Fergus McCann v David Murray


How Celtic Turned the Tables on their Glasgow Rivals by Stephen O Donnell:
A Review by Auldheid.

Stephen’s previous publication, Tangled Up In Blue provided a detailed history of the rise and fall of Glasgow Rangers FC PLC from 1872 until their demise in 2012. Clearly a lot of research had been done to cover the period in such detail and his follow up publication Fergus McCann v David Murray etc carries on with that tradition. It is a smorgasbord of a book with many different issues succulently served up in its 350 pages.

It tells of events under David Murray’s tenure at Ibrox which began in November 1988 and ended in May 2011 when he left Craig Whyte holding the rope that became a noose just under a year later in April 2012 when Whyte was found guilty of bringing Scottish football into disrepute whilst Murray claimed he was duped.

Readers of the book will come to the conclusion that if anyone did the duping it was David Murray and it wasn’t just Craig Whyte he duped but Scotland’s national game. If ever Murray were to be tried for crimes against Scottish football then this book would be cited as evidence.

It was against the background of David Murray’s tenure at Rangers that Fergus McCann first arrived on the scene in April 1989 with proposals to inject £17M of New Capital into Celtic that the Celtic Board rejected as per minutes:

Proposals put forward by Fergus McCann to provide finance for various capital expenditures were unanimously rejected by the Directors’; and then again in August of the same year: ‘Mr McCann’s latest proposals were discussed and it was hoped that this was a final discussion on the subject. Latest proposals were rejected by Directors.
Fergus later returned to the fray and the chapter on how he was successful in ousting the Board in 1994 is an informative read, particularly if in that period single parenting cares took precedence over caring for Celtic.

I was amused reading the tale of discontent aimed at the old Board after a Ne’erday 4-2 defeat to Rangers in January 1994 when a bemused Walter Smith was watching the hostility aimed at the Celtic Directors box, one fan in the main stand screamed at him, ‘What are you looking at, it’s got fuck all to do with you.”

For me anyway there were a few “not a lot of people know that” moments like that in the book.
The contrast between Fergus McCann’s and David Murray’s style was immediately evident, but the impact of Fergus’s shorter tenure from 1994 to 1999 became more than evident after McCann left and the author does not miss the role servile journalists played and hit the wall for turning Celtic supporters against McCann during his tenure, whilst they dined on Murray’s succulent lamb. A role that in the end helped bring about Rangers end, but not the culture of servility when covering the activity of Rangers FC PLC successor club from 2012.

Sky TV get it in the neck too and if David Murray played the part of Colonel Mustard in killing Scottish football through his financial recklessness and duplicity, Sky are the lead pipe whose toxicity still dictates the nature of the current state of play.( I said it was a Smorgasbord)

Fergus kind of did what it said on the tin. In his case a tin of nippy sweeties, but it was interesting to read about his early years when even then he was described as “a cheeky upstart” but his “idiosyncrasies” and appearance under a bunnet, disguised a sharp if impatient business mind where for him getting straight to the point was akin to procrastination.

So too has Murray’s early years been covered including his rejected attempt to buy Ayr Utd, a rejection by Ayr Directors, who considered Murray was too hot headed and most volatile, that infuriated him.

Their conclusion that he was trying to get Ayr United on the cheap with only £125k of his own money involved was an indicator of his strategy of using other people’s money to invest and not his own. Other people including unsuspecting taxpayers to a tune of £50 million or so.

As you follow the narrative of both Fergus McCann and David Murray and the events that surrounded them, you end up wondering how so many could have been fooled for so long by one guy, but when you have the Scottish media in your pocket it was difficult to separate fact from fiction during the tenure of both. You also wonder how Murray remains a Knight of the Realm since.

Luckily for Celtic Fergus knew business fact from PR fiction and avoided the illusion in which Celtic’s main rivals continue to struggle to this day.

The great pity is that few, if any of the Scottish main stream media will even give this book a mention, because if you don’t write about it, it never happened, except it did and this book is proof.

I therefore recommend anyone interested in the future of our game buys it and asks, is it not now time to revisit the purpose of Scottish football?



  1. John Clark 9th October 2020 at 18:46

     Perhaps my email to  CH was intended to raise a question as to why RIFC plc as the parent company does not have its own website? 

    Given that there appears to be a requirement on plcs   to have certain basic finance data maintained on a website (so that investors/potential investors can easily find up to the minute information)  one would have thought that the Board of the holding company  would have ensured that they complied with that requirement by having their own website, instead of piggy-backing on the webpages of their subsidiary!

    I mean, who would think of looking for info about 'RIFC plc' on the website of 'The Rangers Football Club Ltd'?

    I might just be checking that the Regulatory authorities are happy that the RIFC plc Board are not at the madam.


    Perhaps it was, but reading the posts you have made on this would suggest it wasn't. For maximum traffic/visibility, the investor information is provided on the web, exactly where I would expect it to be. 

    Sometimes it's better to put the shovel to one side. Even say thank-you for the link I provided

    I could go into the detail but it's boring and will only repeat a similar line as before. Please let us all know the reply you get from the "Regulatory authorities". 


    Whilst I'm on, regards our friend Peter.

    I'm surprised that so many are so dismissive of me repeatedly drawing attention as to his role and either what he has been doing or what it reasonably looks like he has been doing.

    He is the most influential and powerful political operator in the Scottish game, has been in post for 17 years at what is now the establishment club and has cultivated many friends at the top of the governing bodies. Not to mention, UEFA.

    If there was ever any doubt, then this year has shown that self-interest is central to Scottish football. Peter is probably the best paid individual at a Scottish club (non football staff) and Celtic certainly turnover a great del more than any other club up here, ie. he operates very much in order to preserve/improve this. In other words, a useful way of keeping track of his activities is to attempt following the money.

    Peter's activities or non-activities are mostly very much within the stated purview of this website. Had he worn brown brogues, there would generally be a very different attitude to posts covering Peter.

