Well that’s it then.
You can stick your Insolvency Law where the sun don’t shine.
You can forget all about what Lord Nimmo Smith actually said.
You can forget all about incorporation and liquidation.
You can forget all about a completely new entity buying the dismembered parts of a club that died owing creditors millions of pounds.
You can forget all about a club that finished second in the SPL not playing in Europe the following season, and not entering the Scottish Cup in the later rounds as you might ordinarily expect.
You can forget about a new entity having to apply to join the SPL and then the SFL.
You can forget all about the new entity being given an entirely new sort of SFA membership (a ‘conditional’ one) to allow it to play senior football.
You can also forget all about the new entity being given Associate Membership of the SFL, as that was the only sort of membership it could be given.
No, all of that is now utterly irrelevant.
Because the promotional material for a FIFA magazine has referred to Rangers being “in the hunt for promotion back to Scotland’s top flight”.
And when you add that to
- the unilateral comments of Neil Doncaster,
- a ruling by…errr… the Advertising Standards Agency,
- the welcoming arms of the European Clubs Association; and
- the assertions of ‘history-buying’ Sevco founder Charles Green
…you – yes YOU Timmy – have irrefutable proof that Sevco IS Rangers.
I usually try to avoid the Twilight Zone of the ‘same club’ debate. Mainly because I view it as completely ridiculous.The entity pretending to be Rangers cannot possibly be Rangers unless you screw up your eyes very tightly and believe that a crack team of Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and William of Orange can perform a miracle.
But I also know that there is no point arguing with those for whom the self-inflicted demise of Rangers is just too awful to think about. They will never accept what happened in 2012. And good luck to them in that.
However, what I do take exception to is the MSM attempting to pass off a laughable ‘survival narrative’ as truth. I may not be Einstein, but I have enough intelligence to know when it is being insulted.
While the media continues to detatch itself from any semblance of balanced coverage about the demise of Rangers, I and others will continue to challenge and laugh at it.
There could be any number of reasons for the media’s glossing-over of the creditor-stiffing, rule-breaking, death-experiencing legacy of Rangers.
It could be a result of editorial decision – they think it will sell more papers.
It could be because they are ‘Rangers’ fans, and want to champion Sevco’s cause.
It could be because they want a return to the ‘easy life’, with regular lamb being provided by the Ibrox club.
It could be because they fear the consequences of speaking the truth.
Or it could be a combination of these things.
Whatever the reason, it’s as shameful as it is hilarious.
But back to that ‘FIFA’ article…
“FIFA step into new row over Rangers ‘old or new club’ status” proclaimed the headline over Martin ‘Engine Room Subsidiary’ Williams’ piece in The Herald and Evening Times.
Of course, FIFA did nothing of the sort. But Martin isn’t one to shy away from an opportunity to add momentum to the pretence that Sevco is Rangers…
The Record also couldn’t resist the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon, and ran with
“FIFA insist Rangers ARE the same football club despite liquidation woes”
Even the most cursory glance at what was actually said will tell you that FIFA most certainly weren’t insisting on anything! But that wasn’t enough to stop the unidentified Record scribe from claiming otherwise!
However the Record’s piece was relatively brief. Unlike Martin Williams’ breathless extravaganza, which I shall now attempt to dissect.
The piece begins:
“THE WORLD’S football’s ruling body has entered the heated debate over Rangers’ status after liquidation by promoting an article indicating it is not a new club”
Promoting an article?! Bloody hell! It doesn’t come much more awe-inspiring than that…
“Promotional material from FIFA headquarters to promote the content of its weekly magazine, states: “After their enforced relegation in 2012, Glasgow Rangers are in the hunt for promotion back to Scotland’s top flight.””
The “enforced relegation” phrase immediately tells us about the calibre of information with which we are dealing…
But let’s press on…
“It later emerged the comment promoted an ‘On The Inside’ article headlined ‘Rangers eye top-flight return’ written by Swiss writer Peter Eggenberger”
So it was just a comment promoting a piece by a Swiss writer. This really isn’t the kind of definitive ruling on the ‘same club’ issue for which we have all been yearning…
“In spring 2012, Rangers were placed into liquidation and relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football. The 54-time champions overcame another obstacle on the long road back to the Premier League last weekend”
The piece is at least correct about liquidation. The relegation point is a nonsense. The notion of some sort of ‘return’ is utterly risible.
To be fair to Martin Williams he does at least acknowledge that some find the survival story to be ridiculous.
However, it is done in an offhand and dismissive way, saying Celtic fans “caused controversy” with their newspaper advert before the Celtic-Sevco game.
Martin then refers to “diehards” who will only call Sevco …errr… ‘Sevco’, and gives absolutely no acknowledgement to the fact that fans of all clubs loathe the ‘same club’ charade…
He also completely ignores the detailed substance of the argument set out in the Celtic fans’ advert. Thus continuing the practice of all MSM journalists.
