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  1. Wednesday, 21 January 2015 14:00 Youths Draw With Falkirk Written by Rangers Football Club IAN DURRANT took the reigns of the Rangers under-20 side for the first time yesterday afternoon in a goalless draw against Falkirk at Murray Park. It was the first game back for the under-20 side since the League shut down over the Christmas and New Year period after last week's scheduled tie with Hamilton Accies was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Light Blues had an experienced side playing in freezing conditions at Murray Park today, with first team players Marius Zaliukas, Sebastien Faure and Ian Black all taking places in the line up. It was an evenly matched game with the best chance of the match for the Gers falling to Ryan Hardie who forced a good save from the keeper after turning his marker well and shooting low. RANGERS: Robinson, Sinnamon, Zaliukas, Faure, Crawford, Black (Roberts), Murdoch, Walsh, Stoney, Ramsay (Halkett), Hardie. http://www.rangers.co.uk/news/academy-news/item/8378-youths-draw-with-falkirk
  2. The day I take lessons from Easdale on what is and isn't in the best interests of Rangers, there'll be proper fiscal responsibility in Ibrox. Can it be that even after everything he doesn't grasp how detested he is? He lost his right to tell fans what is in Rangers best interests when he started hocking the club off to Mike Ashley. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-30922826 Rangers director Sandy Easdale has said police are investigating threats made against him amid the ongoing and acrimonious battle for the Ibrox club. Officers are believed to be monitoring his home after internet posts allegedly urged fans to attack his house in a bid to remove him from the club. Mr Easdale, 47, said he had also received threats by email and letter. Last week, several hundred fans protested outside Ibrox stadium against the current Rangers board. In a statement released to the BBC, Mr Easdale said: "I have received several threats that are now in the hands of the authorities and I am confident that Police Scotland will get to the bottom of this. 'Violence and intimidation' "I appreciate that feelings are running high but I would like to make an appeal for calm. "This sort of behaviour is not in the best interests of the club, its shareholders or its true supporters." Mr Easdale said members of the Rangers board had been "subjected to an unprecedented level of abuse". "People are entitled to air their views but I hope that all parties will agree that violence and intimidation are unacceptable," he said. "All I want to see is the best possible outcome for Rangers." Police Scotland said it did not comment on operational details. Various fans groups have voiced opposition to the Rangers board for some time amid ongoing financial problems. It is understood that the club cannot pay this month's wage bill and needs immediate funding. A £10m loan has been offered by Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, who holds an 8.92% stake in Rangers International Football Club - the football club's holding company. In return, Mr Ashley wants security over Ibrox stadium and its Murray Park training complex - a move that has enraged some fans who say the stadium should never be in danger of being taken away from the club's control. About 600 supporters demonstrated before and after the club's abandoned Championship game against Hearts on Friday. Following reports of disturbances, police arrested one man and said they expected to make more arrests after studying CCTV footage.
  3. http://supportersnotcustomers.com/2015/01/20/why-scotland-needs-rangers/
  4. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/jack-irvine-paul-murrays-more-5015233? THE Easdales have launched an astonishing attack on Paul Murray, mocking the former Rangers director and questioning his commitment to the club. A statement released by Jack Irvine, family adviser to the Ibrox club’s major shareholders, hits back at Murray for speaking out against the current regime in today’s Record Sport and savages him for being part of the board when former chairman David Murray sold the club to Craig Whyte for £1. Irvine said: “ So like an episode of The Living Dead, Paul Murray emerges from his borders lair having vowed never to return. He says he expects a smear campaign against himself and Dave King and in the same breath compares the Rangers board to Gerald Ratner. Hypocritical? You decide. “If Mr Murray and Mr King ever do get anywhere near the club they are welcome to carry out a robust financial investigation. The Easdale brothers have never taken a penny from the club and nor have they claimed any expenses. “One begins to wonder if we are not dealing with Paul McKenna as opposed to Paul Murray who appears to have hypnotised himself and his cohorts into obliterating the memory fact that they sold their beloved club for one pound. Rangers men? You decide.” In fact, former Deutsche Bank executive Murray launched an eleventh hour bid to persuade former David Murray against the Whyte deal. Forecasting the liquidation crisis which just over a year later brought the Glasgow giants to their knees, he said at the time: "In my opinion, Craig Whyte has not adequately demonstrated what his strategy is for managing and funding a negative outcome on this matter."