    Not forgeting the irony of his part in kicking Res.12 into touch.


    Finally, this idea that I might be the new "PR guy at Ibrox",…thank's for making me laugh!

    Could certainly do with the salary, so if one day I apply, I'll be looking to you for a reference. 


  2. easyJambo 10th October 2020 at 12:27 

    It is a pragmatic interpretation as almost all the clubs in those leagues pay their players and no doubt have their earnings taxed. Some “part time” players in the EOSFL (e.g. Linlithgow) and WOSFL (e.g. Auchinleck) will earn as much as their equivalents in the lower reaches of the SPFL.  They shouldn’t be treated any differently. As far as I’m aware the Covid virus does not recognise what league you are playing in, just as it doesn’t just come out after 10pm to infect late night drinkers. 

    Incidentally, the new WOSFL (ex West Juniors) polled all its members over the last week about a start date for the league and also offered the option of clubs sitting out the season.

    The results of the vote were announced this morning with a vote of 36-31 in favour of starting the leagues in 2 weeks time. However, 14 of those clubs indicated their preference to sit out the season.  If all 14 do indeed go into abeyance for the season, then I can see some of those clubs folding all together.  

    It’s pleasing to note that the LL, EOSFL and SOSFL all start their league this weekend without fans. It is encouraging that some clubs are actually live streaming their games, some for free (as a pilot) and some charging a small fee.


    Best of luck to them all ! Although most of those at the top end of the Scottish game will be playing politics / lobbying in the old self-interested dog eat dog style.

    The way things are going, I can't see anything but eventual, relative carnage and a probable restructuring to leagues at all levels.

    1. Avatar reasonablechap 10th October 2020 at 13:04
    2. Thanks for confirming your obsessuion with the life and works of Peter Lawell . I assume that the brown brogues reference is a nod to the chosen footwear of the various clubs playing out of Ibrox , but I'm sure even you would agree that there may have been a chance for the original club to avoid liquidation if yourself and such as you had expended as much effort chasing the power brokers then as you do fantasising over PL's innocent business activities . . And if the rich fans had rallied to the cause of saving their club , instead of sitting back and watching it die , and are now trying to salve their conciousness by throwing money at the ersatz new club .
  3. paddy malarkey 10th October 2020 at 14:30


    The problem Rangers and it's supporters always had was the desperate need to beat Celtic. I can only assume that comes from the collective supremacist attitude. I think that relates to life in general for some of them and not just their football club. Perhaps that is being uncharitable. 

    That need ultimately and probably inevitably led to the club defrauding tax, both income tax and VAT if memory serves and the rest as they say is history. They allowed their own club to self destruct, all the while looking outwards towards their "enemies" 

    A bit more self examination from the support, and the businessmen currently operating the new club may have stopped all of that happening. 

    Deflection towards Peter Lawwell, doing his job, is really just more of the same. Perhaps they should seriously look at what is currently happening with the club they now support. I recently read a discussion on what they were going to do with this latest "cash injection" and could do little more than shake my head. 

    They continue to be a loss making business, have been so since their inception and can't even point to having won a major trophy to justify it. However if you proclaim "no surrender" and "we are the people" then everything is ok. 

  4. I don't know why there is so much reference to Lawwell.

    He's been Celtic CEO for  17 years – so he must be doing something right, and by now he knows exactly who's who and what's what across the Scottish game.  He seems to manage the Celtic business in a quiet,professional manner: he is a boring accountant after all!  broken heart​​​​​​


    For really interesting characters to analyse and critique, we should be looking elsewhere.

    I do miss discussing [Sir] Minty Murray: arguably the biggest, crooked chancer the Scottish game has ever seen.  Not content with ripping off Rangers FC, it's obedient supporters, HBOS, HMRC, taxpayers, and readers of the SMSM output…

    this Del Boy has managed to hold onto his 'K' and is still -shamelessly – operating in Edinburgh.  He should be in jail: like father like son.

    And then we have Smiler King!

    Much more interesting than Lawwell, and a person who even surpassed Murray in the 'dodgy stakes'.  King didn't get his gong, [Sir King would sound pretty good!], but 'for services to business' King earned something much rarer from the City and the establishment: a Cold Shoulder.

    And King also surpassed Murray by 'almost going to jail' for his 42 criminal convictions in South Africa for tax dodging: but he paid a financial punishment instead.

    Lawwell is really quite tame and uninteresting in comparison.

    Instead, we should really have more chat on the real characters of the Scottish game, past and [still] present.  indecision

  5. reasonablechap 10th October 2020 at 13:04

    Peter's activities or non-activities are mostly very much within the stated purview of this website. Had he worn brown brogues, there would generally be a very different attitude to posts covering Peter.


    How is Peter getting on with the awarding of penalties? Perhaps we might see some numbers on days since a team was last awarded two penalties in a game in Scotland? Or last time a team was awarded four penalties in game across the globe?  


  6. reasonablechap 10th October 2020 at 13:04
    He is the most influential and powerful political operator in the Scottish game, has been in post for 17 years at what is now the establishment club and has cultivated many friends at the top of the governing bodies. Not to mention, UEFA.

    If there was ever any doubt, then this year has shown that self-interest is central to Scottish football. Peter is probably the best paid individual at a Scottish club
    After working 17 years at the biggest club in scotland, if he is not the best paid individual at a scottish club, he should be asking for a pay rise. I’m not his biggest fan but i don’t see anything wrong with that

  7. StevieBC 10th October 2020 at 18:51
    Lawwell is really quite tame and uninteresting in comparison.
    You never hear of him jetting in or juggling inbetween court cases or handing out cups of tea or a christmas message, bet jim whyte can’t wait for PL to have a hospital appointment and get an interview. Very boring guy is PL, Should get a makeover and get jazzed up a bit.

  8. StevieBC 10th October 2020 at 18:51

    '..And then we have Smiler King!'


