"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

A Reminder

Written by: 1972
Wednesday, 26th July 2017

As the Anti Rangers obsessives regroup behind yet another initiative to strip Rangers of titles, it's worth bearing in mind a few key issues that seem to be passing the unstable behind.

Long term VB readers may recall a call on these pages for a judicial review in to the treatment of Rangers in the years up to and including 2012, as our view was that actions had been taken across several govt agencies that were done with the prime purpose of damaging Rangers football club.

Those revisionists across the city can try but cannot change history, and it is the duty of the Rangers support to remind them, and others exactly what happened, and how Rangers have suffered. The passage of time, and the evolution of fan groups and websites cannot be allowed to dilute the message, that Rangers have suffered massively over the last 10 years, with the last 5 in particular being particularly brutal.

To recap, it's worth once again highlighting the key events, with the rather large pretext that David Murray was running the club in to debt with the Bank of Scotland, on some delusional pretext that Rangers would win the Champions League. In the late 90s in particular, Murray was swashbuckling with OUR money, while smooth talking Dave King, Joe Lewis and JJB Sports to front up ridiculous sums of money to fund a level of investment in the playing squad that was wholly unnecessary, as Rangers would most likely have won the league in most of the years we did, at half of the cost.

Rangers had the back of the bank, had generated never before (or since) investment from Sky TV, and all was well.

Rangers were spreading the wealth across Scottish Football with record crowds, and transfers, until other Scottish clubs started acting more stupidly than you could imagine. While we can look back at our own club's folly with some regret, there was at least some underwriting of our spending, with Murray knowing ultimately deep down that the Rangers support would always be there to keep the cash rolling in, others were spending without that insurance policy.

During this period, delusions of grandeur from provincial clubs meant crazy unaffordable signings by Dundee, St Mirren, Motherwell, Dundee Utd and Livingston, with Dundee Utd's whole business for several years being more than underwritten by the Thomson family, as the club itself was dependent on cash from the late Eddie Thompson.

I guess no one will ever know the intricate details of how clubs were being run in the 90s and early 2000's, but those with longer memories will remember this is when football agents were ripping the piss, after the Bosman decision left football clubs unsure of the rules of engagement. It was also rumoured to be common practice for football clubs in the 80s and 90s to buy Cars and Property for footballers. Finding documentation of this is nigh on impossible, although one does recall Celtic allegedly reneging on one such deal with Paul Elliott, who subsequently took Celtic to court. 

Point is, any club or fan wishing to talk of Sporting Integrity as being their motivation for attacking Rangers consistently, is either very ill informed, or a liar. My view is that financial integrity was short on the ground across football in general. Some have suffered, with Rangers being the most high profile victim of the fallout from this period, but many have got away Scot free.

Let's not forget the deals Celtic struck with Robbie Keane, Roy Keane, Thomas Graveson and others, their EBT with Juninho or the coincidences that more employees of Celtic FC than any other football club in Scotland by a distance joined tax avoiding film schemes. While players appear to be left to carry the can for this, as with the EBT rulings, it is still unclear where the contributions to the film schemes originated. 

So, with the hypocrisy out of the way, let's look at the actions of those, who ultimately inflicted years of turbo charged austerity and suffering on Rangers, and substantial loss of earnings.

-Murray of course, looked to be in great difficulty with his businesses, after the Lloyds and govt takeover of the Bank of Scotland with the game changing from support to manipulation and attack. Unsurprisingly, his personal wealth and business interests have, after an apparent era of stagnation, rose like a phoenix from the flames. He treated Rangers like a toy, lost interest and discarded us to save his other businesses, and is now doing better than ever.

-Lloyds Bank, part Government owned, forced their own people on to the Rangers board, suppressed spending, recompensed themselves with as much revenue as possible to reduce Rangers debts to the club, and forced the sale of the operating business to charlatan Craig Whyte, with due diligence apparently ignored, and the results of a private investigation commissioned by Rangers board members on Craig Whyte also ignored. Of course, Lloyds got their cash settlement of the full debt owed by Rangers operating business and ruthlessly tied up their loose ends, while throwing us to the wolves.

-HMRC retrospectively changed the tax rules on EBTS, and pursued Rangers for a sum plus fine that bore no relation whatsoever to the actual taxes that would have been due had Rangers operated a straightforward PAYE and NIC only structure, then refused offers from Murray and successors to agree a settlement, while agreeing settlements with several other football clubs and businesses across the UK. It should be noted that HMRC were pursuing Craig Whyte for an unrelated tax amount of £4M which somehow was not uncovered by Lloyds or Murray due diligence

-After Rangers entered Administration, an unlawful registration ban was placed on the club by the SFA

-Rangers were fined £250,000 by the SPL

-Rangers were forced in to Scotland's bottom division in 2012, subject to a 5 way agreement granting Rangers licence to play football. One draft of the document written by SPL lawyer Rod McKenzie included conditions that for Rangers to be given a football licence, they would need to accept

  • Stripping of 5 SPL titles
  • Stripping of 6 Scottish Cups
  • A Second Transfer embargo
  • Witholding of £2M Prize Money

Thankfully the Rangers contingent present at that meeting, including McCoist, stood firm in these negotiations, and the final agreement was signed that allowed Rangers to continue playing football without history being rewritten.


-The Scottish PFA, advised by Celtic supporting lawyer Margaret Gribbon, advised Oldco Rangers players to oppose the offers from the Newco operating business, aided and abetted by player agents, such as former Celtic PR man Peter McLean who represented (and still represents I may add) Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith. Rangers lost a squad of players worth in the region of £25M for zero return.

-Rangers have lost 5 years of European Football, worth a minimum of £5M, with a potential return if competing in the Champions League of £100M+, conservatively based on this http://www.dailyreco...ampions-9173567

-Rangers have lost marketing value over a 5 year period with necessary ticket price reductions and substantial sponsorship reduction, due to the club not competing in either the Premier League or being in European football. I estimate this at a minimum of £60M over the period

Frankly, anyone suggesting Rangers haven't suffered enough, while Celtic have effectively had a free pass at the title for 6 years, and all the benefits that come with it, deserves to be given short shrift, and to be fought on the strongest terms.

If Club1872, or indeed the Rangers as a club are minded to financially take on any of the band of bigots who wish to achieve further punishment of the club, I for one, will be behind them every step of the way.


by John McCrae
by John McCrae


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