Sevco Rangers Reply to SPL Rejection + Can SPL Admit Team to SPL2 When Already Rejected?

On Wednesday the SPL members overwhelmingly defeated the motion seeking to allow the registration of the transfer of the SPL share from Rangers Football Club PLC (RFC PLC) to Sevco Scotland Ltd. Only Mr Green of Sevco, acting as proxy for RFC PLC, which he was entitled to do, voted in favour. Kilmarnock was the only member not to vote no, other than that, although as was made clear prior to the vote, and abstention and a no vote had the same effect.

I read and hear reactions from Rangers supporters mystified by the perceived “hatred” of their club. Whilst I think that in most people “hatred” is far too strong a word, a couple of reports regarding Wednesday’s meeting and reaction to it might help explain why many neutrals have little or no desire to see the football authorities assist the Ibrox team.

There are also some questions raised about the governance of football in Scotland as well, which will no doubt be ignored by the people to whom they are addressed.

I will not explore in any detail sociological or cultural reasons for this, as there are many people far better qualified to speak about it than I am, but I will simply look at the two pieces, one from and one from the Telegraph.

My comments are in bold.


First, we start with Lindsay Herron’s piece on the official Rangers website on Wednesday night:-

CHARLES GREEN has confirmed that Rangers will apply to join the Scottish Football League after today’s rejection by the SPL.

The Rangers Chief Executive said: “We are deeply disappointed that our application to rejoin the SPL has been rejected overwhelmingly by the member clubs. This time last week, all of us at Rangers were resigned to the fact that we would not be admitted, due mainly to the public declarations of clubs indicating they would not support our application.

“At the weekend, we were approached by representatives from the SPL suggesting our application still stood a chance of success and we should discuss this further with clubs. This we did in good faith but with the knowledge of the hurdles that lay ahead of us.

According to Mr Green, the SPL approached him to tell him to speak to other clubs! Who were these representatives of the SPL? Did it include Mr Doncaster, or were they there on his mandate, or that of the SPL Board? If the latter, then the fans of teams who have representation on that Board might be concerned. Did the SPL approach indicate that other members might be willing to change their mind? Was this based on discussions between the SPL and other clubs, or was it simply a pious hope on the part of the SPL that their own members could be persuaded to back down from publicly declared positions?

Did Mr Green speak to all the clubs? If so what indications did he get? Did any clubs suggest a move from their already public positions?

“We had asked the SPL whether it would be more appropriate for us to withdraw our application but were advised against this.

Who in the SPL told them not to abandon the application? As the position of Mr Doncaster, although not of any of the SPL membership, had been that Rangers had to be in the SPL, did he think that, when faced with a vote, the teams would renege on what they had said earlier?

Either he thought so because he had been told that, and if so the teams who suggested they were wavering should be identified, or he was still pushing his agenda. Whilst his job is to run the SPL, he is employed by it, and is there to implement the wishes of the members, not to indulge in “frolics of his own”.

Had the application been dropped, this would have retained some dignity for Sevco Scotland. As it was, the overwhelming rejection might boost the resolve of SFL teams now facing a clamour to admit Sevco to SFL1.

“We made a presentation to the SPL clubs this morning, detailing our proposals in support of our application and this included what we believed to be penalties and sanctions that would have dealt fairly with the difficulties caused by events at Rangers prior to our acquisition of the Club on June 14.

There is a fine line to go when tendering a guilty plea when it comes to sentencing. The representative of the guilty party wants to gently direct the judge towards a specific disposal, so penalty points rather than a driving ban; a fine rather than Community Service; a Community Payback order rather than imprisonment; but at the same time it is not on to be seen to tell the judge what penalty to impose. Far from being a plea in mitigation, every court practitioner has seen what can only be described as “pleas in aggravation” where the penalty to be imposed went up the longer the defence lawyer spoke!

The impression gleaned from reports of the meeting (and as I was not there I accept I could be wrong) was that Sevco Scotland presented the sanctions it was prepared to agree to, and by implication the ones it rejected. It strokes me as similar to telling a Sheriff that the only sensible course of action he can follow is “x”. Such a statement usually guarantees that course “y”, which is more serious than “x” will be taken by the court!

“Sadly this was rejected by the other clubs and we regret that our Club and our supporters were given false hope by this initiative.

“False hope”? Criticising the other members for sticking to what many of them had declared publicly seems counter-productive. If members had declared support in public, and then reneged, one could see his point. But this is different. Mr Green is unhappy that, as a result of behind the scenes discussions with somebody, he was told that he was in with a chance. That turned out to be wrong, as the members stuck to what they had said they would do. How on earth is that a ground for criticising them?

The target ought to be the SPL if, as seems more likely, this was an “initiative” coming from the CEO rather than the members. If anyone thought that the result would be different, based on these discussions, then they qualify as a hopeless romantic.