    And there was I, StevieBC, quietly relaxed  at my kitchen table, a little refreshment at hand, Mrs C through the wall in the living /tv room  [former bedroom of number 2 son ( in terms of dob only!) ], on her regular free phone call to her pal in Glasgow, and you go and mention King!broken heart

    With nothing much else on the blog since then ( except Cluster One's quite correct observations about PL) I was moved to have another read at the Takeover Panel's statement at


    The  little feeling of righteous indignation/contempt that was re-growing in me as I read , while recalling sitting in Court watching King being questioned, grew again into an inner rage when I reached paragraph

    "68. Once proceedings for contempt of court had been commenced, Mr King’s conduct in continuing to resist or delay complying with the interlocutor of the Inner House was a matter for the Court of Session rather than the Panel. In the event, the Court of Session was content to allow the matter to proceed no further upon Mr King’s due performance of the undertakings given by him to the court on 30 November 2018."[my italics]

    I was extremely annoyed at what I thought then, and still think, was the Takeover Panel's representatives' readiness not to seek jail for King!

    All they wanted was that, in their world of finance, he should play by their rules, and if he eventually did, then  bugger any interest in observance of the 'law'! 

    King is one of the rich, of course, avoiding a prison sentence in  South Africa in respect of umpteen separate criminal charges relating to tax offences. 

    He is also very lucky. 

    I wager that not many people who so blatantly give two-fingers to a judgment of the Court of Session by failing to comply with a judgment for so long manage to avoid a prison sentence!

    I suspect that there may be other Castlemulk lads who were not so lucky in far more trivial matters.

    (Lord Bannatyne's judgment is at 

    "40. The opinion of the Outer House of the Court of Session was issued on 22 December 2017 ordering Mr King to announce a Rule 9 offer in accordance with the Code within 30 days.")



  9. After everything the fans at Ibrox had been through , after witnessing Murray’s moonbeams and tax evading exploits , after Craig Whyte , after Charles Green they went out and begged for Dave King of all people to come back and rescue them from a Board that were 6 months away from living within their means. He promised he had a NOMAD lined up and ready to go as soon as he took control , he lied , he had no such arrangement and went on to remove the company from the scrutiny of the City watchdogs . After almost 4 years under his control he had delivered no trophies and sunk the company deeper and deeper into debt after disastrous spats with Ashley (and others) . His claim that he was a real Rangers* man because last time out he had lost 20m was an ironic truth . He walked away with a cold shoulder from the City but as a legned amongst the support which really says much about the support . He has a tarnished reputation in the UK and Sth Africa and remains the largest shareholder in RIFC. The fact that this inhibits them from progressing seems lost on the fans but the damage he has done has yet to fully come home to roost. The true financial implications from Ashley,Hummel,Elite,Memorial Walls ,Castore and his transfers will dwarf the input from new boy Gibson. The saddest part of all this is not the gullibility of the support but the silence from the authorities who were happy to allow a glib and shameless liar with a criminal record for tax evasion and who was complicit by his involvement on the board of the soon to be liquidated company and incorporated club* that once inhabited Ibrox stadium. I know who is to blame when you fool me once and twice but thrice? 

  10. Timtim 10th October 2020 at 23:15

    '..The saddest part of all this is not the gullibility of the support but the silence from the authorities .'


    And not merely the silence, Timtim, but the complicity in allowing a football club that they themselves had newly admitted in 2012 into Scottish professional football, to claim to be, and market themselves as, a club that  is 140 years old,  to pretend to potential investors that it was a 'business' worth buying into!

    Honest to God, as a simple man in the street, I ask what the hell was actually going on?

     Marketing a new football club created in 2012 as being the most successful club in world football over 140 years?

    Who and what was profiting from such a ridiculous lie?

    It is so absolutely absurd as to defy all sense of reality and truth. 

    And the SMSM refused ( apart from day one of the news of Liquidation!) and continue to refuse to face that reality.

    What can we make of our football 'authorities' or the SMSM or the now defunct BBC Trust other than that they are  enemies of simple truth and, possibly(I say no more)  indirect sharers in a financial fraud?


  11. Cluster One 11th October 2020 at 09:50

    "..No one ever says sorry for cheating anymore"


    "Saracens should have their titles taken away. Their names should be taken off the Premiership trophy for the seasons they won it while being in breach of the cap.”

    And they broke only the the rules governing their sport!

    RFC of 1872 , quite possibly with the collusion of our sporting authorities, broke both Football governance rules and the tax laws of the land! 

    That's the damnable thing: we can't even get an independent investigation into the Res 12 matter or into the careless work of the SFA in failing to question the financial returns submitted by arch-cheat SDM!


  12. John Clark 10th October 2020 at 23:09
    I was extremely annoyed at what I thought then, and still think, was the Takeover Panel’s representatives’ readiness not to seek jail for King!
    That clicked the old memory banks;-)
    Mike Ashley almost or tried to get king put in jail for opening his mouth about an agreement that was not to be made public.
    Fast forward a couple of years and this year we had Stewart Robertson of the ibrox clubs breaches of confidentiality by publishing commercially sensitive information.
    The SPFL board stated at the time. It is not appropriate in advance of the EGM to comment further but we will return to this IMPORTANT issue in due course.
    That was back in May
    Mike Ashley would have SR in front of a court by now. Have the SPFL just forgotton about this IMPORTANT issue?

  13. Timtim @ 23.15

    I believe that SEVCO are, financially, well and truly trapped by their desperation to stop 10IAR, and are are acting like a gambling addict in frantic pursuit of this (someone will always provide funds to enable the obsession to be played out till 'the well runs dry') .

    Although no one really knows how they are 'pockling' the finances, the walls will eventually come tumbling down with the Govan oufit will well and truly 'gubbed'- particularly should they fail to achieve what I sincerely hope will prove to be a 'pipedream'.

