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Wings Over Scotland

The end of the world

Posted on July 05, 2012 by

We’re sure yesterday was a trying day for SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. Indeed, on the basis of the evidence you’re about to read below, it’s sent him stark raving mad. It’s a story which appeared briefly on the Scotsman website, only to vanish again minutes later. (EDIT: It’s back now, slightly edited where Regan claimed the Scotsman had misrepresented his position – most noticeably in the opening paragraph – and boasting a new and slightly less apocalyptic headline.)

It’s several steps past the sober, measured impartiality that might be reasonably expected of an administrator, some distance beyond outright dereliction of duty, and even wildly-irresponsible lunacy is just a tiny dot receding fast in the rear-view mirror as Regan hurtles off into the distance, towards the edge of a cliff.

Try as we might, we cannot see how he can possibly now remain in his position until the weekend and still have the universe make any sense at all. Judge for yourself.


Rangers newco: ‘Big problem for Scottish society’ if Rangers plunge to Third Division

by Stephen Halliday

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan has issued a startling warning of “social unrest” in Scotland if newco Rangers are denied entry to the First Division of the Scottish Football League following the emphatic rejection today of their application to retain top-flight football at Ibrox.

Regan’s remarkable comment came as he insisted admission to the First Division is now the only viable option if Scottish football wishes to avoid what he described as a “slow, lingering death”.

The Scottish Premier League turned down Charles Green’s bid to have Rangers’ existing share in the organisation transferred to his newco for next season, with ten of the member clubs voting against the application. It is understood Green cast the only vote in favour, while Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston is believed to have abstained.

The SPL will now await the outcome of an SFL meeting next week when that organisation’s 30 clubs will vote on a proposal to accept newco Rangers into the First Division in the new season ahead of an amalgamation of the league governing bodies from 2013-14.

There is considerable opposition and resistance to the plan among SFL clubs and their supporters with many believing Rangers should have to apply for entry to the Third Division in the wake of their spectacular financial collapse.

But Regan bluntly asserted that Scottish football simply cannot afford to have Rangers outwith the top two tiers of the league structure, with his argument not confined to the commercial impact their absence would have.

“Without Rangers, there is social unrest and a big problem for Scottish society,” claimed Regan. “They have a huge fan base and to contemplate the situation where those fans don’t have a team to support, where those fans are effectively left without a game to follow, I just think that could lead to all sorts of issues, all sorts of problems for the game.

“Tribalism in football is really important. It is part of the game. People follow their clubs with pride, it is passed down from generation to generation. There are thousands of Rangers fans whose fathers and parents and grandfathers have been Rangers fans. You can’t contemplate a situation without that and if Rangers weren’t to exist that could have real dire consequences.

“There is a lot of emotion around this subject because Rangers are a huge institution in Scottish football history and they are where they are. Their fans have been hurt, they don’t know what’s happening. There hasn’t been a great deal of leadership at the club and there hasn’t been a huge amount of communication from the football authorities.

“The SPL have now decided that Rangers won’t be coming back into the SPL. From our perspective it’s important we set out the landscape because there is only one solution for the game now. The only solution for the game now is that Rangers come into the Scottish Football League and they come into it in the First Division. If Rangers were to go anywhere other than the First Division, then there would something in the region of £15.7 million worth of losses to the game.

“For the bigger clubs at the top of the league, that’s half their annual distributions. For clubs at the bottom it is basically wiping out their entire distributions, for some of the smaller clubs it’s a huge proportion of their annual turnover. The same will be true for most clubs. Perhaps clubs could survive for a short period of time but it’s not sustainable.

“Even if Rangers end up in the First Division, there is still going to be a £5 million loss of income to the SPL clubs. The game is not sustainable so there would be a slow lingering death for the game in Scotland. It would then trickle down to the SFL. From our perspective as the governing body and we cannot allow that to happen.

“If we allowed that to happen, it would simply be a dereliction of duty. Therefore, this whole decision-making process has been one of the most challenging and complex decisions that I have ever been involved in in 27 years of business as sport. Some clubs in the SFL are afraid of the implications of the decisions. There is the moral argument, the fear of a fans’ backlash and there are financial implications to consider.

