Date: 11th September 2017 at 4:37pm
Written by:

Today Stewart Regan has crawled out of the Hampden cesspit to talk to some pre-selected media folks, doubtless recommended to him by the SFA’s new PR reps at Frame (what a lovely name for a public relations organisation representing such a corrupt association. They are all going to be “in the frame” before this thing is done), in the person of ex-SFA employee and discredited former hack Daryll Broadfoot.

Regan has already spoke to the BBC, and is pencilled in for the “hot seat” on Clyde tonight … I write that with the deepest irony.

I have no intention of listening to that interview for even the briefest time.

The BBC interview interests me more, and I’ve taken a whack at them already today, and Tom English in particular, so at the risk of sounding like I’m repeating myself I’ll say simply that Broadfoot has spent so long on Radio Scotland these past few weeks that I thought for a while they were giving him his own show.

They’ve been softening up the ground since Celtic asked for the review.

And Regan said today we’re the only club which wants one.

First, I don’t believe for a second that’s true.

I think we have a lot of clubs out there who are far too spineless to stick their heads up.

That’s a direct consequence of a corrupt media narrative that has sought to paint this issue as being about title stripping.

The press knows full well that in framing it in such a way – such a fraudulent, dishonest way – that they are making it harder for clubs to come out in support of it.

This is an attempt to force us into a corner.

But Celtic has been clear in the letters it has sent and in its private discussions with other clubs the length and breadth of the land that what it wants is to shine a flashlight into the darkest corners of our national sport, and the events of 2011-17 which haunt us and will continue to for every moment that they are not examined, tackled and resolved.

Any club which understands this point and does not support a review is either led by cowards or has something to hide.

Dark hints are being dropped by media lackeys about “other clubs” which have not met their responsibilities to HMRC … this is a direct threat to Hearts, of course, that their own dirty laundry will be re-aired, but also a coded warning, perhaps, to others.

And you know what? That’s all the more reason to open up the books.

What the Hell has the SFA been up to all these years, what the Hell could possibly be worse than some of what we already know and suspect? Are rules still being broken and those violations ignored “for the good of the game?”

Are clubs, even now, playing against teams who are up to no good and don’t even know it?

The SFA of course has left the door open wide for cheating to go on, as some of us pointed out after the testimony of their registrations officer Sandy Bryson during the Nimmo Smith inquiry; his contention that players are deemed to be registered even if it later comes out that they weren’t is not only mind-bending but has been flatly contradicted time and again by disciplinary proceedings opened up against other clubs.

Those other clubs have a right to know why the “Bryson rule” was not in effect with them. And clubs which have had transfer embargos – like Livingston – are entitled to know why they were not deemed “registration embargos” instead, which renders them toothless and a waste of everyone’s time.

I could continue with these examples, but won’t.

Scottish clubs have complained, bitterly, for years about the “double standard”, how it’s one rule for the so-called big clubs and another for the rest. They know full well that the chances are better than 70-30 that a serious offence committed by a lower league team would be more likely to end in the harshest possible disciplinary sanctions and the most inflexible interpretation of the rulebook than would be the case if a “big club” did the same thing.

And they’ve lived with it, but vocally, angrily, all this time.

They have no appetite for real change?

Then Hell mend them.

Stewart Regan says the SFA has learned its lessons from what happened at Ibrox; yeah it learned them so well that a convicted tax cheat publicly conspired to weaken the share price of a member club, succeeded and then took over in dubious circumstances and waltzed through a “fit and proper person” test. Funds from mysterious sources have been funnelled through the club since. Directors have funding huge losses on the never-never, placing the club in financial jeopardy. The board now includes not one director from the OldCo but three … and questions have arisen over their eligibility to meet FFP criteria for playing in European competition ….

Dave King is the chairman of Sevco even though he’s currently the subject of a City of London Takeover Panel sanction, in relation to the takeover mentioned above. And he’s ignored their explicit instructions in that case, and is currently awaiting a judicial review.

Things have changed?

Lessons have been learned?

Give me a f***ing break.

The major issues which the Whyte case highlighted are still unresolved today.

Financial fair play might as well not exist outside of the game here because it doesn’t in Scotland.

There are points penalties for going into administration? Bravo, but there always were and it didn’t prevent any of this, whereas FFP regulations would have.

Fit and proper person tests remain scandalously lax.

Anyone who wanted to could take over a Scottish club and use it for whatever purpose suited their needs; we’re wide open for organised crime syndicates to come in and do as they please, because the only thing that matters is that someone signs a piece of paper “affirming” the good intentions of those involved.

I mean, seriously … what the Hell is that?

Regan says there is more clarity on registration issues – the problem before wasn’t lack of clarity; Rangers knew full well what the rules said. They ignored them. The people responsible for enforcing those rules are now the loudest voices telling us that we should move on from that egregious and unprecedented breaking of them.

Another lesson learned?

Aye, the most important one … that the club which flouted those regulations stands, right now, to get off scott-free with having done it.

That’s a lesson that will resonate for years.

Clubs don’t want an inquiry into all this?

Clubs don’t want these things fixed?

Then those clubs are just begging to be used, and hung out to dry and pissed on from a great height. And their fans, those who say “I don’t care about this, I just want to watch my team” might as well be watching WWE because the deck is rigged, and it will stay that way.

If Celtic are the only club who cares about this, then Scottish football is already finished.

It’s sick from something terminal, and all that’s left is to plan for the funeral.

You know, as I’ve already pointed out, we could do this without the support of a single other club … but the media is already determined to make us out to be the villains of this piece, and to suggest that we are inflaming things. If we’re left twisting in the wind over this, forced to choose between doing nothing and doing something that will be spun in such a dreadful manner, then as far as I’m concerned the rest of football in this country can go straight to Hell.

I have always been in favour of Celtic staying in Scottish football. Because this is our home, and it would be wrong for us to leave it, in pursuit of the dangerous bling of the EPL or a pan-national league elsewhere. I am proud that there has been no talk, for years, from Celtic Park about exploring options for making our exit … but that position can no longer be sustained if the leaders of this game and the clubs which make it up are content to live with corruption and scandal.

Frankly, the sooner we get the Hell out of here and let them swim in this sewer of their own making, the better off we’ll be.

If Scottish football really feels this way, that erases any requirement for us to be loyal to it or anyone in it.

It’s get out, or go down with the ship.

And I am not willing to see our club follow these people to their deserved, watery grave.