One, er, Two Rules to Rule Them All

370
130944
Why the SPFL Decision to Deduct Points from Clyde FC For An administrative Error is Raising Eyebrows In Social Media and Encouraging Dancing Around The Lord Nimmo Smith Elephant in the Main Stream.

It was reported in the news that Clyde have been deducted points for fielding an ineligible player in two matches, news that has raised supporter eyebrows when a comparison is made with SFA and the then SPL treatment of ten years of imperfect players registration by the then Rangers FC and caused a bit of dancing in main stream media around the LNS Elephant.

When the existence of side letters that formed part of a players remuneration contract was revealed in March 2012, it prompted an investigation by the SPL into the eligibility to play football of players who had been provided side letters by Rangers FC that indemnified them from any loss should the ebt schemes , through which their main remuneration flowed, be deemed unlawful by HMRC.

The issue for the SPL then was were those players properly registered under SPL rules?

The common belief held until then being that incorrect registration made a player ineligible to play and any game an incorrectly registered player played in was void:

  1. Presumably on the basis the errant club had gained an on field advantage from incorrect registration and/or
  2. to act as a deterrent to clubs to deliberately conceal full registration details from the football authorities.

The result of games in which such a player played was treated as a 0-3 defeat and the 4 points gained deducted and 3 points each granted to their opponents.

To get answers the SPL, after seeking evidence of side letters accompanying any type of EBT from Rangers FC, established the Lord Nimmo Smith (LNS) Commission to identify if a breach of registration rules had occurred and what were the consequences in sanction terms.

It is interesting therefore to compare the following from the LNS Commission in respect of sanctions against Rangers FC for a breach covering ten years of incorrect registration with the sanctions against both Clyde FC over 2 games and Hearts over one game, based on what Lord Nimmo Smith said in his findings at 107 and 108 of his Decision.
Findings that 7 years later have caused social media eyebrows to raise to Roger Moore levels because of apparent contradictions arising from the justifications given for a financial sanction only in the LNS Decision.

LNS Decision basis 107 /108

[107]
We nevertheless take a serious view of a breach of rules intended to promote sporting
integrity. Greater financial transparency serves to prevent financial irregularities. There is insufficient evidence before us to enable us to draw any conclusion as to exactly how the senior management of Oldco came to the conclusion that the EBT arrangements did not require to be disclosed to the SPL or the SFA. In our view, the apparent assumption both that the side-letter arrangements were entirely discretionary, and that they did not form part of any player’s contractual entitlement, was seriously misconceived. Over the years, the EBT payments disclosed in Oldco’s accounts were very substantial; at their height, during the year to 30 June2006, they amounted to more than £9 million, against £16.7 million being that year’s figure for wages and salaries. There is no evidence that the Board of Directors of Oldco took any steps to obtain proper external legal or accountancy advice to the Board as to the risks inherent in agreeing to pay players through the EBT arrangements without disclosure to the football authorities. The directors of Oldco must bear a heavy responsibility for this. While there is no question of dishonesty, individual or corporate, we nevertheless take the view that the nondisclosure must be regarded as deliberate, in the sense that a decision was taken that the sideletters need not be or should not be disclosed.

No steps were taken to check, even on a hypothetical basis, the validity of that assumption with the SPL or the SFA. The evidence of Mr Odam (cited at paragraph [43] above) clearly indicates a view amongst the management of Oldco that it might have been detrimental to the desired tax treatment of the payments being made by Oldco to have disclosed the existence of the side-letters to the football authorities.

[108] Given the seriousness, extent and duration of the non-disclosure, we have concluded that nothing less than a substantial financial penalty on Oldco will suffice. Although we are well aware that, as Oldco is in liquidation with an apparently massive deficiency for creditors (even leaving aside a possible reversal of the Tax Tribunal decision on appeal), in practice any fine is likely to be substantially irrecoverable and to the extent that it is recovered the cost will be borne by the creditors of Oldco, we nevertheless think it essential to mark the seriousness of the contraventions with a large financial penalty. Since Issues 1 to 3 relate to a single course of conduct, a single overall fine is appropriate. Taking into account these considerations, we have decided to impose a fine of £250,000 on Oldco.

Compare this with the Clyde FC case where ineligibility was admitted from the outset so there was no question of dishonesty yet they received a sporting sanction in form of a points deduction, whilst Rangers avoided such a fate on account of the Bryson interpretation that meant that a player whilst not fully and correctly registered was nevertheless eligible to play until the errors were discovered.

What Clyde FC said in their defence of their error was

“We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s hearing as, despite the fact that we admitted the breach of the SPFL rules, we feel that we put forward a robust and cogent case as part of our defence. The case concerned a player, Declan Fitzpatrick, who has been registered with Clyde since September 2018 and was recently on loan at Clydebank.
“The breach occurred as a result of a genuine oversight and a gap in the administrative procedures. This error was not the fault of any individual.
“We feel that the sanction imposed was unprecedentedly harsh.

The result of Clyde honestly admitting to an administrative error was a twin football and sporting sanction of £1500 and 4 points deduction for being honest.

Hearts had a similar administrative error defence when they said:

“ Due to an administrative error on the club’s part at the end of the January transfer window, Andrew Irving entered the field of play in the 65th minute as an unregistered player. Andrew was given an extension contract in January, 2018 and his extension paperwork was all properly completed and in order. However, it was not loaded onto the online SFA registration system at the time. His official registration, therefore, ran out on 9th June, 2018. Unfortunately, this was not picked up in advance of last night’s game.”

Hearts, as a result of their honesty, were deducted two points and fined £10k.

Yet in the case of Rangers FC, LNS judged the decision to withhold side letters was deliberate and because, as a result of non-disclosures of evidence to the contrary, he was able to decide there was no question of dishonesty.

The size of the penalty £250k recognised the longevity of what he was able to treat as an administrative error, but because LNS treated it as such and because the SFA advised that a flawed registration, apparently even if deliberate dishonesty was the reason for that flaw, was accepted by a blindsided SFA, then a player was eligible to play and so no points deduction sanction was applied.

The question of the validity of a deliberate and dishonest registration was never address by LNS although he did say in para 88 of his decision:

“There may be extreme cases in which there is such a fundamental defect that the registration of a player must be treated as having been invalid from the outset. But in the kind of situation that we are dealing with here we are satisfied that the registration of the Specified Players with the SPL was valid from the outset, and accordingly that they were eligible to play in official matches.”

What exactly constitutes an extreme case?

Had LNS seen the HMRC letter of 23 February 2011 or the HMRC letter of 20th May 2011 (that incidentally should have been in the SFA’s hands immediately on receipt under UEFA FFP rules before UEFA were notified of clubs granted a UEFA licence in 2011) would he have been duty bound to consider if a fundamental defect had taken place?

In those letters HMRC justified their pursuit of the wee tax case liability of £2.8M under their Extended Limit rules on basis that when they sought evidence of side letters for DOS ebts in April 2005, Rangers had responded dishonestly and that on sight of that response Rangers QC Andrew Thornhill advised them in early March 2011 not to appeal.

Does that evidence, which was not disclosed by Rangers Administrators Duff and Phelps to then SPL lawyers in April 2012, not point to such a fundamental defect in registration that a player’s registration should be regarded as being invalid from the outset?

However regardless of the rights or wrongs in the construction of the LNS Commission and subsequent Decision based on that construction, the salient point is that Clyde FC and Hearts were deducted 4 points and 2 points respectively, after both admitted to an honest mistake in their registration process and both received twin financial and sporting sanctions. Why Hearts were not deducted the 3 points gained as a consequence of beating Cove Rangers is unclear, although a 3 point reversal would have made qualification out of the group impossible.

Hearts were able to overcome the effect of the two-point deduction and still qualify for League Cup final stages so are unlikely to want to revisit the SPFL decision of points deducted.

However a £10k fine for an honest mistake in one game might be worth appealing on the basis that if a £250k fine for every match Rangers fielded incorrectly registered players was apt in the circumstances that LNS was led to believe existed that on a pro rate back of a fag packet basis this amounts to £695 per game over 10 seasons of 36 games a season, a £10k fine is excessive but would Anne Budge budge?

Anyhoo lets compare the three cases to highlight why eyebrows were raised.

Clyde FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Hearts FC

  • honest mistake admitted – financial sanction and points deduction

Rangers FC 

  • Deliberate decision taken not to fully register a player’s details with SFA.
  • Evidence of dishonest motivation to not fully registering a player registration concealed by Rangers
  • financial penalty but no points deduction.

