"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

Remove The Cancer

Written by: 1972
Tuesday, 12th September 2017

Some people may be surprised at the obsessive nature of the bheasts across the city pressurising football authorities to strip Rangers of titles, or impact Rangers' UEFA licence, but here at VB towers we are well aware of the level of hatred and grievance that drives an element of the Celtic support, and apparently that also includes Peter Lawwell. 

At a normal football club, supporters full of hatred for their rivals trying to get their board (and anyone else who can help) to damage their rivals would typically be ignored, while the board concentrate on their own affairs.

Celtic are not normal, however, and neither is Scottish football. Many across the city have convinced themselves that Rangers employment of EBTs had a material impact on their club. It doesn't matter that this doesn't make sense to normal people, because it makes sense to those who have been fed grievance all their lives, and those who judge others by their own actions.

So, we live in an environment where many associated to Celtic believe it is acceptable to use their own EBTs, on the basis that their payment was after the employee left the club, while ignoring that the structure was the same as Rangers', it's use was the same, and it utilised the same tax efficiencies as Rangers scheme. 

We also live in an environment where Celtic supporting journalists boasted upon the signing of Robbie Keane that his salary was that high that it had to be funded by Dermot Desmond himself. I mentioned these players, and others in an article last week, and it was hardly an exclusive, but the odd thing is that there is little appetite in the media to establish not just how Celtic remunerated several players, but how they managed to secure at below market value the Lennoxtown land for their training ground, London Road primary school, Co-Op Bank loans, and Barrowfield.

The forever excellent footballtaxhavens blog has for many years, via FOI’s, been uncovering a number of questionable transactions and local government support for Celtic which has saved millions of pounds for Celtic, that other competing clubs have not been allowed.

Again, the appetite within the media, and agencies in a position to challenge these transactions has been remarkably low.

What is quite astonishing, when you start to navigate that site, how sporting integrity was in such short supply not just at Celtic Park, but also at Tynecastle and several other Scottish Football clubs.

When Celtic release a statement quoting SPFL support in to having another bite at Rangers EBT punishment, while Aberdeen owner Stewart Milne is asking for it to be dropped, while Rangers would obviously not be in support, and the SFA now stating it is only Celtic asking for a new enquiry, it is clear that it's only Celtic and their apologists who wish a second hit at Rangers.

Lawwell's attack on the SFA refusing to participate in a doomed enquiry, with him quoted as responding that it is not the point to the SFA's stance that they will most likely lose as they don't have a case, is shameful.

Frankly, if Celtic were squeaky clean, then I could just about laugh off this obsession, but it's an obsession of hypocrites, while Celtic has benefited from other parties' benevolence over a significant period, and also from Rangers’ troubles. 

So, as Celtic target their seventh league title in a row, and prepare for a lucrative Champions League campaign made accessible by Rangers' recent woes, it would appear that their motivation is misplaced at the wrong side of the city.

If Scottish Football were in any way sensible, Lawwell would be advised that the biggest 'missing' revenue stream for Scottish Football, in television money, cannot be grown while clubs are continually engaged in an eternal cycle of destruction.

Neither Neil Doncaster, or Murdoch McLennan at the SPFL have any hope in hell of negotiating a decent TV deal for the SPFL while Celtic engage in this stalker-like obsession with Rangers. TV money and exposure is fundamental to everything worth anything in football.

It drives the club's investment in blue chip players, which in turn makes the product better, improves clubs' standings on the continent, and drives more inward investment. This is where all Scottish clubs should be focusing their energies.

Frankly, I would never have cared about how Celtic went about their business until they started exploring every avenue they could to damage Rangers. Now I care. If they u-turned on this campaign would I still care? No. 

What is also rather odd about this whole campaign, is that many of the supporters relentlessly blogging, whinging and crowdfunding on this, are more concerned with damaging their opposition than the fact Celtic have had opportunities to put themselves out of sight of Rangers for years to come by conventional means, by spending their Champions League income on the sort of quality that Rangers can't afford, and they are not taking that opportunity.

Were my leanings in that direction, I would be asking what the club are doing to make themselves the dominant force for decades to come, and what measures the club were taking to grow their revenue so they could improve their European position.

When Rangers return to the top, and we will, then Celtic fans will not be able to look to their boardroom and demand answers as to why the club were focusing all their energies in the wrong direction, as they themselves are the instigators of much of Celtic’s conduct.

When Rangers get back on top, what we as Rangers fans will do, as we have always done, is enjoy it, and expect our board to responsibly grow our club in every positive way that they can.

We can't make Peter Lawwell normal, or expect Celtic fans to focus on their own club, so we will need to maintain some level of focus on ensuring the fight coming from across the city fizzles out for good. I have no doubt we as a club and as a support can do this.

What we need to prepare for is the fact that as one campaign ends, they will begin another one. We will fight whatever they throw at us, and still come out on top.

What is really interesting, since I scribbled this, is 'that' Hibs statement last night, joining with Aberdeen and calling for a halt to any further proceedings against Rangers on EBTs. Given that Hibs' Rod Petrie was one of the driving forces in 2012 for title stripping, it's a hugely symbolic u-turn.

While it is welcome from Rangers point of view on title stripping, it casts a very dark cloud over the SPFL's Neil Doncaster and Murdoch McLennan, and Peter Lawwell. 

While Celtic fans rage over the unwillingness of anyone of note outside Celtic Park to engage on title stripping, and many of my fellow Rangers fans breathe a sigh of relief, I find myself observing that, whether Lawwell wants title stripping or not, he knows it isn't happening, and has been able to engineer civil war in Scottish Football, playing off the SPFL and SFA organisations against each other.

My view in fact is that this agitation has been designed to put maximum pressure on the SFA to find Rangers guilty of an alleged Admin breach over the club's UEFA application in 2011, and also to effect regime change in his favour, as an offset to losing out on title stripping.

As someone who called for a Judicial enquiry about the treatment of Rangers in 2012, my belief is that Lawwell should be careful what he wishes for. There is a growing trend here of Bheast initiatives to damage Rangers spectacularly backfiring, and I believe that the SFA may well be doing Celtic and their apologists a huge favour, as well as finally acting in the game's best interests in this issue.

I would be very wary however, that Lawwell will continue to agitate for the UEFA application issue both in Scotland, and at UEFA itself.

While many Rangers fans would be happy simply with Rangers defending their position, my view is that Rangers should be calling for Lawwell to step down both from his SFA board position, and his new ECA position, for not acting in the interests of moving Scottish Football forward.

He is a cancer in Scottish Football, and he needs to be removed from the game completely.


by 1972
by 1972


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