The 2016 Scottish Cup Final: The Perfect Storm

SFAMost commentators have thus far rightly criticised the fans of Hibernian and Rangers for their post-match pitch invasions that witnessed opposing supporters fighting one another and jubilant Hibernian supporters provoking and allegedly assaulting dejected Rangers players. The scenes that unfolded at the 2016 Scottish Cup Final were embarrassing and concerning but were not, as some may imply, surprising. Celebratory pitch invasions are prohibited, but tacitly accepted when they are the culmination of memorable, historic or extraordinary sporting achievement. Given the sporting context of one of Scotland’s premier clubs winning its first Scottish Cup in 114 years, one needn’t be blessed with psychic powers to have foreseen the pitch invasion at least.

Whilst most sensible critiques of these events have acknowledged that Hibernian supporters initiated the post-match proceedings and had far greater numbers on the pitch, both sets of supporters entered the field of play and engaged each other in violence. Yet a central set of contextual contributory factors has been almost universally overlooked; not only were these events rather unsurprising, they were not simply the hangover of a century old Scottish Cup failure on the part of one of Scotland’s largest and most tortured groups of supporters. Nor were they the inevitable result of ‘sectarian’ behavior between two clubs with varying degrees of ethno-religious identities. A proper consideration of what happened at Scotland’s showpiece cup final needs to consider the path Scottish football has taken since the events of 2011 when Rangers imploded on its way to liquidation. Furthermore, one must understand how those events and their consequences have been portrayed and interpreted by different groups in Scotland, each with their own biases, agendas and interests to protect. For it is these events and their contrasting interpretations by competing interest groups that have bred the toxic conditions that made a Rangers versus Hibernian cup final the potentially extraordinary and combustible event that it became.

Competing narratives

In the aftermath of 2011, which witnessed the debt-ridden and tax-dodging Rangers effectively being sold for £1 on the grounds that the debts also transferred to the new owner, Rangers supporters created a narrative that presented them as victims of unscrupulous businessmen looking to get rich quick on the backs of their cherished club and loyal support. There is truth in this assertion of course. Why, for instance would arch capitalist David Murray give Rangers away for £1 and why would someone buy it for £1 knowing the existing and potential debts they would be accruing? These and other questions have seldom been asked, never mind properly investigated, in the Scottish mainstream media. This information vacuum helped create the Rangers supporter narrative that extends to assert that financial asset stripping, tax-evasion and avoidance and general fiscal abuse by greedy ‘investors’ – rather than or including malpractices by a previous board – led to Rangers being unjustly placed into administration and liquidation. The power of this re-imagined narrative is that the Rangers supporters, aided and abetted by the reincarnated club’s directors, have built up a persecution complex emboldened by visceral victimhood status. This has led to large sections of the Rangers support feeling embittered and under attack from the rest of Scottish football and sections of Scottish society, including the media, a Scottish nationalist government and opposition supporters and clubs.

Despite leveling such accusations, this Rangers supporter narrative has actually been bolstered by sections of the Scottish media and the football governing bodies in Scotland who have each engaged in vernacular and administrative gymnastics to facilitate and normalise the idea of Rangers being the same club. Hence, when discussing Rangers’ woes, Scottish society has witnessed the sudden application of curious phrases being applied to Rangers such as “the company that ran the football club”, “being in an incubation period” “bought the history” when re-presenting a liquidation as incidental to and detached from the football club. This serves to reinforce the Rangers supporter narrative that the club never died. Paradoxically the narrative itself – that Rangers is the same club – also seeks to detach Rangers from Rangers’ previous actions and financial misdemeanours. “We’re the same club. But it’s not us who are responsible for the unpaid debts. That would be the company that ran the club”. Yet, this brand of re-imagining leads Rangers supporters to extend the list of enemies to blame for their troubles to include the SFA and an alleged cabal of anti-Rangers activists working in conjunction and united in their hatred of Rangers.

One common assertion by Rangers supporters is that Rangers was “demoted to Division 3” as a “punishment”. This confuses consequences with punishment. It is beyond doubt that Rangers supporters have experienced a punishing period since liquidation but Rangers being placed into Division 3 was not a punishment. It was a consequence of Rangers being liquidated and ceasing to possess a football licence to play. Even if one adopts the Rangers supporter narrative that it is the same club, it is clear that whatever league they were to play in with their newly granted licence did not constitute a punishment. But it is within this context that Rangers supporters view Rangers’ ‘journey’ from the lowest ranks of the senior game to the top division and a Scottish Cup Final via a memorable semi final win against Celtic – whom it considers to be its unbroken rival – as the culmination of a Lazarus-like rise from a “forced and unfair demotion”. “We are back and we are the People” Rangers supporters exclaimed.

