3 Apr 2012

Fans look beyond scapegoats for the truth

They, after all, turn up week in, week out. They stump up for the season ticket, season in, season out.

As many in Glasgow seek to blame everything from global warming to childhood cancer on Craig Whyte – as well as Rangers’ woes – I’m keen to hear the true extent of the mismanagement years before Craig Whyte ever rolled up promising help to a club bought for millions and sold to him for a quid.

First – a word from a lawyer. Not ours, but Adam, lifelong Bear and worth quoting at length I think:  “Rangers cheated the system for years and the Scottish media is scared of the club. Still.

If we are found guilty and a deal is done with the taxman it will be embarrassing.

Please keep up the good work. It’s great that the UK as a whole is seeing what a shambles we have become. Life is more than football and Rangers should be as liable as us all for keeping to the law and paying tax.”

Which seems as good a summary as I’ve yet seen. Celtic fans – not all Bears are burying their heads and running away.

Nonetheless, some were upset at what they see as unfairly dragging the name of a club legend into all this.

Here’s Ross: “…the part of the report which really did infuriate the vast majority of Rangers supporters was the insinuation that John Greig would have had any sort of awareness that this scheme was potentially illegal. He is a great servant of Rangers and you sought to blight his name, which I, amongst many others, believe is totally and utterly unacceptable.”

Many, like Scott, point to systemic corporate failure rather than individual culpability and although the scapegoat-hunters won’t be satisfied, my hunch is that this is near to the reality of events under Sir David Murray’s regime at the club:

“Your piece – and more to follow no doubt – just confirms to me the systematic failings of the RFC management pre-Craig Whyte. Executives more interested in their personal wealth accumulation and boards of Directors who are either ineffectual (Ogilivie) or just football people (Greig) who lack the expertise to challenge and balance decisions made by Executives (your blogs also on the Murray regime paint very well a picture of a culture where the Executives are trusted because they are feared or assumed to be doing the right thing – after all every Director probably laboured under the delusion that every executive decision is made in the best interests of the football club and when they gain financially who is going to question what is going on?).”

Hope of course, is what football support is all about. And Iain’s big quandary is all about hope – the hope that Rangers will win the so-called Big Tax Case: “A big question I would love the answer to and would love someone to ask is: if Rangers got found not guilty in respect to the EBTs would Rangers be entitled to chase for compensation? We have been operating under this now for 4 possibly 5 years and it has hampered our club financially going forward and it would not be in the terrible mess it is in now if this was not under the shadow of the tax case. As I am sure more buyers would have been at the table at the time David Murray was selling up.”

Brian was typical though of many fans who feel let down, sold out, the club they thought stood for certain values now in administration and facing possible (or is that becoming probable)liquidation:

“…let me say I am a Gers fan and that my club has acted, on the face of it against all that I believed my club to stand for, honesty, fairness and a high level of integrity. I frankly am ashamed and embarrassed…That situation will be resolved shortly I’m afraid and Rangers, if what your investigation said is correct, will be no more.”

Large numbers of fans also felt abandoned by the Scottish FA and allied football governing bodies, as Kenny wrote:

“Rangers fans have absolutely no love for the SFA, and at times in recent history have been seen to be ‘at war’ with the SFA. The SFA ,I’m sure you are aware, have done little or nothing to help RFC in admin, unlike the FA’s assistance with Portsmouth FC.”

A small sample of Rangers’ opinions from around the world – let alone around Govan. It’s clear many are more than clear that simply scapegoating the post-EBT management of Craig Whyte is, right now, missing the point and dangerously shifting attention from those who ran the club into deep debt.

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90 reader comments

  1. duggie73 says:

    Does anyone know if “we don’t do walking away” was dreamt up by a PR company?

    1. coatbridge bhoy says:

      we dont pay our way would be a better chant

  2. Graham MacLeod says:

    This is the biggest load of made up rubbish I have heard in a long time. Alex I suggest you have been mixing with the wrong company. I have read better put together analysis on Celtic fan web sites and believe me that is not a compliment to those been intelligent well researched pieces.

  3. Disgruntled Reader says:

    You quote all these rangers fans yet never do they have surnames nor pictures taken. Fans ken to talk but be keen for the publicity.

    One suspicious mind would believe you have a hidden agenda there. It is all too easy to put quotation marks around fictitious quotes! Rangers fan Alex agrees “Yes, it is very easy, look!” said he.

    Don’t hide behind ‘quotes’, show the fans saying this and we will soon see if this style of journalism continues. It is sad that it has taken the demise on a UK institution for you to think you can jump into the media spotlight and become some great journalist with such style. How your professors would hold their head in shame!

    1. Carntyne says:


      Are you in primary three?

  4. Paul B says:

    If thats Rangers fans then I will eat my bowler hat.

    They “quotes” could have been taken from the huddleboard or CQN.

    What has happened to CH4? Can you not make your own minds up without resorting to timmy lies.

  5. Marty says:

    There is a lot of hysteria about this in various quarters. Rangers operated a common tax planning device, one used by literally thousands of companies (including Celtic for a time!). Such schemes are by their very nature intended to stay within the law – that’s the point of them. It’s possible Rangers messed up the operation of the scheme, which could be a very expensive mistake. Time will tell. But there will be no “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict. The tribunal is not a criminal trial, or anything approaching it – Rangers are appealing against a tax assessment. (Strictly speaking, Murray Group are.)

    1. Ian says:

      It goes MUCH deeper than that now.

