Fantastic Voyage ..

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.. and why sites like SFM matter.

When SFM blasted off in 2012, we had a fair idea that Scottish Football had not only veered violently off the rails,but that it had done so deliberately.

Our intention was to try to help – in some small way – to steer it towards a straighter track, and to see it restored as a sporting institution and spectacle worthy of sporting principles. To see integrity restored to our national sport, to see honesty, fairness and adherence to both the laws of the game and land.

Of course we didn’t know what route our own journey would take, even although we were clear about the destination. What we did know about the journey was that no matter the route, the first leg started outside our own front door.

Who knew we would be taken on a magical mystery tour, blindfolded, spun around a few times, but still find ourselves at that front door. Via the road less traveled, the high road, low road and an endless series of shortcuts and wrong turns we hadn’t moved an inch.

On every stage of the “journey” the SFA, the SPL, and their quasi-legal tribunals & inquiries ducked and dived, twisted and bent the truth, and aided and abetted the greatest scam in the history of UK sport.

Newly coined idioms emerged; “Imperfect registrations”, “boiler-room subsidiary”, “emerged from liquidation”, “ethereal entity”, – and the real doozy; “other clubs could also have broken the tax laws had they wished” – all in an effort to;
1. pretend that what happened had not happened, that cheating was fair, that the rights of one football club were not enshrined in law but decreed by the heavens;
2. hope against hope that the rest of us had gone stark raving bonkers and would accept the “Santa is alive” fallacy as truth.

The facts were;

  • That Rangers, having been subjected to the ignominy of administration, had now entered liquidation, leaving behind a mountain of debts, the vast majority of which were underwritten by us, by the taxpaying public.
  • That almost Β£100m of funds was denied to the exchequer as the first ever nationalised football club, bought and paid for by the people of the UK, slid into oblivion, a trail of devastation in its wake.
  • That in the course of that calamitous conduct of business, the SFA and the SPL were given false and incomplete information about the nature of players’ contracts. This in order to cover up a tax scheme that was (according to the man who devised it) operated incorrectly and thus unawfully.

Every football club in Scotland and their fans were cheated by a club which quite simply refused to play by the rules – even as the noose around its neck was being pulled ever tighter due to HMRC and Lloyd’s Banking Group taking steps to erect buffers ahead of the onrushing gravy train.

The result was that 140 years of history came to an end; an insatiable hunger for success ironically bringing about the ultimate and irreversible failure of a Scottish institution.

Not for them though, the recognition that they had transgressed. “It wasn’t Rangers – it was Craig White” was the cry.

I’m sure Hearts supporters in 1965 might have said the same about Willie Wallace after he missed a sitter in the final league match against Kilmarnock at Tynecastle. Had he scored, Hearts would have won the league, so Hearts should, by the RFC logic, claim that title anyway. Likewise Celtic fans could have pointed a finger at Georgios Samaras when his penalty miss at Ibrox lost them the league.

More facts: every football club in the world is the sum of its parts, onfield and off. We take the good that people do for our clubs and celebrate them. We have no right to cherry pick and ignore the consequences when people screw up.

Footballers – and administrators – are often gifted individuals given to moments of blinding inspiration which benefits their clubs. They are also often prone to reckless behaviours, the consequences of which we all have to bear. Murray’s knack of talking money out of trees and his reckless and irresponsible practices gave Rangers huge success, but that behaviour also – perhaps inevitably – led to the appointment with the buffers mentioned above.

The good and the bad. Both sides of the same coin, inseparable, inevitable, and there is no choice but to accept the whole package, not just the good bits.

In the circumstances, the hostility towards the old club was understandable. It was always a given that Celtic fans were unlikely to cut them slack as they headed towards an ignominious end.

However, had there been contrition, an acknowledgement of wrongs and some humility in response to talk of consequences, fans of other clubs outside of the Old Firm bubble may have extended some sympathy. But there was none of this. Instead, denial, arrogance, blaming others (“kicking us when we are down”, “who are these people?”) and a pugilistic reaction to the very idea of punishment. The outcome was an absence of sympathy for the plight of RFC.

Let’s revisit this; on an industrial scale, Rangers misrepresented (accidentally if you believe that the board of a PLC was comprised exclusively of halfwits and individuals unable to bite their own fingers) crucial information regarding compliance with registration rules, They subsequently withheld evidence from multiple enquiries into their conduct over these registration rules.

As far back as 1996, Rangers PAYE affairs were being investigated by HMRC and incurring penalties (not a very well publicised event).

