Friendly Fire

Having blazed a trail against Annan, East Stirlingshire and Stranraer in the pre-season preamble, Rangers faced a team of full-time professional footballers and were found wanting. Joey Barton, who has never been noted for his speed, took ‘Over The’ Hill to task apropos his pedestrian reactions to Andre Gray who scored three with relative ease. With Hill in defence, Gray was pushing against an open door. As it’s not good form to humiliate your hosts in any friendly game, Burnley eased up in the second period. It would be easy to make excuses for yesterday’s defeat by characterising Gray as a Premiership Galactico but this is far from the case. His career to date has been relatively modest, with terms at Shrewsbury Town, Hinckley United, Luton Town and Brentford prior to his £10.54m transfer to Burnley. Brentford acquired his services for a mere £527,000 and made more than £10m moving  him on.

As we have come to expect, no inch of copy will be spared in the SMSM as they attempt to make Warburton’s sow’s ear into a silk purse. The Ibrox ban on Chris McLaughlin, the BBC reporter who dared to reveal the truth about sectarian chants and unrelated arrests, has resulted in a BBC Scotland boycott of The Old Lady of Edmiston Drive. The concept of compromise has not occurred to a board led by King. The impasse with the BBC, Sports Direct, Puma and 32 Red will continue until the cows come home, which on yesterday’s evidence was at 4.45pm. The ideal solution would have been Kolo Toure but one can only assume that his salary is too high to be considered in Warburton’s Dad’s Army.  There is a ‘Watford Gap‘ at the heart of the Rangers defence. If Warburton does not unearth an obscure part-time fisherman working in the North Sea, players such as Griffiths, Watt and Rooney will run riot.

The gulf in revenue between the two leading Glasgow clubs has never been greater. Charles Green’s renascent Rangers were not at war with their sponsors and business partners. Green, who had experience of running a club at Sheffield United, signed up to a deal that in the circumstances was the best he could achieve for his ‘basket of assets.‘ Celtic are earning a minimum of £11m per annum from sponsors and business partners. Should they progress on Wednesday they will have an oppotunity to add £20m of Champions League receipts to their coffers. King’s Rangers, by contrast, will have to find north of £9m to see out the season.

Celtic suffered a similar reverse, 1-3, to that of Rangers but other than Calamity Ambrose, that’s where the similarities end. Even someone as poor as Ambrose would add value to the current Rangers defence. I’m fairly certain Celtic would be easy to deal with.

The gulf between the class of opposition yesterday spoke volumes. Barcelona are one of the finest teams the world has ever seen and it was no surprise when La Mesia’s finest won the encounter with the Scottish champions. CFC were beaten but not disgraced as per the BBC headline. The best the SMSM could do to undermine a gala day in Dublin was a pejorative comment apropos the commemorative combination of both club colours. If truth be told it was a garish confection. However the real commercial action was on the park with the Philippines company Dafabet being seen in the best company football has to offer in a game that was beamed to millions by satellite.

Half and half replica shirts were conspicuous by their absence at Ibrox yesterday. In a tribute to the RIFC chairman I propose the following for his consideration:

Image result for photos of half and half  football strips

 

I’m confident that Monsieur Charlotte Fakeovers would consider it a favourable result.

My Farce From My Elbow

My original title for this article was: Will the real Craig Whyte indictment please stand up?  Her Majesty’s Advocate Deputy, James Keegan, has missed his calling. He should be treading the boards on stage.If he had dropped his trousers to reveal polka dot boxer shorts, would anyone have been surprised at Glasgow’s High Court of Judiciary? Within twenty-four hours , Lord Bannatyne was presented with two radically different indictments.HMA has until October 3rd to find an indictment that is worthy of a criminal trial by jury. How many adjournments does Mr Keegan require to find cogent charges?

Readers of this site are aware that when Mr Keegan briefed the press apropos the charges dismissed against the five other defendants, he was speaking out of turn. He stated unequivocally that the five defendants would face fresh charges. One notes that there have been no revised indictments. Was Mr Keegan attempting to save face and in doing so delivered a Tour De Farce?