      I always felt that the FTT would return a “split” decision, that executive use of the EBT scheme was fair, on occassions, especially in the years of good Club performance but the Players usage was not, as it involved contractual payments.

      The change in seriousness of the situation has come about through the 2nd contract issue.

      If this proves to be true then there is no way the SFA & SPL can supress it. UEFA must become involved, how compromised are the SFA in all of this?

      Have they made a big mistake in allowing Campbell Olgilvie to remain in post rather than placing him on gardening leave?

      The RFC Administrators are on record talking about the “toxicity” attached to the club, I thought at first they meant the support, now I am not so sure, it looks as if the sh*t is about to hit the fan big time.

      1. Marty says:

        Ian, your “toxicity” jibe undercuts any case you might have had. The toxicity referred to by the administrators is clearly financial, a significant proportion of it being what Craig Whyte got up to.

      2. Ian says:

        It was NOT a jibe, I thought the bad publicity & Government intervention might colour the picture for an outside bidder.

        Read the way they write it, if it IS NOT the sectarian issue, it is NOT simply FINANCIAL & it is certainly NOT the £9m debt Craig Whyte owed & which caused the Administration. In a club with RFC turnover this would be a flea bite to a serious business. The FTT is an unknown, it could be anything from owe nothing, a minimum sum + fine + costs to major sum + fine + costs.

        I don’t think anyone can comment on it properly until it is quantified.

        If there is toxicity present NOW it must be the sectarian issue or the 2nd contract issue, or something similar which will cause problems.

        Of those, if I were a Rangers fan, I would prefer the sectarian option, YOU can tackle that with the will to do so.

        If it is a reference to past Murray practices which can be deemed illegal in a sporting or business sense it becomes MUCH more serious.

      3. Felix says:

        Alternatively it could have been the fact that they were unaware of the whereabouts of large sums of money. They initially stated they had no sight of the Ticketus money. I think most people realise that Whyte left a tangled mess of a paper trail – or lack of

      4. Ian says:

        Felix, The Ticketus money is circa £24m, this is not an insurmountable sum & is certainly not toxic, unless it can be made to stick, over the years, no matter what, then MAYBE.

        The Judge gave the Administrator the indication that it can be set aside & would become another creditor debt, if THEY decide to take the risk & go down that route.

        The problem then becomes that the £24m dilutes the CVA value for EXISTING CREDITORS, especially HMRC. Were THEY prepared to accept pence in the pound, would they accept LESS pence in the pound because the Administrators decided to make the Ticketus deal null & void & add their debt to the CVA proposition?

        The money HAS been accounted for & the final £3. something million is subject to a court case.

        One of the things that jumps out of the Rangers issues is that a lot of them are possibly going to be subject to litigation. If this happens, how long will it take? How much will it cost?

        Will the club be out of existance until these issues are resolved & a newco can be established? What restrictions would be placed on this weakened newco if they have missed a season or three?

        This again, could be part of their “TOXIC” warning.

      5. 2 Canadian soldiers says:

        Toxicity sums up rangers (IA), and their fans perfectly.No complaints here.

    2. Maf says:

      oh dear, Marty STILL banging on about Celtic and the EBT nonsense, HORSE, FLOGGING, A DEAD

      criminal or not, HMRC HAS found rangers GUILTY, thats why your at the FTT

      and as to the MIH, is this the big boy done it and ran away defence?


  6. Sandy Francis, Paisley says:

    A Rangers fan actually had the cojonoes to say “I believed my club to stand for, honesty, fairness and a high level of integrity” without even a hint of irony or self-awareness? This is the club which didn’t sign a Roman Catholic for the best part of a century because they “couldn’t find one good enough to play for them?” In the era of Pele, di Stefano, Platini and Maradona? They have never publicly apologised for their signing policy; some would even have you believe it never existed.

    And, once again I say, as I did when commenting on a previous blog of yours, I am not a Celtic fan.

  7. T Smith says:

    Not ours, but Adam, lifelong Bear and worth quoting at length I think: “Rangers cheated the system for years and the Scottish media is scared of the club.
    Mr Thomsom do you actually think that anyone is actually going to believe the guff you have quoted above from your mysterious “Adam” the so called lifelong Bear as we have not been foung guilty of anything yet this so called Rangers fan has us hung drawn and quartered.
    I think it’s about time that you gave up your personal crusade against Rangers as your so called exclusives have been regurgitated rubbish fuelled by your colleagues of a certain persuasion from the other side of Glasgow

  8. graeme says:

    What complete and utter nonsense. I guess you are being worked from the back by phil mcgobblegiver!

    1. 2 Canadian soldiers says:

      Hurts, doesn’t it. THE TRUTH.

  9. Neil says:

    Why did Bain make such a point of having his contract shredded?

  10. Jimbo says:

    Think a lot of Rangers fans are now starting to question mr Thomsons motivation. Who is Adam? could be anybody may not even be real for all anyone knows. If this is what passes for journalism a quote from someone with no surname then its no wonder certain people are stuck working at backwaters like Ch4 and are not at BBC or sky.

  11. Felix says:

    So far, we know that Rangers operated an Employee Benefit Trust, possibly incorrectly. I’m not saying the double contracts/additional payments paid during the Murray years didn’t happen. However, you have yet to produce a single scrap of evidence other than the contradictions of one former director who has a very well publicised and long feud with David Murray.