Then, for more than a decade, principally through the 2000s they failed to comply with taxation statutes and with crucially important (not merely bureaucratic) SFA rules designed to preserve the intergity of football as a sport. They cheated the revenue out of millions and the fans of every club in Scotland out of their aspirations for their own clubs.

Rangers however were still box-office, and there were 50,000 fans providing a market for the product the now extinct club had provided through the decades. Surely someone would step in and take up the Rangers cause? Surely those people would eschew the catastrophic errors of judgement that had resulted in the economic and existential demise of the original club? Surely they would also acknowledge those mistakes in an effort to convince the clubs and fans they had wronged that this was an organisation that recognised the interdependence of sporting activity?

Surely.

But no. Sadly, no.

Even then though, that matters little.

Why? Because the sins of the old Rangers cannot be visited on the new. The behavior of the new club is a matter for a different argument, but it isn’t relevant in a legal or regulatory sense to the old club. Legally or morally there is nothing you can do to them to ensure that a repeat of the same spivish behaviour does not occur.

So why the fuss? Why the six years of relentless campaigning by SFM and dozens of other football sites?

Because it does matter that the authorities themselves – including all the other clubs – and the MSM have gone out of their way to cover it all up.

No-one at the SFA will talk to fans who have provided them with evidence of wrongdoing in the matter of the 2011 Euro licence. No one will address the witholding of evidence from the LNS enquiry, nor the false premise upon which it arrived at some of its conclusions, nor the mysteriously shifting goalposts of the period investigated by the LNS enquiry, nor the acid-flashback consciousness of the newly arrived at – and totally irregular and unlawful – “imperfect registration” status.

What still requires to be done is to root out those who have enabled the big lie. We need to hold accountable those who have sought to bury evidence, to dispense with logic and to treat fans with contempt and ridicule when legitimate concerns are raised.

We need to replace those people with people of integrity, folk who love the game as much as we do, people who will not yield to intimidation or the dog-whistle.

There are foot thick rule-books in place in football, and the authorities have plummeted into the Asimovian depths of a regulatory Fantastic Voyage to circumvent those. The SFA Chief Executive even told our own John Clark that he would “do nothing” had he been presented with evidence of wrong doing (and he had been presented with such evidence).

Yet one simple rule would have saw the whole sorry escapade brought to a halt – the universal rule that requires people to show due respect and good faith to others.

As I said, we started this journey at our own front door. The authorities and their enablers in the media have been taking us on the Uber route for six years. But we still know the destination, and we will get there. The SFA, the SPFL and the MSM have been relentless in their dedication to half-truths and misdirection.

But the fans are even more relentless in their pursuit of truth and their determination to see our game returned to its status a a sport. That is why outlets like SFM are important. Not because we are any better than others, but because we give a voice to the people in the game who matter most – to the paying public of Scotland who turn up in numbers relatively greater than any other country in Europe. They need that voice. We are not going anywhere.

1668 COMMENTS


  1. paddy malarkey 14th September 2018 at 16:30 Allyjambo 14th September 2018 at 15:56 What was missing a fourth official shouting"foul ,foul, foul !" or an ass. ref screaming "red card , red card ,red card !". When are these people going to grow up and start behaving like adults rather than pubescent supporters ?

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    It does seem ludicrously impossible for 1, 2 or 3 match officials not to see something happen, but then to get their decision correct (or, as some would have us believe, very nearly get it correct).

     

    I am of the opinion that some referees have reacted, from time to time, when a player goes down dramatically and, not having witnessed the 'incident' give a red on the assumption that an offence has been committed – but from memory, in this case, McKenna didn't even stumble, so the decision could only have been given as a result of at least one official seeing Morelos kick out.

     

    Besides, as EJ's pic clearly shows, the linesman only had a bad view of the crowd behind him, and as perfect a view of Morelos kicking McKenna as any linesman could ever hope to have! Proof positive that anyone claiming the linesman had a poor view of the incident is very biased indeed.

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  2. easyJambo 14th September 2018 at 14:23
    3 0 Rate This

    Auldheid has posted a link on Twitter to a new etims blog, to which he has contributed, which is a review and update on the LNS decision as it relates to the WTC and non-disclosure of documents by the club, when it was in the hands of the administrators.

    http://etims.net/?p=13411

    Given that the payments to De Boer (and Flo) under the DOS ebt with side letters were clearly detailed along with the justification HMRC had for collection under Extended Limits (over 6 years) , which was RFC had denied the existence of those side letters to HMRC, then why was there no sufficiently clear evidence unless it was deliberately not provided to SPL lawyers by RFC Administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse as part of the SPL investigation beginning 5th March 2012, months before LNS provided his reasons?

