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  1. Football's governing bodies have questions to answer and obvious action to take, but they're opting out, again SO FAR, everyone and everything has come under the microscope. The vermin rump of the Rangers support, the police, the Rock Steady security personnel, the Manchester City Council, Tesco, the heat, the Mancunian element, the travelling Northern Irish. We've heard it all from every conceivable side but the people we've heard precious little from are the men from UEFA. This was their party after all. Their show. Where have they been the past few days? Michel Platini? David Taylor? William Gaillard? Have you nothing to say beyond the blindingly obvious? It was a disgrace? You don't say. Your thoughts are with the Russian fan who got stabbed? How reassuring. You will launch an inquiry? I see. UEFA's inquiry, as they've already made clear, will begin and end at the City of Manchester Stadium. It will involve the stabbing of the fan and the pitch invasion of the Zenit St Petersburg supporters and nothing else. That is the top and bottom of UEFA's responsibility as they see it. That's what's written in their constitution. Anything that happened away from the ground and it's ostrich time. Mayhem on the streets after their event. Police assaulted after their event. Cars ransacked after their event. Innocent people scared half to death after their event. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage after their event. FTP, UVF, ****** blood before and after their event. Nothing to do with them, though. Away from the stadium, see. How can UEFA absolve themselves of responsibility in this way? Are they a governing body or not? By rights, UEFA should be getting ready to suspend Rangers from European competition for a year. They should look at a video presentation, beginning with the incidents involving PC Mick Regan and the second involving another constable whose own pitiful plight was revealed on BBC Scotland on Friday and decide that they have no other option. Two officers down and two officers extremely lucky to be up and about today. They could have been maimed or killed. That's your starting point, UEFA. Do you condone the brutal assault of these policemen? If not, what are you prepared to do about it? UEFA will not ban Rangers because a precedent of outrageous leniency has already been set. They favour fines but most of all they opt out. In Italy, nobody gets banned despite violence and murder at their football. Outside the stadium again, though. They can't go and ban Rangers now after turning a blind eye to Italian clubs whose hooligans cause death and destruction seemingly every season. The fighting in Manchester was by far the most disturbing thing but the blight of sectarianism was there in force, too. As a club Rangers have already had their warnings about bigoted chanting and, to the undoubted mortification of Sir David Murray who has done all he can in this regard, these warnings were ignored by factions in the support last week. Sectarian songs could be heard all over Manchester on Wednesday afternoon. They could be heard in a service station on the road down there on Wednesday morning. At 8.45am I heard them myself. A group of about 20 started up and only stopped when an elderly fan shouted: "Now, now boys, no sectarianism today." "Football owes itself to be an example in our societies," said Platini last August. "Football must teach values to Europe – honesty, courage, fraternity, tolerance and peace. Football includes, integrates, and welcomes. It excludes no one, it discriminates against no one, it persecutes no one. The battle that we have undertaken against racism and discrimination is a combat which will only stop when these phenomena have disappeared from our stadiums." Football persecutes no one. Gosh. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in the fantasy world of Michel? Again, note the words 'disappeared from our stadiums'. Do what you like outside is the message. Riot on somebody else's doorstep. Just don't do it in our backyard. Taylor has come out with similar waffle since being appointed general secretary. "I don't know who they (the bigots and racists) are," he said. "I don't know what interest they have in football. They are not welcome in football or anywhere near it. UEFA has its approach to these problems. We will kick clubs out of European competitions, even national teams if players or supporters act in a racist way. These sorts of sanctions are there and UEFA will not be afraid to use them if the circumstances are serious enough. So we have no tolerance for racist behaviour." What utter bunk. What unadulterated garbage. UEFA will act if the "circumstances are serious enough," says Taylor. Since making that statement last year players have been racially abused all over Europe and Taylor hasn't said a word. In November, Zola Matumona quit FC Brussels after being singled out by the Belgian club's president who told Matumona to think about other things than "trees and bananas". In France, in September and February, fans at Bastia and Metz and Grenoble were involved in racist incidents. One black player gestured to the people who were abusing him and got sent off. In Montenegro, DaMarcus Beasley and Jean-Claude Darcheville were abused. In Russia, Zenit fans are serial offenders. Dick Advocaat says he cannot sign black players, that the club supporters wouldn't have it. In Germany, Cottbus continue to get away with horrendous chanting. Closer to home, Russell Latapy was targeted by Hibs fans last September. None of these were serious enough for the fearless Taylor and the organisation that is "not afraid" to use heavy sanctions. FK Zeta got a ?9,000 fine for their hateful treatment of Beasley and Darcheville. And UEFA have the brass neck to talk about football's courage, honesty and fraternity. Platini and his cohorts speak no more sense than the violent wasters who wrecked Manchester on a breakfast of Buckfast, a lunch of lager and a dinner of a combination of the two. No wonder Platini rose to high office. His Gallic shrug would have deeply impressed the delegates. "What can we do, my friends? We are powerless to act. It says it here in our rules." UEFA don't do unpleasantness if they can help it. Platini is a great man for presenting medals. If there's a function to speak at, he's your guy. If there's an anti-racism drive to champion he'll happily pose beside little children of all nationalities and vow to stamp out this terrible cancer in the beautiful game. Then, five minutes later, some unreconstructed Serbians will hound a visiting black player with monkey chants and bananas and Michel will weigh in with his "zero tolerance" mantra, the upshot of which will be a nine thousand euro fine and a UEFA request that they cut out that sort of thing in the future. Like their big brother FIFA, they are here only for the finer things in life, so expecting them to do or say anything of use in the wake of the Manchester riot is a forlorn hope. Given that so many of them flew through the air the other night you might hesitate to bring bottle into this, but this is a question of nerve and UEFA don't appear to have any. Look at the tapes of the trouble, Michel. Your final. Your night. But not your job to interfere? How's that then?
