Compliance In An Age Of Unreason

How do you solve a problem like our Andy?
How do you catch his sophistry and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means his duplicity?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
Many a thing he ought to understand
But how do you make him stay and listen to all you say
How do you take a knuckle shuffle from his hand?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like our Andy?
How do you hold a Minty moonbeam in your hand?

When I’m with him I’m confused, out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather, he’s as flighty as a feather
He’s a darling! He’s a demon! He’s a succulent lamb!


I have no way of knowing whether SFA Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan is a fan of The Sound of Music but I contend that one of the biggest problems on his plate is Andrew Dickson. It has been six months since McGlennan was tasked with a binary issue. Did Dickson in his capacity as Head of Football Administration at former club Rangers subvert the decision of an SFA Licencing Committee? Did he lie to this committee, a committee of which he was a member, apropos an overdue payable? Testimony at the Craig Whyte trial leads one to the conclusion that Dickson either lied through his back teeth or that a committee headed by Rod Petrie decided to sweep the social tax shortfall under the table.

This leads to two more important questions:

1. Why was Dickson, The Head of Football Administration at applicant club Rangers, allowed a say in their UEFA application? He was severely compromised and should have played no part in this decision.

2. Did Rod Petrie engage in a backroom deal with Campbell Ogilvie to pave the path for Rangers in exchange for a leg up the SFA’s greasy pole?

It’s my unshakeable conviction that the SFA should be abolished. They have failed Scottish football. They are incapable of fair play. Sporting Integrity is a foreign land that the SFA sinecures have yet to visit.

As Rangers stole 17-20 titles, the SFA drove their get-away car.

When the game’s policeman is bent and its judiciary is on the take from bookmaker sponsors you have what passes for football governance in Scottish football. Video Assisted Refereeing will be introduced at this year’s World Cup. I doubt that it will be introduced any time soon as the SFA want the pro-Lite decisions to continue. Goal-line technology has long been a feature in the EPL, but not in the backwater of Scottish football governance. As for drug testing, should Bradley Wiggins lose his Halford’s sponsorship he should try his hand in Scottish football where his intramuscular injection of steroids would go undetected.

What do the 180 staff at Hampden do all day? The square root of fuck all?

Those who follow me on Twitter, last count 6,211 (@Sitonfence), will know that I only follow The Rangers Tax Case Blogger and The Football Blogging Awards site. The latter will be of little relevance this year as I won’t be able to follow my New Football Blog Award win with a significant showing in the 2018 awards which are a few months away. I don’t anticipate even making any shortlist. Given my enforced exile I would be eligible for an International Award but to compete with Phil Macgiollabhain, who is quick to remind us that he is a fully-fledged journalist, would be too much for a humble social media correspondent. He has 32,000+ followers on Twitter. He spent eleven eleven years as a staff writer for Sinn Fein. One can understand why the Irish diaspora clasp him to their bosoms and open their wallets to support him. He does not have to struggle.

Had it not been for the intervention of one 11th hour benefactor I was intent on walking away. Running a blog is for those other than the favoured few a thankless task. I receive brickbats about a password as my free to air pieces are taken for granted.

Someone who was honoured for his blog was the anonymous Rangers Tax Case Blogger. He received the prestigious Orwell award. I am so low on the pecking order of social media that I would not be invited to clean this award. Donations tell me all I need to know about the longevity of this site. Like Rangers Lite my future as a blogger will be short-lived and increasingly troublesome. When I block thoughts of credible death threats from my head and revert to our site, I receive criticism and accusations of operating a ‘fucking con.’ Some of my readers should take a long hard look at themselves. I don’t write for these ungrateful wretches who will soon be weeded out. I write for my most valued readers.

I am indebted to the RTC blogger for his transcript of Murray Group v HMRC, which began on 18 April 2011. The cross-examination of Andrew Dickson by counsel for HMRC (Mr. Thomson) gives one the measure of Dickson. He is a mendacious tax-cheat with selective amnesia.

When pressed by Thomson why he had not presented the schedule of player payments preceding season 2005/2006, which he was compelled to do, Dickson Rangers’ Head of Football Administration, responded:

” The SPL didn’t — never contacted us coming looking for it.”

All Rangers players in season 2005/2006 were ineligible. They were not imperfectly registered. When pressed whether this flagrant breach of the rules had been the case since 2000, Dickson disingenuously responded that he could not be sure. What was crystal  clear was that the side-letters, the tax-free payments, were excluded from all submissions to the SFA and SPL.

Thomson now had Dickson where he wanted him. When he pressed him further apropos the conspicuous absence of side-letter payment schedules being presented to the SPL and SFA, Dickson responded:

“Because there was no need to. The only information that the SPL and SFA needed to receive are payments that are due to players and the letters of undertaking were not payments directly to players.”

