21 Jan 2015

Does Dave King deserve a second chance at Rangers?

So is he the Messiah? God alone knows. But he most definitely has been a very naughty boy – and when it comes to Rangers FC then Monty Python is as good a frame of reference as anything else these days.
For perhaps only Cleese, Palin, Idle et al could come up with the current potential hattrick for the stricken club.

Tax own goal 1 : Sir David Murray’s tenure at Ibrox results in years of legal wrangling over whether the club (where the bosses paid no income tax) was avoiding or evading income tax. That one rolls on and on.

Tax own-goal 2 : Craig Whyte’s tenure after Murray where tax issues resulted in the police being called in; him being banned from Scottish football for life and the club restarting several leagues lower in the Scottish football league system. Scottish Police say the investigation continues.

Tax own-goal 3 and the possible hattrick?

Enter Dave King as would-be Rangers saviour from all this nonsense once and for all.

And he could be. He just could be… He’s a man of means. Rangers to the core and makes all the noises a lot of fans want to hear.


Just one issue though – yup – tax. The very naughty boy bit.

Dave King is a convicted tax cheat and now wants to own – of all things in the land – Rangers, probably the most tax-toxic sporting institution in Britain.

So given this blog is largely for those outwith Govan, Glasgow – indeed Scotland – it is worth reviewing the Dave King charge sheet.

In August 2013 a 13-year battle with the South African taxman ended with King pleading guilty to 41 charges at Gauteng High Court in South Africa.

King was fined R80,000 (about £4500) on each charge, totalling R3.28 million (about £187,000). The convictions relate to contravening the Income Tax Act; wilful failure to make required disclosures in annual income tax returns and failure to submit tax returns for two of his companies Metlika and Ben Nevis.

Further, King agreed to pay a Criminal Assets Recovery demand of R8.75 million (£499,000) within 30 days.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) sought recovery of R706.7 million (£40,281,000) from an indictment of 322 charges relating to fraud, tax evasion, exchange control requirements, money laundering and racketeering.

It is worth returning again at this point to the words of the South African judge Brian Southwood a few years earlier in King’s long battle against the taxman. Judge Southwood said the unanimous opinion of the High Court was that Dave King:

“…is a mendacious witness whose evidence should not be accepted on any issue…”

that King;

“…showed no sign of embarrassment or any emotion when he conceded that he had lied to the (SARS) commissioner in a number of his income tax returns. In our assessment, he is a glib and shameless liar.”

Lesson learned?

Returning to Glasgow recently and poised to try and control the club, King says he has learned his lesson and all this behind him.

So Scottish football may now have its very own Ched Evans syndrome. Should a man with a past be given a second chance to have a high-profile position in (potentially) big-money football?

Of course many will rightly point out that rape is not tax-dodging. King pleaded guilty, Evans did not. King speaks of remorse, Evans speaks of denial. An on-pitch star cannot be compared to an off-pitch suit when it comes to being a role model.

All true – but then again of all the clubs it is Rangers – and the issue is tax.

That has to take the issue  straight to questions of governance and the words ‘fit’, ‘proper’ and ‘person’ in the mind of any reasonable onlooker who cares about probity in the game – or safeguarding what remains of it in money-driven big football.

So what will happen? For the time being nothing. King wants the current board out. Current board wants in and ain’t for budging. But if…if…there should be a change of directorship then that would trigger notification to the SFA’s professional game board which would indeed discuss words like ‘fit’ and ‘proper’. Hopefully in depth.

Or they may do so and pass it all on up to the full board of the SFA in due course. The board or PGB must weigh the pros, (that  presumably King would still be trading; still working as a director quite legally and not disbarred by any trading authority along with all mitigation), against the obvious cons that a man with this kind of form should not be let loose at Ibrox nor anywhere else in football.

In a sport where money talks ever louder, that might not be the easy and obvious judgement those for and against King are quick to make, with all the usual passion.

It could be that Mr King should be given a second chance. But surely only if the governing body, the PGB/SFA, runs a serious slide-rule over what is at stake here and endeavours to nail down the promises King has made to fans along with his colourful past.