    Then again – I suppose the face painter, local newsagent, printer etc thought they would eventually get reimbursed.

    Thankfully, Big Mike though is a different 'kettle of fish ie.


    "See that 8mill – that's mine"!



  14. Cluster One 11th October 2020 at 10:12

    "..Mike Ashley almost or tried to get king put in jail for opening his mouth about an agreement that was not to be made public."


    I've had a wee read at the Honourable Mr Justice Smith's judgment (January 2016) in that case (which Ashley's lawyers seem not to  have  handled too  cleverly) As if


    and had a hearty laugh at this  

    "50. The reason given for not serving him then was that it was not appropriate given the fact that the meeting was to discuss commercial matters in good faith. Mr King is not only sceptical about that but shows that he believes he was "lured" into coming to the UK for a later meeting with Mr Ashley which he cancelled and then used that to serve him with a committal application (King affidavit paragraph 14). He exhibited an article from the Scottish News which he contends was created as a result of information provided by SDI which reveals "we can also reveal now King was snared in a meticulous operation by Ashley's people after being welcomed to Sports Direct's HQ for what appeared to be peace talks". At the same time the article suggests SDI were arranging for the lawyers to pounce upon Mr King in the hours following his visit to Mr Ashley's office. This involved paying to have teams of Sheriff's Officers across Glasgow waiting for Mr King to return on a train from Chesterfield"

    'lured , 'snared' , 'pounced upon' ? Poor wee innocent lamb, what a shame!




    John Clark 11th October 2020 at 12:40

    I wonder who really provided the information to the Scottish News for the article . Who gains ?



































  16. John Clark 11th October 2020 at 12:40
    ‘lured , ‘snared’ , ‘pounced upon’ ? Poor wee innocent lamb, what a shame!
    I see none of that with Stewart Robertson.
    silence, forgotten, swept under carpet,

  17. "Project Big Picture" has been aired in England, which would have a major impact on the EPL.

    Unsurprisingly, the 'big 6' seem like the biggest winners, if approved.

    The timing does raise the obvious question: is this blatant opportunism during a pandemic?  

    Most suspicious though is that those 2 great rival clubs, Liverpool and ManU, have joined forces to launch this major initiative on the English game.

    …and of course, these 2 clubs are American owned.

    It's not going to end well, (for the game), and so far anyway I've not read the word "franchise" anywhere, i.e. no relegation / promotion from the EPL in future, unless it's for financial reasons.

    At least the Scottish game doesn't face this issue.  indecision

  18. I note from Companies House documents that the SFA has taken on a £5m loan from Santander  as part of the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme.

    I'm sure it will help pay for their extra Covid testing costs. mail

  19. paddy malarkey 12th October 2020 at 00:25

    From WOSFL earlier .



    It’s a reflection of the power struggle between those who wish to delay the start of the season until they can get fans in and those who want to be playing football now. (proposed start date of 24 October)

    Among those sitting out the season are WOS Premier League Auchinleck, Pollok, Cumnock, Genafton and Kilbirnie.

    The decision for those clubs has to be financial as they will be paying the most in wages.

    As a contrast all Lowland League,  EOSFL and SOSFL leagues started at the weekend with all clubs participating. A number of clubs are streaming their games as a way of raising money or providing a service to their ST holders who have already paid up.

  20. StevieBC 11th October 2020 at 22:51

    You make some good points about the EPL and how the richest clubs want even more wealth and power.

    For once I think we need to credit our Scottish football authorities for being ahead of the curve when it comes to football franchising. After all, they created the ‘Rangers’ franchise back in 2012 following the self-inflicted death of Rangers Football Club after a decade and more of industrial-scale cheating.

    The current club playing out of Ibrox is allowed to use the trading name ‘Rangers’ for the purposes of financial expediency and, aside from ‘Rangers’ themselves, the single biggest beneficiary of that financial expediency is Celtic. Of course, there are major differences between the EPL’s situation and our own, including the quantum involved and the fact that Scotland only has a duopoly, whereas six to nine top English clubs are seeking to create a closed shop.

    Peter Lawwell and the power he wields has been discussed at length on SFM in recent days yet not one person has mentioned that he could, and should, have strangled the ‘same club’ lie at birth.

    One humorous remark may well have portrayed Lawwell’s true feelings on the death of Rangers but his and his club’s subsequent actions and inactions prove that ultimately all that matters to Celtic is money. And that’s without even mentioning Celtic’s appalling treatment of Res 12 etc.

    Celtic fans will point to the fact that it’s not up to Celtic to do the dirty work for the other clubs, nor put themselves in the firing line for it, but that ignores the patently obvious fact that there have only ever been two voices listened to in probably more than a century of Scottish football, and certainly in the last 35 years – those from Ibrox and Parkhead. Do you seriously think the blazers were going to listen to piddling little Hamilton Accies or St Johnstone? Or how about Raith Rovers?

    Scottish football came to a crossroads in 2012. It could branch off in the direction of integrity and eventually recover financially as best it could, possibly even with a new club playing out of Ibrox. It chose instead to head down a route signposted ‘Money Above Everything’. For doing so, the rest of the clubs ought to hang their heads in shame for accepting crumbs off the table along with perpetual insignificance.

    As I alluded to previously, even after thirty-five years of nobody except Celtic or Rangers winning our top league title, our blazers saw fit to re-instate that duopoly despite the death of one of its participants.

    The EPL may well be heading towards a closed shop, but for once Scotland got there first.

  21. easyJambo 12th October 2020 at 10:14

    Two of my nephews play for Camelon , and I watched the transmission of their game at Newtongrange on Saturday (they managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory !). Very impressed by the definition of the stream , and the cameraperson will get more professional as they go on . I don't know if all wee clubs could afford to finance the technology required , or even if it would be a guaranteed revenue stream , but I'm glad they made the effort .And it was a freebie , which always makes it better .