    There were undoubtedly problems before Craig Whyte came in, but the reason we are in administration and facing the threat of liquidation is entirely down to him. Under the previous regime, the debt was being reduced through an agreed plan with Lloyds. PAYE etc were all being paid also. The big tax case was an unspecified future liability which may have brought us into administration/liquidation.

    You have created an internet following off the back of speculation and innuendo (which may prove to be partially or fully correct.

    From somebody with your background Mr Thomson, I would expect more than a glorified fanzine article.

    Incidentally, you asked some very searching questions of Stewart Regan and the SFA but seem to have decided not to follow that one up. I appreciate it is mostly seperate from the Rangers issues, but there are further questions to answer. Mainly, who from Rangers signed the declaration to say Craig Whyte was fit and proper. If you look at the dates of when the old directors left the board and when Whyte took over as Chairman, there seem to be very few (none) candidates to do so, other than Whyte himself.

    1. Ian says:

      A LEGITIMATE Representative of RFC signed for RFC & Rangers LEGITIMATE representation dithered in answering the follow on questions, bringing the club’s reputation into disrepute.

      Are you suggesting the legal representatives of a company do not act for that company?

      If RFC as company, employed executives who prove to have acted improperly, then the company is responsible for the improprieties or worse, if worse has occurred.

      Previous owners of Rangers actions, rightly or wrongly, bring the results of their actions onto RFC not the individual, eg Craig Whyte avoided paying PAYE & VAT, & apparently he did nothing illegal in this, but the club ended up in Administration.

      The only way the individuals will be punished is if they have broken the law or the rules of governing bodies, Sporting or Business.

    2. Harry says:

      Mike McGill confirms side payments were made to players via the trust that generated the wee tax case..

      Coroborated Hugh Adams claims..

      Still waiting on the SFA to move on this..

      1. Marty says:

        I’d like to see a sopurce for that claim, Harry.

      2. Harry says:

        Seek and ye shall find, i aint your secretary!

  12. Bob McKay says:

    Gosh! Whatever did a Rangers fan do to so upset Mr Alex Thomson?
    If its investigative journalism thats led him up this garden path, maybe we should be asking…why devote the twilight of your career Alex to a football minnow in world terms?

    Rangers total debt, even including disputed back dated tax, at best is going to be £35m and worst circa £100m. Thats a small percentage of the debt of many clubs.
    Where’s the crime? Why the blog? Mysterious, truly mysterious Mr Thomson. Go on, man up and explain why you started this- where’s the buring public interest in a debt ridden football club??

    1. paul martin says:

      no public interest in rangers ? the worlds most successful club ? how very dare you…..

      1. Felix says:

        I think the implication may be about who is pulling Mr Thomson’s strings here. I think you know that though don’t you

      2. Ian says:


        I find it strange that we are watching Rangers disintegrate, revelation upon revelation, each new one worse than the last.

        Your default defensive position seems to be “prove it”, fair enough.

        Then you come up with innuendo against a serious main stream journalist, with International accreditation, suggesting that SOMEONE is pulling Mr Thomson’s strings & that you know who it is.

        Would you care to name names or is it all the usual Bullsh*t smear tactics?

    2. Peter says:

      Bob, there are none so blind as those who wont see.

    3. Edward says:

      I am a member of the public and I for one am interested…

    4. Ben says:

      It’s only the biggesst corporate failure in Scottish history next only to RBS. It could confirm the biggest ever financial doping in the world of sport and oor Bob can’t see the problem.

      Which Scottish media outlet do you work for Bob?

    5. Ian says:

      I find this post disingenious, Rangers have went from world leaders, most trophies etc to a minnow. How come? Should you not await an SFA judgement reducing them to minnows before commenting?

      The INTEREST in Rangers is the DEVELOPING SITUATION.

      World’s BIGGEST Cheats?

      How many “INDESCRETIONS” have the SFA ignored?

      Have Rangers broken any laws? in Business or Sporting?

      Did Players have TWO contracts?

      If so, does this warrant the STRIPPING of TITLES & TROPHIES?

      IS THERE, or has THERE BEEN a COVER UP by those in power?

      Is the SFA & SPL fit for purpose?

      If Guilty should Rangers be ALLOWED INTO any LEAGUE IN SCOTLAND or should they be SIN DIED to protect the good name of Scottish Football?

      Good Job so far Alex, keep up the good work.

      1. Paul says:

        The public interest in this story is clear to all but the most obtuse or myopic of reader: logical extension of the EBT tax case (for the myopic that means clubs within the EPL and businesses elsewhere) as well as the cosy relationships fostered between certain clubs and their governing bodies (for the obtuse that means Rangers and the SFA).

        Regarding the wider interest, even discounting the tax case angle, there is a huge public interest here, in that it would appear our governing body truly are not fit for purpose. This being the case, who would be?

        How are Uefa monitoring the developing situation vis a vis license processing (from last season – Rangers had overdue payables to tax authorities and yet obtained a license with nary a question asked)?

        Will Uefa and indeed FIFA be content to allow a national association to continue to thumb it’s nose at common rules put in place?

        Or will they decide that an example could be made of an association that both would rather did not exist?

        Could we be seeing, not just the death throes of a club, but also of an association long under pressure to merge with it’s big brother based at Wembley Stadium?

        Public interest indeed.

      2. Sam says:

        I think you will find alex’s interest was sparked when he asked what non old firm fans thought…. We wrote in our thousands saying the media accepted everything Rangers said. And could he Please investigate further as the Glasgow media were acting like ostriches! ( head in the sand), and a White wash was underway!
        I can tell you up here in the northeast he is a hero! Many want him knighted! But hey what the ” diddy teams” think about our game does’nt really matter does it.

