Published on 13 Jul 2012

Rangers: Division three?

Be in no doubt tonight, Division 3 football is far from a certainty for “Rangers” no matter how much most fans and most clubs want it.

The invitation to today’s meeting contained a direct warning to club chairmen that the SFL Board may simply over-rule their 25 out of 30 club vote for D3 football. That apparent threat has not, so far as I’m aware, been retracted.

Further, three people present at today’s meeting told me independently that the SFA boss Stewart Regan has told the “Rangers” owner Charles Green that there is no way his club will be playing in D3 a fortnight tomorrow.

Tonight the SFA is assuring me however, that there will be no attempt to over-rule any vote. They say it’ll be financial carnage but finally Scottish football knows where it’s going.


Battle lines
But if there is further bickering the battle lines are drawn. So where’s the fight going to happen

The Football League boss David Longmuir today gave us all a vital clue. He said the D1 chairmen went out of their way to stress they want “a 42 club solution”.

My take on this is a warning shot to the SFA and SPL that the idea of an expanded, breakaway 2-tier Premier League including “Rangers” in its bottom tier (aka D1 in effect) is a no-go.

Now that really is “armageddon” for the football powers-that-be.

The Premier League called the SFA’s bluff over inserting “Rangers” into the top flight last week. Now the Football League has done the same over D1 football.

So the ball now could well fall in the court of those D1 clubs, to veto any possible plan for an expanded Premier League. Their talk of a ’42 club solution’ and their voting today indicate they will do just that.

Against all odds

But do not rule out attempts – against all odds and against an overwhelming D3 mandate – by the SPL to try just this.

They have a meeting on Monday and have been busily altering their public messages about what exactly is up for debate.

Should that be the case and they fail – as they surely will – many see the position of both (English) bosses of the SFA and SPL as completely untenable. Fans do, now, in droves. At least one club chairman already said they should go, on camera, this morning.

I sense this is where things now move and tonight Charles Green was at Ibrox and was asked by an astute reporter:

“Should today’s decision be the final word?”

Mr Green replied:

“Well I hope it will be – but I’m not convinced it will.”

Too right he’s not and how we all wonder why? Not.  No fan of Scottish football should be convinced of it either.

Tweets by @alextomo

37 reader comments

  1. Stuart says:

    Congratulations to the SFL clubs who have voted for integrity over short term financial expediency.

    Scottish football can survive the loss of television and advertising contracts. These can and will be replaced if necessary. But if the SFL Board do over-rule the vote then the resulting loss of disillusioned fans at the turnstiles will cripple the game for generations to come.

  2. Ron Wilson says:

    Rather than Rangers descent into Division 3, surely we should be asking questions of Green picking the ‘Gers up for a song, yet the taxpayer and businesses are going without.
    Send a message to the purveyors of Del Boy economics: debts must be paid & if that means Rangers goes, so be it.

  3. Dave says:

    It is time for all SPL clubs to come out and say that they support the decision of the SFL clubs. Aberdeen have already done it more must follow.

  4. Derbyshirebhoy says:

    In France at the moment but thanks to You Tube now seen your appearance on Scotland Tonight.

    What a contrast between yourself and the others. The discussion was a complete representation of all that has been wrong in Scottish Football. To think that Gordon Smith was once the SFA’s Chief Exec says it all. Tired old ways same old prejudices same old mantra and as for the Daily Mail man and Rupert Murdoch well you had it absolutely right. If that’s the case it’s time for us all to go home. They’re so far out of touch it’s quite amazing. Dinosaurs all.

  5. MagicRat says:

    Tommo, whatever happens, thank you from every true Scottish football fan for your work over the past few months.
    I don’t want to sound like a sycophant, but I doubt we’d have got to this place, I doubt we’d have seen the fan mobilisation, were it not for your media coverage.

    Thank you.

  6. James Rae says:

    This whole thing is a cross between a shakespeanian trajedy, cheeks and chong movie and magicans trick gone wrong….it reminded me today of the scene in Braveheart when the body of Lochran falls from the rafters when Robert Bruce is gathered with the cheifs of Scotlands clans to decide the direction to take Scotland…is this Scotlands epic chance to rewrite the ending with a united Scottish victory?

