Celtic Diary Friday January 5: Cold Shoulder Causes Concern

Celtic Diary Friday January 5: Cold Shoulder Causes Concern

With Dave King frantically trying to raise the money to make the share offer he’s been ordered to by the court, the media have been looking at the implications for other clubs and the effect it will have on the image-and finances- of Scottish football.

Hotshot hacks, desperate to break this latest episode in the long running Ibrox pantomime have been burning the midnight oil as they examine what has happened, what is happening, and what could happen in the next few months.

In fact, they’ve been so diligent in their quest for accuracy, that they’ve allowed a number of internet bampots to steal a march on them, but of course, as we are mere amateurs, we can only speculate, and cannot hope to be anywhere near as precise as they will be when they finally get round to publishing the fruits of their labours.

But, I’ll have a go.

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So, this cold shoulder lark, exactly what is it ?

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Serves her right for going out in this weather like that, if you ask me.


The first reference to the phrase in print is in Sir Walter Scott’s ‘The Antiquary’, 1816:

“The Countess’s dislike didna gang farther at first than just showing o’ the cauld shouther”.

‘Cauld’ is Scottish dialect for ‘cold’. Should you doubt that ‘shouther’ means ‘shoulder’, Scott goes on the use the word in other contexts which make the meaning clear; for example, “They were stout hearts the race of Glenallan, … they stood shouther to shouther”.

Note that the shoulder is shown, not eaten – there’s no reference to food here. Likewise, in a slightly later work of Scott’s – St. Ronan’s Well, 1824:  

“I must tip him the cold shoulder, or he will be pestering me eternally.” 

Doesn’t exactly sound serious, although of course it depends on who is tipping you that shoulder.

The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Panel”) is an independent body, established in 1968, whose main functions are to issue and administer the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Code”) and to supervise and regulate takeovers and other matters to which the Code applies. Its central objective is to ensure fair treatment for all shareholders in takeover bids.

Thats who King is up against, as he continues to introduce his novel and refreshing ways of doing business to these shores.

They work alongside the Financial Conduct Authority, and between them, they keep the streets of the city clean.

But there seems to be a less than healthy reliance on self regulation in the world of banks and finance, which is why the industry went to the taxpayer for a handout a few years ago, when it was discovered that a fair percentage of them were, in fact, either piss poor at their jobs or just plain dishonest.

This might explain why King is so blaise about the panel, and as he and his PR team have the eyes, ears and adoring tongues of the media in Scotland, its also maybe why they are reluctant to report on the issue beyond , well, beyond the basics.

In effect, he is telling them its not a problem, and they are lapping it up.

He might actually be right.

The chaps in the city are big on reputations.

Robert Alexander QC, former chairman of the panel, explained how he felt this is important in his speech back in 1987.

It is sometimes said that the Panel lacks adequate power of sanction. In fact, the decisions of the Panel are in practice complied with. Almost all of those with whom the Panel deals are concerned to comply, and to be seen to comply, with the Code. This reflects in very great part the grave damage to the reputation of individuals advisers and companies which would result from a breach of the Code or a failure to accept our decisions 

King doesn’t give a toss about his reputation, thats evident, and so it follows that he won’t give a toss about any cold shouldering either. That, in turn, explains why the media don’t think its a problem, because they gave up on independent thinking a long, long time ago.

Cold shouldering rules are simple , they

require investment businesses not to act for persons who they have reason to believe would not comply with UK practice and standards in take-overs. 

Or they’ll be, er, cold shouldered. And they actually do give a toss about their reputations, because thats how they make their money.

When doubts begin to creep in, then people lose money.

People such as shareholders. Shareholders in a business that does business with those who have been cold shouldered.

The Takeover Panel have done a fair bit of work in establishing that King and his concert party are “wrong ‘uns ”

Read this, but you’ll need a couple of hours to digest it.


Its fairly clear that all of those involved cannot be trusted to adhere to the rules.

