The Clumpany suspects it wasn’t deliberate, but the back page of today’s Sunday Mail will have struck a chord with anyone sickened by the contempt for fair competition and ‘punishment befitting the crime’ that is widely-perceived to be the hallmark of parts of our footballing media.
Yes, why wouldn’t you make a joke about the biggest scandal and still-running sore that has ever affected Scottish football? Particularly when declaring that a entity which pretends to be a creditor-stiffing, non-tax paying club will spend substantial sums on new players. An entity that has been surviving on loans.
The irony-free moral vacuum in which material like the back page of the Sunday Mail is prepared is pretty disgraceful. No sooner has the ‘same club’ been forced to pay a fine for which it agreed liabity when given preferential access to senior football in 2012, than the media cocks a snook at it!
What’s even more remarkable about the back page is that in making light of systematic rule-breaking it veers into the worst kind of Ibrox-related cliche.
The MSM’s fawning coverage of Sir David Murray’s big spending (without asking where the money came from) is the stuff of legend. There can be little doubt that had serious questions been asked by a fearless MSM in the 1990s and 2000s then alarm bells might have started ringing much earlier than 14 February 2012. [Assuming that folk weren’t listening to the Rangers Tax Case blog, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and others…].
But it didn’t happen, and when Charles Green founded Basket of Assets FC his talk of ‘warchests’ was lapped up as though the ‘good old days’ were on their way back. And what happened? A lot of money was spent, there were no big signings, and the “club’s” debt began to mount.
Consequently, it is hard not to roundly mock a tabloid back page which shouts about an Ibrox “Warbchest”.
As for the actual article trailed by that vomit-inducing back page… well, here it is:
Here are some key extracts:
“MARK WARBURTON will be told his transfer budget won’t be dented by Rangers’ £250,000 EBT penalty. Warburton wants to bring in up to six new faces ahead of a crack at the Premiership and will be looking for a seven-figure budget.
And chairman Dave King will tell the manager that Friday’s court ruling forcing the board to pay for the oldco’s failure to inform the authorities of the existence of EBT side-letters, will not affect on his spending plans.”
I don’t mean to be picky, but is there any need for King to tell Warbo that the fine won’t affect the transfer budget? I mean, it’s in the papers? I have just read it!
As for the ‘seven-figure budget’, haven’t we already heard this sort of rhetoric in recent transfer windows? Only for it to prove somewhat ‘incorrect’ – to the extent that even the Daily Record was spotted querying the size of Dave King’s war chest.
We shall see what happens. However, it should be pointed out that the most recent RIFC accounts were clear that further ‘investment’ (i.e. loans) would be needed in order for the ‘club’ to see out the season. This would seem to make talk of big transfer spending sound rather fanciful.
Then again, perhaps the ‘six new faces’ mentioned above could be obtained at extremely low cost? Maybe Warbo could ask some of the current Sevco starlets to wear masks? I suggest Craig Whyte masks. Or, in the case of Lee Wallace, a mask of someone who actually plays for Scotland.
On we go..
“The present regime is furious at the decision by a trio of law lords to uphold Lord Nimmo Smith’s ruling in February 2013. Rangers appealed the fine but will now pay it rather than go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which would cost them around £300,000 in fees if they lost.
The £250,000 is likely to be deducted from their Championship prize money and while Rangers can ill afford to lose it, Warburton will be able to press ahead with his recruitment plans.”
Boohoo! As I said yesterday, the decision to force Sevco to pay the fine is simply tough luck! Sevco should be thanking the authorities and clubs for allowing them to play senior football at all in 2012, rather than bleating about a penalty they apparently agreed to pay.
However, I suspect that particular narrative isn’t likely to get much coverage. What with the papers being full of stories along the lines of “Second Ibrox club set to repeat mistakes of the first by living beyond its means. See pages 1-40 for in-depth analysis.”