The Lost Voice of the Armageddon Virus

Since I have lost my voice this week to the Armageddon virus, we decided to do a mini, written version of TWM for your pleasure….

 

 

 

In Armageddon Lala Land (© S. Regan), it’s all falling apart in a major borefest.

The explosive first thirteen minutes of the match involving the two top teams in the country were just a dream from which we all sadly awoke – although in my experience one usually gets roused from a dream just as the good bit begins!

Meanwhile nobody in Airdrie, Alloa, Annan, Brechin, Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Forfar, Greenock, Kirkcaldy, Montrose, Peterhead, or East Kilbride noticed anything exciting about the playoffs – and to make matters worse, folk in Cowdenbeath & EK, Forfar & Peterhead, Brechin & Alloa and Dundee & Falkirk have more of this trouser-removal process to endure later this week.

The facts, despite the SFA, SPFL and MSM trying to undersell our game here in Scotland, tell a different story. The playoff system – after close finishes in all the leagues, top and bottom, is pure drama.

There will be tears and laughter in unequal measure of course. Already, Raith Rovers, the great love of our old friend the late Turnbull Hutton have joined Ayr United and Stenhousemuir in relegation. The same fate may yet befall two from Inverness, Motherwell and Hamilton in the top league. The Blue Brazil themselves, Cowdenbeath could face banishment from the SPFL altogether if they cannot beat the upwardly East Kilbride next week.

The truth is, that keeping expectations in a realistic check, the game in Scotland is in better shape than it has been for decades. The delusional, acquisitional David Murray-led charge to financial oblivion has ended. Clubs, well most of them anyway, are living within their means. Thankfully the banks, enablers of the financial doping of the last thirty years, are now playing the role of limiting the excesses of overspending that clubs previously enjoyed.

Doubts over the distribution of the available income streams aside, there is level playing field on which Scottish clubs play, and over the last few years, a host of clubs, including Inverness, Ross County, St Mirren, Kilmarnock and St Johnstone have achieved historic successes. Aberdeen have re-emerged as the second most consistent side in the country after several years of consistency that only Champions Celtic have bettered.

In fact the quality of attacking play – if not defending- on show at Pittodrie on Friday evening would have graced any top flight game in England. It is now to Celtic and Aberdeen as well as our other clubs in European competition, Rangers and St Johnstone, to demonstrate that Scottish football may well be the poor relations in the UK, but is no backwater hangout for hillbillies and banjo players

Celtic’s dominance of course is the elephant in the room. It’s a big cuddly green and white elephant of course if you are a Celtic fan, but phase two of post Armageddon Scotland will hopefully involve a meaningful challenge at the very top over the next few years.


 

Craig Whyte
Whisky Baron?

The Craig Whyte trial continued in Glasgow last week. The former Rangers chairman faces charges including one of ‘pretending’ to have funds to facilitate the ‘purchase’ of ‘Rangers’.

Things the court has heard from testimony up to now include;

  • the claim that Ex-Rangers chief executive Martin Bain got a £360k bonus for the sale of the club,
  • that Gary Withey, Craig Whyte’s lawyer through the acquisition of Rangers, thought that Whyte was a member of the Whyte & McKay Whisky company!
  • that Ally McCoist had a contract with a substantial payoff clause if he was not chosen to succeed Walter Smith.
  • Rangers already owed £6m to Ticketus at the time Whyte took over
  • that David Murray had a deal with Lloyds: If he sold Rangers by a certain date, he would be able to regain ownership of MIM

 

Gary Withey, told the court that he thought Murray was desperate to get the deal over the line, that Murray’s team didn’t care where Whyte’s money had come from, and that in his opinion they knew that the deal was financed via Ticketus – this after the court had heard from other witnesses that Lloyd’s bank had threatened to withdraw Rangers’ credit and finance facilities if the board blocked the sale.

Significantly for matters outwith the confines of the case – and this has been incredibly under-reported by the main stream media – David Murray also told the court earlier that he had used EBT’s in order to get better players for Rangers than they could otherwise afford, re-igniting social media exchanges over the validity of William Nimmo-Smith’s report into Rangers use of EBT’s.

You may remember that Nimmo-Smith himself considered that Rangers had gained no sporting advantage by their use of the scheme – a conclusion diametrically at variance with Murray’s – the man who operated the scheme to achieve exactly that end.

Nimmo-Smith – Doubts?

If Murray is telling the truth, then it puts Nimmo-Smith’s conclusions in doubt. And even if you leave aside for the moment the amended and extremely creative terms of reference set by Neil Doncaster which effectively excluded the already known to be unlawful DoS EBTs from Nimmo-Smith’s team, the SPL has been shown up as a bit a joke.

Who knew?