“But when we look at the alternative, it is not possible to think about it without thinking of the game withering on the vine. We cannot contemplate that and the message has to be that Division One for Rangers is the only show in town as far as the future of Scottish football is concerned.”

Regan admits the influence of television contracts, which are largely predicated on the presence of Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish game, are the biggest single factor in his determination to ensure the Ibrox club drop no lower than the First Division. “We have had dialogue with the broadcasters,” he added, “and we understand what the various stakeholders from Sky television, ESPN, Sport Five and a number of the SPL’s other commercial partners are likely to do in the event Rangers are not in either of the top two tiers. It’s not pretty. That’s why we cannot sit back and let that happen without trying to get all parties to accept this is the only solution which can keep the game afloat.

“Without Old Firm games, the value drops, the overseas deals are almost exclusively about the Old Firm derby and that would go immediately. Then you look at the rest of the game and what it is worth. It is fair to say the broadcasters would live with a year without Rangers in the SPL, because it could be a fantastic story for them, which is why I think First Division rights will be an interest as people will want to see how this club is going to bounce back.”

Regan conceded, however, that there can be no guarantee a financially weakened Rangers will climb back to the top flight at the first attempt:

“If Rangers don’t get promoted, then the game has got another year to suffer with the financial consequences that brings. I can’t predict what will happen, because Rangers at the moment are a weakened team because of everything that has gone on.”

“They are a newco at the moment, they have got very few players on their books. They are going to be entering the SFL in whatever division with a weakened team and I don’t think it’s by any means certain they are going to come back in the way they or their fans might like them to recover.

“It’s going to be a slow recovery to get back to the football fitness they have shown in the past. So we can’t look into the future and say ‘what if they don’t operate in a certain way?’. We can only look at building the foundations, to change the game for the better and provide an infrastructure that can bring financial certainty to the other 41 clubs.”

Regan confirmed that sanctions will apply to newco Rangers in the First Division and also made it clear the formation of an SPL2 will be pursued in order to accommodate the Ibrox club if they are rejected by the SFL next week.

“The SFA have to transfer Rangers’ membership from oldco to newco. That can be done with any conditions attached to it that the SFA board deem fit. We would expect a newco to carry some of the sanctions which would have related to the club had it still been in the previous incarnation. The membership cannot be transferred on financial grounds alone. It has to have a degree of sporting integrity and that means sporting sanctions.”

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    36 to “The end of the world”

    1. charlie says:

      I heard a comment from someone  on talksport (god help me) that the Scottish clubs were ‘killing the goose that laid the golden eggs’. Nice 100% upside down analogy. That goose nicked all the golden eggs and robbed everyboby else along the way. 

      Charlie Celtic, I mean Charles Green, is apparently threatening to sue Everton FC over monies for Jelavic when the old co still owe Rapid Vienna for when they bought him.

      You’d have to heart of stone not to laugh at him

    2. charlie says:

      Edit: You’d have to have a  heart of stone not to laugh at him 😉

    3. deerokus says:

      So, the head of the governing body is: a) threatening and blackmailing clubs who elect to put fairness and the good reputation of the sport ahead of their own short-term interests; b) openly and deliberately calling for the manipulation of the sport he oversees in favour of one club; c) making up more and more outlandishly insane scare stories and d) prejudicing the independent tribunal hearing into the actions of  old Rangers (the one that the Court of Session kicked back to the panel). The only option that panel has is to expel or suspend Rangers, but the SFAs official line is that that cannot happen, else cats will live with dogs.

      This could threaten the SFA itself, if UEFA act appropriately.

      He must go.  Now.  Along with Doncaster of course.

      Can we get Turnbull Hutton in instead?

    4. Helen says:

      What a sorry sorry state Scottish Society appears to be in.

