Jim Traynor, Scottish football and Justice

27 January 2013

The Rangers scandal has damaged Scottish football on a massive scale. The only thing that can save it is justice.

A forthcoming SPL inquiry, headed by Lord Nimmo Smith, will determine whether Rangers failed to declare all relevant documentation for the club’s player registrations, leaving it in breach of the rules every other SPL club abided by. It’s hugely important; the judgement could find Rangers players were fielded ineligibly. The ultimate sanction could be the stripping of titles.

It comes as no surprise that the new club’s PR man has offered up the Sevco view. That view must be put into context. Jim Traynor is no longer a journalist, his job is to represent Sevco’s interests in the media and further the club’s objectives. After the revelations of the past 12 months, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Given the perilous state of print journalism – and the recent figures which indicated an 8.8% drop in circulation at the Daily Record –  perhaps Mr Traynor took the leap into PR at just the right time.

However, after tax avoidance on a huge scale, the refusal to pay bills and the attempt to re-brand a new club with the Rangers name and carry on business as usual, Mr Traynor really does have a PR job on his hands, particularly when UK prime minister David Cameron is not on board with the rhetoric and has pledged millions to crack down on the practice of tax avoidance.

It’s a job that won’t be made any easier by calls at the UK parliament to reclaim the millions of pounds of tax monies owed by Rangers from Sevco. After all, if the new club insists it is the old club, there should be no problem in paying its bills.

In Mr Traynor’s latest PR release, he claims that Rangers are ‘innocent’ of all wrongdoing regarding the controversial EBT tax avoidance scheme. However, Rangers were found liable to pay tax in a number of cases, and in the cases in which the practice was deemed tax avoidance, not tax evasion, HMRC has already set the wheels in motion for an appeal. It is far from over.

EBTs aside, Rangers owed unpaid tax money from both the Craig Whyte era and the Sir David Murray era. A £4.2m unpaid tax bill from the turn of the millennium, the wee tax bill, which was a result of a scheme utilised by Murray before EBTs, is rarely even mentioned. Is the use of the word innocence appropriate given the context?

With 276 creditors left unpaid by Rangers, Jim Traynor’s approach as the Sevco PR man has been weak, to say the least. His offerings scream ‘conspiracy!’ not ‘sorry!’. It is exactly what Sevco fans want to hear, and that is important; those fans stumped up millions during awful economic conditions and in the run up to Christmas to buy into a share issue, and those same fans donated to the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund (RFFF), which has, bizarrely, agreed to pay for the legal team defending Rangers in the SPL inquiry.

One would think that the new club’s owner, Charles Green, would be heading up the campaign to stop any title stripping. However, Mr Green is not cooperating with the inquiry and it’s left to the fans to stump up the cash.

Scottish football fans have been left with a deep sense of betrayal.  A quote from Mr Traynor’s piece is striking.

“If there is any attempt to take away titles deep divisions will be created with Rangers fans feeling they shouldn’t set foot in any other grounds. Scottish football cannot afford that.”

On the contrary, if there is any attempt to prejudice this inquiry, each and every fan of Scottish football may feel they should no longer set foot in any ground. Fans of SPL clubs paid hard earned money over the time of Sir David Murray’s Rangers tenure and if the game wasn’t a level competition, the very least they deserve is justice and a belief that it can’t happen to them again.

Fans of The Rangers will undoubtedly feel that justice leaves them behind. My belief is that they are looking for justice in the wrong place. The questions they need to ask are ones only Sir David Murray can answer. The SPL inquiry does not seek to cause them further pain or embarrassment, it seeks to establish the truth.

Lord Nimmo Smith and his inquiry should be taken in good faith and given space to view the facts and make its judgement. Any attempts by Mr Traynor to influence it should be dismissed. Jim Traynor is no longer a journalist, and he does not represent the interests of Scottish football.

25 thoughts on “Jim Traynor, Scottish football and Justice

  1. Martin Donaghey January 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm Reply

    Excellent article, but just one wee thing – Charles Green is Sevco’s Chief Executive; not Chairman. Yes, I know I’m splitting hairs a bit, but if anything, the fact that he’s their CEO makes your point an even stronger and more pertinent one: as their CEO, surely it’s his job to see to all of the clubs business affairs, including overseeing the funding of any legal battle.