  13. the ghost of john lennon says:


    Not quite as Rangers have appealed having already lost the original. Rangers are trying to bend and push biundaries so that they can avoid their respectful and civlised responsibilities and legal. Your post is a perfect thumbnail sketch of Rangers failings. Absolute denial en masse. Sheep and lemmings .


  14. Felix says:

    You’re missing my point. Craig Whyte was only liable to the fit and proper rules when he took up an official appointment, i.e. Chairman which he did about 2 and a half weeks after he bought the club. In the intervening period, the directors on the independent takeover panel all left the club, other than John Greig. Martin Bain and Donald McIntyre were suspended by Whyte. I highly doubt John Greig was in a position to declare Whyte fit and proper when he was a signatory on the letter declaring his offer for Rangers as not good enough.

    If Whyte has returned a declaration which he signed stating he was fit and proper, that should have rung alarm bells at Hampden. When they finally did begin an investigation into Whyte, they messed around for 5 months allowing themselves to be fobbed off by Gary WIthey (appointed after Whyte became chairman, and now fired by his law firm) The SFA could and should have demanded the answers to their questions long before they did. The conduct of the investigation itself has shown up glaring inadequacies in Regan’s SFA, and if he did allow Craig Whyte to declare himself fit and proper, it casts serious doubt on his competence and propriety for the role of CEO. Somewhat ironic when he was then part of the “independent” investigation (oxymoron) into Craig Whyte and Rangers.

    There is no doubt Rangers Football Club as an entity are liable for the conduct of their executives, but this whole sorry affair has raised serious questions about the governance of our game.

    1. Ian says:

      Felix, I couldn’t agree more.

      The more the powers that be have turned a blind eye to the RFC situations over the years, the worse it has become.

      If the SFA had functioned properly Murray’s schemes would have been nipped in the bud & the SFA would NOT have a President who took money out of Rangers in ONE of the Murray schemes.

      I was disgusted when I watched the programme.

      The Rangers fans have provided a fighting fund of £250,000, this from working class guys.

      Bain took as much from the club, using a loan scheme, in ONE year, for “INVESTMENT”. How much has he had in total? How much have they ALL had?

      It seems MURRAY charged Rangers £500,000 PER YEAR to operate the schemes.

      The SFA is unfit for purpose, it has a President who has taken a loan, from the same scheme as Bain & the rest.

      Think on it, the PRESIDENT of the SFA borrowed £95,000 from RFC, has never repaid it, won’t stand down & the SFA will JUDGE Rangers?

      Does it look like a cover up to you?

      What will they do now?

      It is out in the open, UEFA know, other clubs know, What will the SFA do?

      The old expression “COVER THEIR OWN AR*E” comes to mind.

      1. Marty says:

        Don’t get hysterical, Ian. Ogilvie can stand back from any investigation of Rangers. It’s a very common process.

      2. Ian says:

        I am not hysterical.

        Murray, Bain, Greig, McClelland, Ogilvie etc can ALL stand aside but RANGERS are STILL up sh*t Creek without a paddle.

        I don’t get YOUR point, are YOU condoning this situation?

      3. Marty says:

        There is no need to shout, Ian. And there is nothing to “condone”. Campbell Ogilvie will play no part in any disciplinary proceeding against Rangers.

      4. Ian says:

        Campbell Ogilvie is COMPROMISED.

        It is not shouting, it is EMPHISISING what you & yours are trying to ignore or brush over.

        If you object to capitals tell me how do do italics.

        In the meantime go back to your LA LA LA not listening mode & get that old head back where it belongs IN THE SAND.

  15. Chris says:

    For me, what makes this whole saga the most rewarding is the fact, some of the very same Rangers* fans posting on here are the same ones who posted under Daily Record articles that claimed Craig Whyte was a “Billionaire” with “wealth off the radar”, looking to expand the “Rangers brand”. These same Rangers* fans were calling him a “true visionary”, each one taking it in turns to lick his rear end. They have gone from having a brown nose to having rotten egg all over their faces, looking more than a little silly and most definitely undignified considering how their opinions of the “whyte knight”, the “visionary” have taken a complete U turn. I wont embarrass them any more by posting the links of their foolishness (we did try to warn them after all), but I would like them to know that I, and every other Celtic fan, are enjoying watching the slow death of their club whilst our team march on to the title with Neil Lennon at the helm, smiling, partying and enjoying success whilst they scrimp and scrape for their mere survival.The smile has barely left my face since 14th Feb, and it has gotten bigger by the day. Their undignified antics are catching up with them and we all have a ticket to the show. :-)

  16. BankieJohn says:

    Some Gers fans still in denial here. Yes, lets question the messengers’ motive for even daring to look at this story. How desperate? It’s not just about a football club in debt. This is about how football has been governed in Scotland for over a decade. It’s about the freedom of the press FFS! The smart rangers fans out there (most holding their tongues at the moment)are glad the work of some decent journos (Mark Daly too) shines some light on this sordid affair.
    Wake up Rangers. You all let this happen.

    I’m not a Tim BTW. I’m a Bankie! I watched my team play Rangers and Celtic in the big boys’ league and then quickly drop out of view, lost everything – our beloved Kilbowie Park is now a drive-thru MacDonalds. But we still play in the Junior league. We survived and the good thing that may come out of this, for us, we might be playing Rangers 2012 next season. Every cloud eh?