It was always going to be the case that what took place in 2012 under the cloak of the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission would unravel in time as it set a precedent that flew in the face of sporting integrity principles and a common held belief that incorrect registrations attracted a sporting sanction, a belief rekindled by the recent decision to deduct points from Clyde FC.

Perhaps there is a rules based difference that justifies the LNS Decision that can be used by the SFA to explain to the common man why no sporting sanction was applied, but what the common man will ask is it more or less likely that in light of the LNS Decision clubs will be honest with the SFA in future if a player falls foul of the registration process or will appeal on the basis that LNS set a precedent against which all clubs should be judged and then sanctioned.

In a nutshell if an honest mistake is admitted how can a points deduction be justified unless the SFA can show the mistake was a deliberate one carried out by a club to give them a sporting advantage.

The LNS Commission was always a can of worms waiting to be opened which is probably why the SFA rejected the SPFL’s request of September 2017 to revisit the SFA handing of Rangers use of ebts and side letters. Have the SFA introduced a moral hazard in the form of the LNS Decision that will continue to undermine the integrity of Scottish football as long as they allow it to?

Oh what a tangled web we weave eh?

370 COMMENTS


  1. sannoffymesssoitizz 25th March 2019 at 18:47

    '..In seven charts, football finance expert Kieran Maguire assesses how the three clubs got to this point – and asks if there are lessons other clubs can learn from them.'

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    That's a very interesting link, sanoffy,and thanks for providing it.

    I read things like this " which has meant that the other running costs as well as a sizeable proportion of the player costs have been funded by the owner"  with puzzled cynicism (or cynical puzzlement).
    What kind of businessmen are they who on the one hand have made millions and on the other seem prepared to chuck millions away in the kind of desperate gambling demonstrated on a more humble scale by RIFC plc/TRFC Ltd?

    Surely anyone with the business brains and  the lack of scruple to make millions and millions knows when not to throw good money after bad?

    What am I missing? Is there some phenomenal business tax advantage if you cover your other business losses with your private money?

    View Comment

  2. John Clark 25th March 2019 at 12:56
    John, the Rangers goalie on that day in 1957 was George Niven, thus, "The time is Seven past Niven".  The unfortunate John Valentine was the Centre Half and he carried much of the blame for the score line from Rangers supporters.

    View Comment

  3. Just some clarification for Allyjambo; the connection between Level 5 and The Sunday Post is Jim Wilson. James Traynor and him are not only both faux Airdrie supporters but related through marriage. The Rangers now want Steven Gerrard off the pay-roll and big favours are being repaid.

    View Comment

  4. AvatarBanners to the breeze 25th March 2019 at 23:39

     

    Thanks for the info, Banners, it certainly all points to a deliberate campaign against Gerrard. Too much of a coincidence that it comes after Gerrard's star has fallen so far to be just that, a coincidence. If that story had broken while Gerrard was flying high it would have been swatted away like a dying fly and written up as an example of a manager who brooks no nonsense from unhappy players, and that mention of Morelos is just too neat.

    Has there been any backlash from the bears towards the SP yet for carrying an anti-'Rangers' story, or has it just been accepted, or ignored, by the bulk of the usual angry bears? Their response to such a hatchet job could be quite telling.

    View Comment

  5. Fans turn anger on SFA hierarchy after sorry displays in Kazakhstan & San Marin.

    SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell, with vice president Rod Petrie and president Alan McRae

    Cast in role of cheerleader-in-chief, Scottish FA president Alan McRae felt it a privilege to announce Alex McLeish as the new manager of the national team in February last year. McRae was so delighted to appoint his old chum that he went into a riff about how close the two men have been over the years.

    When he said that their friendship went back to the 1888-1889 season – when Jack the Ripper burst on to the scene – out came the calculators along with the mocking humour. Going by McRae's verbal blunder, he was president of McLeish's testimonial committee 130 years ago, a timeline that would have put the new Scotland manager very much in the veteran category at almost 160 years of age.

    This is the man who will lead us to Euro 2020, said the president. "No pressure, Alex. Over to you…"

    McRae got a bit of a ribbing for that, but it was a one-day thing before the next thing arrived and then the next thing and then the next thing after that. Scottish football is a fast-moving caravan of the absurd.

    • Scotland at 'rock bottom' – Robertson
    • Atmosphere 'toxic' in San Marino – Dodds
    • Scotland 'heading in right direction' – Fraser

    If we could just park ourselves in one place for any length of time something might actually get done, but we don't.

    Summer football, plastic pitches, strict liability, VAR. Hoary old chestnuts that drift across our landscape as thunderous talking points before another story comes along to wipe them off the agenda – until next time. It's life on a loop. A bottle thrown, coins chucked, players accosted, referees and linesmen threatened, sectarianism, racism, glorifying of the IRA.

    All of this happens and there's barely a peep from the football authorities in this country. If they get around to commenting then the statement is the square root of nothing at all.

    In the past 10 years only one club has been sanctioned for the unacceptable conduct of their supporters – a two-year probation for Motherwell. Meanwhile, Clyde, the easy target from League Two, get hammered with a points deduction and a fine for accidentally fielding an ineligible player.

    This is what passes for leadership in Scottish football. Big clubs get a free pass and a small club gets the Sword of Damocles.

    Football fans all over the nation will tell you stories about the cravenness of Scotland's governing bodies going back decades, but the weakness and lack of moral authority seems to be rising all the time.

    It's almost as if the national team, in their insipid performances against Kazakhstan and San Marino, has now taken on the guise of the people who run it and their colleagues down the corridor at the SPFL.

    Which takes us back to McRae and vice president Rod Petrie and the man they appointed as national team manager, and Ian Maxwell, the SFA chief executive, who is no doubt longing for the heat to transfer somewhere else.

    And it will. Celtic are hosting Rangers on Sunday. The build-up will begin any minute now. Hours of radio, acres of newsprint. The usual thing. McRae, Petrie and Maxwell will breathe a sigh of relief when everyone packs up their tents and moves off their lawn.

    The desperate need for leadership at the top will remain but we'll stop shouting about it for a little while – until the next time.

    Scotland manager Alex McLeish

    Scotland manager Alex McLeish is one year into his second stint in charge of the national team

    This is bigger than McLeish. The Scotland fans are now openly in revolt against not just him but the people who appointed him and the (same) people who will appoint his successor, whenever that may be. There is little faith, little trust. There is a growing anger in places but, worse still, a growing apathy. Apathy is the killer. Fatalism. Acceptance that nothing will change therefore what's the point. That's a bad road, but plenty are on it – and no wonder.

    Scotland fans had to view two lamentable performances and then hear ridiculous comment in their wake. When McLeish said that Scotland had started brightly in Kazakhstan – they were 2-0 down in 10 minutes – there was an insult-to-injury quality to it.

    When he said on Sunday that, in terms of qualification, "it's never over this early in any competition" he was ignoring history and asking for blind faith based on, well, who knows what.

    Scotland failed to win their first game in the qualification campaigns for the World Cups in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and, of course, they didn't make it. They also failed to win their first game in the qualification campaigns for the Euros in 2012 and 2016 and didn't make it.

    Even a fast start hasn't helped. For the World Cup in 2002 they were unbeaten after six games. For the World Cup in 2006 they were unbeaten after three games. For Euro 2016 they had 10 points from a possible 15 at the start of the group and still they couldn't get through.

    McLeish had to talk up his team's chances but he was doing so from a position of desperate weakness and with a scant regard for what had gone before. With every syllable it became more uncomfortable listening to him. This needs to end, but once again we go back to the lack of leadership at the heart of the game.

    'Scotland should be a whole lot better than this'

    Scotland have three points from their opening games in Kazakhstan and San Marino

    Scotland have three points from their opening games in Kazakhstan and San Marino

    Scotland got pulverised by a team ranked 117 in the world and then toiled horrendously against the worst team in the world. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland, a nation with extremely modest resources but an excellent manager, delivered back-to-back wins against Estonia – 96 in the world – and Belarus – 78 in the world.

    They had four players from the Scottish Premiership in their starting line-up, which is as many as Scotland started with against San Marino. They had a clutch more on the bench, including a goalkeeper from Partick Thistle (Conor Hazard) and two 39-year-olds from Rangers (Gareth McAuley) and Hearts (Aaron Hughes).