Meanwhile an equally powerful alternative narrative exists among many supporters of other Scottish clubs. This narrative views Rangers as tax dodgers and financial dopers who cheated its way to success for large parts of the last decade, denying clubs like Hibernian and its supporters their day in the Hampden sunshine by spending beyond its means, avoiding paying tax and engaging in prohibited dual contract practices with players and officials to camouflage its illicit practices. Rangers did this, the narrative claims, to the extent that once a CVA was rejected by club creditors, the club died in debt, was then reborn after the club’s assets were bought and after employees of the in-liquidation club had tuped over or left for other clubs as free agents. This all occurred while Rangers supporters continued to absolve themselves and their liquidated club from blame. Rather than confess and admit to their sins and show a degree of humility, grace and contrition, hubris and arrogance engulfed Rangers (club and fans) to such an extent that never forgetting the hurt “others have caused” has taken hold of many Rangers supporters like an obsessive quest for some imagined and twisted form of justice. Meanwhile, supporters and clubs like Hibernian have suffered their own hardships, such as paying taxes and living within their means, which, in Hibernian’s case, resulted in experiencing a genuine relegation.

Tinderbox

It is against this tinderbox background that the Scottish Cup Final occurred. Yet there is more to it still than two competing narratives of whether or not Rangers is a new club. In the aftermath of Rangers’ 2011 implosion and descent into liquidation, Scottish football authorities, who had by now given newco Rangers a football licence, also shoehorned Rangers into the senior leagues giving the club preferential treatment over other non-senior clubs who had a football licence for longer and who may have desired the position gifted to Rangers in the senior leagues. The question of SFA licences doesn’t end there. The Scottish Football Association also provided Rangers with a licence to compete in Europe in 2011/2012 despite evidence strongly supporting Rangers’ financial ineligibility (due to an outstanding tax debt). Furthermore, rather than seek vital reassurances from Rangers (for Rangers supporters as much as the rest of Scottish football) that its tax affairs were in order, the SFA forwarded a planned press statement on the matter to Rangers for prior approval. As the Offshore Game Report states, it was not released in the end after consultation with Rangers. The report notes:

“It is difficult to imagine any regulator, in any other sector, running press statements past the people they were regulating for approval. It is even more difficult to understand how a regulator can be seen to be impartial if it drops public statements it was planning to make about a company they regulate on the request of the company (p.11).”

Thus, the debt ridden Rangers secured the chance to millions of much needed pounds and ill-deserved funds with which to keep the lights on and, in doing so, prevented clubs like Hibernian from gaining European opportunities, cash and exposure. As if to rub salt into provincial clubs’ wounds, the SPL commission into dual contracts chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith judged Rangers not to have gained a sporting advantage allegedly after only partial evidence was provided to it by the SFA. As the Offshore Game Report notes, the Nimmo Smith inquiry was not fully informed of material facts, with the SFA president, Campbell Ogilvie, being the only witness to give evidence in person about the introduction and administration of the EBT scheme. Before becoming the SFA president, Ogilvie was one of Rangers’ longest serving administrators during the setting up of the tax dodging (EBT) scheme and had been a recipient of an EBT while a Rangers employee. The Offshore Game Report notes that Ogilvie denied any knowledge of the trusts (see pp.4-5). At the very least, this appears to represent a major conflict of interest and provides no reassurance as to fairness and transparency in the administration of the Scottish game.

“It is difficult to imagine any regulator, in any other sector, running press statements past the people they were regulating for approval. It is even more difficult to understand how a regulator can be seen to be impartial if it drops public statements it was planning to make about a company they regulate on the request of the company.”

Rangers fans have been unquestionably loyal and have suffered enormously in recent years. Poor governance, financial mismanagement and a curiously compliant Scottish mainstream media have done them no favours at all. But clubs including Hibernian have suffered at the hands of Rangers’ previous practices, and supporters of Hibernian, along with supporters of other clubs, feel Rangers has been treated as a special case by the Scottish football authorities. The SFA has presided over a shameful period in which it has fudged vital regulatory issues and misdirected fans of Scottish football clubs in what appears to be a “protect Rangers at any cost” project. It is against this background that the events of the 2016 Scottish Cup Final occurred. In the aftermath of the cup final violence, in which many of its own supporters engaged, Rangers (club and fans) now appear to be cultivating a contemporary victimhood narrative that alleges they are being dehumanized by sections of Scottish society. Such claims serve little purpose other than to alienate further much of Scottish football. What does the future hold? Financial and operational transparency in and from its football governing body would be a start.

 

John Kelly is a member of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Sport Research Group at the University of Edinburgh. His publications include peer reviewed journal articles, authored books and edited collections such as “Hibernian FC: The Forgotten Irish?”, “Sport and Social Theory: An Introduction” and “Bigotry, Football and Scotland”. His latest book “The Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics” is due to be published in September this year.

Notes
1) See the Offshore Game Report (pp. 9-10) for details where it is noted that Rangers had a tax debt dating back 10 years. The granting of their licence to play in Europe in 2011/12 contravened the Financial Fair Play rules.

2) Campbell Ogilvie was also the club secretary when Rangers refused to knowingly sign Catholic players. This fact alone should raise serious questions about his suitability to chair the body that regulates and oversees fair and transparent football governance in Scotland.

 

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Comments (65)

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  1. Robert Graham says:

    Please forgive me for not reading past the first paragraph of this wholly unbiased piece of total tripe , this junk is in the same gutter as some of the more bizarre comments on wings over scotland’s three week hate fest , if this continued attempt at further division of an already strange scottish society with its religious apartheid in our education system defended by the catholic church , people will assume tribal loyalties is that what the writer of this pulitzer prize entry wants ? .