    How it was reported on March 6th 2012.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/ClusterOne2/status/971146793160531968?p=v

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  3. AJ 15.56

    Where did i say they seen nothing?. I asked how they could have reached this decision given the admitted lack of clarity regarding the "kick"  from Alfredo Morelos

    The referee acted upon the call from the assistant referee, who by his own admission had a "limited view" of the incident. Did, for instance this view allow him to witness the initial contact (foul)  by the Aberdeen defender.

    I said in the immediate aftermath of the incident that Morelos wasn't guilty of violent conduct as he neither used excessive force or brutality, you rubbished this without seemingly being aware of the rules

    .Not sure whether you have read the written reasons of the fast track Tribunal.or not but they include the following. 

    "The tribunal accepted the clubs submission that the video footage clearly showed that the force of the kick towards an opponent was not excessive and did not use brutality. Therefore, it could not constitute an sending off offence for violent conduct." . Seems pretty clear to me and thousands of other Rangers fans. that the match officials were incorrect in this case, given the rules as they stand at present. Your opinion i'm afraid is just that, your opinion.

    I would be more than happy to see more openness & transparency from the match officials.I may then get an answer into how Scott Brown has been allowed to use an elbow to the face of at least three Rangers players (Miller, Holt & Morelos) in recent games without receiving the appropriate punishment. 

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  4. slimjim 14th September 2018 at 18:22

    “The tribunal accepted the clubs submission that the video footage clearly showed that the force of the kick towards an opponent was not excessive and did not use brutality.
    ……………………………………

    Something that cannot be said of the McGregor/Ajer incident

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  5. @slimjim 14th September 2018 at 18:22  

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    First, whether a player is fouled is neither here nor there if he reacts with a kick at the other player.  You often see a player sent off after a bad foul (which wasn't the case here, possibly a foul, maybe not) .  Any reaction like that usually leads to a red card.

    Force of the kick is neither here nor there.  It can be an excuse where an attempted tackle results in a bad foul but not where it is merely a kick at a player.  Also very often seen is a player sent off for raising their hands and attempting to strike another player – even if it's powder-puff hardly touching it's usually a red card.  As is placing your head against an opponent and making a small (but not serious) head butting motion.  In none of these situations is the force of the action important.  

    I say "usually" because sometimes refs are lenient and don't give a red card for whatever reason.  But when they do, nobody argues that it shouldn't have been a red.  Well except in certain cases.

    I should also add that if the ref committee you quote from are serious then they are saying it’s OK to go around kicking players as long as it’s not too hard a kick (and who judges that?) for the worst you’ll get is a yellow?

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  6. limjim 14th September 2018 at 18:22  

     

    AJ 15.56

    Where did i say they seen nothing?. I asked how they could have reached this decision given the admitted lack of clarity regarding the "kick"  from Alfredo Morelos

    The referee acted upon the call from the assistant referee, who by his own admission had a "limited view" of the incident. Did, for instance this view allow him to witness the initial contact (foul)  by the Aberdeen defender.

    I said in the immediate aftermath of the incident that Morelos wasn't guilty of violent conduct as he neither used excessive force or brutality, you rubbished this without seemingly being aware of the rules

    .Not sure whether you have read the written reasons of the fast track Tribunal.or not but they include the following. 

    "The tribunal accepted the clubs submission that the video footage clearly showed that the force of the kick towards an opponent was not excessive and did not use brutality. Therefore, it could not constitute an sending off offence for violent conduct." . Seems pretty clear to me and thousands of other Rangers fans. that the match officials were incorrect in this case, given the rules as they stand at present. Your opinion i'm afraid is just that, your opinion.

    I would be more than happy to see more openness & transparency from the match officials.I may then get an answer into how Scott Brown has been allowed to use an elbow to the face of at least three Rangers players (Miller, Holt & Morelos) in recent games without receiving the appropriate punishment.

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    If the Morelos kick was not a sending off affair, then, in my rather long experience of both playing and watching football, I've witnessed an untold number of players wrongly sent off for kicking an opponent.

     

    You also seem to be ignoring the fact that the hot topic at the moment is the lack of trust supporters, and perhaps some clubs, hold towards the SFA and their ability to reach unbiased decisions. Why should we trust the opinions some of unnamed referees to determine what is, or isn't, excessive force?