    All three of the used subs against Belarus had spent time in Scottish football. The guy who got their winner was Josh Magennis, who did six years in Scotland with Aberdeen, St Mirren and Kilmarnock.

    Not for the first time, the performance of Michael O'Neill's team shames Scotland.

    Liverpool's Andy Robertson is one of the most exciting left-backs in Europe. Manchester United's Scott McTominay has received massive plaudits for his excellence in the famous victory over PSG in the Champions League. Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser has more Premiership goals than Christian Eriksen and Dele Ali and more Premiership assists than Mo Salah and David Silva.

    Callum McGregor is a terrific footballer. His Celtic team-mate, James Forrest, has been outstanding. Jon Souttar has talent. Stuart Armstrong and Callum Paterson have played 50 Premiership games between them this season. Kenny McLean is playing for Norwich, the top team in the English Championship. John Fleck is at Sheffield United, the second-best team in the Championship. John McGinn is doing well at Aston Villa. Kieran Tierney will come back into this again soon.

    This is a promising group of players, but they're being wasted – and it's horrible to watch.

    Scotland should be a whole lot better than this. The booing in San Marino was heart-felt and thoroughly deserved. There is no confidence in the SFA having the gumption to change things in the short-term. The Hampden crowd will surely dwindle when Scotland host Cyprus in June.

    In the press conference where he referred to the beginning of his friendship with McLeish dating back to Victorian times, McRae spoke cheerily of the bright future that awaited the national team. Not many believed it then. Fewer still believe it now.

    For many, belief in the manager and as much, if not more so, in the people who appointed him is at an end. Meanwhile, Scottish football reverberates to the sound of men hunkering down at Hampden.

    Fans turn anger on SFA hierarchy after sorry displays in Kazakhstan & San Marino.

    SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell, with vice president Rod Petrie and president Alan McRae

    View Comment

  6. Cast in role of cheerleader-in-chief, Scottish FA president Alan McRae felt it a privilege to announce Alex McLeish as the new manager of the national team in February last year. McRae was so delighted to appoint his old chum that he went into a riff about how close the two men have been over the years.

    When he said that their friendship went back to the 1888-1889 season – when Jack the Ripper burst on to the scene – out came the calculators along with the mocking humour. Going by McRae's verbal blunder, he was president of McLeish's testimonial committee 130 years ago, a timeline that would have put the new Scotland manager very much in the veteran category at almost 160 years of age.

    This is the man who will lead us to Euro 2020, said the president. "No pressure, Alex. Over to you…"

    McRae got a bit of a ribbing for that, but it was a one-day thing before the next thing arrived and then the next thing and then the next thing after that. Scottish football is a fast-moving caravan of the absurd.

    • Scotland at 'rock bottom' – Robertson
    • Atmosphere 'toxic' in San Marino – Dodds
    • Scotland 'heading in right direction' – Fraser

    If we could just park ourselves in one place for any length of time something might actually get done, but we don't.

    Summer football, plastic pitches, strict liability, VAR. Hoary old chestnuts that drift across our landscape as thunderous talking points before another story comes along to wipe them off the agenda – until next time. It's life on a loop. A bottle thrown, coins chucked, players accosted, referees and linesmen threatened, sectarianism, racism, glorifying of the IRA.

    All of this happens and there's barely a peep from the football authorities in this country. If they get around to commenting then the statement is the square root of nothing at all.

    In the past 10 years only one club has been sanctioned for the unacceptable conduct of their supporters – a two-year probation for Motherwell. Meanwhile, Clyde, the easy target from League Two, get hammered with a points deduction and a fine for accidentally fielding an ineligible player.

    This is what passes for leadership in Scottish football. Big clubs get a free pass and a small club gets the Sword of Damocles.

    Football fans all over the nation will tell you stories about the cravenness of Scotland's governing bodies going back decades, but the weakness and lack of moral authority seems to be rising all the time.

    It's almost as if the national team, in their insipid performances against Kazakhstan and San Marino, has now taken on the guise of the people who run it and their colleagues down the corridor at the SPFL.

    Which takes us back to McRae and vice president Rod Petrie and the man they appointed as national team manager, and Ian Maxwell, the SFA chief executive, who is no doubt longing for the heat to transfer somewhere else.

    And it will. Celtic are hosting Rangers on Sunday. The build-up will begin any minute now. Hours of radio, acres of newsprint. The usual thing. McRae, Petrie and Maxwell will breathe a sigh of relief when everyone packs up their tents and moves off their lawn.

    The desperate need for leadership at the top will remain but we'll stop shouting about it for a little while – until the next time.

    Scotland manager Alex McLeish

    Scotland manager Alex McLeish is one year into his second stint in charge of the national team

    This is bigger than McLeish. The Scotland fans are now openly in revolt against not just him but the people who appointed him and the (same) people who will appoint his successor, whenever that may be. There is little faith, little trust. There is a growing anger in places but, worse still, a growing apathy. Apathy is the killer. Fatalism. Acceptance that nothing will change therefore what's the point. That's a bad road, but plenty are on it – and no wonder.

    Scotland fans had to view two lamentable performances and then hear ridiculous comment in their wake. When McLeish said that Scotland had started brightly in Kazakhstan – they were 2-0 down in 10 minutes – there was an insult-to-injury quality to it.

    When he said on Sunday that, in terms of qualification, "it's never over this early in any competition" he was ignoring history and asking for blind faith based on, well, who knows what.

    Scotland failed to win their first game in the qualification campaigns for the World Cups in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and, of course, they didn't make it. They also failed to win their first game in the qualification campaigns for the Euros in 2012 and 2016 and didn't make it.

    Even a fast start hasn't helped. For the World Cup in 2002 they were unbeaten after six games. For the World Cup in 2006 they were unbeaten after three games. For Euro 2016 they had 10 points from a possible 15 at the start of the group and still they couldn't get through.

    McLeish had to talk up his team's chances but he was doing so from a position of desperate weakness and with a scant regard for what had gone before. With every syllable it became more uncomfortable listening to him. This needs to end, but once again we go back to the lack of leadership at the heart of the game.

    'Scotland should be a whole lot better than this'

    Scotland have three points from their opening games in Kazakhstan and San Marino

    Scotland have three points from their opening games in Kazakhstan and San Marino

    Scotland got pulverised by a team ranked 117 in the world and then toiled horrendously against the worst team in the world. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland, a nation with extremely modest resources but an excellent manager, delivered back-to-back wins against Estonia – 96 in the world – and Belarus – 78 in the world.

    They had four players from the Scottish Premiership in their starting line-up, which is as many as Scotland started with against San Marino. They had a clutch more on the bench, including a goalkeeper from Partick Thistle (Conor Hazard) and two 39-year-olds from Rangers (Gareth McAuley) and Hearts (Aaron Hughes).

    All three of the used subs against Belarus had spent time in Scottish football. The guy who got their winner was Josh Magennis, who did six years in Scotland with Aberdeen, St Mirren and Kilmarnock.

    Not for the first time, the performance of Michael O'Neill's team shames Scotland.

    Liverpool's Andy Robertson is one of the most exciting left-backs in Europe. Manchester United's Scott McTominay has received massive plaudits for his excellence in the famous victory over PSG in the Champions League. Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser has more Premiership goals than Christian Eriksen and Dele Ali and more Premiership assists than Mo Salah and David Silva.

    Callum McGregor is a terrific footballer. His Celtic team-mate, James Forrest, has been outstanding. Jon Souttar has talent. Stuart Armstrong and Callum Paterson have played 50 Premiership games between them this season. Kenny McLean is playing for Norwich, the top team in the English Championship. John Fleck is at Sheffield United, the second-best team in the Championship. John McGinn is doing well at Aston Villa. Kieran Tierney will come back into this again soon.

    This is a promising group of players, but they're being wasted – and it's horrible to watch.

    Scotland should be a whole lot better than this. The booing in San Marino was heart-felt and thoroughly deserved. There is no confidence in the SFA having the gumption to change things in the short-term. The Hampden crowd will surely dwindle when Scotland host Cyprus in June.

    In the press conference where he referred to the beginning of his friendship with McLeish dating back to Victorian times, McRae spoke cheerily of the bright future that awaited the national team. Not many believed it then. Fewer still believe it now.

    For many, belief in the manager and as much, if not more so, in the people who appointed him is at an end. Meanwhile, Scottish football reverberates to the sound of men hunkering down at Hampden.

