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Posted by Andy Muirhead on 05/05/2012

All talk in the media over the past few weeks have been aimed at those clubs who are in millions of pounds worth of debt in Scottish Football, with the notion that if Rangers are not welcomed back into the SPL that these clubs will go out of business. That these clubs need a Rangers Football Club. Dundee United are reportedly in £4 million of debt, Hearts have £24 million of debt and Kilmarnock are in £11 million worth of debt.

This financial strangulation, especially on clubs like Kilmarnock, are now hitting sporting integrity. It seems that when rules are broken by other clubs then they should be punished, but when it is the 140-year-old institution Rangers Football Club then some club chairmen and mainstream media journos state that they should be treated differently to stave off other clubs heading the same way.

There are still plenty of questions to ask on the current goings-on at Ibrox and the fiasco is certainly not ever yet. But questions must be asked of these clubs who NEED Rangers in the SPL. Rather than working within their own means, they rely on the income from one club to run their club? Is this not financial mismanagement at its best? Who runs their club based on games against one club?

When David Murray entered Scottish Football at the second time of asking with Rangers, after Ayr United rejected his advances, he financed a campaign to buy domestic and european glory. The domestic glory came and went, the european glory never turned up over his 20 year tenureship. His financing of the club, with the bank's money, hit Scottish Football hard. Other clubs in the league had to spend out with their means to try to challenge the threat of Rangers and when Celtic came out of their own financial mess and rebuilt thanks to Fergus McCann aka 'the bunnet' they began to attract top players who demanded top wages.

But at no time did Celtic run the club centrally around Rangers Football Club. McCann instigated a business model that not only helped rebuild Celtic to become title challengers once more, but to attract top players and 'trade' without building up huge debts.

Any club that does not work to their own business model and relies on the income built up from playing against one club do not deserve to be in existence at this level.

Scottish Football may be at its lowest level in years, but we have a significant amount of young players breaking through the ranks now thanks to the lack of money in the game. The Old Firm were targeted by the media and clubs alike as the culprits for forcing our young players out of the game by bringing in foreign imports. Yes they brought in foreign players, so did the likes of Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston and Hearts to name but a few. Hearts themselves had the full FBK Kaunas side on their books on loan at one stage. All clubs are to blame for not bringing through the youth.

Walter Smith in his two stints at Rangers, was never a man who brought through youngsters when he could simply buy the finished product - unless his hand was forced. His first stint was certainly devoid of youth stars breaking into the first team as regulars when he had tens of millions at his disposal, buying the likes of Laudrup, Gascoigne and co. Yet Walter was never targeted individually for ruining the youth development in the Scottish game? Why not?

Sporting integrity from the times of Murray entering Rangers disappeared when the title was being bought year in year out, with other people's money. But at a time when Scottish Football needs a boost on the park, the club chairmen led by the likes of Johnston care more about their own pockets than their fans opinions.

If you check the results from a survey conducted recently and looking at the results from Killie supporters, Johnston is so out of touch it is unreal.

When asked if Rangers were liquidated and reformed as a Newco, should they be allowed immediate re-entry into the SPL? Just over 93% of those voting stated their opposition to re-entry. 50% of voters also stated that they would turn their back on SPL football if Rangers were welcomed back in with open arms.

In fact those voters from EVERY club - bar Rangers - in the SPL saw over a 90% opposition to Rangers being welcomed back into the SPL as a newco. How many of the eleven club chairmen would actually back their fans stance and vote against a newco entering? I would expect Celtic to vote in favour of a Rangers newco entering the SPL not because of sporting integrity, but because they know that their own sponsorship deals and the pull of the Old Firm game rely on Rangers in the SPL. Again commercial benefits pissing all over sporting integrity - it makes me sick.

If Rangers were relegated when they returned, would these clubs block their relegation because of the commercial benefits of a Rangers in the SPL? In fact if Rangers did not have any financial issues and finished bottom of the league - would these clubs block their relegation?

With the likes of Johnston at the helm of their club, you could bet your mortgage on these stuffed suits changing the rules to suit their own selfish needs. In fact if they could have their cake and eat it they would, and they have the cheek to blame the Old Firm for Scottish Football's woes.