Failure here means an unspeakable hattrick  for Ibrox and the credibility of the SFA absolutely on the line. Should it come to it, they will need to get into, and all over King and be seen to do so, for the good of themselves, of Ibrox and of the game

But like I say, right now all the SFA needs to do and should do – is nothing.

Read more from Alex Thomson on Twitter: @alextomo

Tweets by @alextomo

44 reader comments

  1. Marty says:

    Much is made of the South African situation. However, the South African authorities permit Dave King to run companies. Indeed the South African government is one of his largest customers. Unless certain people want to only look at one part of the South African situation and not at how things are there at present?

  2. Thomas says:

    So why is sandy easdales not had the same media attention from your crowd ie speirs English ow and don’t forget jack as a journalist of the past you have let yourself be dragged into the company of bitter and twisted individuals why

  3. Bawsman says:

    Alex, he got his second chance when he failed to call out Craig White as he steamed towards the cliff, he blew it, he said/did NOTHING.

    The guy is a “glib and shameless liar”, if this is the kind of level the SFA countenance as a fit and proper person……….I’m out.

  4. joe strummer says:

    The fear of the return of Dave King to Ibrox is delicious to observe.

    Get over it, Alex.

  5. YoushoukdresignAT says:

    A new low even for you AT, to compare it to Ched Evans situation. Disgusting desperate journalism for self attention. King is no angel but he still has more money and more importantly more credability than you son. Disgusted a formal letter of complaint on its way to your editor, how he could allow such drivel to be posted on Channel 4’s. I wonder what Ched Evans victim thinks of your comparisons.

  6. Danny Baillie says:

    Oh Alex just. Your usual poor drivel about the Rangers get a life or a wife I cannot believe how infatuated you are with our beloved club like the rest of the bheasts worry about yourself and your own club we will arise again and deep down YOU ALL KNOW IT WRTP

  7. brian says:

    ‘Football is not just a matter of life and death: it’s much more important than that’ as mr Shankly once said . Rangers fans are not at fault for what has happened they have been subjected to abuse for previous board failings.the horse has now bolted on fit and proper when the tax man already had one on whyte before his take over at ibrox .This board has a duty to its customers and share holders to protect the assets of the business , not treat them with contempt every one is a puppet for Ashley, remember the board are only custodians of the club the fans are the life and blood so we will go with the devil we know than a bunch of guys we would not buy a second hand car of who would probably charge you for the logbook and air for the tyres before you left the yard.

  8. Allan McRitchie says:

    Are there not wars going on that need your attention ,stop pandering to your friends in the east end your input is not required perhaps if your at a loose end you might like to investigate Glasgow City Council and their state aid for that lot ,or maybe the cover up of sexual abuse at Celtic park or then again maybe not because that would mean doing your job you clown

    1. Bruce67 says:

      Still on about that state aid drivel. Did you not notice that the EC rejected it. Its over. There was no state aid.

      And there was no child abuse at Celtic Park, you bigot.

      1. Davie says:

        I don’t think that last comment is true. Who was This Torbett guy? To critise what happened at Celtic Boys Club (although often done because of bigotry) is in itself no more bigoted than criticising Jimmy Saville is anti-English. The fact is that Torbett did abuse children.

      2. Bruce67 says:

        The kind of people who drag out that drivel pretty much always do so out of a particular type of sordid, obsessed bigotry. It takes a particularly disturbed mind to want to use child abuse to point score over football. The fact is that Celtic Boys Club was not a part of Celtic. Torbett asked Celtic if he could use their name. The fact that he used it to cover for his crimes isn’t Celtic’s fault.

  9. marl evans says:

    Tell me anyone anywhere in the world who doesnt try and lay less tax at any level.