    • Angela Haggerty January 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply

      Thanks for spotting! A tweeter also spotted it, my fault for writing in a rush. I’ll get my coat…

  2. Derek Hughes January 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm Reply

    Excellent Reading, Have retweeted, Lest we Forgot the truth.

  3. jackblack January 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply

    The interest of Scottish football are Rangers ,they are Scottish football end of story the forces of darkness will not prevail look to the light my friends onwards and upwards there can be hope for youse poor misguided waifs yet.SOLA SCRIPTURA.

  4. Bennylynch January 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm Reply

    Superb, lets see how jabba reacts, does he really believe what he writes?

  5. Bodbhoy January 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm Reply

    ” Jim Traynor is no longer a journalist” was he ever a journalist?, I thought him a cheerleader of a certain ex-club. Great article, very clear & concise, with a ouch factor for Sevconians.

  6. Lambo M January 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm Reply

    Excellent article Angela – how arrogant, threatening and misleading of Traynor. There’s a busted flush (again) over at the Sports Direct Arena……..I wonder what the exit strategy is for Charlie and friends? Should be an enlightening week what with LNS and DUFC.

  7. Joe Cannon January 28, 2013 at 10:35 am Reply

    Traynors Rhetoric never changes journalist or not he has ALWAYS been the dead clubs biggest cheerleader . The Daily Record let him spout this kind of nonsense for years and get away with it . Sevco fans have maintained that they WONT visit any other grounds in the SPL anyway so whats the difference if they are in Scottish football or not ? the SFA have a lot to answer for letting Green put a tribute act into the 3rd division in the first place, we did,nt need them then and it has been proved we dont need them now, the old club died and should have been left dead for the good of Scottish society never mind football

  8. Joe Cannon January 28, 2013 at 10:39 am Reply

    Sorry Angela i forgot to mention that your article is spot on well written concise and to the point . Its just seeing Traynors ramblings tends to get my back up haha

  9. gerryguk7 January 28, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

    Spot on Angela. There is a prima facie case to answer, and an inquiry convened, all in accordance with the rules.

    Let’s allow LNS et al to get on with it so that we can put this to bed.

  10. john January 28, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

    I thought the ultimate sanction would be and could be a BAN, licence taken away.. I would suggest title or cup stripping should be a natural consequence of being found to be a CHEAT but punishment would and could be severe… then I remembered this is Scotland and even a guilty verdict could result in no punishment, no consequences, no governance … in other words thye will be found guilty and no action will be taken..IMO

  11. Joey January 28, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    “Lord Nimmo Smith and his inquiry should be taken in good faith and given space to view the facts and make its judgement.”

    Not very bright are you Angela.

    The whole basis of jurisdiction, pointed out explicitly by Nimmo Smith, for his independent commission is that Rangers FC, and I quote: “continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator”.

    He states that newco “purchased substantially all the business and assets of Oldco, INCLUDING RANGERS FC”.

    This fact – that Rangers FC survives to this day – essential to the premise of his investigation, therefore renders insistence on Rangers FC being a new club at best ignorant/foolhardy/ill-research, and worst a deliberate attempt to distort the facts to push an anti-Rangers agenda.

    Which is it? I suspect the latter but who cares. BOTH render your contributions just another irrelevant contribution from a Celtic fan about the club they cannot but hate.

    • Angela Haggerty January 28, 2013 at 11:15 am Reply

      Rangers went out of business owing millions to 276 creditors. Charles Green bougth the assets of the club and claimed his new company was, indeed, the same club. If it is, Charles Green’s new company can pay the 276 creditors – bills that were a result of club business. Failing that, it is not the same club. Very basic common sense, despite all attempts to convince otherwise.

    • Paulmac67 January 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm Reply

      Anti rangers agenda, the club Celtic cannot but hate….. Pot and kettle. Let’s all laugh at sevco hail hail

  12. ismellafix January 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm Reply

    Angela, “John” at 10.45 is correct.
    If found guilty, the result of each game where an incorrectly registered player took the field, will be amended to 0-3 loss for Rangers. Losing any tiltles will be merely a consequence of these results.
    There are many sanctions which could be applied to the club retrospectively, (suspension, fines, further points deductions etc.), or for me the Ultimate Sanction – Expulsion. This is the only acceptable punishement that would fit the crime.
    Then we’ll see whether or not Mr Green claims to be the same club or not?