  7. RicoS321 says:

    “Do not rule out any attempt….by the SPL to try just this”.

    When we say SPL who exactly are we referring to? ICT have made their position clear today. We essentially have a bunch of SPL teams who have tricked their fans into buying season tickets off the back of their vote for “sporting integrity”, with ICT having the decency/audacity to say as much tonight. Who else is part of this disgusting attempt to shoe-in a new team into the first division? Where is Doncaster getting his mandate for statements of armegeddon and SPL2? That should be your next focus Alex. With their statements about upholding sporting integrity, the SPL clubs are acting the Craig whyte with the fans being their david murray “dupee”. Which clubs are behind this? Or as mccoist would say “who are these people?”.

  8. Al Shaw says:

    Strange combination of pride and shame for Scots football fans today. Ashamed of the grubby, banana state behaviour of the game’s governing body and SPL. Yet proud of the heads of our small teams, who today took a principled decision, following the wishes of their fans, rather than the pragmatic alternative. If the right people (i.e. not current heads of SFA and SPL) can now push through the right changes, we could eventually look back on this as a great day for our game.

  9. Philip Edwards says:


    If the SFL board over-rule the clubs vote it will establish the total corruption of those who sit on it.

    If they carry this through all the clubs should resign and form their own league and refuse Rangers entry at any level. That will concentrate minds wonderfully.

  10. Peter Parsnip says:

    What was the point of voting today if they are going to steamroller right over the top of it. What a shower.

  11. Industrial language says:

    We are now at the position of a newco in Div 3.
    This is through a logical step by step deconstruction of the oldco by the fact of administration and soon to be liquidisation.
    The construct that is the newco, and the SFA’s dr. frankenstein attempt to bring it to life, may still come apart at the seams.
    UEFA and Platini will have this beast put down.
    As for the rest, be brave and face the future in the knowledge that the disease has been cut out and recovery can now begin.

  12. fedderz says:

    By far and away this man has been the best reporter on this story . As a diehard celtic man of-course i am bias in my opinion but if ever there was proof the game is corrupt in my country this is it . The rules are being changed every week to suit SEVCO FC
    since the season ended after our title win at 6pm we get the stv news for 30mins the 1st 15 are about rangers troubles then we get the sport and its the same again nothing about me team or any other the same with the papers everyday we are sick of it . Also I think I speak for every bhoy and Ghirl out there when I say the media and rival fans to stop mentioning glasgow celtic when they talk of sevco fc there problems are theirs and only theirs we only care about glasgows green and white hh . And anyone who accuses Alex Thomson of having it in for sevco fc do not have a clue the man does not have any reason other than his job to report the goings on we salute you sir ;) .

    1. Bruce says:

      fedderz, just because you’re a die hard Celtic man it does not mean you’re any more or less biased than anyone else posting comments on here.