  5. The Rangers Supporters Trust (RST) is delighted to announce that, following a successful meeting yesterday, the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund (RFFF) has thrown its considerable finances and influence behind the RST's continuing fight to ensure Ibrox remains under the control of the club. We are delighted that the RFFF has taken this decision and would like to thank them for doing so. There is now a substantial legal fund available, should it be required, to fight any attempt by this board to pass security over Ibrox to Mike Ashley. We will work closely with the RFFF going forward to ensure every avenue is explored. http://www.therst.co.uk/news/rst-gains-rfff-support-for-ibrox-legal-fight/
  6. A few months ago rbr suggested that likeminded Gersnet members could donate towards a lifetime membership of Rangers First. There was reasonable level of interest at the time, but for whatever reason it didn't translate into action. A lot has happened since then in the struggle for control of Rangers and the recent requisition for an EGM has galvanised supporter opinion, leading to large numbers of new sign-ups for both RangersFirst and the RST's BuyRangers scheme. The Gers Forum were among those signing up this week, having raised £1000 in 24 hours to buy 2 Rangers First Lifetime Memberships (these are available to groups, whereas BuyRangers requires an individual membership). I'd like to organise a similar effort on Gersnet if there is enough interest. I'm aware that many of us already support RF and/or BuyRangers, while others do not share my enthusiasm for fan ownership. It's also January, so not everyone will have spare cash to donate at this time of year. However, a potentially close vote at the forthcoming EGM will be sufficient incentive for many Gersnetters. A RangersFirst Club 1872 membership costs £500, so if we can get 50 interested Bears together @ £10 each, we can make it happen. If you want to donate more than that, then great. So, my suggestion is this: 1. PM me with your forum name and the amount you'd be willing to commit to as a one off donation. 2. I'll keep a tally of the total. As and when we reach £500, I'll pass everyone's details to Bluedell, who has very kindly offered to help collect the funds. 3. Bluedell can then provide you with details (also via PM) of how he plans to collect the funds and once the full £500 has been received, we'll purchase a Lifetime Membership in the name of Gersnet. Any excess funds received will be donated to RF. 4. As RF operates a one-member-one-vote decision making process, the easiest option would be to hold a brief poll of members prior to any future RF votes. Obviously, such polls are open to members and visitors alike, but for one vote among thousands, it wouldn't be worth creating a more complicated process. If anyone has spotted a fatal flaw in the process, or has any suggestions which would make it easier, please let me know. Finally, I'd just like to make it clear that there's absolutely no compulsion to take part, but it's up to those who do to look into the details of RF if they are not already familiar with it. Cheers.
  7. Mike Ashley sells £117m stake in Sports Direct Share sale fuels rumours that Newcastle United owner is preparing to offer emergency loan to Rangers
  8. Latest Mohsni incident... http://www.football411.com/story/0,22162,14340_27179,00.html
  9. CG on Sky Sports News at 5pm approx. Just saying.
  10. Freezing temperatures, icy conditions and a fair chance of snow on Saturday morning in Cowdenbeath. Anyone fancy running a book on whether or not the game gets postponed?
  11. keith jackson ‏@tedermeatballs I'm not going to use the phrase 'statement klaxon' again. But, yes, I think one will be along very shortly....
  12. ... in his ET interview My headline makes for a good signature. If anything, those currently trying to oust the board have learned (the hard way) that the key is in having enough shares. Let#s hope this goes through, Murdoch sounds rather confident and you'd hope King has done this because he IS confident of success.
