An insight into the disturbing anti-Rangers Witch-hunt.

Last updated : 07 March 2012 By Deedle

Nevertheless, the club’s enemies wish to inflict further damage by claiming Rangers gained an advantage from ‘financial doping’. Moreover, there are even demands that trophies won by the club over the past 12 or 13 years be stripped due to an alleged omission in the documentation pertaining to players’ registrations.

Let’s deal with the registration issue first. Rangers’ position was that the EBTs were non-contractual and therefore should not be included in documents submitted to the SFA and SPL. This view is supported by experts in the field (see yesterday’s Herald article). There was no attempt to mislead or to keep the EBTs hidden. Section 6 of the annual accounts (‘Staff Costs’) explains the purpose of the trusts and enumerates the sums involved.

Therefore, the logic being used by the club’s antagonists is fatally flawed – it demands that sanctions be imposed because of judgments made many years after the EBT scheme was introduced. This is completely unacceptable in my view and contrary to natural justice. Any objections about the registration issue should have been raised at the time. The fact that complaints are being made officially only after a decade has elapsed and, indeed, only after the club entered administration and is consequently unable to defend itself, speaks volumes for the motives behind recent moves.

The ‘financial doping’ argument also borders on the absurd. Most accounts of the money Rangers FC saved over the course of a decade put the figure at £24 million. This represents less than 5% of turnover and equates to the sums flowing from the club to the Murray group over the same period. Indeed, Rangers FC actually paid the Murray group at least £6 million for the ‘privilege’ of the trusts being administered on its behalf!

Figures provided by Martin Bain in his case against the club indicate that the combination of interest charges and the penalties being sought by HMRC mean that the club is required to pay back approximately twice the sum of £24 million. How on earth can this situation be referred to as ‘financial doping’? My interpretation of the phrase would be a permanent advantage gained by underhand means or assistance from outside bodies.

Of course, this definition would encompass the support Celtic FC has received from the taxpayer and ratepayer in relation to the purchase of significant tracts of land in the vicinity of Celtic Park for the sum of £1 and the huge financial benefits that will accrue from the Commonwealth Games and associated redevelopment of the Parkhead area. As opposed to the obstacles the local council put in Rangers’ way, everything possible has been done to assist Celtic, even down to the gift of London Road Primary School and retention of the Barrowfield training pitches.

Encouraged by a mass media which panders to their psychoses, the Celtic-minded hordes are whipping themselves into a frenzy of retribution and vindictiveness. Business professionals and lawyers spend hour after hour on websites and blogs scrutinising the minutiae of Rangers’ use of EBTs from every conceivable angle. The rank and file concoct evermore fanciful scenarios of punishments that should be meted out to Rangers FC. In stark contrast to the orgy of hatred accompanying Rangers’ current problems, it is worth noting that in 1952 the club defended Celtic when it was under threat of expulsion from the SFA due to its refusal to comply with an order from city magistrates to remove the Irish tricolour from the main stand.

From the Celtic boardroom to Baird’s Bar, all sense of perspective has been lost and the wider ramifications to Scottish football and, indeed, Scottish society, have been completely overlooked. This is not normal behaviour and these are not normal people.