    1. John says:

      Why is this piece Rangers , Rangers , Rangers . First off , I am not a football fan , I do not pretend to know a lot about football , but even I , sitting watching these scenes on television , knew from the start who was responsible for this mayhem , and it was not Rangers fans .Let’s not try to psychoanalyse this game to bits . Pitch invasion by jubilant fans turns nasty when they attack Rangers players , Rangers fans got annoyed and come onto pitch mayhem , end of !.

      1. The Glasgow Clincher says:

        John – the voice of commonsense. I watched the match on BBC and heard Liam McLeod clearly say: ‘the Rangers fans are rioting.’ Not, the Rangers fans ‘seemed’ to be rioting, which may have been the way he saw it, but the ipso facto statement that follows the syllogism: riot + fans = Rangers. All I could see at the end were hordes of green running on to the pitch. None of this excuses the singing of a naughty song, but the duty of the SFA as host of this event is to guarantee safety of the participants. How come we never see fans running on the pitch at the English Cup Final?

        1. John says:

          We don’t see the pitch invasions south of the border because they do not have the religious divide that Scotland has , they have loyalty to a club , if their club does well they rejoice , if not they are despondent . The difference in Scotland is they bring sectarianism into it . I do not even know why . Considering Scotland has become one of the lowest church going nations in the UK (Catholic and Protestant ) it seems ludicrous . I think the SFA likes to ramp up the divisions of the past , they do not seem to be interested in trying to make this a game for the ordinary non-religious man in the street , why is that , what is their agenda , why would you want to make religion more important than supporting your team .

          1. muttley79 says:

            We don’t see the pitch invasions south of the border because they do not have the religious divide that Scotland has , they have loyalty to a club , if their club does well they rejoice , if not they are despondent .

            There are plenty of pitch invasions in English football. There was one literally days ago! It is nonsense to say pitch invasions only happen in Scottish football because of the religious divide. Kilmarnock supporters did not come on to the pitch after their playoff win against Falkirk because of sectarianism!

        2. henry joe says:

          You’d have to wake them up first.

      2. J Barton says:

        Neil Lennon was Attacked on the Park by a Hearts Fan, Celtic Fans stayed in the stand.
        Neil Lennon was attacked several times by Rangers supporters, 7 were Jailed as a consequence, Celtic Fans never rioted.
        Bullets and Viable Bombs were sent to Celtic Park by Rangers supporters. Celtic fans never rioted.
        A TV broke down in Manchester, Rangers fans wrecked the city nearly kicking to death a police officer in the process. End of..

        1. Alan Stewart says:

          I’m REALLY hoping you are Joey Barton !

    2. John Higgins says:

      The bigotry has nothing to do with faith schools,Catholic, Methodist, C of E etc, the bigotry comes from the top.

      Anti Catholic bigotry enshrined in British law is the root cause of most of our problems, church and state should be separated now, as we are now in the 21st century and not the 15th.
      Many bigots use these sectarian British laws as a launching pad for their mindless hatred and bigotry, so lets live in peace together and get rid of state sponsored sectarianism.
      Britain is a multi culture and multi faith society with a good percentage with no religious beliefs, our state should reflect that ethos.

      1. Guy Fawkes says:

        Hi John,

        An excellent statement which gets to the heart of the matter

        GF

    3. Chris Graham says:

      UNbiased? Hate fest?
      Typical response from those who are, (1) uneducated,and (2) wearing blinkers.

      1. Shug McLaughlin says:

        That’s rich coming from Chris Graham the one day director! Why don’t you crawl back under the stone you came from as the truth will out! #Res12

  2. Ross MacLennan says:

    It is essentially prohibited to remark that ‘Rangers are not the same club anymore’, despite this literally being the case. I look forward to a lengthy and unsuccessful period for Rangers in the Premier League, giving rise eventually to the same phrase being used figuratively, perhaps even by Rangers fans. This club has lost something which it will never be able to retrieve. Other teams will beat Rangers with unprecedented regularity.

  3. Blair paterson says:

    The truth is Rangers should have been banned for ever and the guilty directors jailed and by the way I am a Protestant

    1. John says:

      Don’t see what difference your religion makes , if these directors are guilty of wrongdoing it is up to the courts to punish them , why should ordinary fans have to keep bearing the brunt of hatred for a minority of dishonest men . You would think that every single Rangers fan was guilty of embezzlement the way they are vilified by all and sundry . As I said I am not a football fan , I suppose I am on the outside looking in and that is what I see .

  4. Hugh says:

    Well written and thought provoking article. The SFA and Scottish Media have a lot to answer for.

  5. john says:

    This absolutely sums up Scottish Football….on the way down.

  6. James McEwan says:

    Poster Robert Graham really exemplifies one of the main thrusts of the article, namely, how do you ‘reach’ people who refuse to either reason or indeed be ‘reasonable’? He freely admits that he has not read the article beyond the first paragraph, yet rushes to condemn it as just more “hate.” In fact, the article goes on to be more than fair (in my opinion) to fans of Rangers/Newco. It’s actually very good analysis, well articulated. The problem is it doesn’t contain a message people like Robert wish to hear.

