The headline says it all. I wrote last week that I don’t want anything to do with the rotting carcass of The (de)Rangers. They are history and I hope history treats them as well as it did Mussolini, Pot and Nixon. And Thatcher in good time too. However, the vanguard from the old board are still at it with their bluster and cheap, baseless, shots that always avoid the central issue. What is that issue you ask?
So, after saying I wanted to talk about Celtic only here I am, one week later, getting hot under the collar about Alastair Johnston.
You see, Johnston is the quintessential Teflon coated Rangers man. Nothing that happened at Rangers in his time there was his fault. Every time a tricky subject comes up he starts saying David Murray’s name over and over again, like he has Murray Tourette’s. Note: I have removed Sir from the start of David Murray’s name as we might as well start getting used to it not being there.
Then, he had nothing to do with Craig Whyte’s takeover. In fact, if it was up to him [insert some boring bland statement here about if he had had a say it would never have happened then repeat David Murray ad infinitum…].
Today, Johnston, with the aid of the reprehensible Jabba Traynor & The Judaea People’s RST, has been setting out the case for the defence ahead of the upcoming FTT and SPL tribunals into the EBT scandal. Johnston makes a number of points, most of it the written word equivalent of a smelly burp, but some irk and what is not said grates even more.
Firstly, Johnston says it is “illogical” that Rangers were guilty of financial doping as a result of the undeniable (they say that now…) use of the EBT scheme. He says David Murray would have funded this anyway and was using the EBT scheme to save himself money in the long-term. In other words, Murray was happy to bankroll an unsustainable policy either via EBTs or some other means. Or, if you like, injecting financial capital beyond the means of the club. Or, to simplify into a couple of words, financial doping.
Johnston’s argument is that Rangers “would have signed and paid for these very same players whether or not the EBT schemes were in effect or not.” But how the hell was a club to finance a policy that was pushing them into £ms of debt? Easy. The chaps at Bank of Scotland had a special handshake for such transactions. Use them! That’s not financial doping. It’s just, well, old boy’s networks at their best. Whatever happened to the Bank of Scotland again?
Murray had, according to Johnston, “a very mutually productive relationship with the Bank of Scotland,” and that this was the case for “most of the period under investigation by the upcoming SPL tribunal.”
Well, that is fine then. If we summarise, Rangers would have found other means to fund the gorging on players they did during the EBT years by getting cash off of a bank whose business practices were so laissez faire that they could have taken down the UK economy. Give the man a knighthood.
Of course, Johnston has no evidence to prove that Murray would have been given the tens of millions of cash from the bank that he would have required were EBTs not in place. Doesn’t need proof. It’s right there in black and white, and he as reputable journalist in Traynor to support his view alongside the lamentable RST. What more do you need?
Valium please. Thanks.
Johnston believes the SPL tribunal is a sham as a result.
But wait a minute. What’s that nagging throb at the back of your mind? There’s something missing. It’s like when you leave the house and think, ‘Have I left the iron on?’ or ‘Did I leave a used condom under her bed and will her husband find it?’ OK, maybe just the former. You get the point. There is something missing in Johnston’s bluster that needs highlighting… I’ve got it. Eureka!
THE EBT USE IS NOT THE CENTRAL TENET OF THE SPL CASE YOU IDIOT.
No, that is the use of two (or more) contracts. A point which Johnston neither addresses or denies. Or even admits. He dances round it like Nureyev in his prime, instead seeking to smear, debase and draw attention away from this very point. Johnston’s statement and its release is timed to get the Bears onside and further indoctrinate them in their wee paranoid world. Incredibly they are lashing out in all directions without first looking in the inevitably broken mirror. Johnston’s words are smart and pointed. People are now saying, ‘if the EBTs were OK to use what can the SPL do?’
Regardless of how the FTT finds on the EBTs the simple fact is that Rangers knowingly hid this from the authorities by means of the highly irregular use of dual contracts that are so against the rules that only a series of 0-3 reverses for every game in which a player took part in with one of these contracts will do. Including Europe, the league, friendlies and 5-a-sides at Murray Park.
Do not allow Orwellian-style doublespeak to take away from the simply fact that Rangers cheated.
As Lionel Hutz famously said, “This is the most open and shut case of lies since The Never Ending Story.”