recollection?

    ================================

    That restriction applied to the share issue in September 2018 where the Concert Party were unable to increase their overall share of the company (34.05%) until King made his offer in January. So while new shares were issued to Club 1872 and others, King Park, Letham and Taylor were restricted on how much of their loans could be converted to shares.

    That restriction was lifted following King's formal offer in January, but when the second share issue (DFE swap) was proposed, TOP agreed that it could proceed unrestricted if the shareholders other than the CP and Barry Scott, voted through a "whitewash" motion at a general meeting to waive the need for another Rule 9 offer. That motion was passed a a general meeting on 19 June. The CP was then free to convert their remaining loans and by doing so increase their percentage holdings in the company.

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  19. Cluster One 7th August 2019 at 07:06

    easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 00:06
    so more than enough to vote through anything they want.
    ……………….
    Could that include a nice pay rise, a renaming of ibrox, selling off some assets?
    ….

    Enough to vote through anything they want.And would i be correct in saying (and happy to be corrected)that club 72 shareholding is now so low that they now can’t call an EGM if king and co start to vote through anything they want and the fans start to not like what they (king and co) are voting through.

    ======================================

    With a controlling shareholding they are free to do what they want.

    Club 1872 now holds approx 6.4% of RIFC shares. You only need 5% to raise a motion at a GM or AGM.  It is the same threshold that the Res12 guys had to meet to get their motion on the agenda at Celtic's AGM. 

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  20. Further to the RIFC debt for equity swaps, a total of £24.25m in loans has been converted to shares in the last 11 months (£11.13m in Sep 18, £5.5m in Jun 19 and £14.12m in Aug 19).

    I believe that the haste is which the conversions were carried out makes it likely that UEFA had insisted on the debt reduction as conditional to the granting of UEFA licences over the last two seasons.  UEFA does not allow for excessive losses to be covered by loans under FFP rules, although equity investments are acceptable.

    According to their last accounts, the total of "investor" loans at 30 June 2018 was £23.425m. We also know from official documents that Barry Scott did not convert £45k of his loan (for reasons unknown).

    Those figures suggest that RIFC borrowed an additional £870k against a forecast £4m last season. The reduced borrowing may be the result of better than expected revenue from the EL run last season.  A further borrowing requirement of £3.6m was forecast for this season.

    My figures don't take account of any short term borrowing from Close or elsewhere.  However I will be interested to see how my calculations stack up against the accounts when they are published (probably in October).

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  21. I cannot think of any reason other than FFP that would have made King convert his debt to equity . The numbers that EJ has laid out are staggering , even after all this expense they are still in a potentially catastrophic situation .  

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  22. Ex Ludo 7th August 2019 at 17:33

    https://twitter.com/rangersradiorfc/status/1158800989937438720?s=21

    Ze list. Don’t tell him your name Pike!

    ============/

    Eh?

    Another boycott – of the SMSM this time – as promoted by Rangers Radio ?

     

    Has nobody from the Blue Room explained what's actually going on to their very own media people?

     

    The one club in the whole of Scotland which desperately relies on the SMSM is TRFC.

     

    Without a supportive SMSM there simply would be no Continuation Lie.

    And no "Going For 55" bollox either.

     

    What if the ever dwindling SMSM tried a different strategy – and boycotted the Ibrox club in return?

    No more copy / paste of PR p!sh from Traynor.

    No more biased reporting on all things 'Rangers'.

    No more covering up / avoiding the financial shambles.

     

    If the SMSM tried honest, truthful – and complete – reporting on Scottish football, from the SFA to the SPFL and down to the clubs themselves, then they just might attract more consumers.

     

    Worth a punt from a dying industry: even at this late stage, IMO.

     

     

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  23. easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 11:43
    ………………..
    Thanks for clarification.
    ………….
    Club 1872 now holds approx 6.4% of RIFC shares. You only need 5% to raise a motion at a GM or AGM.
    ……………
    Any more dillution to less than 5% and they can’t(even with the money they have spent) and they won’t be able to raise a special motion.And if they had 5% and wanted to raise a special motion for any reason, king and co hold enough power to block any special motion if raised.
    Am i on the right track?

