30 April 2013

In case you missed it: April on the CRO

Looking back in brief at the last month of the CRO, and some of the times you may have missed us bringing out the lions:


-Andy McKellar took on comparisons between our own SFL3 title and Queen of the South's romp through SFL2.

-Ross McAdam gave us Stewies latest marks.

-And in the same vain, Peter Ewart reminded us that football supporters deserve better.

-The Andys McKellar and McGowan both looked for some stability as Green hit the rocks.

-Shane told you Chris McKenzie wasn't real, then told those behind it to stop, then just got sick of it and let the Club and police handle it as necessary.

-Andy McGowan casted Craig Whyte: The Movie.

-Shane again, solving the mystery of where nearly 15,000 fans got off to in October.

-Pamela talked to Jig.

-Scott Semple dropped by to let you know about their upcoming tourny.

-We followed up TRS's Imran exclusive.

-Alan Clark talked about the true champions of the campaign, the Rangers family.

-And we churned out CROpods 15-18.

Hopefully an easier month ahead in May, kicking off with our celebration at Ibrox on the weekend and the Legends game against Manchester United on the Monday.

Either way, we'll keep going here at the CRO. Thanks again for all your support.

29 April 2013

The Real Champions

by Alan Clark | Assignment Editor

It is perhaps a phrase over-used these days by the fans, but the term ‘Rangers Family’ is completely true. We are one big family. And that family has suffered unbelievably in the last 18 months.

Through administration, months of ‘group A will buy’ ‘no they won’t, group Z will’ with Duff & Phelps, liquidation, demotion to the bottom tier, the loss of so many top players, a title-stripping witch-hunt, an illegal transfer embargo, constant ‘new club’ jibes, an ex-CEO who made a racist comment, Craig Whyte trying to claim ownership of the assets…

That’s all before I mention the sight of Emilson Cribari at centre back.

CROpod turns 18

The 18th full edition of the CROpod, featuring Shane, Andy, Alan and Chris. We go back over the 4-2 win at the weekend, backroom staff and transfer stuffs, the tale of Imran, our board moving forward, Ask Andy, the coming title party and the Man U legends game.

iTunes? Aye, fucking iTunes:

"John here again. Thank you for your reply and I apologize for not replying sooner. I've been waiting to hear back from aniTunes Store Specialist before I provided you with any additional information.

"Shane, the Account Specialist has escalated your case to our Podcast Team who will thoroughly investigate this issue and then provide me with a detailed explanation as to what is causing this error. I promise you that I'll be in touch as soon as I have any additional information."


Useless...

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28 April 2013

The changing of the guard at Ibrox

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

We've experienced a boardroom shift in the past days I don't believe many of us could have imagined just a short while ago. In what feels like one fell swoop both Charles Green and the mastermind of the purchase of Rangers Imran Ahmad will be shown the door.

As we reported yesterday, Imran will scoot, though the terms of that arrangement we're yet to hear. The rumors swirling that he was looking for a fairly sizable payoff for his 10 months on the job were disconcerting to say the least. We'll keep our collective eyes peeled for signs of how stuffed his final pay packet envelope looks.

And now we're at Malcolm Murray – who I would pin as a mostly known commodity to the Rangers support – Craig Mather and Brian Stockbridge left as the principles to guide the club. While fans still understandably have some uneasy feelings at this point, I must admit, I believe we're in good hands.

27 April 2013

In brief: Imran out

We’re not saying Imran Ahmad is out of his post at Rangers, but he definitely is. Details as we get them.

We’ll have full coverage of this, the match, and everything else that’s gone on the past few days coming up on the site, including a new CROpod at the weekend.

(No guarantee that coming stories will feature phrases such as “sources said” or otherwise.)

26 April 2013

Green, Ahmad, and a seemingly endless stream of connections

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

First off, the people asking for clarification on "sources" or whatever else you want in relation to The Rangers Standard's and our own reporting on Imran the other day, I don't know what to tell you beside take it at face value and move on. If you don't believe it now then you never will. But let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?

The links (tentacles, if I may) connecting Imran, who we all must know now was the man that put this deal together, and his Zeus-related investors don't string a long line back to Octupus and therefore Ticketus. It's been common knowledge for a while to people who've taken the time to pull that together, and I acknowledge them silently here.

My first indication of any shady dealings involving the acquisition of Rangers by Charles Green, et al came during a rather innocuous conversation during a round of golf late last summer with a friend "in the know," if I can steal that turn of phrase back from Imran for a moment.

25 April 2013

Going in the Wrong Direction

by Andy McKellar | Deputy Editor

The Rangers Football Club and its supporters certainly don’t have their troubles to seek as our institution has become embroiled in boardroom battles and general off-field chaos, so much so that humiliating defeats to the likes of Peterhead are all too quickly forgotten. Each passing day seems to bring with it some form of new revelation and it has become increasingly wearying for the loyal fans who simply want to see some stability and normality return to the Club.

Charles Green has resigned and is now looking to sell his shares. Craig Whyte is back on the scene and will apparently be instigating legal action against Green, Ahmad and is looking to lay claim to the Club’s assets. There is also an ongoing internal investigation into the links between the aforementioned people, a story which simply refuses to go away. Furthermore we’ve then had persistent rumours of rifts in the boardroom and the search for a new CEO to contend with now that Mather has eventually been appointed on an interim basis. And last night of course there were reports on TRS and here on CRO that they believe our Commercial Director has been guilty of leaking sensitive information onto fans’ forums. All this before you even consider the woeful underperformance of our first-team this season.

24 April 2013

Re: The Rangers Standard exclusive on Imran Ahmad

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

Far be it from us to sit back while our friends at The Rangers Standard get to have all the fun. If you've not read their piece on Imran Ahmad's ventures into the world of the RangersMedia forum, you definitely should.

For avoidance of doubt, we agree completely with every word in their article. Yes, some of the info was reassuring in terms of the ongoing Craig Whyte saga, but this is not the behavior that a member of the Rangers board should be partaking in, nor do we think it was Imran's first jaunt at RM.

Hong Kong 7's 2013

by Scott Semple | President of the Hong Kong RSC

"We're a family, and when a member of your family needs some help, what you do is help them. Rangers are part of our family."

What you have just read is not some piece of far-fetched fiction from some Scottish footballing fairy­tale, but an actual quote from the chief organiser of one of the world’s premier international youth football tournaments; The International Hong Kong Soccer 7’s.

Tony Bratsanos, the tournament director of the 7s, and a huge Liverpool fan, was the man that has extended a helping hand to the Rangers family. It genuinely helps when you are dealing with real football people that care about relationships and the greater good of sport and not those tarred with the twisted bitterness we are so used to (and tiring from) within the Scottish game.

23 April 2013

CRO talks to Lee McCulloch

by @PamelaRFC | Guest Contributor

How did I come to speak with our captain Lee McCulloch?

Image provided by @TheGamesArtist
On an evening a few months ago, I was driving and when I checked my Twitter, I got the notification: "@Jiggymac6 is now following you". I had to park my car to check it twice. I never asked or begged for a follow, it was just one of Lee’s friendly actions towards the fans.