One of the most surprising aspects of this highly entertaining courtroom soap is the emergence of Donald Findlay QC to act for Craig Whyte. The former vice-chairman of Rangers is an outspoken critic of the same club mythology that has spread like a virus to infect all members of the Scottish Main Stream Media. The ‘Old Firm‘ mantra and ‘Going For 55‘ does not cut any ice with one of the finest silks in Scotland. My favourite quote from Mr Findlay was his euphemism that the Rangers support were ‘90 minute bigots.’ Correct me if I’m wrong but I have never witnessed an outbreak of politically correct bonhomie during extra time and penalties. How remiss of me.

Mr Findlay is a man who has often courted controversy. In May 1999 he was accused of sectarianism, after being filmed singing The Sash at a private party organised by a Rangers Supporters Club. He subsequently resigned from the Rangers board. However Mr Findlay’s antipathy to Catholicism reared its ugly head again in May 2005, shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II. While speaking at Larne Rangers Social Club in Northern Ireland he said: “It’s very smoky in here tonight – has another fucking Pope died?” The Herald reported that his routine was littered with obscenities and jokes about nuns and Catholics. He is evidently an individual who enjoys a blue do. The old school of Rangers directors had a much more acerbic edge to their bigotry than that of Je Suis ‘Jihad’ Graham, the 48 hour pop- up director of the RIFC board.

Lord Bannatyne stated:

“This man is being asked to wait and see what the Crown are charging him with. I want to have a full explanation of how we have reached this position.I would very much like to understand the Crown’s position between the two versions. They are so radically different.  Mr Findlay has made it abundantly clear he can’t do anything until he knows what charges he (Whyte) faces  and this court, which has now been dealing with this for approaching a year, can’t deal with anything until it knows what charges the accused faces.”

Under section 65(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, an accused shall not be tried on indictment for any offence if the trial is not commenced within 12 months of the first appearance of the accused on petition in respect of the offence. If the trial is not commenced within 12 months, the accused shall be discharged from any indictment with respect to the offence and cannot be indicted again for the same offence.

Mr Whyte was initially charged and released on police bail at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 2nd September 2015. The preliminary hearings commenced later that month at Edinburgh High Court. A comprehensive list of indictments was created by The Crown and presented to The Glasgow High Court of Judiciary on January 6th of this year. When will Lord Bannatyne call time on this farce?

I found it somewhat surprising that Mr Whyte, who is being funded by the public purse, could afford to retain the services of the chairman of The Blue Brazil. Mr Keegan, who was disqualified as a company director, will probably turn the air blue when he considers the part played by Police Scotland in this ‘Farce in the fast lane‘.

 

Nota bene: Those of you who have been frustrated by the html code can now donate directly using the newly installed PAYPAL button. Please scroll down to the end of the side bar to locate it. Feedback on any other technical difficulties would be appreciated. JJ

Summary Justice

HMA v Craig WHYTE

29-JUL-16 Preliminary Hearing Continued SCS/2015-152941 CO14000356

Glasgow HC

The Craig Whyte circus rolls into town this morming. As you can see from the diet that I have listed this matter has yet to reach trial. If Her Majesty’s Advocate Depute cannot convince Lord Bannatyne that Whyte should face a jury trial, then what was purported to be the biggest fraud trial in Scottish legal history will come to an unsatisfactory end. Will Police Scotland/HMA snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, a defeat that has seen five defendants walk away from these hearings? Will justice have to be seen to be done to justify the expense to the public purse?

Summary justice at Ibrox has arrived for those Rangers fans who took to the field at Hampden. BBC Scotland have introduced a policy where they won’t name and shame Rangers supporters. In their skewed reportage they mentioned thirty-eight arrests, with four of this group identified as Hibs supporters. The other thirty-four were accorded the new BBC epithet: West of Scotland Football Supporters.  Is the thug in the following photo one of these supporters:

Did he choose to fell a young boy at Hampden due to his allegiance to Partick Thistle or  BBC Scotland’s favourite ‘beard‘ club, St. Mirren? Would Chic Young, who recently outed himself as a ‘cuddly teddy bear‘ recognize this thug from home games at St. Mirren park? With their pro-Rangers agenda, BBC Scotland can no longer be trusted to report on any event or incident in an objective manner.