  22. Paddy

    Although we're talking about a different level here, I purchased the Ross County and St Mirren away matches for Celtic, and was similarly impressed (by the quality of coverage and commentary).

    £15 a go – I know!

    In this 'covid climate', which will be with us for the foreseeable future I think this approach will be adopted more and more (the standard of coverage will, as you say, no doubt improve), as I don't see fans being allowed to return any time soon (all season?).

    I realise that my own club CFC are reluctant to embrace the idea (out of loyalty to season book investors?), but I hope they do so.

    In other news, as the SMSM 'let's-do-what-we-can -to undermine-10IAR' narrative and rhetoric are ramped up ahead of this Saturday's Celtic v SEVCO 'showdown', we have 'quisling' Kris Commons jump on the bandwagon with his installation as the latter as favourites.

    Why this bitter wee man is now so anti- Celtic beats me!

  23. paddy malarkey 12th October 2020 at 13:14


    Clubs at all levels need to be looking at streaming options. We know that many clubs looking for financial help have already taken in Season Ticket money. The set up costs for the bigger teams should be offset by the savings in matchday costs for security, cleaning etc.  

    If they can deliver a decent streaming option then it would be justification for holding onto the bulk of those ST funds, while attracting PPV "walk ups" from both home and away clubs. We know that income for all clubs will be down, but it is not non existent. e.g. Rangers has sold 46,500 STs and taken thousands of "My Gers" subscriptions. Even in the Championship, Hearts has sold 11,500 STs

    Once the pandemic is over then there may be scope to keep the streaming service going, thereby attracting new investment.

    In the lower leagues I know that Kelty, Berwick Rangers, Bonnyrigg, Bo'ness, Civil Service Strollers, Spartans, Musselburgh, Newtongrange and Penicuik have all offered streaming for their games last weekend and this upcoming week.  There will be several more beyond my personal awareness.

    In many respects the decision for clubs is a simple one. The fans are still out there, but the delivery mechanism has to change, with no, or restricted numbers of, fans allowed in stadiums.  Similar changes have occurred in retail with online shopping and with Zoom replacing face to face meetings.

    Necessity often drives change. It's at times like this that you see how many football clubs remain stuck in a time warp.

  24. Bogs Dollox 12th October 2020 at 16:45

    Some interesting comment here on the criminality involved in tax avoidance cases.

    Para 8 is an interesting take on a well known tax case.



    I don't consider the author's take as being any different from that of RTC and many others who have commented on RFC's responses to HMRC enquiries.

    We have also come across the document's author George Turner, several times previously.  He wrote for the Tax Justice Network (TJN) and the Offshore Game. His views have been consistent throughout.

  25. easyJambo 12th October 2020 at 17:19

    I don't consider the author's take as being any different from that of RTC and many others who have commented on RFC's responses to HMRC enquiries.

    We have also come across the document's author George Turner, several times previously.  He wrote for the Tax Justice Network (TJN) and the Offshore Game. His views have been consistent throughout.


    Indeed but my point was more about others on here also making a submission to the enquiry along the same lines but asking why HMRC did not pursue the fraud allegations.

  26. https://philmacgiollabhain.ie/2020/10/12/fantasy-investment-for-sevco-and-a-hard-sell-for-the-klan/

    Claims that the 5m share purchase from Mr Gibson was actually a secured loan . Companies House has already shown that shares have been issued so I cannot see how it is a loan with security . This security claim has been made before on King's loan but as yet no details appear at Companies House . They are well practised in the art of deception and skull duggery and playing by the rules isn't always high on their agenda so there is no reason to disbelieve PMacG but until the evidence is shown I'm not ready to accept the word of his contact. Can one buy shares with a guaranteed buyback at a higher price with security to underwrite the purchase ? 

  27. easyJambo 12th October 2020 at 15:49
    Necessity often drives change. It’s at times like this that you see how many football clubs remain stuck in a time warp.
    Years from now you could be telling the grankids, i remember when you had to buy a season ticket to watch games or watch it on a thing called sky, there was none of this streaming malarky you watch on your headset;-)

  28. paddy malarkey 12th October 2020 at 17:28

    Any word of Stevie G’s discip hearing ?
    The one he should be up for, for slamming the SPFL for being desperate to end the season or the one about morelos?

  29. Timtim 12th October 2020 at 18:11

    …… there is no reason to disbelieve PMacG but until the evidence is shown I’m not ready to accept the word of his contact.


    I think that you are correct in your observation.

    The initial story about Gibson’s investment in the MSM stated that £1m was conversion of a loan (I assume that was a prior loan from him – probably from earlier this year). The other £4m was in the form of cash.

    It is reasonable to assume that the parallel investments by Park, Taylor and Letham were also DFE swaps.

    As I indicated in my previous posts on the subject, it was probably impossible for King to up his stake, as a result of his cold shoulder status, so he probably had at least part of his lending paid back in cash.  PMGB puts that figure as £1.8m. That seems perfectly reasonable in the circumstances.

    That would leave £2.2m of free cash to be used for working capital. Again, such a shortfall at this point is not a surprise, with commitments to pay transfer installments, deferred wages, or whatever. 

    One point where I would disagree with PMGB’s contact is the observation that investors normally expect some sort of a return.  Since the Concert Party took control, there have been circa £33m in loans converted to (relatively worthless) shares.  That to my mind is investment without anything in return, barring the questionable kudos of owning shares in the holding company of a loss making football club. 

  30.  Timtim 12th October 2020 at 18:11

    "..Can one buy shares with a guaranteed buyback at a higher price with security to underwrite the purchase?'


    I see where your thinking is, Timtim,  but only redeemable shares can be bought back by the company.

    The shares issued to Gibson et al. are non-redeemable, so, if anyone( God forbid!) were trying to work  working a flanker, it probably wouldn't be that particular flanker!broken heart


  31. Bogs Dollox 12th October 2020 at 17:32

    '……but my point was more about others on here also making a submission to the enquiry along the same lines but asking why HMRC did not pursue the fraud allegations.'