“We will now proceed as we had planned from late June to apply for membership of the SFL. It is entirely a matter for them whether our application will be accepted or rejected and we will make no representation to any member club prior to that application being considered. We also recognise that the SPL has been placed in a difficult position because of the way events have unfolded.

Bearing in mind that Mr Green said he had been speaking to the SPL chairmen prior to the vote, one wonders why he is not glad-handing every SFL chair. Perhaps invitations to the Ibrox Boardroom with tea from the best china might impress the smaller clubs who now hold the fate of football at Ibrox in their hands.

At least Mr Green seems to be accepting that there is a two-stage process here, unlike the football authorities. The first question is whether Sevco Scotland Ltd will be granted membership. Then, and only then, will the SFL decide where the new football team should play – SFL1 or SFL3.

I will write later today about the apparent threats from the SPL as detailed by Stenhousemuir’s Board to impose an SPL2 if the vote fails to admit Sevco Scotland Ltd to SFL1.

The SPL in a difficult position? According to the men at the top, because of the alleged misdeeds of Messrs Whyte and Murray, the whole of Scottish football is at risk of oblivion!

“If our application were to be accepted, Rangers will play in whichever division the SFL sees fit and we will move forward from there.

Does Mr Green want to be admitted to SFL1, SFL3 or SPL2? He is correct in saying that they will play where they are put – he cannot insist, against a vote of SFL members, to play in a higher division. But having applied for the place in the SFL, if that is approved, then surely he needs to tell the other teams what he wants to happen?

How does his undoubted business need to be in SFL1 or SPL2 square with what now seems to be the majority opinion amongst Rangers supporters, namely that their team should play in SFL3?

“The Club hopes that the supporters, who have been absolutely tremendous since the Club went into administration on February 14, will continue to support the Club and make Rangers a success once again.”

Roughly translated, this reads – PLEASE BUY SEASON TICKETS NOW!

Mr Green’s words above seem to suggest the words of a defeated manager whose team has lost because it was not good enough, but where the blame is put on the assistant referee for missing a throw in decision, or on the referee for not seeing a foul when the other team were scoring their fourth goal! As Mr Green needs the support of the football authorities, and which to be fair, he seems to have 100%, you would think he would be careful not to criticise them. If his remarks were intended to blame the other members, then that is shameful. He indeed had the advantage of a number of teams saying they would vote no, and explaining why. It shows the sincerity of the other teams that even where Mr Green made a presentation specifically answering the points he knew he had to face, he could convince no one.


All of which brings us to the Telegraph.

Roddy Forsyth reported on Wednesday about that day’s meeting. The whole piece, linked above, is worth a read, however, I have extracted a few quotes for comment.

There were some who hoped that Rangers would be able to make sufficient case – coupled with a clear and evident change of attitude – for their admission to the SPL. However – and not for the first time in this saga – Rangers utterly misread the mood of the other SPL clubs. The faux pas occurred despite the fact that Rangers had been briefed at a meeting on Sunday attended by two other SPL chairmen and a vice-chairman, who stressed the need for humility.

A presentation brochure was distributed to the delegates, the back page of which featured a photograph of a Rangers title win with the words “We Are Rangers” emblazoned across it.

“The arrogance was unbelievable,” said one chairman. “The atmosphere hardened immediately. Charles Green conducted himself well enough but the Rangers chairman was arrogant and dogmatic.” Another who was present told The Daily Telegraph: “Some people in the room wanted a reason to make a case for Rangers but the standard of the presentation was woeful.

“Ally and Charles Green were not always on the same page but that was not damaging. The chairman was another matter entirely and the brochure was substandard – you could have easily knocked something better together given half an hour. It makes you wonder what kind of management team they have.”

One of the criticisms expressed about Rangers down through the years, both of the organisation and its supporters, is the perceived arrogance and sense of entitlement, summed up in the slogan “We Are The People”. Many fans of other teams, large and small, believe that Rangers have run football in Scotland for many years. Many Celtic supporters believe that has been to the detriment of their team, whilst outside the now former “Old Firm” most think that Scottish football has been a cartel run by both Glasgow clubs. However, the one common factor is the perception outside Ibrox that the residents there get their way, and that they expect to, on the basis that they always have.

Perhaps subconsciously Mr Murray went in to the meeting with this attitude. Perhaps the discussions referred to above, which gave Mr Green false hope, led Mr Murray to believe that the result was a foregone conclusion in their favour.

However, to appear with a brochure bearing the slogan “We Are Rangers” seems to be arrogance encapsulated. In fact, they frank answer to that suggestion, and I am sure there were some at the meeting who might have thought this, would have been “No you are not – you are Sevco Scotland Ltd and until you have a football league to play in and a football association of which to be a member, you are not Rangers”.