  7. chris says:

    If I started a football club tomorrow and I run up debts for four years , go into administration then liquidation , can I ignore the debts , start a new football club and say its exactly the same club that just got liquidated ? Or do I have to start a company first to start a football club , let the company run up the debts , get liquidated , start a new company to take over the club whos company just got liquidated ?
    very very confusing .
    as for the cup final , both clubs have to take responsibility or is it companies ? along with the police , stewards and sfa .

  8. Chris Graham says:

    “As I said I am not a football fan”

    Really!!!

    Who’s foolin’ who?

    1. John says:

      Sorry to disappoint you Chris , I am a tennis fan ,football could take a big leaf out of their book ! .

  9. Gerry says:

    Football in Scotland is by and largely financed by the two big Glasgow clubs.The revenue provided by their supporters and the finance via advertising and TV sponsorship is the lifeblood of the game here,like it or not.Historically the bigotry has been denounced by the clubs but no REAL effort has been made by them to alienate the morons who peddle hatred,it would cost the clubs money.If a sectarian or inflammatory song is sung at any ground would the clubs be prepared to drown it out by a klaxon until the offenders shut-up?I doubt it.Would the chairmen of every club in Scotland be prepared to stand united and publicly condemn fans who sing songs glorifying,subscribe to or sympathise with para-military organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland.Again,I doubt it very much.Scottish society,and it’s not restricted to the West,is riddled with people who have a vested interest in keeping the Protestant/Catholic divide alive.There are others who are lead into breeding generations to propogate the historical persecution or birthright of superiority of their caste.It will never end unless there is concerted efforts by government,churches,press,football clubs and parents who can tell between right and wrong get together and act as one.

  10. Big Jock says:

    Robert as per your comment.

    Why would pointing out the truth cause division and tribalism. The tribalism and division exists already. Are you suggesting we do what the SFA and BBC do and cover it up. Cause that has really worked hasn’t it.

    It’s a bit like the racism in Missisipi in the 60s. Turning a blind eye means you condone it by acquiesce and it continues. Calling people out is both uncomfortable and dangerous. But it must be done to end this stupidity.

  11. Andrew Smith says:

    John this is a superb insight into a very complex issue that is being ignored right now by our politicians and mainstream media.
    Thank you.
    The silence from our politicians (of all hues) has been deafening and we as a country now have a deep seated issue with a rogue establishment-favoured football club with a support who blame everyone else.
    Make no mistake this is political.
    It’s just that our politicos are scared of real stuff like this and our hour is or their editors can’t hack real stories, hence their silence.
    The level 5 PR campaign since last weeks final is all about selling season tickets and the lack of balance and comment in our media and in particular by the BBC is quite shocking in a country that sees itself as somewhat better.
    This wee Scoottish saga suggests otherwise

  12. Andrew Smith says:

    Hour is = journos
    Bloody iPhones

  13. Paul Cochrane says:

    “Please forgive me for not reading past the first paragraph of this wholly unbiased piece of total tripe”

    Not used to unbiased writing then?

    Good article – fair to all and pretty on the ball as to descriptions of what happened. I still have to find a Rangers fan who will answer this question, ‘What should happen to a club who avoided tax, paid out EBTs to get players they couldn’t otherwise afford and then failed to exit administration?

  14. Dominic Toye says:

    I don’t normally post about this subject. But in my opinion there has to be a full and open public inquiry into this. The reason is people want an impartial and above board investigation rather than SFA one, where many of the people involved are close to the SFA.

  15. brian mac murray says:

    Great article John.
    They just bury their heads in the sand & sing la la la la
    when the truth is spoken

  16. john young says:

    Wouldn,t it clear the air if the SFA for once in their inglorious reign be honest and open,would it not help the Rangers/? cause if everything was out in the open,why the secrecy if there is nothing underhand.As for religion being behind the malaise,I,m afraid you have it wrong,I am a practicing Catholic from a mixed background,I can assure you that never ever in my longish life have I heard anything resembling hatred or bigotry preached either at mass or school and I am sure the same goes for those of the Protestant faith,human beings will seek something/someone to hate regardless,we live in a secular/atheist society yet hatred/war are on the march?

  17. Pogliaghi says:

    All Rangers fans should be forced to wear an orange triangle at all times to signify that they represent SCOTLAND’S SHAME!!

    Come on the virtuous Scots-Irish Catholic master race with their INLA slogans and Che Guevara t-shirts.

  18. Doubting Thomas says:

    http://www.theoffshoregame.net/a-correction-and-statement-regarding-our-report/

    The oft mis-quoted report was the subject of correction by the writers.

    1. John Kelly says:

      Both points are irrelevant here. 1.

      1.The Report has not been misquoted here
      2.The ‘corrections’ have nothing to so with this article’s thrust and make no difference to this argument or its details.
      3. The ‘corrections’ include choice of language and one minor factual correction about language use. Again, they are unrelated to this article.

      1. florian albert says:

        Rangers’ misconduct led to the club being removed from top flight league football for at least three years. (Managerial incompetence made that four years.)
        Most people see this as appropriate.
        There is a minority which does not. This minority seems more interested in a ‘pound of flesh’ than fairness or justice.

  19. Tell the truth says:

    Ah , Thomas, you are right, they were hassled and issued that statement, however this one:

    http://www.theoffshoregame.net/uefa-rangers-unpaid-tax-bills/

    somehow sets the record straight, you should give it a read, it’s VERY informative.