This action by Lee, is how I see him, a true gentleman with a heart for the fans. After the follow, he read my blog and we started talking about youth football and the Feyenoord academy.

I had never interviewed someone before, and I was honoured that he said yes to an interview, "of course we can do that", he said. So during the past weekend, I asked him a few questions, and here’s the result;

21 April 2013

It's CROpod 17!!!

The 17th full edition of the CROpod, featuring Shane, Andy and an appearance by Darche himself, Mr James Donaldson of Seventy2 Mag, Rangers Media and WATP Pod fame. We discuss the latest debacle at Ibrox, and the second to latest debacle at Ibrox, plus MURICA, F1 results, Craig Mather, Dan Eggen, and more!

There are still iTunes issues. We're sorry. You know the drill by now.

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19 April 2013

For the fans, is it time to take a step back?

by Gordon James | Guest Contributor

It’s been yet another uncomfortable time for Rangers supporters recently. Rangers Football Club would appear to be in an endless state of flux with a constant stream of revelations, leaks and accusations; mixed with a generous helping of hyperbole, lies, nonsense and half truths. But is this really a time to start swinging the axe in the boardroom?

It is clear that there is a split in the boardroom, Malcolm Murray and Charles Green clash, no question. In the middle of all this is a truth. It is going to be down to certain interpretations of that truth and how it is used that decides who is going to be in the boardroom at Rangers. That truth may be unpalatable for some; especially some who simply did not have the stomach for getting down and getting dirty with Craig Whyte in the battle last year to save the club.

It simply will not be a straightforward tale of clear wrongdoing or being absolved of all guilt. At the end of it all, we may be offered a very big dose of sanctimonious and hypocritical pontificating. I hope I am wrong.

Regan and Doncaster: Are you two still here?



The leaders of Scottish football have continually let the fans down.


What's next for the wonder duo in charge of the sport?


by Peter Ewart | Contributor






Neil Doncaster: "This is the chief executive, Neil A Doncaster, and I am in charge of this situation." 

Stewart Milne: "Oh, you're in charge? Well, I got some bad news for you *Neil*, from up here it doesn't look like you're in charge of jack shit." 

Doncaster: "You listen to me, you little asshole, I'm..."

Milne: "Asshole? I'm not the one who just got butt-fucked on national TV, *Neil*. Now, you listen to me, jerk-off, if you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem. Quit being a part of the fucking problem and put the other guy back on!"


This isn’t the transcript of a conversation on Monday night after the farce of the SPL rejecting the SPL’s reconstruction proposal, but it should be. You could easily substitute Stewart Regan for Doncaster, as the two have been interchangeably incompetent.

18 April 2013

Solved: The disappearance of 14,982 Rangers supporters

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

A month ago we had a story from guest contributor Derek Miller regarding the media's coverage of supposedly fluffed Old Firm attendance figures, highlighting The Daily Record's front page exclusive by John Ferguson, "RIDDLE OF PHANTOM FANS," and a similar piece by Tom English in the Scotland on Sunday, parroting the data from the Record, titled "Old Firm guilty of massaging numbers."

Modern Football and Charles Green

by Lee Watson | Guest Contributor

Let’s take a moment to reflect at where this all begins before it goes any further.

We went into the 2011/2012 season with a new owner, new manager and almost a new team after we signed seven new players. Fans were excited at the prospect that we could possibly go on to win a fourth title in a row and after going undefeated for a run of 12 games it looked likely but quickly things began to change on and off the park and on the 14th of February everything changed forever.

May 13th 2012, the final day of the 2011/2012 season, one that will not be forgotten in the minds of any fans for a long time. The news broke around 10am that Charles Green and his consortium had agreed an £8.5million bid with Duff and Phelps to buy the club and by that time fans were on buses and headed for Perth to possibly watch Rangers for the last time. 

Craig Whyte: The Movie

by Andy McGowan | Contributor

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And so it is at Rangers. The Club may be owned and operated by a new company, it may have a new board of directors and it may play in a new division with a new squad but some things never change. We still play in blue, we are still the best supported club in Scotland, they are still obsessed with us and Craig Whyte is still talking unimaginable levels of bullshit. 

The latest installment of the 'Whyte Knight' saga is that wee Craig apparently plans to sell the rights to the story of his takeover and running of Rangers to some company who will inevitably be every bit as shifty and deluded as he is. Much like everything Whyte claims it will likely never happen. There will almost definitely be no Rangers movie but please allow me to indulge in the insanity of creating my own hypothetical film. This is my dream all-star cast: 

17 April 2013

Update: Chris McKenzie, Chris King, and all those other Twitter accounts

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

Well, we had the return of The Atlantic Bear Mag to Twitter this evening, assuring us that Chris King was no longer involved, a good thing as he doesn't exist. However, the mag planned to carry on under the guidance of Robbie Gibson, who, as you may guess, doesn't actually exist either.

The many strands of an exceedingly large web of Twitter accounts, facebook groups, false persons, emails and more led back to two sources. At this time, Police Scotland have been notified of who we believe to be behind them.

We'd ask that the various forums and individuals looking into this as well not out anyone's name for their safety. Yes, this was stupid and reprehensible thing to do, but it should not be compounded any further.

And again, if you had contact with any of these groups and they have solicited you for money, please contact us at info@thecoplandroad.org and we will take the measures necessary to get that information to the authorities.

Chris McKenzie, Chris King, Sarasota RSC, and the Atlantic Bear Mag - A follow up

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor

By now most of you have surely read the story from yesterday that debunked the tale of Chris McKenzie, the Rangers supporter supposedly injured whilst either participating in or watching the Boston Marathon depending on what series of tweets you were reading.

Most of you have probably seen or heard of this confession from Chris King, too, the "man" behind the whole plot:


I don't believe it for a second, and I'm not the only one. 

This was not a one-off event; this was a string of attempts to launch various websites and magazines and podcasts under a series of different guises over a number of months. A lot of us had been watching the "Sarasota RSC" and its related accounts since they first appeared on the scene. The signs were pretty easy to spot.

So here's where we're at: There was some work done throughout the day by a few people and we believe we've identified the person behind all of these accounts and, most importantly, behind the depraved stunt pulled Monday night and through Tuesday morning. We will be dealing with this in a sensitive manner as it deserves. It's rare that someone draws the disgust and ire of both the Rangers and Celtic support on the same day.

If you had any contact with any of these sites over the past few months and still have the correspondence please get in touch. You can email us at, tips@thecoplandroad.org.

For the person behind this, you've done yourself no favors because now you have people across town looking for you, too. You've got a chance to do whatever you think right to deal with this disgusting "prank" you pulled. I hope you do.

16 April 2013

CRO on the Chris McKenzie story and the Sarasota RSC

by Shane Nicholson | Executive Editor


It's come to the attention of us and many others by now that the Sarasota RSC Twitter, and a related account going by the name Chris King, has posted repeatedly since yesterday about a member and supposed Bear who was caught up in the attack in Boston, Chris McKenzie.

