The Times of London has today reproduced a quite incredible document.
It is a letter Celtic sent to the SFA in 2012, demanding a judicial review of what had gone on at Ibrox and Hampden in the preceding years.
This should answer every question every supporter of our club has about our so-called “collusion” with the SFA over the survival of a club calling itself Rangers.
Of all the conspiracy theories out there, this is one of the worst; that Celtic refused to press this issue because it was in our best interests that there was a strong Ibrox club. The number of people – Celtic fans and those of the two teams which have played out of that ground – who believe this garbage is staggering.
Before I get to the point let me address that theory.
Celtic has never been idle in these affairs.
We have always been busy behind the scenes.
We have always been working on them, but some refuse to believe that. They think we were keen to rebuild the “Old Firm” brand and were willing to look the other way on a decade of cheating to facilitate good relations with Ibrox and Hampden.
There are Sevco fans – and Celtic fans – who still believe that there will come a time when we’ll “throw” a league race just to keep things interesting, and to keep the fans coming through the turnstiles. This is such a stupid notion that anyone who believes it should have themselves checked in somewhere before they start feeding the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Celtic is a club that plays by the rules.
Over the years when the first Ibrox club was doping itself on a cocktail of bank debts and EBT’s we suffered. We lost trophies. We lost leagues. We lost money, tens of millions. Our shareholders were disenfranchised, our fans cheated. And a lot of people in our support, not fully understanding that Rangers was busily priming a time-bomb under its own foundations, turned their anger on our board, and Peter Lawwell in particular.
As I’ve found out many times on here, it’s bad enough to get hate mail and abuse from the Ibrox horde. It’s a whole other matter getting it from fellow Celtic fans. It’s not the nicest feeling in the world and whenever it happens I pretty much feel like chucking it.
Those who say “well, you’ve not got a heated driveway to fund” are missing the point …
Our directors essentially did nothing wrong, except that they refused to put our club in jeopardy chasing Rangers’ in the fantasy football years. They have eaten some amount of dirt for it, and I’ll bet every one of them considered abandoning their post many times over the years.
I wrote some of the articles that slagged them.
In short, our board took a lot of stick at a time when it was doing the job well.
The 2012 letter shows us that they always have been.
Celtic’s concerns over what was going on inside Hampden are not new. Nor were they left sitting on the shelf. As I reported here some weeks ago, Celtic has formally asked for an independent review of Scottish football governance, which the SFA has been trying to pretend isn’t there.
And today the 2012 letter is in the papers.
Please note that this was not a leak to a Scottish tabloid, but a London broadsheet.
We are through playing games with the idiot children up here.
Celtic wants this story to have a national audience, one outside of Scotland, one which will take it seriously.
Where do you reckon the leak came from?
The SFA itself?
They have no reason to let that document into the public domain.
This is a warning shot across their bow; Celtic is not so subtly letting the world know that its position on this has hardened and we want answers.
Our formal request is waiting to be acknowledged.
If it’s not the next step will be to get legal.
The SFA has no choice whatsoever here; they are compelled to take this seriously, because frankly it is serious.
Celtic wants answers, and not from the talking heads at Hampden.
The club will not accept anything less than an independent inquiry with the necessary powers of investigation and punishment, and which will change the structure of our game.
At this point it’s probably right to point out that Celtic has never seen this matter as being one about title stripping or even completely about Rangers; this ceased to be our concern quite some time ago. This is about how officialdom acted in relation to those matters.
With an independent review, free to impose sanctions, title stripping will come as a matter of course; it’s like a nearly inevitable effect of a robust inquiry.
But it’s not what our club is after here and it never was.
We want to know how the Ibrox club was ever able to cheat the game for so many years and Celtic does not believe that all the responsibility lies inside Ibrox itself.
Part of the leaked 2012 letter reads thus:
“The interests of fairness and Scottish football now demand that the SFA act decisively. The initial inquiry should now be reconvened or a new independent panel led by a judge or senior lawyer should be formed to investigate and report upon the Rangers EBT issues and consider whether there has been any further breach of the Association’s rules, including those on disrepute.
“The roles of individuals (past and present) subject to the jurisdiction of the Association should also be examined. This should take place as quickly as possible, irrespective of the SPL’s own investigations.”
This could not be clearer.
Celtic did not want this handled only at the SPL level.
We never believed this matter would be properly pursued if left in the hands of the football authorities themselves, with a remit set by them.
We feared cover-up.
We knew that disrepute was an issue as well as the illegal registration of footballers.
We knew this was about “individuals past and present” and although the letter doesn’t openly state that we know some of them were at Hampden as well as Ibrox it’s clearly implied.
Celtic’s official request for an independent investigation into all of this has been submitted.
It is in the system.
It cannot be ignored.
Regan and his cohort at Hampden – and some of them, including him, might already be preparing to cut and run, as I said the other day – know this.
They know this has to be dealt with.
They know where Celtic will send it next.
If it looks like we’re delaying that’s probably because Celtic still wants to see people do the right thing; it might sound incredible, but that’s how we do business. We’re giving these people every chance to act with honour and with some measure of integrity as we get towards the endgame.
If they will not do it, they will be compelled to.
The problem with sticking your head in the sand is that it leaves your arse twitching in the wind. If that hasn’t dawned on Regan yet it better start to.
Celtic is done asking nicely.
This is a warning. I strongly suspect it is the last warning.