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Rangers: the saga continues

By Tony Attwood

Untold has followed the Rangers saga from the moment we picked up on the tax case issues, and noted that the press were ignoring any suggestion of odd doings by dodgy dealers that circled the club.

When there is a story, and the press absolutely refuse to follow it, you can be pretty sure there is something underhand going on.

Now of course, following the court cases and revelations the press quietly forget their silence of time gone by, and pretend they have always been there breaking the news.   One day, when the truth about refereeing in the Premier League comes out, they’ll do the same agian.

But for now, let’s return to Rangers.

We’ve stayed with Rangers, not just because it is a story of dodgy dealings however, done this, but because it is a perfect example of what we have talked about time and again – of football being a home for all sorts of crooks.   We’ve done the same with Leeds and Portsmouth, and noted the doings at various overseas clubs.

But Rangers also has a special relevance to Arsenal as Rangers bought shares in Arsenal during its hour of need in 1910, and Herbert Chapman instituted a long running series of friendlies between Rangers and Arsenal, starting when both clubs were champions of their respective leagues.

The trouble with Rangers however is that things come and go so fast that by the time this is published will be old hat.  But still, because as I say, most of our papers don’t cover Rangers, I’ll plod along and do my best from a long way south of the border.

If you are new to this what you need to note is that in September 2014 a QC for the club said in court

“When we were last here, we heard how the share issue would only keep the lights on at Ibrox.  I can tell you the floodlights are back on at Ibrox and are in no danger of being switched off.  Talks are at an advanced stage with two potential investors. The club has not been in rude health for some time. But the situation is improving. The club is trading its way out of difficulties. Its current position is the envy of many English Premiership clubs.”

Now even I had a laugh at that – not just because the QC didn’t know what the top league in England was called, but also because what he said was so palpably untrue.  Rangers have been living on cash injections, using (for example) the season ticket money to get them through a month or two, then borrowing more for another month, and on and on.

Now they are broke again, and have just borrowed half a million pounds from its football chairman, which will keep them going for a few more days.  No more than that however because they owe our old chums HMRC a load of National Insurance payments.  That is the money removed from players salaries to pay for health services etc – along with money paid by the club itself.

Next thing we’ll find is that they are behind with their VAT.

Meanwhile Ally McCoist  has left, but under his contract has to be paid another three quarters of a million quid – which the club don’t have.  A new manager has been installed, so they are, as far as I can see, paying two managers.

So where is the Rangers money coming from?  Well, they’ve just sold Lewis Macleod to Brentford for £1 million, so that is being used as surety for the loan.  And to pay the ex manager.   The loan of half a million will keep the club going for another week or so.

20 comments to Rangers: the saga continues

  • Gord

    Popped up in the news today:

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-appoint-mike-ashleys-man-4923925

    > Rangers appoint Mike Ashley’s man Barry Leach as new finance director

  • Bill

    Hi Tony,
    The Spivs who bought the club (fraudulently, according to plod. Charges have been laid) thought that Rangers were going to lose a tax claim made by HMRC (said to be between 90 and 150 million quid).
    It was this claim that saw the former owner sell the club to the Spivs (he claimed he thought they were solid. As if.)
    The spivs said they would clear an 18 million debt to Lloyds Bank as part of the takeover, and deal with any payments to the tax mob if Rangers lost. The club was then transferred to the spivs for a token one pound payment.
    Turned out the spivs had no 18 million. What they’d done, ‘allegedly’ was show the former owner, false, proof of funds. When the transfer went through they borrowed 24 million against future season ticket sales, paid Lloyds the 18 million and trousered the balance.
    They then pocketed everything that was coming in, including season ticket and gate money. They paid the players to keep the scam on the road. But they didn’t pay the players PAYE or any VAT to the tax mob. More padding for the pantaloons.
    It was this tax debt (the little tax case (LTC)) that saw the tax mob talk about appointing an Administrator, not the big tax case (BTC) that is, the claim for 150 million, whatever.

    The spivs got in first, appointed their own Administrators, who saw off a lot of interested buyers and sold to “approved purchasers”. These same Administrators have been charged with fraud for their involvement with the original purchase of the club, by the spivs.

    The club was sold by the Administrators to a bunch of new spivs, perhaps. The spivs are backed by ‘investors’ in two companies in which nobody knows the names of who owns them. Old spivs? new and old spivs? Perhaps, they are fine upstanding citizens, eh?

    Since the new spivs took over the cash moves out the door faster than a ‘pass the parcel’ game in Belfast. Any real investors are prevented from investing in the club. Everyone knows they are trash. Nobody will put cash into the club unless they get control, to stop the spivs from ‘removing it’.

    As things turned out, had the original spiv paid the PAYE and VAT, he’d have been home and dry. Rangers old operating company won the big tax case. HMRC appealed. Oldco again won the appeal.
    HMRC have appealed yet again, costing the taxpayers millions, knowing that even if the win Oldco will pay nothing, as they are in liquidation and the clubs new owner/operators are not liable.