After an extensive search through media outlets, hospital rolls, the BAA participant list for the race, and other related databases for anyone by that name injured in the blasts, nothing has turned up. No hospitals that have treated patients following the blasts in Boston are listing an injured runner or other wise under the name Chris McKenzie, including MassGeneral which we have been told is the hospital McKenzie is reportedly at.

Tweets from the Sarasota RSC began yesterday with one to The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams at 2:56 p.m. stating, "Picture of second explosion! My mate was running. He is safe"

This was followed up by a tweet from the Chris King account to me at 3:08 p.m. as I was tweeting out details from various wire feeds: "my friend is running in Boston and I haven't heard from him yet. I've been calling him for a while now"

By 3:24 p.m. the Sarasota RSC account had given the missing person a name and someone to contact with information: "Club Member Chris McKenzie is MISSING in Boston. Our president @ChrisKing_RFC is trying to connect. Please RT in case he follows anyone"

This message was repeated over the rest of the day.

Following a 10 hour break that coincided with overnight in the UK, the first message to appear with new information was from the Sarasota RSC account: "UPDATE: Chris McKenzie has been traced to a local hospital, however, he has serious injuries."

The Chris King account began tweeting information a short time later, claiming, "Just off cell phone to Hospital - Chris is in a 'serious condition'. I've to phone them back at 7am ET for an update"

Followed by: "It is important to note that the hospital say he is NOT one of the 17 in 'Critical Condition' - However he is severely injured"

By this time it was clear that no participant in the Marathon was named Chris McKenzie, and no systems for tracking the injured nor any hospital we contacted, including MassGeneral, listed a Chris McKenzie as being in their care.

Approximately four hours later the Chris King account tweeted, "UPDATE: Chris McKenzie has suffered severe head and neck injuries, aswell as a broken leg. He will be getting an operation on his leg later"

The Sarasota RSC at this time told the people who had flocked to his account that Chris King was on the ground in Boston and would be the media contact for information on McKenzie:


Various media outlets had picked up the story by this time. We are under the impression that some have pulled their stories.

As this story was under edit the Chris King account posted again with information on McKenzie's status but giving his own name in the update:


To sum up: No runner or spectator injured in the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday can be identified as Chris McKenzie through any systems available to the media.

Furthermore, the restaurant listed as being the current home of the Sarasota RSC has never had any dealings with them, as confirmed in a call this morning.

It is my belief that the Sarasota RSC and related accounts, including the Atlantic Bear Mag, the now closed SFL 3 account, and various others, are related to previous accounts and sites that have plagiarized materials from various Rangers fans' publications.

Reached for a statement, Rangers said, "The club is aware of this and is currently looking into it.”

NARSA President Billy Ferguson, reached for comment, said, "[King] has not responded to one single email nor has he sent a cell number to call regarding his application to NARSA."

We will have more information if and when it comes available.

The Innocent Villains


by Andy McKellar | Deputy Editor

The uniquely mad world of Scottish football yesterday provided further evidence that the lunatics are indeed running the asylum and that there is absolutely no place for voices of sanity and reason. The Scottish Premier League clubs met deep within the bowels of our national stadium and it is probably fair to acknowledge that the resulting vote has caused quite a bizarre furore. 

The meeting lasted in excess of four hours and as each minute passed I was probably joined by a growing number of fans who feared that the much maligned and hugely unpopular plans for league reconstruction would be approved. Reports prior to the meeting had suggested that both St Mirren and Ross County would vote against the proposals however, as we all know, nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to Scottish football. 

The Scottish Premier League rules dictated that a majority of 11-1 was required in order for the plans to be approved and passed over to the SFL clubs for the next stage of voting. Both Stewart Gilmour and Roy MacGregor however were not satisfied enough with the proposals to vote in their favour and thus the attempt to hastily push through league reconstruction fell embarrassingly at the first hurdle despite the immense pressure and bully-boy tactics applied by some clubs and their officials. What followed though was rather incomprehensible. 

The chairmen of St Mirren and Ross Country yesterday acted in the best interests of their clubs, their shareholders and their supporters. To those of sound mind and reasonable sanity that would probably appear to be the right and proper thing to do in any situation. These men however were vilified and demonised for their actions and have rather foolishly been accused of potentially destroying our national game. 

One of the noisiest critics was of course Stuart Milne of Aberdeen, a man who was close to tears when emerging from Hampden Stadium following the meeting with his fellow clubs. The decision apparently sent a “horrendous” message to all and sundry and St Mirren in particular were the main target of his anger and frustration. His interview was comedy gold. I suggest you give it a watch sometime. 

Ironically of course it was Milne who stood shoulder to shoulder with Celtic earlier in the season to maintain the controversial voting structure which proved to be the downfall of the reconstruction plans. He predictably failed to mention that point and instead continued in a bitter tirade against men who attempted to do what they are supposed to and act for the benefit of their clubs. In fact, they have a legal duty to do so. Think about that for a minute, Mr Milne. 

Last summer amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the Rangers’ situation it was the fans’ voices who were powerful and persuasive. Stephen Thompson knowledgably informed us that “any business which ignores its customers is doomed to fail” and this provided the justification required to deny our club entry to the SPL. Many other clubs of course followed suit and consulted their supporters and it was key that their wishes and desires were adhered to. Or so we were told. 

Only one year on from that “sporting integrity” sham we now have ten clubs willing to completely discard the views of their fans. A recent survey by the Scottish FA showed that an overwhelming majority of 87% were not in favour of the plans put forward but this seems to have had little impact on the chairmen and officials casting the all-important votes. The hypocrisy of these men is absolutely astounding however it has been hidden behind smoke, mirrors and the inevitably pathetic claim that this was being done for the good of the game. Please, spare me. 

I fully support the statement issued by Rangers Football Club which stated that “the vast majority of supporters did not want 12-12-18 and the two clubs who voted against this should not be singled out for criticism. They stood up for what they and their fans believe”. Unfortunately such a balanced view is not common within the twisted world of our national game and so inevitably the clubs in question have been thoroughly demonised for doing the right thing. If that sounds completely mental, it’s probably because it really is. 

The Scottish media now have story after story waiting to be written. Question marks remain over the urgency behind this reconstruction campaign and the desperate attempts by Celtic to amend the voting requirements during the course of the meeting earlier today. There are also answers to be sought from Neil Doncaster, a man who is destined for a career in politics as he effortlessly and repeatedly swats away and dodges questions. 

What happened to Rangers’ prize money, Neil? What are the details of the current television deal? Why have you deliberately withheld the value of this deal when you were so vocal about the previous one? Will you be looking to form an SPL2? The list is endless. Let’s just hope we have some journalists out there brave enough to ask the questions and, to be fair, it was a valiant attempt by Graham Spiers and Tom English on BBC Sportsound yesterday evening. Let’s hope the questions continue to roll in. Maybe one day we’ll get an answer. 