  17. Bruce says:

    So, after a few Rangers supporters show signs of facing up to their club’s activities we get a few more on still determined to deflect. Some are determined to deflect, yet at the time there were plenty who were warning the Rangers support of what was going on. The people doing the warning were dismissed as Tims or yesterday’s men. The problem was that the Ranger’s support didn’t want to hear the truth about Whyte. As ever they want to walk away and blame it all on someone else.

    And, again, its a bit of an urban myth that EBT’s were uncontroversial at the time. It seems apparent now that they sailed close to the wind as far as legality goes. That’s why Celtic, when Juninho came with one in place, had it closed pretty quickly.

    1. AndrewD says:

      Now now. Rangers don’t do walking away

  18. John says:

    Bob and Felix, I can’t help but find it faintly ridiculous that you seem to be implying that Alex Thomson’s motives for following this story are suspect.
    Do you not find it more suspicious that few, if any, Scottish reporters have shown the same diligenge as he has in seeking the facts behind what is potentially the biggest sporting scandal ever to emerge in Scotland.

  19. Ray Charles says:

    “Many, like Scott, point to systemic corporate failure rather than individual culpability and although the scapegoat-hunters won’t be satisfied, my hunch is that this is near to the reality of events under Sir David Murray’s regime at the club.”

    Disagree here Alex.

    It is obvious there was systemic corporate failure but who created the corporate culture that allowed directors and executives to allegedly neglect their fiduciary duty en masse?

    Could individuals at RFC not be held to account for the malaise in the boardroom.

    A classic example of systematic corporate failure is Enron. Individuals were prosecuted.

    With regard to Rangers, the corporate “body” reminds me about the myth about people’s pet dogs.

    Have you ever seen a dog on a leash and glanced at the owner and thought to yourself – they actually look like each other?

  20. John Reid says:

    I think the point raised earlier is the crux of the whole situation, as it stands now, for a lot of fans of Celtic and any other club! What was the SFA’s role in all this? How can you possibly run an independant, impartial governance body when so many are complicit in the mess Rangers find themselves in? How can the PRESIDENT of said orginisation remain in office when he has profited out of these schemes? Being seen to be fair and transparent is obviously not high on the agenda down Hampden way. We, the general public, can all see how bad this looks bit as usual the beaks and bnlazers are so far removed from reality that they just don’t/won’t see what everyone else can? Time to start asking the serious questions i.e. How is this investigation impartial when the head of the originsation has already profited? Also, I think it is high time both Celtic and Rangers had fewer executives or directors invovled with the governance of our national game! Alex, love your work! Keep digging, there’s alot more to uncover!

  21. Colin says:

    How convenient that quotes from Rangers fans support the reporters arguments. Despite the self hype this particular “We want Rangers dead” blog appears to be actually running out of steam with lame attempts at fishing via twitter, catching little more those who give their day to swimming in those bitter waters.
    I want my club to sort out its mess, to pay its dues and restore its damaged reputation. But we are not going to be made to walk the plank to satisfy the hatred of others

    1. 2 Canadian soldiers says:

      Too late, and it’s a very short plank.Goodbye RIP.

  22. Jim says:

    I really wish some of the more hysterical Celtic supporters on here would actually take some time to think before typing.
    They seem to think they have uncovered some great evidence about the EBT scheme and that Hugh Adam has delivered some damning evidence as well.
    If only they took some time to study the actually facts. Both Rangers and the Murray Group have never hidden the facts that EBT’s were paid and they were shown in the financial reports very year they were paid. The figures were subject to independent audit and submitted to the SFA every year.
    There is absolutely no doubt that EBT’s were widely used throughout the business and are not illegal and the BTC is basically concerned with how the scheme was operated not the legality of the scheme.
    If the scheme was illegal then surely the SFA should be charging Celtic FC as they have admitted using EBT’s and respectively paid the tax on the scheme which is basically an admission that they did not operate the scheme correctly.

    1. Henry Clarson says:

      Jim- I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you genuinely have trouble understanding the principle that just because an EBT in itself is not illegal, that does NOT mean that misusing and abusing that EBT is okay.

      I have some sharp knives in my kitchen. That is perfectly legal. If, however, I chose to use those knives to stab somebody, that WOULD be illegal. See the difference?
      HMRC has ruled that the way Rangers USED their EBTs was wrong, not allowed, against the rules, illegal. Rangers* have appealed against that ruling. The dispute is not about whether Rangers* have ever used EBTs; it is about HOW they used or misused them. Misuse is illegal.

      On the single occasion when a player arrived at Celtic with an EBT already in place, chairman Brian Quinn immediately contacted the tax authorities and sought guidance on whether or not it was an acceptable use of the EBT scheme. Upon being told that the HMRC took a dim view of it, Celtic settled the outstanding tax and terminated the arrangement forthwith. That was the proper way to deal with the situation and there isn’t the remotest chance that Celtic will face any charges over that episode.
      If the Rangers directors had had the sense to do what the Celtic chairman did, they would have saved their club from the crisis that it is now facing.

