Media, Scottish Football

EBTs: They’ve Done Us All A Favour!

Good Afternoon.

The Clumpany was startled by two things this morning.

Firstly, it came to light that The Sunday Post is still an actual ‘thing’. Who knew?!

And secondly, within that fine publication, Alan Brazil had contributed some nonsense that actually managed to outdo his usual output.

Well done Alan!

Alan Brazil: Mike Ashley is worse news for Rangers than EBTs

YOU can’t change the past. It’s as true in football as it is in life itself. So, for the life of me, I can’t understand why the Rangers title-stripping debate continues to rage.”

Oh dear Alan! Could it be because there’s a chance that Rangers (IL) cheated for a decade and thereby warped the Scottish national sport completely out of shape? 

And people kind-of-think that it’s just not on?

“At the third time of asking, the courts have ruled against the Ibrox club over their use of EBTs, and the clamour for repercussions has been intense.”

What is it with football pundits and their inability to grasp the basic concept of ‘appealing to a higher court’? Brazil sounds like he has been taking to Derek Johnstone and Roger Mitchell who seem to think Rangers (IL) are still leading the match against HMRC 2-1.

“But I don’t think it’s healthy for Scottish football to get itself wrapped up in the past. All of us – fans, clubs, players and pundits – should be looking to the future.”

Aye, let’s do that Alan. The millions of pounds possibly wasted by fans following a rigged game is no biggie is it? 

And if past cheating is ignored, it definitely won’t encourage others to cheat in the future, reassured that no meaningful consequences are likely to follow, will it?

Brazil does at least acknowledge concerns about the possible advantage conferred by the non-payment of tax on EBTs. But only to a very limited degree.

“I understand people’s desire to see justice served. I’ve even heard it suggested the players should hand back their medals as their crime is akin to that committed by the Russian athletes who’ll be stripped of their Olympic gongs over the London 2012 doping scandal.

That’s complete nonsense. The Rangers players during the EBT years were not cheats.”

Brazil doesn’t consider the possibility that without the club’s non-payment of tax on EBTs the players wouldn’t have been on the pitch in the first place! 

Nor does he dwell upon the player registration implications of EBTs and side letters. If the players’ registrations were invalid from the outset (and as I discussed yesterday, that is still a distinct possibility), there are hundreds of fixtures where those players should have lost the game 3-0. Which would be quite significant!

And then we get to Alan’s punchline:

“The best way for anyone aggrieved by the club’s success at that time to get back at them is to ensure that when they return to the Premiership, they are not given an easy ride. If I was a manager, it would be a straightforward team talk.

‘Right lads, this lot won things that they shouldn’t have. They won things our club could have won. Now get out there and stuff them for it!’

That’s what football thrives on. Certainly, when I was a player, if you felt you’d been wronged by another team, you’d be going all out to make sure you got them back for it in the next game. That’s the attitude Scottish clubs need to take here.”

Good grief! So the EBT years should be treated as if an opposition manager had said a couple of rude things about 41 teams in senior football? Teams should pin copies of EBT-related documentation up on the dressing room wall and use it as a motivating factor?

What utter crap!

The issues raised by last week’s Court of Session ruling go way beyond a bit of besmirchment. They are about whether Scottish football, its clubs and its fans systematically had the p*ss taken out of them for years on end!

Brazil concludes his musings (having *gasp* sensibly reflected on what a tough operator His Big Mikeness is) by trundling out a version of one of the Great Baseless Clichés of Scottish football.

“The Gers are flying on the park and should be back in the Premiership next season. And whatever nonsense is going on off the park, that will be brilliant for Scottish football.”

‘Brilliant’? How’s that Alan? The last time there was a Rangers-flavoured entity in the top flight, it drove itself off a cliff, stiffing 276 creditors and having apparently not paid due tax on wages!

So much of what it brought to the party seems to have been a lie. And we still don’t know the true extent of it, or whether appropriate sanctions have been imposed.

Brazil might find more people sharing his enthusiasm for a competitive Sevco in the top flight if these matters were fully  addressed and resolved. And if there was proper moral hazard in our game: a clear sense that if you do wrong you WILL get found out and punished.

Only then can we move on from the past and head into the future with some confidence about there being a level playing field in operation.

But Alan Brazil doesn’t seem to want that.

And as a result, he appears painfully out of touch with most of Scotland.



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