  20. Coul Porter says:

    William of Orange was no friend of Scotland – his patronage of the (foreign) Dutch East India Company was a significant factor in the failure of The Darien Scheme.

    It is estimated that Henry VIII had over 70, 000 of his subjects put to death for various misdemeanours. He founded The Church Of England.

    Pope Innocent III ordered the mass murder of the Cathar people, thus ensuring that genocide appears on the cv of The Roman Catholic Church.

    Why anyone would want to align their beliefs with organisations involving any of the above is beyond my ken. And then there is football . . . . .

  21. Strov says:

    I enjoyed this piece, I think it does a good job of setting the context for the 2016 cup final. Rangers portraying themselves as victims, while fans of provincial clubs consider them to have received special treatment. With that in mind there seems to be a genuine dislike or even hatred on both sides, not withstanding all the religious baggage that fans abhorre. Rangers fans have to realise fans of other clubs genuinely dislike what Rangers represent. It’s not simply a small team mentality or jealousy from less successful club. The pitch invasion and the scenes that followed were as I could see it: 1) emotional after 114 years of winning the cup. 2) for some fans the opportunity to “get it right up” Rangers. Which provoked them into a response invading the other half of the pitch. They simply couldn’t take the goading and responded by invading the pitch. The idea that they invaded the pitch in order to protect rangers players sounds like nonsense. Hibs fans had no right being on the pitch. Rangers even less reason, even if the opposition fans were giving them the Vs. There would have been no trouble if Rangers fans had simply accepted the result and sat in their seats even with the pitch invasion.

  22. JM deStamina says:

    In any fair sporting competition where a competitor is found to have been using prohibited methods to gain an unfair advantage, you would expect that competitor to be punished with a ban and the removal of awards gained during the period of cheating. When all this stuff started to come to light (before David Murray sold up to Craig Whyte for a pound) that is what I expected to happen. It was only logical, as we had seen these punishments handed out in other sports and even football itself (e.g Olympique Marseille) and it is what should have happened here. I’m fairly certain that if it was any other club that was involved then it would have.
    What we have seen instead with the SFA bending over backwards to prevent any real punishments for Rangers is an absolute disgrace. The “relegation” was quite frankly an undeserved gift that should never have happened. As a new club Sevco should have had to apply to a junior league and play a minimum of three years in order to build up clean accounts (as per SFL entry requirements) before being able to apply for a license to join the SFL’s lowest professional division. Oldco Rangers should have been fined, any board members from the period banned for life from football and all affected titles/cups should have been stripped.
    Instead we had an attempt at gerrymandering Sevco into the SPL then, when that wasn’t going to fly, SPFL1. We had a “five-way agreement” which the Newco are ignoring with regards accepting footballing punishments (the £250,000 fine levied in the agreement remains unpaid). An agreement which in early drafts actually mentions the idea of stripping titles but Charles Green didn’t like that so that language was removed.
    We have a scenario wherein Craig Whyte, a man who was sold a lemon by David Murray did everything in his power, even avoiding paying tax & NI, to keep the lights on at Oldco (only to be let down on the pitch by his team and their legendary manager) been dragged to court and vilified as a fraudulent criminal by both fans and the press while their club is Chaired by an actual bona-fide convicted fraudster. A tax-avoiding shyster labelled a “glib and shameless liar” by a South African judge, who is somehow deemed a “fit and proper person” to run a football club by the SFA.
    We have a mainstream media that will do nothing to criticize any of this, who seem to be either biased or in the pocket of Jim Traynor’s Level5 PR company. And if you do have the temerity to question this farce then you will be out on your ear (just ask Jim Spence or Graham Speirs). A media where any question about sporting integrity is laughed off as they know fine well that in Scottish football there is no such thing when it comes to a team playing out of Ibrox.
    I have very little hope left that justice will be done in any of this. Only the “Big Tax Case” verdict is left to prove me wrong. “Resolution 12” may well cause some embarrassment to the SFA and maybe a couple of heads will roll in that regard but it is not sufficient. Too many people in the corridors of power and in the media have strange handshakes that ensure in Scotland, the right type of cheater will always prosper.

    It is an embarrassment to Scotland. The way the Rangers/Sevco board and support have behaved throughout the whole thing should embarrass them. Not one iota of contrition, just bluster about how they are the de-humanized victims in all of this. Utter rubbish and if they had a fraction of self-awareness they would know it.

    1. barakabe says:

      bang on the money

    2. David says:

      I’m a Rangers fan and I have never felt victimised. Try not to tar everyone with same brush.

      however you cannot blame and punish fans for the behaviour of irresponsible chairmen/boards.

      Had titles been stripped I wouldn’t have argued too much that probably would have been fair as was Rangers having to start in 3rd div. But destroying the club and leaving fans without a team (some of do go to ibrox for the football you know) would have been ridiculous and a huge step too far.

      What should be happening is happening. The shysters who caused rangers to go under are going to court and the fans still have a club. That’s seems reasonable to me.