The Rangers party departed and a further two-hour discussion ensued. “It was constructive,” said one who took part. “People actually listened to one another and respected the other positions. It was a huge leap of faith for integrity and it’s now up to the SFA and SFL to make their decision.”

Critics of the SPL members who rejected the proposal seem to come from three camps. First of all, from Ibrox; secondly from the media; and thirdly from the football authorities themselves! The implication of the above statement is that, once the decision was made, the members could get down to constructive discussions and the suggestion seems to be that each took strength from the others to maintain their positions.

Of course, the irony is that, having been rejected by the SPL, the master plan by Messrs Regan and Doncaster seems to be to force Sevco Scotland into SFL1, or to create SPL2, effectively to keep “Rangers” in the second tier. In which case, presumably the SPL members get to decide that, and having rejected Sevco Scotland’s application to be an SPL member, on integrity grounds, would they then agree to allow them in one rung down? Has the integrity run out already? I will come back to the SPL2 idea in a later post.

Neil Doncaster, the SPL chief executive, said of the decision to refuse the newco entry: “Clearly there were discussions going on between the newco and the members and ultimately that could have led to a presentation and a proposal put to clubs that they might have said yes to. In the end the proposal put forward to the clubs was considered and they said no.”

Reading between the lines Mr Doncaster wanted to give this deal as much chance as possible of getting through. Perhaps he might be abashed that a course he was urging on his members, who employ him, was so soundly defeated. Maybe, and this is a radical thought, the CEO might choose to listen to his Board and members BEFORE he embarks on a public campaign and course of conduct.

He added: “I think [the vote] surprised a number of people. Money is important in professional football and I think what our chairmen have done today is put aside the short-term commercial considerations, that would ordinarily drive behaviour, ahead of the longer-term interests of their clubs – and supporter involvement has clearly been a huge part of that.

Why was it a surprise? Enough teams to defeat the plan had already said they would oppose it. Will Mr Doncaster tell us why people were surprised? Maybe he means that Messrs Murray, Green and McCoist were surprised!

I like the way that he contrasts short-term commercial considerations with long-term interests of the clubs and the views of customers. Very few sensible businessmen would out aside long-term interests of their businesses for a short-term gain, and if they did, they ought not to be running their companies! The fact that Mr Doncaster seems surprised about this makes you wonder which route he would have chosen, if given the chance – short term commercial v long term interests.

“Ultimately they believe they have made the right decision and one that brings a bit more clarity to an unclear world. Until we know where Rangers are playing next year we won’t be able to ascertain what the damage is to the Scottish game.

Except for the fact that Mr Regan, your sidekick, thinks we face social unrest and the slow lingering death of football.

“A number of people have said the decision today has enhanced the reputation of the league but it’s not for me to say.”

Why mention it then? And having mentioned it, do you agree? Surely it is important that the CEO and his members be on the same page? If he thinks this decision was a mad one motivated by hatred of Rangers, for example, then does that not pose problems for his ongoing relations with his employers? As well as a Board losing confidence with a CEO, a CEO can lose confidence in his Board and members.


Conclusion – Rangers

The fans of various teams sing “No one likes us – we don’t care!”

Rangers fans have said so too.

On Wednesday years of that, combined with the “We Are The People” mentality came home to roost. Maybe if there is a “Rangers” of some variety in the future the mantra will become “No one like us, but we are all doing our best to change that”.

It’s not quite as snappy, but might work better.

Conclusion – SPL

As far as the SPL goes, it is clear that the CEO wanted the vote to go in favour of the transfer. Mr Doncaster and Mr Regan have been more voluble regarding the need for a yes vote even than Mr Green!

Having had his members so soundly reject the transfer of a share to Sevco Scotland Ltd, what authority has Mr Doncaster to be pouching the SPL2 idea?

That needs to be approved by the members, and having received justifiable praise for following the long term interests of the clubs, and taking into account the views of the fans, I find it hard to see how the SPL members can then, if consistent, declare an SPL2 open, and admit Sevco Rangers to it!

On a practical basis too, as the SFL meeting is to be convened on 13th July, if Sevco Scotland’s application for membership was rejected, or if it was approved, but only to SFL3, how on earth is the SPL going to meet to set up SPL2, which involves plucking teams who are members of the SFL away from their contracts without giving the required notice? If the plan of Mr Doncaster is SPL2, and for it to operate this season, a huge amount of work needs done, with no time to do it.

It would be ironic if the apparent frantic efforts by the SFA and SPL to get a “Rangers” into the SPL, or SFL1 or SPL2, had caused so much delay that Sevco’s team does not play at all in season 2012-2013!