  2. Scotland's claim to be fighting the cancer of sectarianism and hatred took a severe dent at the weekend. Perhaps sadly, the decision not to hold a one minute silence prior to the Ross County vs Celtic match, came as no surprise to many of us. Its embarrassing, unedifying and sickening to hear a one minute silence being disrupted and dishonoured. But there is something worse, far worse in fact - not holding such a ceremony at all. Because in failing to do so we have acquiesced to the morons, the bigots - we have handed them victory on a plate. Let the moronic and shameful actions of bigots within the Celtic support shame all the devils in hell - rather that than our country is forced to fail to remember the fallen whose sacrifice ensured our freedom from evil and tyranny. This morning I wrote to Ross County asking for an explanation into such an omission on Saturday and in particular who made the decision to dispense with the one minute silence - was it from someone in the club or from outside the club? The Ross County support have previously made their club aware of the importance of Remembrance Day and its significance within their support. http://www.north-sta...oldiers-667.htm Furthermore this is an issue which must ascend Old Firm rivalry and the often tit for tat churlish and pedantic tribalism. It is time for the Scottish press and media to stop avoiding the issue and to speak out - ignoring it will not make it go away. It is untenable and unacceptable that men who laid down their lives in order to defeat that which is unacceptable cannot themselves be remembered and honoured due to the actions and behaviour of some in our society which is in itself – wholly unacceptable.
  3. By Gordon Waddell SPFL and SFA go to war over £1m league reconstruction bill 10 Nov 2013 09:04 BOSSES of the two organisations are on collision course due to a fall-out over who was to foot the bill for the summer's big switchover. THE SPFL and SFA are on a collision course over the £1million tab for league reconstruction. MailSport understands fuming league bosses are claiming SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and president Campbell Ogilvie are reneging on an agreement to foot the full bill for the big switch-over in the summer. However it’s believed Regan is equally adamant that was never the deal they agreed and has the email trail to prove it, leaving the two bodies at loggerheads. The matter has been discussed both at SPFL board level and at a meeting of the 10 Championship clubs within the past 10 days. Former SFL chairmen in particular insist the SFA supremos gave them an unequivocal commitment to foot the bill for the nuts and bolts of the move to one league body at a meeting. At the time the SFA were desperate to see the two bodies unified and a pyramid system in place, putting another brick in the wall of their 2020 vision for the game going forward. But with the legal and accounting costs of dissolving the SFL and SPL, as well as creating the new set-up, the bill has skyrocketed close to seven figures. However, the SFA have issues with what it contains. It’s understood a six-figure pay-off for departing SFL chief executive David Longmuir is included as a “cost” of the reconstruction, one which will be hotly disputed, as well as the accountancy costs of the SFL’s due diligence into the top flight. The SFA’s understanding of their offer was to partially fund the legal costs but to make a wider contribution to the cost of the play-off system, pyramid set-up and parachute payments for SPL teams taking the drop. That deal would have exposed them to a figure in excess of the £1m mark but over a longer period of time. MailSport, however, believes several league chairmen want a hardline stance taken in any negotiations, despite the fact their coffers have swollen in the past week with a £2m a year deal with Chinese TV. It’s also understood the probe commissioned into secret bonus payments made to Longmuir during his SFL tenure is ready to be presented to clubs at the end of the week. The payments – totalling more than £400,000 – were discovered during the reconstruction process. Then-president Jim Ballantyne claimed to have the discretionary power to award the cash without SFL board approval. It’s believed some of the money could already have been paid back – however that may not be enough to satisfy the clubs awaiting the report.
  4. Your Sunday morning thoughts on the man who needs a grievance like normal people need air. The SPFL are coming under fire from the permanently disaffected manager of celtc, Neil Lennon this weekend. The monotonous drone of the Ulsterman complaining is as much part of the landscape in Scots football as long balls, a lying media and lunatic supporters, but this time some may feel he has a point: sending his team north to Dingwall immediately after a Champions League match, in which he and his footballing troubadours carry the hopes and good wishes of all Scottish fitba fans, seems scant reward. Leaving Holland immediately after their game - unsurprisingly, given the state his club's supporters left it in - Lennon's team will have gone to bed late on Thursday morning, possibly coming in for light physio or a rubdown that afternoon, leaving only Friday for the tactical plans for the Ross County game to be discussed and players assessed. One session is not enough for any coach to form a coherent plan, but is Neilly right to have a good at the SPFL? I don't think so, since it's the TV companies who are calling the shots. And since the SPFL, which is in effect run by his boss at celtc, Mr Lawwell, signed up to the deal it's a bit rich complaining about it now. The bad luck for celtc is that this weekend is a Super Sunday in England, with first Spurs v Newcastle at lunchtime; then Sunderland v Man City; topped off with the mouth watering Man U v Arsenal clash in the evening. They don't even have space to fit in the always pleasing Swansea game, so what chance of them fitting in what is, frankly, a game which won't interest anyone outside of Celtic or Ross County fans? With FA Cup kicking off this weekend as well, there was no space on the Monday night schedule for the celtc game; and it obviously couldn't be played on Friday night. The bottom line is that the game panicked and sold a rubbish deal to Sky & BT; the only teams they are interested in are Rangers and celtc; therefore they will do as they are told and lump it. The sight of SPFL bigwigs in China this weekend crowing about another deal - £20m this time, which unless it is broken up in a hugely unfair manner means an average of £50,000 per club; one might even raise the spectre of sporting integrity here - drives home the mistake they made when signing up to Sky. The need to get the game on TV and bring in some money is seen as paramount, not just for financial reasons but also because they were terrified lest the absence of Rangers drive away coverage, revealing the rest of the game outwith four Old Firm clashes to be what it is - of no interest to TV companies. All right, if they feel that way, sod them! I might not care about Dundee United games but no doubt Dundee Utd fans do, shouldn't the SPFL be looking after them first? I might not ever look at a St Mirren game but I imagine Saints fans do; why aren't the SPFL watching out for their interests? It's all been said before, but poor old Lenny's latest whinge brings us back to where we started: small leagues and 4 games a season is killing the game, and instead of finding some medicine we are doing the equivalent of buying smack from Sky and ignoring the real issues. Lennon is right that the SPFL is out to lunch: but given who runs it and given which club it appears to be