Scottish Football, SPFL

The King of Retribution?

Good Evening.

Yesterday, the Evening Shark-Jump published this piece about Sevco’s Stewart Robertson.

Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson targets positions of power with the SPFL and SFA

In comments that had a whiff of entitlement about them, Robertson spoke about Sevco being represented at senior level in the administration of Scottish football. You may recall that despite some media backing he failed to be voted on to the SPFL Board earlier this year.
This is what he had to say…

“The club has been on the outside for too long in these last three or four years. A club of Rangers stature should be at the top table – we should be in there and have a voice and should have an influence with what’s going on in the Scottish game.”

“It’s absolutely key that we do that – myself and Andrew Dickson have been having regular meetings with Stewart Regan, Neil Doncaster and Ralph Topping, and some of the PLC board members have been doing that regularly too.”

“It’s about building relationships – it helps that we know them from days gone past, so that’s made it a bit easier to do that. They have got the confidence in us now that the board and the team here are looking to do the best for Rangers, but also for Scottish football.”

“Andrew is already on a couple of key committees. The next stage will be to get onto the SPFL board and in due course the SFA board, so these are steps we definitely want to take.”

Should be at the top table.

Having an influence.

Building relationships. 

Looking to do the best for Scottish football.

Well that’s all very nice. Although it is only fair to point out that Sevco officials actually have no divine right to get into positions of authority simply because they know how to walk up a Marble Staircase.

Robertson didn’t join the SPFL Board because he didn’t get enough votes. Other clubs didn’t want him there. That ought to lead him to conclude that he (and Sevco) ought to start doing something to change their minds.

The Clumpany thought about Robertson’s comments when reading Dave King’s staunch statement about the implications of the Big Tax Case today. And wondered whether it might offer a clue as to the kind of influence and leadership Sevco might bring to the ‘top table’ of Scottish football.

The statement was released with immaculate (and presumably completely coincidental) timing shortly after the Charles Green v RIFC hearing concluded at the Court of Session. 

Dave King Statement

King made three points:

Firstly: “The tax scheme may have reduced the need for shareholders to provide higher levels of funding so, as I have tried to make clear in the past, any advantage gained would have been to the company and its shareholders, not the team.”

Of course these remarks are at odds with those he made in June 2012 when he said

“With regard to EBTs, I was on the board so I have to take some responsibility.”

“And I follow the logic of the argument that if we lose the tax case then we probably gained some competitive advantage.”

“I believe that, on behalf of myself and most of the board members who were with me and probably agree with me, that we should apologise for that.”

Secondly, King said: “Lord Nimmo Smith has fully and finally dealt with the legitimacy of the continuity of the Club’s history. There is no more to be debated on that issue.”

Of course LNS didn’t fully and finally deal with that issue (see today’s Court of Session hearing, for example). And nor was he asked to deal with it.

Finally: “It is extraordinary that representatives of other Scottish clubs – who admit the damage done to Scottish football by Rangers’ removal from the Premier League – should even wish to re-engage with this issue. It is time those individuals, who represent other clubs, recognise their legal and fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and shareholders rather than submit to the uninformed ramblings of a few outspoken fans to whom attacking Rangers is more important than the wellbeing of their own clubs.

This is a misguided attempt (that will ultimately fail) to rewrite history and defeat Rangers off the park when their teams could not do so on the park at the time. The history of many other clubs would have to be rewritten if this illogical argument was to be consistently applied.

Having reviewed documentation that has become available to me I believe that Rangers was harshly and, in some instances, unfairly treated in the period leading up to demotion from the Premier League. However, that is now history and I have publicly stated, with the full support of the recently installed board, that we wish to put the past behind us and move on in partnership with all clubs throughout Scotland to improve and restore the image and quality of Scottish football as a whole. This will be to the benefit of all clubs.

For the avoidance of doubt, however, I wish to make one point clear. If the history of our Club comes under attack we will deal with it in the strongest manner possible and will hold to account those persons who have acted against their fiduciary responsibilities to their own clubs and to Scottish football.”

Wow! Just wow!

A man who was on the board of Rangers as it went to its creditor-stiffing doom, talking about taking action against others who haven’t run their own clubs (or the wider game) properly!

The message here seems to be that Sevco is prepared to reach out and work in partnership with other clubs. But they have to shut up and move on from any concerns about whether the Scottish game was a sham for a decade.

Or. Else.

If this is the kind of influence and leadership that Sevco might bring to the game then I hope that Mr Robertson and other Sevco officials don’t get to hold high office any time soon.

When King speaks about “the history of our Club coming under attack” you could substitute the words “a fair process being put in place to assess if cheating occurred, and to consider whether any sanctions should be applied”. Because that’s what I and many other fans want to see. And I hope the clubs do too. 

Is King actually saying that there will be some sort of retribution should a proper disciplinary process be put in place and executed? Surely not! Because if he is, that would be truly extraordinary and surely likely to prompt complaints from other Chairmen, given that his ‘club’ has signed up to the same rules as everyone else. 

You might also note that King actually  encouraged creditors to consign Rangers FC (and thereby its history) to the dustbin by rejecting the CVA in 2012. So it seems a bit rich for him to be preaching about ‘history’ now.

But let’s assume that ‘the worst’ happens and Rangers (IL) are stripped of titles. What does King propose to do? Legal action against the governing bodies is possible but it is absolute anathema to UEFA and FIFA, and positively invites trouble.

Maybe King could take revenge by travelling around the boardrooms of Scottish football and dropping his bulging war chest on to the feet of club directors?


Or maybe be could bore everyone to death with boasting about the size of his wine cellar?

One thing is for sure, if Sevco really wants to reach out and ‘lead’ Scottish football, a little bit of humility, and the embracing of due process wouldn’t go amiss. 

Whatever that might mean for the trophies which Charles Green bought for his new club in 2012.