Published on 12 Aug 2012

Rangers: Confluence of interest

The night The Rangers began a new chapter in Division 3, I sat in a Glasgow restaurant eating (really) succulent lamb and pondered that my work on this long, strange saga was done. Justice had been administered at last. Despite the SPL bosses trying very hard to do anything but what everyone else in Scottish football demanded, justice had beaten money.

That was that.

And it still is. There are bigger, uglier, nastier and far more pressing things in this world to attend to. The Tax Tribunal and the EBT scam (or not scam) will eventually be sorted no matter how secretive and opaque the processes of both Tax Tribunal and SPL Independent Commission are.

But one thing I have attended to is the question of Harper MacLeod. I’ve done this whilst trying to take a holiday, on behalf of the people who have always mattered most in this, the trashed and sold-out army of Ibrox fans.

Many of them simply think I have some bizarre agenda against them and their club. Or that I am somehow in league with Celtic. How you get to this in a Hampshire-born, Newcastle United-supporting bloke of Scottish Presbyterian heritage beats me – but there it is.

Nonetheless, some of The Rangers fans quite genuinely believe that the law firm currently acting for the SPL have a massive conflict of interest because of work done for Celtic, and asked me to look into it, so I have.

What follows is based on detailed advice and conversations with the senior adviser from the Law Society of Scotland, who specialises in administering professional guidance on conflicts of interest to firms across Scotland.

Conflict of interest?

The first key thing to understand is that a conflict of interest is just what it says: two or more interests conflicting with each other.

So, the SFA President Campbell Ogilvie is in conflict as his own boss has recognised. He was at the heart of the Rangers management structure at the time when the EBT schemes are now under investigation. So his interest with Rangers then, clearly appears to conflict with his interest now in the body ultimately charged with overseeing that investigation in terms of appeal.

Geddit? Two bodies. Two interests in direct conflict.

So to HM. There is, says the Law Society, no conflict of interest at all. The interests of Celtic (for whom the firm has done work) do not conflict with the interests of the SPL (for whom the firm is now acting). Indeed far from conflicting, the interests may be said to coincide.

When I put it to the Law Society that in fact what’s happening here is a “confluence of interest” not a conflict, they emphatically agreed with me.

Clearly, had HM decided to act for The Rangers – given their extensive work for Celtic – there would be a clear potential conflict. Equally if the firm was in any way involved with the Independent Commission, that too would be questionable, to put it mildly.

But they are not acting for The Rangers at all here. So it is the precise opposite of a conflict of interest. It is a confluence of interest.

Law Society guidelines

Here’s what the Guidance from the Law Society says:

“There are three main elements that need to be considered.

“First, if you would give different advice to different clients about the same matter there is a conflict of interest between them…

“Second, if your actings on behalf of one client would have an adverse impact on a matter you are dealing with for another client, there is a conflict, even if on the face of it the matters are unrelated.

“Third, if you are unable to disclose relevant information to one client because of a duty of confidentiality to another clients there is a conflict of interest.”

And if you need more it is all here.

So people complaining about this have – in the Law Society’s view – got it completely the wrong way round. Perhaps a debate should be had about whether or not, given the clear confluence of interest, this firm was the best choice for the SPL to make to complete its investigation? But the Scottish legal world is small. The Scottish football law world is tiny. It’s a pretty small gene-pool in which to go trawling for choice.

That’s another debate. Equally all the hot air expended about top lawyers from HM being best pals with CFC people is, well, just hot air. It is not illegal (yet) for anybody to be friends with anyone else. It is unlikely in the extreme that one of the biggest specialist sports-law firms in Scotland would wander blithely into an investigation as high-profile as this without putting in place all the standard checks and balances compliant with any such investigation and there is no evidence that this has not happened here.

So if anybody is really complaining to the Scottish Law Society on this matter they would do well to spend their time instead reading up on the guidance which make it completely clear that Campbell Ogilvie is in one position, Harper MacLeod APPEARS to be in quite another.

Introducing a book

Many of the fans who politely asked me to look into the above are now unpolitely asking me why I have dared to write an introduction to a forthcoming book on the downfall of Rangers – or rebirth of Rangers might be a better way of putting it.

The answer’s simple. It is an incontestable fact that a small number of individuals writing online have shamed the Glasgow football MSM on this saga week in, week out, with a few notable exceptions. They continue to do so.

I’ve been struck as an outsider how this has been the case. I have received assistance from all of these individuals and was happy for instance, to write a citation for the RTC blogger for the Orwell Prize for Online Journalism which he/she subsequently won.

There you go – another crime against humanity exclusively revealed for you!

For the same reason I was happy to be asked by a publisher to write an introduction to Phil MacGiollabhain’s book on the subject.

Nobody can deny these bloggers have been ahead of most of the MSM; faster than most of the MSM and righter than most of the MSM for longer than most of the MSM. Every Ibrox fan owes them all a debt of gratitude for doing them the service the Glasgow football media lamentably failed to provide in all but a few cases.

These are the people who first asked the real questions of the Murrays, Whytes, Bains, McLellands, Greigs and so on who played their parts in destroying a once-great football club. And then all walked away.