From that file…

On 31 December 2014 Messrs George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park purchased in aggregate 16.32% of the shares of Rangers International Football Club PLC (“Rangers”). On the same day Mr David King instructed Cantor Fitzgerald to purchase 14.75% of the shares of Rangers through New Oasis Asset Management Limited (“NOAL”), a company registered in the British Virgin Islands and wholly owned by Sovereign Trustee International Limited, the trustee of trusts settled by Mr King on behalf of himself and his family. That purchase was effected on 2 January 2015. The shares thus acquired carried in aggregate more than 30% of the voting rights of Rangers. Together with shares previously acquired by Mr Taylor, the shares owned by NOAL and by Messrs Letham, Taylor and Park after 2 January 2015 amounted to 34.05% of Rangers’ issued share capital. 

The principal issue in these proceedings is whether, in effecting these purchases, Messrs Letham, Taylor, Park and King were acting in concert within the meaning of 2 Rule 9.1 of the Code on Takeovers and Mergers (“the Code”) so as to trigger an obligation to extend an offer to acquire the shares of other shareholders on the terms stipulated by Rules 9.3 and 9.5. 

Cutting a long story short, the Panel came to a decision, and informed the concert party in writing

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Now, the cold shoulder rules only work if they are adhered to. That sounds rather obvious, but supposing the Concert Party , now established as

 persons who they have reason to believe would not comply with UK practice and standards in take-overs. 

were to go about their business as normal, and just ignore it.

Well, the thing is , if you, as a business, ignore the ruling, then you get the old cold shoulder treatment as well. And you might be a little more concerned about your reputation than, say, a “glib and shameless liar ”

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To err on the side of caution, to use a phrase, it would be wiser to have no dealings whatsoever with a company-or club-which has seen four of its directors-or former directors, I can’t keep up with the musical chairs over there, largely on account of not really giving a toss apart from the humour potential- frozen out because the regulatory bodies think they’re crooks.

Widen the net a little, and ponder with me a few possibilities..

One of the concert party the Panek referred to as someone

who they have reason to believe would not comply with UK practice and standards in take-overs. 

and by implication, someone who may not comply with any other business rules, which is what I reckon this is all about, is Douglas Park, the former home of Hamilton Academicals, who then in the finest Ibrox tradition, became New Douglas Park..

( Are you sure? -Ed )

Ah, wait.

You see, the problem is that there is kind of a cloud around Ibrox, and no one can really be sure whats going on.

Douglas Park owns Parks of Hamilton, which must be how I got confused with the ground, which might have been named after him, or he might have been named after the ground. No one has ever clarified it.

But I have seen this…

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As a shareholder, I’d like to ask if there are any plans to continue to use a company which bears the name of a member of the concert party which has flouted the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority 

You see, I’m quite certain that sponsors, investors and anyone else concerned with the image if Celtic FC  will take note of that when they consider whether or not to purchase, or indeed sell any shares.

And,  if upon consideration, they decide to place their money elsewhere, then it follows that the value of shares, which we are told can go up or down, will, in fact, go down.

That would be the same with any club who has dealings with the Ibrox four, or any league they play in.

As my mother would tell me, if they are going to steal your dinner money, then they aren’t really your friends , are they ?

So, if I may ask those who perhaps have a better knowledge of how these things work than I, why are Celtic not clarifying a few things for us, such as why they have contracts with dodgy businessmen ?


You see, when it comes down to it, I’m not concerned about which shady character is making a dollar from the Celtic table, not really. We all know the world of finance is dodgy, we all know that these kind of people have little or no emotional attachment to what they do and why they do it.

But there are some of us who bought our shares, and made a commitment en masse to save our club, who are concerned about this.

Thats because for us the club is entirely an emotional investment, and frankly, we don’t want to see the good name of Celtic Football Club associated with wrong ‘uns.

Which is why the term Old Firm is now even less palatable than before, as it  associates the good name of Celtic with the names of those

who they have reason to believe would not comply with UK practice and standards in take-overs. 

We’re a club like no other, right ?

At the very least could I ask Celtic to confirm beyond all doubt that we have absolutely no connection, implied or otherwise with the basket of assets being shuffled around across the city ?

What we must guard against is the fact that those behind the biggest sporting scandal in history will happily drag the rest of us into the mire with them when they go down.

We need to step away now, or we are going to have one almighty bitemark on our bottoms,