Back when I was running On Fields Of Green, the first blog I had under my own name, I did a lengthy piece called Five Ways To Hell.
It covered a number of issues, foremost amongst them the way the first police investigations into the David Murray-Craig Whyte-Charles Green saga were starting to get underway, a subject, I assure you, I’ll be writing about soon.
Buried in that piece though was a partial analysis of what I called then, and still call now, the most corrupt pieces of paper in the history of Scottish football.
They are the framework of the two most egregious lies in the history of our game, lies we’re still fighting, lies which are now so ubiquitous that Celtic fans had to complain to a TV game show recently when it asked a question about the “triple relegation of Rangers.”
A larger piece about why that issue remains important is long overdue, and this does feel like the time to do it, but it will have to wait.
This one is about that rancid document which props the Survival and Victim lies up, because you cannot understand how we got here without knowing what that document is and what it was supposed to do.
The first thing you have to understand about that document is that although it is one of the foundations on which the Survival and Victim lies were built that it shouldn’t be; indeed, the Five Way Agreement makes plain that Rangers and Sevco are two entirely separate entities and that the three separate strands of our football governance at that time, the SFA, the SPL and the SPFL, understood that full well and were acting in accordance with it at the time.
Representatives of Rangers and Sevco both signed the document.
They are two of the five parties; two.
Sevco and Rangers did not operate at the time, before or since, as a singular whole … they were entirely different bodies and this is the document that proves it, although it’s also the document in which the SPL, the SPFL and the SFA as good as agreed that no-one would acknowledge that fact.
The Five Way Agreement was signed in the aftermath of Charles Green’s acquisition of Rangers’ assets.
It was the document which handed Sevco trophies and titles they had never won, but at a cost; it bound the club to any punishments which fell on the deceased Rangers.
In my view, Sevco got much the better deal … and a lot more besides.
Without signing that agreement, they would never have been allowed an SFA license, or so we’re told, so it was framed as a document more binding on them than on everyone else, but that’s not the truth of it at all.
In fact, the Five Way Agreement is a despicable fraud, a document that actually prevented the people who run our game from holding Ibrox accountable for any of what had transpired. Here’s the truth of it; when those who push the Victim Lie talk about the “punishments” their club – i.e. Sevco, but which they call Rangers – got they refer to the phantom “relegations.”
There’s a reason why they do that; the actual “punishments” Sevco were handed for the sins of Rangers were so minor and inconsequential that you can’t fail to see them for what they really were; a smokescreen, to cover the fact that the Ibrox operations got off virtually scott-free save for a couple of paltry fines.
Even the “transfer ban” was a sham; it turned out to be a “registration ban” instead which still let them assemble a squad and use the players as “trialists”; every single one of them ended up eligible to play for the club in the season they signed.
Sevco never was punished for the sins of Rangers. Instead they got titles and trophies they didn’t win and the “continuation” – the Survival Lie – was forced down the throats of supporters of other sides everywhere.
From that lie, the Victim Lie sprouted as if by magic, but in fact it’s the most logical part of all this, because if Rangers never died then they really were relegated and that happened in spite of nothing in the regulations which would have allowed it.
It goes without saying that these twin untruths are toxic to our game; those who accept them as fact, or pretend they do out of expediency, do nothing less than promote a scenario in which Scottish football turned on Rangers at their weakest moment and smashed the club to pieces out of spite, out of envy and out of bigotry.
It is a dangerous view to promote, because stupid people believe it.
You only have to dip the occasional toe into the febrile swamps of their forums to see the results of it; an ever-pulsing hatred for the rest of the game here that is so intense that many of its fans would burn our sport to the ground, and their own club with it, just to get some payback.
The events of 2011- 2012 are still only half-understood.
The only people in this country, save for a handful of the bloggers and writers on our side of the aisle, who truly have a handle on what actually went on are, ironically but maybe not surprisingly, Celtic’s shareholders.
The fans at Ibrox have never wanted to know, they’ve never dug too deep.
They believe their club were the victims of a gigantic conspiracy which cost them years and a sum running into the hundreds of millions of pounds … but not one of their sites or their so-called intellectuals has ever been interested in uncovering how it was done or who was involved in it.
And you know what? These people aren’t simply aware on some level that what they promote is sheer nonsense; they believe that their version is the truth, that the conspiracy existed, but they have no interest in or motivation to get to the bottom of it.
It’s Celtic fans – the victors, the winners, the beneficiaries of the so-called conspiracy – who most want to understand those events and what really went on, because we know even better than Sevco fans think they do that something about all of it stinks to high heaven.
The area our shareholders chose to focus their attention was on the decision by the governing bodies to grant a European license to Rangers for the 2011-12 season.
The Resolution 12 boys worked tirelessly on this for many years, and accumulated a vast amount of information on the subject and had hoped Celtic would take their findings seriously.
The club has never given those guys the full backing they were entitled to.
Yet for a while, it seemed as if the SFA itself, forced by the club to consider the testimony given at the Supreme Court hearing on the Big Tax Case, might have to act anyway … and they did, indeed, open a disciplinary case against Ibrox.