    View Comment

  7. Banners to the breeze 25th March 2019 at 23:39

    '…….the connection between Level 5 and The Sunday Post is Jim Wilson. James Traynor and him are not only both faux Airdrie supporters but related through marriage. '

    %%%%%%%%%%

    When news was announced that the said Wilson was voluntarily stepping down as Editor of 'The Sunday Mail' in 2016, this comment on the item  was made by a poster styling himself

    "Eyebrox    

    August 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    'TM’s directors will miss Jim Wilson. A grafter who produced a good read from a handful of staffers and a team of freelances. The paper, as a one day a week publication, never brought in the big cover price cash that its daily stablemate did, but it made loads of money because of it was run on a shoestring. Jim was into big stories and crusades: the admin side of the business bugged him with TM’s constant strategy changes and cutbacks. He stayed apart from the management machinations, preferring to concentrate on the story agenda..".

    https://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2016/news/editor-of-award-winning-sunday-newspaper-steps-down/

    One assumes that Traynor is not an absolutely loose cannon, and still takes his orders from King, and that he has on King's orders  begun to try to get Gerrard out at minimum expense to TRFC Ltd by feeding Wilson the Sadiq story.

    It would seem that while Wilson may have 'stayed apart from the management machinations' at the Sunday Mail, he was only too happy as editor of the Sunday Post to get involved in other mucky little machinations, using Traynor's 'inside' knowledge to get Stewart and Vitelli to produce their 'exclusive' Sadiq  story.

    Doesn't say a lot about Stewart and Vitelli, who are now in my opinion to be as much regarded as journalists as ,say, Chick of the cheap 'good nights out'

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  8. Not before time (from The Times)

    Nearly 2,000 football agents have received letters from HMRC warning them that they may face tax investigations after “serious allegations of fraud”.

    The letter, sent last Wednesday by HMRC’s deputy director, Kerry Singleton, is part of a new investigation into transfer activity and specifically the fees that are paid to agents.

    HMRC is already investigating payments made by 38 agents, 40 clubs and 173 players, and is considering whether to open more investigations.

    View Comment

  9. theredpill 26th March 2019 at 09:41

    Due to cutting my last post in to two I missed out that the article was written by

    Tom English on the BBC sports website.

    View Comment

  10. Easyjambo @10.36

    If past investigations by HMRC are anything to go by then this investigation is likely to open up multiple large cans of worms. For every agent there will a least one player and at least one club and probably a solicitor and probably a bank or similar institution. Then of course many deals will be done internationally. I don’t want to labour the point but M’sieu Boumsong springs to mind here.

    I’m sure that here in Scotland we’ll have nothing to worry about with such a robust and competent governing body keeping a close eye on transfers and contracts. 

    View Comment

  11. Predictably the clubs have shown themselves to be against Strict Liability in a survey conducted by the BBC.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47646210

    FOR – Partick Thistle, Queen of the South, Annan Athletic

    AGAINST – Airdrieonians, Albion Rovers, Alloa Athletic, Arbroath, Clyde, Cowdenbeath, Dumbarton, Elgin City, Hamilton Academical, Morton, Peterhead, St Johnstone, Stenhousemuir, Stranraer

    NO COMMENT – Aberdeen, Ayr United, Berwick Rangers, Brechin City, Dundee, Dunfermline, East Fife, Edinburgh City, Forfar Athletic, Hibernian, Inverness CT, Montrose, Motherwell, Raith Rovers, Ross County, St Mirren, Stirling Albion

    DID NOT RESPOND – Celtic, Dundee United, Falkirk, Hearts, Kilmarnock, Livingston, Queen's Park, Rangers

    Sadly my club Hearts failed to respond to the survey.  Let's have some leadership in both condemning and, more importantly, TAKING ACTION against unacceptable behaviour.

    View Comment

  12. Imran Ahmad is the latest to take action against the authorities for his wrongful arrest in connection with the Oldco/Newco debacle. (Green, Whitehouse, Clark, Grier and now Ahmad)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47707934

    I'd expect that if the first judgement goes against the police, then a series of out of court settlements will follow. However, if the first ruling goes against the claimants, then it could be that all five actions could fail for similar reasons.

    View Comment

  13. Bobby Madden is ref on Sunday for the Glasgow derby.

     

    If a 'more balanced' ref like Clancy was named for this fixture I would have been pleasantly surprised.

     

    And if it does all 'kick off' on Sunday due to unusual ref decisions… then the blame can be placed squarely at the door of the continually inept SFA management.

    View Comment

  14. easyJambo 26th March 2019 at 13:46

    '….Imran Ahmad is the latest to take action against the authorities for his wrongful arrest ..'

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%

    Nothing like seeing the lie of the legal land and letting others make the running

    before one incurs legal expenses!

    Smart kid, our Imran.

    (Has CG in fact raised an action for wrongful arrest? I must have missed that! At least I don't have a note of it  that I can find?)

     

    View Comment

  15. John Clark 25th March 2019 at 12:56 Edit

    Continuing my leisurely (but believe me, I'd rather be working!) perusal of "the Scotsman", I have reached the obituary page, and the obituary written by Matthew Vallance.

    And from that obituary I learn to my complete astonishment that the man who was in goal for the now deceased Rangers Football Club ,on the 19th October 1957, in the Hampden sun, was named John Valentine. [ And my condolences, of course, to his family]

    My memories as a teenager of the game that took place on that day were, I thought, pretty good. I would not now, of course, be able to rhyme off the whole Rangers team, but would recognise , I thought, all the names if not all the faces , if they were listed.

    But I have absolutely no recollection of the name Valentine as having been a Ranger player at any time, let alone on that day and in that game.

    Strange thing, memory!

    A bit like Umar Sadiq mentioned in earlier posts today, Valentine was dropped immediately into the Reserves, his career at Rangers effectively over at the final whistle of that match.

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

    To the tune of Oh Island in the sun…..

    Lyrics

    Oh Hampden in the sun,

    Celtic 7 Rangers 1,

    That was the score when it came time up,

    The Timalloys had won the cup.

    I see Tully running down the line,

    He slips the ball past Valentine,

    It's nodded down by 'Teazy Weazy',

    And Sammy Wilson makes it look so easy.

    I see Mochan beating Shearer,

    The League Cup is coming nearer,

    He slams in an impossible shot,

    The Rangers team has had their lot.

    Over comes a very high ball,

    Up goes McPhail above them all,

    The ball and Billy's head have met,

    A lovely sight the ball is in the net.

    Young Sam Wilson has them rocked,

    But unluckily his shot was blocked,

    Then big Bill with a lovely lob,

    Makes it look such an easy job.

    Now here is Mochan on the ball,

    He runs around poor Ian McColl

    Wee George Niven takes a daring dive,

    But Smiler Mochan makes it number five.

    Down the middle runs Billy McPhail,

    With John Valentine on his tail,

    With a shot along the ground,

    The cup's at Parkhead safe and sound.

    Here comes Fernie, cool and slick,

    He ambles up to take the kick,

    He hits it hard and low past Niven,

    The Tims are in their Seventh Heaven.

     

    …………

    I was 11  years old  at the time with no interest in football, playing Cowboys and Indians on the clinker dunes at Glasgow Green (used for resurfacing the pitches after a couple of seasons of impregnating players knees and thighs and arses with gritty clinker rendered the pitch surface bare.)

    The earliest arrivals at the dunes were Rangers fans who had left at 5 -1. By the time we walked towards the latter part of the procession innocently (honest) asking the score, on hearing it was 7-1 one guy asked for my toy pistol saying

    "Son, gonnae gies that gun? I waant to shoot masel"

     

     

     

     

     

    View Comment

  16. Homunculus 26th March 2019 at 18:25

    '…It has certainly been reported that way.'

    &&&&&&&&&&

    Thank you, Homunculus. 

    I did miss th news report, as  I missed eJ's post of 6th March(Ash Wednesday), being in Nor'n Ireland on that day and a couple of days after, and without proper access to the net and the blog. I think then the blog was as full thereafter of Strict Liability stuff as I was with a put-you-flat-your-back 'flu-like cold!

    I was thinking it would not be like the chiel to miss a money-grabbing opportunity, although, of course, it would be monstrous to be falsely arrested.

    It will be interesting to learn tomorrow whether the Inner House will uphold the 'immunity' under common law , and Lord Malcolm's view that the pursuers would have to prove 'malice' on the part of the police.