    It's almost certain that a letter to HMRC making refence to a particular tax case would get nothing but a civil reply to the effect that HMRC (quite rightly, really)cannot discuss individual cases .

    They would even be careful not to use words which might suggest that they ever knew that RFC of 1872 had been investigated!

    A better suggestion , perhaps, might be  for those of us with an interest in the matter to send  a copy of Tax Watch's submission to our own individual MP with a covering note asking him/her to express a view about the failure of HMRC to  institute proceedings  against those who lied to the First Tier  Tax Tribunal  to  try to avoid the consequences of using the porn-actor/struck-off lawyer's tax 'avoidance' scheme!broken heart


  32. Cluster One 12th October 2020 at 18:17

    ‘..Years from now you could be telling the grankids, i remember when you had to buy a season ticket to watch games or watch it on a thing called sky, ‘


    Shades of the days when one was sent out to the street-urchin  vendor of ( (I speak of Glaswegian experience) the “Times!, “News!, and “Citize .. eeeen!at about 6.30./ 7.00 pm to get ‘the paper’, so that one’s faither could read what passed as match reports of games (only  up to about half-time!) 

    No telly, and a very, very  limited radio coverage of football ( commentary of about only 40 minutes of the second half of one match, no pundits sharing commentary, no pre-match universal coverage… the reading of the results at 5.00 pm  followed by ……. Jimmy Shand and Scottish dance music!

    Them were the days.

    And ,of course, Peter Thomson, whose shade, I am told, managed the flit across running water from Queen Margaret Drive to Pacific Quay!broken heart

  33. easyJambo 12th October 2020 at 15:49

    '.Necessity often drives change.'


    Well, eJ, I suppose 'it's adapt or die'!

    Will the day come when football grounds will once again be literally just 'grounds', pieces of land big enough to permit  the playing of a football match (and changing rooms and media rooms)  on which young or youngish men/women play football purely for remote viewers, with no need of stadia of any size to accommodate actual physically present spectators?

    I wonder what someone like Barry Hearn sees the future of football as being, now that covid-19 has made clubs aware that they might still make money via tv screening while selling off their stadia, keeping just enough ground for a tidy wee football pitch and necessary offices?

    Or is that too fanciful a notion?broken heart



  34. easyJambo 12th October 2020 at 19:28

    '.One point where I would disagree with PMGB’s contact is the observation that investors normally expect some sort of a return.'


    There may be different kinds of 'return' I suppose, eJ. 

    For example, the shifting of dirty money  internationally by way of investment in legitimate businesses  is what money laundering is all about and might provide an acceptable 'return' for anyone involved in such financial shenanigans

    Not that for one minute am I saying that investors in RIFC plc are laundresses!

    Of course not! That would be a monstrous charge that could not be made without concrete evidence.

    Theoretically of course, it may be entirely possible.

    And sensible folk , like for example  those in football governance ,should sort of maybe be broadly aware that that is so.


  35. John Clark 12th October 2020 at 21:55


    If HMRC had chosen the criminal route they would not have achieved the real end they wanted.

    A ruling that disguised remuneration schemes don't work and that tax is due.

    From the Supreme Court.

    That is more valuable to them, and to the economy, than a couple of people getting 3 or 4 years in an open prison, with an automatic 50% discount and early release.

  36. By the way, a reply from CH to my request for the web-site of RIFC plc popped into my inbox at 13.49 today.

    The gist of it is: 

    "…I am afraid Companies House does not store email or website addresses, telephone or fax numbers for companies or their officers as it is not a requirement of the Companies Act…..'

    I think I ought to have asked the FCA instead of CH! 

    A little bit of further research on my part had found this:

    from the Companies Act 2006:

    "426B.Section 172(1) statement to be made available on website

    (1)This section applies if—

    (a)a company is required by section 414CZA to include a section 172(1) statement in its strategic report for a financial year, and

    (b)the company is an unquoted company in relation to that financial year.

    (2)The company must ensure that the section 172(1) statement—

    (a)is made available on a website, and

    (b)remains so available until—

    (i)the section 172(1) statement for the company’s next financial year is made available in accordance with this section,.."

    I think the expectation that  'is made available on a website'  would be that the website would be recognisable  immediately  as being that very company's website, not the website of any subsidiary with a significantly different name and business status!

    I may therefore send a wee email to the FCA, this being a quiet day an' all, to tease the matter out  for the sake of clarity.

  37. Homunculus 13th October 2020 at 12:48

    '..That is more valuable to them, and to the economy, than a couple of people getting 3 or 4 years in an open prison, with an automatic 50% discount and early release.'


    Yes, I appreciate that getting a ruling for use in many more cases, or to reduce the attempts of other companies run by chaps like SDM to cheat the taxman was very important. 

    I just wonder why they then simply did not follow through with criminal charges, which might have emphasised that tax cheating is a serious crime [especially as in the Rangers case HMRC did not (as far as I know) get any of the unpaid tax back] 

    Playing the long game is all well and good: but I'm all for a bit of immediate action now and then!broken heart

  38. John Clark 13th October 2020 at 14:28
    I just wonder why they then simply did not follow through with criminal charges,
    On a light note;-)
    Those petitions against HMRC by the ibrox fans and the Bed sheets tied to the gates, or maybe the Dossier Murray said he had on HMRC about the leaks or maybe the SMSM campaign to portray HMRC as the bad ones for rejecting the CVA. After all that they may have thought “Obsessed” these people are and be glad to get rid of.
    Often makes me laugh when an ibrox fan puts forward a throw away line from HMRC that football will continue at ibrox or something like that (can’t be bothered to look it up) That this means it’s the same club, and that after their months of going after HMRC with their banners and petitions and dossiers/

  39. Highlander 12th October 2020 at 11:

    The EPL may well be heading towards a closed shop, but for once Scotland got there first.