run for the exclusive benefit of, whose fault is that? The chance was there to revamp the game and instead the head burying, the claims of a bright new dawn, the willful refusal to notice the ever emptying stands and the ever diminishing quality goes on. I watched AFC Wimbledon v Coventry last night and the London club had better players than I saw watching Ross County v Inverness the week before. This is not something that fills me with joy but there's no point lying about it. Anyway, no need to run crying to the press, Neil. Just walk along the corridor to Mr Lawwell's office and get him to explain why his Professional Game Board signed up to a shit TV deal. I warn you in advance though, you won't like the answer: because when it comes to football on Sky or BT, celtc (or Scotland) doesn't count for a fart. The shoehorning in of this celtc game at Ross County is proof if ever it were needed that we are nothing more than an afterthought once the real games, the proper football, has been scheduled in. Perhaps in the future we will reject a deal which doesn't allow a certain percentage of each club's games to be played at 3 on a Saturday. Since in effect this only applies to two clubs it ought not be that difficult to manage. Perhaps the resultant coverage of other teams will spread TV money a bit more fairly, creating a more level playing field. Perhaps more fans may turn out to watch if teams play with less fear, although it may be too late already. But perhaps the people who dropped the game in the shit will have the decency to stop moaning about it when they get some on their shoes.
  5. Only just realised Roma drew last weekend and so Rangers are the only team in Europe with a 100% league record. A little while back Barca and Atletico Madrid boasted the same record until a draw and a defeat respectively. Sky sports had a wee graphic up showing the 4 clubs records a number of weeks ago but now it is just us. Granted it doesn't really mean shit but just nice to see that we are the only team maintaining that run. Not comparing the achievements in any way.
  6. Would maybe be a season too early for us but I would take them at Ibrox.
  7. or, Got those Puritan Blues again! Plenty of other titles by the MenInBlack come to mind this morning after another night of dispiriting Scottish drunkeness/loutishness/hooliganism/complete innocence punished by heavy handed policing (delete according to level of delusion). Get a Grip on Yourself, Straighten Out, Hanging Around and maybe some advice our hoopy cousins should have listened to, Walk on By. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohRbJJohv6Y But before we get any further on, I want to be clear that this is not a celtc-bashing piece. The target is Scottish people in general, although it may prove impossible not to let some shadenfreude through the editorial filter. When we went to Manchester, I was amazed, on my return, to discover I had been amongst not Bluenoses, as I had imagined, but thousands of undercover celtc fans, all secretly taking notes and making detailed reports on the goins-on. How else to explain the hordes who bombarded the phone lines and newspapers with denunciations of our bestiality, our anti-social behaviour, our boorishness? Having spent 8 hours in that dreary city as we lost the UEFA Final, I saw precisely no trouble. Zero. I did see loads and loads of steaming Bears, though, and I did have to pick my way through the ad hoc canals of pish which added a new, if not especially fragrant, item to the Mancunian tourist itinerary. It was just plain embarrassing. Like when you go on holiday and the wee dicks who are the most pished and the least able to handle it are always Jocks. When the Tartan Army visited Paris for the game in which James McFadden scored that wonder goal, Youtube was ablaze with many clips of boozed up fans celebrating before and after. It also showed the City of Lights ankle deep in empty cans and bottles...it was a clash between the free market, desperate to exploit visiting fans for their last Euro, and the freedom from responsibility, a trip abroad and the throwing off of any need to act like an adult. And now, when celtc descend upon Amsterdam, it looks (and probably smells) much the same. And no doubt tonight the phone ins will be hot with callers either berating the police for beating the fans or berating the panellists for not berating the celtc fans. I won't be listening, for there's nothing to be gained on that ground. Either putting the boot in (metaphorically) or absolving the celtc support of any blame is equally useless: what's needed is a collective, society wide frown upon people aged between 15-75 staggering around blind drunk just because they have travelled a few miles to a football game. I'm not calling for some Calvinistic temperance pledge here: I'm not teetotal. But I'm 42 and I know how much to have and when to stop. Anyone who likes football and doesn't know that, in 2013, if you are part of a big crowd which is pished up the cops are going to go in at some point is deluded. It always happens. The level of reporting may vary, but it always happens. Police forces, especially larger municipal forces, are conditioned to treat such crowds as the enemy and given the state various Scottish clubs and the national team's fans have left behind them, who can blame them? The bottom line is that if we carry on treating European away days as a gigantic piss up we have only ourselves to blame when the coppers wade in. Any media excuses over the next few days will do nothing other than guarantee it will happen again, and again, and again. But the day the likes of the desperately proletarian Keith Jackson come out and decry excessive drinking in a footballing context there will be two blue moons in the sky: despite not actually being a manual worker, he and his like for some reason feel a desperate need to come across as connected to the horny handed sons of the soil who attend the game in Scotland. Never mind that Scotland has been, for decades, a service economy. Let's play up to the hard working, hard drinking stereotype because that will make us more manly. Like some Bluenoses who automatically class anyone who doesn't buy the LUMP mentality as a handwringer, a wuss. It's pitiful and immature, no better than playground name calling, but when you have the power of the media behind you it is also dangerous. Sad to say, the only media person who might actually oppose such behaviour would be Graham Spiers, but he would be unlikely to risk his special pet status amongst the hooped fanbase to actually have the courage of his convictions and speak out. We shall see, I suppose. In the end, it's pretty black and white. You can go to Europe's famous footballing cities, get hammered on booze and then get hammered by the cops. Or, you can go, have a few drinks, and come home without a cracked skull. It's a simple, easy message and one which any media with an ounce of social responsibility would have been hammering home years ago. No it doesn't rule out being attacked by cops on the edge of a nervous breakdown but it does provide you with a hell of a better defence is you are actually able to stand up while being attacked. Outside of ourselves, who are as we know an irredeemable collection of neanderthal knuckle draggers who ought to be put out of our misery asap, Scotland likes to think of its' football fans as a jolly lot, welcome everywhere and ambassadors for the nation. Short of putting forward The Krankies, Kevin Bridges and Craig Whyte I can't think a less funny line up, and the sooner we start reinforcing this message the sooner scenes like last night will be a thing of the past. Something better change, indeed.