    The scum at HMRC (together with the scummy spivs) started all this destruction. They say they are pressing ahead, in the hope that they’ll win, because if they do they’ll be coming after all the top EPL clubs for billions. They all used the same tax strategies as Rangers. They admit they used Rangers as a ‘test case’. They figured if they could nail a club like Rangers, the rest would crumble like a souffle and pay up.

    The tax scheme has been shown to be legal. The ‘appeal’ has no chance. Everybody knows it. They are nothing but filth. They have destroyed what has always been described as the ‘Quintessential British Club’. Everything ‘British’ seems to be under attack these days. British Culture and the Nation-State itself.

    Anyway the spivs are still hanging in there. They brought in Ashley, gave him retail rights contracts and property securities, for short term loans of a couple of million. The fans are now, at last, boycotting and most of the cash has dried up for the spivs.

    They have accepted a half million loan from one of the spivs secured against the sale of our best young player, for less than a million quid. This is despite three real initial investment offers of 7 million, 16 million and the latest 18 million.

    These offers require the removal of the spivs, so they’re pleading with Ashley to step in and sve their rotten necks. Who knows what he’s up to? He’s a real piece of work that bloke. No wonder the Geordies hate his fat guts.

    I’ve thought for a long time that they plan to appoint their own Administrators and try to start the whole process over again. Ashley could be after the REAL ESTATE, and whatever else he can get his filthy paws on.

    We can only hope that the likes of Dave King and the ‘Three Bears’ (all real Rangers supporters) can see them off. The new ‘Yank’ on the scene looks like a decent bloke, so he might be able to help. Having said that, it’s hard to know who ordinary punters can trust in football these days.

    A bit long winded Tony, but I think that’s apretty good summing up of a very complicated business.

    All the best , to all Gunners fans. Arsenal have always been my ‘English’ team, since I was a wee boy. They’ve always been extremely popular with ‘Gers fans, as you well know, of course.
    I, ll never forget the Rangers Centenary match in 1973. Before the game everyone was wondering who they’d play. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern were all interested.
    The Rangers manager made a comment a couple of weeks before the game, “When you have a birthday party, you invite your friends”. I KNEW then it’d be Arsenal. Told all and sundry, I did.

    Unfortunately, in those days, Arsenal like Rangers didn’t play friendlies, as such. No scripts, they were always great games. All the goals were crackers. Rangers scored first (Alfie Conn). Johnnie Radford equalised. in the last minute John O’Neil hit a screamer into the roof of the net. 2-1 to Arsenal.
    Ibrox was bursting at the seems that night. The normal capacity in those days was 85,000. There was well over 90,000 there that night.

    Despite the score it was a magic night. Some old Gunners fans might remember it.

    All the best Tony,

    Up the Gunners.

    Bill

  • Bill

    PS Just thinking Tony, it might have been John Radford that scored first, and Alfie Conn who equalised.
    I’m claiming ‘Seniors Privilege’.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I must say that really is a sad state of affairs for your club Bill.

    We can only hope that Arsenal never falls to anything like that. But luckily our board seems determined to work in a prudent way with our club finances. Despite a lot of ******** fans screaming to spend all the fucking money….

    You can’t be careful enough I think…

  • Gunnerjoe

    Bill if some of our fans had their way they’d be quit happy to hand our club to the kind of people who helped Rangers to the sorry state they are In at the moment.
    I hope things improve for you and your club good luck.

  • Scott

    Relegation again?

    Rangers have never been relegated.

    Liquidated, yes, but never relegated.

  • colario

    Hi Bill I to was there that night. High up st the back of the terrace at the end our goals were scored. What a night.

    I felt sorry for the Rangers fans that night after all it was their party, but with my London accent I dare not open my mouth!

    Thanks Rantetta for the links.

  • Scott, yes I should have said Demoted as punishment for going into liquidation.

    Here’s a quick take from the Guardian today

    The club had admitted in its last annual report that more than £8m needed to be raised – starting this month – simply to keep the business trading through the current financial year. For all it is unwise to second guess anything in this crisis, fiscal pressures mean an end game is approaching at a business which has slipped from crisis to crisis since David Murray handed over ownership to Craig Whyte for just £1 in 2011.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tony,
    As I was running through the archives of Untold a few days ago I bounced in to an article from your hand published in 2009.

    In that article you predicted the danger of the financial meltdown and downfall of Rangers.
    One could say you knew there was a problem even before the board room of Rangers knew that it had problems….

  • Steve

    Thanks for taking the time to write this article about my club. As you said, Rangers and Arsenal always had a special relationship.

    To sum the whole mess up, the HMRC put Rangers in a vulnerable state chasing imaginary debts that have proven to never exist. This opened the door for the vultures who we have still yet to evict.
    This alongside the mess that it is Scottish football (only in our league could we have the head of Celtic making decisions about Rangers on Scottish football’s behalf, crooked or what?), the rest of the teams lining up to kick us when we’re down and the constant barrage of nonsense, has created a s*it-storm that we are struggling to get out of.
    Good luck to Arsenal with the rest of your season.