These are the people who did not walk away. And the more they did to serve the interests of the club by exposing its catastrophic mismanagement, the more a section of the Ibox support hated them.

So it is, that another cascade of bile is unleashed at the news that I dare to endorse the work of these individuals. All the more amusing since not one of these people can have actually read the book.

And blundering into lit crit without bothering to read the lit bit is a pretty good definition of stupidity.

It is also a potent way of advertising the work in question.

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89 reader comments

  1. Sandy Francis says:

    Oh dear, you might as well have patted the Sevco fans on the head and said “run along, now.”

    They won’t be happy. I can feel Marty’s blood boiling from here!

    1. Fed up says:

      The fact that you and Mr Speirs have been brought up in the reformed church means all Rangers fans should except you and he., are you for real ?….I think people who insite bigotry are actualy worse offenders than some bigots themselves….I think Rangers fans and others treat yourself and Mr Speirs with contempt is due to ill informed and biased scribblings…Nothing to do with where you were born which god or how you choose to worship them… Rangers fans have had many heros of many religions , why because they do their jobs with heart , passion , honesty …Are they always the best at what they do ?. No ..But does that matter no…. It matters not if they are the best nor which church they go to …To Suggest what you just did is a form of sectarianism , will you be hauled over the coals and brought to justice for it ?….Will you be repremanded for suggesting fans of any club would accept you any better because of where you where born , religion ,colour or any other playground nonsense ?……Only if you had a blazer with the Rangers crest do i think would this happen….You have just demonstrated again why Rangers fans and others have little time for you ..

      1. Francis says:

        “a form of sectarianism”: what a hoot! How that word is being abused in certain quarters.

    2. Prince Charles says:

      The The Rangers had a third draw away in the Scottish 3rd division to-day,so the text in the above photograph on the scarf could be amended to “We dont do winning away”!

  2. Ronnie says:

    An important article, thanks for clearing this up.

    What was really disappointing was the fact that you felt the need to to explain your cultural/religious heritage. Did you really feel that you needed to do this in order to be ‘accepted’ by some of your readership?

    And if so, what does this say about some of your readership?

    The truth is, you’ll find many among the support of BOTH teams who share that background.

  3. Ed Dunne says:

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  4. gorillaintheroom says:

    Ka-boom! Nice to hear an impartial viewpoint. But like a small child who has always got their own way those of the blue persuasion still refuse any to see any wrongdoing, they are still in denial….they weren’t liquidated but relegated cos of bad men! Well thankfully new media means everyone has a say and can influnc. All scottish football fans have shown great intelligence, wit and expertise and showed up the shysters….they have had their day. Their tea is not oot!

  5. gorillintheroom says:
  6. Padraig says:

    Thanks Alex. Some of us have been trying to explain this to ‘the people’ for quite awhile and it was like banging your head against a brick wall. Maybe the facts will prevail over ‘whataboutery’ now that a proper, professional, respected journalist such as yourself has actually bothered to do the small amount of research required on this issue. The reputation of the MSM in Scotland is in tatters and rightly so. They’ll still continue peddling their rubbish to the bitter end though, until they become completely and utterly irrelevant(ok well they’re there already)

  7. Al says:

    Simply the Best Thommo, u rose to the challenge and delivered the truth, like those before you who first asked the real questions.

    well done Sir

  8. john says:

    A nice, simple,piece of professional journalism.
    Thank you for showing the Scottish MSM how it should be done: a question arises, do some research, ask some more questions, cite your sources where possible, and write an interesting, factual and verifiable piece, and put it in context.
    You wouldn’t like to offer your tutorial services to the Jabbas and Chicos of this world, eh?
    All the best.

  9. Paul N says:

    Boom !!!
    Not the exposé the zombie hordes were expecting !

  10. Paddy says:

    btw Alex I think credit must go to Paul McConville on this particular issue. He dealt with this a week ago in his blog, and your finding echo exactly what his blog said.

  11. redlichty says:

    Alex, i would like to thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of real football fans in carrying out an unbiased and informative investigation into this dire situation and also for raising questions which the “tribal” media were either too scared to, or more likely, not bothered, to raise…..

    P.S. now that Mr. Ashley is interested in buying into The Rangers does this represent a conflict of interest for you?

  12. Padraig O'Murnane says:

    A concise and clear picture of the state of play. Sadly the paranoia is such in Scotland that we see conspiricies and shadows everywhere. Some don’t understand the issues, some will never hear a good/bad word about the parties involved. Others are honestly seeking justice and what is best for Scottish football. The Rangers FC raise such passions in Scotland for reasons way beyond sport. They and their fans are utterly despised by some as outdated, jingoistic little britons. Others have difficulty dealing with the multi-cultural world we have become and retreat into the tribe. When you have two enormous fish in such a small pond, it is not good for anyone.

  13. tambo says:

    Alex, Lord Hodge demanded that Duff and Phelps provide him with evidence they acted lawfully and not under a conflict of interest in their administration of the Ibrox club. He asked that from Edinburghs Court of Session on 22-6-12.

    Duff and Phelps said on the same day they would be delighted to do that as it would help clear their name after Mark Dalys documentary on BBC TV, Rangers- The Men Who Sold The Jerseys, alleged a conflict of interest, indeed Duff and Phelps threatened legal action against the BBC at the same time.

