Regular posters and contributors to the SFM may remember that in October last year I wrote to Mr McRae, President of the SFA.
I posted the text of my letter on 28th October http://www.sfm.scot/whose-assets-are-they-anyway/?cid=20786
I had not received a reply or acknowledgement by 12th December, so I sent a reminder. I received a reply to that reminder, dated 16 December 2015, in which Mr McRae apologised for not having responded to my previous letter, and invited me to come and see him. We arranged that I should visit him at Hampden on 19 January 2016 at 2.00 p.m.
Following the meeting, I wrote a summary of the conversation. I emailed that summary to Mr Darryl Broadfoot, Head of Communications, asking him to check whether my recollections were accurate, because I was my intention to post the summary on SFM.
I have not had a reply and I think I have waited a fair enough time, so, here is the summary of an approximately 45 minute conversation.
I should first make it clear that Mr McRae said that he had no recollection of airing any of the views recorded in my letter as attributed to him. I should also say that I made it clear that while I contribute to SFM, I was not there as ‘officially representing’ SFM, although what I would say broadly reflected the view of many.
“Note of informal meeting between me, and Alan McRae, President of the SFA, with Darryl Broadfoot, Press Officer, at Hampden park, 2.00 pm Tuesday, 19th January.
Background: I had written to Mr McRae in October 2015, to ask whether Mr McRae had really (as had been reported to me) aired the following opinions:
- that Rangers FC were not Liquidated
- that Rangers FC were put down to the third Division
- that Rangers FC were bought by Charles Green and that the team currently playing out of Ibrox Stadium and calling itself The Rangers Football Club Ltd is one and the same as the club known as Rangers Football Club, which is currently in Liquidation.
Mr McRae, through Mr Broadfoot, went through the points one by one.
On point one, there was no difficulty in agreeing that RFC had been Liquidated. That was accepted as a matter of fact.
On point two, I argued that;
- Mr Green’s new club had had to apply for league and SFA membership, and were therefore admitted as a new club to Scottish Football and allowed into SFL Third Division.
- They had as an emergency measure been granted conditional membership, and had had to seek the Administrators’ and Football Authorities’ agreement to the use of certain RFC (IL) players who had decided to sign on with the new club in order to play their first game as a new club.
- They were ‘put in ‘the Third Division as a new club, not as an existing club being relegated.
Mr McRae, through Mr Broadfoot, argued that ‘put in’ and ‘admitted to’ are pretty much the same thing, and that the legal advice obtained was that Mr Green’s new club was not a new club, and the Authorities were stuck with that.
I referred to the 5-way Agreement, and made the point that two entities other than league or SFA representatives were signatories to that agreement: RFC (IL) and Mr Green’s new club. The two could not be one.
Mr Broadfoot said that was a matter of opinion.
I said that it was rather a matter of fact.
Likewise, on the third point, there was disagreement.
Mr Broadfoot, for Mr McRae, argued that Charles Green bought the club (and Mr McRae personally added ‘and the “goodwill”’).
I pointed out that Mr Green had NOT bought the club out of Administration, as had happened with other clubs, but merely had bought the assets of a former club that was NOT able to bought out of administration and was consequently Liquidated.
Mr Broadfoot said that Celtic and Rangers supporters might continue to disagree but that could only be expected.
I pointed out that this was not at all a Celtic-Rangers supporters’ issue, and that the Scottish Football Monitor, for instance, represented the views of supporters of many clubs. I further made the point that many sports administrative bodies had come under the spotlight in current times and people were naturally concerned that the governance of football should be above suspicion: and that substantial numbers feel that the Football Authorities have been at fault, in permitting a new club to claim to be an old club and pretend to the honours and titles etc etc.
Reference was made in the passing to some allegations that had been made that certain evidence relating to the Discounted Option Scheme had been withheld from the LNS commission, which occasioned Lord Nimmo Smith to be misled; and to the apparent negligent performance of the SFA administration under the previous President, who, both on account of his personal knowledge of the use of the DOS by Sir David Murray, and as a subsequent recipient of an EBT, might reasonably have been expected to ensure a thorough and diligent examination of the information provided by clubs about payments to players.
Mr Broadfoot ruled out discussion of the first of these matters because ‘there was no evidence’, and the second matter was also ruled out because, he asserted, the previous president is a man of the highest integrity.
I replied that work was in hand to provide evidence, and that the question of negligent performance of duties was not a question of ‘personal integrity’.
Mr Broadfoot opined that the future would show whether Scottish Football supporters were really concerned about the old club/new club debate, if huge numbers turned their backs on the game.
I replied that a sport based on a false proposition, on what could be seen as a lie, no matter on what pragmatic reasons, would certainly wither if and when people thought the sport could be rigged.
As the meeting drew to a close, I was asked if, coming from Edinburgh, I was a Hibs or Hearts supporter, or perhaps a Celtic supporter? And whether I was going to tonight’s (Celtic were playing that evening at home) game?
I replied that as my name suggests, I was of Irish extraction and perhaps conclusions could be drawn from that. Also that I would not be going to tonight’s game, and that my interest in the present matter was rather more academic and objective than partisan.
The meeting ended cordially at about 2.45.pm “
I think I can say that Mr Broadfoot, opening the meeting, explained that
“for the purposes of this meeting, I am the SFA.”
Mr McRae’s personal contribution to the conversation was therefore very little more than mentioned above, Mr Broadfoot doing most of the talking.
I will say further that I spoke to BP, and consulted one or two other posters before I went to the meeting, in order to make sure that my general understanding both of the principal events of the ‘saga’ and of the thrust of most of SFM’s contributors, who are drawn from supporters of many clubs, was sufficiently sound.
I give it as my opinion that I may have been invited to a personal meeting only because it might have been thought in some quarters that I was in possession of an electronic recording of what I told Mr McRae that he was reported as having said.
And, finally, I declare here that my note of the meeting was written within two hours of the meeting, and reflects the substance of the conversation. It is exactly the note I sent by email to Broadfoot, except that I corrected a typo in the spelling of Darryll (I had ‘Caryll’), have omitted my own surname, and changed references to myself from the third person to the first person.