"Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us.
We will never hide from it. Never fear."
- William Struth

All Aboard The Rangers Circus

Written by: 1972
Wednesday, 7th June 2017

Once again, the Rangers circus has rolled in to town, and while the football side of the business appears to be promising (more of that later), the Craig Whyte saga has exploded, with him being found Not Guilty of the fraud charges brought before him.

It would appear that the case failed not because Craig Whyte didn't use Ticketus money secured against Season Ticket income to fund his takeover but because the fraud charges were shambolic.

As Whyte's QC, Donald Findlay's defence was that in the transaction itself David Murray was not a victim of fraud, and essentially it was this argument that settled the case

Ultimately, while Rangers fans are angry at Whyte and his cronies, Murray, and Lloyds bank for an arrangement that benefited these parties, and set the business on the road to Administration, the real issue here is that corporate law across the UK is not fit for purpose.

The shenanigans before and after Administration, where Mike Ashley, Charles Green and co join in the shafting game just points to vulnerable businesses in the UK not being protected from the corporate vultures that inhabit this world.

There are a number of individuals who have raped and pillaged their way through the accounts of various businesses associated to the club, from those above to their associates and hangers on, but the real villains of the piece are David Murray, Ian Shanks at Lloyds Bank, and HMRC, who engineered the club to its position of vulnerability for Whyte, Green, Ashley and others to pillage.

Amidst all the noise we should remember;

- Rangers £18M debt to Lloyds Bank was not a large debt, and the club was already operating its own austerity measures from around 2007 in order to reduce that debt, which had been driven down from £30M to £18M 
- Rangers debt was manageable prior to the takeover
- The Murray International Debt to Lloyds was in the hundreds of millions, and Lloyds wished Murray to sell off several businesses to reduce his debt
- Lloyds had place-people on the Rangers board, as did Murray from his corporate business
- HMRC retrospectively ruled on EBTs in 2011, then hounded Rangers for a retrospective amount that amounted to a fine they had concocted, rather than the value of the tax the believed owed based upon the sums deposited in to the Trust. Of course that 'big tax case' is still rumbling on, with a Supreme Court judgement imminent on the last appeal against the First Tier Tribunal Judgement. This sum required by HMRC, which appeared to jump from £34M to £48M for no apparent reason ended up as a debt on the books of the operating business
- HMRC had been working on EBT Legislation since 2003, with former Celtic Chairman John Reid Home Secretary in 2006. Celtic's use of EBTs, from 2005, pre-dated Mr Reid becoming Home Secretary. Reid became Celtic Chairman in 2007, while still a serving Labour Cabinet Minister. Reid succeeded Brian Quinn, the former Governor of the Bank of England
- HMRC refused to do any deal for any sum with either Murray or Whyte, despite doing so with other firms
- Whyte appears to have believed that he would be able to enter the business in to Administration, with no impact to the football club, but didn't reckon on a] Charles Green (or whoever he was representing) shafting him, and b] the SPL and SFA trying to kill the club 
- The SFA and SPL colluded with each other to punish Rangers as a club, when the basis of that punishment was the club being ripped apart due to the factors above.
- The impact of all of the above, has cost
* 5 years European competition revenue (15-100M)
* Loss of Player Assets (30M)
* Loss of Commercial Revenue (Kit Manufacturer, Shirt Sponsor, TV Revenue, Retail Deal over 5 years) (40M)
* BDO on behalf of the Rangers operating business Oldco have already had a ruling in their favour that Whyte's law representative Collyer Bristow misrepresented Whyte's funds. The resulting fine of £24M went to BDO not the football club

- Ticketus were not strictly a creditor of Rangers as Whyte owed them the cash, which a court ruled in 2013 he should pay '“ not Rangers FC PLC
- As a direct result of Rangers demotion, our immediate rivals across the city have benefited to the tune of a clear run at the title for 5 years, increased earnings from European Competition, and an increased share in television revenue

All of these factors led Rangers towards the abyss, and it's only through loyalty and persistence of Rangers supporters, that we are still here.

I think we can safely assume that none of the above will face any charges, or be found guilty, so the villains of the piece will all sleep soundly knowing they will not be held to account for corporate vandalism of an institution.

If Philip Green can walk after what he did to BHS, or Mike Ashley can walk after what he did to USC in this corporate jungle, then it would appear unlikely that their conduct with Rangers will see any justice

As the nation prepares for a General election tomorrow, it is worth noting that not one party has any remotely credible proposal as to how to stop the kind of chicanery that goes on every day in business in the UK.

I have in the past asked for a judicial enquiry as to the conduct of all of those who participated in the ritual kicking of Rangers from 2011 to now, but I will admit now that it looks as likely as Sands Casino opening on Edmiston Drive.

While some avenues may well have closed, we must look to salvage what we can from this situation:

- Depending on the outcome of the 'Big Tax Case' tribunal appeal, there may well be opportunities to come together and challenge the impacts that case has had
- The Actions of the SFA can still be challenged. Let's be clear. The Resolution 12 Headcases are at the wrong end of the spectrum as to how the authorities treated Rangers, when the club was being attacked by a pack of corporate wolves

The board of RIFC need to demonstrate that they can co-ordinate and fight for justice, and if they won't, we need to come together and do it.

They club though, should demonstrate that they have a full understanding of what to do, and how to do it, and someone needs a word in the shell like of Alistair Johnston on what language to use, as his initial foray on the topic on his return to the board was almost as cringeworthy as a Diane Abbott interview.

We as a support need to recognise that the club is still vulnerable to corporate attack, and we need to ensure that Club1872 is independent enough of the RIFC board to be able to scrutinise and influence what goes on behind closed doors.

Those of us who are Independent Shareholders too, need to challenge the board to ensure that our club is being run properly, and I would ask that all Shareholders take this very seriously.


by D'Artagnan
by John McCrae


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