      1. Jim says:


        HMRC have applied to a court to decide if the way Rangers used the EBT’s was incorrect. If it was as simple as you suggest I’m sure the courts would have come to the conclusion as you and had the same speed as you came you your conclusion.
        I would have thought that someone with your depth of knowledge on the subject would have known FTT while only decide on any amount of tax due and not whether EBT’s are legal or illegal.
        Also I’m sure you will also know that every player that arrives at a club has he requires to have his contract submitted to the SFA and given the fact he signed on a free transfer he would have not had a contract at the time he signed for Celtic. I may therefore be jumping to conclusions but if there was an EBT in his registered contract then it must have been put in place by Celtic, I am also assuming that Celtic did not pay the tax on earning whilst he was playing for his previous club.

      2. Jim says:

        One think to think about Henry with regards to your kitchen knife theory and Celtic’s use of EBT’s.
        If I used my kitchen knife to stab someone but quickly admitted to the stabbing and handed back the knife would what I had done be legal and leave me free from punishment?

  23. Philip Edwards says:


    We will get the same thing everywhere until the financial model of ownership is changed to fans’ trusts.

    This won’t guarantee a total lack of corruption but it will mean closer scrutiny and bring the game to where it ought to be, owned and run by fans. See the German model.

    Get rid of private or monopoly ownership by individuals. Introduce legal constitutions. Anyone in breach to be banned from sports sine die. Ring fence ALL sport as a community asset. Each club will then have to live within its means and do so publicly.

    Enshrine all of this in European law or it won’t work. If nothing is done we will go through the same thing yet again.

    The whole system is rotten with corruption and has been ever since creation of the so-called “Premier Leagues.” Check out match fixing in Italy and elsewhere.

  24. Bob McKay says:

    Ive watched as Vodaphone paid of a £6billion tax bill for buttons.
    Im reading that Premiership clubs EBT tax bill may be £1billion in total.

    Ive watched referrees be bribed and Italian clubs demoted.

    And Rangers stand acccused of using an employee trust. Thats its; a civil tax dispute by a business that employs under 200 people; your local plumber employs more.
    This isnt about “justice” “fairness” or sporting integrity….its a witchhunt by a minority who feel that the big bad Rangers embody the politics, church and values they just hate.One small example of proof?
    Celtics Official Supporters chief has today apologised for wishing protestants drowned en masse…..Celtic condone his behaviour by allowing him to be their fans representative in the boardroom. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4235442/Tweet-row-fans-chief-is-sorry.html

    There is no boogeyman; there is no establishment consipracy to ensure that a football club beats another, just a bunch of internet savvy bhoys with chips on their shoulder looking for revenge for perceived 20th century injustice. Trouble is you have awoken an anger that want there- there wasnt a “Rangers family” the way there was a “celtic family”….but there is now. And we will be coming after Celtic in the next few years make no mistake.

    1. Bruce says:

      Bob, take a step back and listen to your lunacy.

      So all this is the fault of those big bad tims again. Are you really that stupid, are you really this myopic?

      ‘Just a bunch of internet savvy bhoys with chips on their shoulder looking for revenge for perceived 20th century injustice’ – so those bhoys got HMRC to take Fourth Lanark to task over this, did they? They got Fourth Lanark to partake in a risky tax avoidance scheme, did they?

      Actually, you keep believing your drivel, because in whatever form Fourth Lanark survive…the fact that you show no capacity to learn and look to your club’s culpability will make it easier for someone else to step in and do a Whyte all over again.

      As for O’Rourke – its quite a leap to infer from a stupid tweeted joke that he wants Protestants drowned en masse. But then that’s not stopped the likes of yourself and Leggat before, has it.

      While we’re on the theme – your attitude is just so much shuffling of the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      And for the record – that doesn’t mean I want all deckchairs drowned.

    2. paul martin says:

      “And we will be coming after Celtic in the next few years make no mistake.”

      how right you are, Bob. how right you are.

      “after” as in “behind” of course, after all you couldn’t mean it as some sort of a threat could you. could you??

      1. Bob McKay says:

        I absolutely mean it as a threat. Not to individuals or of criminality (Such as breach of the data protection or offical secrets act).
        But to the institution and reputation of the Glasgow Celtic. Every misdemeanour exposed, exaggerated and publicised as wide as possible no matter what it takes: lies told (Eg Boruc’s charge, Neil’s half time incarceration) then retracted after they have gone viral.
        In a two horse race (and its all about the football stupid) whats bad for one….is good for the other.Credit to the “celtic family” for being this savvy years ago.
        You have not been able to beat us on the field and so have resorted to off the field. Thats fine, stiff upper lip and silent dignity doesnt work in the 21st century. What im saying is in future two can and will be playing that game. Be prepared, we are coming.

      2. Carntyne says:

        Don’t think you’ll be coming Bob, much more likely to be going.

        Bye Bye Rangers.

      3. Bruce says:

        Well, as we get the responses of some reasonable Fourth Lanark fans, so we also get the demented, tired drivel of keyboard hardmen like Bob, or is it Joe?

        They have one advantage, we’ll be too busy laughing at them to be prepared.

    3. Paul says:

      He didn’t wish that Protestants would drown en masse, just the ones who built the Titanic.

      An understanding of the employment practices in the Belfast shipyards at the time might be a decent pointer as to why he might say this.

      Mind you, I doubt you understand the concept of discrimination.

      Why don’t you go home and all that, eh?

    4. Ian says:

      I have watched Ordinary People, Businesses & other Football Clubs PAY their dues.

      Why Can’t Rangers?

      I had to go & read O’Rourke’s garbish before I could comment.

      What makes HIS gash worse than yours?

      1. Bruce says:

        ‘Every misdemeanour exposed, exaggerated and publicised as wide as possible no matter what it takes:’

        A very revealing admission from the now, thankfully, edited, Bob.