      Banksters, and media moguls run wild across the UK, people have been thrown to the winds since the economic crisis of the 1970s (society did not rescue the economy after that period, it merely played a charade, the charade we see crumbling before our eyes now), yet another generation of graduates who will face a future in far worse straits than their parents, the welfare state has almost completely gone, Westminster blame, smear, punish and lecture the poor, the jobless and the sick for daring to be the victims of the government’s own policies, we have forced labour better known by the label #workfare, we see outrageous levels of inequality, we live in a country with one of the shoddiest versions of democracy in western Europe, we have weapons of mass destruction on our shares, we have areas where the life expectancy is 54 years of age…… 

      This bright spark identifies our problem as:

      “Without Rangers, there is social unrest and a big problem for Scottish society,”  

       Enlightened country are we?  Are we sure about that?

    5. tearlachi says:

      Just read this article in the dead tree version of te Hootsman, and could not believe what I saw in print.    I would love to hear Stuart Cosgrove’s take on this. 

    6. Juan Solo says:

      Were there really no better candidates out there to run Scottish football than Regan and Doncaster?

      Regan’s latest comments are staggering!  

      We had Jim Traynor on BBC Sportsound the other evening saying that Scottish football is a back-water etc etc (doesn’t say much for your career choice does it Jim?) and now we have Regan saying the whole fabric of Scottish society will come tumbling down with the death of this ‘institution’…..incredible!

      They really must go now. 

    7. Macart says:

      Social unrest?????? Let me get this right – Is he claiming there’ll be riots in the streets because somebody isn’t getting to kick a pig’s bladder up and down a field whilst wearing their  highly coloured silky jammies?

      Can ye tell ah’m no fitba daft? 🙂

      Seriously though, the question stands; Is this man saying that civil unrest will follow any lawful and deserved penalties inflicted on the RFC business? He’s got to be barking surely? 

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      Quite simply, he has to go. Even if he truly believes what he’s saying, the fact is someone in his position should be trying to move Scottish football away from that position. It’s unhealthy to be so reliant on the existence of one club, and as Clyde have pointed out, if Scottish football really is dependent on Rangers, then we have far bigger problems than where to put Sevco 5088 and the possibility of losing a little bit of TV money.
      This feels eerily similar to the “if we tax them too much they’ll leave the country” argument the three neo-liberal parties in Westminster use against the idea of hiking up the top rate of income tax. The system is clearly broken, so instead of putting a sticking plaster over it, let’s fucking fix it.
      I happen to think that if we have no club called Rangers, it would only be good for Scotland. Just think of all those little Rangers fans who get filled with hate while growing up, with their skewed version of history, their songs about a battle nobody else in the world gives a toss about and the like. No Rangers, no sectarianism. Let’s ban orange marches while we’re at it.

    9. Arbroath1320 says:

      I know this is off topic but thought it had to be posted.
      For everyone who missed the fantastic video of our great friend Ryan discussing sausage rolls and his wee dug well here you are!
      ENJOY! 😆

    10. Appleby says:

      Make sure to use downloadhelper or similar to save a copy for yourself, folks. The video should not be suppressed! 😀

      There’s not much they can do if the genie escapes the bottle.

    11. Juan Solo says:

      ……… and there hasn’t been a huge amount of communication from the football authorities.”

      That would be you then Stewart?

    12. Arbroath1320 says:

      Now that I’ve brightened everyone’s day I’ll return to the topic of conversation. 😀
      This has just appeared on the BBC Scotland website.
      Somehow the phrase “football pitch short of a goal post” just doesn’t seem quite enough somehow. 😆

    13. Macart says:

      OFGS, pies and sausage rolls ROFLMAO. 😀

    14. Embradon says:

      Juan Solo,
      Yes – I thought that phrase was the highlight of the whole pantomime.
      As for the collapse of Scottish football, I am going to buy a season ticket for Pittodrie for the first time in several years, even though I now live in south Argyll and its very difficult to get there.
      I am no fan of the current chairman of AFC but he, and all the others who have listened to the fans, deserve our support now.
      Besides – it promises to be one of the most interesting seasons for years and, with fewer of the matches played at lunchtime, it may even be possible to go along without leaving the night before.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I know this is off topic but thought it had to be posted. For everyone who missed the fantastic video of our great friend Ryan discussing sausage rolls and his wee dug well here you are!”