Johnston, told BBC Scotland this afternoon: "Members see the commercial benefits of having Rangers, even as a newco. The clubs are mindful of a sporting integrity aspect but the commercial benefits may outweigh that."

Michael Johnston has over the past few seasons shown that his stance differs significantly from his own supporters, even risking the safety of his own fans by willingly selling tickets to Rangers fans for home sections of Rugby Park and failing to implement segregation. So Johnston's comments shouldn't be much of a surprise, but to state that commercial benefits may outweigh sporting integrity is not only disgraceful but it is shameful.

Do the SPL and the Scottish FA think the same as Michael Johnston? Do they put commercial benefits before sporting integrity?

If they do and the other club chairmen back Johnston's stance then they are bringing disrepute on the Scottish game. They will do more damage to our game than a Rangers newco in the Third Division.

At the time of writing this article, we have two polls running on the site. The first asks Should a Rangers newco be welcomed back into the SPL? 89% are opposed to them entering the SPL. Our second poll asks would they as supporters turn their back on the Scottish game? 88% stated that they would. Says it all really.

Where will the clubs be with no fans watching the game? You can certainly kiss goodbye to these much sought after commercial benefits, in fact you can kiss goodbye to your club also. With Johnston's £11 million-in-debt Killie side one of the first to go belly up.


Posted by J Murray on 05/05/2012

time has come for a boycott of all away clubs who support the newco as well as botcotting the Scottish Cup.They can have the blue pound but will have to lose the green pound to achieve this

Posted by t odonnell on 05/05/2012

Im a Celtic supporter, and if Peter Lawell votes yes to newco, i'll never be back to CP again,

Posted by Mark Haddow on 05/05/2012

I wonder if Michael Johnston recently received a letter from his bank manager, telling him which way he had better vote.
A small club like Kilmarnock can't be allowed to voice it's biased opinion, when on balance, they are completely under the influence of another organisation.
There is still a slim chance Rangers will be completely liquidated.
Will Kilmarnock still be a SPL member club, within a year, if that happens?

Posted by paul McCann on 05/05/2012

someone once said cheats never win but if govans tax dodgers are allowed back into the spl without sanctions then the games up

Posted by John on 05/05/2012

Sure 88% say they would boycott, but in reality how many would actually do it? You see stuff like this all the time, things don't go the way people want and they "we should boycott" but when the time comes around barely anyone does, so little that it's not even noticeable.

Posted by Euan on 05/05/2012

What about compensation for all the mugs, ooops, fans who paid good hard earned money over the years to watch a sporting challenge, wich in reality was not a sporting challenge, one club cheated and cheated again to glory and now look like and expect to get away with the minimum sanctions. Me, I personally am out thousands of pounds for season tickets over the years along with 10s of thousands of others (of all clubs)....who is gonna speak up for us? who's going to pay me and them what we are due, due to 1 corrupt club.

Posted by Big Andy on 05/05/2012

Michael Johnston... hang your head in shame. Not since the Bruce has Scotland been so badly betrayed over the royal Shilling.

Posted by Belfast Jimmy on 05/05/2012

All this misery, all this shame, all because of Sctlands secret shame.... Rangers FC.

Posted by colin on 05/05/2012

i'm fed up with the apathy shown by scottish club supporters. i would love it if we stopped going to away games etc in protest but it won't happen. we all talk but in the end we'll continue to go to the games because we love our clubs.

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

good article and 1/2 way through was thinking that you could give a good account of situation to the likes of talk sport who are getting fed the same pap every day. honestly scottish football has never had so much coverage as in recent times with particularly keys and gray giving plenty room to the same guys spouting the same message jackson king rangers tv man tom millar etc all same message ,surely andy as an employee of espn in whatever guise you can have a try at getting on . however will take you up on quote that you are sure Celtic wil vote FOR , dont know if you have info but last comment was that Celtic could handle no rangers ,to best of my knowledge nothing said since . me for sure season ticket renewal still lies unopened , thoughts please

Posted by Andy M on 05/05/2012


I would gladly take on messrs Keys & Gray on talksport, because far too long they speak to individuals who rely on stories from the club to produce their work and none of them have stepped out of their comfort zone to ask the tough questions. They walk close to the line but never cross it for fear of being banned by the club(s).