      1. JM deStamina says:

        Right now the narrative is “Rangers fans are being dehumanized, everybody is calling us animals” etc. Voices claiming otherwise are rarely heard as it doesn’t suit the agenda.
        No-one is talking about directly punishing the fans for any of what went on in the boardroom. They should be punished for other things, such as singing proscribed racist songs and setting off flares at the cup final. I don’t think anyone thought that there shouldn’t have been a successor club playing out of Ibrox, only that any new club should acknowledge it is such – a NEW club. There should have been none of this “same club”, “bought the history” or “holding company” crap. Neither should the new club be calling itself “Rangers”, it should be “New Rangers” or something similar. All of these actions have bred ill-feeling towards the new Ibrox endeavour. The same old arrogant, bigoted behaviour of the fans hasn’t helped either. If there had been an admission of guilt, some contrition, maybe an acknowledgement that the actions of the oldco board have put the future of Scottish football in jeopardy, then maybe there wouldn’t be this mess.

        One shyster still needs to face justice though; David Murray. If it wasn’t for his tax-avoiding shenanigans then none of this would have happened.

  23. barakabe says:

    I really think the media is responsible for maintaining this toxic atmosphere of Scottish football with their sensationalistic reporting of various events, including the recent Cup Final. Andy Walker’s knee jerk reaction on Sky Sports certainly didn’t help at the time nor the interview of idiots like Gordon Smith, who said it was WORSE than the riot of 1980! This is just irresponsible rhetoric from people should not be anywhere near a microphone or tv camera.
    Unfortunately for Rangers as a football club they have lost the opportunity to become a differnet kind of organization and distance themselves from the sectarian element of their support- the lure of the loyal bigot pound is just too tempting for greedy businessmen. As for the overreaction of the clubs supporters: there is a terminal sense of entitlement at the heart of their culture that extends to the absolute expectation of privileged treatment; and this of course is one of the reasons the club itself dodged tax and now the fans feel persecuted for the club being ‘found out’. A culture with such endemic sense of privileged entitlement does not understand the concept of ‘fair playing field’ and this can very easily degenerate into outright cheating in order to win ‘at any cost’. Maybe this is why the historically very corrupt British establishment likes to speak of ‘British’ values of ‘fair-play’ etc, as a means of over-compensating for the darker reality. For me the Britnat Unionist culture has a very dark side to its Imperialist ideology that is too often betrayed in the actions of those who adhered to its slogans- can a sporting institution with a triumphalist world-view accept defeat? If not then how far is it prepared to go to avoid defeat? Many of the clubs supporters and affiliated organizations such as Vanguard Bears or 1872 etc are steeped in myth-making lexicon that articulates itself through a Britnat cultural spectrum fixated on war rhetoric ( fighting funds etc), hyper-machismo, bigotry, sexism- all this feeds into a triumphalist mindset of a Britnat culture obsessed with martial prowess.
    Predictably, we all know, that such a fine piece will only be automatically interpreted and immediately dismissed as another uppity taig ( what does that word even mean?) kicking the boot into ‘The People’.

  24. john young says:

    Cole Porter I think you confuse the church politic”RC” with the Catholic faith,no where I repeat nowhere have I ever heard of anything condoning or encouraging malpractice to others.We have had many many popes/clerics that have professed the faith yet have debased it and there will be more,they are not of the Catholic faith they cannot be,our faith is about forgiveness/respect/generosity materially/spiritually.Human beings being what they are and what they will continue to be and that is evil,those of religion do not have a monopoly on this,take a look at the world around you,it is as bad if not worse than at any time,the perpetrators are in the main of no religion they are atheist/secular.

    1. JM deStamina says:

      “the perpetrators are in the main of no religion they are atheist/secular”

      Evidence?

      As far as I can see the worst atrocities being committed these days are by Muslims and Christians.

      1. Crubag says:

        Which atrocities are Christians committing?

        1. JM deStamina says:

          Syria, Iraq, etc. etc.

    2. Coul Porter says:

      John, I think YOU confuse Christianity with Catholicism. Pure and simple faith ought to be possible without bureaucracy, especially that which is, at best, guilty of obfuscation.

  25. Andrew Paisley says:

    At last! An extremely well considered piece on this issue. Thank you.

    However, surely provisional is misplaced in the article, and wouldnt demonised rather than dehumanised be a better description of how Rangers fans see the current situation?

    1. Polscot says:

      One definition of provincial (courtesy of google) is as follows:

      “pro·vin·cial
      prəˈvin(t)SH(ə)l/
      adjective
      of or concerning the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded.”

      Seems to be quite apt when applied to The Rangers.

      1. Andrew Paisley says:

        The article refers to ‘provincial’ in relation to clubs apart from Rangers. Hibs cannot be referred to as a provincial club.
        PS Rangers are the same club, ‘the’ or otherwise, just like Napoli and Fiorentina who also went bust. Doesn’t alter the fact that they are the same clubs.

        1. Andrew Paisley says:

          First post wrongly reads ‘provisional’ rather than ‘provincial’. Apologies.

        2. You are right. The top team in the capital city can’t, by definition, be provincial.

  26. Pete C says:

    Still unbelievable to me that the corrupt suits that facilitated and enabled the open corruption of newco, LNS, King fit and proper, and oldco’s 2011 license are still there. I was at Hampden and watched the scenes, joyous scenes until the newco fans waded on for a fight. One newco suit even tried to kick a Hibs player in the testimonials. Not a peep from the media, just the vile Jackson squealing that every newco player was attacked. File that under we’ve won 114 trophies I.E b0ll0cks.

