Today, Joe McHugh over on VideoCelts, posted an excellent and informative article on the news that Hamilton have been victims of a £750,000 fraud.
This is depressing, of course, because few clubs outside of our own could afford to just take a hit that size and when there are people’s jobs at stake it’s the last thing you want to hear.
Best wishes to Hamilton over this, and to Hearts who have announced that they suffered a similar fraud and most probably at the hands of the same people. With luck those responsible will be caught and as much of the money returned to the clubs as possible.
But this case has thrown up an interesting twist, as Joe highlighted when he took a peek at Hamilton’s share ownership structure. And what he found is that Douglas Park, Sevco director and shareholder, is on the list. This is not a secret. This information is in the public domain.
Park has probably been a Hamilton shareholder for years, and he’s served time on the board at Hearts as well. This article is not about Park, who is an honest to God businessman who’s played it straight his whole career and has an unimpeachable reputation.
This is about the SFA who bend whatever rules suit them and ignore those which are somehow inconvenient. No other association has such a casual disregard for its own regulations and this, in turn, inspires others to show the same attitude towards them.
As I said, somewhere at Hampden is a record of Hamilton’s shareholders and there his name is on there, as bold as you like. It’s not concealed in any way, and everyone in Scotland knows who the guy is, so there’s no possibility that no-one put two and two together and got this; it’s about as blatant as you will ever see.
And this is no small thing. We’re not talking about a guy with ten shares.
Park is actually Hamilton’s second largest shareholder. He owns more shares in the club than their chairman does. Scottish football is fortunate that he is a straight shooter; the possibilities for manipulation are all too obvious to ignore, and this is why the rules exist.
The fact of Park’s high standing is not the point. The rules exist to prevent someone like King playing games with two clubs at the same time. The closest Park has ever come to scandal was when he served on the Hearts board run by Wallace Mercer … you know, the one that wanted to buy Hibs, their local rival, and shut them down.
Of course, Park is not the first person to hold an interest in an Ibrox club as well as having shares elsewhere; Campbell Ogilvie famously had positions in both Hearts and Rangers, and his handing his Rangers shares to his wife made not one blind bit of difference as far as the regulations went … it’s just that those regulations were never enforced.
Is it any wonder that men like King have no regard for the governing bodies?
It is astonishing how much of this we put up with.
It is ridiculous that it’s allowed to go on.