As a Rangers fan I am personally delighted that the proposals have been rejected because it means that we progress to the Second Division and don’t have to endure another term in the bottom-tier which would essentially render this season’s title win as meaningless, at least in terms of its practical benefit. This means that we can now start preparing for the campaign ahead, get the renewal forms sent out and begin building for the next stage of our journey back to the top. 

Again, I’d just like to congratulate and applaud the bravery shown by both St Mirren and Ross County in their decision to vote against seriously flawed proposals which many were attempting to bulldoze through. They stood up for their fans and themselves and that is commendable when many around them were desperately trying to influence their decision to suit their own needs. 

These clubs have been accused of acting in self-interest. And what if they have? Hasn’t every club attempted to do that? Isn’t that the whole point of a democratic vote? Aren’t they entitled to look after themselves? Put it this way, I want every decision Charles Green makes to benefit Rangers Football Club. To criticise other chairmen for doing the exact same would just be completely hypocritical. 

Anyway, I don’t know what all the big fuss is about. The SPL is completely fine without us and is in rude health. We’ll see you in a few years’ time. Well, if there is anything left that is.

It's CROpod 16!!!

The 16th full edition of the CROpod, with Shane, Alan, Peter, Chris and a late entrance from Andy. We talk the last match against Clyde, SPL reconstruction (on the day before), Charles Green and the board, your usual dose of mad nonsense, and that's about it. We cut this down from over four-and-a-half hours of recording to make it somewhat listenable so expect an outtakes show here sometime soon.

Thanks again to all of our friends and sponsors who make this possible, and as mentioned at the top and bottom of the show, all of the thoughts and best wishes of the CRO to our brothers and sisters dealing with the aftermath of what took place in Boston Monday.

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14 April 2013

Rangers - Why It's The People's Club

by @pamelaRFC | Guest Contributor

This piece is not about Charles Green, not about the manager and not about bad results or tactics. But about the club and their employees and players.

The last few weeks the supporters have been going through a uncertain time again. The chief executive and his words in the media, the league reconstruction, the manager's tactics and I do not even want to mention Craig Whyte's lies.

This and some other things made even me quiet on Twitter, the pro's and the contra's infighting. All we need is clarity. No words but deeds. Then we can move on and build on.

But, something this week made me smile. All the bad things were forgotten for a moment. It was Hernan Pacheco's visit to his beloved Rangers. Andrew Dickson already wrote a great article, Hernan living his dream, on the official site. Every time a picture was tweeted I thought yes, this is Rangers. This is the people's club. This is what I am proud of. 

Courtesy of Rangers.co.uk
I believe a lot of you got emotional seeing this picture. Hernan living his dream. I’m not going to write about Hernan's visit. But what the club has done for him is superb. Ally personally invited him for a drink after the match in his office, with players tweeting about him and wanting to meet him. He got the time of his life.

A personal Ibrox tour guided by Andrew Dickson and Rab Boyle, meeting the players and yesterday he and his wife Carla were bearing the flag before the match, in the middle of the pitch. This all made me happy, and proud to be one of the Rangers family. 

Because, no matter how much grieve we get, and how much personal struggles some of us have to deal with, if we see this happiness, it makes us realize that this is what we live for. I want to make a big compliment to the club, the employees and the players, for doing this for a special fan.

We have some things to laugh at. That moment that the official Rangers Twitter account tweeted this picture of Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall doing 'the Gangnam Style', at the 2-0 friendly win against Linfield.

Back to the world of Twitter. Here's some tweets from the players:

‏"@AndyLittle29 Enjoyed the game today with my mum + Dad. V.proud of the 50 goals me and @jiggymacc6 have managed together! Have a good night folks!"

"@jiggymacc6 Thanks for all the great messages,that's @AndyLittle29 and myself hit the fifty goal mark,first players to do it since super and hateley.wow"

"@lucagasparotto3 What a week! Unbelievable feeling making my league debut, and clean sheet! So close to scoring too! Thanks for all the messages everyone :)"

And the 16-year-old Danny Stoney who also made his league debut for the first-team:

‏"@Danny_stoney Thanks for all the messages it's appreciated!!"

And yesterday night, we got all cheered up by a picture from Lee McCulloch's big Jig. Seriously I am wondering now, how can a man run with that?! But the way our captain replied to the tweets was great. He took the joke and even tweeted back: "It was minus 3 degrees!" I was still laughing when I woke up this morning.

This article is meant to bring some positiveness and put the negative stuff to one side. There's maybe a bit too much negativity going about these days. Let's keep smiling at the bright things of life. Don’t get me wrong, I do have my worries about the club and the future. A lot. I’m not naïve. I just want to point out some positivity.

Rangers is our club. And I am proud of that!

13 April 2013

For Charles Green, context is king

by Andy McGowan | Contributor

In the world of media context is king. The facts of a story may not change but how they are reported can blur what is already a muddled picture, and pictures don’t come quite as muddled as the one at Ibrox.

A week on from Whyte’s claims in The Sun lets lay out the facts and forget the sensationalism and spin the Scottish media enjoys putting on a Rangers story. On Friday The Sun made us aware of ‘bombshell’ evidence that Whyte was intending to sue Charles Green and Imran Ahmad and revealed that Green and Ahmad held secret meetings with Whyte.

Had Charles Green been lying to us? Keeping us in the dark? Why didn’t we know he’d met with Whyte in the lead up to buying the club? Well, we did. On the 29th of October last year Charles Green tells us about his meetings with Whyte and he also told us of our former owner’s plans to sue the club when speaking to Richard Wilson of the Herald.

“I was introduced to him by Imran Ahmad [Rangers’ commercial director], Craig Whyte did introduce me to Duff & Phelps. We needed to get hold of Craig Whyte's shares, so Duff & Phelps would treat us as credible.

“We didn't need them in the end because it went down newco route. I met him four times in London, Imran Ahmad has had loads of meetings with him. People thought we were working with Craig Whyte, [but] I believe he is now suing us, because he believes he was entitled to something for handing over the shares.”

This was almost seven months ago yet there were no doubts raised over Charles Green at the time. Why? Mr Whyte did go one further though and allow us to hear carefully chosen outtakes of his seemingly endless recordings of meetings that took place. In one of the recordings we hear Whyte being assured that he is Sevco, in reference to Sevco 5088, the initial company setup to buy the club.

The Sun goes one further and tells us that ‘Sevco 5088 Ltd and Green bought Rangers for £5.5million in June, 2012.’ This of course is not true. Sevco 5088 never owned any asset of Rangers Football Club as The Sun told us. The Rangers Football Club Limited – formerly Sevco Scotland Limited – purchased the club and its assets from the Oldco Rangers. Although Sevco 5088 was originally setup to purchase the club it was decided a Scottish company should own a Scottish club ergo Sevco Scotland was born. This is confirmed in Duff and Phelps interim and final reports.

Interim report dated 10 July 2012 stated:

“4.1 The Club continued to trade under the control of the Joint Administrators up to the date of the sale of the business and assets of the Company to Sevco on 14 June 2012.”