    3 weeks was considered plenty of time for Duff and Phelps to get back to Lord Hodge yet more than 7 weeks later they have failed to do that.

    Lord Hodge also warned Duff and Phelps not to sign off on their administration process until they furnished him with the proof he demanded and today Rangers are still in administration because of that with the HMRC appointed BDO sitting waiting.

    How much more time will Duff and Phelps be given before Lord Hodge decides to move this on to its next stage, do you know ?

  14. Patrick says:


    Sympathy for the “the trashed and sold-out army of Ibrox fans” surely not!

    These people have in the main been a blot on Scottish society for all of my sixty plus years and longer. Their triumphalism as their team cheated its way to success is as nauseating to think of now as it was then.

    Justice will only be done and seen to be done when the titles are stripped from them.

  15. Paul McGeachin twitter@paulmacmac65 says:

    So the blogger is about to exit stage left, his”work”here being almost done. I for one will be delighted to see the back of an individual who, through his smarmy, insulting and biased and blinkered views, not to mention his aligning himself with the rabid, predominantly Celtic support and their putrid cheerleaders in chief, namely Gillivan and RTC , has openly courted the most illiterate, bigoted and self serving morons on the peripheries of the rapidly waning Scottish game. The damage these clowns have helped to inflict will be irreparable with only Celtic being able to compete with a resurgent Rangers in the long term,with most other minnows of the SPL resorting to downsizing on a grand scale, probably resorting to part time structures as part of this inevitable streamlining, and possibly resulting in total extinction of a team or two. The blogger has also consistently persisted in reffering to Rangers as ” The Rangers “and previously as newco or sevco in a blatant attempt io ingratiate himself to the baying mob- how tiresome and infantile. As to the crux of his latest blog, the impartiality of HM, he being disingenuous as he well knows. There is a massive conflict of interest as has been flagged up on many other blogs(David Leggat and William Poole being notable examples) but this information doesn’t suit Thommos bizarre attention seeking agenda. As to his condemnation of anyone being an ignorant ” lit crit” for their condemning material they haven’t read by a Rangers/ Protestant/British hating oddball hiding in Gortahork Donegal, then he should read(again) the weird embittered ramblings of the author of the upcoming literary dross,Gillivan.whilst we are on the subject of furtive ramblings, there is no glory in using private confidential information and using it as the basis for another Rangers hating blog-RTC-hang your head in shame and realise your output was probably illegal. In summary Thommo won’t be missed by the magnificent loyal Rangers support who realised early on what the cut of his jib was. Let there be no mistake ,Rangers are on the road to recovery and will assume their rightfull position at the pinnacle of the small minded Scottish game post-haste WE DON’T DO WALKING AWAY

    1. Bruce says:

      In short…rant, rant, rant…(stop to breathe)…permarage…permarage…permarage…(stops for quick swig of buckie)…grrrr…grrr….grrrr….

      1. Bruce says:

        Actually, thinking about it, that post was by Leggat, wasn’t it?

    2. Francis says:

      So narrow, subjective, blinkered and just plain daft that it doesn’t merit a reply.

    3. blogiston says:

      Your ranting retort encapsulates every trait that is wrong with Rangers (the old and the new companies) culture. I’m not inclined to spend much energy refuting your many points, as many better placed have done so in the past, however, I am disappointed that the demise of Rangers did not lead many Rangers fans to a point of introspection where they asked, “Why are we so disliked throughout the whole of Scotland and beyond?”. Instead, they immediately reached for the simple denial of the paranoid and assumed everyone else but them was at fault.
      No wonder Charles Green, in an attempt to maintain his investment has suddenly realised that he had to descend to a level not plunged by him previously to garner the support of the Rangers support; namely appeal to that very paranoid trait and identity crisis by adding to it…”that lot have it in for us…those bigots over there!”.
      Wake up Rangers fans, for everyone’s sake.

    4. Paul the Latic says:

      Spartist f***wittery. But thanks for the laugh.

    5. Stephen Thom says:

      Ha Ha, tell that to the players who have walked already.

    6. boxon says:

      You don’t do punctuation either it would seem.

  16. Carntyne says:

    Wrong answer Alex.

    Stand by for more torrents of abuse, bile, anger and perhaps even threats from the dignified men of integrity who follow The Rangers.

    Your comments as to how someone of your background can be accused of being a ‘Tim’can be easily explained. The Rangers fans circle the wagons any time anyone reveals anything unpleasant or embarrassing about the The Rangers.

    Previous examples of downright stupidity include banning pepperami bars from the Ibrox shops because it was packaged in a green wrapper.

    Banning Eggs Benedict from their restaurant menu
    when the new pope was selected and took the name Benedict.

    Pricing some meals on the Ibrox restauant menu at £16.90.

    I’ll let you work that one out yourself.

    If it hasn’t occurred to you previously it should by now, that the only way to get The Rangers fans onside is to pretend the last ten years never happened and declare its all a lot of nonsence.

    Watch how quickly they then become your pal.

    Good luck with that.

  17. Philip Edwards says:


    Quite, quite sublime.

    But as a footy fan you should know very well there are some people who never listen and with whom sensible conversation is totally impossible. In such cases all you can do is take the mick.

