‘Tax doesn’t have to be taxing’ is one of HM Revenue & Customs’ favourite stock phrases, trumpeted during the simplification of income tax returns and periodically revived as a slogan whenever tax legislation undergoes change. It’s certainly true of theRangers.
In less than a decade they’ve dumped the debt, the new incarnation has all but won their maiden league title and the Scottish FA’s new Compliance Officer is a season ticket holder at Ibrox. Placemen assemble. And there are people who reckon our CEO didn’t hang around for a decade too long.
The titles can transfer but the creditors and seekers of apologies and compensation are directed to that other company who use to work out of Ibrox. Reminds me of that Elbow song – The Fix – well it is well and truly in isn’t it. And Celtic? Assume the position – remember that 5-Way-Agreement, can you make your own way to the back of the bus?
Add to that the spirit of HMRC self-assessment now runs to Covid-19 breaches, so much so you’d assume Jason Leitch and Nicola Sturgeon probably permit an in-house test and trace team – Edmiston Drive division – meanwhile lateral flow testing results are replaced by a reserve squad tombola that spouts sacrificial lambs. Allegedly of course.
How many do you need this time boss? Five? Hmmm can we include loan players? I guess we can, who the hell is checking anyway? Especially when Tom English’s (cough) forensic attention to detail takes a week’s leave whenever there’s a ‘Rangers’ house party the weekend before. Granted, it takes longer to get over hangovers the older you get. Or so they tell me. Weird how he trudges through 18 hour shifts when any Celts go off piste.
Thankfully Celtic will have a new Sheriff in town soon and the micromanager who has Celtic’s back in UEFA’s corridors of power – but somewhat ironically cannot muster a plan to qualify for their money-spinning annual bonanza – yet has made himself entirely impotent in the insular world of Scottish football governance will be gone.
You get the feeling there may be a great deal of scorched earth that Dom McKay will be surveying when he finally gets his feet under the desk, so much so that we probably shouldn’t be assuming Sheffield Wednesday’s Liam Shaw is a project signing at all. Instead, it may simply be a sign of the times as Celtic’s ongoing review under the bonnet finds the engine still runs on 4-star leaded and the assembly job to make us modern and roadworthy is likely to take considerable time alongside a great deal of wheeling and dealing.
Will the support have the patience for the changes? We’ll touch on that in another article.
We really shouldn’t be surprised at any of this, not even the blatancy. We’ve been over a barrel since our board conspired to ensure the Old Firm brand had life breathed into its limp corpse, rather than take an opportunity seek a wider horizon or at the very least use our free run to clean up the game our game, but then that takes both ambition and vision.
Did they think Scottish football authorities would be in our debt or that theRangers would be forever thankful that we gave them a leg-up? Did they consider for a moment that the knowledge of a Five-Way Agreement would be used as leverage against us, was the board just as complacent around that as they have been as the world of football embraced modernism?
Sadly, it appears we were unprepared, this despite referees advising in advance and publicly that they knew what was at stake this season, and despite several misdemeanours the unbeaten league leaders have yet to have a penalty awarded against them, nor seen a red card on the field of play.
Yet the only time our board throw a retaliatory punch is when our own support vociferously protests that the standards at the club have fallen off a cliff on their own watch. They can certainly land a blow or two in those circumstances, but when it comes to calling out officiating or challenging questionable appointments in positions of great influence in Scottish football, they struggle to lay a glove. Mind you it’s hard to enter into a fist fight with one hand tied behind your back.
I’m sure we all remember the note left by the departing Liam Byrne for the incoming New Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws after the election in 2010 ‘Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left,’ When Peter Lawwell writes his handover notes at the end of June, he may well substitute the word money for that of influence. Forewarned is forearmed after all, I’m sure Dom McKay would appreciate the heads up. Tax doesn’t have to be taxing right enough, at least not for everyone, but taking over from our current CEO certainly will be.