  13. In today's Record: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/mortgaging-ibrox-stadium-makes-no-5006216#rlabs=2
  14. Looks like they have about the same voting rights as before so just buying off their mates, I think. 20 January 2015 Rangers International Football Club plc ("Rangers" or the "Company") Holdings in Company The Company announces that it was notified on 19th January 2015 that Alexander Easdale purchased 1,014,000 ordinary shares of 1 penny each in the Company ("Ordinary Shares") on 16 January 2015. As a result, Mr Easdale now holds 5, 256,110 Ordinary Shares in the Company, equal to 6.451% of the issued share capital of the Company. Mr Easdale also holds voting rights over, but does not own, a further 16,028,084 Ordinary Shares, representing 19.672% of the Company, meaning that in total he holds voting rights over 21,284,194 Ordinary Shares, representing 26.123% of the issued share capital of the Company.
  15. https://twitter.com/jimwhite Jim White ‏@JimWhite 41s42 seconds ago Kenny McDowall has resigned as Rangers caretaker manager, citing personal reasons for stepping down. #Rangers
  16. DAVE KING today insisted he will easily convince both stock market bosses and football chiefs that he IS fit to run Rangers. The former oldco director has called a general meeting to vote on plans to rout the Ibrox board. He will also ask the shareholders to vote in himself, former Blue Knight Paul Murray and John Gilligan as their replacements. The current regime - David Somers, Derek Llambias, Barry Leach and James Easdale - released a statement to the stock exchange on this morning insisting they would fight King's bid. In a thinly-veiled swipe at the Johannesburg-based businessman, they said: "The AIM rules require that all individuals appointed to the board of an AIM company are suitable to be a director of a UK public company." The Castlemilk-born millionaire was forced to hand the South African Revenue Services a cheque for £44million last year in a bid to stave off a tax investigation. SARS claimed he owned £149million but he was spared jail after accepting liability for 41 lesser charges in relation to income tax laws. Both he and Murray will also have to explain their part in the demise of the club after serving on the board under former owner Craig Whyte, who put the club on the path to liquidation in 2012, if they are eventually appointed as part of the SFA’s "fit and proper" person test. But King told PA: "There are no problems regarding the AIM regulations and the issue with the SFA is simple. Only once a director is appointed is an application made to the SFA by the club. "Both myself and Paul will have to deal with our previous directorship at the time that Craig Whyte got involved. Additionally, I will have to deal with my reasons for staying on the board and trying to impose some level of governance during the Whyte era. "I will also deal with my favourable settlement in South Africa. "These are all issues that the SFA rightly has to address in the same way that the SFA has to review the history of anyone who gets involved with a Scottish football team. "That was all considered by me prior to my application - as was the likelihood that the incumbent board will use the media to try to influence the debate by misrepresentation. "The enthusiasm that this board adopts to 'media management' and its failure to act in the interest of shareholders and other stakeholders is exactly why they should be jettisoned in favour of directors who have the requisite business skills and respect for the tradition of Rangers to take the club forward. "History will judge this board as one of the worst the club has ever had. There is not one individual who puts the club above personal interest." King hit back just hours after the board called on him to drop his general meeting and save the cash-strapped club the expense of hosting it. The board's 7am statement added: "If the notice (issued by King) is valid and is not withdrawn, the directors intend to recommend that shareholders vote against the proposed resolutions." In a second statement, the directors conceded they may have to consider using Ibrox as security on a loan - but insisted any decision would not be "taken lightly". Thousands of fans protested against that possibility before Friday night's abandoned clash with Hearts after it was revealed Newcastle owner Ashley was preparing to have his name added to the title deeds of both the stadium and Murray Park as part of a £10million loan arrangement. The Three Bears - wealthy fans Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - had already announced they would increase their own loan offer of £5million - but would not ask for security on the stadium. The board added: "The directors are pursuing bilateral discussions with two parties who are both stakeholders in Rangers. "These discussions contemplate a significant amount of capital being available to the business on a long-term basis in order to enhance the squad which the directors believe is necessary. "A consequence of funding to this level is that, in reality, it may be necessary to use Ibrox stadium as security; such a decision would not be taken lightly. "No decision has been taken at the current time while discussions are being finalised in good faith. "The advance notice does not mean that security will be given, and the directors are adamant that it will not unfairly advantage the party with whom it was agreed. "The board will conclude a transaction, based on its merits, which it believes is in the best interests of shareholders as a whole in accordance with their fiduciary duty." http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/dave-king-ill-convince-stock-5005483?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