“Sevco” is defined in the report as: “Sevco Scotland Limited of Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow G51 2XD (Company number SC425159).”

In their final report dated 27 September 2012, they stated:

“7.1 A detailed outline of the marketing process undertaken by the Joint Administrators which preceded the sale of the business, history and certain assets of the Club to Newco on 14 June 2012, was provided in the previous report to creditors dated 10 July 2012.”

“Newco” is defined in this report as “The Rangers Football Club Limited (Formerly Sevco Scotland Limited) of Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow G51 2XD (Company number SC425159).”

Green and Imran are heard making Whyte a series of promises about his involvement with Sevco 5088 and Rangers. And of course Craig Whyte has insisted that Green is nothing but a paper owner and he is the true owner of the club.

Thanks to our new PR Chief, Green was afforded the right to respond to Whyte’s claims before they were published and as expected we were told that Whyte was simply being kept sweet when the prospect of a CVA was still viable.

Green and Imran weren’t the only ones playing this game with Whyte. In May of last year Brian Kennedy met with Whyte amidst reports of claims from Whyte such as a seat on the board and in the director’s box. And as our own Bill McMurdo can testify to having known Mr Whyte through his father for many years he is a difficult man to deal with and must be treated with kid gloves and sweet talked.

The Sun tells us how Green admits to ‘conning’ Whyte for control of the club. Green said, “We told him what he wanted to hear. Imran told him because we needed to keep him sweet to prise the club away from him. We had deals with him and what Imran was doing for a long period was, if Craig Whyte asked ‘Am I 6ft 4in tall?’ Imran would say ‘I think you are taller than that — actually. I think you are 6ft 6in.’”

The following day, Charles Green responded more robustly to Whyte’s claims answering each point in turn:

On Whyte’s claim he is a front man: “He could not be more wrong. With 8%, I am the major shareholder in Rangers FC and I have no tie in of any kind with Mr Whyte. He was never going to become an associate and never will. He has no right to any claim on Rangers FC, it’s shares or assets.”

On allegations there is a letter which agrees Mr Whyte and Aidan Earley, would have a majority shareholding in Sevco 5088: “If there is it wasn’t signed or endorsed by me. Perhaps Mr Whyte would be good enough to send me a copy.”

On telling Mr Whyte ‘He is Sevco’: “This is correct but at that point I had signed a resignation letter and a stock transfer form because it was decided that a Scottish company should buy a Scottish institution. Sevco 5088 wasn’t required.”

Charles Green challenges Whyte to produce proof of his claims. To this point neither man had produced anything definitive to discredit the other. In the days that followed, this robust response by Charles Green became his own worst enemy with a series of bizarre interviews, informing us of his out of date views on political correctness and his hyperbole over Manchester United and the Dallas Cowboys which has now in the circumstances been spun to discredit the man.

His harmless exaggerations used to overstate the points he was making have become tools for discrediting him and add weight to the view that he may indeed not be telling us the truth over Craig Whyte. Charles Green has no one to blame but himself for this. Many of us shifted uncomfortably in our chairs while he waxed lyrical about 500 million viewers, media rights worth £100 million and his insistence that Barcelona would like to play us every week. He has made the job of making himself look a liar rather than an exaggerator incredibly easy at times and it has been exploited to devastating effect.

It also emerged that Green had received a payment of £25,000 from Whyte and Earley which was to be used to pay legal costs for Field Fisher Waterhouse, and that Craig Whyte also handed over £137,000 to Imran Ahmad though for what purpose is unclear. In an interview with STV News, Green stated the cheque bounced and he ended up paying the lawyers himself and also in The Sun that he and Ahmad have tried to return the £137,000, which has never been in a bank account associated with the club or even Sevco 5088, back to him: “But no matter how hard we try to do that he won’t accept receipt of it.” Green also stated that “Imran felt he had to keep him going down the road of giving over his shares so he was told if he had the money he could still deposit it.”

STV produced further evidence from Whyte, obtained by Mike Farrell, proving that he was involved with Sevco 5088, this time a document allegedly signed by Charles Green that shows Whyte as a director of 5088:


The document, dated 9 May 2012, has allegedly only recently been lodged with Companies House despite Sevco 5088 being currently in the process of being wound up. STV’s newscast tell us that this proves Green is a liar as he had claimed Whyte wasn’t involved with Sevco 5088. Let’s look at the quote more closely and in full.

What Green told STV was this: “Neither of them had a role in Sevco 5088. That was a company formed by Field Fisher Waterhouse for the purpose of acquiring Rangers.” Sounds like Mr Green has been lying right? Wrong, and it’s down to our old friend context yet again to explain why. STV seem to use only half the quote on purpose. The full quote reads “Neither of them had a role in Sevco 5088. That was a company formed by Field Fisher Waterhouse for the purpose of acquiring Rangers. Of course, what everyone knows, in the ensuing weeks, as the model unfolded, Sevco Scotland acquired Rangers, not Sevco 5088. The company that was originally formed was not required and was handed back to Craig Whyte.” The quote reads to me that Green simply handed Sevco 5088 – now redundant in the process of acquiring the club – over to an unsuspecting Whyte. This is backed up by Green’s claim that by the time he told Whyte on tape that, “He was Sevco.”

“[That he] had signed a resignation letter and a stock transfer form because it was decided that a Scottish company should buy a Scottish institution. Sevco 5088 wasn’t required.”

However Rangers have gone a step furtherthan explaining this document and claimed it isn’t real. A spokesman for Charles Green said: “Mr Green is appalled by this blatant attempt to discredit him.

“These documents are not correct or valid and he did not sign Craig Whyte or his associate on as directors of Sevco 5088.

“Mr Green was the sole director of Sevco 5088 until he resigned and became the founder director of Sevco Scotland, formed by Scottish solicitors.

“If this documentation was correct then, as Sevco 5088 was formed as the initial bid vehicle, the administrators would have been negotiating a sale of the club to a company which had a director who was clearly forbidden from being involved with it.

“Furthermore, it should strike people as deeply suspicious that these documents are being filed today 11 months after they were supposedly signed and on other documents Mr Green’s home address has been mysteriously changed without his knowledge.

“Furthermore, notice was filed publicly in January this year by Field Fisher Waterhouse and is on record at Companies House seeking to strike off the company, yet four months later directors appointments are now being supposedly filed.

“As stated previously these matters are now in the hands of lawyers who are preparing a file to be sent to Police Scotland and Mr Green cannot comment further on the details of that process.”

After a week of claim and counter claim there is no doubt that Charles Green’s credibility has been damaged and he has been the cause of a great deal of the damage himself simply by keeping his mouth shut when it should have been open and opening it when it should have remained firmly shut. Charles Green in my opinion now has no choice but to lay his cards on the table and come clean on everything that’s gone on. Some of it won’t paint him in a particularly favourable light but let’s not be naïve, Charles Green isn’t some squeaky clean business man. Show me a business man who claims to be squeaky clean and I’ll show you a liar. The only way out for Green is now to press on into the darkness and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel because simply responding each time a new detail is revealed puts himself and the club on the back foot. It may be uncomfortable but the truth will set Green free.