 

 

 

Another sensational piece of info the court heard, which again has gone almost completely unreported, was that in an email from Mike McGill of Murray Group, dated 17 March 2011, he says “the (wee tax) case only recently went from a potential liability and had not “crystallised” until recently” – this long before a Euro licence was awarded to Rangers on the basis, according to Stewart Regan, that the bill had “not crystallised” when the licence was awarded.

It may be that that the laws of unintended consequences will prove to be more significant to football than the matter of Craig Whyte’s guilt or innocence.

All of the information on the case is what was said in court. None of it is to be taken as fact. That will be for the courts to decide. What is being reported is what witnesses have said in court. Also, there is a lot of hysteria, a lot of speculation going on in social media and the mainstream media over court proceedings.

Speculating on the innocence or guilt of a defendant, or the honesty of a witness is most definitely contempt of court territory. For obvious legal reasons, SFM wishes to stay on the right side of the law and avoid unnecessary problems with the courts.

But we also want to ensure that we are not party to contaminating people with speculation that may lead a defendant to be being mistakenly convicted or acquitted.

The purpose of a trial is establishing the facts of a case, not to merely validate so-called information or inferences that have been drawn before any legal process has begun. So we are asking everyone at SFM therefore to refrain from posting anything that implies guilt or innocence, truthfulness or untruthfulness, or anything which repeats unsubstantiated rumour.

We may think we know a lot, but it may well be the case as the trial progresses that we discover we knew less than we thought – so please keep that in mind when you post.

 


The news that it seems likely Clint Hill will not be offered a new contract at Rangers saddens me a little. Hill has been a consistent performer this year, playing with an energy, honesty and assuredness that was way in excess of many of his teammates and opponents alike. Hill is clearly not ready to retire, and I hope that he gets another year of football.

It will be interesting to see how many of the players who have been in the headlines this year will be leaving Scottish football. Hill looks to be gone, as does Emerson Hyndman. Will the likes of Moussa Dembele, Kieran Tierney, Scott Sinclair, Barrie McKay, Niall McGinn. A fair chance that some of them will. The challenge for our game is to keep a flow of that kind of talent ongoing. The more successful we are at that, the less resigned we will have to be about losing them.


As the season draws to a close, we still have promotion and relegation playoff battles to enjoy. There is the unresolved matter of ‘Invincible’ status for Celtic in their as yet unbeaten league campaign. We also have a proper showpiece finale to the season in two weeks as Aberdeen and Celtic go head to head in pursuit of the Scottish Cup.

In a few weeks, the transfer window will pique our interest as the off-field wars will be waged – with the added fun of the phantom journos in the MSM bringing us phantom stories of phantom Messis and Ronaldos headed for a hover-pitch near you – and the new season will immediately bring European drama to the door.

Who knows? Maybe the close season will see some proper football administrators brought in to replace the architects of Armageddon, tartan style. Sadly that sounds awfully like a Moonbeam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Pink

Big Pink

Big Pink is John Cole; a former schoolteacher based in the West of Scotland, He is also a print and broadcast journalist who is engaged in the running of SFM . Former gigs include Newstalk 106, the Celtic View, and Channel67.

A Celtic fan, he is also the voice of our podcast initiative.

621 Comments
  1. Smugas


    So, current player investment down Ibrox way.

    1/. To max out ST sales.  Understand it just watch and not rob Peter to pay Paul particularly if Europe proves elusive.  

    2/. To attract inward investment.  What is more saleable?  Stable and low brand exposure or leveraged to the hilt operating at an unsustainable level?  (Well unsustainable until such time as the investment arrives and off spins the merry-go-round once more.). They appear to have decided on the latter.  They appear to have short memories.  

    3/.  External club sale.  Genuine club sale for the right reasons – no arguement.  Forced (notice not ENforced – as if) sale because without it the clumpany goes under, good for the game, completely ignoring the reality that in 5 years they’ve burned their way through what, £40m now?  Maybe not such a great idea.  

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  2. Allyjambo

    Allyjambo


    bigboab1916June 10, 2017 at 00:36

    Should the authorities take it upon themselves to pursue King he can be done for knowingly breaching the data protection act, he released confidential information knowing the information bought and released would be identifiable to all who heard the message and would understand the reason behind it and its intent to damage. The theft of data is significant as the IT guy, if it was an IT qualified person, has breached his confidentiality clause and is open to prosecution. King cannot deny he did not know who was on the recordings and the fact he paid for them and used them is enough to involve him in a company conspiracy.
    _________________________

    What you have written there is exactly the kind of thing that Grant Russell should have put into his article to expand on the minimalist reporting of King’s (alleged) involvement with stolen computer files, instead of going on to change the thrust of the article completely, which was done without including any link to two diametrically opposite stories. In fact, he gave much more detail, and so emphasis, to a story that was, at best, an indication that, for once, King had done no more than his duty as a company director! In what other circumstance can we imagine a journalist making greater play of someone doing no more than their everyday duty instead of expanding on something stated in a high profile court case that indicated possible/likely criminal activity by the same person?