        ‘exagerrated’? In other words, twisted, distorted blown out of all proportion in order to deceive.

  25. A Macdonald says:

    For some time now, Celtic fans have been using all their Celtic supporting journalist and broadcaster friends to try to damage the name of Rangers in whatever way they can. Celtic internet bloggers have been e mailing Uefa etc to try to get Rangers into trouble. The likes of Phil McGillivan, the arch Rangers hater who will use anything and anyone to have a dig at Rangers, is probably involved in this Channel 4 ‘investigation’. How many of these so called Rangers fans you interviewed are really Rangers fans, Mr Thomson? I smell a rat, Mr Thomson. We, as Rangers fans, are well used to the Celtic fans trying to drag our name down in the media. We are not fooled.

    1. Carntyne says:

      Financially it is David Minty and Craig Googly Eyes who are responsible for ‘the damage to Rangers good name.’…erm…such as it is.

      And Rangers fans themselves are responsible for ‘getting Rangers into trouble’ with their disgusting behaviour both domestically and on foreign shores.

      Dignity indeed!

  26. John says:

    Bob, what is sadly lacking in your response and that of Rangers is any sense of remorse about the tax money that has been avoided, evaded or simply not paid.
    Nor is there any acknowledgement that, no matter who takes over at Rangers, the first priority should be to pay in full the money that is owed to society.
    This is money that should have gone towards paying for nurses, doctors, home helps and countless others who dedicate their lives to helping others.
    If you, or any of your families and friends, end up in hospital I sincerely hope that you get the best possible treatment. If this isn’t forthcoming, I hope you remember that this is largely due to the likes of Rangers resorting to every trick in the book to avoid their responsibilities.
    it really is pathetic in the extreme to see and hear Rangers supporters envisaging shafting HMRC and honest taxpayers as some sort of victory.
    Where is the dignity in that?
    Shame on you.
    ps For the record, I campaigned long and hard against the Vodaphone and other deals. Did you?

    1. Marty says:

      This hysterical line trotted out again. There are far bigger issues relating to funding of the NHS than Rangers. Countless companies and individuals seek to reduce their tax liabilities.

      1. Ian says:

        Hi Marty,

        Is HYSTERICAL your FAVOURITE word?

        You use it all the time to try & detract from FACTUAL answers.

        Maybe you will have a good reason to be Hysterical soon.

        Never mind, there will be a Club near you who can support next season.

    2. Ian says:

      Bob, You hae just described BRITISH policy in the Empire years.

      Try & stick to FOOTBALL or debt or any other thing vaguely in line with ALEX’s Blog.

  27. tenerifetim says:

    What´s this all about Alex ?

    Is this the final coup de grace ?

  28. Carntyne says:

    Re Brian’s tea jerking plea (below)

    “…let me say I am a Gers fan and that my club has acted, on the face of it against all that I believed my club to stand for, honesty, fairness and a high level of integrity. I frankly am ashamed and embarrassed…That situation will be resolved shortly I’m afraid and Rangers, if what your investigation said is correct, will be no more.”

    Rangers fans are fond of words like integrity, fairness and honesty.

    The word most bandied about is ‘dignity.’

    This coming from supporters of a club that has actively encouraged sectarianism and racism for most of its inglorious 140 year history.

    The true face of Rangers football club is not the one hiding behind the words integrity, honesty and above all dignity.

    The true face of Rangers football club and its followers was to be seen in the streets of Manchester, Seville, Pamplona, and Barcelona where their fans rioted and left behind them a trail of filth, faeces and urine.

    The Spanish press called them an uncomplimentary name I will not repeat here after they rampaged through the streets of Barcelona.

    It was a vile name.


    Don’t make me laugh.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hasnt Carntyne been demolished yet?
      You can write that Rangers shot JFK and buried Hoffa….it doesnt make it true.
      140 years of racism and sectarianism? Golly gosh, how did sneaky non WASPs become Rangers captains and be voted onto our hall of fame?
      More catholics are Rangers fans than protestants support Celtic…Scotland knows who the real bigots are http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/nr/rdonlyres/da614f81-4f1b-4452-8847-f3fde920d550/0/sectarianism03.pdf

      Rangers fans are guilty of leaving behind horrible mess? True; a bit embarrassing, too much to drink…..you are referring to the two biggest fan movements in football history.
      The largest away support for a CL group game (25k in Barca ), the largest migration of people since WW2 in MAnchester.

      1. Bruce says:

        And with that last post you show yourself to be an obnoxious, scummy, lying bigot utterly incapable of having an intelligent discussion, So many of you can’t help yourselves, can you? Wasn’t this blog supposed to be about decent Rangers supporters being drowned out by the bigots.

        Anyway, lets just ignore him, folks and not give him the reaction he wants. Or even better, there’s a report button there. Back to follow follow with you.

      2. Ian says:

        I just did that rather than reply.

        I don’t like trying to stop someone’s input but he is spoiling the blog.

      3. Carntyne says:

        Bob….you’re a knob.

      4. Carntyne says:

        The largest away support for a CL group game (25k in Barca ), the largest migration of people since WW2 in Manchester.

        Aye it was.

        And the biggest amount of damage done to that fair city since being bombed by the Luftwaffe during WW2!

        Keep it coming Bob.

        You’re doing a grand job!