    • Angela Haggerty January 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm Reply

      Agreed, the same club/different club debate will resurface and be an interesting one to watch if the judgement goes against Rangers.

  13. Thomas Grant January 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm Reply

    I am surprised that Scotland’s ” Institutions” have not somehow managed to rescue the fortunes of the OMGR ( once mighty Glasgow rangers), I can only assume that the further shame that this organisation has heaped on them, was simply one too many !
    Any group that reinvents itself to avoid paying tax and other liabilities, should surely face the wrath of our justice system eventually.

  14. eastside January 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm Reply

    The ultimate sanction is not Trophy stripping but EXPULSION from the League. Trophy stripping only would be lenient.

  15. Stoneysnapper January 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm Reply

    Angela, there is a misconception among a lot of Rangers Fans who think that, if Rangers are found guilty, all Celtic fans want these titles removed and handed to Celtic. I couldn’t care less if they are handed to Celtic, that is not my immediate concern. However the bottom line is that if Rangers FC are found to have fielded ineligible players during 2000-2010 then the titles won in that period certainly should not appear on the records of Rangers FC, end of story. If they are handed elsewhere then that’s another matter.

  16. fordy1888 January 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply

    Its you thats not very bright Joey,
    Rangers were liquidated, that ended any existence. Green only bought the ASSETS, for them to continue as Rangers, he wd have to buy the business (debts included) he didnt he dumped the debt & formed a NEW CLUB that had to apply to play in scottish leagues, thats why they are in the 3rd division & thats why they cant play in europe, cause UEFA law states that u must be in existence for 3 yrs & produce accounts to back this up. If u check HMRC website it clearly states that in order to buy, as green states ‘goodwill’ u have to buy ‘the business’. The agreement between SFA & Sevco for a licence was that Sevco take responsibility for defunct RFC’s footballing debts & the cheating/Ebt/financial doping allegations, thats why its going ahead’

  17. Row Z January 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm Reply


    I suspect that Chas Greengo would like nothing better than title stripping as a result of the SPL inquiry. Why? Because this then allows the debate to enter a different focus. No longer will it be about Rangers/The Rangers (sevco etc), it will be about whether The Rangers (sevco etc) holds all or only a partial history of the former club Rangers.

    I think Chas Greengo will be delighted to accept 54 minus (insert a number between 1 and 20) titles therefore recognising the ability to transfer history (even though it’s not the full listing).

    This will be most acceptable where titles are withdrawn only rather than re-allocated.

    Any consequence of dual contracts being found that involves title return needs to be clear that it applies only to the entity Rangers and not The Rangers (who have yet to win anything other than dubious world records) and who currently have zero titles to their name.

    However, the whole focus on this will allow Chas Greengo to continue with the myth that 54 titles are his to send back (wholly or in part). I suspect he will enjoy significant exposure on which to be outraged on ‘his’ having to send something back which will help his agenda to create the myth of continuity.

    Row Z

  18. bawsman January 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm Reply

    As a couple of folk have said, title stripping should not be the focus, this will be the result of justice.

    Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong are the benchmark cases.

  19. prohibby January 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm Reply

    Excellent article Angela. The blue hoards should understand that their club never was and never will be more than just a part of the Scottish football scene. They should also understand that their unwillingness and/or inability to recognise the damage their club has done to Scottish football has turned fans of all SPL clubs against them, not just those of Celtic. For this reason, I personally believe that, if found guilty, title stripping should be seen as an automatic consequence, not a punishment. Rather than transfer titles to any other clubs, the entry against each affected title should be amended to read “Rangers – title stripped because of cheating”. In this way, the history books will not allow this sad saga to be lost in a cover-up and the hoards will have to face up to the reality of the fraud their club perpetrated.

  20. Clarkie January 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm Reply

    The “establishment” will make sure they get away with it! Something deeper than deep is going on behind the scenes. I feel it in my bones!

  21. castlerockson February 11, 2013 at 11:58 am Reply

    Excellent article and for what it is worth, I think that if titles are stripped from Rangers, and this is Scotland remember so cheating doesn`t mean guilty, then they should not be awarded to another club. Not because Rangers fans will claim these title are tainted, but because the record books will have to list no `title awarded`. In years to come when all who are alive today are long gone, ` no title awarded` will still shine out from the record books as a record of the cheating that took place during the years concerned.

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