So much of what we “know” about the goings on in Scottish football over the last few years comes from leaked sources, including documents.
A lot of it is second hand, even third hand, information.
A lot of it is useful; one major article I wrote, on the TV deal and how Doncaster rigged it, was written using leaked information as background source material, which I then had to stand up by linking to stuff that was in the public domain.
But as with all such information, there’s some of it which you can never use, because the source of the documents is uncertain and because the information in them is so sensitive and “close-hold” that you would put sources at risk if you did, or even expose yourself to the possibility of criminal prosecution. Even with that story, which is amongst the most controversial I’ve ever published, there were things I had to leave out.
One of them I can only describe as explosive. Having seen the evidence I can say with certainty that Doncaster was up to no good, but that information can’t be backed up by public information and will remain hidden until it can.
I tend to believe that when information that was secret is uploaded to where anyone can see it then it’s no longer secret; it becomes public whether it was intended to be or not. That’s what Wikileaks and other websites are for, after all. For a long time you could download oodles of compromising information from Scottish football’s dark year of 2012 on Scribd; I have my own extensive catalogue of stuff from that period, including the Five Way Agreement, the No Title Stripping Guarantee, the outline of Whyte’s Project Charlotte and much else.
I am not surprised to see internal SPL documents now online. I am not surprised that some of the bloggers, like Johnjames, have chosen to use them to cast light on the Nimmo Smith inquiry and other affairs. I said in a piece two years ago that nothing that happened in that time will forever remain a secret; too many people are in possession of too much information and all of it will eventually become public. It’s inevitable.
The SPL emails which have found their way onto the net are illustrative in more ways than one.
I’m going to go over them now and what they mean … and try to place it in the wider context of the LNS affair.
I believe these emails are legitimate. I believe their publication is in the best interests of Scottish football. I believe fans have a right to know, and use this information in their deliberations about the future. This is important stuff. It casts a light on this whole affair.