  27. john young says:

    Lance Armstrong and all the other users of performance enhancing drugs have rightly been stripped of their winners medals,it matters not the sport or who it is if you win by favouritism/bias/drugs you cannot ever call yourself a champion,true champions win and win without fear or favour.Rangers/Sevco or whatever shouldn,t need any favours they are the biggest club in Scotland with the most drawing power and have no need for a leg up.

  28. craigy says:

    What utter bollocks. The author and the vast majority of commenters making excuses for the fact that an edinburgh clubs supporters illegally invaded a football pitch, assaulted the opposing teams players and staff and incited a minority of fans of the opposing team into joining them on the pitch. Yet it’s all Rangers fault.

    As for playing the victim, again, utter bullshit. This tripe and the garbage that followed n the comments could only come from the mind of on who is obsessed with Rangers. Fact is, we dont care what you think, we accepted our fate of demotion to div 3 and we are over it. some of you lot of gutter dredgers should get over yourselves as well.

    I was considering donating Bella, hmmm dont htink i will be now though

    1. JM deStamina says:

      Should Hibs fans be on the pitch? No. How many assaults of players took place? Depends on who you ask. Regardless, it’s for the Police to investigate and punish anyone who engaged in those acts. The Rangers supporters (and it’s more than a small minority) should never have come on to the pitch at all, but as per usual they could not contain the perma-rage within. Face it, your team is followed by an awful lot of morons with incandescent faces and short fuses that cannot handle their team being beaten. If they could have accepted defeat and just left the stadium peacefully then there would have been no trouble beyond the handful of zoomers who approached players and officials. But then again there are reports from the Police regarding the behaviour of your fans outside the stadium too. It’s a miracle it wasn’t another “Manchester moment”.
      Typically you default to the bear defence of “yussur all obsessed”. We are, but only with the pursuit of justice and fair play. You obviously do care what we think or you all wouldn’t be on articles like this calling them crap and saying you don’t care. You haven’t accepted your fate either, given that the lot of you continually harp on about the “relegation” being the work of your club’s “enemies”. How exactly can you relegate a team that didn’t exist the previous season?

      There is no gutter dredging here, only the facts. You lot let yourselves be dazzled by Murray’s Moonbeams for so long you are now blind to the truth. And the truth is that your team died. Seems the tribute act isn’t far from the grave either going by the shady dealings of your career-criminal chairman. Where’s his children’s inheritance? Certainly not in the Ibrox coffers. You all better buy your season tickets for the Asbestosdome and keep lapping up that succulent lamb-flavoured Level5 Kool-Aid…

    2. Andrew G says:

      Your comments are typical of the majority of bigoted morons who follow Rangers oldco and newco. You seem to think that the vile, hatred that pours out from your gathered masses are acceptable but it isn’t now and never has been. We were wrong to come onto the pitch at Hampden but after 114 years of hurt its the least that could haven been expected. The lies that have been followed about players and club officials being assaulted is what we have come to expect from a vile organisation which has been built on lies and hatred. The truth will come out eventually and you will continue to live in denial as your lot always have done.

  29. David says:

    I couldn’t care less if people think we’re the same club or not. The same fans go to the same ground and watch a team in blue. For me that’s the same team but whether it’s technically the case or not, I really don’t care and don’t really see why it matters that much.

    I suppose Celtic fans won’t bother with the old firm games next year and will consider it just another game as we’re ‘not the same club’. Mmmm don’t think so.

  30. Steven Miller says:

    The argument that opposition fans are angry that Rangers avoided tax is all well and good, except for the fact that oldco Rangers have effectively won the EBT tax case and where only ordered to pay a relatively small amount in fines. The reason Rangers where liquidated was because of the actions of Craig Whyte, a man who is under a criminal investigation and will appear in court to stand trial for his actions during his time at Rangers. If Whyte, Charles Green etc are found guilty of committing fraud regarding their actions at Rangers, then the club would have been the victim of a crime, and by extension the fans a victim of a crime. And where would that leave the narrative? After all something that is widely forgotten in this story is that Craig Whyte was sold the club in a reasonable financial position. 18 million pounds of bank debt is not un manageable for a club of Rangers size, and the debt was being reduced by around 1 million pounds per year. It was the pressure on Murray from Lloyds bank about the potential liabilities of the EBT tax case (which have since proven to be relatively small) which pushed him to sell to Whyte, and the rest as they say is history.

    1. JM deStamina says:

      “…except for the fact that oldco Rangers have effectively won the EBT tax case…”

      Nope.

      They have effectively LOST the EBT tax case, and are desperately seeking leave for a final appeal at the High Court in London. If refused said opportunity to appeal then that’s it, game over and Oldco will finally be held accountable for the tens of millions they owe the taxpayer.

      I’d hardly say Murray left the club in a reasonable financial position. He knew fine well that HMRC were out for blood and what that would mean so he got right out of Dodge. Craig Whyte was in no way responsible for the whole EBT mess. He only avoided paying a small amount of tax and NI during his brief tenure. If it wasn’t for McCoist’s ineptitude things might have ticked along o.k with income from European competition, but that was not to be. As you say, TSB wanted their money desperately. Why? Because they knew it would be hard to get that money back once HMRC arrived on the scene. Every other bank knew that day was coming and would not extend any overdraft facilities. Whyte wasn’t really left with much choice but to not pay tax and NI in order to keep the lights on. He wouldn’t have needed to if Murray hadn’t engaged in dubious tax practices and that is the absolute truth of the matter. Murray is ultimately to blame but none of you can see it, what with being too busy eating up all that lamb-flavoured crap Murray’s faithful media lapdogs serve up daily.