  8. http://billmcmurdo.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/whyte-and-the-missing-millions/ I am told that former Rangers owner Craig Whyte could be getting his collar felt in the near future. BDO investigations have thrown up what will be an absolutely gigantic story of fraud and forgery on a staggering scale involving Whyte’s purchase of Rangers. Police Scotland are believed to be closing in on Whyte and it is reckoned he could get the maximum sentence available if found guilty. I would imagine Whyte’s extraordinary unpopularity and toxic name might be a problem in terms of his getting a fair trial. No doubt anyone involved with his trial would have to prove they were not bluenoses! On a serious note, this trial will be one of the biggest news stories in years and involves alleged misappropriation of millions. Some of the allegations being made are astonishing and will be sickening for Rangers fans to hear. Should Whyte stand trial for fraud it would certainly strengthen the case made by many Rangers fans that the club’s recent woes brought unwarranted punishment by the footballing authorities. If Whyte is subsequently convicted it would mean that Rangers were themselves the victim of a crime and questions would then have to be asked about the SFA’s role, particularly over how much was known at Hampden about Whyte’s suitability to be involved in football or lack thereof. The scale of wrongdoing alleged is quite stunning and will definitely enhance Craig Whyte’s “bogey man” status used so much recently by the Requisitioners and their mouthpieces. Ironically, someone on the Requisitioner side is far closer to Whyte than anyone at Ibrox, being a former drinking buddy of the disgraced former owner. Although I expect the Whyte story to be hot news for quite some time, the reality is that he is now part of history as far as Rangers is concerned. Despite the pathetic and hypocritical attempts by some to spook the Rangers fans with “Whyte is still involved and pulling the strings” scare stories, the reality is that Whyte has left the scene. The vital thing now is for Rangers to build a board that is not only competent but beyond reproach. The appointment of a great CEO and good Non-Execs would be a giant step forward. The big problem for Rangers fans is the constant pressure to look back to things like the latter years of the SDM Years, the Big Tax Case and the Whyte fiasco, as well as liquidation. These things are referred to relentlessly by enemies of Rangers and a hostile media. The upshot of this is shown in the chronic suspicion that many Gers fans are gripped by in relation to the club’s governance. Yet the real need is to look forward and to be positive about both the present and the future. Fear and paranoia do not make for a healthy environment and Rangers need to eradicate this kind of mindset from the club. I am aware this is easier said than done but I do speak to many Gers fans who are far more upbeat about the club’s condition than the so-called spokesmen who are spreading fear and alarm at this present time. I have been approached very seriously about heading a new fans group and I think if I accept I will make one of the conditions of membership a positive mental attitude in relation to Rangers! As the song goes, “Don’t worry. Be happy. Cos every little things going to be all right.” Gers fans like to sing it. It’s about time we lived it.
  9. http://www.sportinglife.com/football//news/article/26854/9012286/violence-mars-hoops-clash Violence mars Hoops clash Last Updated: November 6 2013, 23:34 GMT Celtic's Champions League trip to Ajax has been marred by a clash between supporters and police in the centre of Amsterdam before kick-off, following which 15 fans have been arrested. Amsterdam Police told Press Association Sport that fans armed with bottles and sticks attacked plain-clothed police in an incident described as "coming out of nowhere". Eight police officers were injured with one knocked unconscious following the fighting in Dam Square, in the city centre. Police said the majority of those arrested were Celtic fans, although it is believed that supporters from other clubs were also involved. "At the end of the afternoon a large group of Celtic supporters attacked police officers in plain clothes," a spokesman told Press Association Sport. "Eight were injured and one was knocked unconscious. "A few of them had broken noses and needed stitches above their eyebrows and on their lips. "Bottles and sticks were used in the attack which came out of nowhere. "There were 15 arrests, mostly Celtic supporters." Celtic lost the match 1-0 and face an uphill battle to reach the knockout stages of the competition. Amsterdam Police said it expected the number of 15 arrests to rise during the night and that a final figures would be "high". It is thought that fans from other European clubs were involved, although police said they "had kept themselves covered". Celtic supporters had been urged by the club to be careful after an attack on Hoops supporters in a city-centre bar on Tuesday night. Thousands of Celtic supporters flooded into Holland for the Group H game at the Amsterdam ArenA. A statement on the Celtic website said: "Celtic Football Club is urging all supporters in Amsterdam for tonight's UEFA Champions League tie with Ajax to be extra vigilant following an unprovoked attack on Celtic fans last night "The attack in the city centre by an element of the Ajax support resulted in a number of arrests. "Celtic are urging all supporters to be extra vigilant in the city centre and at the Amsterdam ArenA, and to only stick to the advised areas for safety reasons." At the pre-match media conference on Tuesday afternoon, Ajax coach Frank De Boer expressed hope that the tiny percentage of fans he describes as "crazy" would not disrupt the game. UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Dutch club after some of their supporters clashed with police and stewards at Parkhead last month during a match which the home side won 2-1. The case will be dealt with by UEFA's control and disciplinary panel on November 21. De Boer admitted that some Ajax fans remain a concern when asked if he was confident of the game passing off trouble-free. "I am confident in that but you never know," said the former Rangers player. "There is always some crazy people (who) try to disturb something but hopefully it will not happen."