It is an incredibly complex set of accusations and answers and so far it all boils down to one man’s word against another as neither has produced anything concrete to back their claims other than the disputed document linking Whyte to 5088 which of course as we know even if real doesn’t actually entitle him to much given Sevco Scotland purchased the club and not 5088. Craig Whyte must produce a smoking gun to back up his claims, small clips from hours of audio and disputed documentation simply won’t cut it and in my opinion he can’t produce a smoking gun because he simply doesn’t have one. I don’t have to tell you about the several times over the past two years he has threatened to sue anyone who got in his way: The Daily Record, the BBC, Duff and Phelps, Ticketus and now Charles Green and Imran Ahmad, but thus far these have been idle threats. If Craig Whyte really has a claim to the keys to Ibrox why is he talking to the media and not a magistrate? Why is he telling us he’s going to sue instead of doing it?

Equally Charles Green now must prove to his own boardroom and to the SFA, whose intervention I welcome on this occasion, that he is telling the truth. Green can talk till he’s blue in the face but until more credible men from the SFA and inside our own club give him the all clear he must be scrutinized.

As it stands the only question you have to ask yourself having read the facts of the matter without them being tarted up by a red top notorious for skewing facts is this: Who do you believe, Charles Green or Craig Whyte? I know where my trust lies today. 

12 April 2013

Charles Green: Time to Live and Learn?

by Andy McKellar | Deputy Editor
 
Ever since Charles Green brashly bulldozed his way into power at Rangers Football Club I think it is probably fair to acknowledge that the Scottish media haven’t exactly been short of material with which they could fill their considerable column inches. The Chief Exec has blustered and boasted his way into the headlines on an all too regular basis and it would appear that he is certainly a man who says what he likes and likes what he says.

His straight-talking, no-nonsense approach was warmly welcomed by the Rangers supporters initially and his willingness to defend the Club and tackle the football authorities certainly did little to harm his flourishing reputation at the time. The last couple of weeks however have been a complete and utter Public Relations disaster, most of which has been unnecessarily self-inflicted by our very own CEO.

Green has always been outspoken but I rather think that the good work carried out earlier in the season was sufficient enough to paper over the cracks. The immensely successful Initial Public Offering for example was a remarkable achievement and there is no doubt that this provided the man from Yorkshire with some room to manoeuvre. The honeymoon period though seems to be well and truly over and there are now some very serious questions being asked about his suitability for his role and growing suggestions that he should be removed from his position.

If I may reluctantly borrow a suggestion from Tom English, it is that it has certainly been necessary for most Rangers fans to have a thesaurus at hand in order to find as many alternatives as possible to avoid the repeated use of the word “cringe” when Green has opened his mouth recently. From the ridiculously foolish comments about his “Paki friend” to the murky and concerning Craig Whyte 'revelations' in addition to the train wreck of an interview on STV, it has been uncomfortable viewing for everyone connected with the Club, something which was highlighted by Walter Smith’s recent comments to the Scottish media.

I have been more than a little critical of Charles Green in recent weeks and have been joined by a growing number of fans who have watched on in bewilderment as he has stumbled from one calamity to another. If Smith’s comments are anything to go by then it would certainly appear, in his own understated way, that he too has become embarrassed by the actions of the Chief Exec and will seek to have serious discussions with the Rangers’ board in the near future.

My own opinion however is that Green should be given an opportunity to learn from his various mistakes in recent weeks. There’s no doubt that his actions have reflected very poorly on himself and on the Club and indeed that he should know better however I feel this should be something that we are all looking to move on from as soon as possible. I’m hopeful that people such as Smith, and perhaps Malcolm Murray, will leave Green in no doubt that he simply must conduct himself in a far more professional manner that is befitting of our great institution.

If nothing else Green should at least be given enough rope with which to hang himself, if I may reluctantly use such an ugly phrase. If he fails to display any marked improvement in his dealings with the media and in his general conduct then, yes, he must be removed as the Chief Executive. Ally McCoist last week spoke of the standards set at Rangers by the likes of Bill Struth. Nobody should be allowed to tarnish that, not even a man who helped rescue and rebuild us from the depths of despair in the summer. There’s an old cliché that no man is bigger than the Club and it’s about time Green remembered that.

Although my own opinion is that Green should be given a chance to learn from his various errors, some are not sure as to whether that luxury will be afforded to him. His relationship with Malcolm Murray has been reported as being anything but warm and there can be no doubt that other directors and shareholders will have been left shaking their heads in recent days and weeks. Smith has stated that he will be asking various questions at their next board meeting and I sincerely hope that he is furnished with the answers required. A failure to do so by Green may well cause huge unrest in the background at Rangers and, to be perfectly honest, that is the last thing we need at the moment.

It is very difficult to see the near future being anything but negative with so much media attention and uncertainty stubbornly lingering. If Charles Green indicates that he is unwilling to keep his mouth shut and that that he will continue to say whatever he wants when he wants, there is every chance that either he will not be in position come the start of next season or that there may well be some resignations from the Rangers’ board. Either way, neither will reflect all too positively on the Club.

The best possible solution for Rangers Football Club and its supporters has to be a realisation on the part of Green that he has embarrassed our institution and must mend his ways immediately. The blustering and boasting has been useful up to a point however lately it has become wearying and somewhat predictable. There are serious issues which require to be addressed at our Club such as the scouting system and our youth development, not to mention the need to improve our first XI for the upcoming campaign ahead. The fans want to hear about our plans for those things, not the repeated fantasy of moving to England or the forming of a link with the Dallas Cowboys.

It has been suggested by many that Charles Green is a bit of an attention-seeker, someone who thrives on being in the spotlight and who rather enjoys the image he has created for himself. There’s probably some truth in that however perhaps he should consider hitting the headlines for all the right reasons and not those which we have all had the misfortune of witnessing recently.

Green has made no secret of the fact that he is here to make money however he has the chance to leave a lasting legacy at Rangers that is worth far more than any monetary value he will ever receive for his shares. This period of our history will always be remembered for its unique nature and I’m sure his part is something that he would love to be remembered for.

I’d suggest that Charles Green takes a few moments before Saturday’s match to stroll around our famous stadium, taking in the history and tradition that surrounds it. He should walk into our trophy room and look at the portrait of our greatest ever manager and ask himself whether or not he is maintaining the standards that Bill Struth set for this proud institution. If he is deluded enough to believe that he has then I’m afraid it is time for him to be removed. If not then it’s about time he started acting like the CEO of Rangers and not like some egomaniac who puts himself before the Club.

It’s over to you, Charles. Rangers will move forward with or without you. It’s your choice whether or not you wish to be part of our great history. Time to prove you are worthy of the position you hold.

11 April 2013

Faith in the Youth

by Jonny McFarlane | Guest Contributor

When new Scotland manager Gordon Strachan announced his latest Scotland squad, Dick Advocaat would be entitled to view the list of names with some satisfaction. 