As the SFA blunder and stumble their way to their next whitewash report on their tournament, the Rangers board have acted swiftly to root out the thugs. Those arrested,  the BBC’s enigmatic West of Scotland football supporters, received the following missive:

 

Mr Martin’s  Dear John letter is breaking the news that a love affair has run its course. The Old Lady of Edmiston Drive will not be receiving any gentleman callers that are assisting Police Scotland with their inquiries.

Is Mr Martin aware that Charles Green was also at one time assisting Police Scotland with their inquiries? Will he be sending a frontier’s justice letter to ‘Chateau Decidely- Dodgy-IPO‘ in Normandy?  If John is not convicted will he harbour feelings of injustice? Surely Mr Martin would acknowledge that John had been arrested as he was engaged in defending the Rangers players? Perhaps Mr Martin now realises that the Rangers players were not assaulted as they left the field and that the ‘defending the players’ narrative was a lie that was exposed by the partners of the Rangers players? Was Mr Martin not aware of the statement issued by the board and approved by Mangetout Traynor:

“No matter how many times Hibernian’s chairman and Scottish FA vice-chairman, Rod Petrie, and certain other biased commentators wish to play down Saturday’s mayhem and violence, the truth must not be distorted. It was clear to most of those who watched in horror that the Scottish FA’s security procedures failed when Hibernian’s fans went over the top in their thousands. This is the second time in a year that Rangers fans have had to endure attacks by another club’s supporters.Rangers fully expects the Scottish FA and Police Scotland to take action to provide our people with a safe environment.”

I did not see any Hibs supporter attacking a Rangers players, but I acknowledge that an isolated incident may have occurred. I did witness a Rangers official kicking a Hibs supporter in his key performance indicators. Was he arrested for assault? Will he be banished from Ibrox?

Should the Hibs fans have been on the park? Of course not but one can empathise with their relief in winning a trophy that their club had not lifted since 1902. The Rangers supporters who encroached on the park had one thing on their mind. They wanted to avenge a defeat with their fists and feet. It really is that simple, despite the spin by Traynor. They were intent on their own version of ‘Summary Justice.’

 

 

Blame it on Rio

On October 6th 1985, East German athlete Marita Koch ran the 400m in a world record time of 47.6 seconds. One of the greatest women’s athletes the world has ever seen, Sanya Richards-Ross, has a personal best of 49 seconds which she achieved at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009. Had she faced Koch on the track, Ms Ross would have been 11.4 metres behind one of the most decorated and steroid-enhanced athletes in the history of track and field. There have been so many advances in coaching, training methods and the science of 400m running. There have been breakthroughs on how best to manage lactic and alactic acids. Yet when Ms Richards competes in Rio, she knows she will not beat the world record time of the steroid pin-up girl of the former East Germany.

Kratochvilova’s steroid abuse was from the same East German system that spawned Koch.

The state-sponsored, systematic doping of East German sportsmen and women was administered by the country’s secret police, the Stasi. On Germany’s reunification in 1990, the Stasi’s records were handed to a member of the German Science Council, Professor Werner Franke.He subsequently made those records, detailing who was receiving banned substances and in what quantities, available to the public.His wife, Brigitte Berendonk, also published a book in 1992 containing doping data for many East German athletes of the era, including Koch. Former East German athletes have claimed compensation for medical conditions arising from their use of performance enhancing drugs. The evidence of cheating is incontrovertible.

Nathan Jendrick (Dunks, Doubles, Doping: How Steroids Are Killing American Athletics) identified 19 established methods available to drug and blood dopers.