Posted by Paul McConville  



Filed under Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Rangers, SFA, SFL, SPL, Uncategorized

45 responses to “Sevco Rangers Reply to SPL Rejection + Can SPL Admit Team to SPL2 When Already Rejected?

  1. Boss Hogg

    It’s 1-1 with 89 minutes played between Rangers and Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup final. A Rangers outfield player catches the ball on his own goal line to prevent a goal. The referee refuses to award Thistle a penalty because we cannot afford for Rangers to lose.

    Do we accept the economic pragmatism? If we do, is there any point in playing the match at all?

    • Richboy

      This will never happen. I can see Partick at Hanpden but there is no way Sevco Rangers will make it to a Cup Final in my lifetime.

  2. Schneeb

    Brilliant – “No you are not – you are Sevco Scotland Ltd and until you have a football league to play in and a football association of which to be a member, you are not Rangers” But even then, surely they can’t be Rangers?

  3. Depressingly, it seems to be the norm nowadays for Chief Execs to value short-term gain over long-term health. Because they know that, by the time the negative impact of their short-termism kicks in, they’ll be lining their pockets in another cushy role somewhere else.
    From start to finish, this whole Rangers saga has said at least as much about the currently-fashionable irresponsible brand of capitalism as it has about Rangers, the SFA and the SPL.

  4. James

    Once again Paul you outdo yourself an excellent analysis keep it up

  5. David C MacKenzie

    This from Stenhousemuir:

    Stenhousemuir do not expect Scottish Football League clubs to be given the option of voting newco Rangers into the Irn-Bru Third Division.

    SFL chief executive David Longmuir said yesterday that clubs would be asked whether they accept the Ibrox club in the SFL next Friday, followed by supplementary questions, which he did not elaborate on.

    Stenhousemuir backed up Clyde’s assertion that SFA chief executive Stewart Regan had effectively left them with two options once the newco’s SPL bid failed – vote them into the First Division or there would be an SPL2 breakaway.

    If this is, in any way true. I will walk away. I will NOT look back, and I hope that FIFA and UEFA take steps. If it is true, then the SFA and SFL administrations are spitting in the face of all that is good. If they have not been told what the supplementary question will be, then it must surely be that they expect clubs to make an uninformed decision on their futures, or rather, that is surely NOT permissible.

    I hope it is wrong, not because I do not want to have to make the sacrifice, but because I want those honourable clubs not to be tainted by association with any travesty that would be perpetrated on them.

    If it is true, then I am almost at the stage where I would like to see FIFA announce a vote on the continued separation of football associations in the UK if they don’t get their house in order, and abide by the rules.

    • Jim

      So the SFL offer a simple vote in ‘can newco join the SFL  if there is a vacancy.’ Now, even the chairmen who oppose a first division entry will probably vote yes to SFL entry if it isn’t qualified. This then leaves room for some fudging of custom and practice without actually voting on newco entry to division 1.

      So the thrust of the argument this week should be that chairmen who want newco in division 3 should vote no to SFL entry AT ALL unless an appropriate method of filling SFL vacancies is organised to allow other non-SFL clubs to participate.

    • Totally agree, if this is the route they are going down it shutters for me, too.

    • Marching on Together

      Be careful what you wish for. If anything the equivalent of the SFL in England, The Football League, is worse. They see nothing wrong with the appeal body against the imposition of a points penalty as being the entire membership of the Football League, including those in the same division as the club penalised, who have such a large conflict of interest in ensuring that their competitor remains penalised, that it is past the realms of screamingly funny.

      Not even the SFL or SFA indulge in this sort of corruption.

  6. Address to football fans all over the world. Look at the way Scottish Football is corrupted by Masonic and other establishment influences and shake your head in shame for the clubs who have to play under these corrupt conditions and corrupt practices. Let this be a lesson to all of the Footballing world . . .don’t let this happen in your countries. We have allowed it to develop for decades and decades and this is where it has now got us . . .to the brink of disaster due mainly to one very corrupt football club that happened to be the establishments poodle. Look and learn.

    • Interesting comment in Kicker Sportmagazin in Germany praising Scottish football for it’s courage. Shame they only know half the story, though I do acknowledge that the Clubs Boards and chairmen have so far in the majority actually acted with alot of integrity. I have the hope that the SFL chairmen will also see through the spin and lies of their (highly paid) executives.

  7. Brian Jeffrey

    Donaster’s coat must surely be on a shoogley peg! The arrogance of the man is astounding. He is perfectly entitled to a personal view as to what he believes is best for the game or for the SPL but his professional role is to represent the views of the SPL members and it is entirely inappropriate to use his professional position to publicise his personal views, particularly when they do not coincide with the views of his members and even more so when the members’ views have been expressed so overwhelmingly. When speaking in a professional capacity he has a duty to reflect the views of his members regardless of what he thinks personally. The implicit disatisfaction in his remarks is so stark as to be tantamount to explicit criticism of the decision taken and by extension of the decision makers. The SPL chairmen must be seething to have been so publicly undermined and disrespected by an employee of their board.