Sevco responded by questioning the SFA’s ability to hear the case … indeed, what they were questioning was whether the SFA even had the right to hear it.
The answer to that question lies in the Five Way Agreement.
Part of that document separated what Sevco could be found liable for and what they could not.
The so-called “Craig Whyte Enduring Acts” and the “Craig Whyte Exempt Acts” are critical here. That document lays out which of Whyte’s sins would be the responsibility of Green and his board and all who came after them … and Sevco argue that the licensing issue does not fall under that umbrella.
Well, if that doesn’t then what the Hell does?
Why was that particular matter allowed to be folded into the sins of Craig Whyte for which no-one else would ever be held responsible? Sevco’s argument against the SFA is that the Five Way Agreement gives them an amnesty in relation to that charge; the SFA lawyers evidently agreed.
The matter was supposed to go in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport … but the SFA announced that they wouldn’t submit it.
When did they do that? On the same day they formally declared us nine in a row champions.
If you can’t see the connection between those announcements, then you are a fool. Because the SFA timed that to perfection, and hoped that we’d accept they did us a favour on one hand and thus basically let them rob us with the other.
We know that no favour was done; we are legitimate champions and deserved our crown. But we also deserved justice in that case, or at least answers, an acknowledgement that the directors at Ibrox had flagrantly broken the rules and conned Scottish football.
Yet shockingly, Celtic accepted the verdict and told the fans that the matter was closed and that as far as they were concerned the licensing issue and the Resolution 12 campaign had come to an end and that there would be no more time spent on the matter.
Celtic’s shareholders have been contemplating this matter since; according to Phil Mac Giolla Bhain the Requisitioners have now made a decision on how to proceed.
The club’s official stance on this matter is that they never saw the Five Way Agreement and have no idea what is in there or in any of its “side-letters” such as the one which basically rendered the Lord Nimmo Smith Inquiry toothless before it even sat; that document has done the rounds on the internet for years and is without question authentic.
It is a guarantee that that inquiry would not pursue “title stripping” as a punishment in relation to a decade of improperly registered contracts.
For that reason, and others, you can understand why our club would wish to deny knowledge of what the Five Way Agreement says … but if that’s true, and we don’t know, then that must count as one of the most grotesque failures of corporate responsibility in the history of Celtic Football Club.
The Five Way Agreement is a con-job, and if our board allowed us to sit on the side-lines, uninvolved, as that deal was thrashed out, a deal that screwed us in more ways than one, then people on the Celtic board ought to be removed for gross incompetence at the very least. If they were present and in on the discussions, then their position is surely even less tenable.
Now, at this point Phil doesn’t know or isn’t saying what the precise nature of that AGM submission is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Requisitioners weren’t pursuing an old avenue once suggested by the late Paul McConville, who’s legal blog was a great source of information during the early years of this saga.
It would not surprise me if the Requisitioners were demanding that our club take some of those steps and set about obtaining the document which Celtic’s official policy states we’ve not seen, far less played any role in drafting.
In short, this could be our shareholders calling the club’s bluff and asking if they haven’t seen it then isn’t it about time that they did?
How can it be in the best interests of our PLC that the Ibrox operation hides behind a secret agreement which buys them immunity?
We have a right to see that document for ourselves, as members of the league and SFA.
Why wouldn’t we want to? What harm could it do? Indeed, if that document was reviewed by our club and found to be as ghastly and corrupt as many believe, we’d almost certainly be forced to act on that information. Why would we even hesitate?
Some think they know the answer; some think that people at our club are up to their necks in this, that we either sat mute and allowed it to roll over us or that we were involved in the process from start to finish, to guarantee a team called “Rangers” in the league, and to Hell with the historical judgement and the simple acknowledgement of the truth.
This matter needs to be resolved, for the good of all, including those at our club who believe that ten in a row, should we win it, ought to be their legacy; I’ve long argued that as important as ten in a row is that their legacies will be decided based on a complex mix of criteria in which the accomplishments of the players and managers are only one strand.
I’ll put it even more bluntly; from 2000-2011 Rangers won five league titles which the governing bodies ought to have struck from the record.
I have never wanted Celtic awarded those titles, only that the dead club be stripped of them … but according to past precedent we would have got those titles and then the debate over ten itself would have been moot; we’d have reached that milestone two years ago … and we’d be going for 55 this season.
Instead, we’re dealing with the fiction that Sevco, without a major honour, can reach that goal.
The Five Way Agreement props up that corrupt view … and if it turns out that people at Celtic Park were knowingly involved in its creation that’s what their legacy will be and that is how they will be remembered by future generations of our supporters.
Some of us will make damned sure of it.
This is as serious as it gets for our board, and if the Requisitioners really are focussing their attention on the Five Way Agreement then it’s long overdue and they should have the full-throated support of the entire fan-base, because there are things in there which we need to get to the bottom of or our game is going to be living with lies long after we’re gone.
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Should Celtic Shareholders Be Pushing The Club For Answers On The Five Way Agreement?
Of Course They Should
No, I Trust The Board