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No to Newco campaign: A Rangers Newco entering SPL would kill integrity of our game

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James Cam, the organiser of Say No to Rangers FC Newco, is against a re-born Rangers entering the SPL and that they should ‘start afresh in the Third Division of the Scottish Football League’. Speaking exclusively to Scotzine, James said: “If any club trading in the SPL suffers a liquidation event, then that club no longer exists and therefore can’t be part of the SPL. If the liquidated club is reborn as a new club it should be made to apply for membership of the SFA and the SFL.

“If the new club succeeds in gaining membership of these bodies, then it should then start afresh in either the Highland League or the Third Division of the SFL in the same way as Annan Athletic, Ross County have had too. If they then progress through the SFL leagues and win promotion to the SPL then they will have done it in an honest manner and therefore deserve to play in the SPL.”

The ‘No to a Rangers newco’ campaign started in February, when Rangers announced that they were entering into administration.

In an official statement, No to Newco said: “For many football supporters, the demise of Gretna FC in 2008 had very little impact on our lives apart from watching the death of a romantic notion. One man, Brooks Mileson stepped up to the plate and injected much of his own money into the club, ensuring promotion in three successive seasons and even captured a place in the final of the Scottish Cup in 2006 before being beaten on penalties by Hearts.

“Due to illness Mr Mileson withdrew his financial backing and Gretna were placed into administration. Come the end of the season, Gretna were relegated to the First Division before demotion to the Third Division and alas liquidation.

“I am pretty sure that the SPL board at that time smugly shrugged their shoulders, said “nice try” and carried on with their daily business without giving much thought to history, tradition, supporters, employees or even the effect it would have on a community. Why in 2012 should the situation be any different?”

The campaign is questioning the governing body’s handling of the Rangers fiasco, they added: “There are still so many unanswered questions surrounding the Rangers fiasco which I’m sure will come out in the fullness of time. However there seems to be a sense amongst fans that Rangers in Administration are being treated with kid gloves as compared to clubs like Gretna, Dundee and Airdrie.

“Surely a club which currently owes over £1 million to SPL clubs and have refused to pay Tax or National Insurance cannot simply be given a slap on the wrist and reinstated as a new company to the SPL. We feel if this were to happen it would kill the integrity of Scottish Football.”

There has already been widespread opposition to a Rangers newco entering the SPL, but with the clubs and the chairmen having control over the destiny of Rangers Football Club, they could ultimately choose to welcome back Rangers Newco 2012 for the financial benefits solely. A decision which could see many a Scottish football fan turn their back on the Scottish game for good.

James added: “The idea that any SPL club can simply liquidate, then set up a new company and continue to trade in the SPL – considering that the former club would more than likely have owed other SPL clubs money – smacks of cheating. This would also set a dangerous precedent which would then give the green light to every other SPL club who carry a large burden of debt to do the same.”

“Now it is a fact that any club who liquidates and set up a new company are barred from European competitions for three years but there are clubs in the SPL who simply never really get the chance to qualify for European competitions so this would not be a deterrent for them.

“In conclusion if this becomes a way out for clubs to ditch their debt and obligations to The SPL then the integrity and fairness in our game dies and that will benefit no one.”

Q & A with James Cam of No to Rangers Newco

Is the campaign ‘No to Newco’ merely a group run by Celtic fans to try to get one over on Rangers?

No it certainly is not. If you check over the Twitter timeline for @NoToNewco and the site itself, you will see that I have put a good deal of work into trying to distance the campaign from being hijacked by Celtic fans who may want to use it as a way to get one over Rangers fans.

Quite simply Celtic fans got one over Rangers by winning the SPL this season. Obviously more Celtic fans back the campaign but that’s simply down to the size of the support. I can’t emphasise enough that the campaign needs a large amount of supporters from every club for this campaign to have a genuine impact.

Also I deliberately used Scottish colours of Blue and white as the colour scheme of the site. If people perceive that it’s just an anti-Rangers/pro Celtic site then all the work I have put in will have been a waste of time and no one would take the campaign seriously.

You’ll also notice that the front page of the site has the badge of every Scottish Football club. I’m hoping that this proves that the campaign is open to all followers of Scottish football.

What in your eyes is the rightful conclusion for Rangers Football Club?

My personal opinion is that in the event that Rangers Football Club should suffer liquidation they have every right to set up a new Rangers Football club. However the new club should follow the path I have set out in my previous comments which would mean them starting life in Division Three and work their way back up through the leagues to the SPL.

As a side issue I truly believe that this would benefit Scottish football over all. We all know Rangers carry a huge travelling support who spend a lot of money. Would it not be a great boost to clubs in the lower leagues to benefit from the finance the visiting Rangers support would bring? It would also raise the profile of these clubs and possibly allow them to attract more money from sponsors.

What is the feedback from football fans in general out with Celtic FC?

So far fans out with the Celtic support especially fans of other SPL clubs seems to be in line with the majority of the Celtic support. You would only have to look through several social media platforms and web sites and read statements from various supporters associations to see that they are generally against the parachuting of a Rangers Newco into the SPL. Other supporters from First Division clubs feel that an RFC newco would simply deny the opportunity of a second First Division club being promoted to the SPL.

Do you think the governing bodies and chairmen will actually listen to the fans?

That’s the million dollar question. Obviously in modern football balance sheets seem to be the main concern of club chairmen rather than the welfare of their supporters. There is no doubt that an SPL without Rangers would initially hit them in the pocket. However the flip side of the coin is that the SPL would become more competitive, especially in terms of smaller clubs getting a better chance of European football so that may actually bring more fans through the
turnstiles.

However my own personal thought is that they will choose to ignore their supporters wishes and go for the easy short-term fix which would ultimately allow a NEW Rangers club direct access to the SPL.

For more information about the Say No to Rangers Newco check out their website: http://no-tonewco.glas2014.com/

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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