28 February 2013

Time to Kick Back

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

The past twelve months have been extremely testing to say the least for Rangers fans. Time and time again however the club and our fans have been proven to be innocent, acquitted of the numerous charges levied from all and sundry at us over the year.
Remember the registration embargo? Yup, the same one deemed to be Illegal by the Court of Session. What about the long-running Big Tax Case? Rangers and the Murray Group of course won by a majority verdict at the First Tier Tribunal.
And in today’s latest judgement Lord Nimmo Smith’s Independent Commission found that Rangers gained no competitive advantage on the field of play. The payments were legal, as we already know, and our only case to answer was whether these were properly declared. This has always been the case from the outset. But such was the agenda being driven by certain members of the SPL board this non-issue was allowed to turn into one of the biggest and ugliest witch-hunts in sporting history.
The verdict though was that no titles or trophies are to be stripped and that a token £250k fine is to be paid as an end result of a plot almost a year in the making. It’s a slap on the wrist for an administrative error if we are being honest  and perhaps serves only to give the SPL some sort of small ‘victory’ to hold on to when the reality of what transpired begins to dawn on all concerned.
It is common knowledge that this campaign was set in motion by certain SPL board members, one in particular who stood to benefit more than any other from the objective they set out to achieve. In the end however it was no more than a failed robbery. Sadly for those in the SPL’s circle of integrity the chain of events leading up to the Commission left their plan dead in the water: the EBT verdict went our way, the Rangers Fans’ Fighting Fund sent a QC to defend us and of course our club was no longer the defenceless mess that was on show in the aftermath of administration.
So where do we go from here? No doubt many will say that it is time to live and let live but I disagree. Now is the time to return the favour. They kicked us when we were down, it’s now time to kick back and make sure this corruption does not go unpunished.
The simple fact of the matter is that the SPL and the SFA tried to blackmail Rangers out of SPL titles, Scottish Cups and League Cups. They tried to bully Charles Green into accepting draconian punishments under the guise of negotiation but thankfully they failed and the club’s decision not to accept such nonsense has now been vindicated and left Doncaster and Regan nowhere left to go.
It doesn’t look like the Gruesome Twosome will go gracefully either or that either of them will jump before being pushed. By all rights both should have resigned in the summer and even that would have been after causing potentially irreparable damage to the Scottish game even outwith the Rangers’ situation.
The club now has to seek justice and ask the questions that will make many people uncomfortable. Why did the SPL have no problems with the so-called ‘dual-contracts’ in 2001 when we declared these payments in accounts submitted to their organisation? Why didn’t they act when the Big Tax Case came to light? Why did they choose to wait until when the club was on its knees? What about the lies surrounding the involvement of Harper MacLeod?
 The SPL’s member clubs need to start asking questions as well, namely why were the chairmen of Celtic, Dundee United and Hibernian allowed to lead the SPL board and Neil Doncaster into a corrupt battle for titles that were won fairly on the pitch by Rangers? Given the current financial situation in the SPL it certainly seems irresponsible and downright reckless to spend what must now be considerable sum on a court battle in which they knew they were on the wrong side of justice. How can Neil Doncaster justify it to them and himself? He allowed his board to push a vendetta that could have led to one of the biggest injustices in the history of football, certainly the biggest in our game.
Sadly there’s nothing we can do about the corruption of the SPL board, certainly when we’re not involved in their competition, but it’s likely they will turn on each other and on Doncaster in a bid to distance themselves from any wrong doing. We can as a club however, from boardroom to fan forums, make an effort to have justice served now we have been vindicated.
We should continue pursuing the corruption and leaks within HM Revenue & Customs which led to unbalanced reporting over the Big Tax Case and we should certainly do the same with the SPL who have stolen our prize money and attempted to steal our titles while dragging our name through the mud and having us labelled as cheats. Today though is not the day to start that campaign, today is a day simply to say ‘get it right up you’ to all of those who wrongly accused Rangers Football Club of wrongdoing and sought to have our titles removed.
And just incase anyone missed the memo: 54 and counting…