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For the good of Scottish football…. what a load of old tosh

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For the good of Scottish football. That is what Scottish football fans are being fed currently from elements within the mainstream media and Rangers Football Club.

We should ignore the Court of Session verdict over Rangers’ use of the EBT scheme. For the good of Scottish football.

We should not demand that Rangers are stripped of their titles won during the time that the Ibrox side used the EBT scheme. For the good of Scottish football.

We should all forget the past and move on. For the good of Scottish football.

But hold on a minute.

Don’t dare even contemplate discussing, let alone consider taking Rangers’ titles away from them as you will be dealt with in the ‘strongest manner possible’ and will be held accountable for acting ‘against their fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and to Scottish football’.

What a load of old tosh.

I’m sorry but is there anyone who actually believes this tripe? Of course the ‘uninformed ramblings of a few outspoken fans’ who support Rangers will lap this all up and congratulate their club on taking a hardline against their rivals, their ‘enemy’.

Since their demise we have heard a lot about ‘The Journey’ from the Rangers camp and their minions within certain circles of the mainstream media, but what has been consistent since the Sevco v Brechin City game is the aggressive, hostile and threatening language that the club and their supporters have spewed out regularly.

From trying to get journalists sacked, to targeting club officials for sitting on panels that punished the club, to warning specific clubs that when ‘they return’ they will get their revenge one way or another. Despite King’s claims of wanting to forget the past and move on, Rangers as a club think they are the victims in this debacle and blame the rest of Scottish football for not bending over so that they can have their own way after screwing themselves silly with talk of a new messiah who would lead them to the promised land.

Rangers the victims are actually Rangers the perpetrators and they hate anyone telling them as much.

Dave King’s latest statement is filled with PR bull concocted by the businessman’s own version of ‘Comical Ali’ James Traynor, to pander to their fan base and to send a message that they are a force to be reckoned with. It is nothing more than sabre-rattling in my opinion, and they know it. Rangers are not the dominant force that they once were and while they are fighting what is effectively a losing battle against Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, they seem to think that the bully boy tactics will work as they used to.

Scottish football has moved on since the days of Sir David Murray and while many in the press seem to fight over the scraps thrown from the boardroom table at Ibrox, Scottish football fans no longer rely on the mainstream media for their coverage of our game nor the major issues in the game.

And that is a good thing – especially when some love nothing more than to fire out a hand delivered press release as an exclusive – conning their readers in the process.

Focusing on the statement itself – which has been described as ‘passionate’ by some and ‘threatening’ by others – King seems to contradict himself with comments he has made. And not for the first time either.

So Scottish football has been warned to not even contemplate sniffing round the Ibrox side’s trophy room otherwise they will be held accountable for their actions and for listening to their fans. When did threats become good for Scottish football?

King’s statement, published on the official Rangers website, read: “It is disappointing that a debate has re-emerged around the subject of Rangers’ history in Scottish football. It must be especially frustrating for the Club’s supporters who again find individuals within the structures of Scottish football unfairly targeting the Club.

“As the one individual who was a major shareholder and director throughout the period that gave rise to the HMRC dispute, and again find myself in a similar capacity, I believe that I am uniquely positioned to make three important observations.

“First, irrespective of the final outcome of the tax appeal (which might take several more years) the football team had no advantage from any tax savings from the scheme put in place by the Murray Group. Throughout the period in question the shareholders were committed to providing funding to the Club. The tax scheme may have reduced the need for shareholders to provide higher levels of funding so, as I have tried to make clear in the past, any advantage gained would have been to the company and its shareholders, not the team. Certain players may not have signed for the Club without the perceived benefit of personal tax savings but there was no general advantage for the player squad, or the performance on the pitch. We would still have signed players of equal abilities if one or two had decided they didn’t want to sign under different financial circumstances.

“Secondly, Lord Nimmo Smith has fully and finally dealt with the legitimacy of the continuity of the Club’s history. There is no more to be debated on that issue.

“Finally, it is extraordinary that representatives of other Scottish clubs – who admit the damage done to Scottish football by Rangers’ removal from the Premier League – should even wish to re-engage with this issue. It is time those individuals, who represent other clubs, recognise their legal and fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and shareholders rather than submit to the uninformed ramblings of a few outspoken fans to whom attacking Rangers is more important than the wellbeing of their own clubs.

“This is a misguided attempt (that will ultimately fail) to rewrite history and defeat Rangers off the park when their teams could not do so on the park at the time. The history of many other clubs would have to be rewritten if this illogical argument was to be consistently applied.

“Having reviewed documentation that has become available to me I believe that Rangers was harshly and, in some instances, unfairly treated in the period leading up to demotion from the Premier League. However, that is now history and I have publicly stated, with the full support of the recently installed board, that we wish to put the past behind us and move on in partnership with all clubs throughout Scotland to improve and restore the image and quality of Scottish football as a whole. This will be to the benefit of all clubs.

“For the avoidance of doubt, however, I wish to make one point clear. If the history of our Club comes under attack we will deal with it in the strongest manner possible and will hold to account those persons who have acted against their fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and to Scottish football.”

A misguided attempt to rewrite history?

It seems that King has already done his own fair share of rewriting history. Only three years ago in June 2012, King apologised to Scottish football for the club’s use of the EBT scheme – yet his latest statement claimed Rangers did nothing wrong. Now why would King apologise for Rangers using the EBT scheme if they did nothing wrong?

He added: “I follow the logic of the argument that if we lose the tax case then we probably gained some competitive advantage.”

That certainly flies in the face of his comment on Thursday night, when he said: “First, irrespective of the final outcome of the tax appeal (which might take several more years) the football team had no advantage from any tax savings from the scheme put in place by the Murray Group.”

Make your mind up Dave. Which is it?

If Rangers actually cared for what was good for Scottish football – would they have engaged in using a tax avoidance scheme? Although on Clyde Superscoreboard on Thursday night, one angry Rangers punter claimed that Rangers using EBTs to bring in the likes of the de Boers, Tore Andre Flos etc was great for the Scottish game.

Surely the threats, the abuse and the aggressive mentality that has been on show since 2012 from Rangers and their fans is not great for our game?

Surely Rangers’ use of EBTs was only great for Rangers Football Club and not for Scottish football?

It seems that the only good thing that Scottish football has got out of this sorry mess, is that we now know the extent that Rangers went to in their quest to win silverware.

Financial doping was a phrase that was coined for Rangers and no matter how many Jim Traynor-styled press release-cum-threatening letters are published – that term will always stick to Rangers like a fly to shit.

King loves a soundbite, but just like Charles Green, his soundbites come back to bite him on his arse.

I wonder if Scottish football will accept Dave King’s apology some three years on from when he made it? Or will his continued aggressive tendancies further enrage a fanbase that is already seething from their cheating?

The Scottish FA and the SPFL learned the hard way when they tried to force clubs and the fans into doing their bidding in 2012, does Dave King really expect the Scottish football fans to kowtow to a bully? Especially when that same bully is getting his arse handed to him in another battle.

Even if the clubs and the governing bodies back down – the fans won’t. Rangers and Dave King will always be reminded of it – and they can fire off as many threats as they like – but they won’t be silenced.

He can’t buy his way out of this one like he did with his tax convictions in South Africa.

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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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