     

    To any sensible person, a deliberate kick at another person is, by it's nature, 'excessive force', for there is no other purpose than for it to cause, at the very least, uncalled for discomfort and, quite probably, injury. Do you know just how much force is required to break a leg, or damage ligaments? For if you don't, you are not in a position to determine what is, or isn't, excessive force. And neither is a referee reviewing an incident on a TV.

     

    I took a kick in a game to my knee with no more force than that that appears to be issued by Morelos, and it was a genuine tackle, for I had the ball – unlike McKenna. It was sore, but I played on. My knee was sore all week, but I was desperate to play on the Saturday and I went over on the same knee, with no one near me. I never played football again (other than the odd kick around).

     

    It is one thing receiving a kick in a genuine joust for the ball, it's a whole other thing when the ball is nowhere near, and so, unless one is trying to defend the indefensible, all kicks deliberately aimed at an opponent must be deemed to be using excessive force.

     

    Anyway, take a look at the pic EJ posted and tell me that you see a linesman with a blocked view, at the exact moment Morelos' foot is in the air – at knee height. If he didn't have a clear view of that, he must have had his eyes shut, or has suddenly got an enforced bout of temporary blindness when given the opportunity to change his mind.

     

    Strangely enough, if McKenna had had the ball, and what Morelos did was some kind of tackle, he could well have been sent off for a dangerous tackle. Players have been sent off for similar, or even less.

     

    At a time when we have had a number of dodgy reviews resulting in rather surprising decisions, only one has gone against the original decision made by the referee. What's more, of those incidents involving deliberate kicks, it's the one most likely to have caused serious injury if it's apparent target had been met.

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  7. coineanachantaighe 07.34

    The reason i mentioned the initial foul by the Aberdeen defender is that there was a split second between this and the reaction of Alfredo Morelos. 

    If as you say "force of the kick is neither here nor there" then why include the word excessive when pertaining to violent conduct then.

    The "ref committee" i quoted from are the panel of the SFA fast track tribunal. Here are the reasons behind a couple of recent incidents explained for you.

    https://www.scottishfa.co.uk/media/4112/reasons-fast-track-tribunal-morelos.pdf

    https://www.scottishfa.co.uk/media/4196/reasons-fast-track-tribunal-dicker-kilmarnock-fc.pdf.

     

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  8. AJ 19.57

    I will admit that like you this was my belief until reading how violent conduct is now defined.

    Do you not think that the Rangers support have a lack of trust toward the SFA.This.is not exclusive to non-Rangers fans by any stretch of the imagination.

    By your own definition a simple finger to the chest of an opponent could be considered excessive force as there is no cause for it.

    It was the Assistant referee himself who said he had a" restricted view" of the incident. 

    There have been many instances of as you say "surprising decisions" going back several seasons and not just this one. The big difference this time however is that Rangers are perceived to have been the beneficiaries, disregarding the fact that we have had three red cards overturned  in the past 14 months or so.Where was the outrage on here, at the standard of officiating when this was happening.?

    Two grandchildren aged 1 & 3 arriving at 9.00 pm for an overnight stay so their father can police the streets on a Friday evening so apologies in advance for my lack of a responses to any further discussion on the subject.

    Goodnight.  

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  9. EJ & AJ

     

    Was with my Jambo pal and his wife this afternoon.  He has not been well recently.   I tried to goad him calling Naismith a thug – naw he's a good player!!!    Telt him Levein is an eejit – naw I think he's OK!!!!!!

     

    Please pray for him, he has lost it.

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  10. Just back from successful hunt for a lost dog (two bleeding hours in the dark !) . I think things might be fun tomorrow wrt refereeing decisions given what I saw on the tv earlier . See what happens when you bring things into focus ? Every decision will be thoroughly scrutinised and whitabootery will abound . Out of curiosity , did anybody get to know the fourth official's viewpoint of the erroneous Morelos red card ?

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  11. The dog is fine Jimbo ,thanks for asking . The eejit is my mate who is staying with me with his twa bitches . He let one out for some air and she probably went off chasing one of the millions of rabbits here . When we found her she was cold wet and scared  . Sorted now . She's strange to here and must have lost her scent . I am now wide awake and sober so mibbes need a beer or three , but we're up again at seven .

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  12. Brilliant Paddy,  Not sure who you are playing tomorrow but as usual I support PT providing they are not playing Celtic!  God Bless you mate and everyone on this site.   Especially DBD, Slim Jim, and God help him Lawman2, his soul is in peril.cool  (Only kidding!)

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