      Splendid work. 😀

    16. Arbroath1320 says:

      Aye, pies and sausage rolls Macart. Oh and dinnae forget the wee dug! 😆

    17. Jim Campbell says:

      For ages now I have despaired about the amount of time and effort expended by political commentators within the Westminster Bubble  making mountains out of molehills about
      totally trivial and uninteresting subjects.

      Now I can add Scottish football pundits and their constant drivel to this list.

      Football is boring….  most of us just don’t care ! 

    18. Embradon says:

      There you go Rev Stu – Arbroath has found it – the mythical Positive Case for the Union. It was sausage rolls all along.
      Ah’d better tak a plein ane – an an ingin ane an ah.

    19. Macart says:

      There’s a certain mesmeric quality to watching this lad mumble on about pies, sausage rolls, dugs and Britishness. Or could that be straining to make out what he’s saying????

      Muuusssssst resist the wee duuuuuuuuuuhhhg…………….. 

      My god lads, they’re right!!! Why would we want to break up/separate/divide this wonderful union?? 😉

    20. Arbroath1320 says:

      I would love to take the credit for finding the video Stu, unfortunately I found the link thanks to Arthur over on the Scottish Independence site. 🙁
      Still one day I might find a wee gem or two. 😀

    21. Neil McLean says:

      Comparing Alex Thomson’s and Graham Spiers’ opinions on Stewart Regan’s Scotsman interview in which he claims that scottish football is dead if Sevco/Rangers aren’t allowed into SFL1 speaks volumes about the need for objective journalism, removed from the footballing establishment.

      One claims the comments, if true, “amount to professional suicide”, the other opines “Stewart Regan captures exactly the intractable Rangers dilemma”.

      Can you guess which of these viewpoints comes from a serious and respected investigative correspondant and which from a man who has self-confessed form for being too close to the powers that be to make objective assessments?

    22. Seasick Dave says:

      The wee dugs and sausage rolls video brings to mind the old quandary; if you became a millionaire would you eat fewer TV dinners or more?

      Well, in the new, Independent Scotland, Ryan can have even more sausage rolls than before and he can say ‘wee’ as much as he wants.

    23. G. Campbell says:

      “It’s important to stress that the reference to social unrest was in the context of no Rangers being in existence.”

      Seems like a good deal. The best option yet, in fact. Well done, Mr Regan.

    24. andrew_haddow says:

      Seems to me that having thousands of fitba fans descending on some town or city is a recipe for ‘social unrest’, as has been proven on numerous occasions in the past.

    25. Xander says:

      I would like to say a few things to Mr Regan regarding his openly biased position in favour of one football club. I am not affiliated with any team in any way, however I would point out to him that I have been a taxpayer ever since leaving school. In this context I have a personal interest in that Rangers FC has benefited themselves and their employees while leaving massive unpaid debts to their creditors and in particular with regard to unpaid taxation. If the newco want any sympathy from me they must guarantee repayment of all outstanding debts incurred by Rangers FC oldco including any taxation that was not paid to HMRC. If they cant or wont do so, then as far as I am concerned they should consider themselves very fortunate indeed to be allowed to play in any professional league in Scotland. The Rangers oldco management were incompetent, negligent and potentially criminal in their behaviour. DO NOT EXPECT THE REST OF SCOTLAND TO CARE WHETHER RANGERS SURVIVE IN ANY FORM – THEY ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN DOWNFALL.
      Please be aware Mr Regan that, in light of your openly biased position, I am considering engaging the services of one of the top private detective agencies to investigate all your personal financial dealings, affiliations with any organisation and any other activites which could show that you may have been corrupted.

    26. TYRAN says:

      All those videos are rubbish. 

      Time Lord will be the next one to vanish. Check 0:25 where a helicopter or something comes in overhead. They kept the part of him looking up. 

      Then there’s the guy with the hair parting that magically flips from one side to another all the time during a sentence. 

    27. Doug Daniel says:

      A thought – if Scottish football’s survival is predicated on the existence of a team called Rangers being in the top flight, then every club in the land should have a say in how that team is run. If they are responsible for the survival of other teams, then they must be accountable to those teams also.

    28. carrew says:

      declaration :  I am not a big football fan.  I follow it on the TV, but usually only the World Cup, European Championships etc.  However,  I do consider myself to have both feet firmly on the ground – which is more than most of the “senior poeple” involved in this debacle.