  17. ...for stricken star Fernando Ricksen because of gardening leave. THE former Ibrox manager is barred from setting foot in Ibrox of Murray Park under the terms of his gardening leave deal that saw him exit the club. ALLY McCOIST is being denied the chance to say his goodbyes to the Rangers fans at Fernando Ricksen’s benefit game on Sunday by the terms of his gardening leave contract. The Ibrox manager, who was replaced by caretaker boss Kenny McDowall after signalling his intention to work a notice period of 12 months, is not allowed to set foot inside Ibrox or the Murray Park training ground. But McCoist had hoped to play in the charity game for stricken Dutchman Ricksen who is fighting Motor Neurone Disease. However, that could leave him in breach of contract. Record Sport believes the 52-year-old may now ask Ibrox chief executive Derek Llambias for special dispensation. A source close to McCoist said: “He will probably explore all the options in the next few days.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-legend-ally-mccoist-banned-5001714
  18. THE emotional pull of the 1971 stadium disaster in which 66 people died means that Rangers must never give up the lease of Ibrox. ”THE disaster will never leave me. Never a day goes by that it doesn’t go through my mind. “I still get letters from guys who have never been back to Ibrox for a game since that day. I have taken some of them around the stadium for them to see what it is like now. “The new stadium is, in fact, a testament to those who died. In the trophy room there is a beautiful picture of the old stadium up on the wall. For me it is one of the most important things in that room and I make a point of showing it to the people who go there. “It’s important, especially for the young fans who have only seen the new stadium, that they know the history of this club, where we came from and why we came from that point.” Those words were spoken by John Greig as he received his Greatest Ranger Ever award on March 1999. The people guising as the guardians of Rangers would do well to read them and let them sink in. And perhaps listen to the words of a man I interviewed on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster. I must have written about hundreds of people in the 20 years I have worked for this newspaper but few of them left the kind of impression a softly-spoken Airdrie man did when he invited me into his home just after Christmas in 2000. Matt Reid was a 49-year-old man but a part of him was forever 19 – the age he was when he survived the disaster but lost his father, one of the 66 people swept to their deaths when the barriers crumpled on Staircase 13. Matt’s description of the horrors of that day remain vivid in the mind of this Glaswegian who was only eight in ’71 but whose own dad was in the crowd that day. He came home. We were among the lucky ones. Matt Reid spent three months in hospital after the crush. It wasn’t only his thigh bone that had broken. His heart was too. He said: “The game was a blank but every other detail is vivid. The final whistle went and we moved straight up the terracing to make our way out. We took a left, walking alongside the back corrugated shuttering, getting 20 or 30 feet, then a surge started and we got carried off our feet. “My father was agitated because people were crushing and he was protective towards me. He was panicking more than me because I’d encountered crushing before at other matches. “When we got to the top of exit 13, people were coming from three different directions to reach it. It was like trying to put a gallon of water into a pint bowl. “The crushing was really bad at the top of the stair but I wasn’t too concerned at that point, certainly not in fear of my life. But when the surging happened again I thought I would be swept down the stairs so I got a grip of a six-foot fence running parallel with the handrail all the way down that stair and I wasn’t for letting go. My father was behind me at that point. “The force of the people coming down behind me was so strong I started to lose my grip. Just at that point I heard metal grinding and crushing just down the stair below where I was. “It was like a wave of people being carried out the way as well as down and that’s when the barriers must have mangled. That’s when my father got swept away. It was as if he had been swept away on a wave of water. “I was still trying to cling on and it must have been horrible for him – the last thing I heard him shout was, ‘Oh Christ, my boy’. After about 10 minutes I finally couldn’t hold on and went down on to the stair, face down and facing the bottom. “Again there were surges and I felt people getting carried over me. I could feel their heels on my back, then when they stopped moving, this guy was standing square on my back. There was nothing the guy could have done but to me he felt about 16 stone. “I was being crushed and that’s when I was sick. The pie and Bovril I’d had during the game came back up. To this day, when I smell Bovril, I’m back there, lying face down on those stairs.” Matt was finally rescued from beneath a pile of bodies and went on to marry the nurse who cared for him in the Southern General Hospital. The one good thing to come out of the Disaster, he told me that day. But for generations of Rangers fans, another good thing came out of that terrible afternoon. Ibrox was rebuilt and in many ways has become a monument to those who fell on January 2, 1971. It’s not only the names of the dead on the wall, it’s not about the statue