As the key architect behind Murray Park’s inception it was his vision to see the training ground as a keystone in both Rangers and, as a further consequence, Scotland’s playing future. 

The inclusion of five Ibrox-bred stars in the form of Allan McGregor, Alan Hutton, Charlie Adam, Chris Burke and Ross McCormack stand as proof that the training ground has delivered. Sadly, due to a combination of factors, these players are now at other clubs, but their success is a testament to Advocaat’s vision. 

The fact that Rangers let Adam, Burke and McCormack leave Ibrox for a combined fee of £500,000 speaks to a potential problem with how talent has been nurtured to its full potential at first team level. Given the new crop of talented youngsters bursting into the starting 11, it’s imperative that lessons have been learned from the past and a better approach is adopted to maximise player development. 

Adam was arguably the most talented of all the Murray Park graduates and although not many would dispute that he had his moments in a Rangers jersey, a large proportion of the fans found him a very frustrating figure. A lad with the ability to play a 70-yard World Cup pass one minute and give the ball straight to the opposition from five yards the next, it is completely understandable that passionate supporters might occasionally voice a grumble about inconsistency. 

Perhaps though, it’s endemic of a lack of understanding amongst our support about how good young players grow. After all, for a long time in the 80’s and 90’s we didn’t really see many youngsters come in and establish themselves over the long term. The kids in the 9-in-a-row era like Steven Pressley or Gary McSwegan would have limited first team involvement, mostly during an injury crisis, then leave for pastures new. 

The quality at the club was of a very high level and most of the players we watched every week were established internationalists. Money was everywhere and youngsters didn’t get opportunities so it’s hardly surprising that our fans have a lower tolerance level to the kind of mistakes your average academy kid makes in his first few seasons. 

Most managers and coaches talk about young players and the difficulty in finding consistency over a sustained period. Only the absolute top drawer stars like a Barry Ferguson or an Ian Durrant seem to be able to do that at 19 or 20. At other clubs, fans are used to seeing youngsters fill various positions every week, and perhaps have a better appreciation of how a player improves his game. 

At Rangers, you have to perform like a man from the start; it’s very much sink or swim, Ibrox can be unforgiving. Remember how Alan Hutton was treated before Walter Smith took over? Some players, like Hutton or even Ally McCoist, recover from early setbacks and crowd disapproval to become stronger. They use the disenchantment as a spur to drive the fires of ambition and that’s a fantastic tribute to their drive and personality, but not everyone made of that sort of stuff.

Some youngsters need patience to ever truly shine. At a club like St. Johnstone you can build your confidence without undue pressure and expectation over the course of a season. Some might argue this is because the Perth Saints are a provincial club with no pressure while Rangers are a massive institution, but other huge clubs have had better records over the last few years. 

I look at huge clubs like Barcelona or Manchester United where there has been a 15 or 20 year period where youth players have been actively introduced as part of the footballing culture. At Manchester United the club legends seem to be home grown stars more often, for every Eric Cantona there are three that burst through from the youth system like Paul Scholes, Bobby Charlton or Ryan Giggs. 

At Rangers, especially since the Murray era, our best have most often been signings from other clubs. Of the 11 that was picked as the greatest ever Rangers team, only Sandy Jardine and John Greig came through the club’s youth system.

Leaving aside the obvious reasons that saw promising youngsters like Rhys McCabe, Jamie Ness and Gregg Wylde leave the club last summer, the club still has a promising crop of youngsters that have added much to the first team this season. It’s imperative to the careers of these young men that we give them our confidence and support from the stands. They should feel empowered to try things off the cuff, safe in the knowledge that the power of the fans is behind them in encouragement. 

It’s not going to come off every time but they will get better and will learn more every week if Ally McCoist and his coaching staff are doing their jobs correctly. They need patience and support. As part of the rebuilding of the club, its right that we put faith in Murray Park. It has produced many good players since it opened and will continue to do so. The club must put youth development at the heart of its ethos and so should the fans.

09 April 2013

Scottish Fans Deserve Better

by Peter Ewart | Contributor

The next two weeks will set the course for the Scottish football leagues for the next season. We will see if sense will prevail and reconstruction, whatever shape it may take, will be introduced no earlier than season 14/15 onwards.

That is the least that clubs, players and fans who started the season expecting promotion and play-offs should expect. But is it what we will get?

The level of ‘debate’ on reconstruction has been pathetic so far. None of the major questions have been answered. Where is the Sky deal? Do they have a break clause regarding viewing figures? Why must reconstruction happen right now? What are the financial consequences?

Hugh Keevins’ devastating investigative journalism was brought to the fore in his piece last week. The SFL clubs had met with Doncaster and all their fears had been alleviated - we were led to believe.

At one point Record Sport "understands Neil Doncaster was even asked to prove the SPL’s television contract with Sky and ESPN was watertight and not in danger of collapse because of declining viewer figures."

He produced the contract, which still has four years left to run, and rubbished the scare stories. How? Why? What did it say? No, Keevins doesn’t bother pushing it any further. The piece then goes on to the finances, quoting Doncaster:

“The SFL clubs wanted greater clarity and they got it.” And later in the piece, “There were questions being asked about finance and we answered them.”

What questions? How were they convinced? Why the secrecy? Where is Rangers' prize money? Has an Uddingston pub showing the SPL on Polish TV sounded the death knell for the SPL? What about Hearts? No, there was none of that. It was simply left that some questions were asked and they had been answered. Well I feel far better informed and reassured after reading that don’t you? No?

That David Longmuir has instead been interrogated in the media for being ‘pro-Rangers’ because he had the wit to add words of caution to the proposals shows the parochial joke that Scottish football has become. The SFL’s due diligence had thrown up significant issues. If being cautious means you don't walk blindly into an ill-conceived, poorly thought-out, and rushed set of proposals that the vast majority of fans don't want, then cautious has to be the way forward.

BBC Scotland Sportsound covered the breaking story on Saturday that with St Mirren and Ross County set to vote against the 12-12-18 proposal that the vote would be lost at SPL level, even before an SFL vote.

Since then St Mirren have gone on to make a very sensible statement on why they won’t be able to support the proposal. Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theories of Charles Green’s visit to St Mirren Park on Easter Sunday abound. It will be interesting to see what Ross County, or indeed other dissenters do, in advance of the vote.

What happens next only time will tell, but it could go one of a couple of ways. First, realising the error of their ways, the chief architect of the 12-12-18 proposals Neil Doncaster, and partner in crime Stewart Regan, decide they'll spare themselves the ignominy of losing both the SPL and the SFL votes. As an SPL proposal, if it doesn’t even get through the SPL vote it will be a damning verdict on Doncaster’s leadership.

With the 'now or never’ proposals roundly rejected both he and Regan will take their long overdue leave and hand over Scottish football to some progressive thinkers with the best interest of the game at heart. That is admittedly far fetched, as their behaviour to date gives us no reason to think Doncaster will walk from his £200k-a-year gig or Regan leave his either. Their continued presence has created a vacuum. Scottish football can only move forward after both of them have moved on.