  10. Forfar Athletic ‏@ForfarAthletic 18m Rangers v Forfar Athletic - 16.11.13 - Match Postponed Forfar Athletic are disappointed to announce that our... http://fb.me/14XKWq0cr Forfar Athletic are disappointed to announce that our visit to Ibrox to face Rangers on Saturday November 16th has been postponed. We had been advised yesterday that it was likely to go ahead and Rangers had forwarded tickets to us for sale. However following further international calls today for Rangers players the SPFL have advised us that the game will now be postponed and re-arranged for in all probability a midweek slot in December. Tuesday or Wednesday December 3rd/4th the most likely dates. It has to be emphasised that Forfar Athletic have no complaint with the Ibrox club on this issue, as they have attempted as best they could to feed us up to the minute information as it came to hand. Similarly Forfar Athletic have attempted to keep supporters fully informed over the past week as the scenario developed. ‘Loons’ officials realise that this news will come as a disappointment to supporters, some of whom were looking to make a weekend trip to Glasgow taking in the Friday night Scotland fixture as a bonus.
  11. MSPs might review controversial anti-sectarian laws amid concerns from football fans about a heavy-handed approach from police. Scotland’s justice authorities have been urged to explain “a perception of intimidation” among supporters, with Celtic fans in particular claiming they have been unfairly targeted. The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act was introduced by the Scottish Government in an effort to end sectarian chanting following high-profile flare-ups involving the Old Firm in 2011. But fans have complained of having “cameras thrust in their faces” at matches and are confused about what kind of behaviour could land them in trouble, MSPs heard yesterday. Holyrood’s justice committee has written to the justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, Police Scotland and the Crown Office calling for a response to e-mail correspondence from fans setting out widespread concerns. And MSPs made it clear yesterday that they are ready to launch an inquiry into the new laws after receiving the responses. Independent MSP John Finnie, a former police officer, said yesterday: “There’s a deep sense of feeling and a deep sense of concern about how this is being applied to one group. For that reason, I am very supportive of an early review of the legislation.” Stirling University is currently carrying out a two-year academic review of the impact of the new laws. But the MSP said: “If some young football supporter, to quote from one of the e-mails, is having a camera thrust in their face whilst at a football game, then they’re not interested in the academic aspects of this.” He added: “It was the perception of intimidation. I don’t think we can ignore it – I think we must act.” Thousands of football fans who claimed they were being criminalised by “disproportionate” measures converged on Glasgow’s George Square in April. The event was organised after an incident which saw Celtic’s self-styled “ultras”, the Green Brigade, clash with police amid claims that they had been unfairly “kettled”. The controversial practice came to light during the G8 protests and involves the groups targeted effectively being couped up in by a ring of police officers and unable to move. Concerns also centre on confusion about what does and does not constitute offensive singing. Conservative back-bencher Margaret Mitchell said the conviction rate for the new laws was 68 per cent compared with 85 per cent for crimes in general, while there’s a dedicated police unit for the new laws. She said: “Clearly, there’s a widespread problem with the act in operation and the various difficulties it is presenting. “It’s taking up an inordinate amount of resources across the board and there’s even a dedicated unit for it. “Given the pressures facing police and courts, the time is right to review this act to see exactly what kind of impact it is having.” Labour’s John Pentland said there was “so much ambiguity” among football supporters and said it was not just Celtic fans who were concerned. He said: “It doesn’t reflect what’s happening in my constituency – it’s just people going to the local game where there’s this real concern that they don’t know whether they’re doing something right or doing something wrong.” But Nationalist MSPs played down calls for a separate Holyrood inquiry into the legislation, with QC Rod Campbell urging against “rushing into an inquiry”. He continued: “As a first step, before we take any view as a committee, we ought to invite comment from the government – we’ve only had one year of statistics.” The committee will decide in a fortnight whether to establish a Holyrood inquiry into the legislation. http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/anti-sectarian-football-laws-fear-as-fans-complain-1-3174637
  12. There's been a lot of water under the Forth bridge since Rangers last played Dunfermline. Not only were the Pars the last team we played before we entered administration in February 2012; the Fife outfit have also suffered an insolvency event of their own, although - unlike us - they had the opportunity on the pitch to avoid dropping down two leagues since that game at East End Park 21 months ago. It's amazing that less than two years later our paths are crossing again under markedly different circumstances. It certainly seems that although our fiscal troubles were eerily similar (though on different scales) the football authorities and fellow clubs were happy to accommodate Dunfermline a bit more charitably than they did us. C'est la vie and there's no doubt their support have gone the extra mile in their efforts to avoid similar future issues. While Rangers fans argue daily with their own shadow, Dunfermline supporters' group Pars United agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors in July and the final details were completed last month. Pars United has also acquired East End Park, which was in administration under a separate company, as part of a community ownership structure. In effect the fans now own their club. Sure, that doesn't necessarily mean a safe (or successful) future for Dunfermline but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't at least a little bit envious of what they've achieved so far - in little over six months as well! Of course, as touched on above, scale is as much a reason for our differing paths as anything else. East End Park may be small and dated in comparison to Ibrox Stadium but its overheads will be rather less. The same can be said for the leasing of the Pars' Pitreavie training ground compared to the costs of running Auchenhowie. Meanwhile a cursory examination of both club's squads and wage bills shows why Rangers are already 11 points (and 33 goals) ahead of their considered closest rivals for the SPFL League One title. The two clubs may have suffered from similar fates in recent times but, as much as Dunfermline have an equally proud heritage, the differences off the park should ensure a difference on it - tomorrow night at least. The main reason for this will be the players Ally McCoist has at his disposal. Not only has the Rangers manager been able to retain internationalists such as Lee Wallace and Lee McCulloch (who both played in the