  8. What seems to be getting lost in all of this Paul is the resumption of the appellate tribunal and ongoing dual contracts investigation. If I was an SFL club’s chairman I’d say to the SFA/SPL sort that crap out first and then come talk to us.

    • Mick

      Well said mate ,there avoiding the bets the civil court action the police investigation uefa FIFA,when FIFA enter the ring they might suspend Scottish football ,Doncaster logo live and longmuir Reagan have got to go and let us get on with it ,sevco should sell to tesco the diddy teams are going to jog them on to so he’s left with the retail sale Scotland’s saying no to sevco it’s there fault and him tray nor murres old guard telling porkies in media and filling sevco fans with hope also secrecy meetings then the civil unrest comment all our heads are bursting with it they should resign

    • JimBhoy

      Hi Ramsay I have written on this a few times now… Either of these two results should see the utmost penalty BUT could they start newco in any league with this possibly hanging over the club, knowing that either penalty could mean an expulsion or at least a year out of football as it really should do. Thus more disruption to the league they sit in, cups tournaments etc. I am making the distinct suggestion that either trial will not conclude before the season starts.

      If either of the triumvirate are to be listened too Scottish football will not survive with Rangers in Div 3 never mind with a year out altogether. How can an adequate punishment be meted out under that ridiculous, unbacked, speculative statement?

      The results of these tribunals should have been sorted before any vote. The cannot organise that but they can potentially create an SPL2 in weeks..

      We need to complain to UEFA/FIFA. These guys are not fit and proper for the job they are doing. Totally inept and where they think they are helping (newco) their dabbling proves the reverse.

      Maybe the three will surprise us put newco in SFL1 (which again I have written about as a bad thing for newco), show the newco fans they did their best for them and the 2 tribunals then nail them thus showing our great leaders in a good light with no blood on their hands. I doubt it though!!! At some point there has to be UEFA involvement, has to be..!

      • Marching on Together

        There will be no UEFA involvement. UEFA is far more corrupt than the SFA. UEFA will not even take action against buying of the referee in their own competition finals and semi-finals.

  9. redetin

    Green made a presentation on behalf of Sevco Scotland, then voted on behalf of Rangers FC (In Admin). The wierd and wonderful world of footiness.

  10. Paul, thx again.
    Looking forward to your post on SPL2. Heere is a queston that has been bugging me for a few days now.
    The SPL and the SFA have on numerous occations in the last months hammered out the message that the SPL is a failed business model (well, it must be, with an unspecified number of member clubs on the brink of administration). Now, I take it that SFL clubs will be invited to join a potential SPL2. How would these club be actually persuaded to expand a failed business model? I take it, that the chairmen who have called the bluff and will vote again Sevco in DIV1 will at least be mulling over an invitation for a while. For the other clubs, they have been run on a shoestring budget for a long time which makes me believe for the most part that these clubs are run astute businessmen who know a faled concept when they see one. So, who do you think will actually play in SPL2, other than Sevco? And if SPL2 doesn’t materialize, does that sound the long overdue death knell for the SPL?
    BTW I am a Celtic fan, but utterly disappointed about some of the comments on various websites claiming some kind vicimhood in all this.
    For many a year Celtic and the club formerly know as Rangers ran cartel in the SPL and are BOTH hugely responsible for the mess we’re in. How some of my fellow Tims can go on crying foul over the undemocratic set up on European level and at the same time deny these same rights to the other clubs in Scotland without as much as blushing is shameful.

    • JimBhoy

      By cartel i can only assume the voting rights to the SKY deal etc… With the greatest of respect the money Celtic get WRT the BSKYB deal as opposed to any other SPL club is not as significant as you may think and put that against the number of games Celtic are asked to fulfil for the BSKYB contract versus most other SPL clubs surely justifies a bigger piece of the pie. It’s easy to quote the exact figures gained but how many supporters of Celtic feel that a KO at 12.45 on a Sunday is ideal. How many supporters do NOT go to games when the times are all over the place for BSKYB… This financial loss is more difficult to quantify, but IMO could be substantial. I gave up 2 season tickets because the boy’s team I coach for plays games Sunday mornings and I couldn’t make those early KOs. Just a small example.

      • JimBhoy, no offence. What I really – and this is somthing that anoys my a lot – is that we are quick and rightly complain of the power of afew elite clubs on UEFA level while domestically we find an undemocratic set up (11-1?). I just find that a wee bid dishonest. As for the coomercialization of football I don’t think we have an argument at all. Agree totally.