of Greig – the man, who with Sandy Jardine and the other Rangers players, attended so many funerals in the weeks that followed. No, the spirit of the 66 is seeped into those red bricks. They are a part of that rebuilt stadium. You might not see it but you feel it, particularly every January. Ibrox Stadium is a memorial to these people, as much as it is a stage upon which the hopes and dreams of thousands have been played out over the years. And now the very people who are supposed to be custodians of this club seem to be prepared to hand it over to Mike Ashley. They’ve posted an advance notice with the Register of Scotland, which would mean if they accept another loan from the Sports Direct tycoon and default on the repayment terms, they’d have to sell it to raise the cash to pay him back. Think about that for a moment. The very people entrusted with looking after the best interests of their club have put its ownership of the stadium at risk. The Rangers board which agreed to this set of circumstances have to examine their consciences. Two of them, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach are Ashley’s men of course. As the Newcastle owner drip-fed loan deals to keep the lights on at Ibrox he demanded more and more control. This is a man who refused to pay into the last share issue, then spent £800,000 shortly after buying them from another investor, which meant Rangers didn’t receive a penny of that money. In desperation the club had to go cap in hand to him for more cash and thus he was able to exert even more influence. If Ashley, Llambias and Leach have squared off those tactics in their own minds so be it. But perhaps they should sit down with the relatives of the 66, look into their eyes, and tell them Ibrox may no longer belong to Rangers. If they can do that without blinking then Rangers really are careering into hell on a handcart. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/david-mccarthy-66-reasons-rangers-5001307
  19. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12218547.html
  20. http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/12218558.html
  21. I was unfortunate enough to have to chair a “debate” on my twitter timeline this weekend as two polarised views clashed on my timeline in response to one of my tweets. On one side we had someone who wished to lay the blame for the injuries sustained by our Ibrox employees squarely with the SOS, whilst the other expressed a desire to see a “more aggressive approach” to the nature of fans protests. Throughout the course of what was an unpleasant exchange between the two of them, it emerged that the proponent of the “more aggressive approach” was not a member of the UOF or SOS whilst the other was apportioning blame based solely on unconfirmed reports he had heard. It was a discussion which has been very much mirrored on Rangers message boards over the weekend. Some clearly saw Friday night’s events as an opportunity to tarnish the fans groups whilst others appear unwilling to accept that the behaviour of Rangers led to the injuries of the two elderly Rangers employees. Considering the incident which led to the injuries occurred both after and away from the location of the organised protest it seems unreasonable to link the unsavoury incident to the main protest where thousands of bears demonstrated in an emotional, exuberant yet exemplary peaceful manner. Those who maintain they saw no violence or assaults at the latter incident, may well be correct, but you cannot ignore the fact that as a consequence of whatever happened at Argyle House two elderly Rangers employees, George and Liz sustained injures. And that is not, and never will be, acceptable. I’m sure all of us in the Rangers support would wish them both a speedy recovery. I’ve been harping on for months now, almost like some PC Brigade acolyte, about some of the unhelpful derogatory and inflammatory language being used. If we claim as a support that such language dehumanises our support when it is directed against us, does the same argument not work the other way ? Or would anyone care to argue that terms such as “rats” is neither derogatory nor dehumanising ? What is clear from Friday is that those wishing to exercise their right to peaceful protest now goes way beyond the ranks of members of the UOF and SOS. This places an added responsibility on protest organisers to ensure that all participants are clear about both the nature and aims of such protest. The briefing message needs to be clear, consistent and unequivocal that all such demonstrations against the board are to be peaceful in nature. I am also firmly of the opinion that a “more aggressive approach” will be self-defeating. Our board are worthy of utter contempt for their actions, but that does not in any way, shape or form justify violence or threats of violence towards them. Supporters protesting in a peaceful and responsible manner against avarice, broken assurances and opportunistic businessmen playing Russian roulette with our club will capture the imagination – behaving in a manner befitting thugs wont. Furthermore it will turn away many bears who will just not entertain such behaviour. Protesting and demonstrating is one of the few immediate options available to us as a fan base, it is imperative we use it responsibly and do nothing which usurps either its effectiveness or ability to unite our fan base behind a common cause. The proposal which sees Ibrox being used as security against loan is very much a crossing of the Rubicon for the Ibrox support, and has galvanised and unified us as a fan base. Let’s not cross our own Rubicon in the way we protest against it.