last Pars match); he's been able to supplement his huge squad with Scottish Premiership quality players like Cammy Bell, Nicky Law and Jon Daly with the latter two in particular being the main reason for Rangers' unbeaten league campaign so far. Unfortunately for Dunfermline, despite more international matches on the horizon, it appears McCoist will be able to rely on pretty much the same starting XI again which has changed only minimally over the last couple of months. Any late injuries aside, only the one change is expected tomorrow evening with Ian Black returning from a Scottish Cup suspension to replace Kyle Hutton in midfield. The Rangers manager may wish to rotate one or two others into the team but that's unlikely on the whole. This should mean a very familiar team along the lines of below: Possible team (4-4-2): :rf: :jig: :ap: :ib: :lm: :jd: All in all, Rangers should win tomorrow night and, no matter the result, there's little doubt that we are overwhelming favourites to win the League One title as well. However, as the Pars fans look forward to a new future of their own making, can the same alleged certainty be applied to the challenges we face off the park? In that sense, Dunfermline may have already sneaked a win over their supposed Rangers supporting peers.
  13. Tax rebel’s astonishing financial come-back There cannot be many people in South Africa who are not aware of Dave King’s extraordinary 13 year-long fight with the South African Revenue Services (Sars) over a tax assessment in excess of R3.2 billion. Tax disputes do not normally make the front pages of Sunday newspapers, but when the numbers are so high and the fast-moving events so incredible that it could come straight out of the pages of a John Grisham or Dan Brown novel, it becomes a national talking point. And even after this thirteen-year battle, costing hundreds of millions of rands in legal fees, the attempted confiscation of King’s assets and court dramas all around the globe, one is still left with a sense of dissatisfaction, a kind of anti-climax as to whether King was guilty or not. The legal issue of revenue versus capital will not be dissected and delivered on by the highest court in the land. There was a lot of legal foreplay, an enormous amount of huffing and puffing on both sides but in the end the settlement reached between King and Sars in August this year - in terms of which King has paid Sars about R700m in outstanding taxes to settle all claims against him and his various family trusts - meant he could carry on with his life and his business career. So who actually came out on top in this extraordinary battle? Sars initially wanted R3.2 billion; it got R700 million. King remained steadfast that what he did was perfectly legal as the R1 billion or so profits he and his various family trusts made out of the sale of shares in Specialised Outsourcing during the 1997/98 stock market boom was well within his rights. He also maintains that the profits were not of a revenue nature but one of a capital nature. Many others, including some of the finest tax brains in this country, agree with this. If King was eventually found wanting by a court on this issue, it could possibly have been like a proverbial nuclear bomb for hundreds, if not thousands of wealthy estates who hold most if not all of their wealth in trusts, both locally and offshore. All these tax shelters, meticulously crafted and protected over many years and generations could have been blown wide open to scrutiny by Sars. There must have been a collective sigh of relief amongst SA’s truly wealthy that the issue of revenue versus capital did not end up for deliberation in the highest court in the land. So for the time being, the legal status quo remains. Arriving in South Africa I witnessed first-hand how Dave King, who arrived in SA with very little money from his native Scotland in 1976, first came up with the idea of starting Specialised Outsourcing (SO) in 1993/94. This was during one of several rounds of golf we enjoyed together with his lovely wife Ladina on the lush fairways of the Dainfern Country Club where we both were members in those days. I don’t play golf much any more and Dave now does his golfing at esteemed courses such as River Club in Sandton and Augusta in the USA. See what a billion or two does to your social acceptability levels? But I digress. Dave mentioned several times his idea and even at one stage invited me to join this new company of his. In a nutshell, SO was set up to handle the treasury functions on behalf of government and parastatals. These bodies, King always would say, were so bad at handling the billions that were sloshing around in their accounts, that he offered to manage these funds in exchange for a percentage of the profits. And it turned out to be a great success story and SO soon became the darling amongst mainly small-cap fund managers in the country. So it was with a great deal of interest that I watched from afar how he went ahead, set up the company and eventually listed Specialised Outsourcing in 1995 at a price of, if my memory serves me, R1.20 a share. The share price of SO eventually peaked at R80 a share before it came crashing down in 1998/99 when the market got wind of the fact that King had sold most of his shares. Irma Stern painting King’s problems really started, I was told first hand, when he bought an Irma Stern painting at an auction for R1.7 million in 2000. This was the first time that a Stern painting achieved a price of more than R1 million and this fact obviously caught the attention of the media, and ultimately also that of nuggety Mr Charles Chipps, a special investigator at Sars who, quite simply, read about the Stern-sale in a newspaper and decided to check up on the tax status of the buyer. To his astonishment he found that King declared a taxable income of a mere R60 000. And thus was born what is today known as the King-versus-Sars battle which has raged for more than 13 years, on several continents costing, as I indicated earlier, hundreds of millions of rands in legal fees on both sides. I understand that the legal fraternity in the Sandton area declared a national week of mourning when the final agreements were signed and accepted by the various parties to this extraordinary battle. I say first hand, as I heard it from Charles Chipps himself who, at about the same time, was sniffing around my own tax affairs. Nought came of this investigation but it was done on the basis of rumours of untold wealth hidden away in some secret location. This taught me two things about the tax man. Don’t flaunt your wealth in a conspicuous manner and second, don’t be surprised if your best pal/ex-wife/ex-girlfriend makes Sars their first port of call. “Jealous people,” Chipps told me, “are often the best source of information for the tax man”. Chipps passed away a year or so ago and was therefore not around to collect his commission cheque from Sars for his hard work and diligence. One of the reasons for settling with Sars and paying the R700 million fine was, as King said at the time, in order to move on with his life and to get stuck into more productive things, like building up the JSE-listed company MICROmega (MMG), of which he still is chairman and major shareholder. So it is again with more than a passing interest that I have been following the performance of MICROmega on the JSE this year, especially