19 Methods of Cheating 

1. Biosimilars 11. Micro-dosing (a, b)
2. Blood transfusion (a, b) 12. Perma Cleanse
3. Catheterization 13. Probenecid
4. The Cream 14. Protease (a, b)
5. Diuretics 15. Tattoos
6. Epitestosterone 16. Testosterone patches
7. Erythropoietin (EPO) (a, b, c, d, e) 17. Therapeutic use exemptions
8. Gene doping 18. Titrate testosterone/epitestosterone
9. Human growth hormone (HGH) 19. Urine replacement (a, b)
10. Masking agents

One of the original and most established methods of cheating involves urine switching.Out of competition cheats would always have a fresh clean sample in the refrigerator. The replacement of dirty urine samples using a fake phallus containing a clean sample led to the development of custom-built kits. One of the market leaders, The Whizzinator, was available in three colours:black, flesh & Latino. Cold clean urine could be heated so as to mimic that of an athlete who had just competed.

The normal testosterone-epitestosterone ratio is 1:1, but because top athletes are often genetically advanced, their ratios may differ compared to those of the average man.In 2005 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lowered the legal ratio to 4:1. For those individuals already producing more testosterone than their competitors, or for those who want to use more than they can sneak in under the radar, epitestosterone is employed. When used, it increases the variable testosterone it is compared to, thus allowing for increased amounts. As long as the ratio is maintained and the dosage is  carefully monitored, this cheating is undetectable.

Diuretics are often used to mask steroid abuse and are therefore on WADA’s list of proscribed drugs.The requirement for detoxification prior to competition testing has resulted in the development of Perma Cleanse, which is a methodology that combines natural herb diuretics such as dandelion root, uva ursi and caffeine with fasting.

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone produced by the kidney that promotes the formation of red blood cells by the bone marrow. The kidney cells that make erythropoietin are sensitive to low oxygen levels in the blood that travels through the kidney. This hormone has been synthesised and used extensively in Le Tour De France.  A former Tour de France cyclist stated he was given an unidentified powder to sabotage surprise tests. Protease, a class of enzymes in soap powder, dishwashing solution and contact-lens cleaner, destroys all EPO in urine. However as it also destroys naturally produced EPO, the absence of this hormone in a sample should be indicative of EPO cheating and enzyme masking. Cheats have  become adept at manipulating tests.In one example an athlete will put some Protease on his fingers and then urinate over his hand into the sample bottle to ensure that the test is meaningless.

There are two methods of doping through blood transfusions: autologous and homologous. With an autologous transfusion, an athlete receives his or her own blood. An athlete donates blood, stores it, and then receives the blood at a later point in time. In a homologous transfusion, the blood comes from another person. The benefit of homologous transfusion is that there is no decrease in performance during the donation period. EPO, blood doping and Protease were used extensively by disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has long been the preserve of athletes who choose to boost the effect of other performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes can take regular low doses of the blood-boosting EPO in combination with HGH. The combination accelerates the impact of EPO but enables the user to escape detection for the smaller doses of EPO.

The Cream, a testosterone-based ointment, was designed to mask the use of other steroids.When a person takes steroids, the body stops producing testosterone to the point that it can bottom out at zero. A zero level would set off red flags for drug testers. The Cream elevates testosterone sufficiently to avoid suspicion.

Genetic manipulation is the brave new world of the citius altius fortius cheats.The gene that governs a certain desirable characteristic is isolated. The source is usually another individual. Usain Bolt, if agreeable, would be an ideal donor.Having been manipulated in a laboratory to enhance its properties, the gene is then inserted into a viral vector:   a virus that has had the harmful part of its structure deactivated but which retains the ability to penetrate and colonise human cells. Adenovirus, a common cause of respiratory problems,  is most often used. The vector is injected into the athlete and begins to take over cells.Once inside, the altered gene becomes part of the cell’s DNA and recodes it to behave differently,producing, for example, more and stronger muscle or creating EPO, which in turn creates more red blood cells. The virus colonises cells at the same rate it would if carrying disease. Once the gene is embedded it will be effective.

Marita Koch won the gold medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Russia and its satellite states swept the boards in the medals tables. Many of the aforementioned methods of cheating were used at these games. WADA, which was established in November 1999, has recently released its report of an independent investigation of the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014.This report provides details of the most damning evidence of a comprehensive doping programme that was run by Russian sports officials which included corrupting the testing lab.