  22. Stuart McCall has thrown his support behind the Three Bears, the group owning a near 19 per cent stake in Rangers headed by businessman and Rangers fan Douglas Park. The former Ibrox midfielder has called for Rangers people to be back at the helm of the stricken ship, believing that the departure of legendary figures have left a gaping hole at the heart of the club. “I don’t know any of these gentlemen [the Three Bears], but if you believe what you read, they have Rangers at heart,” said McCall yesterday “I’m not saying that, just because you have Rangers at heart, you are going to be successful and the club is going to make money. But you do know that, whatever they are doing, they are doing it for the right reasons. “They are not in there saying: ‘we can earn this and we can get out’. What you want are people that the club matters to and will do their best for the club, not for themselves as individuals. If it is The Three Bears, if it is Dave King, if it is anyone else, you would rather have people who bother about the club and it’s not just about money-making. “Rangers don’t necessarily need an ex-player as their manager,” he added. “But what they need is someone at the club who doesn’t just have business sense, but is actually doing it for the love of the club – because they’ve got ties to the club.” McCall believes that the departure of three stalwarts who have cut their ties with Rangers – John Greig, Ally McCoist and Walter Smith – sums up the state of the Ibrox club. The Scotland coach was at Ibrox for the abandoned game against Hearts on Friday night in his role as a summariser for BT Sport and watched with anguish afterwards as passions ran high among supporters angered by the board’s conduct. With advanced notices of loan securities against Ibrox and Murray Park having been lodged at the Register of Scotland last week in the name of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct retail company, fans now fear losing ownership of the club’s stadium. However, it is the emotional heart of the club being ripped out that McCall struggles to accept. Greig, voted Greatest Ever Ranger in 1999, resigned as a director in 2011 in protest at Craig Whyte’s running of the club. Departed manager McCoist, who was put on gardening leave after tendering his resignation, has decided to watch other teams rather than Rangers in recent weeks. Nine-in-a-row manager Smith, meanwhile, confirmed last week he has no intention of ever returning to Ibrox in an official capacity. McCall, who played for Rangers for seven years and had been linked with a return as manager, despairs at the quality of characters who have felt compelled to end their official association with the club. The 50-year-old offered the assessment that few clubs, including Manchester United, could withstand such blows without some very searching question being asked. “John Greig stayed away, which for me is hard to get my head round,” said McCall. “Walter left the board and, again, alarm bells started ringing. If Walter is walking away it must be bad. Obviously the great Sandy Jardine passed away. And now ’Coisty is away. That would be like Bobby Charlton at Man United saying: “You know what? I’ve had enough of the club. Then Sir Alex Ferguson departing because something was going on – and then Ryan Giggs leaving. If that happened at Man United, imagine how everyone would react. “Yes, football is a business now. But is there anybody at Rangers actually doing it for the sake of the club? Or are they just in to make a few quid then disappear into the night?” McCall was speaking at a Scottish Football Association event to publicise the start of the selection process for year four of the regional performance school programme. Since resigning as Motherwell manager late last year the Scotland coach has been linked with the Rangers manager’s post, currently occupied on an interim basis by Kenny McDowall. However, he sounded unconvinced by those in charge at boardroom level at the club, and questioned Ashley’s involvement. “Mr Ashley has got what, eight-and-a-half or nine per cent of the club?” McCall said. “Yet he seems to be the one making all the decisions – appointing a chief exec and a finance director etc. Obviously I’ve got a lot of friends and family who are Rangers supporters – and they can’t understand how this can be the case. The catalyst for everything now is the fact that Ibrox was going to be put up as security against loans. Supporters see other people wanting to offer money and ask why Ashley is the best option.” http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/stuart-mccall-backs-three-bears-rangers-bid-1-3665193