  11. Mick

    Great article and topic agian Paul,whosgotthepower to remove Reagan and Doncaster ?surley they have to listen to the fans and get them out after making them self out sush fools ,as for sevco a think they have missed the bus fOr any league as u highlighted ,the suits at the top of sfa spl sfl shifted the goalposts that much that they have to go the whole of Scotland wants them out and all the cases delt with and to get on with the season they would have created some trOuble if the vote went the other way ,then after that the unrest statement it a joke now throw out the land of heather all you can here is get them to fxxk excuse the lingo there stance is perverse

  12. JimBhoy


  13. JimBhoy

    What would happen if ALL SPL clubs who are able to vote actually abstained from the vote on the grounds that the Fifa/SFA articles should be followed and that the vote was not part of that constitution. Right back at ya Doncaster. Now follow your own rulebook… NOT complying to rules and regulations is what got us in this ‘unholy mess’… Stop speculating, work with the facts. Your rulebook says you are impartial stop the bullyboy tactics.

    Torches and pitchforks are being looked out….

  14. Aitch

    Phil McG has a post today highlighting the rules relating to newco entry into SFL. Questions are raised that appear to show conflict between the existing rules and the desire of SPL and SFA CEO’s to set aside such conflict/rules and have newco voted into SFL1. I’d like to hear your views on this apparent conflict between the rules and the proposal. I hope there are enough SFL Club Chairmen next Friday with the courage to stick to prior precendent (in relation to how the rules have been interpreted for other clubs entering into SFL) if wishing to support entry for this newco. I have difficulty understanding how SFL can even allow the newco in to SFL3 without requesting applications from other clubs who can fill the criteria for entry. Appears corrupt to the core to me!

    • David C MacKenzie

      If the presentation given by Rangers as published in the Telegraph is really what they said, they can’t anyway. It claimed that they only have 8 players in the squad.

  15. ecojon

    Matter of interest possibly:

    They are still having probs with season tickets.

  16. Ernesider

    Paul says:
    “I read and hear reactions from Rangers supporters mystified by the perceived “hatred” of their club. Whilst I think that in most people “hatred” is far too strong a word,……………..”

    For once Paul I have to disagree with you, I believe that hatred is not a strong enough word for most people. The reason being the hordes of mindless vicious thugs that support and follow Rangers. The fact that the decent supporters are too scared to raise the problem never mind address it says everything.

    The word of the late Ian Archer sum up my feelings about Rangers

    “This has to be said about Rangers, as a Scottish Football club they are a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace. This country would be a better place if Rangers did not exist.” Ian Archer (journalist, 1970s),

  17. ecojon

    God you took me back a few years with the comment: ‘It strikes me as similar to telling a Sheriff that the only sensible course of action he can follow is “x”. Such a statement usually guarantees that course “y”, which is more serious than “x” will be taken by the court!’

    In a sheriff court in the sticks a long-dead Sheriff ruled the roost and really was in charge of his courtroom. When bored, his favourite ploy when an accused came before him was to ask: ‘Well Mr X I’m wondering whether to fine you or jail you. What do you think I should do?’

    The accused would of course plump for a fine and the Sheriff would smile slightly and declare that unfortunately he would have to deal with the matter by imprisonment. The miscreant was led off to do his time and as night follows day he would be released and a few days later would be back in front of the Sheriff for a fresh offence. He would again be given the choice and being smart would opt for a jail sentence only to be told by the Sheriff: ‘Well, I’m glad you agree with me on this occasion.’

    The look on a prisoner’s face as they were led away was unreal as they tried – usually through the haze of a helluva hangover – to figure out where they had got it wrong 🙂

  18. ian lewis

    If the SFL rules are ignored presumably one of the clubs can take the matter to law where it will be proved again that if a rule book says xyz then xyz is what it says.

  19. ecojon


    I don’t tend to agree with you on this one as I think we have a very complex mix going on. I make my remarks based on personal and professional experiences stretching back over more than 50 years. I don’t offer solutions to the problem as I don’t have that kind of ego. But it we can recognise the problem and identify why it still exists then perhaps we might be able to move towards a lasting solution.

    I think there is real hatred towards Rangers fans from quite a lot of Celtic Supporters particularly when the Old Firm meet. I believe that there is a even bigger proportion of the Rangers support who feel the same towards Celtic Supporters. I really don’t think there is much to be learnt in a practical sense for the modern day from a micro-analysis of the religious/historical grounds which lie at the root of these feelings.

    But I have always felt that there is a historical dividing line between both sets of fans which is rooted in the famine history of Ireland. It’s a fact that most of those fleeing the various Irish Famines to Scotland were poor Irish Catholics although there was a significant percentage of Protestants as well. Famine was no respector of religion.