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  24. easyJambo 7th August 2019 at 13:45

    …………….
    I believe that the haste is which the conversions were carried out makes it likely that UEFA had insisted on the debt reduction as conditional to the granting of UEFA licences over the last two seasons. UEFA does not allow for excessive losses to be covered by loans under FFP rules, although equity investments are acceptable.
    ……………..
    My thoughts also. I believe that the haste in which the conversions were carried had a reason for said haste. And makes it likely as you say UEFA had insisted on the debt reduction as conditional to the granting of UEFA licences.
    If Ashley hits them with a large bill and things don’t go too well on the pitch, and the money just is not coming in that they hoped.
    Just how many are willing to give loans for a debt for equity swap to get the granting of a UEFA licence?
    If they qualify next season that is.

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  25. A bit more 'meat' on the Morelos' bid indecision  in The DR;

     

    "West Brom's Alfredo Morelos transfer bid booted out as Rangers hold firm after 11th hour approach

    The Ibrox side have turfed out a bid from the English Championship side who have until Thursday at 5.00pm to sign players.

    By Scott Burns 23:45, 7 AUG 2019

    Rangers have knocked back a £10million plus approach from West Bromwich Albion for Alfredo Morelos.

    Midlands sources close to West Bromwich Albion have confirmed

    but it wasn’t enough to coax Rangers to the table.

    …"

    ======

     

    And for such a high profile Ibrox story, why did Jingle Jackson not get an "EXCLUSIVE"?

     

    …and it was conveniently released just before midnight, so less than 1 full day of public ridicule for the DR to endure for this PR p!sh story – until the transfer window slams shut tonight.

     

    Shirley, the bears must be laughing at these 'reports' as well?

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  26. It is bad enough with all the China nonsense but have the great and good of the SMSM failed to realise we can all check the internet.

    When there are rumours 're a transfer, especially in the double figure millions, local press and fans forums are full of it.

    My guess is you won't find a peep about Morelos if you look at WBA related web content.

     

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  27. wottpi 8th August 2019 at 10:57

    My guess is you won't find a peep about Morelos if you look at WBA related web content.

    =====================

    It appears you are correct judging by the links below. It is very frustrating we have a media so willing to indulge in propaganda on Rangers behalf. IIRC Rangers paid around £1m for Morelos. Now they and their media poodles expect us to believe he is worth £20M based solely on goals in Scotland, the majority of which were against bottom six teams. In my view the comparison with Moussa Dembele is completely spurious. Celtic could only afford Dembele as he was out of contract. By the time he left he was an established French under 21 International and had been in the full squad, and had Champions League goals in his bank as well as putting Rangers to the sword several times. He might actually just be a far superior player to Morelos! The only reason Rangers and the media can't see the difference is because they don't want to.

    http://boards.footymad.net/forumdisplay.php?f=2637

    http://westbrom.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=6e33f82f0fbf4a0f703f7126f9904a3d&board=42.0

    https://wbaunofficial.org.uk/forumdisplay.php?fid=4

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  28. As we are subjected to all sorts of misreporting on all things 'Rangers' in the SMSM – and the league has only just kicked off…

     

    I have placed a few wee bets on a Danish team doing me a favour tonight.

    For purely schadenfreude reasons I will watch TRFC play in their EL tie.

     

    …because I think there is a real possibility that the 'Rangers' season will be effectively over by 9pm tonight.

     

    [And I absolutely agree that – in a perfect world – I should be cheering on any and every Scottish team in Europe.  I normally do, but since 2012 I want these particular cheats to lose every single game.]

     

    Fingers & toes crossed!

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  29. Allegedly…King visited the English FA offices today.

     

    When nobody was looking he nobbled the windows…

     

    so the transfer window simply couldn't close later today…

     

    and the SMSM would have even more time to copy/paste additional, BS, fictitious bids from assorted English clubs.

     

    Well, TRFC could be looking for a MASSIVE, furry squirrel to distract the bears tomorrow morning…

    indecision

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