  13. Roberto75 says:

    Amateur historians out there will be well aware of the significance of todays date.
    Friday the thirteenth is not shrouded in weirdness and scariness as a result of elaborate superstitous make believe but is rooted in recorded fact.
    On Friday October 13th 1307 hundreds of the ancient order of Knights Templar were rounded up in France on the say so of Philip IV who was said to be fearful of their power.
    Now 705 years later Friday October 13th 2012 will be remembered as the day the once all mighty, all swaggering Rangers FC were raped of their dignity and pride largely due to the desire of self confessed Rangers haters who saw this as an ideal opportunity to strip them of their power.
    Even the biggest Rangers die hard simply has to accept that the club deserves punishment, the financial mismanagement of messrs Murray and Whyte has tarnished the reputation of our great club and we do deserve to face the consequences.
    Now you can argue till your blue in the face about whether the newco should have been demoted to the First rather than the Third Division but following the 25-5 vote but in the immediate aftermath Ally McCoist and his staff have to focus on ensuring the team is prepared for matches in the lowest tier of the League.
    So who will be standing in the way of Lee McCulloch and co in their attempt to take the first step back to the top?
    Well before a League ball can be kicked in anger new Rangers will be in cup action, Ramsdens Cup action.
    Until a decision is made of which club will replace Rangers in the SPL there is uncertainty of who they wll meet in this competition but we do know a July 28th trip to Forfar or Brechin is on the cards.
    And August 11 2012 will see Rangers play their first ever match outwith the top division of Scottish football with a visit to Balmoor, Peterhead.
    The Blue Toon are managed by former Celtic man Jim Mcinally who can expect to receive a warm welcome by any of the travelling support but anyone venturing north better remember to be on their best behaviour as a night in the notorious Peterhead prison is not to be recommended!
    There have been many of the great world clubs who have played at Ibrox, from Real Madrid to Inter Milan, Bayern Munich to Manchester United but Saturday August 18 will see the mighty East Stirlingshire gracing their stuff down Govan way.
    One week later an away day at the site of the most infamous defeat in Rangers history will see the wee Rangers of Berwick tackle Ally McCoists men so at least the dreams of many in that Rangers will play a league match in England will come true!
    Elgin City will arrive in the big smoke on Saturday September 1 before the tiny border town of Annan lay out a welcome for the Light Blues.
    The club with the best nickname in the country, the Gable Endies of Montrose come calling before the loyal and faithful true blue fans head for Forthbank and Stirling Albion.
    And it will be just like the late 19th century all over again when the men from Govan and the amateurs of Queens Park clash again. Only back then it to see who would establish themselves as the dominant club in the country jousting for three points in the Irn Bru Third Division.
    Self confessed Celtic man Jim Duffy will lead his Clyde troops into battle on October 27 against the Teddy Bears before the fixtures are reversed with fans facing trips to the delights of Ochilview, Links Park and Hampden of course.
    So there we have it Rangers in the Third, well at least there will be no more lunch time Sunday kick offs or their like for the time being as its back to 3pm on a Saturday for our fix.
    And if it all goes to plan August 2015 will see the return of Govans finest to the SPL in all liklehood attempting to wrestle back our throne and disrail our friends from the East End and their aim of five in a row.

    1. Prince Charles says:

      It has been a bad summer for sure,but we are still only in July!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  14. Romytoy says:

    Im a Motherwell fan from Forres. Family Blue noses. Correct result today but took how long to get there. Ex Chairman employed Craig Whyte to do the dirty job. Which he done. Fred the Shred lost his Knight Hood. What about Mr Rangers to loose his Knight Hood

  15. The Simple Sword Of Truth says:

    You said there would be no sporting integrity. Wrong!You said there would be no vote today.Wrong! You said you didn’t know what the statue represented. Wrong! Oh dear!You don’t seem to get very much right do you!? Are you sure those reports from the Middle East aren’t some kind of “Drop The Dead Donkey” reporting ? Right!!!

    1. Prince Charles says:

      Are you related to Zorro?

    2. Francis says:

      With a display name like that, this must be a Private Eye entry.

  16. gorillaintheroom says:

    Gil Scott-Heron : “The revolution will not be televised”

    You were right…… without downgrading the apartheid struggle we have witnessed lately power of the people in Scotland. The revolution was not televised but it was t’internetised…….” Fan power from all clubs all over Scotland has won…..All Scottish teams will now be richer for this experience….and I truly mean all.

    Take a bow Gil-Scott-heron and your dad Gil (The Black Arrow) Heron who added black to the hoops in the Fifties. Pioneering men to whom we are forever grateful.

    Viva la revolution!!!

  17. The Octagon says:

    Any move now to an SPL2 will surely fail on the same grounds of public/fan opinion that has helped get us to where we are now. They may try but, realistically, what are the chances of enough Div 1 clubs joining a new SPL2 ?

    Don’t see it happening no matter the pressure brought to bear.

    This genie is very much out of the bottle !

  18. Nick J says:

    I’m afraid I have to agree with you Alex, the authorities will continue to try and work around the clubs – but I think the clubs will hold firm. Especially with the likes of Clyde FC whose statements over the last couple of days have been simply astounding.

    What stunned me most today has been the reporting of the BBC, especially the Scotland correspondent James Cook and his never ending message of financial doom and gloom, in particular, his predictions on TV money.

    I’ve been doing a little digging on the internet and had a look at tv rights. Currently Sky pay £16m a year for the rights for live broadcast, this deal is due to run for another year. Sky, as reported in ‘The Scotsman’ a few weeks ago, have said that they will honour the current arrangement but after that they would be looking to renegotiate, but they would not be ‘walking away’. That seems perfectly acceptable.
    As Oldco Rangers took @ 17.5% of the Sky money, the top rate they share along with Celtic, the newly promoted ‘Club 12’ would probably take 6.5% (what the other ten SPL clubs take). In effect, Sky could immediately drop their bid by 10% and their would be no difference in any payment to any club.

