Sporting integrity and the gentle art of coal raking

I was on the rocky road home from Dublin when the news broke about the SFA letter.
For the avoidance of doubt, I wasn’t in the least surprised.
It appears to me that the SFA strategy, such as there is one, is the issue to be kicked down the road for as long as possible.
If I didn’t know any better I would think that the main players on the 6th floor at Hampden are hoping to be in alternative employment before there is a final reckoning on this scandal.
Today my book Downfall is five years old.

I mentioned that in a message to the person who massively assisted me in putting the manuscript together in the summer of 2012.
She too was surprised that half a decade had whooshed by since Rangers FC had expired.
It was a journalistic privilege to report on the impending demise of that grabby, hateful “institution”.
Downfall is quite simply the autopsy report on the cause of death.

Contained within the 300 or so pages is ample evidence of relentless coal raking.

The first blog post reproduced in the book is from January 2009.

It was about the failing health of Sir David Murray’s parent company.

After the banking crash the previous year I could smell blood.

In the five years since publication, there wasn’t been a single major piece of evidence contained in Downfall that has been refuted.

In the summer of 2012, the klan reacted with Pavlovian predictability and tried to have the book banned.
In the ensuing furore shop staff were abused, newspapers threatened and journalists targeted.
Sadly, it is the only currency that The People can deal in.

One Quintessentially British chap received six months in prison for threatening the editor of Downfall, Angela Haggerty.

That she prevailed in court and received justice was an important victory for journalism in Scotland.

As usual, the macho stenographers were nowhere to be seen.

Of course, these are the same chaps who are now parroting phrases like “move on”, ” time for healing” and, my favourite, “no appetite for title stripping”.
After the book was published I attended various supporters’ functions in Scotland.
I said then that although Rangers had died the Rangers story wasn’t over and I didn’t mean Charles of Normandy’s strange creation Sevco.

Indeed I stated a belief that a decade of criminal and civil litigation could be just starting apropos the strange death of Rangers.

Moreover, I believe that we are not yet at the end of that process.

There are undoubted legacy issues around sporting governance emanating from the death of Rangers.
The Ibrox club self-destructed, but only because they were allowed to behave in a suicidal manner for over a decade.
In this story, all roads lead to Hampden.
It was a scandalous lack of oversight from the governing bodies in Mount Florida that allowed Sir David Murray to run his club as he saw fit and proper.

Of course, the SFA, as an organisation does have previous when it comes to Rangers.

The stark truth of the matter was that the finances of the Ibrox club were such that a single season without Champions League money after 2008 meant insolvency.

So when Craig Whyte took over in May 2011 the small matter of the Wee Tax Case could not be allowed to get in the way of a UEFA licence for season 2011-2012.
As it turned out that would be last season that Rangers would participate in any competition.
The core claims behind “Resolution 12” are now overwhelming and have been substantiated by sworn evidence in the recent Craig Whyte trial.

The EBT decade involved scores of ineligible players playing hundreds of games for Rangers (1872-2012).

If the folk on the 6th floor of Hampden believe that their statement yesterday marks the end of the matter then I fear for their grasp on reality.

However, if the “move on” faction DO win then quite frankly the national game in Scotland is finished.

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