The SPL might actually realise that it really should have taken the opportunity to change the 11-1 ‘Old Firm veto’ voting system apparently so loathed by all clubs outside Glasgow. If that was the case then why has a vote to change it not even take place since Rangers absence from the top league?

With 12-12-18 rejected, everyone could then take stock and a more considered and developed proposal can be implemented in 2014/15, without the 12-12 into 8-8-8 nonsense. All clubs could start next season with a clear view of the structure to come.

The alternative course is that St Mirren and Ross County get hounded by the bigger bhoys in the SPL and make a retraction of the statements of opposition. They can say clarifications and assurances had been given and that they are now able to support the proposal, which would then be taken to the SFL, who are apparently split down the middle at 14-14 (plus Dunfermline to come). Those SFL clubs currently not in favour can then have the SPL2 threat applied and the proposals can be forced through. I sincerely hope that clubs are allowed to decide for themselves.

If the current proposals gain momentum because not to do so would be pro-Rangers, then Scottish football is in even more trouble than we thought. If reconstruction truly is to be a stepping stone to the transformation of the Scottish game, then 12-12-18 should be rejected as the rushed secretive farce that the vast majority of fans see it for. All real football fans deserve far better than what is on the table, so let’s take the time to get it right.

CROpod tackles xenohohobia

It's the 15th full edition of the CROpod, with Shane, Andy, Alan, Chris, and a late entrance by Ross. We talk the 4-1 win at the weekend, google eyes, our CEO's uncontrollable mouth, Britney's lies, reconstruction, and class setting record producers.

For the music nuts, all the cut tracks in this episode are tapes that Andy Johns rolled during his time as engineer on some of the greatest albums ever produced, the core the Led Zeppelin catalog. Enjoy.

And we think (hope) the iTunes problems are fixed but we'll find out later today if we keep getting complaints.

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08 April 2013

Stewart Regan’s Performance Review

by Ross McAdam | Guest Contributor

At the end of February last year I took my place in a lecture theatre with around 30 fellow students for a presentation to be delivered by the Scottish Football Association’s chief executive Stewart Regan.

I went into this meeting with an open mind, despite my concerns about the way he was appointed. The presentation was focused on the long-term strategy of the SFA and I am happy to admit that I left the meeting confident that the correct man was in charge of Scottish football. However, this assertion turned out to be ironically similar to the ‘No to Newco’ campaign in the summer - he was all words and no action.

The SFA’s strategic plan is named ‘Scotland United: A 2020 vision’. The goals that this plan sets out to achieve are focused into four main categories:

- Strong Quality Growth
- Performance and Winning
- Better Financial Returns
- Respected and Trusted to Lead

So has Stewart Regan in his role as chief executive managed to deliver these goals? 

Strong Quality Growth 


This is quite a difficult goal to measure in terms of Regan’s performance. The main aim here is to ‘double the number of registered players in recreational football’. CRO regular Alan Clark, a man I trust on youth football through his work with Grassroots, recently spoke on Twitter about his admiration for the SFA performance school at Broughton High School, one of seven in Scotland. It does appear as if good work is being done at grassroots level which hopefully will lead to a more prosperous Scottish football. Quality facilities should encourage more youngsters to become involved in football thus helping the SFA reach this goal. 

Performing and Winning 


Regan took over his role on 28th July 2010. Since then Scotland have played 14 competitive games, managing a very impressive three wins, two of which were single goal wins against the football giants that are Liechtenstein. Currently, the national team are on a run of seven competitive games without a win leaving them 66th in FIFA’s world rankings below countries such as Haiti, Albania, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde. 

On the day Regan started at the SFA, Scotland were 41st. The feeling amongst the Tartan Army was probably summed up by the fact that 39,365 fans turned up to watch the most recent game against Wales, a damning verdict on the strategic plan to perform and win. 

Better Financial Returns 


Now now, stop sniggering. A report by accountancy firm Begbies Taylor last week found that 1 in 8 clubs in Scotland are in financial distress. As has been documented, Dunfermline entered interim administration last month and Hearts’ financial problems are also well known. The decision, whether correct or not, to place Rangers into SFL3 was always going to hit the Scottish game in the pocket, going completely against the SFA’s plan. 

However, according to Neil Doncaster the SPL is “booming”. The SPL is so booming that one club has considered keeping a small core of players full-time but everyone else being part-time. That would be probably be the lowest point our game had ever reached should that happen. There is also much debate over the five-year TV deal. 

Most journalists believe that the deal has clauses that allow Sky and ESPN to negotiate the deal based on viewing figures and value for money. Any sort of reduction to this deal again could be disastrous for clubs. I am in no doubt that the 12-12-18 proposals that are on the table are so that the current SPL will have Rangers’ TV rights under the new SPFL umbrella.

Furthermore, there is a distinct possibility that when BDO get into the investigations whilst liquidating the ‘Oldco’ then they may well come knocking at Hampden looking for the prize money that was never given to Rangers and was distributed to the current SPL sides. More recently, the SPL are being sued for £1.7million by Angels in Uddingston, a pub owned by former Celtic player Harry Hood. A similar case resulted in a win for a pub in Portsmouth recently. It’s safe to say that Regan has again failed to deliver. 

Respected and Trusted to Lead 


I’ll be honest; I don’t even know where to start here. Simply put, Regan has completely failed to show any leadership over the last year. From imposing a transfer ban on Rangers which was found to be illegal in court to his astonishing silence over one of his member clubs, Dunfermline, being placed in interim administration.

In between all of this, he was involved in trying to blackmail Rangers into agreeing to lose titles for a place in SFL1. In a leaked email, he instructed Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie to confidentially brief Charles Green on the plan so that there were no surprises.

In addition, the email also showed Regan has stated that Dundee would take the vacant spot in the SPL despite the fact the SPL clubs were due to vote on the matter the next week, presumably so there was a Dundee derby to generate more income. He was again complicit in the infamous ‘five-way agreement’ ensuring Rangers accepted the illegal transfer embargo and bullying the SFL into giving the SPL Rangers’ TV rights.

He was lambasted by several SFL chairmen who were appalled by his lack of leadership throughout the summer and he was also accused by chairmen of lying to them in a meeting in the summer. Raith Rovers director Turnbull Hutton stood on the steps of Hampden and stated they were being “lied to, bullied and threatened” by the SFA into accepting Rangers into SFL1.

We also had the ridiculous situation when Regan favourited a tweet stating “I’d cheerfully see him hung” about the Rangers captain Lee McCulloch. Is this really acceptable behaviour from the man leading our game? I’m sure fans of all clubs in Scotland would happily point out instances of Regan’s inability to lead, leading to a lack of trust.

Overall, it is clear the SFA are striving to improve football at grass roots level. This will inevitably require the correct people working on projects and an appropriate level on funding. However, at the top of our game it is quite astonishing that Mr. Regan still has an office at Hampden. 

The unbelievable lack of leadership throughout last summer, to his present day silence on matters such as Dunfermline and league reconstruction, has shown that he is completely out of his depth.