    The BBC are the interesting case. Their deal with the SPL has just run out at the end of last season. They were paying £3m a year for highlights. As of yet, I haven’t heard about the new BBC deal. (if anyone knows about it, please let me know) It could well be that they have been waiting to see the outcome of the newco saga before negotiations begin. An indication of the BBC’s stance was actually made by Douglas Fraser back in February of this year when he stated:

    ‘The BBC has the national rights package for radio commentary, online and TV highlights, and the uncertainty over Rangers’ future puts the corporation in a stronger negotiating position for next season’s deal.’


    This indicates that the BBC would be looking to drop their offer.

    Let’s compare the BBC’s rights deal with both the English and Scottish Premier leagues. The BBC have just signed a new deal for EPL highlights at a cost of £180m for 3 years, so £60m a year. As we know, the BBC currently pay the SPL £3m*a year for highlights.


    That seems awfully low.

    Lets use the ‘Barnett’ formula here, borrowed from politics. Might seem a little daft, but when you consider a UK wide publicly funded body such as the BBC, it’s probably a more relevant method of evaluation than it first appears.

    The Barnett formula breaks down per head of population. As Scotland has 8.6% of the UK’s population we can calculate that the £60m a year for EPL coverage should equate to @ £5m a year for the SPL. The SPL gets £3m a year from the BBC. Thats underfunding to the tune of £2m a year.

    What is more frustrating for Scots viewers is that as licence fee payers we contribute more than £300m to the BBC but only receive £100m or so back north of the border to make our own programmes.

    (I haven’t even taken into account the further funding made by the BBC to buy tv rights for ‘The Championship’ – which has seen a complete revitalisation through the BBC’s ‘Football League Show’. )

    What can we deduce from this ?

    Ultimately the BBC has made a decision that viewers in Scotland would rather watch EPL than SPL football. After all, we get Match of the Day and The Football League Show on a Saturday night for 2 hours whilst our own coverage of the SPL is relegated to late night Sunday programming for 30-40mins.

    So going back to the start of this post (so very long ago, I do apologise) when I heard James Cook, the BBC’s Scotland correspondent going on about tv rights, I couldn’t help but have a good laugh to myself. It’s the BBC that these points need to be raised with.

  19. bigt says:

    Regan has told Green that his newco will not be playing in d3 in a fortnight. Is that because their application for a licence will be rejected again as it was in March this year. If this the case they will not playing in any league, but then Regan and Doncaster might try to put them in a SPL2 (tier 2 of Scottish football) which is against the wishes of the majority of clubs in SPL/SFL – Regan Doncaster and Longmuir must go now

  20. Marty says:

    The SFA are clearly in a panic about finances. They’re not the only ones – see, for example, Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s statement issued soon after the vote to put Rangers in Division 3. However, I suspect the SFA are effectively powerless in this instance. Tough times all round methinks but Rangers will go on, in Division 3.

    1. Bruce says:

      See, for example, this….

      ‘Caley Thistle chairman Kenny Cameron said: “We are one of the few clubs with no bank debt, so our position is very far from threatening.

      “We continue to hold the position that not allowing ‘newco’ Rangers into the SPL is the correct decision.”

      Read more:

      Yes, I agree. Panic stricken. Especially ICT.

    2. Prince Charles says:

      “Tough times”? Na,get the Bollinger out,big boy.And thanks for your input,made my day.

  21. Andrak says:

    Surely the SFL clubs must now strike while the iron is hot and demand the fundamental restructure of the game that everyone is talking about. It matters less were Rangers eventually end up playing than that we get a more sustainable and equitable structure.

    There are other clubs still to go into administration but the only way the ‘diddy clubs’ will have as much leverage again is if say Hearts, Aberdeen, Dundee United, and Motherwell (I may have missed a few) all fall off their own particular shoogly pegs at the same time. It is more likely that their own reality denial and hubris will see them fall individually. That will be messy but manageable for the SPL and SFA.