 

Among the findings was a system for identifying and replacing dirty urine samples during the Sochi Olympics, in which samples were passed through a “mouse-hole” that existed between the lab and a building next to it run by Russia’s state’s security service, the FSB.

Those who have followed my site are familiar with the use of ‘squirrels‘ to deflect attention from the latest scandal enveloping the Old Firm of Rangers and the SFA, which have worked in concert since 1873. Vladimir Putin chose to take squirrel artifice to a new paradigm. He compared the doping scandal to the Cold War confrontation when Western nations boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Moscow and its allies boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Putin asserted:

“Now, we are seeing a dangerous recurrence of political interference in sport. The doping allegations are an attempt to exert pressure on Russia.”

We have not seen this level of creative interpolation since Sandy Bryson rolled up his trousers, bared his nipple, and expounded to Nimmo Smith on how Rangers players were ‘imperfectly registered, but eligible.‘ Perhaps Putin would have been better served by a reprise of Campbell Ogilvie’s selective amnesia.
The IOC has to be seen as doing everything it can to protect the integrity of its competitions and its brand but is loath to risk alienating a country such as Russia, which has long been one of the most important and influential members of the Olympic movement.

The WADA report described numerous instances of doping concealment practices that it could trace back to the months following the Vancouver Olympics of 2010. The doping programme’s tentacles stretched across Russian sports, from track and field, to soccer, and to the winter sports where the country excelled at the Sochi Games.

Russia’s minister of sport, Vitaly Mutko, has previously denied all allegations of corruption in the Sochi lab. He and a top aide, Natalia Zhelanova, have led an intense lobbying effort to promote the participation of Russian athletes at the Rio Games.
Zhelanova was named in the WADA report as an early liaison between the sports ministry and the anti-doping lab, relaying messages about whose positive tests needed to be covered up. Grigory Rodchenkov, a former top anti-doping official in Russia, stated that Mutko had extensive knowledge of the schemes.Investigators found that in the case of a Russian soccer player, emails showed that Mutko had ordered a coverup.The report noted that 12 bottles it examined from a Moscow lab had evidence of tampering.

 

Russia developed a steroid cocktail optimized to avoid detection by being dissolved in alcohol.Chivas scotch for the men and vermouth for the women.PG Wodehouse would be hard pressed to create a script where steroids were secreted in snifters and urine was passed through a mouse hole. If Russian athletes are allowed to participate in Rio we might as well acknowledge that Marita Koch was a clean athlete ahead of her time, and any other time.

 

 

The John James World of One Million Visitors

I have introduced a Paypal donations button to my site. I have also installed the WordPress hits widget as suggested by Bill McMurdo some time ago. I hope that many of you will continue to support the site and make a contribution. If, as many of you have stated, JJ & Coffee is part of your daily routine, then even the price of a cup of coffee once per month will ensure that this site continues. Next time you are making a comment, think about the time I have to spend reading it and approving it. Many of you will have experienced my edit of typos in your comments. It would be fair to say that I spend more time editing comments than creating articles. My typos in these articles attests to that.

As those of you who follow this site will know, I don’t sit on the fence. I don’t pull my punches. I go much further than most other sites. I highlight criminal behaviour and corruption in Scottish football. I corroborate sources. I engage in detailed research. I translate SMSM puff pieces. If I get it wrong, I edit my article accordingly. There is no agenda on this site. I don’t view the world through blue-tinted spectacles.

Everyone is welcome no matter the team you support or if your interests extend to my legal articles or political perspectives. If I supported the SNP I would receive more hits and more contributions. However I won’t compromise my convictions for the price of a cup of coffee.

This site has passed the one million visitors threshold. It took eleven months and 488 articles to attract one million visitors. The approved comment total is fast approaching 16,000, and as you can see from the widget on the side bar the hits are just south of 5.5m. I would like to thank everyone for their comments to date. The comments have elevated this site. Many visitors are more attracted by the comments than the articles. Who can blame them given the insightful anecdotes from The Mensch and many others. I plan to showcase some of his comments in the short term.