  23. ...in Glasgow bars over fears of violence. PUB giants Wetherspoons will black out the League Cup old firm clash and employ extra security staff in all nine of their Glasgow bars on February 1st in a bid to reduce the risk of match day violence. BRITAIN'S biggest pub chain will black out next month’s Old Firm game over fears of violence. Wetherspoon’s say the League Cup semi-final – live on BBC Scotland two weeks today – will not be shown in their pubs in Glasgow . And despite the blackout, all nine of the bars will have extra security staff on duty when Celtic and Rangers meet for the first time since April 2012. Police are visiting pubs across the country to gather intelligence so they can have officers in the right places if violence breaks out. Senior officers want to know how many pubs are showing the game, what type of customers they attract and if they have ever had trouble before. Wetherspoon’s spokesman Eddie Gershon said yesterday: “Wetherspoon’s will not be showing the match in any of its Glasgow pubs. “The decision was taken about a week back.” “The police have been to the pubs to advise that the game is on and ask what measures the pubs are taking. On the day of the match, door staff will be in place where required.” Wetherspoon’s, who have more than 75 pubs in Scotland, say area managers will decide if their bars outside Glasgow will show the game. Police fear the 1.30pm kick-off time for the February 1 game will give fans time to drink before the match and possibly fuel trouble. They confirmed officers are visiting pubs to interview staff but insisted it was normal practice before a big game. One area police are targeting is Ayrshire, where there are large numbers of pubs used by both Celtic and Rangers fans. Superintendent Neil Kerr of Police Scotland’s Ayrshire Division said: “Officers are visiting licensed premises to establish where the game is being shown. We do this for any high-profile events, including past Old Firm matches.” Pubs have been magnets for violence on previous Old Firm match days. Nine police were attacked and injured at the Rowallan bar in Thornliebank, Glasgow, after Celtic beat Rangers 3-0 in February 2011, and a female officer suffered life-threatening injuries. Convicted drug smuggler John Healy, 56, and son Jason, 24, were among six men charged over the violence but the case was dropped after police evidence was lost. There were 280 arrests after the game as trouble flared across Glasgow. Suspects were taken to stations up to 50 miles away because cells in Glasgow were full. One of the most notorious Old Firm encounters was the “Shame Game” of March 2, 2011. Three Rangers players were sent off in the Scottish Cup replay, 12 yellow cards were shown and Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant boss Ally McCoist squared up to each other at the end. Strathclyde Police detained 187 people throughout the day, including 34 at the game, and 40 more suspects were held for domestic abuse offences. First Minister Alex Salmond held a summit with Rangers and Celtic bosses days later. And in 2012, as a direct result of the Shame Game, MSPs passed the controversial Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act. Police then dealt with a record 119 domestic violence cases after an Old Firm game in March 2012. Donald MacLeod, chairman of the Glasgow Licensing forum, said most Glasgow bars will show the February 1 game despite the Wetherspoon’s decision. He added: “Pubs are already required to put strict safety measures in place on match days as a condition of their licence. “This includes providing properly trained and badged stewards “The vast majority of fans watching Old Firm games in pubs do so peacefully. Only a small minority cause trouble. Crime in pubs and clubs is down and most incidents take place in the street. “I’d be more concerned about the easy availability of cheap alcohol in off sales before the game, or even the night before.” Craig Houston of Rangers fans’ group Sons of Struth said the Wetherspoon’s move was “strange” and “could backfire”. He added: “Normally, when you get trouble after an Old Firm game, it’s late at night – not when the game is being shown in a pub. If they’re really that worried about customers’ safety they would shut the pubs at night, but I don’t see Wetherspoon’s doing that. “It seems strange they are penalising fans who can’t get a ticket and want to have a pint and enjoy their game. “If Wetherspoon’s don’t want football in their pubs, fans can decide where they go in future for a drink. It could backfire on them.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/pub-chain-pull-plug-showing-4998413