since the settlement in August. In July this year the share was still trading at R2 a share with very few trades. The news of the settlement set this share price free and since then it has rocketed by almost 500%, at one stage reaching almost R20 per share but trading at around R12.30 this week. Profit of R860 million Now here comes the most astonishing fact. King, via his family trusts owns about 83 million shares in MMG, which means King has made a gain of R830 million in three months, all due to the almost vertical increase in the share price of MMG. On paper therefore King has made back all of the money he handed over to Sars earlier this year –and more. “There is a difference between R700m in cash and a paper profit,” King noted wryly this week, “ but it does feel good,” he said when I made contact to check these facts - he at least still taking my calls. As I put the phone down to end the call, I realised there was still one question that remains unanswered. Who today owns the Stern painting in question? Dave King or Sars? Whoever owns it has the most expensive painting ever by a South African artist hanging somewhere on a wall. http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-the-money-whisperer/dave-king-and-i?sn=2009%20Detail&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
  14. Partick Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox has received his first Scotland call-up for the friendlies against the USA and Norway. The Scots welcome Jurgen Klinsmann's USA on 15 November before a trip to Molde four days later. Fit-again Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has also been named in Gordon Strachan's 25-man squad. “Scott's attitude has got him where he is today” Gordon Strachan on Scott Fox's call-up Scotland's friendly in Norway will be broadcast live on BBC television, radio and online. Fox, who started his career at Celtic and had spells at Queen of the South and Dundee, joined Thistle three years ago after being released by the Dens Park club. He signed a new two-year deal in April and has impressed for Alan Archibald's side in the Scottish Premiership this season. Strachan said the 26-year-old deserved his first call-up to the national side. "In the games I have seen going to watch Partick Thistle live he has made some big saves," said the Scotland manager. Scotland and Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher Steven Fletcher returns to the Scotland squad after recovering from injury "He was one of the Celtic youngsters who wanted to go out and play. Scott went on loan to East Fife, he was desperate to play. "His attitude has got him where he is today." Sunderland forward Fletcher, who last played for Scotland in the 2-1 defeat by Wales at Hampden in March, returns to the squad after recovering from a shoulder injury. The striker has played the last three games for his club and scored in the north-east derby win against Newcastle. "Steven can add to what we have been doing already and if he surpasses what the boys have been doing up front in recent games, that will be terrific," Strachan said. "It will take him a wee while to get back to his best. If he's not back to his best, we can wait a bit because the other players playing up front now are playing quite well." Strachan's side ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Croatia but failed to qualifying after finishing fourth in Group A. Norway, who last met Scotland in 2009, also missed out on a place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil. However, USA have booked their place at next year's finals after finishing top in Concacaf qualifying. Scotland squad: Goalkeepers: Scott Fox, Matt Gilks, David Marshall; Defenders: Christophe Berra, Gordon Greer, Grant Hanley, Alan Hutton, Russell Martin, Charlie Mulgrew, Lee Wallace, Steven Whittaker; Midfielders: Charlie Adam, Ikechi Anya, Barry Bannan, Scott Brown, Craig Bryson, Chris Burke, James Forrest, James Morrison, James McArthur, Robert Snodgrass; Forwards: Steven Fletcher, Steven Naismith, Matt Phillips, Jordan Rhodes. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24802647
  15. Hibernian have agreed personal terms with Inverness Caledonian Thistle's Terry Butcher to become their new manager. Caley Thistle say there has as yet been no contact between themselves and the Edinburgh club about the 54-year-old. Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron told BBC Scotland that it's "business as usual" and he insisted that "nobody has contacted the club". Cameron said he is simply "looking forward to the game at the weekend". That's when his side travel to face the Edinburgh outfit. His comments came amid reports that the Easter Road club had targeted Butcher as their new manager following the departure of Pat Fenlon last week. Hibs, whose board met on Sunday to discuss the search for a new manager, will hope to agree a compensation deal with their Scottish Premiership rivals. Butcher has been offered a new contract by Inverness that has been lying unsigned for several months. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24809195
  16. Tuesday brings the Scottish Cup draw and the "big boys" entering the draw. Star centre back Bilel Mohsni is (perhaps wrongly?) giving it the bravado and asking for our age old enemy: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rangers-star-bilel-mohsni-were-2671400 There is definitely a feeling among some of our support that we should be hoping to avoid being paired with them or any SPL side to avoid an humiliating defeat and other teams taking advantage of us whilst we rebuild. They point to comprehensive defeats from top division sides last year as their reasoning. Though this ignores the fact that we had an equally emphatic victory against then second placed side Motherwell last year. It also fails to take into consideration the vast improvement in our playing squad and the superior displays and results we have achieved this season. We are much improved throughout the spine of the team. Mohsni appears to be comfortably the best centre back we have fielded since we have been paying in the lower divisions. Nicky Law is not quite at the levels he displayed at the start of this season but is still a fine upgrade on last season. Ian Black this year has been one our best performers when last season he appeared a waste of a wage. Jon Daly has added a serious goal threat to the all round game he displayed for Dundee United in the SPL. In addition to a pretty strong spine we ave Cammy Bell in goal who was one of the best keepers in the old top division. We have the best left back playing in Scotland and we have some decent supporting players in midfield and attack. We may not boast a paying squad vastly superior to all outwith the Glasgow duopoly, as we once did. But we certainly have a team capable of turning over any of those top league sides. They are equally capable o beating us, but to e that is no reason to run scared. Lower league sides who can't call on even half the quality we can have dumped out SPL sides. And that includes Celtic. Worst case scenario is drawing Celtic whist we are currently half the team we once were. Yet the fear of a heavy defeat must be balanced against the opportunity to dump them out of the country's premier competition whilst plying our trade in the depths of Scottish football. That is one result they would ever be able to live down!