I’m not Goodnews Jonathan. I refuse to sugar coat developments at Ibrox or Celtic Park. If the roofs of the former are unsound, I will inform my readers. If attending Ibrox is a religious experience for you I suggest you eschew a magic hat and replace it with a prayer mat, as your safety is literally on a wing and a prayer. Mark Warburton does not have a magic hat. What he actually has is the ability to create a squad of players on a peppercorn budget. This squad, on paper, is inordinately inferior to that of CFC. Ceteris Paribus, Mark Warburton would choose to coach the CFC squad if invited to do so. Brendan Rodgers has the best job in Scottish football and is the highest paid coach. CFC are a successful business. They yield upwards of £11m per anum from sponsorship. Their stadium can accommodate circa 10,000 more supporters than Ibrox. Rangers are engaged in fighting battles off the park and are £9m short of solvency. If they win the title this season with their commercial backdrop I will be astonished.

As this is a JJ World article, I extend a warm welcome to new readers in Botswana, Namibia and Paraguay. With the exception of the North and South Poles, a few central African countries and Papua New Guinea, this site has readers in every country and island state in the world. I’m disappointed with the latter of this group as I have visited Lae and Port Moresby and I have friends in both.

 

A High-Risk Strategy

Keith Jackass let his guard slip on Twitter when he revealed that positive copy on Rangers sells. This approach is pervasive in all media. After a training exercise against Stranraer, BBC Scotland was so excited that they came to the conclusion that Rangers had reached the last 16 of The Scottish Cup. Someone should have informed them that Rangers were playing in a damp squib pre-season preamble dreamed up by Doncaster to provide teams not good enough for UEFA tournaments with something to do. The only game of any import will be played tomorrow evening in The Astana  Arena, Kazakhstan. Schadenfreude apropos UEFA misadventures sells more copy than romps against Lowland League opposition. A reverse for CFC is catnip for the Rangers supporters with laptops.

Despite the spin there are those that believe that the renascent Rangers does not receive a fair press. Stewart Robertson is leading the chorus against those individuals that are suggesting that Charles Green’s confection of assets will go bust. Robertson argues that King will step up with more loans for equity. Having laundered £5m from Hong Kong how much more can he raise? Are Barry Scott and Andy Ross sitting on another £9m of King’s unreported tax-evading slaughter? Is there an infinite limit to the amount King can clean via Scottish football? Will he be charging others a percentage on the dollar for participation in the SFA’s laundry?

There are a number of business issues facing Rangers that must occur to even the most backward of the sentiently-challenged stenographers. An eight figure sum will be required to raise and replace the roofs. £2m has to be found to pay the rates on Ibrox and Auchenhowie. In the 2015 accounts the staff costs were £13.3m. The improved contracts for Wallace, Waghorn and Tavernier will add circa £1m to these costs. Barton will add £1.5m. Those who signed contracts last season will see their basic salaries rise from £5,000 to £8,000 which will add circa £3m in additional costs. Kranjcar and Hill will cost a minimum of £1m Those released will reduce the salary bill by circa £1.5m. The staff costs will be circa £17.3m in 2016. Additional operating costs in 2015 amounted to £12.5m, with circa £500,000 of this in rates. This will increase to circa £14m and when added to the staff costs Rangers will have to generate £31.3m to break even next year. This figure does not include any provision for the essential roofs replacements.

Match day income in 2015 was £16.5m. Just over £9m of this was in gate receipts. Best case scenario matchday income for 2016 will be circa £20m.Broadcasting income, after reduction of the SPFL fine and SPFL/SFA costs will be circa £2m. Rangers only raised £600,000 in sponsorship in 2015, and given the impasse at Puma/Sports Direct and 32 Red one must conclude that there will no commercial revenue whatsoever in 2016/2017 . There will be indeterminate costs associated with this impasse. My conservative estimate is that Rangers will have to find £9m and change from loans to arrive at season’s end. There has been no listing of the anticipated legal circus in regard to the Sports Direct contract, but in the current circumstances is this an overhead that RIFC can afford? We can rest assured that Mr Robertson will not be asked how he plans to raise £9m? Will it come from Kings’s Chinese laundry and Club 1872?