     

    View Comment

  17. Auldheid 26th March 2019 at 18:39

    '…"Son, gonnae gies that gun? I waant to shoot masel"

    *************

    That's the kind of so-true- to-fact story that the likes of the late Lex McLean and Rikki Fulton and present day comics like Andy Cameron, Billy Connolly and -give them their places-Tam Cowan and Des Clark could get a large audience roaring with laughter over.

     

     

    View Comment

  18. John Clark 26th March 2019 at 19:30

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

    Indeed, if the Police can demonstrate that they had reasonable grounds to suspect and were acting in good faith. Would it then be wrongful.

    View Comment

  19. Homunculus 26th March 2019 at 19:56

    '..if the Police can demonstrate that they had reasonable grounds to suspect and were acting in good faith..'

    %%%%%%%%%%%

    I think Lord Malcolm's view was that the onus of proof is on the pursuer! That is, the starting point is that the police investigated an alleged crime, and under the direction of the COPFS gathered evidence sufficient for a prosecution to be brought. That's the norm.

    It's for the pursuer to prove that somewhere along the line the norms had been disregarded(if Lord Malcolm's judgment is upheld)

    If every action taken by police was normal and legitimate( no unauthorised seizure of material or unauthorised dawn raids or any 'manufactured' or 'planted' evidence, or false testimony and so on) then the pursuer would have difficulty in proving any allegation of 'malice'. 

     

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  20. Interesting take on fan behaviour from UEFA, the England players, the FA and even apparently Downing Street.  No messing about.  Some pundits and players are suggesting throwing Montenegro out of the competition never mind closing the ground which appears to be taken as a given.  I would think this might be more effective than leaving it to the local police who obviously have no impact.  Compare and contrast with the usual walking away of my club and most of the rest with today's concocted story by the beeb.

     

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  21. With Alex McLeish publically backing the SFA. Is he looking for a way out?
    Even the smsm have been critical of the SFA this past week.AM backing the SFA gives fans even more ammunition to want him out. Does AM know this is his best out game?

    View Comment

  22. John Clark 26th March 2019 at 20:28

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

    That makes sense, the Police have to investigate crime, they have to arrest people, interview them etc.

    So long as there are checks and balances, rules for them to adhere to, oversight of their actions then that's fair enough.

    In a civilized  democratic society we need a Police force capable of investigating crime, however they must also be subject to independent oversight. 

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  23. StevieBC 26th March 2019 at 13:54
    21 0 Rate This

    Bobby Madden is ref on Sunday for the Glasgow derby.
    …………………………………………
    Cluster One 8th February 2019 at 19:59
    29 0 Rate This

    nawlite 8th February 2019 at 19:43
    unless Madden admitted that he made a mistake . If that is the case, can we expect Madden to be disciplined? Will that be transparently reported? Don’t hold your breath.
    ………………….
    Aye for his punishment he will get to referee the game when an ibrox club come to celtic park next.
    ………………….
    Do i win a prize?

    View Comment

  24. Cluster One 26th March 2019 at 21:32 

    '..Do i win a prize?'

    %%%%%%%%%

    Yes, you do.

    For anticipating that the 'SFA' in its blind , unprincipled, teeth-, arse-, and jaw-clenched disastrous inability to read the signs of the times, and its blind perversity of judgment, would do the very wrong thing in order to emphasise their imperviousness to truth and reason and common sense!

    Serious questions are raised about a particular referee. The SFA response ? Appoint the chap to referee a match of huge importance to one of the competing teams (of lesser real importance to the other) for which he is known to have a fondness. 

    Just how bloody stupid can they get? Even Traynor would take  a better sort of PR approach than that.

     

    View Comment

  25. eJ posted at 13.46 this afternoon that the BBC was reporting that oor Imran was on the hunt for damages for wrongful arrest.

    And I note this from today's Rolls of Court: put on the website not earlier than 16.00 hours:

    "CALLING LIST

     Tuesday 26th March

     

    A51/19 Imran Ahmad AG (First) Iain Livingstone, Chief Constable of Police Scotland &c

     

    BBM Solicitors "

    This is Tuesday. I didn't see any reference to this in yesterday's , or any previous day's, Rolls! 

    What inference can be drawn from that? Except that there is little point in informing the public of something that will have already taken place by the time the official notification of it appears!

    That kind of annoys me. It’s a bit sort of SFA-style ‘communication’, where the communicator clearly doesnae give a toss for those to whom he is condescendingly ‘communicating’

    View Comment

  26. nawlite 26th March 2019 at 22:30
    Do you have tomorrow’s Lottery numbers to hand, please?…..Yes,
    ………………..
    StevieBC 26th March 2019 at 22:39
    CO, you’ve just outed yourself as Bobby Madden!
    ………….
    I have better hair than him.
    …………………….
    John Clark 26th March 2019 at 23:35
    Serious questions are raised about a particular referee. The SFA response ? Appoint the chap to referee a match of huge importance to one of the competing teams (of lesser real importance to the other) for which he is known to have a fondness.
    ………………
    Ok, i admit it. It was so obvious it was going to happen BM getting the next celtic v the ibrox club.

    View Comment

  27. The appointment of Madden to this weekend's Celtic v TRFC match is, at it's very best, crass stupidity, but I suspect it's more to do with a 'get it right up ya' signal to Scottish football (clubs and supporters) that the SFA are in charge and as such cannot make mistakes. That is, they are telling us all that the midden Madden made last time wasn't actually a midden but a display of good refereeing and he is the man to officiate a potential powder keg of a football match.

    Or. It could be a challenge to Celtic daring them to make a complaint before the match to ramp up ill will within the game that the SFA seem intent on creating and multiplying.

    It has to be said, though, that a rod has been made for all concerned in the appointment of Madden, for even if he makes a genuinely honest mistake in favour of the club he supports, the fallout could/should be immense.

    This appointment is in all probability as great an example of crass incompetence/dereliction of duty by the SFA as the appointment of Alex McLeish as Scotland manager was.

    I do hope Celtic are putting in extra training on playing with 10 or less players.

    View Comment

  28. Speaking of this coming Sunday, the print edition of The Herald has given the game undue prominence by putting “Old Firm showdown” above the title on the front page and follows up with a piece by Matthew Lindsay which is bookended by references to the Old Firm. It’s almost like nothing of any significance happened in Scottish football  in 2012. 

    View Comment

  29. JC and I attended a hearing of the Inner House of the Court of Session this morning in the cases of Whitehouse and Clark against Police Scotland and the Lord Advocate, in front of Lord Carloway, the Lord President, and two other judges.

    The hearing was ostensibly a procedural one in advance of an appeal by Whitehouse and Clark against Lord Malcolm's ruling from the autumn that the Lord Advocate had immunity in common law from any claims against him for any actions taken or sanctioned by him.  The basis of that decision was the precedent set in the case of Hester v MacDonald in 1961.

    I would have thought that the prospect of overturning such a decision would be a difficult one, but we found out today that Whitehouse's team had obtained a Crown Office email which dates from before their arrest/indictment, but the contents allegedly suggest that the the Crown knew that there was no evidential basis for the arrest of Whitehouse and Clark. However, just four days later the pair were detained.

    Lord Carloway accepted that the document could be used in the appeal hearing. He granted the Lord Advocate six weeks to respond to the disclosure of the "new" email. He went on to confirm that the appeal would be heard on 9 September by five judges, following a submission by Heriot Currie, QC for Whitehouse. Both parties were set a limit of using 10 authorities for the appeal. I understand that precedents from previous UK, US and Canadian cases will be referenced.

    The fact that it will be heard by as many as five judges suggests to me that the Court views the matter very seriously in what could be a landmark case, if the precedent set in Hester is to be overturned or set aside.

    It was also revealed in court that Whitehouse has initiated a complaint of criminality against unnamed individuals, in addition to his damages claim. I could probably guess that certain police officers will be be identified in the complaint.

    The 100,000 documents / emails acquired from Craig Whyte's server were also mentioned, so I guess some may surface in the appeal.

    The further these cases run and get into legal arguments and principles they are probably getting less relevant to SFM, but the link to the demise of the Oldco during the administration period and what happened thereafter still remains. 

     

    View Comment

  30. There had been a little whisper from a reliable source shortly before we entered the Court room this morning. We were therefore not very surprised to find that the legals were there in unusual numbers!

    There were 7 in the first row, 6 in the row behind, and another 4 ( with Clark and Whitehouse) in the row behind that. 

    Even the clerk of court used the word 'mob-handed' , raising a laugh, before their Lordships (Carloway and Bodie) and her ladyship (Dorrian) took their places on the Bench.