    Not looked in here for a few days. Aye a long time before! Agree with all you say. The common denominator though is dosh.

  40. Did my ears deceive me for a second, a minute or two ago, when I thought I heard Liam McLeod say ( in relation to goalscorers tonight ) 'minted with the Murrays'?broken heart

    Was that a clever play on words, referencing  a successful mint sweetie/successful goalscorers?

     or  grounds for disciplinary action by the BBC as being a veiled reference to the vainglorious (and false)claims of SDM inty, who killed RFC of 1872?


  41. Just a thought, and which may – or may not – have anything to do with Gibson's involvement with RIFC;

    Per Companies House, King resigned as Chairman/['Director'] dated 27th March this year: almost 7 months ago.

    Since that date, the RIFC Board has included;

    Interim Chairman – Douglas Park

    Interim Deputy Chairman – John Bennett

    The 2019/20 Accounts are expected to be signed off at the end of this month.

    The RIFC AGM is expected at the end of November.

    You would expect these Interim roles to be replaced with permanent roles by the AGM, at least, (i.e. 8 months after King's resignation date)?


  42. JC @22.18

    Panic not John they were talking about the two goal scorers for Dunfermline who won against Kilmarnock.  Not sure if they are brothers, I was only half listening! But I didn’t get the impression they were talking about ‘you know who’.
    (You are quite rightly always on your guard)

  43. Although I do seem to remember something about a very friendly relationship of David Murray with the Owner? CEO? of Dunfermline who was also a high heid yin with one of the Scottish banks at the time Murray was getting huge loans on demand.

    Rumours of a certain match fixing abounded at the time but I couldn’t possibly comment on that!

  44. jimbo 13th October 2020 at 23:16

    '.Panic not John they were talking about the two goal scorers for Dunfermline'


    Yes, jimbo.

     But the BBC is supersensitive (as is any liar when challenged with their lying) to any remark or observation by anyone on its airwaves that might remind folk of Sir Minty's murder of RFC of 1872 by his tax cheating and sports cheating!

    Because that will remind folk that SDM's RFC is in liquidation, and that they (BBC Scotland) support and propagate the untruth that TRFC is RFC of 1872.broken heart


  45. And anent my post at 23.59, the famous words 'eppure si muove' ( 'aye, say what you like, it still moves!') supposedly muttered sotto voce by Galileo Galilei (when outwardly accepting the view that the earth does not move around the sun )sprang again into my mind.

    Let the SFA, the SPFL, the SMSM, or those in the legal profession who[ perhaps like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle]chuntered on about the ectoplasm , the essence ,of the deceased RFC of 1872 being alive and working in the  essence of the new body that Charles Green had newly created] carry on asserting a falsehood.

    We can shrug our shoulders and say 'e comunque morto' It's still dead no matter how many folk claim it to be alive!broken heart



  46. For avoidance of doubt – and unnecessary decline in to martyrdom and victim hood. No poster has been banned on the forum. I know this may disappoint some who would choose to die on a hill the proportions of a sultana under an Axminster, but everyone is good – though some are naturally gooder than others😂😂

  47. Big Pink 14th October 2020 at 00:53

    '.No poster has been banned on the forum.'


    And of course that categorical denial  immediately raises questions about any poster who asserts that he/she has been banned!

    The onus is on him/her to post now the post(s) that he/she asserts were 'banned'

    If they are posted, he/she  is shown to be a useless  dishonest waste of time and space, and just a bloody nuisance!

    In my opinion.



  48. RC

    If you are worried about being banned, just contact Punctilious Peter, who will sort it out forthwith!

  49. jimbo 13th October 2020 at 23:31

    Gavin Masterton.

    Whatever happened to him, oh that's right he borrowed money, bought into a football club and was subsequently declared bankrupt. 


  50. John Clark; and anent my post etc…

    You Sir are on fire just now Bravo.

    Reminder to self never get on the wrong side of JC.

    FOR what it is worth (i know ) Please keep doing 

    what you do. I enjoy reading your comments immensely.


  51. “RANGERS INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL CLUB PLC SC437060 Created: 14 October 2020 20:24:02

    Companies House does not verify the accuracy of the information filed Overview Registered office address:

    Ibrox Stadium, 150 Edmiston Drive, Glasgow, G51 2XD Company type: Public limited company Incorporated on: 16 November 2012

    Status: Active

    Key filing dates

    Accounting reference date: 30 June

    Last accounts made up to: 30 June 2019

    Next accounts due: 31 March 2021 …”


    Delayed RIFC Accounts.

    Above is an extract from Companies House website, and its ‘Company Snapshot’ function.

    On the face of it, it seems that RIFC has applied for the available 3 months filing extension, due to Covid?

    [“Next accounts” – for a plc – would normally be due 6 months after year end, so for RIFC by 31/12/20].

    Ergo, no RIFC accounts publicised this month – and that battered, old can has been kicked down the road until December.

    Easyjambo, I believe you get alerts from CH: would you know if this timing is indeed correct?

    I can’t find anything to confirm an RIFC request for a filing extension – but again, there may be CH information gaps due to volume / Covid impact?

  52. StevieBC 14th October 2020 at 20:55

    "..I can’t find anything to confirm an RIFC request for a filing extension – but again, there may be CH information gaps due to volume / Covid impact?"


    Regulations were passed, StevieBC, under which CH are allowed to apply (without the need of application)  automatic extensions in various sets of circumstances and under prescribed conditions. It looks as though CH just does it on the companies' CH page without the particular companies having to ask for extension or provide further info. (Not that CH actually checks what any lying board might tell them)

      key in 

    Temporary Changes to Companies House filing 

    and open the link  and you'll get all the bumph



  53. Personally, I think the extension granted to companies to file their accounts is a bit of overkill.  I can understand it for companies that have not been allowed to come out of lockdown as yet, but for football clubs, most have their year ends at the end of June, with a few at the end of May.