  10. Scot Freeman says:

    Yet more rubbish spouted by band wagon jumping journo’s with nothing better to write about, and when we really think on it, journo’s who really shouldn’t be in the job because when it comes to it, just trying to appeal to certain people and the anti Rangers agenda, then when I say band wagon jumper, I rest my case as in Alex Thomson

  11. Billy Mitchell says:

    I thought this was going to be a serious unbiased article, then noticed it was written by Alex Thomson. So out goes unbiased and in comes biased.
    Yes the bitter Alex Thomson strikes again and misses out on the truth, but who needs the truth when you’ve got Alex Thomson

  12. nichola shawcross says:

    Think you may have got some of your figures wrong 40million paid or 82 years in jail

  13. Bob says:

    No comments?

    Nobody cares anymore Alex :-)

    Move on with the rest of the world.

    Bye bye.

  14. Ravvi says:

    No doubt…Kings lawyers…will be all over this article…and taking appropriate action.

  15. Jim says:

    You should do something about Amazon or Starbucks, Apple and of the big corporations who do the exact same thing but use loop holes…..where’s the difference when all is said and done???

    1. Allan Booth says:

      Bang on the button,Jim

  16. James McMeekin says:

    Rangers badly need the likes of King, Douglas Park and his consortium to take over Rangers. The present board have invested absolutely nothing in the club but have feathered their own nest by taking evrrything out of it. Dont forget Easdale was released from prison a couple of years ago having done 7 years for fraud. Ashly wants a £65million stadium and a £25million training complex for only a £10 million loan so he can flog it to a property developer. Nobody on the current board cares a hoot about Rangers. King Park and his men would die for Rangers thats why they must take over now

  17. smartie 1947 says:

    Your article above did not mention that Dave King, “the glib and shameless liar” as described in the South African court, was given the option of a £41 million fine or 82 years in jail. Remarkably he chose the fine, although many would say he should not have been offered such a soft option.
    There is also the small matter of being a director in a company which has gone into liquidation in the previous 5 years.
    Fit and Proper Person – I think not.

  18. William MacFarlane says:

    Another “gutter” press piece of slanted nonsense,from a journalist who clearly has a tax axe to grind. If tax is your bugbear then let us see you investigate the multinationals who regularly shaft HMRC for millions yet seem to get away with it? (for fear of litigation) your pandering to your friend and fellow “tax avenger” (Philip) knows no bounds. Perhaps another odyssey is required?

    1. bawsman says:

      Truth hurts Billy, eh?

  19. kevin says:

    To any Scottish journalist reading this please don’t threaten to give Mr Thomson a right good Scottish Presbyterian slap!

  20. James MacDougall says:

    Once again Mr Thompson elects to put the proverbial steel toe cap into a British institution just when it least needs it. Real charmer, I think thou protesteth too much Alex. What’s your real motive-Agenda???

    1. Alan Deans says:

      ‘a British institution’ ???. Hardly, despised by all (for countless reasons – not ONE of them being jealousy) in it’s native-land. Despised in England for, despite the forelock-tugging to the British Empire, for some reason known only to them, rampage, vandalise and riot every time they set foot over the border !!. Rangers are nothing more than a 17th-Century-minded ‘Sect’ which cannot, or will not, move into the 21st-Century and should be consigned to the history-books and hopefully soon will be.

      1. Scott Cunningham says:

        Rampaging & vandalising? Manchester aside, Rangers fans have been praised & received glowing reports from clubs down south & their local police force. But that wouldn’t fit in with your bitter view of the world’s most trophy laden club :D

      2. Bruce67 says:

        Manchester aside? Pamplona, Barcelona twice – where you got your defunct club banned and where the press urged to never come back, Newcastle, etc.

  21. John boyle says:

    Has Alex Thompson got an agenda against rangers and Dave king it has recently came out Mr king was improperly investigated by South african goverment

    1. Davie says:

      That is a typical Old Firm reply. So do you not think the content of the article is newsworthy? Are you saying you’d prefer all of the article’s content to never be spoke of?
      I appreciate how hard the past four years have been for ‘the people’ but burying heads in sand, or refusing to listen to awkward facts, is surely not the answer?

    2. Bruce67 says:

      Funny how every non Sevcovian who comments on Sevco or Rangers is supposed to have an agenda.

  22. Niall says:

    Hi Alex

    The club formerly known as Rangers died, was liquidated. All that plays now at Ibrox is a tribute act.

