12 September 2012

Monitor Syndrome



by Chris Graham | CRO guest contributor | @ChrisGraham76 |

We have all heard plenty people say over the past few months that Scottish football doesn’t need Rangers. Rangers are dead. The game will now thrive because all the diddy teams can slog it out for second place in the SPL and this will make the ‘product’ more exciting.

Well I disagree, but then I would since I’m a Rangers fan. What is curious though, is that a collection of internet bampots (they like this term) have started a site called The Scottish Football Monitor and, despite them claiming our club no longer exists, it appears to be all about Rangers.

Let’s have a look first at “The List”. This has a dedicated page on the site and is the culmination of the collective wittering of these internet warriors about what they would like The Scottish Football Monitor to focus on.  So here it is:

The Nimmo Report
Stewart Regan explained the delay in publication was due to the original Disciplinary Panel considering it. The panel chairman claimed he had never had sight of it. Report remains hidden.

Ticketus
Does anyone seriously believe this has gone away? £30m tells us, “NO!”

Conflicts of Interest
Particularly pertaining to RFC officials who were in office at the time of the EBT schemes currency whilst also acting as SFA/SPL officials. Namely Campbell Ogilvie and John McLelland.

Player Registration
How did Sevco manage to register a whole team of players only hours before their cup match at Brechin. Their SFA membership was not formalised until less than 24 hours before the match took place.

Graeme Souness
In receipt of £30k of EBT money TEN YEARS after leaving RFC. Why?

Football Debts
Sevco compelled to pay these, but it is alleged they have not yet been paid – despite Sevco spending money on players whose talents will be used against clubs still to be reimbursed. Is there a deadline for these debts to be met?

Employee Benefit Trust
Is it legal or moral for money from this source to be disbursed to non-employees?

Who Owns Ibrox and Murray Park
Valuation of properties in Green’s deal was £5.5m. It is speculated that this might be a reasonable price for the Albion Car Park, but that it implies a discount for Ibrox and MP of around 70%. So did Green purchase the stadium and training ground – or just the car park?

Insolvency Practitioners Investigation
Into Duff & Phelps possible conflict of interest. Announced in June 2012

Court of Session Investigation
Into Duff & Phelps possible conflict of interest. Announced in June 2012

Now the more perceptive amongst you will notice this list is exclusively about Rangers. There is not a single item here not linked directly to us. There is, it would appear, nothing else happening in Scottish football that is worth talking about. It begs the question, why call the site The Scottish Football Monitor? Why not call it “We hate Rangers” or perhaps, “Shit! Rangers are still here”?

It won’t surprise you to learn that this site was started by a number of anonymous posters on the Rangers Tax Case site. Indeed, their mission is to “pay homage to, and carry on the work of the ground breaking RangersTaxCase blog (RTC)”. It would appear they are going to achieve this with the same anonymous mudslinging and dubious legal and accountancy standards as the previous site.

The original post announcing the site got over two thousand comments. That is a lot for a site which is exclusively about a club that they think doesn’t exist. These were mainly from regular RTC posters who had been rocking themselves into a frenzy over RTC putting out their latest “our work here is done” statement. After the 3rd or 4th such statement, it seems they took RTC seriously and felt that a new home must be found for their obsession.

One of the first articles was by a Saint Johnstone ‘fan’ who took us through a timeline of the wonderful Rangers Tax Case (homage you see).  He then wrote a piece on why Rangers can’t afford players. In order to illustrate this he decided that our average attendance would be 35k (wrong), our season ticket sales would be 25k (wrong) and that all the players we have signed are on 5k a week (wrong). He then estimated lots of our other income and expenditure to decide that we would be £2.5m in debt at the end of the year.

Ignoring the fact that almost all his figures were wrong, we are also expected to believe that the SFA should not have approved our business plan based on his napkin maths. Apparently, football clubs are not allowed debt now and, if they have any, should have their licence revoked. This could cause some issues for his own club and others in the SPL but I think he really meant this should only apply to “Sevco”, whoever they are. He could have saved himself and everyone else a lot of time by just phoning Radio Clyde and wailing down the phone about how unfair it was that we bought St Johnstone’s best player.

Still, not to worry. The Rangers, sorry, ‘Scottish Football’ Monitor can rely on the exemplary legal musings of Paul McConville. For those of you not aware of Mr McConville he regularly shares a stage with Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, a man “tarred with a sickening sectarian brush”. They travel Scotland talking about Rangers, in Celtic Supporter Clubs. Paul has been barred from being a partner in a law firm for ten years and if he wishes to work must do so “under supervision”.

Within two hours of Charles Green’s statement on the SPL investigation, McConville had put out an article on TSFM and promised a more detailed follow up. (I wonder if anyone was supervising him?) The gist of this article was that Charles Green should again be charged by the SFA for daring to challenge the legitimacy of the SPL investigation. We can’t have anyone at Rangers actually standing up for the club - especially not when they have based it on legal advice from actual, practicing lawyers and QCs. Lawyers who, as far as I am aware, require no supervision to properly carry out their work.

If the articles are not bad enough we then move to the comments. They are a worrying window into the dangerous obsession that some SPL fans have with Rangers. Of course if you want to post you can’t call us Rangers. It has to be “Sevco” or “new Rangers”.  No matter that neither of these entities actually exists.

The site claims to welcome all fans including, I assume, those of Rangers.  You would have to have quite a thick skin to frequent it as a Rangers fan given that you would be variously branded a “zombie” or a “sevconian”. This is monitor humour, perhaps too highbrow for us to understand.

There may be an argument that this is a valuable ‘care in the community’ project. I dread to think what these people would be doing if they were not safely planted in front of their computers, furiously concocting balance sheets or frothing about Campbell Ogilvie. I suppose maybe they would go to a football match but I’m not sure they even know what football is.

I could end this with some sort of pithy remark about the unbounded madness of this type of site but I don’t think I can better the comedy of this extract from a recent article. The emphasis is mine. Enjoy, and remember, it is all about the Rangers for these guys.

“There have been, understandably, some comments on the blog and elsewhere about a perceived obsession here with Rangers and their offspring. Whilst I agree that the focus of this community should have a wider perspective, I don’t think it is obsessional to engage with the big story of the day – in fact it is necessary that we do so.

“We have recently been approached by some people about the possibility of our creating and publicising our own Scottish Football Financial Secrecy League in line with that created a while back for Christian Aid. That may give us some credibility as a watchdog, and utilise the expertise that many contributors have offered so freely in the past.”

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Chris Graham is a season ticket holder at Ibrox and all-around media darling. You can read more of his work at TheRangersStandard.co.uk

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You can read about why Paul McConville has so much free time on his hands here: http://www.scotsman.com/news/163-2m-miners-fund-missing-cash-probe-1-1368578

and here:  http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4365362/Cash-row-lawyer-denied-families-compensation.html