    There were also in Court ej and I, and an SMSM chap, and a further two other chaps, possibly legals not involved.

    eJ has already given the factual report, and has filled in the gaps in my own record, which I give now:

    Mr Currie, QC for Mr Whitehouse, said he had three points to make to the Court;

    first, he sought the Court's permission to lodge as an appendix to his pleadings, an email emanating from a source internal to the Crown Office. While the email bears nothing on the question of 'immunity', he asserted it has a bearing on the question of 'malice; since, despite the contents of this email  containing the words “we have no evidential basis on which to proceed”, the Crown office did a few days later 'proceed' against Mr Whitehouse.

    Secondly, he referred to an authority (Lord Clyde) cited in Para 29 of his Note of Argument. (A few minutes of people scrambling to find the relevant page- I think Lady Dorrian got it first) Apparently , and I'm sort of guessing, the point related to the need for the claim of immunity to be made at the time of the case in which it was to be claimed.

    Thirdly, he waffled a bit about Art 5 and Art 8 of the ECHR.I couldn't make out what point he was making. Whatever it was , he referred to the Hearing in September.

    Mr Fairley QC, for Mr Clark, then spoke:

    He told the court that he had been aware of the existence of the email from within the Crown Office some days ago but had held back from using it. Now that the Crown office had no objection, he sought to align himself with Mr Currie , and proposed with the Court's permission to produce an amendment to his pleadings and seek leave to lodge it.

    Lord Carloway asked him what would be in the amendment? Mr Fairley replied that it would along the lines of Mr Currie's. He would need some time, and there would need to be time for 'answers'.

    Mr Moynihan QC for the Lord Advocate etc, then spoke. He said that as regards Arts 5 and 8 there were issues of applicability 'in this context' ( Again, I couldn't follow the brief points he made)

    So far as the email, he went on, a question arose as to how it came into Mr Whitehouse's hands? "I say I have no objection to use of it, and am happy to make the document available. The only reason for mentioning it is that at an earlier stage, we had been given three weeks in which to sift and examine 100 000 emails from Whyte and provide a response. In the event, we made no response. So the Lord Advocate in the interests of candour would wish to answer.

    There is the suggestion by Mr Whitehouse that he may use the production as the basis for an allegation of criminality against some person or person

    So we need time for consideration.

    If the Hearing is set for 9th September 2019. I need 6 weeks

    I am happy to allow a joint appendix”

    Their Lordships and Her Ladyship then went into their little huddle for a few minutes.

    And Lord Carloway announced their judgment:

    to allow minute of amendment

    to allow 6 weeks for 'answers'

    to allow inventory of productions (?)

    require the list of authorities to be lodged by a date in August

    and ,having noted that the list contains only 'authorities' in the USA, Canada and the UK,

    require that authorities from other Commonwealth countries , and from Ireland, be included. Total list to be no more than 10.

    obiter, Lord Carloway asked whether all the material would be on memory sticks, or on paper.

    After a word or two, it seemed to be agreed that all would be on memory sticks, with only one hard copy being produced.

    Court rose at about 10.55

     

    There had been a little whisper from a reliable source shortly before we entered the Court room this morning. We were therefore not very surprised to find that the legals were there in unusual numbers!

    There were 7 in the first row, 6 in the row behind, and another 4 ( with Clark and Whitehouse) in the row behind that. 

    Even the clerk of court used the word 'mob-handed' , raising a laugh before their lordships (Carloway and Bodie) and her ladyship (Dorrian) took their places on the Bench.

    There were also in Court ej and I, and an SMSM chap, and a further two other chaps, possibly legals not involved.

    eJ has already given the factual report, and has filled in the gaps in my own record, which I give now:

    Mr Currie, QC for Mr Whitehouse, said he had three points to make to the Court;

    first, he sought the Court's permission to lodge as an appendix to his pleadings, an email emanating from a source internal to the Crown Office. While the email bears nothing on the question of 'immunity', he asserted it has a bearing on the question of 'malice; since, despite the contents of this email  containing the words “we have no evidential basis on which to proceed”, the Crown office did a few days later 'proceed' against Mr Whitehouse.

    Secondly,he referred to an authority (Lord Clyde) cited in Para 29 of his Note of Argument. (A few minutes of people scrambling to find the relevant page- I think Lady Dorrian got it first) Apparently ( and I'm sort of guessing) the point related to the need for the claim of immunity to be made at the time of the case in which it was to be claimed.

    Thirdly, he waffled a bit about Art 5 and Art 8 of the ECHR.I couldn't make out what point he was making. Whatever it was , he referred to the Hearing in September.

    Mr Fairley QC, for Mr Clark, then spoke:

    He told the court that he had been aware of the existence of the email from within the Crown Office some days ago but had held back from using it. Now that the Crown office had no objection, he sought to align himself with Mr Currie , and proposed with the Court's permission to produce an amendment to his pleadings and seek leave to lodge it.

    Lord Carloway asked him what would be in the amendment? Mr Fairley replied that it would along the lines of Mr Currie's.He would need some time, and there would need to be time for 'answers'.

    Mr Moynihan QC for the Lord Advocate etc, then spoke. He said that as regards Arts 5 and 8 there were two issues of applicability 'in this context' ( Again, I couldn't follow the brief points he made)

    So far as the email, he went on, a question arose as to how it came into Mr Whitehouse's hands? I say I have no objection to use of it, and am happy to make the document available.The only reason for mentioning it is that at an earlier stage, we had been given three weeks in which to sift and examine 100 000 emails from Whyte and provide a response. In the event, we made no response. So the Lord Advocate in the interests of candour would wish to answer.

    There is the suggestion by Mr Whitehouse that he may use the production as the basis for an allegation of criminality against some person or person.

    So we need time for consideration.

    If the Hearing is set for 9th September 2019. I need 6 weeks.

    I am happy to allow a joint appendix”

    Their Lordships and Her Ladyship then went into their little huddle for a few minutes.

    And Lord Carloway announced their judgment:

    to allow minute of amendment

    to allow 6 weeks for 'answers'

    to allow inventory of productions (?)

    require the list of authorities to be lodged by a date in August

    having noted that the list contains only 'authorities' in the USA, Canada and the UK,

    require that authorities from other Commonwealth countries , and from Ireland, be included.Total list to be no more than 10.

    obiter, Lord Carloway asked whether all the material would be on memory sticks, or on paper.

    Fter a word or two, it seemed to be agreed that all would be on memory sticks, with only one hard copy being produced.

    Court rose at about 10.55

     

     

     

    View Comment

  31. My apologies for the duplicate post at 14.20. 

    Must have pressed 'post comment' twice. But I think this pc is badly needing a service or equivalent. Bit like masel!

    View Comment

  32. JohnClark&Easyjambo above.

    The SFM community are again indebted to you both for taking the time to attend the court proceedings. It’s hard to imagine that the acquisition, administration and liquidation of a football club could change years of precedent in Scots law. The criminal complaint against other individuals is also dramatic. I think it’s fair to say that everything in relation to the whole Rangers debacle has been an embarrassment for the Scottish establishment. To borrow from the long departed Ian Archer when writing about Rangers in 1972, “a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace.”

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  33. Am I missing something here? John Valentine played at centre-half on that unforgettable (if you're a Celtic fan) day in 1957, freshly signed from Queens Park (I think). His career never recovered as Billy McPhail rag-dolled him throughout.

    Can't believe that any Celtic fan wouldn't know that the goalie's name rhymed with 'seven' 🙂

     

     

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  34. Big Pink 27th March 2019 at 21:24

    You're a wee bit late to the party today BP.I posted something very similar at 21.59 on the 25th. As usual the single TDer had to click, as he does with most posts, very strange.

    View Comment

  35. Player registration offences at rangers fc. 100s of games. The punishment was practically nothing, but LNS delivered a guilty verdict. Very important. Thanks Auldheid.

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  36.  I've been re-reading Lord Malcolm's September 6th 'opinion'

    https://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotCS/2018/%5B2018%5D_CSOH_93.pdf

    He referred to previous authorities, and cited one authority ( in the case of guy done for reset) in which is expressed  what I hope and believe is the truth about our legal system:

    "Lord Guthrie expressed the view that the arguments addressed 
    in support of these pleas raised “questions of importance in constitutional law and in the 
    law of reparation.  It is, perhaps, unnecessary to add that, although the pursuer admittedly 
    comes before the court with his scutcheon liberally blotted, and invokes the aid of the law 
    which he has frequently broken,
    his case must be considered as raising questions of 
    principle, and as if it were presented by an innocent citizen who had been unwarrantably 
    imprisoned following upon proceedings which were a nullity.”

