Saturday, 22 November 2014

Going over old ground

Going over old ground

Much as I try to keep my writing focused on Celtic and issues around the club, it can’t be allowed to pass without comment that certain elements of the Scottish media are casually rewriting history. I realise that many of you will find more talk on this subject tiresome but the current cynical revisionism cannot pass without honest people saying 'enough!'. BBC Scotland didn’t cover itself in glory during the referendum campaign and like the rest of the corporation was seen as less than impartial at times. Its sports shows too have often raised the hackles of Celtic fans with some of their more ludicrous statements. This week during a discussion on the up-coming game between Hearts and The Rangers FC one reporter suggested that this was ‘the most important game since Rangers came out of administration.’  Those Celtic fans used to hearing such revisionist guff would have shaken then heads at the brazenness of this nonsense.   Rangers FC, the club founded in 1872 and incorporated in 1899 never came out of administration. It was liquidated. That is to say, it ceased to be in the same manner Third Lanark ceased to be. It was insolvent, in huge debt which it could not pay and went bust. Its remaining assets were sold off to vulture capitalists who gathered at the corpse to see what profits they could make.  Indeed Charles Green, the man who purchased the assets of the dead club, at the time said of Dave King...

"For a man who is the second largest shareholder in the go out publicly and recommend that the creditors vote down the CVA it seems to me quite unbelievable because what we're doing in that is saying the history, the tradition, everything that is great about this Club, is swept aside."

The refusal of HMRC to accept the old Rangers CVA (Creditors Voluntary Agreement) sealed the club’s fate. When one contrasts this with Hearts who recently had their CVA accepted by their main creditors and exited administration. They possess a legal certificate which proves this fact. Rangers FC (1872) do not because they never exited administration, they were liquidated. The BBC themselves said in 2012…

The Rangers Football Club PLC is a public limited company registered in Scotland (company number: SC004276) and was incorporated on 27 May, 1899. When the current company is officially liquidated, all of its corporate business history will come to an end. When this happened to Airdrieonians in 2002, all of the trophies, titles and records associated with the club were discontinued and a new club, Airdrie United FC, took over. Airdrieonians' official history ended in 2002, then Airdrie United's took over.”
You can argue all day about the spirit of the club or its essence but not its legal position. In Scots law the club and company cannot be separated and the death of Rangers is beyond dispute despite the understandable anguished denial from many. Jim Traynor, another who changed his tune once the new Rangers entity employed him said in 2012…
‘No matter how Charles Green tries to dress it up a newco equals a new club. When the CVA was thrown out Rangers as we know them died.’

I don’t write these words in order to rub the noses of long suffering Rangers fans in it. They are supporters like me who have enormous affection for their club. They must know that people like Richard Gough and Donald Findlay are not ‘Celtic minded’ and yet even they say the club they were involved with is no more.  Gough said…

‘’The really sickening thing about all of this is it was avoidable. All it would have taken for that was for someone to be honest. Pay your dues, give the tax man what he is owed. Instead Rangers died.’’

It is an insult to the creditors large and small to say otherwise. Some joke about a face painter owed £40 which went unpaid when the club died but other businesses from the local shopkeeper owed a few hundred pounds for newspapers to bigger concerns owed millions were seriously stung by Rangers reneging on their debts.

All of this going over old ground is tedious in the extreme but there is no way any fan of football should accept revisionism of the kind lazy or biased journalists spout. Let the new club work its way into the SPFL and take on Celtic but don’t insult our intelligence by saying it’s the same club as the one Celtic defeated 3-0 in the spring of 2012. Celtic will take on the new entity in the League cup semi-final in the New Year and no doubt the media will be full of talk of the ‘Old Firm’ resuming their rivalry but only one of the clubs involved has an unbroken history.

This isn’t point scoring or goading of Rangers or their supporters, rather it is a restating of the need for a more honest and agenda free media. A long time ago George Orwell said…

’Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

We should keep that in mind the next time the revisionists spout their nonsense.

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