I’ve just finished reading the latest Big Tax Case response, this one by Stewart Regan to the head of the Celtic Supporters Association, Joe O’Rourke.
As per usual, Regan is sarcastic and patronising, and he has sought, not for the first time, to paint a high-profile campaign for justice in Scottish football as that of people with “an agenda.”
He’s right. We do have an agenda. It’s the protection of what’s left of Scottish football’s good name.
That task is not made easier by the likes of him.
If thinks there’s some other “agenda” at play he should be a big boy and spell it out, instead of acting like a gutless fraud. I don’t expect him to do the former because he is very much the latter … this guy is yellow from back to belly. His name will be remembered by Scottish football fans long after he is gone for leading one of the most corrupt and arrogant associations in its history … and that is truly saying something.
But beyond that, I’ve read the statements of all of the “governors” of the game now and each and every one of them, when you boil it down, reads almost exactly the same way; in the exact same flat, inflectionless language they say “we’ve talked to the lawyers and our position is that we’re doing sod all.”
It’s bloodless. It’s cold. It is divorced from reality.
There is no wishing this away; if they don’t act they are saying that a decade of cheating merits no punishment.
They are accepting the scandalous notion that blatant, and continuous, violations of the rules are no big thing. They are taking a dump at the heart of Scottish football and leaving it there to steam and to fester and to draw flies.
Are other club chairmen really going to let this stand?
It is appalling that they ever accepted the Lord Nimmo Smith report, and especially what we know about it today. It will be outrageous if they leave, on the record, the idea that sporting integrity does not matter, that clubs which act in the most brazen, scandalous fashion should get away with it.
The simple solution is for the clubs to vote for an inquiry that removes this entire affair from the grubby hands of the administrators who have lied and covered up at every stage, and put it in the hands of independent people to let them decide what happened. To give that commission the power to make not only recommendations for the future but to clear up the myriad issues which have been thrown up by the past few years.
Regan, Doncaster, Topping and others have talked about how the decision to do nothing has been squared with the lawyers; those same lawyers are presumably those who set the frame of reference for the LNS inquiry in the first place. If you ask a lawyer the right question you’ll always get the answer you want. The clubs should be asking to see that “legal advice” and the basis on which it was offered. We’re not being told everything; that much is perfectly plain.
Fans are furious. The clamour over this is not going to die down. It will dominate the next 12 months and beyond. Those who think they are on safe ground because they’ve already sold season tickets better guess again; the impact of the here and now won’t be felt immediately. It will drag on through the whole of this campaign.
Because that’s what season 2017-18 is now; it’s the season of justice. It’s the season where the fans of rival clubs finally get together to decide what it is that we, the most important people, want from the game here and the governing bodies. Whether that involves a nationwide fans forum or some kind of umbrella organisation which exists with the sole purpose of getting reform – and it can’t be one associated with the governing bodies themselves; that’s the last thing we need – or something else is what remains to be seen.
But it has to happen. It’s really as simple as that.
Those who run Scottish football have proven themselves utterly untrustworthy on all the issues that matter.
The clubs have failed to hold them to proper account.
They want us to “return to normality.”
But there is no “return to normal” because the “normal” they want us to return to is the one where Rangers was cheating and lying and scamming and scheming and everything after that was Sevco and more lies.
That is normal now.
Normal is an Ibrox operation spending money it doesn’t have. It’s the SFA ignoring evidence of wrong-doing. Of covering their own backsides.
And we’re damned if that’s going to stand.
That’s what we want to move on from.
It’s time a lot of people got the Hell off the fence. Is this what they want Scottish football to be? A cesspit of lies and deceptions and cover-ups? Do they want it to be the kind of environment where we can all accept that the sins of Rangers happened, that they affected society and football to a terrible degree, but that we’re content to do nothing about it?
For God’s sakes, who really cares about this damned sport?
The fans do.
We’re the only ones who do.