There is a brief moment for optimism when Martin refers to the Charles Green consortium having bought Rangers’ liquidated assets. However it dissipates as quickly as any rigour that Martin might have been tempted to bring to his piece…
Instead we are treated to a ‘Greatest Hits’ of the Same Club Mythers. [NB That sounds like the name of a truly awful pop group…].
Neil Doncaster’s quotes of 1 January 2015 are repeated at length, but not analysed. Anyone who read them at the time will remember that Doncaster was relying on a very small part of what Lord Nimmo Smith said, stripped out of context and without any reference to the ‘unhelpful’ bits. Such as:
“This is not to say that a Club has legal personality, separate from and additional to the legal personality of its owner and operator. We are satisfied that it does not, and Mr McKenzie did not seek to argue otherwise. So a Club cannot, lacking legal personality, enter into a contract by itself.”
“Rangers ceased to be a club” – Lord Nimmo Smith
Neil Doncaster’s assertions were a steaming pile of crap back in January, and Martin Williams isn’t able to make them smell any better now.
Martin then wheels out the rickety old ASA/UEFA ‘argument’.
“It has emerged that UEFA confirmed to the ASA that its rules allowed for the recognition of the “sporting continuity” of a club’s match record, even if that club’s corporate structure had changed”.
That may be the case Martin, but liquidation isn’t restructuring. It is death and dismemberment.
It is terminal.
Martin presses on:
“The European Club Association, the sole independent body recognised by UEFA and FIFA as representing clubs at European level confirmed Rangers remain as members of the organisation in December, 2012 after the transfer of ownership”
Oooh, so the Trade Asscociation for European football clubs was content to let the new Rangers entity fill the gap left by the old one. Yes, on that basis the ECA clearly has the remit and power to rule on the life of death of a football…
And it is worth pondering quite why Rangers was a full member of the ECA and Sevco became an associate member… Perhaps it was just a dirty trick by Peter Lawwell?
Mr Williams isn’t quite finish yet. And by this point in his article I was really enjoying the irony of seeing him flog a dead horse so robustly…
No doubt his next piece will flog another dead horse, and Martin will insist it is the ‘same’ one.
“In June, 2012, Lord Glennie in considering a decision to uphold a transfer embargo on Rangers referred to “Rangers Football Club plc, a company presently in administration.. .that presently operates Rangers Football Club.”
Dear me Martin. Lord Glennie was simply stating a fact. Of course RFC plc operated RFC. It was an incorporated football club!
Being a football club subject to the rules of the SFA (whose footballing penalty they were seeking to overturn) was what RFC plc existed to do.
There is no magic bullet here to demonstrate the separation of club and company. Indeed at the time of Lord Glennie’s hearing not one commentator or Rangers fan gave a toss about it. It was self evident that they were the same.
So nae luck Martin. Your retrospective interpretation doesn’t work.
And if you really want to talk about the separation of club and company, can I refer you to Article 12 of UEFA’s FFP Regulations, which begins:
“A licence applicant may only be a football club, i.e. a legal entity fully responsible for a football team participating in national and international competitions…”?
So there’s your dinner. ‘Ethereal’ doesn’t wash.
A club must be a legal entity. And in the case of Rangers it was a company. Which was liquidated.
So there you have it. FIFA promoting an article about Sevco has been spun into a full-blow tour de farce in support of the wet dreams of the ‘same club’ flat-earthers.
Another tiny fig leaf has been applied to try and cover up the naked shame of the Big Lie. Fortunately such fig leaves are easily blown away by the merest breath of truth.
It was a nice try, and it was amusing to see such a stunt (coincidentally?) being pulled on Celtic’s Trophy Day.
But that’s all it was. A stunt.
A stunt which failed to mention what the FIFA website had said about Rangers in its “12 moments that defined 2012” piece.
“…shock when, after 140 years of history and a world record 54 league titles, the club was consigned to liquidation in mid-June. The Glasgow giants were subsequently reformed as a new company and granted entry to the Third Division”.
If Martin Williams and others really want to add some value to the ‘same club’ debate, they could write more-balanced pieces, and give a voice to those of us who refuse to bend to a handed-down convenient narrative.
Better still, get someone from the SFA, UEFA or FIFA to provide a definitive ruling on the issue. The media has completely failed to do this so far.
I wonder why?
The best we have had is Stewart Regan evasively saying saying that Sevco’s status as a new club is a question to be discussed in the pub. Thanks for that Stewart.
Until we do get a genuine ruling, the truth is best found in the clauses of Insolvency Law, and on the front pages of Scottish newspapers the day after Rangers’ creditors rejected the proposed CVA.
Rangers FC – an incorporated entity – was liquidated.
There was no way back.
And there never will be.