    Sevco soon to be Tesco if Big Mike gets his way!



  23. John says:

    Alex, You forgot to include in your tax own goal 1 review that Dave King was on the board at the time!!!

  24. Del says:

    No doubt the rules will be changed to let this “shameless glib liar”take the helm at this new entity. With a complaint media smoothing the way or maybe more threats from the thugs that follows dignity fc.

  25. jim says:

    54 and still counting
    Still Scottish and world record holders
    See guiness book of records
    still can’t get your tiny little minds around “NOT GUILTY” or the fact that we are still “Glasgow Rangers” it was the company not the club that was liquidated… wishful thinking/praying won’t alter the facts

    1. Bruce67 says:

      Not guilty? You can’t get your tiny little mind round the fact that you were actually found guilty by the SPL Commission, or that you were guilty of the Wee Tax Case, some of the BTC, which, anyway, isn’t over.

      You can’t get your tiny little mind round the reality of incorporation, which means that the company and the club were one entity and so the club is being liquidated. And they are the same entity by UEFA’s definition of a club.

      Wishful thinking/praying/slaughtering a goat won’t alter those facts.

  26. Philip Edwards says:


    Oo-er, missus……you’ve only gone and done it again.

    It’s bad. But is it any worse than the mafia input at Leeds or the legalised Yank ripoff that is Manchester United, Fulham, Liverpool and Arsenal? Or the Mike Ashley(!) saga at Newcastle? Or the Russian property scam at Chelsea? Or the ongoing Ken Bates pantomime? Or the Cardiff City colour farce?

    All decent footy fans will welcome this kind of blog, but don’t you think it’s time to take a long, hard look at English footy too?

    Nevertheless, keep up the good work……even if chauvinist Rangers fans will be ever so slightly annoyed with you.

    *Pulls up chair and sits back waiting expectantly for Rangers Jock outrage*

    1. Bruce67 says:

      Short answer. Yes, it is worse. You’re welcome.

  27. Scott Cunningham says:

    What’s this about Rangers bosses not paying any income tax at all? What a load of shite. Lazy journalism.

    1. Bawsman says:

      See the Wee Tax case.

      You need to do your homework before gassing off.

  28. Del says:

    Elvis died and there are some good tribute acts out there but their not Elvis.
    Sevco are not rangers because Elvis has left the building.

  29. Glen Mitchell says:

    I am a Celtic fan and for the record I would like to see Rangers in whatever guise, name or identity they have, back in the SPL. For one reason only………..The good of Scottish Football.
    No matter how many arguments rage or opinions differ, that’s whats at stake here.
    Scotland’s National Team’s chances of reaching a major finals or a Scottish Clubs chances of getting anywhere near a major European Club Competition Final all hinge on whether our top league is a strong as it should be. Right now it isn’t and like it or not, myself included, the return of its second biggest club is long overdue.
    Now for my own blinkered view on another subject that Rangers fans are always trying to establish, that being their belief that their team is Scotllands most successful team. The one overbearing fact will always remain, that until they win the top club competion (Champions League / European Cup, call it what you wish) everything else including their current superior league wins total or our superior Scottish Cup wins total, is insignificant in where real success is measured.

    1. Get the OF out says:

      That post is wrong. Scottish football is stronger with a weakened Old Firm. It’s only bigotry that has artificially swelled their status. I hope they both die over the next 20 years. Let football flourish for the love of football. Not for outdated sectarianism

  30. Tic4Tac says:

    Roll on 10th September,Sevco at Paradise.I dont know about anyone else but the Bhoys will show the Tribute Comedy Act whose the Top Dogs in Scotland.The Biggest Club in Scotland v The SFA and Sevco.Is it Oldco Rangers,NOPE,that nes Dead as dead is Dead.This other Entity is something else entirely.Joey Barton has shouted his mouth off now everyone will witness this Muppet getting put in his place.Oh its a Grande Old Team to Play For.Celtic will let there Football do the talking.HH.here we go 10 in a Row

Comments are closed.