Thomson continued:

“All that was happening here is the player agrees to play for the club on a package of conditions which are artificially split, Mr Dickson, between what you choose to put in the formal contract, which is lodged with the SFA and SPL, and what you choose not to put in that, which goes into the side letter. It’s not sophisticated. It’s simply choosing not to put some stuff into a formal document.”

Thomson’ position in 2011 was accurate, however we had to wait six long years prior  to the ultimate endorsement of his position by The Supreme Court.

Dickson was on the ropes, but his sophistry knew no bounds. Thomson would not be deterred. He referred Dickson to a bundle in which this regulation was housed:

 “All payments to be made to a player relating to his playing activities must be clearly recorded upon the relevant contract and/or agreement. No payments for his playing activities may be made to a player via a third party.”

Thomson asserted that payments made via a sub-trust were third party payments. Dickson countered that they were loans and were at arm’s length from the club.

Thomson wrapped up day one of proceedings with his conclusion that Andrew Dickson, the Head of Football Administration, deliberately withheld side-letter schedules from the SPL and SFA. Dickson wanted the tax evasion and the flagrant breach of regulations kept under wraps.

Dickson in 2005 was personally responsible for 29 of 56 side-letters. Ian Macmillan of the Murray Group was fully aware of this but denied their existence when approached by HMRC at that time.

Dickson is evidently cut from the same cloth as King. The latter appointed Dickson to the board of the member club. A member club which continues to be governed by Dickson in his role as an officer of the SFA.

If Dickson who participated in three of the Licence Committee meetings of 2011 cannot give a straight answer under oath, why should one believe him on any matter?

If Tony McGlennan does not unsheath his sword to cut Dickson off at the knees, the stench of a corrupt whitewash at Hampden will resonate with the public at large.

Who in their right minds will venture their hard-earned cash to pay off Alex McLeish’s very own overdue payable when he and his colleagues continue to escape the consequences of their actions by an SFA compliance officer who seems to be asleep on the job.









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11 thoughts on “Compliance In An Age Of Unreason”

  1. The quality of your articles is unsurpassed and you have set a very high bar in terms of quality, research, analysis, insight and prodigious output. No site comes close and I contribute to no other. I am surprised that you are not on a short list for the International Blog, given the scale of your articles which extend beyond the nefarious world of Scottish football.

    This site is THE ‘go to’ site for Scottish sports journalists, as well as those who participated in the collapse and liquidation of Rangers. SDM reads this site. Subsequent custodians of the club also read your articles as do members of the judiciary. Alex McLeish reads this site. Paul Murray reads your pieces as does David Somers. Donald Muir tunes in for updates and CW drops by regularly.

    And the reason that these guys read your articles is that they know that your pieces are not based on heresay or rumour. They are based on solid research coupled with comments from contributors who have unique and regular access to the main characters who were key to the collapse of Rangers.

    This is THE only blog which can truthfully claim to have access to a front row seat in the whole Rangers soap opera. When I mentioned here that CW had told me that he had agreed with SDM to put the club into administration on day one of his tenure, SDM’s team went into overdrive with the Scottish press to keep it quiet. That story still has not been printed. Graham Spiers knows this story by reading this site but is terrified to run with it.

    And so………you may get a lot of head cases from Follow Follow who don’t like to hear criticism of Rangers. But you have called it right from day one and I shall continue to provide my own insights based on my many professional and business meetings with almost every key character who was involved in the collapse, sale and liquidation of the club.

    Keep up your fantastic work.


  2. An article with a lot of good detail, making good reading and providing, as always, food for thought. Long may you continue to pride material like this.

    As I’ve said before, I am a pensioner (pension actuarially reduced for early-ish retirement for health reasons) hence the fact that I can only donate occasionally. Usually you acknowledge me. This year I believe I met your criteria for passwords, having made the following donations :
    £5.55 Jan 16
    21 Feb £10.00
    £0.01 – 2 on 28 Feb and 1 on 6 March (used a credit card for one of them)

    At need I can detail the payments I made last year (and, yes, I did vote for your blog – and will do so again if you let us know the category). I am not a lurker, nor do I expect a completely free ride. When I comment I try to make positive contributions and I don’t believe I have ever made a comment that anyone could object to.

    I have no problem with paying for passwords since you’ve said that you do not penalise the unwaged or those in straitened circumstances. Only, so far, despite having met – as far as I can tell – your requirements, I still cannot access the protected articles. Perhaps this is due to a technical glitch. I have checked my spam and junk mailboxes but there’s noting relevant there.

    Perhaps a brief note to let me know what I’m apparently doing wrong would be helpful. I had a similar issue last year where I only received one of the three I paid for.