    At times I get the impression that Grant Russell knows the things that should be reported, wants to report them as every good journalist should, but is somehow held back, either by his own self interest or that of his editor, from doing so! So, what we have in the article we are discussing, is an example where he has led with something that points to very serious wrongdoing (and so he, Russell, performs his journalistic duty), but then continues the article with a nice puff piece legitimising King as a Real Rangers Man!

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  3. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    https://mobile.twitter.com/ScotMailSport/status/873468105346953216
    ——————-
    Doe’s not hold back much.

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  4. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    ALLYJAMBOJUNE 10, 2017 at 10:06       9 Votes 
    bigboab1916June 10, 2017 at 00:36
    Should the authorities take it upon themselves to pursue King he can be done for knowingly breaching the data protection act, he released confidential information knowing the information bought and released would be identifiable to all who heard the message and would understand the reason behind it and its intent to damage. The theft of data is significant as the IT guy, if it was an IT qualified person, has breached his confidentiality clause and is open to prosecution. King cannot deny he did not know who was on the recordings and the fact he paid for them and used them is enough to involve him in a company conspiracy._________________________
    What you have written there is exactly the kind of thing that Grant Russell should have put into his article to expand on the minimalist reporting of King’s (alleged) involvement with stolen computer files,
    —————————-
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15334390.Two_former_Rangers_execs_could_still_face_the_music_after_Craig_Whyte_s_fraud_trial_acquittal/?ref=twtrec
    Article say’s 
    It comes as police confirmed that the Dave King was not being investigated after it was claimed the Rangers chairman had paid around £20,000 for private mails and other documents allegedly “hacked” from Craig Whyte.
    It was revealed during Mr Whyte’s fraud trial that the South Africa-based businessman had acquired the so-called Charlotte Fakes material from a third party.
    It was Whyte’s lawyer Donald Findlay QC who made the claim about the Charlotte Fakes material during legal talks as he questioned prosecution evidence saying: “An individual known to the Crown hacked into the computer of Mr Whyte and stole material. It was then used, putting it broadly, for potential blackmail.
    “This material was recovered in some way from the thief because of a payment of a significant amount by Mr King.”
    In October, 2014, a man was accused of leaking secret material surrounding Rangers was subject of a report to the Fiscal.
    The man faced an extortion charge over claims private details about the club and ex-owner Craig Whyte were revealed on Twitter account Charlotte Fakes.
    “The Procurator Fiscal has received a report concerning a 46-year-old man in connection with alleged incidents between March 2013 and July 2014,” said a Crown Office spokesman.
    “The report remains under consideration.”
    The man reportedly told Mr King he had Mr Whyte’s permission to release the data.
    A Police Scotland source confirmed: “There is no investigation involving Dave King.”
    A Rangers spokesman said that Mr King would not be commenting on the court claim and added that to be correct, these emails were neither stolen nor hacked”.
    ———-
    documents allegedly “hacked” from Craig Whyte.
    An individual known to the Crown hacked into the computer of Mr Whyte and stole material. It was then used, putting it broadly, for potential blackmail.

    commenting on the court claim and added that to be correct, these emails were neither stolen nor hacked”.
    Who is telling the truth?
    ———————-

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  5. John Clark


    Cluster OneJune 10, 2017 at 13:33
    ________________
    Thanks for that link you provided to the ‘Herald’ article at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15334390.Two_former_Rangers_execs_could_still_face_the_music_after_Craig_Whyte_s_fraud_trial_acquittal/?ref=twtrec
    My interest was caught by the opening paras which I give here to avoid folk having to look it up:
    “FORMER Rangers chief executive Charles Green and finance chief Imran Ahmad could still face charges in connection with the Craig Whyte takeover and the later Sevco purchase of club assets, it has emerged.
    Former club owner Craig Whyte, who was thought to have been the last man standing in the long-running case, was cleared of all charges in connection with his takeover six years ago.
    But Crown Office sources have confirmed matters regarding Mr Green and Mr Ahmad remain under consideration and “enquiries are continuing”, despite the events of Tuesday at the High Court.”
    I’m sure I’m not alone in raising a sceptical eyebrow while quietly humming ‘and the band played believe it if you like’
    After the pig’s ear effort recently made in another matter, The Crown Office is not likely to expend any energy on investigating folk now domiciled overseas.