The Alchemist-I can change dodgy Hong King dollars into Krugerands

When King stepped up with his £20m of tax-evaded funds, SDM was boasting that King was worth £300m. He was actually worth £93m and had some property and expensive toys. SDM stated to King that Trevor Hemmings and Tom Hunter were ‘on board‘ and would contribute an initial £24m and an anticipated £51m. He stated to King that his investment was a mere 25% of the £80m he had raised to pursue UEFA glory. SDM stated that he would provide £9m from his own pocket. Rangers had a great squad of EBT all stars and with the £80m they could sign Ronaldo and spare him the indignity of Scottish domestic football and UK tax and national insurance.

The Herald was tipped off by SDM that £80m was on its way. At this time it was owned by Scottish Television (1996-2013). Their joint fanfare and that of the ‘succulent lamb’ brigade boosted the price of 15m shares in RFC plc equity to £51.75m. Murray announced that Alastair Johnson would also be participating in the rights issue. David Murray issued the following statement in 2000:

“Essentially, the investment we require is in place and we also have a major media deal in the pipeline which is very exciting and will bring in further serious investment to the club.I told you earlier this week that I had run the club up to now on a high-risk strategy which has involved carrying large debt.These days are over. The whole method of running the club is going to change, because we are in a situation right now where we do not need to take the risks we have had to take in the past.We don’t have to spend the same money on players, for example, as we have had to do over the past two years when we were restructuring the team after the arrival of Dick Advocaat. Dick and myself know what we are aiming for. We want to be in the Champions League every season. This is what we want for the club and this is what we have been working towards.Believe me when I tell you that we are going for it this time – we want to be successful in Europe, and the money we are raising now will take us there.
This is the last part of the jigsaw for me.”

Of course the reality of the situation was that Murray only raised £29m from King and the Bank of Scotland. He had picked up an additional £22.75m in equity and it had not cost him a thin dime. King, whose tax-evading loot was burning a hole in his pocket, had been duped. The SFA, as is their wont, turned a blind eye to King’s South African laundry operation. Is it heartening to note that the South African criminal is still laundering funds while Regan is asleep at the wheel?

However there was more than a germ of truth in Murray’s statement. He at this time was planing to move away from the Value Shift Options Scheme tax evasion, to EBT tax evasion. He would not have to spend the same amount on players and staff as his employer’s National Insurance bills would be significantly reduced by systemic tax fraud. As for Dick Advocaat’s request for a new training facility, it was paid for by the Scottish Executive, Lottery Funding and The Bank of Scotland. If King could raise £14m from similar sources, he could probably replace the roofs. To date £120m has been spent in Govan gentrification. There are plans to roll out £2b. The cost of the roofs would be crumbs off a Scottish Executive/PFI table.

Murray continued his high-risk strategy all the way to liquidation. Craig Whyte was but a sideshow. However the stakes are even higher in King’s renascent Rangers. Murray robbed investors and pension funds. King, while being cut from the same cloth as SDM, is risking more than the livelihoods of others. He is actually endangering their lives.

 

Dear JJ – New Season At Ibrox

Dear JJ,

I have read with some disquiet of the disrepair at Ibrox. I’m not quite sure whether to laugh or cry apropos the surprising intervention of the Glasgow Safety Advisory Group. This group would typically consist of representatives of Glasgow City Council; Police, Fire and Ambulance Services; and event organisers. It is the last group that leads to raised eyebrows. Do members of the Rangers board have an active role in the decision to grant a safety certificate to Ibrox?  I have had a look at the Health & Safety Executive web site, where it states that:
“SAGs provide a forum for discussing and advising on public safety at an event. They aim to help organisers with the planning, and management of an event and to encourage cooperation and coordination between all relevant agencies. They are non-statutory bodies and so do not have legal powers or responsibilities, and are not empowered to approve or prohibit events from taking place. Event organisers and others involved in the running of an event, retain the principal legal duties for ensuring public safety.”