    I just really wish that someone, anyone, would just take a lead here. What is the Scottish Parliament doing. If these were banks or transport companies our MSPs would weighing in and adding pressure. Their silence is not only deafening but it is also disappointing.

  22. Tommyscot says:

    The root of this debacle lies in an unstable financial model imposed upon the Scottish game. Since Sky blew apart the balance that was the cosy terrestrial TV deals in the UK, the EPL has sucked the fan base from Scottish football. I cannot think of another case where a footballing nation has another’s football broadcasted across its territory, to the exclusion of the domestic product .
    This Sky monopoly could have been handled better if broadcasting was devolved to Holyrood. Instead we are dominated by the billion-funded EPL and no per-capita equivalent deal is offered to Scottish football by Sky.
    In this situation any club with ambitions beyond the domestic might be tempted down the road that Rangers travelled.
    Is it too late to ask the OFT to examine the impact of BSkyB upon the trading and operation of an industry in a neighbouring territory?

  23. Claire Lettice says:

    Alex, what will “Rangers” be called now? I found no notice in the Edinburgh Gazette today (or in previous editions) which could surely have been the only route under the following:

    Possibly they could go for the general application to the court, but one would doubt the regs on that could be met before the start of the season.

  24. Iain says:

    I have spent some time scouring the web for a mention of the third vote that was to be taken yesterday and found nothing. Did the third vote take place? I’m not that bothered about the result of the vote but if it didn’t take place then why not? The silence is worrying.

  25. Sid says:

    The first thing on the adgenda for Monday’s spl meeting should be about recruiting a new chief executive .one that has the best interests of all the member clubs unlike the present incombent who was
    only ever interested in two clubs and ignored the other 10

  26. Bhoycey says:

    Surely it’s a democratic vote so it should stand. SPL fans will bhoycott ths Scottish cup and possibly SPL games if Sevco waltz back into the SPL. It’s all a total farce. SFA and SPL beware cause you’ll end up getting bitten

  27. Alan Thomson says:

    Another very insightful piece , Alex. Do keep the pot boiling. There are not many in the Scottish media or Scottish football who seem capable of taking a non tainted view on the subject.

  28. Roy says:

    If the SPL/SFL administrators defy the democratic wishes of the majority of clubs and fans then Scottish football is dead, UEFA and FIFA would be left with no option but to ban all Scottish teams from sanctioned competitions at club and international level.
    Scottish football would be no more than a Highland amateur league devoid of sponsorship and TV rights.
    Rangers, or whatever the newco is called, broke numerous rules to maintain success on the pitch, any other club would be expected to be similarly punished.
    All involved should accept it and move on, no one club is bigger than the sport.

  29. yakyakdotnutter says:

    Glad to hear you have returned home safe and sound from your latest assignment and have survived what must have been a harrowing experience : being stuck in the green room at STV studios with Archie McPherson and Gordon Smith.

  30. Prince Charles says:

    Had to complain to the BBC about their poor and one sided news coverage of this.”If Rangers go into the 3rd,it is the end of the world.”and”Sky sports will declare war on Scotland” and suchlike.But I did leave praise for their continued and excellent coverage of The Twelfth.
    Sky sports only official comment to date is that they apologize,to customers,for having wrongly advertised that customers can watch Rangers in 3D from next season.
    Marty,where are you? If you have posted something about “turkeys”,I have won a bet.

  31. Prince Charles says:

    What about the upside to Rangers going into division 3,and by that fact becoming a diddy team. Apart from a bit of humility for their fans.
    1.With Rangers not being a force,for a few seasons anyway,cup competitions will be more open and competitive.Many teams drawn against Rangers can look forward to giving them a jolly good drubbing!
    2.The SPL will probably be more interesting for the top half,the exception will of course be for Celtic.
    3.The Rangers fans get to see the parts of Scotland that they do not normally travel to,wee bit of variety.
    4.Teams in divisions 3 then 2 then 1 get to play Rangers at Ibrox.
    5.The same clubs might get a wee turn at their home games with Rangers visiting.Especially when they win the 3rd division.Canny wait to see Ally with his first trophy as a manager!Over the moon or what.
    6.Champions league football up for grabs for a diddy team.Whoopee!
    7.Given the above,why would Sky Sports want to pull out of Scottish football?

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