Side letters and the 5 Way Agreement, Rory Bremner – Celtic’s inadequate response

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On Saturday 1 November 2014 former Rangers vice chairman Donald Findlay broke ranks with the Ibrox myth-makers in an interview in the Scottish Daily Mail in which he stated that the post liquidation Rangers are a ‘new entity’ which must establish ‘its own history and tradition’.

Findlay stated: ‘It is a different club. They may play at Ibrox and they may play sometimes in royal blue jerseys. But you cannot pass on that which is undefinable. And that is spirit and tradition and all the rest of it.

‘To me this is a new Rangers which has to establish its own history and tradition. But it’s not the Rangers I know. To me, genuinely, it is a new entity.’

Findlay also believes he is not the only supporter of the liquidated football club to hold these views, but most prefer to remain silent.

‘The view I have is one expressed to me by a lot of other Rangers supporters’ declared Findlay.

You can buy assets,’ he conceded, ‘but you can’t buy history. You can’t buy tradition. History and tradition are in the heart and in the mind. You can’t buy that.’

Charles Green was able to buy the assets of the doomed club in June 2012 after the creditors voted down the CVA proposed by the administrators Duff & Phelps, who were selected by Craig Whyte and appointed by the Court of Session on 14 February 2012, as Rangers slipped into administration.

Findlay is currently Chairman of Cowdenbeath FC, his first role in football since being exposed singing sectarian songs while vice chairman at Rangers (1872) and having to resign. Findlay gave the interview a few days ahead of Rangers’ (2012) visit to Cowdenbeath’s Central Park on lower division league duties.

In an earlier league fixture the programme editor at Livingston FC was forced to resign amid threats of future boycotts by the traveling support and online abuse on social media site directed at the West Lothian club and indeed the editor.

In an attempt to take the heat out if the situation the Livingston chairman issued an apology for any offence taken by the Rangers (2012) supporters but did NOT retract the factual basis of the programme feature, that the Rangers Livingston lost to that day was a new club.

In previous seasons in their short history, while further down the Scottish leagues, supporters of the new club bullied other clubs, such as Montrose, who dared to tell it like it is by calling Rangers a new club.

Supporters of all other teams in Scotland are all aware of the facts regarding the demise of the football club whose name – Rangers Football Club Ltd – is displayed on those famous gates at Ibrox. Visiting supporters to Ibrox remind their hosts of the uncomfortable truth by singing “You’re not Rangers anymore”. At times like this the truth really does hurt down Govan way.

Despite Rangers knowing that everyone else knows their status as a new club, a narrative has emerged where the word liquidation is never used. Instead the club “emerged from administration” and was “demoted” to the bottom tier due to the behaviour of one man – Craig Whyte. It wasn’t their fault – they are victims and everyone else in Scottish football – including notably Dundee United and Raith Rovers – kicked them when they were down. And they want payback – something old co failed to achieve towards hundreds of creditors from the face-painter to HMRC.

 

The role of the SFA in all of this is complex. Supporters of other clubs point to Campbell Ogilvie, the heavily compromised President of the SFA remaining in post despite being up to his neck in the muck of the Rangers’ demise. These supporters believe, with good reason, that everything and anything the SFA could do to assist Rangers – was done. It was only an online rebellion by season ticket holders of other Scottish clubs that prevented a new Rangers being parachuted into the second rather than the fourth tier back in the summer of 2012.

Despite all of this the Rangers supporters believe that they have actually been harshly treated by the SFA!

The national BBC News on the same day that Findlay’s interview appeared in the Daily Mail, broadcast the demotion/ same club myth to the UK on the evening news while reporting on that day’s League Cup Semi Final draw.

Many Celtic supporters have questioned our own club and point out of that if an ex- Rangers (1872) vice chairman who is currently a chairman of a club that Rangers (2012) are about to play, can make such a statement then Celtic should have come out and stated the facts, as Celtic FC believe them to be.

In actual fact this was left to a group of Celtic supporters to do though a crowd funded advertisement that appeared in the Sunday Herald a week before Celtic played the new club for the first time in a league cup semi-final, in February 2015.

A joke by Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell tagging the new club as Rory Bremner FC is seen as being entirely insufficient to these Celtic supporters who believe that the club should have done the following:

*State clearly that Celtic regard Rangers (2012) as a new entity, with no claim on the history of the liquidated club.

*State that as such there is no track record between Celtic and this new club before that League Cup in February 2015, which Celtic won 2-0.

*State that Celtic regard the term Old Firm, the joint descriptive term for Celtic and the liquidated club, as having died with Rangers upon their liquidation.

*State for the avoidance of doubt that ‘Rangers’ were never demoted. Instead the current club were given preferential treatment in being allowed a place in the fourth tier to fill the gap created by the demise of Rangers through liquidation.

Scottish football can never properly move forward while this same club/ demoted unfairly myth remains – Montrose, Livingston, Cowdenbeath and other clubs have already shown they are brave enough to state the facts when they have been asked to play the new club. Supporters of every club tell them that they are not Rangers any more, and that they let their club die.

Now that the EBT tax demands are arriving on the doorsteps of all of those players and officials – including the current Scotland manager Alex McLeish – there could very soon be a legal challenge, or even a group action, challenging the ‘same club’ to honour the obligations made in those side letters that were issued by the club, as per this example.

The club’s obligations are set out very clearly here by the club and given these players and officials won various honours while receiving these EBT payments and these honours are claimed by the club then there surely is a case for them asking, are you the same club or a new club?

If you are the same club, here is my side letter, can I have my money please? Hector is getting restless so this is rather urgent.

And of course there is the secretive 5 Way Agreement – not something part of the law of the game but devised to ensure that there would be some sort of Rangers after the club was liquidated. Not everything is known or understood about this Agreement but what is regarded as accepted fact is that the outfit founded by Charles Green is liable for all footballing debts of the liquidated club.

Now these former players, with their side letters, who won trophies for Rangers that the current club claim in as their own honours – last week Kyle Lafferty was claiming that Rangers could win the league this year and that would be 55 reached.

Some of those 54 titles were won by players with EBT side letters – they are clearly able to claim that theirs is indeed a football debt.

Ironically this could kill them…

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