I see that, once again, one of my pieces has attracted some comment upon a Rangers fan website. It appears that it is seen as somehow inappropriate to question anything said by Mr McCoist (or at least for me to do so).
Some commenters here have also wondered why, every so often, I will point out the apparent errors in what the Rangers manager has to say. Partly this comes about because some of the comments seem so blatantly designed to help sell tickets rather than, for example, to actually explain what is happening, that I think it does no harm to point that out. In an echo too of “succulent lamb-ism” there rarely appears to be anyone in the media who points out the issues.
So, for example, in the SFL, unlike the SPL, “roster construction” is important. For most SFL teams (and probably for every one of them) the 22 player limit (for those 22 or over) is irrelevant. Even for teams relegated from the SPL the economic cutbacks needed mean that their player numbers would fall below that level.
In fact Rangers might be the only team where it has been an issue in recent years.
In American sport (and I can speak about baseball and American football) “roster construction” is a major skill. The only time it applies in club football in Europe is when picking the squad for European football, and in internationals, when choosing the players for World Cup Finals or European Championship Finals.
So it ought to be of no great surprise that a manager of a Scottish football team might not think at all about the issue – but someone should be thinking about it!
There was speculation that Mr McCoist was looking to bring in ten new players. On the basis that these would all be 21 or over, then where was he going to fit them in?
Signing players, whether by purchasing them from other teams or contracting with them as free agents, costs money. Every business, even one as cash-rich as Rangers, being the most financially stable club in the UK, needs to watch the money.
It would be a terrible and wasteful error for Rangers to sign more players than it would be allowed to register!
So the point of my piece about Rangers player numbers was not to ridicule Mr McCoist, who, after all, remains Rangers all-time leading goalscorer, nor to suggest that there would be some evil conspiracy to allow the rules to be circumvented, but simply that I had not seen any press coverage of the player limit, even when Mr McCoist’s player acquisition plans were being discussed, dating back indeed to last year when 9 or 10 players were reputed to be coming on loan from Newcastle.
(That story of course, which emanated from Mr Green rather than from Mr McCoist, to be fair, was patently and demonstrably nonsense from the first day it appeared.
SFL Rule 123.2.5 states:-
“The (SFL) Board shall not during a season approve more than four temporary transfers to any one club at any one time. Of these, no more than one such transfer at any one time shall involve a player who has reached the age of 21 years on 1st January of the appropriate year. The maximum number of temporary transfers allowed to any club in a season shall not exceed five, of which not more than two shall involve players who have reached the age of 21 years on 1st January of the appropriate year.”
So only four players can be at an SFL club on loan at one time, only five over the course of a season, and only one 21 year old or older at a time.)
Why then not pick up on what other teams say, or on what legal issues relate to other teams?
Frankly no other team in Scotland – not Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen or even Albion Rovers – has had anything like the number of legal issues surrounding Rangers. Equally the number of statements issued which seem to have little or no bearing on reality seems comparatively small at other clubs, or else, as with Neil Lennon’s comments about the SPFA Awards, there is public dissection and criticism of his views. Kenny Sheils, for example, is clearly a far more authoritative commentator on Scottish football matters than I am.
If someone can show me another business (never mind a football team) which has had the following list of legal issues over the last three years (and this list is illustrative and not exhaustive) then I will happily write about them!
Stock Market Listing
Legal Disputes about Sale of a Company
Sheriff Officer Action to Enforce Payment of Debt
Family Law Disputes
Dispositions of Heritable Property
Appointment and Removal of Company Directors
Income Tax Law
Employee Benefit Trusts
Tax Appeal Procedures
Judicial Overseeing of Conduct of Administrators
Conflict of Interest
The Nature of Legal Entities
Court Actions by Lawyers to Recover Fees
Enforcement of Debts Abroad
Interpretation of Disciplinary Codes
Ultra Vires Actions
Fiduciary Duties to Shareholders
The list goes on and on…
As I said, can anyone point me in the direction of one company, business or person who has been involved in all of those issues in recent years?
It is not a joke to say that one could almost create an entire and comprehensive syllabus for a law degree using only issues connected to Rangers over the last couple of years!
And so, that hopefully explains to some of the kind posters on the Rangers fan site I mentioned, why I keep writing about these issues.
However, I suspect that some of the posters there have either not read my post about which they are unhappy, or have not understood it.
In addition, there now seems to be an acceptance there as fact that I am employed by the BBC to offer legal opinions! That might well be very nice, but it is not the case!
I love the logic of one commenter who states that, as I have written only a handful of posts regarding Celtic, but hundreds about Rangers, I must be a Celtic supporter.
There is also repeated reference to Catholic education, or should I say “the state funded apartheid education system”.
Mr Davymcrfc1 is clearly not a fan – “That prick should meet an untimely death anytime soon”.
Neither is Mr RR Ger, although his logic defeats me – “Calling everyone Mr? Bent shot “.
Bizarrely, of over 50 comments, there are far more indulging in ad hominen attacks on me than actually address the issue in the post!
If they had read some of my posts, they might have noticed that in January I said that the Nimmo Smith Commission would not strip titles from Rangers; that back last June I said that “Rangers” under Sevco/Green was the same club as under Mr Whyte; that I never “prejudged” the Big Tax Case and that I have repeatedly and genuinely praised Mr Green for his outstanding business sense and his ability to identify a legitimate profit-making opportunity when others far closer to the issue were prepared to sit back and do nothing.
And it might seem a trifle ironic that the views expressed by me, and by others, about Mr Whyte’s business dealings, based not on blind prejudice, but on facts, have turned out now to have been accepted (though too late) by Rangers fans and that views expressed here about Mr Green too seem now to be in the process of adoption by some, though not all, of the Rangers faithful.
As I have said before, if people want to comment on what I write, I am happy for them to do so, even where I disagree. The fact that people like to comment on what they think or assume I have said, rather than what I have actually said, is rather different. To avoid falling into the same trap, I try where possible to quote the words of people about whom I am writing and to give the source, rather than assuming something second or third hand.
When Mr McMurdo, the excellent Rangers writer, called on me to explain why I “hated” Rangers, and indeed suggested he would find it more honest for me to admit that I did, rather than pretended I didn’t, I asked him and his readers to identify a single instance of something I had written which evidenced “hatred”. I am still waiting.
The bottom line is that I like writing about stuff connected, directly or tangentially, to the law and will continue to do so. It is usually the case that every single day there is something worthy of comment coming from Ibrox or those connected with it.
Put it this way, even if “obsessed”, if there is nothing to write about, then I won’t write about it!
However, I will have a piece up regarding Mr Brown’s various comments this week, and how they relate to another statement by Mr McCoist on the official Rangers website! (I know – I can’t help myself!) 🙂
Posted by Paul McConville