William Hill’s promotion of their betting empire has resulted in a procession of EBT old boys lining up to take their coin. Graeme Souness, who picked up a £30,000 EBT bung, was the first to step up to promote the semi-final with his usual swagger. Alex McLeish then turned up, throwing his £1.7m EBT into the ring. Ronald De Boer then jetted into town, wearing his £1.2m EBT heart on his sleeve. Is it possible to find a former Rangers player who did not line his pockets by being paid off the books? The Tax Justice Network report is being suppressed in favour of a tribute to David Murray’s tax evasion and avoidance. A William Hill EBT Hall of Fame.
One of the most amusing aspects of David Murray’s cheating was the credulity of Sandy Bryson at the SFA. Did it not occur to the SFA’s compliance officer that the salaries paid ‘on the books’ were able to attract such a galaxy of stars to Ibrox? Did he abnegate on his responsibilities ‘for the good of Scottish football‘? A cynic might suggest that this tired phrase is a euphemism for what’s best for Rangers. It’s for the good of Scottish football that players only declared 20% of their salaries to the SFA. It’s for the good of Scottish football that their tax avoidance/evasion is deemed to be imperfect but above board. It’s for the good of Scottish football that the President of the SFA lied to an allegedly independent commission. It’s for the good of Scottish football that this commission’s scope was changed to exclude the DOS/VSS tax avoidance strategy, as it had been deemed to be illegal.
I expect Rangers to win The Scottish Cup on Saturday as it’s for the good of Scottish football. The SFA appointed match officals, who have awarded five penalties to Rangers this season in their nine games in charge, with Rangers winning eight and drawing one, know what is expected of them. Steven McLean, who subverted the Scottish Cup semi-final last season, has been rewarded for his cheating with this plum game. Is it as difficult to find an honest referee at the SFA as it is to find a former Rangers player/manager who did not benefit from an EBT?
Chris Union Jack, who runs his Rangers fanzine GersTimes with commendable enthusiasm, was not deemed senior enough to interview Mr De Boer. Neil Cameron was given the assignment. One can but assume that this is why Mr De Boer went ‘off message’ when he stated that it was “fair” that his old club were punished four years ago for the ‘financial mismanagement’ which led them into liquidation. He also stated that it was appropriate that Rangers had to apply to join Scottish professional football. Has he not heard of the relegation myth? How remiss of him not to state that Rangers were demoted. Does Mr De Boer have no shame as to his part in the tax avoidance/evasion which eventually resulted in HMRC pulling the plug on Rangers continuing as a going concern?
But the Dutchman, who spent four years and a £1.2m EBT at Ibrox, believes Rangers have emerged from that wreckage in better shape and with many harsh lessons having been learned. The lesson Mr De Boer is that you can lie to HMRC and the SFA for eleven seasons and only receive a £250,000 fine. If you engage in an eleven season orgy of tax evasion/avoidance, the fine will only represent 0.53% of the tax avoided/evaded. Now that there is a notorious criminal in the boardroom at Ibrox who participated in this tax fraud enterprise, he might as well pay players off the books as he knows that he would get away with it. Maybe the SFA would extend the fine to 1% if King chose to do so.He could rest assured that Scotland’s very own Keystone Cops would not be dropping by as was the case with the City of London police. I’m fairly certain that it would be considered to be for the good of Scottish football.
Mr De Boer, from his position of the moral high ground, believes that Rangers will not be so far behind their rivals (CFC) next season. He also stated that: “It would be huge for Rangers to win the Scottish Cup; and if they win the final on Saturday it would mean European football. I think everyone with a Rangers heart has been dying for this moment.”
Those with a Rangers heart Mr De Boer include all six of the match officials, and to add another advantage to Rangers over Hibs, it has been reported that the light blues are interested in signing Jason Cummings. It’s the second time Rangers have unsettled a Hibs player prior to a cup game this season. As he’s under contract until 30th June 2017, I anticipate that he will sign a pre-contract agreement in January and join the squad for free in 2017/2018 as is the case with Crooks and Windass from Accrington Stanley.
There is also interest in Joseph Anthony Barton who will be available on a free transfer as he turns thirty-four on September 2nd of this year. Mr Barton was very disappointed that no English Premiership Clubs were prepared to sign him last season and that he is so peripheral to Burnley’s ambitions for next season that they are only prepared to provide a one-year contract.Mr De Boer likes the look of Mr Barton, as he opined: “I have seen Joey Barton play and I think he is a player with a lot of experience. What is important when you go up to the next step is to have players who have been there, seen it and done it.He is maybe not the best player to come to Rangers but he has an attitude over him that he is here for one thing only – winning games. You need that kind of character in the dressing room and on the training ground. He can help them make the next step.”
Mr De Boer, who turned down Manchester United as they did not offer to pay his salary ‘netto‘ should surely realise that the only reason Joey Barton will sign for Rangers is that they put the best offer on the table. He has to weigh up the image rights he would earn from one year in the English Premiership and what he could command in China. I would be surprised if the reported £10,000 per week was enough.
If Mr Barton did not sign up for the Warburton revolution, it would put paid to The Record’s chief TJN oppressor Radar Jackson’s theory of a Barton v Keane box office. Just when you thought Radar had scraped the bottom of the barrel, he tilts it on its side to ‘scoop’ up the scum beneath it. If CFC hire Roy Keane, they will replace a good manager in Deila with a substandard club manager in Keane. He’s a good pundit but he will refuse to travel to Glasgow from his Manchester home for more than three days per week. He thinks that his time is better spent walking his dog in Manchester and making the short trip to the new ITV studios in MediaCity. CFC would be hiring a part-time manager. It’s the kind of appointment we have come to expect from No Pistol Pete. Rangers odds for wining next season’s title would shorten by 2/3 points if CFC hired the serial failure, Roy Keane.
Are William Hill aware that Hibs are playing in Saturday’s final? Do they know who they are? I realise that they would have to employ the modern day equivalent of Burke & Hare to dig up the last Hibs players to have won the cup in 1902, but could they not hire Ian Black who formerly played for Hibs Under 17s and Rangers? Apparently he was fond of a bet or two on Scottish football. He would be the ideal ambassador for William Hill.
On a final note, Alex Thomson has stated on Twitter that the Tax Justice Network’s evidence that exposes the corruption at the heart of Scottish football governance was gleaned from The Charlotte Fakeovers leaks and that the media won’t touch as it’s toxic. Would this be the same leaks that are being used in the witch-hunt of Craig Whyte and that were deemed as admissible in court in the civil trial that resulted in Mr Whyte owing Ticketus £17.1m? Do we have to pin our faith in a successful conviction of Whyte in a trial that has been an omnishambles to date? I wonder what odds Ian Black would give on this trial collapsing on June 3rd? Would he be more generous than William Hill who are offering 2/5 on hot favourites Rangers?