    Genuine Rangers and footy fans will know you have done them and the game a great service, even though it is merely the tip of a very dirty iceberg, most of which is submerged in England….Leeds United and Portsmouth anyone?

    There are more than a few English clubs who could do with similar detailed investigation. If you can spare the professional time I hope you get around to them.

    The fact is professional football has lived in financial cloud cuckoo land since commercial sponsorship was allowed in in 1983 and the Premier League was formed in 1992. Clubs are now owned and run by spivs full of New Right phony money jargon.

    The German club ownership model is much better than ours, though far from perfect. If you get a chance give it the once over.

    Meantime, the owner of “your” club, Mike Ashley, has stuck his oar into the murky waters of Rangers Football Club. Care to elucidate why? :-)

  18. jack says:

    “Every Ibrox fan owes them all a debt of gratitude for doing them the service the Glasgow football media lamentably failed to provide in all but a few cases.”

    – This is exactly right but sadly missed by a lot of the Ibrox faithful.

    If it wasn’t for the likes of RTC then Murray and Whyte may not have been seen the way are now by Rangers supporters. They wouldn’t have been able to use the (false) defence that it was all Craig Whyte’s fault.

  19. scottc says:

    tambo, that is not correct I’m afraid. D&P supplied the document on the Tuesday after they were supposed to (another missed deadline) but Lord Hodge had, by then, gone on holiday and would not see it until he returned.

  20. Phelps Duffer says:

    Sevco fans media mouthpiece Chris will not be happy Alex. You have been warned. He will out you at the earliest opporchancity. Or probably just block you on twitter in a pure rage man like, joost because you disagreed with his point of view.

  21. Patrick says:

    Why the sympathy for the “peepul”?

    They have been Scotland’s shame for many many .years.Their triumphalism as they cheated their way to nine in a row should not be forgotten Justice will only be done when Ibrox is sold to pay the debt owed to society. And justice will be seen to be done when the titles won dishonestly are stripped away.

  22. Prince Charles says:

    The meaning of confluence is “flowing together”,I just looked it up.
    Anyway,the The Rangers saga begins and if you missed Off The Ball on Saturday 12th August,do your ears a favour.

  23. Soracte says:

    Alex, not strictly relevant to your argument about COI (also extremely well rehearsed by Paul McConville) but it is worth reminding folk that Harper Macleod, as independent lawyers, have also acted for Tixway and Craig Whyte, amongst many others.

  24. Johnbud78 says:

    Another blow to the MSM, but you know what? All they do is sit in Glasgow and tell anyone who will listen that it is you and the ‘Internet Bampots’ who have got this all wrong and how they were the ones who ‘led the way’ in this saga? As a passionate Scotsman living in Melbourne, I find it a source of great embarassment and shame that these people are given a public platform to spew forth their lies and bile! As a Celtic fan I find it hysterical that for as long as I can remember I was told I/we were paranoid. Alex, I can only thank you for your sterling work on this, without your work and your reputation I don’t think anyone would have taken this so seriously! It would all have been swept uner the carpet as ‘another’ Celtic paranoid fantasy. HHAT

  25. Bruce says:

    Hopefully that settles that. It won’t but if the Sevcovians are so upset about it why don’t they ask Donald Findlay to double check with TLSOS? Though no doubt they’d dismiss him as a timmy agent too.

  26. Androcles says:

    An article with your usual clarity. Thank you Alex.

    Clearly, many Gers fans are desperate and clutching at straws. I can’t say that I can blame them entirely as they have been let down massively by those who had custodianship of their club.

    It would be more appropriate if their attentions were focussed on those guys.

    The fans could play a big part in the rehabillation of their club through cutting out all the sectarian nonsense from their singing repertoire.

  27. rigger says:

    I read your article with interest, I was particularly impessed with your definitions. Why is it that I have a sinking feeling? I note that Mr Green has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute for his remarks regarding “bigotry” and jealousy” Yet if one reads the OED one finds that his bigotry” remark fits, the “jealousy” remark fits. A
    A coincedence that the SFA compliance officer has links to Celtic FC?

    There is no doubt in my mind that Rangers have been treated harshly and that harshness was driven by jealousy, envy, bigotry and sheer schadenfreude.

    1. Bruce says:

      Nonsense. His use of bigotry mean ‘people not letting me have my own way’. It was a toys oot the cot rant.

      And no matter what it means in the OED, in the context of Scottish football it is loaded with meaning. Green knew that when he decided to play the Sevco support like a violin.

  28. rigger says:

    an extra comment, I seem to remember a saying, “just because he has paranoia it does not mean he has no enemies” Apt in this case.

  29. RodtheFierce says:

    I don’t think the Rangers fans are the biggest losers in this sorry process(up to now anyway as more trouble may be on the horizon). The biggest loser has to be the UK as a whole with being cheated of huge amounts of money and then watching chancer business men buy the “good” things (stadium and training ground) and leave the toxic “bad” debt alone. The whole thing really stinks.

  30. Jimbo says:

    Wonder why Rangers fans think you have an agenda?, eh maybe the first paragraph said it all. “My work was done”, what work you are a reporter, your job is to report the issues not set agendas.

