Ibrox’s Retail Partnership Scammed Its Own Fans. But They Are Blaming The Unseen Hand Again.

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Few will be surprised by the news today that the club at Ibrox was, in partnership with its “kit suppliers”, involved in a scheme to keep prices of replica gear high. The story that JD Sports and Elite are, along with the club, facing what amounts to a racketeering charge – they call it price fixing, but that’s what cartels do – is not a great shock.

Nor is it a great shock that the useful idiots – in this case perfectly represented by McFarlane in The Rangers Review, sister publication of The Celtic Way, and both owned and produced by Newsquest (and the assistant editor of both is the Ibrox blogger) – are out in force to “interpret” these findings in such a way as at least part of the story is obscured.

We are told, for example, that the charge against the Ibrox club only represents a small timeframe and the sale of a miniscule number of home shirts. True, I’m sure, at the moment. But we’re also told that JD and Elite have basically copped a plea here and are “co-operating” with the authorities. I fully expect that co-operation to uncover more.

Ibrox denies it made any money out of any of this, either with what they are accused of or with what Elite and JD were doing in the wider sphere. If you are sitting there dumbfounded at that I don’t blame you.

The whole purpose of a kit and merchandise deal is that you all share the spoils … even if they were entirely innocent (hard to believe) in the way their lapdogs claim, the idea that they made no money out of what Elite and JD Sports were doing is transparently absurd.

Their club was involved, even if only peripherally, in keeping the price of merchandising as high as possible.

They operated along with their partners here in a scam against their own fans, it’s as simple and as blunt and as brutal and as nasty as that. I am certain that it’s not the only example of them having done something like this.

What is it Jason Bateman’s character says in the first episode of Ozark, in response to the rhetorical question a Mexican cartel boss asks him about the store clerk his father once witnessed taking cash out of the till and slipping it into her pocket?

“It’s not the first time she stole. It’s the first time he caught her.”

As this site and others have said over and over again, the one constant with being an Ibrox fan is the club having one hand in your pocket. The board which introduced the MyGers scheme – as good a means of sheering sheep as I’ve ever seen – isn’t going to baulk at making sure that its customer base pays the maximum price for every bit of tat on the shelves.

That this has now reached the Competition And Markets Authority – basically the organisation which makes sure consumers don’t get ripped off like this – should be a moment where their fans re-evaluate the relationship between themselves and their boardroom. This, of course, is the same boardroom that charges its fan media, and the mainstream press, £25,000 for access.

I mean, you hardly need to go digging for examples here.

But you know what they are doing instead of holding their club to account?

They are looking for someone else to blame, some proof that the investigation itself is motivated by something other than civic responsibility and the protection of their own rights.

Because on the board of the Competition And Markets Authority is none other than Murdoch McLellan, the chairman of the SPFL. Which of course, has their antennae twitching, as the club is in a full-on battle with them over the sponsorship issue at cinch.

Am I saying these things are totally unrelated?

I have no way of knowing how long the Competition And Markets Authority have been investigating this, but it seems perfectly clear that it’s been a while and that does raise some interesting questions, such as whether or not Ibrox’s efforts to discredit McLellan and remove him from the SPFL board are part of this, not that the press will dig into that.

Yet it is this fact, that McLellan is part of their organisation, that some Ibrox fans want to focus on.

Not the idea that their board might have exposed itself to even greater danger by specifically targeting this guy via the dodgy dossier and the cinch case … but that he might, simply out of spite, be targeting their club in an investigation which actually protects them as customers.

The truly dire thing for Ibrox is the potential size of the fine; the CMA can impose one of up to ten percent of a company’s global turnover.

JD have said that they will make a provision for a £2 million “hit” in their own accounts to be published this year … Ibrox is scrambling to find out whether any fine would be based on this year’s figures or the one for the year in which their little scam took place because that could be a difference of £5 million or more.

Regardless, it’s a headache they don’t need.