  17. .................after he tracks down pranksters who egged his house and makes them clean up THE Scotland international went to find the trick-or-treaters in his car then he drove them back to his house and had them scrub the eggs off his front windows. RANGERS star Ian Black chased pranksters who egged his house and ordered them to clean up the mess. Police quizzed the player after the pair claimed they had been assaulted – but they later withdrew the complaint. Black was at home on Halloween when the trick-or-treaters hurled eggs at his front windows. He phoned a friend round and found the pair nearby, ordered them into his car, drove them to the house and had them scrub the eggs off his front windows. One trick or treater, who witnessed the amazing scenes in Prestonpans, East Lothian, said: “Ian Black chased them in his car up to a nearby school and found the two boys. “He got them into the car to have them clean it up. “The boys went into the police station and told them the story.” Police later established there had been no assault but warned Black not to take the law into his own hands again. A neighbour said: “The boys got the fright of their lives when Ian Black came to get them. “These trick or treaters definitely bit off more than they could chew. “They’ll not forget this Halloween for a while. They got the fright of their lives.” A police insider said: “We gave Mr Black advice on how to resolve such situations.” No one was available to comment at Rangers or for Ian Black last night. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/rangers-star-ian-black-quizzed-2666574 FFS!, does this really deserve to be in the papers?
  18. I thought I had better issue a warning to all those Rangers haters out there (as a preparation for bad news) – after all the new industry standard is to “manage disappointment” Word reaches me that Rangers are to be nominated for the latest series of Humanitarian Awards. And is it any small wonder I ask ? After all what other organisation can claim to have produced in the apathetic and previously disinterested such a sense of social responsibility with a “refreshing” and new found concern for our armed forces, our hospitals, our school children’s textbooks ? Such a ground swell of social responsibility and care has even extended beyond our shores with concern now being expressed for those in South Africa. It truly is a global phenomenon – the birth of an international social responsibility with a common denominator – Big Bad Rangers. Perhaps ironic that those whose choice of Rangers bashing weapon was “Rangers prevented our front line forces being equipped” were amongst those who wished to make spurious and false allegations against our armed forces at Ibrox last month. You really couldn't make it up. And on the subject of making things up it is perhaps an appropriate time to mention Dumb and Dumber aka Spiers and English. For Rangers services to social responsibility have extended to these fine two gentlemen of the press and awakened in them a sense of morality regarding the prospect of Dave King returning to Rangers. But this new found moral argument still appears to be only half awake. As Operation Yewtree continues to bring fresh revelation and accusation with regard to child abuse, in particular those who were complicit in its covering up and the suppression of victims complaints, not one of these moral guardians of the press appear to be concerned that there are individuals connected with Celtic FC, and who are still subject to very public adoration and respect, who were actively complicit in the covering up of child abuse at Celtic Boys Club. It's easy to see where Noel Coward was coming from when he uttered “”The higher the building the lower the morals” I don't normally humour Graham “Rangers are a new club” Spiers but I will make an exception on this one occasion. Id rather we had died with our history rather than have to live with theirs. On the civil war front, I was reminded this week, courtesy of “Old Reliable” (BBC Scotland) how out of touch some of our current and prospective directors are with our support. I am yet to hear from any of the incumbent or prospective factions what their plans are to defend this club and its support from its enemies. “Increased revenue streams” etc etc etc tend to be ineffective weapons against those whose sole aim, by any means, is the destruction of our club. I am yet to meet a Rangers fan anywhere who is not concerned about the attacks on our club and support. It is one of the few things upon which our support can find some universal agreement. On the good news front our ever decreasing board and communications department means that there will probably be a blazer for everyone the only question is – brown or black brogues ?
  19. BBC broadcaster Paul Gambaccini has been arrested on suspicion of historical sexual offences as part of Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24779908
  20. from their FB page... PLEASE SHARE WITH ALL WHO SUPPORT SONS OF STRUTH Due to todays press statements we have been urged by our followers to take action, we will have a meeting of SoS supporters at 7.15pm prompt tonight at the Copland road stairs. We urge all who support what we do and are concerned about the club to be in attendance. We would ask all to bring as many as possible.
  21. 1553: BREAKING NEWS Hibernian announce that manager Pat Fenlon has left the club. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/24768698
  22. Anyone on here believe this guy should be retained by the club? His riposte to McColl was rather nervous sounding for sure...
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