  24. THERE was a rare moment of unity between Rangers fans groups and the Scottish Football Association when the governing body blocked Mike Ashley’s proposals to increase his stake in the club last month. Then, a Union of Fans statement spoke of the SFA having “done the right thing” in observing their rules on dual ownership by refusing to approve the Newcastle United owner’s bid to increase his Rangers stake from around 9 per cent to 29 per cent. Yet, those same supporters are unlikely to be so taken by the SFA obeying their articles of association should Dave King succeed in his mission to oust the current board. King revealed his intentions on Friday night when he requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting (egm). The South Africa-based businessman, Rangers’ largest single shareholder with a 16 per cent stake, is “confident” he can muster the 50 per cent shareholder support he needs to remove chairman David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach from their directorship. His plan is to replace them with himself, Paul Murray and John Gilligan. And therein lies the rub. At an egm, which the current Rangers board could stall for six weeks, King could expect the support of the 20 per cent stake controlled by the Donald Park, George Letham and George Taylor consortium. In addition, he is believed to have the ear of a couple of the hedge funds with a 10 per cent holding between them, while individual supporters whose share totals add up to a further 10 per cent would back his efforts to put the Ibrox club into the hands of supporters. That is all well and good, and Ashley deserves to be removed because of his callous disregard for the club and its followers in this week’s moves to gain security over Ibrox and Murray Park. The current board maintain this was in return for the £10 million loan Rangers need to see out the season. But it is important to look beyond Ashley’s game-playing and not forget how we arrived at this point. In the independent inquiry chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith under the auspices of the SFA, the old board were criticised for failing to blow the whistle on Craig Whyte as he sent the club on the road to ruin after taking over in May 2011. King was a member of that board. And it cannot be forgotten either that the reason King was in no position to buy the assets once the old Rangers had been condemned to liquidation the following summer, and save it from the clutches of Charles Green, was that the Castlemilk-born businessman was then in the midst of a decade-long legal battle with the South African Revenue Service. He settled last year by pleading guilty to 42 criminal counts of contravening the country’s tax laws, and kept himself out of prison by plea bargaining on almost 300 other charges, which required him to stump up £41m. As far as failing to meet the SFA’s fit and proper person test, King – who lost £20m he invested in the David Murray Rangers era – does so with bells on. Indeed, it is almost as if the ruling has been written to debar individuals with chequered business careers of King’s ilk. Under section (h) of Article 10.2 that sets out the “considerations” that would be made concerning the board “reserving its discretion” as to whether a person is deemed fit and proper to hold a football directorship, it is stated “[if] he has been convicted within the last ten years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud.” King was liable for a stretch longer than two years had he not plea-bargained. Moreover, he is caught in a double bind over the fit and proper person rules. Because what also counts against those seeking to meet the criteria is having “been a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the five-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event”. King and Paul Murray – who was sacked from the Rangers board immediately after Whyte took over – both fall down on this basis. They simply cannot be granted permission by the SFA to take up directorships in any Rangers board if the governing body stands by their own rules, which were tightened up because they had failed to act over Whyte’s dubious business past. King constantly puts it out through sympathetic media sources that he is confident the SFA professional game board would wave him through as a Rangers director in the event of gaining a controlling interest. That sounds like bluster, which, as well as the baggage, has led to legitimate questioning of King’s credentials to lead Rangers out of the mire. At times, though, it must be said he talks a good game. As he did in his statement on Friday in which he claimed that, as well as putting the club on a sound financial footing, a second “important task” would be “to conduct a forensic audit of the management and commercial contracts undertaken over the last few years to determine whether they are truly arm’s length and whether the affairs of the company have been pursued in accordance with the fiduciary obligations of those entrusted with that responsibility”. King thundered at the end of this declaration of intent that “any malfeasance will be pursued aggressively and transparently”. For the South African tax authorities, that might read like a sick joke. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl-lower-divisions/rangers-dave-king-s-move-faces-taxing-questions-1-3664643
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