    As for the whole EBT thing lets hope you don’t go into hiding like RTC before a verdict is reached, lot of people have been spouting off about scam this and cheats that without any verdict being and have gone into hiding (wonder why?), Oct 11th mark that day in your calender Mr thomson.

    Will you be man enough to issue an apology if Rangers are found to be innocent?

    1. gorillaintheroom says:

      innocent? of what? oldco still managed to liquidate themself without the FTT hearing so…. yes they are guilty of piling up debts, liquidating, the assets being sold bizarrely as a job lot for a fraction of the book values and gaining entry into the SFL whilst masquerading as oldco in direct contravention to liquidation rules??? This is just getting interesting *pulls up chair* this courtroom drama is gonna be funnier than jeremy kyle!!!

      bad money dies i love the scene….

      and as for RTC? He hasn’t gone away you know…..

    2. Prince Charles says:

      Jimbo,if the big tax case goes in favour of The Rangers I will ski down Mont Blanc,naked and curtailed.Here is a puzzle,Jimbo.You name is a vowel sound away from the name Lyndon Johnson,former President of the USA,gave to a part of his anatomy.No prizes for guessing which part.

    3. Paul the Latic says:

      Wow. Just…. wow. Really?

      As other contributors have noted, there would be a few red faces if they had liquidated a 140 year old company and then it turned out they had jumped the gun and it wasn’t really necessary…

      1. Bruce says:

        It would be funny, though. I mean liquidating that 140 year old club which is largely known for a sectarian signing policy, its fans trashing various cities and tax cheating (and lets face it, even if they win the BTC there’s been enough proven tax cheating!), I can;t imagine too many non blue tears being shed.

    4. Stephen Thom says:

      Perhaps if the moronic part of the rangers support would stop the threats then no one would need to hide.

  31. Bloom says:

    “Nobody can deny these bloggers have been ahead of most of the MSM; faster than most of the MSM and righter than most of the MSM for longer than most of the MSM. Every Ibrox fan owes them all a debt of gratitude for doing them the service the Glasgow football media lamentably failed to provide in all but a few cases.

    These are the people who first asked the real questions of the Murrays, Whytes, Bains, McLellands, Greigs and so on who played their parts in destroying a once-great football club. And then all walked away.”

    I find it surprising that you make these statements above which have no basis in fact. The two biggest stories by a country mile on the Rangers fiasco were the Daily Record uncovering how Ticketus money was used by Whyte to buy the club and the BBC’s Mark Daly revealing Whyte’s dodgy background. By contrast, the blogs you mention had a litany of theories and wild accusations which wouldn’t have made the light of day past any media lawyer.

    Now, you can safely say that Murray and Whyte (to a far larger extent) fatally damaged Rangers. However, the Bains, Greigs and McClellands and so on you mention had little option but to walk away. In fact, I’d suspect, they had virtually no choice in the matter.

    On the wider subject, unlike yourself and your fellow travellers, I have no problem with EBTs and certainly do not view their use in anyway as cheating or financial doping. You know well how many companies and wealthy individuals engage in tax-dodging schemes. Indeed, many of them have been given gongs and are very much part of the political establishment. Capitalism is an immoral beast but, hey, that’s what we’ve got. Singling out Rangers has simply been a device, albeit clever and highly successful, for those who hate the club with a passion to promote their agenda.

    If the tax tribunal finds against Rangers then so be it. Like many others, they will have gambled on a tax scheme and lost. But please spare me the sporting integrity mantra. Celtic’s billionaire owner Dermot Desmond is widely known for paying pitifully low amounts of tax in Ireland where he holds much influence in establishment circles there. Indeed there was an almighty brouhaha on this in the Irish press earlier in the year. I see no mention of this on Celtic blogs or anyone suggesting their club should refuse his tainted shilling. And I don’t have a problem with that – they shouldn’t. In a capitalist world you play by its rules. But let’s not have double standards.

    And, since you mention your background, let me do likewise. I was born into a large family of Irish origin and trained to be a priest. I also eagerly followed my team – Celtic. But RTC and Phil Mac make me ashamed to be connected with them and their followers with hearts of darkness who are fixated on hating Rangers. Will you believe me if I also tell you there are a great many Hoops fans who feel like me and want no truck with their feeding frenzy?

    However, if you wish to praise their agenda then that’s entirely your choice. But as an admirer of much of your work in other areas – I suspect we have similar political views – I feel you have made a huge mistake and been sucked in to endorse an odious and spiteful campaign that really had nothing whatsoever to so with integrity. That’s a professional judgement you made – though clearly I feel you got it wrong.

    Finally, let me say this on RTC getting an Orwell award. Eric Blair must be spinning in his grave at this travesty. An Orwellian award for a blog that used censorship so sinisterly and frequently that even Big Brother would have been impressed? A blog that was an affront to free speech? And you wrote the citation?

    Nevertheless, God bless…

    1. Philibin Macrakin says:

      Well said Sir, how refreshing to hear someone who says what he thinks and is not bigoted.
      I salute you and like minded Celtic supporters, which I am sure there are plenty.
      Reading blogs and forums on both sides, I reckon the average age of the posters must be about 11.

      1. Bruce says:

        Well, thanks for lowering that average age.