    That is, even a guy with a criminal record and no regard for 'the law' is absolutely entitled to be dealt with fairly under the law.

    I, of course, have my own opinions about Duff and Phelps and the whole 'saga' ( including my opinion about the whole feckin shambles that the COPFS made of their 'prosecution'. In truth, I would nearly be ready to believe the unthinkable- that the shambles was engineered!)

    But that's just me and my 'prejudices'.

    But I take comfort in the fact that whatever the court case and however badly, insincerely and incompetently presented, the Court will deal with it as presented, strictly in accordance with law and legal precedent.

    And I find it interesting that today the Court asked that 'authorities' outwith the USA and Canada and the Uk should be included in the list of 'authorities' to be adduced by parties for the Hearing in September.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  37. Big Pink 27th March 2019 at 21:27

    '..and my hat is also doffed to the Woodward and Bernstein of Scottish Fitba', our own EJ and John'

    %%%%%%%

    And, of course, I am Woodford, what with my youthful good looks and all!broken heart

    eJ looks nothing like Dustin Hoffman, but is as sharp as needle as Bernstein.

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  38. Alex McLeish is set to be relieved of his duties as Scotland manager over the next 24 hours.

    Record Sport understands the team boss will hold talks with SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell today and be told he is to be taken out of the international firing line following the nightmarish double-header against Kazakhstan and San Marino.
    ………….
    Stuart McCall i hear has been relieved of his duties at Scunthorpe.
    The SFA won’t. Would they?

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  39. Re Bobby Madden getting the game on Sunday. As I've said before there are types within Scottish society you can trust and types you can't according to some within the Scottish establishment. Madden might be the most honest, fair guy in the world, but the SFA seemingly don't think other types can be honest and fair just because of what they are or what they do or don't belong to. It's an appalling situation for 2019. 

    In short a good Rangers man can be trusted to be honest and fair, especially as it was the ethos in life they were brought up with. A few non-Rangers men can also be trusted because they were brought up with the same ethos. No Celtic men can be trusted, because they don't have the same ethos in life – the proof is in the fact none of them are Grade 1 Referees, and most Grade 1 Referees are Rangers men. 

    How bizarre that in 2019 people are still considered in this way. 

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  40. UTH@07.22

    On reading your post I was reminded of a fairly recent BBC documentary which set out to explain what a particular organisation, strong in it’s fraternal ethos, was all about. Needless to say the secrets of the organisation remained secret and the various members who were interviewed repeated the same mantra “ we’re not a secret organisation but an organisation which has secrets “

    The other thing which shone through was that each person interviewed was absolutely convinced that being a member of the organisation had elevated them to become a better human being with the corollary that not being one of them made anyone less worthy. The whole programme was laced with arrogance and entitlement and is reflected in how the SFA and the referees operate. There is further  compelling evidence in the Paul Larkin video which has been referenced on here before and can be found on YouTube. 

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  41. So let me get this right. There are “good Rangers men”, presumably that means Protestant and probably mason and or orange order. Then there are a few “non rangers” and that presumably means merely Protestant. Then there are “Celtic” men, presumably catholic. As you say UTH how bizarre that we are categorising thus in 2019 especially in fitba.  I’m glad I’m an atheist sheepshagger!

     

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  42. Seems that the DR has been briefed in advance of McLeish's removal.

     

    But, who is briefing the rag?

     

    Macrae and Petrie are both certainly the focus of the DR criticism

    Is Maxwell playing the PR game and exploiting this opportunity to punt Petrie now?

    Or is another blazer after the cushy President role?

    Interesting…

     

    And for consistency with sh!t SFA decision making… I guess the team role must go to Mackay…

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  43. Reading my last post it looks a bit flippant and I don't mean it that way.  I'm fully aware of the "establishment" predomination of a protestant/masonic nature in Scotland and it's clear that the SFA is one of the last bastions.  However the antidote to a corrupt organisation with outdated sectarian bias is a functioning organisation where absolutely no account of ethnicity, religion, skin colour or political affiliation is taken. Even if you don't share the liberal view on diversity being good for society in general there is the undisputed fact that none of the above has a single thing to do with fitba anyway. Categorising everyone in terms of Rangersness or Celticness is part of the problem and I, for one, don't want any part in it.

     

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  44. Ernie@12.36

    One of the features of this site is that it represents such a broad church (if it’s ok to use that metaphor) and was set up in part to point out the utter failure of the governing body to run Scottish football by it’s own rules. Naturally people will look for explanations as to why Scottish football continues to be administered in such an amateur fashion where the appearance of bias and cronyism is never far away. I would contend that the majority on here are broadly in line with your view that Scottish football should not just be about 2 clubs. 

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  45. The BBC / Chris McLaughlin now claiming that there is no SFA meeting today, to discuss McLeish's future.

    Hmmm…

     

    Is someone playing a cute game at Hampden?

    Or have the SFA media people simply cocked up?

     

    Experience would strongly suggest just another SFA communications ‘misstep’.

    🙁

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  46. A motion in a court case that we haven't been following too closely will be heard by Lady Wolffe next week.

    Thursday 4th April Starred Motion Between 9.00am and 10.00am

    CA31/17 The Football Co (Scotland) Ltd v Glasgow City Council – MacRoberts LLP – Glasgow City Council (Corporate Services)

    This case relates to the damage done to the electronic advertising hoardings at the 2016 cup final. The last hearing that I attended saw GCC apparently agree a settlement figure of £300k. I don't know what this hearing is about, but it could just be a dispute about apportioning legal costs rather than a complaint about non payment.

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  47. Ernie,

    I agree with your sentiments 100% that ethnicity, religion or politics should be no part of the football equation.
    I also agree with your assertion that many of the arguments we hear on SFM boil down to a Rangersness or Celticness, but in defence of those who make the assertion, I would suggest that the top referees in the country, and the SFA who appoint/enable them, think exactly the same way.

    I think trust has broken down across the board when it comes to the refereeing service, but it is yet another sorry symptom of the dysfunctionality of the ruling body.

    For that trust to be restored, serious reform needs to be exercised at Hampden. Anything else is tweaking, and tweaking, no matter how well-meaning the intention, always leads to dissatisfaction in both sides of the trust argument.

    I make the assumption that all fans of clubs other than Celtic and Rangers feel they are hard done by with the big two when it comes to decisions; similarly fans of both Celtic and Rangers feel that refs tend to favour their rivals. 

    In any analysis of that situation, paranoia claims aside, it is that faux duality which is at the root of the problem, and trust can't be built immediately.

    In the short term, foreign refs are a good way to try to build that trust, but until the SFA itself is reformed on an accountable and transparent basis, there is no long term solution.

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  48. BP, on board with all of that. The thing about “rangersness” and “celticness” IMO is that it’s used as shorthand for something that has nothing to do with football. The fact that two teams dominate football supporters in Scotland is just a fact and that’s ok with me.  Even their dominance of the media is understandable but let’s not assume we are all on one side of the sectarian divide or the other, most of us (including I suspect most Celtic fans and maybe trfc fans?) couldn’t care less. 

     

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  49. Big Pink 28th March 2019 at 17:19

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

    You are probably right about things being looked at through a Celtic or Rangers prism. In terms of Referees if the SFA can't accept that anyone, no matter who they support, has the integrity required to be a Referee then foreign officials are the answer in my view. If we can't have a cross section of people as Grade 1's (which we don't have) then something needs to change. If the system allowed a fan of any club to reach the top it would be easier to have more faith in it. As it stands a fan of Rangers has far more chance therefore it deserves to be treated with downright suspicion. 

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  50. Curious day yesterday.

    We had Keef declaring an "EXCLUSIVE!" in the early hours that McLeish was getting fired during the day.

    He even had a "LIVE" article with a timeline with frequent updates – presumably as the preamble to announcing the decision.

    There was a "deeply troubling" incident involving McLeish prior to the San Marino game which made the departure inevitable.

    Of course, it didn't happen.

    Keef backtracked, and McLeish's departure is apparently now "in discussion" into next week.

     

    So, what happened? Without any inside contacts I'll make a guess.

     

    The relatively new SFA CEO Maxwell has totally cocked up, and probably as a result of his lack of a professional background / relevant qualifications for the job.