  29. John says:

    Marty, you said:

    “This hysterical line trotted out again. There are far bigger issues relating to funding of the NHS than Rangers. Countless companies and individuals seek to reduce their tax liabilities.”

    You are right, countless companies do seek to reduce their tax liabilities but let’s not forget that Rangers have not just done that. Rangers have also simply not paid £15m in tax due since last year.
    That is not part of some tax avoidance scheme, it is just not paying their dues and cheating all honest tax payers.
    As for the argument that there are worse cheats, you may be right but if someone steals £100 from me and you steal £1.00 what you both have in common is that you can both rightly be condemned as thieves and no argument from you can change that.
    Your ‘hysterical line’ comment actually makes me feel sorry for you. It is surely indicative of a person who is morally bankrupt and sees nothing wrong in stealing money, of which at least a proportion is used to help the weakest in society, so that your club can continue to pay huge sums of money to footballers.
    I would suggest that you take a long hard look at yourself.

  30. John says:

    Bob, thank you for your post, it clearly confirms the sort of person you are. I can only assume that you are either mentally ill or that your upbringing has left you with no moral compass at all.

    1. Bruce says:

      As I said, John, there’s a report button. I doubt C4 want that nasty bile on their website.

  31. John Knox says:

    Mr Mckay, Ignore the issues,try point scoring ‘the rangers (IA) way’. Pathetic. Your demise will be a cause of huge celebration,feeling your pain. BTW, I had a look at your link.You would have people believe 5% of rangers(IA) fans are Catholic? For example, 2,500 at ibrox last friday for the charity(?) game went to R.C. schools? Ignorant fool.

  32. John says:

    I appreciate what you are saying Bruce, but I think Bob’s post should be left where it is.
    It would be difficult to do a better job of describing the mind set of some Rangers’ supporters (perhaps a minority) than is evident in his bitter ramblings.

  33. John C says:

    Agree with John, bob’s post should stay.
    It clearly highlights their mindset.
    They have no interest in intelligent debate.
    Base mudslinging is their limit.
    Neither have they any interest in the health of their club.
    Cheating, lying and violence is their way of life.
    It’s too ingrained to expect anything else.
    Deny deny deny
    Foist your sins on the innocent, then blame them for being victims, its a Scottish thing, just look at how Neil Lennon has been vilified since he moved to Scotland.

  34. LBourhill says:

    Reading the latest nonsense on the BBC website about Ralph Topping claiming that the rebel ten (the majority of SPL clubs is what they should be known as, not rebels) are responsible for the bad publicity the SPL has been receiving is an absolute joke and if people didn’t think our game up here is corrupt then that should go a long way in helping them see the truth, having to bring in foreign referees because of Celtics nonsense last season and now all this nonsense from Rangers and still the people who are running (or should that be ruining) our game and the Scottish media (Glasgow in particular) place all the blame with the ten clubs, all because we want a fair and competitive league. Everyone out-with the Old Firm and Glasgow are sick to the back teeth of the Old Firm love in that has been going on for years between the men in charge of our game and the Scottish media. It just shows you how far our game and journalism up here in Scotland has declined when the only man doing any decent journalism on the situation is an English journalist, well done Mr Thomson, keep up the good fight.

    ps. any chance of you setting up some sort of classes to show our journalists up here how to actually do their job?

    1. Sam says:

      I agree 100%
      Although these blogs do show what we have to put up with day in day out, to the rest of the UK. ( who incidentally don’t care that much, 18 years of living in Bath taught me that).

  35. Raymac says:

    There is no “love-in” between Celtic and Rangers. Ditch the “Old Firm” tag as well—as in “Old Firm footballer involved in fracas” means it’s a Rangers player. “Celtic footballer kicks penguin to death” would be the headline if it was a Celtic player. Don’t use the tar brush here.If you want evidence of Scottish referees bias you have hours of it on Utube, a big lot on Celtic but also other clubs. The refs had a strike last season, and no-one still knows why. Respect? Being screamed at by Rangers players and manhandled if the try to show a yellow/red card? As regards finance, Celtic are whiter than white,you can be sure of that. Any misdemeanor would have been sniffed out by the laptop loyal, Great name for them, don’t you think? As for Marty, Bob and the rest–bigotry is learned behaviour. It comes from upbringing and the family. If there is not a black or coloured face to hate then go for a surname. If the surname tells you nothing then go and find out the name of the school attended. If that doesn’t work try a funny handshake. Me? I just want a level playing field, nothing more, nothing less.

  36. T Smith says:

    Jesus where do you start with raymac’s comments, well I suppose you just need to read a few others like him…..celtic are whiter than white,hahahahahaha……Alex you should win a Bafta for this blog as the dims have led you right up the garden path as you have uncovered absolutely nothing that wasn’t already in the news and all you have is speculation. we have not been found guilty of anything as of yet but I suppose you’ll be able to toddle back down to England with you tail between your legs when this is over and the only lesson you will have learned is to never deal with the fantasist dims and Phil McThreenames again

    1. John says:

      i think that there is no doubt that Celtic are whiter than WHYTE!

  37. frankiethebear says:

    dear alex thomson,
    if you have read all the comments following on from your blog you will realise that the vast majority of rangers fans who have contributed believe that you have a hidden agenda in investigating this story.
    welcome to the corruption that has been a part of scottish football for a hundred years or so. keep up your good work in exposing all that is corrupt about this club and its operating policies, both sectarian and financial.
    this club signifies everything that is wrong with scottish society. they need to be put out of the nation’s misery.

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