    2. listenteyerda says:

      You should stick to reading Traynor and Guidi, the two poodles that hung onto every word The soon to be stripped Knight spouted! but I,m glad to hear YOU have no problems with an EBT, it,s not YOU that has the Problem,It,s the OLD RFC who appears to have abused the ebt scheme,if not, they have nothing to worry about with the sfa, But HECTOR! That,s a different matter! As for the “trained to be a priest bit” what was that about? You know something I was an Altar Boy, So was AL Capone! also The Craig Whyte FIASCO was FIRST Reported by Phil MaGOILLABHAIN “Rangers Strike it Lucky With their New Owner” JUNE 7TH 2011,yes 2011! Look it up!Brilliant! Even though the word Ticketus didn,t appear! At the same time Your Daily Record Poodles were on about Craigy being a Rangers Man With Wealth off the Planet! Also Almost a year later, the morning AFTER MARK DALY exposed WHYTES Ticketus scandal, the two poodles came out with an Exclusive! everybody and their granny new about! Any how,friend,DOMINUS VOBISCUM

    3. Paul the Latic says:

      I like it when the clever writers come along, but then they say really stupid things, like “On the wider subject, unlike yourself and your fellow travellers, I have no problem with EBTs and certainly do not view their use in anyway as cheating or financial doping.” when clearly EBTs were misused flagrantly by Rangers, and not to simply reduce tax but to avoid taxable payments – and to be able to pay players higher wages by dodging that tax. And they then cheated the football establishment by failing to inform them about additional payments.

      Plus, I don’t believe you trained as a priest. I think you’re just trying to lay down some bona fides to make your position seem reasonable and unbiased. But what you write – that Rangers are being unfairly persecuted and that persecution comes from a place of hatred – is a kinda hardcore rangers message which doesn’t have a place in the unbiased, objectove mainstream. I know because I’m part of that mainstream – a Wigan Athletic supporter – and all I can see is a club that thought it was above all the laws of both its game and its land, which when it was found out used every trick in the book to avoid being treated to the same penalties that any other club would have suffered. Which got back breaking help from the footballing establishment and which now plays the victim of a prejudice which it, above all others, did most to foment. So no, I don’t believe you’re a Catholic and I don’t believe you’re objective in your assertion that Rangers have been treated unfairly. I think you’re just another grandiose member of a grandiose tribe, puzzled that the universe of which you deluded yourselves you were masters, has shown that it has moral teeth and a principled bite.

      1. Francis says:


        I agree with you entirely. It’s the bloated language that’s the giveaway, isn’t it? Note in particular the “hearts of darkness” and “feeding frenzy” in that key passage where he claims to have been born into a large (they don’t have to follow the stereotype, you know) Irish family and trained to be a priest. That “God bless”, inserted to convince us of his sincerity, clinches it. Fake.

        “Will you believe me if I also tell you there are a great many Hoops fans who feel like me and want no truck with their feeding frenzy?”


  32. Joeninho says:

    They’re that used to absolutely no criticism that any is seen as bigotry. You must be part of the “useen Fenian hand” conspiracy!

  33. Estorilbhoyjohn says:

    So Alex, you walking away?? What a story you have in front of you of a nations media bending over to comply to the ‘establishment’ clubs wishes and equally promoting the clubs own agenda.
    Surely a major story in the making and a political timebomb??
    Now, you a man or a mouse?

  34. tambo says:

    Is it just me or is the like-dislike function knackered ?

  35. george says:

    You really should drop this Police Investigation business. After the Strathclyde Police regarding the evidence presented by you as “laughable”, being humiliated and exposed as a pompous buffoon on Radio Clyde re: the hoax twitter account and now this NUJ ban and fine fabrication.

    Apart from the usual sychophantic bigots who wooed you up here, you are now regarded by most as a joke figure.

  36. WeThePeople says:

    What twisted double talk there is in this blog. A conflict of interest occurs when a party’s representation of one client could appear to influence the advice given to a second client. So, if client A was to benefit by, say, being awarded championships based on the advice given to party B, then a conflict of interest exists. You can dance around this all you want, and if your argument that Scottish legal circles are too small to find a single firm that does not happen to have strong ties to either Rangers or Celtic, then you are not much of a journalist.

    1. Prince Charles says:

      If you are found to be off-side 10 years after the fact,so to speak,then the record at least should be set straight.The The Rangers can then argue or appeal or not.
      Do not see how anyone benefits financially,unless they get a good lawyer and sue the former owner for loss of potential earnings,because their team should have been playing in European competitions and not the (alleged) rule breakers.Keep smiling The We People,it will soon be over.

    2. Bruce says:

      Except that HM will not be awarding those titles. Their job was to simply gather evidence and ascertain whether there was a case to be answered. Its for the independent tribunal to decide whether it amounts to guilt or not and what punishments then follow. That’s got nothing to do with HM. And in your ‘example’ party A’s and Party B’s interests do not conflict.

      Besides, HM represent, as do all large law practices, a huge number of clients. Including as has been pointed out, people and companies with an interest in both versions of Rangers.

      TLSOS says there’s no conflict of interest. Do you think you know better?

  37. Philibin Macrakin says:

    Great job Alex, hope you enjoy your holiday at Leggoland, you deserve it for all your revelations to us disciples.