Lady Bear noted with some circumspection that a public safety certificate is apparently automatically granted every year with no inspection. The reintroduction of standing at Celtic Park evidently exercised the GSAG, as it should. However, if it were not for the statement of Mr Charlotte Fakeovers, Dave King, that three stands required major overhauls, GSAG would not have intervened. Having been assured that everything was fine and dandy at Ibrox, GSAG did not raise any flags at Glasgow City Council. I’m sure that there is no truth in the rumour that Mr King had spoken out of turn after a liquid lunch. Our card-carrying criminal chairman does not inspire confidence.

The idea of Lady Bear and I not attending Ibrox on 6th August fills us both with angst. We love nothing more than the annual ‘hoist the flag‘ celebrations that are a feature of the new Rangers. This year’s event will compensate for last season when a team from Gorgie had the audacity to win the Championship title. Despite the best efforts of Dave King’s paramilitary wing, The Sons of Strewth, to intimidate the usurpers from the East, we were left with a flagpole and what resembled dirty laundry.

This season will be the first occasion since WWII where we won’t be able to purchase replica shirts. As much as I understand the need to serve Queen and country, surely there is no excuse to serve King in his petty spat with Puma, 32-Red and Sports Direct. Lady Bear,  with her flair for innovation and safety, has been perusing the Sports Direct website for some appropriate match attire: 

In addition to the mandatory Dunlop Safety Helmet, which is available  in three colours, Lady bear selected two colour coordinated high visibility jackets. It’s important to stand out from the hoi polloi and roof rubble to assist the emergency services to locate us:

All Hi Vis

Hi Vis Vest

 

Lady Bear also selected the No Fear Motocross Neck Support  which can double as a makshift toilet seat if caught short at Ibrox. The desire for souvenirs at Ibrox brooks no boundaries. If it cannot be nailed down it is lifted. Which in a nutshell, is the current state of the roofs.

No Fear Motocross Neck Support

 

Could you please advise Lady Bear and I whether our riding helmets will suffice at Ibrox?  Should we consider the unisex motorcross body armour and work boots? Lady Bear is adamant that she won’t wear any shoes that require laces. Her Chelsea boots is as far as she’s prepared to go, despite the risks. Should she wear her utility belt, or should that remain our role play bedroom secret? So many decisions, so little time.

Yours in Rangers,

Edward (Teddy) Bear Esquire.

 

 

Dear Teddy,

Thank you for your letter on Lady Bear’s Chanel scented notepaper. It’s always a pleasure to read your correspondence with my morning coffee and an ephemeral hint of cinnamon in the air. I was quite moved by your letter and Lady Bear’s prudence in taking some precautionary measures. As you and Lady Bear are my dearest friends your safety at Ibrox is uppermost in my mind. Any board prepared to seize power with the purchase of hacked information should not be trusted on any matter. Dave King may have kicked a blue can of Special Brew in his Castlemilk youth but that does not confer him with any status as a real Rangers man. As SDM proved, the Rangers supply chain of security, catering and Jumbotron provision can be a nice little earner for any unscrupulous businessman. Dave King will have his fingers in the ancillary pies as and when the contracts are renewed.

Cutting corners and costs have long  been the bywords at Ibrox. When Lloyds bank took control of Rangers in 2009, capital expenditure was the last thing on their minds. Their emissary reduced debt from £30m to £18m and change. Mr Murray swept £50m of debt into his burgeoning MIM debt portfolio and all was set fair on the bridge of the HMS EBT. The roofs of all stands were neglected. Three of them must now be lifted and replaced. No amount of Level 5 rhetoric or hollow assurances can deflect from the prosaic facts of this matter. The article in The National was a squirrel.

At Ibrox this year I strongly suggest that you and Lady Bear have the sartorial leanings of Bob The Builder.

Image result for photo of bob the builders

Our recent loan signing, Dodoo, was quick to endorse the latest leisure wear at Ibrox. If you must attend Ibrox this season, I would recommend that you and Lady Bear adopt BTB as the new three letter acronym du jour at Ibrox.

 

Yours in Rangers,

JJ