Our site has up to 40,000 readers in any given day. It’s followed by 5,394 readers on Twitter and circa one thousand on WordPress. My articles are regularly featured on aggregator site Celtic News Now which has north of 33,000 Twitter followers. I’m grateful to this site for taking my work, and the insightful comments of my readers, to a wider audience.
With up to 40,000 readers on any given day, many come on to my twitter page to share insights. To set the scene for what could be an explosive story, one reverts to 25th May 2003. The following is from BBC Sport:
“An injury-time penalty by Mikel Arteta clinched the SPL title for Rangers in an amazing afternoon at Ibrox. Rangers were 5-1 up as the match entered the last few minutes, but with Celtic 4-0 up at Rugby Park and still playing, they knew the championship was not yet theirs.But when Arteta stepped up to slot the ball past Derek Stillie after Neil McCann had been brought down, the Ibrox nerves were finally settled. Michael Mols had given Rangers the lead, Jason Dair equalised, before Claudio Caniggia, Shota Arveladze, Ronald de Boer and Steven Thompson put Rangers on the road to the title.”
The Rangers side which won the title on goal difference was riddled with tax cheats:
Rangers: Klos (£2m EBT); Ricksen (£684,225 EBT); Moore (£1.1m EBT and DOS/VSS tax cheating); Amoruso (£639,000 EBT); Numan (£510,000 EBT); Ferguson (£2.5m EBT); Arteta (£674,703 EBT); Caniggia (£1m EBT substituted by Neil McCann £500,000 EBT); de Boer (£1.2m EBT and DOS/VSS tax malfeasance); Mols (£260,000 EBT substituted by Thompson £485,000 EBT) and Arveladze whose tax arrangements are unknown.
They were managed by Alex McLeish who received a £1.7m cash bung. Chris Sutton asserted that Dunfermline had laid down to Rangers to allow the EBT juggernaut to win the title. He was banned for six games, which was reduced to 5 games after appeal.
One then fast forwards to 2015 to this narrative from Chris Sutton:
“Jimmy Calderwood wants an apology from me. I’m afraid he is going to be disappointed because it’s not going to happen.I must admit I was surprised when I read in yesterday’s Record Sport his demands for me to say sorry for insulting his Dunfermline side in 2003. The first thing that struck me was why had it taken so long for him to come out and say this?Perhaps he has a bit too much time on his hands these days and hasn’t got anything better to do but I found it laughable. To dredge it up after 12 years is pathetic.When I accused Dunfermline of lying down to Rangers I said it from the heart in the heat of the moment. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I clearly touched a nerve questioning fellow footballers’ integrity. I was angry, felt cheated and my blood was boiling. It was my opinion at that time in the aftermath of a weak and puny performance by Jimmy’s team.”
Chris Sutton is still convinced Dunfermline lay down to Rangers to allow them to win the title in 2003.
However it now seems that Sutton was on to something. David Murray arranged for Calderwood to be appointed at Dunfermline via Gavin Masterton. Both Rangers and Dunfermline were heavily indebted to the Bank of Scotland. According to Calderwood in a radio interview, the plan was for him to find his feet in the smaller club before taking over the EBT Juggernaut.
With this in mind, did Calderwood throw the game for Rangers?
A number of documents have recently come to light. These documents have been handed to the SFA for scrutiny. Did Calderwood receive a £1m EBT from Rangers in a pre-contract deal that was swept under the carpet after Rangers won the title in 2003?
What about the Dunfermline players? Were they also on the take that day?
These incriminating documents might well lead to one title being stripped in 2003 and much more besides.