I thought it might be a false flag operation, an attempt to spring a trap on the Internet Bampots, and in particular on the Celtic blogosphere.
I thought anyone who took responsibility for sharing those documents might end up blamed for inadvertently discrediting all the work that’s been done in the last 24 months. I thought it was dangerous. I also questioned the motivations of whoever was behind it. Did I want the Celtic online community to be used? Of course not. My initial suspicion was that it was the Whyte camp leaking this stuff, because they’re afraid to go to court. I still think they’re afraid to go to court. They’ve been posturing for far too long, it seems to me, and there’s no forward progress. Where I come from, you don’t make a threat without being prepared to carry it out. It’s about respect, and it’s about credibility.
Some will say it’s all a game of bluff. They are wrong. The people in this game are hard-core individuals. They’re being accused of fraud, and other crimes. They’re being told they owe tens of millions of pounds. Does anyone expect that men faced with such things will throw up their hands, say Mea Culpa and start writing cheques? If Whyte and his people are going to force the other side to concede anything they’re going to need to take it to court, at the very least, and probably all the way. This will be settled, if it is at all, at the last knockings, when Green and Ahmed and co are convinced that the other side is willing to die in the ditch to prove their case.
So, if this is Whyte, and he was counting on public shaming, he misjudged the situation. The thought makes me laugh, to be honest. Public shaming! These guys? The people who diverted charity money? Who laugh in the faces of the old creditors by boasting about healthy finances? (Even if they’re not, it’s still a disgraceful way to behave). There is no shaming these people. They could be caught with their pants down, in compromising positions with a herd of geese and there would be no shame. Brian Stockbridge videoed a drunk man and posted it on the internet to blacken the poor sods name. They are behaving like sociopaths. They have no conscience.
Today, I find when I look at the latest revelations, that the SFA emailed Rangers to specifically discuss money laundering regulations, that I have ceased to care who the person, or persons, behind these leaks are.
Charlotte Fakeover’s might be the most important thing to happen to the world of Scottish football in many a year, because all the dirty laundry is now being hung out to dry. We’re seeing the strategies of the media shown up.
We’re seeing how PR companies have manufactured bad stories about Celtic, to move the spotlight away from the goings on at Ibrox.
We’ve seen how the footballing authorities – in Scotland and in Europe – were prepared to turn a blind eye, and all of it is horrendous.
These leaks leave these people without a name. Reputations are being thoroughly dismantled. Look at the once all-powerful Media House. They’ve had a hell of a time of it these last few years. The Steven Purcell saga obliterated their reputation as savvy readers of the landscape, so they’d already taken a huge hit before the explosion over football. The advice they gave to Craig Whyte bordered on the lunatic, and, at the very top of the house, Jack Irvine and Ramsey Smith have been revealed as small-minded, preening little boys sniggering over their own cleverness even as they make colossal mistakes and errors of judgement.
No wonder their contract with Rangers has come to an end. They are useless to the club now. Their credibility has been shot and they have become part of the story. Their suggestion to Whyte that friendly journalists to should be encouraged to dig into the backgrounds of Celtic shareholders, that the press should take a look at the Celtic songbook, that we should be used a deflector shield on behalf of the club, is abhorrent, and if I hadn’t already pointed out the lack of a spine in the Celtic boardroom when it comes to certain things, I’d be expecting robust action from our club, and demands for a public explanation of why Rangers and a PR firm were seeking to publicly blacken our name, and our own corporate reputation.
This is a gang of villains, and Charlotte Fakeover’s is exposing them for that.
So truly, I am no longer interested in the identity behind the twitter account. I am not even sure I care how the information was obtained, or what the ultimate purpose of the leaks is. That all becomes less important than what’s in the documents themselves.
There’s one leak we’re all waiting for, of course, and it’s the leak which reveals the details of the mysterious “five way agreement”, a document which could impact Scottish football like a falling meteor. What did the authorities want for granting Rangers a license? What were they prepared to ignore, or to cast aside? Which regulations would be enforced, and which would be overlooked? What did they get for their decision? What did they fail to obtain?
The five way agreement was a form of collusion, between a football club that did not meet the necessary licensing requirements and a football authority that was desperate to ignore as many of them as was practicable in order to get a team playing out of Ibrox into one of the leagues. Each of the three professional bodies – the SFA, the SPL and the SFL – were complicit in their own way, and each of them has a lot to answer for as we watch the shambles at Ibrox unfold.
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But how bad did it get? Just how far were the rules bent in order to let this happen? That’s what we all want to know, and that’s what we’re waiting to find out.
We look at the situation involved David Longmuir, and the pending announcement that he’s moving to Rangers, and the conflict of interest staggers you. Add to that the involvement of Campbell Ogilvie at the SFA. He was deep in the Rangers mess, and so far the best defence of it he’s managed to muster is that he was kept in the dark about a lot of what was going on. A company director, with wide ranging responsibilities, and his explanation, the one people seem to accept, the one that ought, in itself, to make him unfit to hold any office whatsoever in football, is that he was wilfully ignorant when it came to the execution of his most basic duties.
Then you have his CEO at the SFA, Stewart Regan, who’s hyperbole over “civil unrest” and “Armageddon” were disgraceful fear tactics which had no place in the debate. The first didn’t happen – and I stipulate that it wasn’t ever likely – and the second has been shown up as without any foundation at all, as many of us predicted at the time. We had no crystal balls, we had no access to the dossier he laid on the clubs, filled with its prophesies of doom. We simply applied common sense to the situation. And we’ve been proved right, and he wrong.
You could, possibly, make an excuse for Neil Doncaster in that he was worried about the “SPL brand”, but his contention that Rangers should be back in the league no matter what threatened to make a mockery of our national sport, and his public statements about the league being worthless without Rangers in it were the kind of thing any other company would have sacked him for.
I have never witnessed such a staggering display of stupidity in all my life; with commercial contracts still to be signed, and negotiations to do so under way, he told the whole world that what was for sale had no value at all. Gerald Ratner would have been hiding under the bed.
These organisations, along with Duff & Phelps, who needed a license because without one there would have been no value to the assets, and thereby no asset sale, got together around the table with Rangers and came up with … something. That something is now the cause of much speculation, and I think it’s only a matter of time before we find out what’s in there.
Charlotte Fakeover’s has access to some dynamite stuff. Between that and the Craig Whyte camp, with their tape recordings and secret documents, with all the time he spend in the “Ibrox data room”, somebody out there is sitting on a nuclear device. I have no doubt at all about that. There will come a day when that information will get out.
Then we’ll know. Then we’ll truly know the total cost of allowing Rangers to carry on.
We’ll know the price the rest of us paid.
And we’ll know something else.
We’ll know who to talk to in order to settle the debt.
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