Media, Scottish Football

EBTs For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Good Evening.

On Saturday morning, Keith Jackson was apparently policing the Bampots’ Curfew to ensure that no one contravened the Clumping Time Directive.

This looked rather like the old ‘irritated Sevconian’ jibe of “why don’t you concentrate on your own team?”. A remark that is always guaranteed to provoke the exact opposite response [you’d think they would have learned by now…].

And then of course, there was the night tweet: 😉

As Keith and others know fine well, the effect that EBTs and side-letters had on our game (including dead Rangers), and the chronically flawed LNS Commission which was supposedly set up to deal with it are a running sore that will simply not go away. With good reason, an awful lot of people feel that

  • the game they paid into was a sham for many years; and that
  • those in authority and the MSM have failed to address it in even remotely adequate terms.

These issues matter because people have invested a lot of time, emotion and money into following the national sport. They feel cheated in all three regards and quite understandably won’t let it lie. No matter how many commentators suggest that they should ‘move on’.

If people in the media don’t want to hear about EBTs and side letters, then perhaps they should avoid creating a professional persona based around the discussion of Scottish football. It simply isn’t the case that our game is only about on-pitch matters, with everything else a distracting side show. For many of us, the controversial off-field financial matters ARE the most significant issue to consider. Because getting to the bottom of them will ultimately determine whether Scottish football is a sport or merely freakish light entertainment.

Personally, I can’t imagine that a sports journalist could ever find a bigger issue to tackle.

But what do I know, eh?

Well, one thing I DO know is that irony is a wonderful thing. And I laughed out loud when I clicked on the Daily Record website today (home to the above-mentioned Keith Jackson) and found ..

… a story about EBTs!

Watch moment Daily Record ask ex-Rangers boss Graeme Souness about the EBT money he received

The phrase ‘do as I say, not as I do’ immediately sprang to mind.

Credit where it’s due, however. Many people have wanted to see Graeme Souness asked about his EBT – received long after he left Rangers – for several years. And the Record did it. Finally.

I can’t blame those who wonder whether the ‘event’ was pre-arranged in some way. However, until such time as that is proven, I will continue to assume that the question and answer were a genuinely ‘off-the-cuff’ exchange.

I will leave others to comment on the implications of

  • Souness’s remarks about doing scouting work for Rangers while ‘between jobs’
  • he periods in which such work could have been undertaken; and
  • the timing of the actual EBT payment.

However, I really enjoyed his apparent uncertainty about the size of his own EBT, and his questions about who had the biggest. I couldn’t actually see a squirrel on-screen, but it felt like there might be one lurking close by…

I find it somewhat surprising that the remarkable news that an ‘Ibrox legend’ was scouting for the Murray juggernaut wasn’t widely publicised at the time. Perhaps the entire Scottish press pack were not on speaking terms with either Rangers or their owner during that period?

After all, when Kenny Dalglish was given a scouting gig by Rangers in 1996 it was pretty big news and received – for example  – the full ‘Record hyperbole’ treatment:

KAISER KENNY; Dalglish will be the Beckenbauer of Ibrox

The piece is well worth a read, not least for this wonderful comment from Frank McGarvey:

“David Murray has made a lot of good decisions since he became Rangers chairman – but this is the best of them”.

And this from Willie Miller:

“It was clear that the beginning of a new era was on the way. We shouldn’t be that surprised because Mr Murray doesn’t go in for half measures.”

He certainly didn’t, Willie!

I am now away to resume my Internet search for old reports about the things Mr Souness did for Rangers in return for his EBT. To be honest, I am not overly optimistic of success. My initial enquiries seem to suggest that Rangers ultimately derived ‘no scouting advantage’…