    But I think a lot of the Catholic Irish no matter whether they dispersed across Britain or America didn’t regard their new location as their spiritual home but always saw that as an Ireland they were forced from either by hunger or the landlords or indeed both.

    The Protestants differed in that many originally emigrated from Britain to colonise Ireland with Government approval and many of those later driven back across the water by hunger still had family/area ties particularly in Scotland.

    Obviously the terrible and prolonged outbreak of violence in NI which followed the crushing of the Civil Rights Movement led to an increase in football sectarianism in Scotland. But with relative peace in Ireland in recent years, bigotry has again been easing and Wee Fergus had a lot to do with this at Celtic which I believe is the greatest legacy he gifted to the club after its survival.

    For too long those in charge of the Scottish Game and politicians did nothing effective and when I observe the tactics over sevco I really wonder if we had moved as far as I though – but I remain an optimist although I’ve always felt that the poison of bigotry in Scotland can never be effectively lanced unless we recognised the hatred that exists, based initially on religious differences, in an element of both sets of supporters.

    Of course this hatred I talk about is a million light years away from the fierce and passionate support that decent Rangers and Celtic fans give to their teams when the two battle it out for 90 minutes and this type of fan doesn’t leave the stadium with murder and mayhem in their heart.

    I have dealt in very broad brushstrokes with Rangers and Celtic – so what about the other Scottish Clubs. Well sectarianism does creep in with regard to Rangers attitude towards the ‘historical’ Catholic clubs set up in the 1800s with those fleeing the Famine such as Hibs. Then there is the constant brushfire of antagonism and antipathy that various other clubs have for a variety of slights/events real and imagined and I would put Aberdeen/Rangers in that one.

    But what swells the ‘hatred’ in virtually every SPL club support which I know has genuinely shocked ordinary Rangers Supporters? I have always felt that it is based on the 9 in a row generation of Rangers Fans. I used to say back then that we were seeing a generation of Rangers Supporters being born who had never known defeat but it went much deeper than that because these fans didn’t just expect to win they really believed they were entitled to win and were ‘Simply the Best’.

    It was hard times for Celtic but as a support we did develop an armour of humour to deal with the footballing nightmare we were going through. The superiority mantle was hard to deal with and was much worse for other SPL clubs who were regarded as mere cannon-fodder by Rangers. I think a lot of the ingrained hatred of Rangers was built-up at that time. There was also a slowly hardening feeling I believe in a lot of club support to the importing of vile sectarian songs and chants from Rangers and Celtic fans at away grounds. I really think that this has become less acceptable to football supporters in general and local inhabitants who might have absolutely no interest in the game. But again the footballing and club authorities, in reality, turn a blind eye to maximise travelling support income.

    But the tipping-point that galvanised this undercurrent of discontent into white-heat fury and rage against Rangers throughout Scotland IMHO was the fact that the superiority of Rangers was built on financial doping. In another pre-internet age I really don’t think the story would have unfolded the way it has. But internet driven fan power unleashed all these years of frustration which engulfed Rangers.

    It’s interesting the effect that this has had on the Rangers Support in my book with ordinary fans wanting to go down to SFL3 and rebuild their club’s integrity and the die-hard bigots who genuinely believe Rangers has done no wrong and has been punished enough and that was before SPL expulsion.

    I know all the sporting integrity and financial pros and cons about Rangers going to SFL3 but I believe the move could give the decent Rangers support the chance to take control of their club and totally marginalise the bigots who might actually walk away when they have no guarantee of success. Ordinary fans know that all you can ask of any player is that they give of their best – winning is the icing on the cake but it should never be taken for granted and it’s never ever guaranteed not even when you cheat.

  20. Ernesider

    ” However, the one common factor is the perception outside Ibrox that the residents there get their way, and that they expect to, on the basis that they always have.”

    In this one sentence you have summed it all up.

    And you could substitute “Orange Order” for “Ibrox” to explain the two months of annual sectarian bitterness and hatred, that is about to kick off in N. Ireland

    • mick

      2month of bitterness (publicly funded)poilce services ambulance and safety distrubution to local business’sits the same in scotland its a massive cost at a time when goverments are cutting benifits

  21. redetin

    No reason seems to have been given for the NO vote by SPL members. A simple:
    – “The application was not within the rules”
    – “Sevco does not have a team of the required quality for SPL”
    – “Sevco does not have financial stability”
    – “There is no guarantee that Sevco can complete a season”
    – “Sevco cannot show guaranteed access to a stadium”
    This might have clarified how the decision was reached. Was any guidance given?
    The vote seems to have been completely discretionary.


