How the Rangers tax case went mainstream.

It is a year since I started working on the Rangers tax case.

I initially took the story to the News of the World Scottish edition.

They were very interested.

As part of standing the story up I contacted Martin Bain the Rangers CEO.

I had two telephone conversations on the morning of Saturday 15th May 2010.

I put the basic facts of the story that we were going to run with the following day.

He was courteous and helpful.

The following day the NOTW published the figures on the tax case that I had secured for them.

This was the first time that these figures had been in the Mainstream Media.

Those published figures were a genuine scoop.

The “core amount” that HMRC considered was owed to them in unpaid taxes was £24 million.

Added to that was £12million in interest payments with potentially £25 million in penalties.

The entire bad news was ballpark, £60 million.

The News of the World in typical style had the headline “Simply the bust!”

At the time the blue half of Glasgow simply didn’t believe the news.

The following morning Hugh Keevins said on Radio Clyde that Rangers were consulting their lawyers about the story.

No writs were issued to the NOTW, not even a stiff letter.

With the passing of the last twelve months it has been interesting how the tax case has went mainstream from that week end.

It is now not contested that Rangers are in tax court facing HMRC on the other side of the room.

Moreover the figures of the case aren’t contested either.

I got to re-state the facts of the case, this time on Radio Clyde on 26th January this year.

After that the story went viral.

I was invited onto the show as a journalist because I had broken the news on this site three days earlier that the club had made an approach to HMRC to settle the case for £10miilion.

It was another scoop.

Jim Delahunt and Darryl King listened in silence as I calmly stated the realities of the case the facts and the figures.

Since late January it has been obligatory to insert at least one sentence on the Rangers tax case in any piece regarding the financial situation of the club.

Since then there hasn’t been anyone in sports journalism in Scotland or anyone associated with the Ibrox club that has contested the basic facts of the case that are currently in the public domain.

Think back a year when this story was broken.

Consider the incredulity, the anger, the denial.

Denial is the default setting in most humans when faced with bad news.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross would recognise the collective grieving of Rangers fans on this one.

There is more to come on the Rangers tax case and when it is released into the public domain I expect a similar “no it can’t be true” response.

After “Denial” comes “Anger” there has been plenty of that.

There has also been some evidence of the next stage “Bargaining”.

When I spoke to senior Scottish sports Journalist in the AVIVA stadium  in February he accepted the reality of the tax case, but that Sir David Murray would be “morally compelled” to pick up the tab from the taxman.

The next stage is “Depression”.

It’s ok that passes in time into “Acceptance”.

Today of all days the club chairman Alistair Johnston, no one’s fool, admitted that the club could go bust of the tax case is lost and he isn’t joking.

“When asked if the club’s very existence was under threat if the case went against Rangers, he said: “The reality is that ‘is it possibile?’ Yes. There could be a judgment .. and at the point the club can’t pay. There is a point in time you can’t pay and accessing all the resources, yes you couldn’t pay.”
Asked if the club could go bust, Mr Johnston nodded.”

Finally the penny will drop.

The tax case is real.