  • nicky

    “Football being the home for all sorts of crooks”
    Never a truer word was written.

  • Gf60

    @ Bill….Dave King to “see them off”? On 14 June 2002 BBC News referred to South African reports that King faced eleven counts of fraud when he appeared at the Regional Court in Randburg, near Johannesburg. He was alleged to owe the tax authorities over 900 million Rand: approximately £60m. King’s tax problems began after he bought an Irma Stern painting at an auction for R1.7 million in 2000. This attracted the attention of Charles Chipps, special investigator at the South African Revenue Service, SARS, who was surprised to discover that King had declared a taxable income of only R60,000.

    After a decade of legal process, including an agreed, but vetoed, settlement, King eventually reached an agreement with the South African High Court whereby he pled guilty to 41 criminal counts of contravening the South Africa Income Tax Act and agreed to pay a fine of 80,000 Rand per criminal conviction or 3.28 million Rand in total. As part of the deal to drop the other 281 criminal charges he faced, King also agreed that he would pay the Criminal Assets Recovery Account of the South African Authorities 8.75 million Rand in compensation. King was originally indicted on 322 counts including fraud, tax evasion and evasion of exchange control regulations, as well as money-laundering and racketeering

  • Micheal Ram

    Maybe Arsenal should have Rangers FC in Emirates friendly or Emirates Cup and donate all the procedings to Rangers FC. Or whenever Arsenal takes off for overseas friendlies, Rangers should tag along and increase their profile there. If Arsenal and Rangers share that special relationship, I suppose like brothers, that’s the right thing to do. Win-win situation for both clubs. And maybe loan some of our players to them to keep them fit. I will do that for my brother.

  • omgarsenal

    My Scottish grandfather was a regular at every home and away game for Rangers when he worked in Glasgow. My mother told me he used to put a flask of whiskey in one pocket and a brick in the other. The whiskey was to keep him ¨warm¨ and the brick was to throw at the Catholics so I was told!
    If Mike Ashley is anyway involved in Rangers FC business,you can bet there is corruption and nefariousness about. It seems very easy for a club to be scuttled by shady characters and by the avaricious rats at HMRS and i hope the Arsenal will always be shielded from such scum by their strong values and dignified approach to management.

  • Bill

    Hi Lads,
    Thanks for the feedback. Particularly on the Rangers v Arsenal, Centenary game in 1973.
    Particular thanks to Rantetta for the links, very informative. However, mate you’ve got me worried now about my health. Dementia must be setting in I think. The goalscorers were as your link pointed out Parlane for Rangers, and Charlie George and John Radford for the Gunners. Not, Conn for Rangers, Radford and Terry Neill ( I said John O’Neil????? told you I was getting bad).
    On the crowd that night. It said only 71,000. I can’t believe that. I’ve stood regularly, and comfortably, at Ibrox, in crowds over 80,000. That night we were packed in like sardines. I was at the traditional ‘Rangers End’, but even so, from my viewpoint the rest of the ground was equally packed.
    In those days thousands of kids used to get ‘lifted’ over the turnstiles so didn’t get counted. Also if it looked like a lock out was coming (happened a lot in those days) a lot of men would jump the turnstiles as well and just throw the cash at the bloke on the gate. That night though the entry was only a shilling. The price it was 100 years before.

    On my mix up with the scorers. Alright, I’m not getting any younger. Who is? But I was definitely there one night when Conn (Rangers) Radford and Neill (Arsenal) were the scorers. If I wasn’t, I must be losing my mind.
    I’m sure Johnnie Radford scored with a cracking header that night (so it wasn’t the centenary game obviously). Alfie Conn scored with a fantastic volley, I’m sure. Well almost, because Derek Parlane’s goal in the Centenary match looks a bit similar in my memory.
    One thing is for sure (if I’m wrong, I’ll check myself into a home for the bewildered) Terry Neill scored an absolute screamer in the dying moments of the game. I remember the silence. One second the place was rocking. The next, you could hear a pin drop (I swear to god, I could hear the Arsenal players going mental, and they were at the opposite end of the ground. That might have happened in the Centenary game as well from “memory” LOL).
    It was a stunner. After the silence, the whole ground burst into applause.
    Nigel Winterburn would have given his eye teeth for a strike like it.

    I have searched the web and can’t find a thing on it. Looking at the fixtures on Rantetta’s link I think it must be the 1968/69 game at Ibrox.
    If anyone can confirm, at least some of my recollections, I’d be most grateful.
    Cheers all.
    Bill

    ps Sorry about the long posts. I’m not usually this bad. Honest I’m not.

  • Bill

    Forget the above lads. Iv’e lost it, I’m afraid. I was sure that Terry Neill scored a late winner. It must have been John Radfords strike in the Centenary game. Perhaps his header that I remember was chalked off or saved. I don’t know anymore.
    Apologies, and all the best,
    Bill

  • Maureen Spratt

    I find the comments from omgarsenal offensive about the grandfather having a brick in his pocket to throw at Catholics shameful