  3. Another brilliant and engrossing read JJ. You hit home every time. I genuinely look out and look forward to your posts and it saddens me, due to your financial situation, that you’re considering walking away. I hope regular readers realise the gravity of your perilous monetary status and put their hand in their pocket to help you keep the wolf from the door. You’ve made an incredible sacrifice in being separated from your family and living daily with your life threatened. I honestly don’t know how you cope.
    I don’t earn a lot and donate monthly what I can afford. To other readers, please give JJ what you can as his absence and incisiveness will leave a gaping hole in the fight for truth and fairness against the Establishment corruption and lies.

  4. Excellent piece of work as usual . People should be digging deep to keep this blog alive. It’s the best out there by far . Celtic supporters and anybody who seeks fair play and wants to fight injustice……. get your cash out and keep this alive and kicking ..hail hail

  5. Will Morelos’s new contract include a wage package concomitant with his ‘as if’ market value?

    Eh, aye , it’ll be close brother.

  6. Evening JJ
    Apolgies if you have previously explained this in an earlier post but I am a new to your site.
    I sent a donation/payment via PayPal requesting password for your articles via my email address as noted in the comments section. To date I have not received any further correspondence and therefore unable to access some of your posts.

    My paypal Account was set up with an email address that is now closed but I noted my new email address in the notes.

    Can you help, as I find your work intriguing and informative and I am more than willing to pay my way.


  7. I visit this blog several times a day. Living 12,000 miles from Scotland I know that only here that I can glean insights into the perfidious corruption of football officials for the sake of one club that is the emblem for Loyalist Fascism.

    1. I will send another donation to JJ after I get back from celebrating my grandnephews birthday next weekend.
      I value this blog particularly for its insights into the goings on in my ancestral homeland and city.
      Growing up in Canada my early years were not unblighted by the Orange influence but happily for me they were then on their last legs.
      I marvel people in Scotland put up with it for a minute (presuming they are in fact a minority)
      The Doors observation “they got the guns but we got the numbers” is ultimately correct.
      In a democracy the route to freedom is voting out the miscreants and by this I mean riding by riding not on a party basis.
      Sentimentally I favour independence but after all its not my call -up to the locals to decide what they want.
      Cant see how adherence to the Uk is working out to the benefit of Scotland though in the short or long term.
      JJ may be right when he cautions about the economic impact of independence although I dont believe it myself.
      That said if im wrong its not myself who wd bear the consequences.
      The forced exile of JJ by orange thugs like as not well known to the police isnt to me much of an advertisement for the benefits of Union -and I doubt he is the only one threatened by such complicity.
      Up to the locals if they prefer to be run by a Mafia operation or not.
      I will say the Scots diaspora has been the foundation of my country and many others both in and out of the old commonwealth and even though they have been supplanted politically by others as we became diverse the foundation they laid still remains.
      I doubt the people who stayed behind were less talented than the expats and Im sure they are at least the equals of their English associates in capacity.
      I dont much care if a team called Rangers continues to play out of Ibrox or not.
      Without a massive influx of cash they will not be any threat to Celtic in my lifetime(especially considering Im now 71!) but no one should take any more than sporting joy over tribulations of ones competitors.
      Im sure many Rangers supporters are decent folk-the ones Ive met over here are ,and the collapse of their club injures them.
      As for the crooks,spivs and thugs who needs them?
      Certainly not football in general and decidedly not Scots football in particular/

  8. I suspect one of the factors exercising the Compliance Officer is establishing exactly what happened under Licence Committee guidelines in March/April 2011.

    The SFA Handbook 2014/15 sets out the Licensing Committee duties and the Compliance Officer will be trying to establish if and how Para 11 was complied with it says:

    11. Any matter which involves or concerns his club (including any matter in relation to
    a player or employee or official of his club) or a recognised football body which he
    represents on Council, a member of the Committee shall retire from any deliberation of
    the Committee. The member of the Committee shall not take part in any deliberation in
    that respect.

    The Comp Off should be assisted by para 13

    13. The minutes of a meeting of the Committee if signed by the Chairman of such meeting
    or by the Chairman of the next succeeding meeting, shall be conclusive evidence of the
    matters stated in such minutes.

    What will be exercising the Comp Off is if Dickson complied with para 11 and excluded himself, should he have done so?

    What exactly did Dickson know in March/ April 2011 about the wtc liability that HMRC were asking questions about in 2005 when he was in charge of the De Boer/Flo side letters (and the other 29 side letters) and what did he know in December 2011 when he spoke to Regan before Regan e mailed Ali Russell?

    Its stuff like this that that takes time to investigate and then consider the ramifications.

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