      Stewart Regan has lost sight of one absolute fact.  Rangers do not exist any more. They are already dead. To quote Monty Python (and this whole saga seems just like one of their more fantastical sketches)  – this parrot is dead. Pining for the fjords.  The reason is because they committed fraud and were caught.  They defrauded not only the taxman  (by extension that means everyone in the UK) but also many other football clubs, to say nothing of the local businesses.  Pure and Simple.   Why does he not get this?  He needs to be given 1,000 lines to write out longhand before leaving his office.  “Rangers FC no longer exists.  It was liquidated because it committed fraudulent acts against other clubs and it’s own supporters”.   

      Now, I haven’t seen any riots in the streets of Scotland recently have you?  Rangers does not exist. That was Regan’s trigger for the apocalypse.  The fans who used to go to Rangers matches may choose to attend matches which the new club play, however they may not.  It’s surely a gross stretch to suggest that if they don’t have a “Rangers game” on a Saturday that they will riot and that society will break down.  Get real. The new club wherever it may emerge might share part of a name with Rangers FC, but it will have few of the players or staff. As a new start-up business it may benefit from having some experienced management  (although the experiences gained in managing the defunct Rangers FC may not be the skills and experiences needed to run a start-up new business). If the new start-up business wishes to saddle itself with the high operational overheads of a massive stadium and a large separate training facility, then that is their management decision.  Will the cash flow support it? 

      The other point Mr Regan is missing is that a far higher percentage of Scottish society really doesn’t care. At all. Not a bit.  (I put myself in this part of society).  The evidence and cultural shift in society at large seems to be towards being fed up with lies, cheating, chicanery and being manipulated by “those in charge”.  The moral opprobrium being shown to bankers is just as likely to be extended to include people who run football.   Just check twitter or any blog like this one. Smart club chairmen have recognised the way the public are feeling and are going with them.  Mr Regan appears to be adopting a different approach. If he tells us “black is white” often enough then it will become true.  Maybe the counter-terrorism teams in the Scottish Police would like to have a word with him about his language as he’s clearly inciting people to riot. Isn’t that against some law?  

    29. Appleby says:

      That sausage rolls and wee dogs video fair brightened my day. 🙂
      I’ve saved a copy of it too, just in case it goes down again. The thing to remember about that is that it’s a big professional campaigning media/PR company that is taking the helm for the NAW/dependence campaign. And yet with all that money and expertise….they produced that travesty.

      I’d expect better from students.

    30. Appleby says:

      Saving copies of the hair flipper and the timelord. If they go down I’ll have them saved and backed up. I’ll make a habit of it with the good ones linked on WoS if I see them.

    31. Jod says:

      Great posts on this article, Reagan has lost the plot on “social unrest” does he really think that by using this propaganda against sporting integrity in Scotish football will win any followers, chairmen of these clubs must not underestimate the power of social networking and their opposition to Newco entering Div 1. Reagan should be impartial in where Newco ends up.

    32. douglas clark says:

      The hair flipper is utterly hilarious. The guy may have had a point to make but I spent the entire time watching his hair flip – flop. Didn’t hear a word he said for laughing!

    33. Arbroath1320 says:

      Sorry for going O/T, again!
      Could this article in the Daily Mail see a wee bit of a stooshie happening in London at some point in the future?
      I watched the original Channel 4 programme in 2004 and I must say the evidence, I felt, was compelling. With the death of Mike the title of Earl of Loudon now passes to his son who has told a local newspaer, apparently, that he may well be looking into this in the near future!
      Could we be witnessing the final months/years of the House of Windsor? 😀

    34. Appleby says:

      Stranger things have happened, but I won’t be holding my breath on them taking the thrones or positions as head of state around the world any time soon.
      Would seem fitting for him and his heirs to at least get the position of head of state for Oz. 😉

    35. bill says:

      So let me get this right, Regan is saying Rangers fans might bubble and cry if they have no one to follow or feel left out.  im not sure who is more pathetic and childish, football fans or people like Regan.  its a game for gods sake!

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