  31. William Davidson says:

    A convoluted exercise in trying to excuse the inexcusable. The game is given away in the first paragraph : pitch invasions at major finals are not “tacitly accepted,” the opposite is the case, 1980 itself stands out as a rarity. It was astonishing to watch the initial invasion on television and everything else flowed from it. A case of over-analysing a very straightforward event.
    Nevertheless, do you think I could get a Phd grant to explore the possibility that this match witnessed the final outworking of the struggle between the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Scotland. Sorry, I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, I just couldn’t help myself!

  32. Socrates MacSporran says:

    I do not agree with everything John Kelly has written, but, on thw whole this article is a fair piece and a good summary of events.

    As regards the Oldco/Newco argument, can I suggest – this is business, Rangers became a business rather than a football club, when it became a limited company, and in business, things happen differently.

    For instance: Swallow Sidecar Company was formed in 1922, by William Wamsley and William Lyons. In 1935, Wamsley sold-out and Lyons formed SS Cars Ltd, which, in 1945 became Jaguar Cars, merging with Daimler Cars in the early 1960s.

    In 1966 Jaguar-Daimler merged with BMC British Motor Corporation – (itself a merger of Standard-Triumph (a previous merger), Austin, Morris, Rover, Wolsley, Alvis and one or two other previously independent car companies I have forgotten, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). In 1968, another merger formed British Leyland (BL).

    BL was nationalised in 1975, then, in 1984, Jaguar was de-merged to become, again, an independent company. In 1990 it was sold to Ford, who later bought Land Rover, to form Jaguar-Land Rover, which, in 2008, was sold to current owners Tata.

    Rolls Motors, in 1906 became Rolls Royce, whic acquired Bentley in 1931. In 1971 the merged company was nationalised, before being sold to Vickers in 1973. In 1998, Vickers sold Rolls Royce to Volkswagen and Bentley to BMW.

    Today, there is still a timeline from the original SS 100 sports car, via the XK120/140/150/XKSS and the C and D types of the 1950s, via the E-type, through the XJ220 to the XKR to today’s XF, XJ, R and F-type models. They are still just Jaguars.

    Rolls Royce went through the early models, identified by horse power, through the miriad “Silvers” – Ghosts, Wraiths, Clouds, Shadows, Corniches to today’s models, while Bentley still has a timeline back through the Continentals, Mulliners, Brooklands, S-types, R-types to the 1920s Le Mans racers.

    Given this common history through various owners – why the Oldco/Newco regarding Rangers? Today’s not-very-g00d Rangers team and players have to stand comparison with the Iron Curtain team of 1949, the Scot Symon-managed, Jim Baxter-inspired team of the early 1960s, the nine-in-a-row teams. From the Gallant Pioneers – the McNeill brotheres, Tom Vallance etc, via Alan Morton, Davie Meiklejohn, Bob McPhail, George Young, Eric Caldow, John Greig and Sandy Jardine, Richard Gough, Ally McCoist to Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace, a common thread exists.

    If the current team really was seen as a New Club, there would not be this constant harking back, the club would not have a history, or past greats to compare today’s players against.

    I will say, however, the SFA, in making Rangers a special case post 2012, did themselves no favours, making a difficult situation worse. At the very least, Campbell Ogilvie should, given his connection to the club, have been put on gardening leave, once the club was put into administration, before eventual liquidation.

    There were glaring similarities between the collapse of third Lanark in 1967 and Rangers in 2012. Both clubs were formed in 1872, Thirds were allowed to die, heaven and earth was moved to keep Rangers alive – why? What was the difference?

    There are also glaring similarities between what happened to Rangers FC and Murray Intrnational Metals/Livingston Bulls Basketball Club, under the control of David Murray. Now, that’s another story.

  33. Tony. says:

    Dear Socrates,Rangers Oldco died,the Newco are wearing the Emperor’s,Ashley,new clothes,WATP. = We Are Tax Payers.

  34. john young says:

    Coul Porter the Catholic Faith that I and most others practice has at the heart of it Christianity,the perpetrators of war are not Catholic or Christian,they cannot possibly be,they may profess but that’s all.We are taught love/respect/generosity of spirit to all,I repeat nowhere have I ever heard anything resembling hatred preached at mass,the opposite in fact.

    1. Coul Porter says:

      John, I do not for a minute doubt your integrity or conviction and am sure that you practise your faith accordingly. I am also pretty sure that you have never attended a mass where it was suggested that a Pope could have been an evil human being. At no time have I suggested that hate is / was preached at a modern-day mass. However, none of us can speak for the Middle Ages.

      It is the (R.C.) bureaucracy that is guilty of obfuscation, not the intrinsic faith of the many good practitioners.

      Alas, in seeking to separate the (seemingly, currently) inseparable, you are merely compounding the obfuscation. The answer? The posthumous excommunication of Pope Innocent III.

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