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  6. Smugas


    Ref the Porto penalty and its familiar sounding circumstances.  Would it be the case that until they compete in Europe for the first time that they don’t exist to penalise?  Just a thought.

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  7. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    ALLYJAMBOJUNE 10, 2017 at 14:24 3 Votes
    ————
    JOHN CLARKJUNE 10, 2017 at 15:23 Rate This
    ————
    Also in the article.
    allegedly “hacked”. hacked. neither stolen nor hacked All in the one Article.
    I got lost trying to make heads and tails of it.

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  8. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    SMUGASJUNE 10, 2017 at 15:49       4 Votes 
    Ref the Porto penalty and its familiar sounding circumstances.  Would it be the case that until they compete in Europe for the first time that they don’t exist to penalise?  Just a thought.
    —————————
    But they have been playing european football the last couple of seasons

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  9. John Clark


    My kitchen clock shows midnight.
    And I am sitting here, still somewhat stunned by the sheer brilliance of Griffith’s goals.
    As examples of football skill at its most sublime they are hard to beat.
    That two such masterpieces of technique should have been produced within minutes of each other , under enormous pressure, is almost unbelievable.
    No football afficionado in the whole world of football, however jaded and cynical he may be, could not but be enthralled by that display of technical perfection.
    The beautiful game at its best.
    Isn’t it such a pity that the beauty of our game should have been so disfigured by the lies of the 6th Floor blazers, and by the SMSM in support of those lies?
    ( It’s actually now nearly midnight+30: got diverted for a while by a text from the brother)

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  10. Ex Ludo

    Ex Ludo


    I agree with JC re the 2 x free kicks by Leigh Griffiths or as the England captain referred to him “their boy” This was in Harry Kane’s post match interview. A bit dismissive and condescending imo.

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  11. Smugas


    The day they manage to tone it down to “a bit” dismissive and condescending is the day they might actually stand a chance of winning something.  But don’t tell them that…

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  12. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    JIMBOJUNE 11, 2017 at 10:01
    “We definitely need a good, strong Rangers. They are back but they still have a bit to go. I am sure they will (get there) eventually.”
    ——————
    with a little help from there friends at the SFA11

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  13. Jingso.Jimsie

    Jingso.Jimsie


    ALLYJAMBO

    JUNE 10, 2017 at 14:24
    ——————————

    I’m sure that the Chairman of RIFC stated in an interview a while back (perhaps even before he took that office) that he was ‘liaising with/assisting’ the Scottish police in regards to possible criminality by third parties during the murder/rebirth of TRFC.

    What he, personally, would have received in return for his ‘assistance’ is unknown & open to speculation. Perhaps part of a Monopoly set?

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  14. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    SFA president Alan McRae has two more years at the helm.13
    “They’ll know you need to have other people challenging otherwise it will get boring and dreary. We definitely need a good, strong Rangers
    “We just have to get our two top teams performing at the highest level and try to get the UEFA coefficient up by getting a decent run in Europe and reaching the group stage.”
    ————————-
    The last strong rangers was built on a pack of lies and cheating.
    when did TRFC become a top team.
    what a total disregard for the other teams that qualified for europe in getting  the UEFA coefficient up.

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  15. upthehoops


    The comments by the SFA President about ‘We’ need a strong Rangers are a disgrace from someone who is supposed to be neutral.  Who exactly are ‘We’? Is it the ‘the people’ as in ‘We’ are the people?

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  16. jimbo

    jimbo


    Celtic’s youth academy at Lennoxtown costs millions to run.  Sadly few players make it to the first team at Celtic.  But Scottish football as a whole certainly benefit.  A couple of years ago I read that there were about 40 players playing professionally in Scotland who were trained at Lennoxtown as youths.

    Think about that Mr. McRae the next time you take a swipe at Celtic.  What exactly do you contribute to Scottish football?

    “Boring and dreary” ?  did you actually watch any Celtic games last season?  Did you watch the games against Man. City who had won all their games up until they met Celtic.  Were you proud of Celtic as president of the SFA?

    Peter Lawwell should come out and demand an apology from this idiot. Wishing failure on the Scottish Champions.

    He should consider his position.

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  17. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    The comments by the SFA president reminded me of the article by Gordon smith.
    Competition has always been at the heart of smith’s love affair with the game and seeing  it dismantled in such staggering fashion has left him looking elsewere to fill his appetite for a contest.
    hope picture works

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  18. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    Attachment

    try again

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  19. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    From above pic.
    what i want to see is competition. i’m always disappointed when that’s not there.
    —————–
    Never heard him complain before through the EBT years about competition.

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  20. Cluster One

    Cluster One


    https://henryclarson.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/strong-rangers-2/
    A strong rangers.

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  21. Big Pink


    New blog up ….

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