  38. Scott says:

    ALex I was really hoping you would wake up and stop pandering to the Celtic support.

    You may be good with words and twist things to suit your own agenda but you will unfortunately now be seen as a biased reporter who is being used by anti-rangers reporters who don’t have such a high profile name as your good self.

    Just look at some of the comments left on your posts and you will see what kind of hate-filled anti-rangers and often bigoted people you seem to be pleasing…’s a shame really…..

    1. Francis says:

      There’s none so blind…

  39. Hus says:

    Good to know you’ve left Syria. The regime has enough mouthpieces already.

  40. Paul says:

    have just read all the above comments and cant see one bigoted comment from celtic fans as scot refers to,in fact all scot has done in his post is prove what an earlier celtic fan said to be corrct-if you criticise rangers they think it is bigotry such is the way they have become used to being panderd to by the media all there lives!and the truly sad thing is that they dont even realise thet its this pandering that saw them end up in the state they are in now,i.e following a new club because the old one died!

  41. Soracte says:

    There are clearly three major issues (at least):
    1. Will the independent tribunal (and independent of Harper McLeod) confirm the BBC’s report that dual contracts were used by Rangers and did this constitute fielding unregistered players, and over what period?

    2. Having already being assessed for tax on their use of EBTs by HMRC, will Rangers win their appeal to the FTT?

    3. How will BDO view the liquidation of Rangers and the valuation put on RFC by D & P, particularly in light of the comments of the current owners of RFC that they value the club at 10 times the price paid?

    Hyperventilation about prejudice and bigotry are neither helpful nor instructive. No doubt the truth, one way or the other, will out. Presumably the journalists will just report it, as Mr Thomson reported on the view of the Law Society re the COI issue. I doubt that he made that up.

    Not helpful to kill the messenger.

  42. Androcles says:

    I find all that has happened to Rangers really lamentable. However, the club have been guilty of wrong doing and are suffering the consequences.

    I’ve always found it difficult to think positively about Rangers due to the sectarian singing and the policies of the recent past. I suspect that many people feel the same way.

    If Rangers could emerge as a sporting institition and get rid of all the negative stuff, I think that recent events will have been worthwhile and that more people will have a more positive view of them. I wish them all the best with this.

    Here’s hoping………….

  43. Kate says:

    Thank you,Alex.

    Am loving how criticism is instantly banded “bias” and evidence of “an agenda” – by both sides too!

    Ah well, your recent experiences in Syria will equip you well for this wartorn Glasgow saga! :)

  44. tamtic says:

    Thank God for telling the truth Alex.If you bluenoses stop and think for a minute you”ll see that Green is telling you what you want to hear, aided and abetted by your friends in the meedja.Face the truth,back in the fiver and tenner days your club had absolute power and we know absolute power corrupts absolutely.Its over boys, take your comeuppance and still no mea culpa from anyone at Sevco, dear dear.

  45. laptoployal says:

    Alex, there’s a great summary of the SFA’s pivotal role in the current mess at:

    It would be great if you were to follow up on this story – despite all that’s happened, there is still no chance that a Scottish journalist will do so.

  46. Patrick says:

    When are the knuckleheads going to realise that the cheating accusation does not refer to the fraud perpetrated on the Tax Authorities but the breaking of football’s rules in making off contract payments to players?

    Three or more years in the wilderness in the lower leagues should provide ample time to allow this to sink in to even the thickest of the “peepul.”

  47. Phelps Duffer says:

    It has become more and more apparent over the last few months that Sevco fans are suffering from a form of hysterical paranoia when it comes to the ‘agenda’ against Rangers. There is no agenda. Perhaps if they had been more vocal during the years of success* for Rangers then they would not be in the position of not having a club to support. It may be hard to take but it is their own inaction and perceived ‘superiority’ (the WATP complex), that has led to them supporting an entirely new entity in Sevco. I will leave you with this if Rangers is still the same club, what happened to the shares and debenture tickets? Did they get transferred over when Sevco took control? NO THEY DID NOT. RANGERS ARE GONE. SEVCO ARE A NEW CLUB.

    *under review by independent committee

  48. Philibin Mccrackin says:

    Regan-Liewell= Puppet on a string
    49000+ Not too bad, the end is not nigh, in spite of some and you Alex.
    Thank you for your Revalations 7.14.
    To the rest, reap what you sow.

    1. Patrick says:

      Quoting the bible!

      What next from the purveyors of racial and religious hate?

      I suppose it would be too much to expect some evidence of contrition or even a small sign of repentance from the morons who follow Sevco.

    2. Prince Charles says:

      Mcoist can play the sheriff and Green can be the bar owner for this imaginary showdown.
      It is a late September Glasgow morning and drizzle/rain falls relentlessly,cue music from The Good,The Bad and The Ugly as a lone tax man,spurs jinggling,strides into Govan.Continue to the entrance of Ibrox stadium and thence into the final bar scene from The Unforgiven.
      The end.

  49. fasty says:

    justice you say Alex? Still pocketing the gate receipts from 40000 people, still in ownership of hugely valuable assets Ibrox, murray park etc but the tax man has not received a coin of the money that these criminals have stolen from the country and not a single prosecution for the theft. I fail to see any justice in this at all.