    I can't believe that any club will not have confirmed their year end financial position before now. I do get the current uncertainty around their "going concern" status, but that is unlikely to change much in the short term.  There will be warnings in the accounts of every club.

    Listed companies may be subject to different rules about publishing their trading positions (not the full annual report with notes to the accounts). Celtic would be the only club in that category. They published their annual trading results on 27 September last year. The full report was published on 25 October.

    RIFC published their accounts on 1 November, Hearts on 15 November, and Aberdeen on 24 November.

  54. Some of us believe that BBC Radio Scotland  imposed a ban on their football commentators and pundits  prohibiting them from introducing ,or allowing others to introduce, the topic of the disgraceful Big Lie lie that disfigures Scottish Football, and that they do not shrink from punishing anyone who attempts to defy the ban.

    At about 9.45 this morning, I heard something which made me think that perhaps this desire to muzzle discussion might extend to muzzling criticism of BBC Radio Scotland in the matter of phone-ins about Covid-19.

    The saccharin-sweet Stephen Jardine's mask slipped a little as he gave very short-shrift to a lady caller, beautifully articulate, who voiced the opinion that the BBC goes out of its way to  undermine the attempts of Government to control the virus by refusing to back the and encourage the government measures.

    The caller said that  instead of actively encouraging people to support the advice and instructions of the medical experts and government, BBC radio Scotland went about asking folk  in the street ,or on phone-ins,  whether they think this or that measure is 'fair'. She put on a wee whiny wheedle-y   tone of voice ( a bit like the saccarin-sweet tone that Jardine uses ) when she said 'is it fair', making the point that the general run of folk, just like her herself, have no personal expert knowledge ,and that it wasn't a matter of childish views of 'fairness' when it comes to lives, but a matter of the broadcasting authority's duty to support the health measures deemed necessary by the Government and health experts rather than encourage the airing of uninformed opinions.

    And Jardine had no time for her . No way.

    He rapped out in less than honeyed tones some response about 'balance' of 'opinions', and ended the call. 

    Even Mrs C, busy with her word-puzzle and listening  with half an ear, looked up at me in surprise at the change in tone, and said something about Jardine having a hissy-fit.

    Much in the way of his football journalist colleagues, he rapped out some rubbish about balance and democracy ….and promptly ended the call with no right of reply.

    It sounded to me that he was following an editorial line as well as taking the huff at what he thought might have been implied by the use of the wee whiny tone.

    I have just recorded my take on that little episode. I pass no comment on the Government's measures against the spread of the virus.

  55. I know he is a dour as a wet day on the Ayrshire coast but that has been a decent string of results from Steve Clarke and achieved with a decent number of players who are or were recently plying their trade in the SPFL and also not just those playing for Celtic.

    Of course you want Robertson and the likes to be involved but glad to see domestic players getting involved in the squad as opposed to, what I always thought was sometimes,  the over reliance on those who came from the lower English divisions.

  56. Wottpi @ 16.41

    It might not be super sexy football at times but I agree it's good to see Scotland getting a decent string of results.   

  57. I see that Doncaster has made public comments about the possibility of Scottish footy fans travelling to Blackpool or other northern England cities to watch the CFC v. TRFC game in pubs.

    Who the @#%$ does he think he is?!

    The SPFL CEO who simply blanked supporters of SPL teams in 2012, and has generally treated fans with contempt since.

    Supporters' feedback is neither sought nor wanted by Doncaster.

    He should have kept his opinions to himself, IMO. angel

  58. I’ve been watching the demise of Macclesfield Town FC and its resurrection as Macclesfield FC, with a modicum of interest, given the similarity of events to RFC in 2012.

    The previous owner wasn’t able to find a buyer when the club hit financial problems, so the oldco was wound up on the order of a judge, about a month ago, because it was unable to pay its debts to HMRC and others.

    The Receiver has since sold the business and assets of the oldco to a third party, Robert Smethurst, who is seeking to resume football in the town. Robbie Savage has already been appointed to the Board as Head of Football Operations.

    The interesting part for me is the difference in the language used by different parties to describe the purchase and the new set up.


    The Official Receiver, Catherine Hudson, has announced that the sale of Macclesfield Town FC Limited, the trading company behind the football club, to Macc Football Club Limited has been completed.

    The sale includes the leasehold property known as Moss Rose Football Ground and all assets within the football stadium, including the main offices, entertainment facilities and dressing rooms, and the football club’s intellectual property rights.

    The Official Receiver said: The expediated sale of Macclesfield Town FC will help preserve the future of the football club and I am grateful to Macclesfield Town FC’s workforce during this difficult time.

    The above statement has echoes of what Duff and Phelps claimed to have sold as a “Going Concern” (after the CVA failed!) and what an HMRC official said about the continuation of football at Ibrox.

    Now contrast that with what was stated by the buyer in a press statement put out on his behalf. (full document tweeted by Robbie Savage)


    Some extracts

    Robert Smethurst, a local businessman has today confirmed his recent purchase of the assets of Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd. ……..

    Rob states “This is an exciting opportunity to rebuild a historic Football Club for Macclesfield and the surrounding areas …….

    If we can move a new team into the North West Counties Football League next season, we’ll have achieved one of our main goals. …….

    The club will maintain the historic brand and logo albeit under the new name of Macclesfield FC. ……

    Nick Bianchi, Director at Arighi Bianchi has agreed to be a Club Ambassador for the new Macclesfield FC” 

    Robbie Savage commented

    “This is a Football Club that has collapsed and has been resuscitated. ……..

    New club? Old club?

    It seems that football people quickly attach themselves to the continuity of a club of the same or similar name, while businessmen like Smethurst and Green know precisely what they have bought.

  59. easyJambo 15th October 2020 at 22:15

    I’ve been watching the demise of Macclesfield Town FC and its resurrection as Macclesfield FC, with a modicum of interest, given the similarity of events to RFC in 2012.
    Also watching with interest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.