     

    It was widely reported that Maxwell had a pre-planned phone call scheduled with McLeish yesterday as the team manager had remained at his London home.

    There was no planned or extraordinary meeting planned at Hampden re: McLeish's future.

     

    Apparently, the call was made (?), and the day ended with McLeish still in situ.

    We have since learned that the head of the League Managers Association had spoken to McLeish yesterday – and also a 'senior SFA executive'.

     

    I think Maxwell may have made a rookie mistake, and a highly unethical / insensitive mistake which could cost the SFA dearly.

    Keef had reported / implied that Maxwell was most concerned about McLeish's behaviour.

     

    I would speculate that McLeish got home to London, spoke to his family, then his lawyer and then the LMA.

    Perhaps it was even the LMA chief Richard Bevan who spoke to Maxwell yesterday, alongside McLeish?

     

    Prima facie, the SFA is seeking to exploit a staff member's -alleged – illness to remove him from his job.

    Just like the recruitment of McLeish, the planned removal of McLeish is amateurish, shambolic – and shows the SFA in an even poorer light with regards to the treatment of staff.

     

    It may be that during yesterday's call, Maxwell was informed that McLeish was going on long term sick?

    Maxwell couldn't sack an ill employee.

    Maybe it's now in the hands of lawyers to agree a settlement.

    If McLeish walks, he will be screwing the SFA for every last penny.

     

    Doesn't matter that McLeish is/was a crap manager.

    Or that as an EBT recipient, he shouldn't have been manager.

    Or that it seemed to be an open secret that McLeish had health concerns before he got the job, (even I heard the rumours a year ago.)

     

    This is the SFA doing what it does best: incompetence, ineptitude, poor decision-making…which is going to cost a lot of money.

     

    And what the hell is HR doing?!

     

    As much as I dislike McLeish, in this instance I do support any action he takes against the SFA.

     

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  51. Big Pink 28th March 2019 at 17:19

    '..the dysfunctionality of the ruling body.'

    """""""""""""""""""""""""""""

    Yes.

    The dysfunctionality stretches back a long way, to the days when the 'Secretary' of the SFA could abuse his virtual monopoly of 'power' and nearly get away with it.

    And it reached into the EBT years when no one in the SFA (and SPL for that matter) even thought of questioning the absurd returns being serially submitted for nearly a decade by one club about the  remuneration being paid to its 'superstar' players.

    Members of the SFA Board then, as now, were first and foremost 'businessmen' but not one of them seems to have wondered how these players were so happy to be paid so relatively little. They might have  been  excused for believing (like the whole Scottish business world did) that Murray had the personal wealth to pay the transfer fees.

    They surely cannot ,as any kind of supervisory , controlling , governance body , be forgiven for not having a system in place to detect anomalies in the accounts submitted under the Articles of Association. 

    Even before Scottish Football was 'professionalised', clubs were at it, with undisclosed payments to supposedly 'amateur' players being commonplace.

    It is beyond belief that hard-bitten businessmen in the world of football believed for one minute that  human nature had changed to such effect that a club chairman's word was his bond, and that there was therefore no need to question it!

    If there was a checking mechanism  it either  was not put into effect at all, or was carried out by officers who were incompetent and not themselves supervised and checked, or was thoroughly done and the results quietly slipped away and not opened to rigorous questioning.

    Whatever the reason(s), it was assign of complete dysfunctionality; 

    a dysfunctionality that underlies all of the problems currently faced by Scottish Football- including the 'refereeing' difficulty , the appointment of the Scotland team manager, 'strict liability' , and the automatic 'election' of one blazer after another to the office of President.

    Root and branch reform of the Governance model is a must, with a heavy, heavy emphasis on more public accountability and the transparency in dealings which that requires. And with the retrospection that the rescission of the 5-Way Agreement and the correction of record books requires.

    If that does not come from within, then we may rightly call on the Scottish government to ensure that no funding of any kind is given to the SFA.

     

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  52. John C
    Ultimately we won’t get to the SFA due to the dishonesty and corruption. They will fall on the sword of their own massive incompetence. The walls are closing in inch by inch. Eventually they will have nowhere to go.

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  53. I note a number of press reports saying Zebra Finance have pulled out of deals offering installment payment plans for season tickets.

    Hibs and Hearts mentioned in the Edinburgh Press but I recall T'Rangers also used this firm in the past.

    I am sure others may pick up the baton but wonder if that may just add another cash flow problem for certain clubs?

     

     

     

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  54. wottpi 29th March 2019 at 10:44

    '.press reports saying Zebra Finance have pulled out of deals ..'

    *************

    Yes, this from 

    https://www.zebrafinance.com/

    "Important Information

    Zebra Finance Limited is no longer accepting credit applications from new or existing customers. Zebra Finance Limited continues to operate to service existing customers.

    Important Information if you have an open agreement with Zebra Finance Limited

    Your credit agreement with Zebra Finance Limited is still live and you will need to continue paying by Direct Debit

    Zebra Finance Limited will continue to collect your payments as normal. This will be by Direct Debit and will shows as RRSZebra on your bank statement.

    Important information if you are currently applying for a loan with Zebra Finance Limited

    If you have applied for credit and your application has not yet been accepted or you have not signed your credit agreement your application will now be cancelled and you will be notified of this in writing.

    You will need to contact your services supplier (club/clinic) to arrange an alternative method of payment.

    If you have received your activation/Direct Debit Instruction letter your loan will be live, payment will be made to your services supplier (club/clinic) and payments will be taken as detailed in your credit agreement, they will show as RRSZebra on your bank statement.

    Auto Renewal customers

    If you are an auto renewal customer, your credit agreement will not be renewed and we will be writing out to you shortly.

    You will need to contact your club to arrange alternative payment methods for your season ticket/golf membership

    Questions regarding Season Tickets or Golf Memberships

    Any questions regarding your season ticket itself or your golf membership should be directed to your club in the first instance.

    <

    p style=”margin-left:0px; margin-right:0px”>If you have any questions, please contact us on 01332 680400 or enquiries@zebrafinance.com."

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  55. Burnley: Andre Gray and Michael Keane sales help club record £36.6m profit

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47747575

    The sales of Andre Gray and Michael Keane helped Burnley to a record £36.6m profit for the year ending June 2018.

    Striker Gray, 27, was sold to Watford for about £18.5m, while defender Keane, 26, joined Everton for a fee up to £30m in 2017.

    Burnley's previous record profit was the £30.1m posted in June 2015.

    The Premier League club, who finished seventh last season, are 17th and two points above the relegation zone with seven games of this campaign left.

    Burnley's turnover increased from £121m to £138.9m for the 2017-18 season, while wages went from £61m to £81m.

    "We continued to invest in new playing talent whilst trading players where we felt that they might be at, or close to, the peak of their value," said Burnley chairman Mike Garlick.

    "As we hopefully continue to maintain our Premier League status going forward, the above will form a key part of our strategy and, in the main, we will purchase players who improve the quality and competitiveness of our first team and are able to technically develop further and grow in value."

    NB Burley are currently in 17th place on 30 points, two points ahead of Cardiff who are in the final relegation place.

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  56. I think TRFC had dropped Zebra Finance previously…

    and went with the much better aligned, Cheetah Finance instead.

    Mibbees.

    Sorry.

    I'll get my safari jacket…  no

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  57. I think Keef has been an obedient SMSM copy / paste servant for too long and it's creating unintended consequences.

     

    Rather than simply repeat drip fed stories of fantasy from Level42…

    the bold Keef is now dreaming up his own fantasy "Exclusives!".

     

    After waking up in the early hours yesterday to mention it on Twitter, he must have had a pure riddy for the remainder of a very long day.  blush

    Poor Keef…

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  58. StevieBC 29th March 2019 at 15:03   5   0   Rate This I think Keef has been an obedient SMSM copy / paste servant for too long and it's creating unintended consequences.   Rather than simply repeat drip fed stories of fantasy from Level42… the bold Keef is now dreaming up his own fantasy "Exclusives!".   After waking up in the early hours yesterday to mention it on Twitter, he must have had a pure riddy for the remainder of a very long day.   Poor Keef…  

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

     

    I accept that Keef is well capable of making stuff up. I think on this occasion he was given info that Alex was getting the heave ho. 

     

    It hasn't happened because I believe the SFA have got themselves into a legal tangle that will take time to resolve and cost them more cash than they bargained for.

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Comments are closed.