  50. Mea Culpa says:

    Alex, are you back on the case again?

    The MSM in Scotland have been over indulging in their favourite meal again whilst you have been away on other more important issues.

  51. Loch says:

    I am astonished that a respected journalist should write about the travails of RFC in these terms. Separating Alex Thomson’s views on how RFC was run as a company from his views of the football club that is ‘The Rangers’ and its supporters is not easy.

    The corporate entity failed, okay. Investigating and reporting its demise was surely a matter for journalists on the business pages of Scotland’s newspapers, not the football reporters on the back page of the Daily Record or Sun.

    But not for Thomson. The mainstream media didn’t do their job, so enter stage right Phil MacGiollabhain. Thomson says he was “happy to be asked by a publisher to write an introduction to Phil MacGiollabhain’s book on the subject”. You can read MacGiollabhain’s views about Rangers on his website here:

    Here you will read in the Guardian about Mr MacGiollabhain’s views on Scotland:

    The comments section of this piece is informative of how ordinary people react to MacGiollabhain’s views.

    Believe it or not, this is a man who thinks it’s a good idea to “monetize” (his words) the Irish Famine so CFC can “reap the business benefits” (again his words):

    The fact of the matter is that RFC has a large following in Scotland. They are supporters of football, a game, the vast majority of whom are not sectarian, like the vast majority of supporters of CFC.

    It dismays me that far too many of the comments on this blog seem to reflect the views of MacGiollabhain which Thomson, for whatever reason, is happy to promote, disgracefully, in my opinion.

    1. Francis says:

      You’ve got a thing about MacGiollabhain, something of an obsession. There’s nothing wrong with his article on CFC and the North American market – plain business sense.

  52. loch says:

    That Alex Thomson has endorsed Phil MacGiolla Bhain’s forthcoming book on this subject is astonishing:

    The readers’ comments on that article pretty much sum up what most people think of his views.

    1. Francis says:

      MacGiollabhain expressed his opinion in that article and some people who read the column commented. That does not lead us to the conclusion that you reach: i.e. that most people disagree with what he wrote and neither should it lead us to condemn Alex Thompson for writing an introduction to a book that MacG has written. The book is on the downfall of RFC, an analysis of many facts now in the public domain. An intelligent man like Alex T reads what is written there and considers it fitting to endorse it. If the analysis does not tally with his own assessment, he does not lend his name to the publication. And neither does he search for for personal opinions on other matters such as MacG’s thoughts on his Scottish experiences that may not coincide with his own and use them as a reason not to support the author. There is honesty in this approach. Adopt it.

  53. del says:

    I see Sevcos biggest investor has donated £6million to Palestinian orphans whos parents died due to Israeli aggression .I wonder what will go through his mind when he sees Israeli flags being flaunted at ibrox

  54. Patrick says:


    “the vast majority are not sectarian” —who are you kidding!

    Tens of thouands of these people roared out sectarian songs non-stop at Ibrox last week and their travelling band did the same today at Berwick.

    The sooner these scum are confined to history he better for us all.

  55. Lex Muir says:

    Mr Thomson, you are a perfect example of some people’s ability to excuse themselves anything, and others nothing! From your opening statements which refer to “bigger, uglier, nastier and far more pressing things” going on in the World, but then goes on to clarify these as the Tax Tribunal and EBT, you demonstrate your subjective position. You happily quote the Law Society in your defence of the appointment of Harper MacLod, whilst forgetting the absolute sanctity of the law, that a party; any party, is innocent until proven guilty. May I suggets that there are many many more matters within the history of Scottish football which should draw the attention of the sincere investigative journalist. Sadly, I doubt very much if you fall in that camp!

    1. Francis says:

      He’s not referring to the Tax Tribunal and the EBT business as “bigger, uglier, nastier and far more pressing things”.

      And what are those “many more matters within the history of Scottish football” of which you speak? We’re on tenterhooks. Go on, draw his attention to them.

  56. Bruce says:

    Mr Muir, you’ve completely failed to grasp what he’s saying. The bigger uglier things are nothing to do with Rangers (1872-2012) – I suggest you look at the other subjects he blogs about. Nor does he prejudge the FTT and EBT’s – he clearly alludes to the possibility that the case might not be proven. Of course, the deid club’s already conceded guilt in two instances of tax cheating.

    And lets guess what pish you think he should be investigating…oh. wait, I don’t think we have to guess. That is a particularly bitter and nasty little straw you’re clutching at there. Especially since its already been investigated and gone through the courts with Celtic being found guilty of… nothing.

  57. Lex Muir says:

    I find it amusing that both respondents to my comments start with reasonably articulate, grammatically reasonable, replies – only to descent into vitriol and abuse within a few lines. I now rest my case!

    1. Francis says:

      Where is the vitriol or abuse in my reply?

      Having written that, I would add that it is sensible to rest your case if I thought you had one but a misreading of the article and a few generalisations do not make a case.

    2. Bruce says:

      You call that vitriol and abuse? Poor you, you must never get out!

  58. Patrick says:

    Why does anyone bother to respond to people like Muir?

    He is one of those I referred to in an earlier post.

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