Their fans could do some genuine digging into all this and be honest with themselves that their club is squeezing out of them every penny that it can … or they can look to external enemies, and ignore the possibility that their own board’s conduct is responsible for creating the chaos in which they operate.

You’ll notice that Celtic’s commercial department does not run anything like this.

There was no Ashley case, no Puma blow-up, no problems with with inferior quality kit, no competition investigation or any of this never-ending list of problems and issues and legal challenges.

At Ibrox, this is business as usual.

And as usual their fans want to blame it all on the Unseen Fenian Hand.

God, that hand … it’s everywhere.

If it’s not turning off the water in Seville, it’s messing about with their internal marketing decisions.

That hand sure does keep busy.

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  • Starman says:

    Let’s face it the FILTH get aw their strips fae Mustafa & eez pals in Turkey lol! Crook Bastards but the Gullibillies keep Knuckodraggin their way doon tae Liebrox wae their hard earned Universal Credit BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Bob (original) says:

    IF RIFC is found to have been complicit,
    then what are the chances that the SFA charges the club with ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ ?
    Of course: none.

    Sport / football is supposed to be about fair competition, achieving the best you can – and developing a game in the community which promotes healthy ideals such as exercise, teamwork, inclusion, etc…

    Yet, the Ibrox club continues to impose its negativity over the Scottish game, like a toxic cloud. 🙁

  • Scouse bhoy says:

    Nothing will happen . Any update on the assault on the celtic employee at greyskull if it happened in a european game do you think uefa would take this long in taking any action ?

  • Bhoy4life says:

    The time will surely come when absolutely no one will want to attach themselves to this financial basket case of a club.
    Just by being associated to them you would be besmirching your own good reputation.

    Charlatans, nothing more nothing less.

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    The clubs board made up off guys who know how to scam money out of people. kits every few months..over priced Europa game tickets, promises, lies, they fall for it time and time again.
    Two trophies in ten years, fluked there way to a Europa final. Now this ripped off by all parties regarding replica kits.
    Not the clubs fault though, it’s the big bad timmy that’s trying help stop the rip off.
    Hell mend them…their board certainly know how to empty their deluded pockets.

  • Burghbhoy says:

    So they didn’t make any money?
    Just like their predecessors arranged EBTs for no sporting advantage?
    Yet again however, they will dance between the raindrops and go unpunished

  • Martin says:

    It’s a strange one. Maybe McLellan is targeting them out of spite, as the cheerleaders say….so what? He’d have nothing to target them with if they weren’t breaking the rules. What’s more, that’s literally the job his organisation exists for. They can look at the motives any way they want: either consumer protection is at the heart of it, or it’s a malicious attack on their club. Either way, if there’s no case to answer there’s no problem.

    I too find it strange that they made “no money” from all this, but there’s part of me that really wants to believe it. Only sevco could get into a deal that involved falsely fixing prices and fleecing their own customers, not benefit financially and then get caught and fined. The business nuance of a squashed tangerine that lot.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Would be fantastic if McLellan got the last laugh here.

    Everyone knows they are crooked so they would not be a tough target for any organisation to review.

    Because the complicit Scottish media stay quiet does not mean the facts are not out there.

    Might take a while to unravel but with Elite and JD admiting guilt then there will be much incriminating evidence to come and if sevco don’t comply fully then I would suggest the fine will be much harsher. Let’s hope they appeal, lose and the fine gets doubled plus legal fees. 🙂 They will never learn, it’s delish!!

  • JimBhoy says:

    If the SFA grew a set they would be investigating sevco on a number of fronts.

  • Eoin Baillie says:

    Whilst I’m not accusing our club of the same over-charging of our fans , I go to Bulgaria every year for 2 months in the summer and come back with the new strips for 50 Lev ( around £18/20 ) . My friend Nicky travels to Turkey where all the strips are produced to order supplies for his sports shop; he is making a profit on the 50 Lev so how much are Celtic making considering they have a larger market ?

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