Tonight, Phil McGiollabhain has dropped a nuclear bomb into Scottish football discourse by reproducing a letter that says Deloitte, the last company to act as auditors for Sevco before the current crop from Campbell Dallas, resigned from that position because of threats to members of their staff. It is an incendiary claim.
Phil is aware that this matter has been out there for a while; indeed, the document which proves it has been available on the Companies House website since it was filed. That’s a number of years ago. It’s one of those things that nobody thought to check and which has remained just hidden from the public gaze. There is undoubtedly much more.
I don’t doubt that Phil has been tipped to this information because of where the SFA and Scottish football presently finds itself; with more trouble in the wind because of the way that club is run and financed. The UEFA license story blew up this week with claims and counter claims; what’s clear is that the SFA forwarded information to the European governing body which even they were forced to admit was not clear-cut. UEFA agrees.
Part of the problem is that Campbell Dallas have had to include a Going Concern notice in the accounts, as Deloitte did before them. Sevco’s business plan is, to be frank, wholly ridiculous and reliant on a lot of smoke and mirrors. UEFA will certainly not be satisfied upon giving it the scrutiny it demands. At the very least, I believe they’ll force austerity on the Ibrox club even if they do allow them to participate in European competition.
But tonight’s article from Phil casts a dark light on goings on at Ibrox, and it reinforces an impression many of us have had for a long time, and which asks troubling questions about the Ibrox operation to which none of us has an answer; their supporters do not like criticism or scrutiny and there is no appetite amongst them for following the rules.
As Phil pointed out, when our media shies away from covering events at Ibrox it is not only because many of them are bought and paid for (metaphorically) or devoted to the cause over there. Some of them are just plainly and simply scared to death of the potential consequences and there are a range of those, everything from pressure being put on the news organisations they work for – as happened to Graham Spiers and Angela Haggerty – to darker stuff.
I know of at least four Celtic bloggers who have been subjected to serious threats of physical violence. Let’s not forget that when a Raith Rovers director was outed by Ally McCoist some years ago, that someone tried to burn their stadium down. The club itself was subjected to some of the most vicious hate in the history of the game here.
A segment filmed by Alex Thomson revealed that a number of people in the MSM had been the subject of harassment and intimidation.
Just a few months ago, a group of Sevco fans marched down a public street dressed in paramilitary garb and engaged in fascist behaviour, including giving the Nazi salute. And they can rebrand it as a Red Hand salute as they please and their apologists can try to wave that off, but as far I’m concerned it’s a matter of degrees and you’re simply replacing anti-Jewish sentiment with anti-Catholic hate instead and nobody is getting a free pass for doing that.
Phil is correct to say that the only viable strategy for dealing with these Peepul is to face them down and refuse to be intimidated. He cites, as ever, the case of Angela Haggerty herself who actually took those who targeted her to court and stared them down in front of a judge. That took immense courage; she’s an exceptional woman.
Phil himself does what he does using his own name, as I do, as Paul Larkin does, as Paul Brennan does, as Joe McHugh and others do. That’s important to remember, because the fact we continue to poke that lot with a stick should serve as a motivation for others to do the same … and yes, I do mean those who work on national titles.
We must have the most spineless media in Europe.
All of that is by-the-by. What remains clear is that this is what we’re up against, all of us, those who seek to see Scottish football made better, cleaner, more open. Across the city is a club run by a convicted crook, funded by dubious means, and yet is still able to procure licenses and carry on as if their way of doing things was normal.
And I know part of the reason they can do so is because they do have sympathisers and friends in some of the places that matter … but I never forget that there’s an even darker aspect to it, the threatening letters, the phone calls, the warnings posted to those who get too close to the action or are close enough for it to matter … and that’s ever there, just out of sight, except for when it pops its head up as it has this evening.
Those who continue to ask why I focus so much attention on Sevco, well here’s the answer. There’s not another club like them in the country. We can either live with this on our doorstep, infecting our sport, infecting our lives, or we can do something about it.
Needless to say, a lot of us made our decision on that score a long time ago.
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