    Watching this saga unfold from the other side of the world my Scottish disposition to get irritated by preferential treatment kicks in. Creditors have lost money (including most people on here since we are taxpayers). You shouldn’t be able to walk away from debts/obligations with a simple slap on the wrist. I too am amazed at the perceived arrogance. Charles Green’s talk of not being allowed to “rejoin” the SPL drove the point home.
    In my opinion Sevco should not be allowed into the SFL or SFA membership until they can satisfy minimum standards of integrity.
    – State what name they will be playing under. For integrity there should no actual or perceived link with the old Rangers club unless creditors have been paid. i.e. The Rangers or New Rangers won’t fly but Govan Rangers or Glasgow City Rangers are fine since they are geographically sound.
    – Acknowledge that this is a new club not a continuation of a bankrupt club that is in the process of being liquidated with creditors owed lots of dosh.
    – Give full disclosure of what assets were bought at what price from Rangers so financial integrity can be maintained. If SevCo bought assets at a fraction of their worth then Sevco is also morally financially tainted since it took away money that should have been available to creditors. Sevco have acquired a 40000+ stadium, a squad of some description for at most GBP 5.5m (less if they expected to get payments due to Rangers). What about marketing deals ? Shirt sales ? Who has the rights to these ? Exactly how many assets did they obtain ? No other club in Scotland (or likely the world) has been able to start up under such preferential terms. It is not a level playing field
    I cannot see Sevco complying with any of these terms and thus if I were an SFL chairman would view any bids by genuine teams (Spartans etc) over a Sevco bid which was not my position a couple of months ago.

  23. NeFisher

    What I can’t quite fathom is how the SFL teams can have a vote on the admitance of Sevco Scotland when their own rules appear to be clear, rule 5 for 3 leagues of 10, rule 93 for promotion/relegation including to the SPL which at present means there is a full league.

    Rule 12 requires 2 years notice to quit the league for anyone so unless this rule is broken by a club again there is no vacancy. however, should a club breach this rule by accepting an invitation to join the SPL (Dundee ?) then rule 14 would come into effect as would rule 94.3 which gives the Board the power to make any decision regarding a replacement. Might be problems if that team is subsiquently relegated though

  24. Daddio

    I find the idea of SPL2 rather curious. I’m sure you will go into more detail about this, Paul, but won’t the clubs who join this league be putting themselves in a precarious poisition. Presumably they will be the clubs who voted yes (particularly if the majority of SFL1 clubs say no). They will be entering a league established soley for the purpose of getting Rangers back into the SPL1 in the shortest amount of time. Once this has happened then they have a problem as the reason for the SPL2 disappears. There is no guarantee that the SPL1 clubs won’t then treat them like the judases that they would be and they will have offended the remainder of the SFL clubs too.

  25. Boss Hogg

    Daddio, nail on head.

    The SFL club chairmen won’t have forgotten that the SPL spivs broke away because they didn’t want to share the spoils of “elite” Scottish football with the lower leagues. At the moment, when Rangers’ demise threatens SPL revenues, the Del Boys of the SPL are prepared to throw the SFL a bone of one sort or another to ensure that Rangers’ absence from the SPL last no more than one year. Either SFL1 with a nice touch of compo or SPL2 and let’s all be pals again.

    The SFL lads are a canny lot. They have to be for their clubs to survive on shoe string revenues. They’ll know full well that the minute SFL cooperation is no longer needed the SPL will once again cast aside their lowly brethren aside.

  26. p groom

    a stitch-up by sfa/spl/sfl boards on 13th july must be prevented in the interests of justice fairness and sporting integrity. the sfa has already said the sfl clubs will not be allowed a vote on div 3. the choices are only div1 or spl 2 and those choices will not be decided by vote but by a decision by the sfl board . see bbc scotlands piece revealing the latest obfuscation . all the sfl clubs need to let this sink in so they can realise how they are about to be railroaded by sfa and ultimately by spl and even their own board.
    I quote: ” the notice of the special general meeting ( on 13th july) proposes that rangers fc shall play in the third division of the scottish football league during season 2012/2013 ( wow I got it all wrong, but wait, it goes on…) unless the board (sfl) shall have to its satisfaction negotiated and reached agreement with the scottish premier league and the scottish football association on a series of measures which the board shall consider to be in the best interests of the game … how it is constructed how it is governed and how it is financed, whereupon the board (sfl) shall be authorised to provide that rangers fc shall play in the first division of the scottish football league during season 2012/13″. breathtaking stuff and they could also have mentioned what sfa board has also already decreed, namely that if sfl board rejects div 1 sfa will set up spl 2 to accomodate rangers. perhaps it wasnt mentioned because there are a few loose ends to be tied up in that scenario. sfl clubs please read and digest.

  27. Pingback: The Sevco Board Met The Rangers Fans Fighting Fund – What Happened? | Random Thoughts Re Scots Law by Paul McConville

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