As for my comment on Celtic. Celtic CAN and will survive without Rangers in the SPL, they also bring more money in through ticket revenue than they do with tv revenue. However with no Rangers in the SPL they would see cuts in their sponsorship and of course reduced exposure worldwide that the OF derby game brings. They would have to reduce their overheads tho specifically wage bill and they certainly wouldn't be bringing in top players as they would almost certainly stroll in the SPL. Would give youth more of an emphasis though and Celtic are going down this route already whether buying them in like Wanyama or promoting them - as in Forrest and McGeouch

Posted by Daniel Connor on 05/05/2012

I am 68 and have been going to Celtic Park since I was 15 and If Rangers get back into the SPL with all the Cheating they have been doing for years I will not be back. They MUST be punished, who do they think they are, they will not change they don't want too,you can put lipstick on a PIG but it is still a PIG.
Celtic should find another league to play in and let them see that they will miss our supporters and money,then football in Scotland with all their Bigots will be dead, I cannot believe I am watching other clubs because of money let these
CHEATS get away with it,SHAME ON THEM they would not help you. Football in Scotland is finished.

Posted by ewanbhoy on 05/05/2012

i hope uefa step in and make sure sporting intergrity is upheld and put a stop to these plans and make sure a newco rangers r punished and kicked out of football.

Posted by tam b on 05/05/2012

if michael johnston thinks sporting integrity does not count then he is as much a cheat as rangers who where his boyhood team.his is own fans have said no but does he care not a jot as long as he can help his boyhood team ,well he may get the blue pound but wont get the green pound him and every chairman who backs him their clubs will suffer bhoycotts of away tickets from celtic fans they keep saying that they need rangers and celtic .johnston says they need rangers for commercial benefits well what will he do without celtics commercial benefits.

Posted by Pat on 05/05/2012

What next, if other clubs are offered money to throw games in order to ensure a certain club wins the league will Johnston and the rest simple state that "Members see the commercial benefits of having Rangers in the league. The clubs are mindful of a sporting integrity aspect but the commercial benefits may outweigh that."
Just sums up what a lot of people have been saying about the workings in the SPL.

Posted by si on 05/05/2012

The game in this country will be dead if newco is parachuted in.Johnston is gambling with his clubs life, he will lose more money ignoring sporting integrity than he will gain from backing cheats. I will not spend another penny on football in this country if i did i would be a bigger mug than him.

Posted by John on 05/05/2012

@Daniel Connor

Go for it, go find another league. England don't want you of course. But your fans and the team always claim to be Irish, so why don't you go over there? I'm sure they would be happy to have you.

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

to the folk that are saying a boycott wouldn't work i think on this occasion your all wrong. i run a celtic supporters bus and everyone on it will boycott every away ground in scotland hampden included.a boycott will work as long as it's an official one ran by the various celtic supporters organisations,

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

cheers for the reply but not what I was really asking , what do you take out of last statement from Celtic roughly we dont need rangers ,followed by taking first minister to task over comments relating to statement that would you have Celtic voting YES

Posted by Andy M on 05/05/2012

@ricky nothing in the previous official statements from Celtic have intimated that they would vote in favour of Rangers newco entering SPL.

However when they look at the commercial reasons with and without Rangers in the SPL then sporting integrity will come second best to commercial revenue.

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

cheers for reply but what am asking is what do you take from previous Celtic statements re Celtic needing rangers from board that makes you think its a yes vote. And please have a go at getting on t/ sport think you would handle the issue better than the usual suspects which to me is a big issue ,ie your average listener to that station is only hearing one side of the tale from the same 3 / 4 guys and god forbid even Brazil is jumping in with apparantly no knowledge,cheers

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

celtic won't vote a newco in to the spl it would be financial saying that i don't think they would be dissapointed if they got back in as long as the sanctions are tough enough

Posted by Jambo on 05/05/2012

Scottish football does not need Rangers or Celtic for that matter, Killie fans should be ashamed of their man Johnston, Vlad your comments four years ago were correct, 'Scottish Football is corrupt', PS Hearts for the Cup.

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

sorry may have posted twice same point but forgive me you have started to come over all hugh keevins on us . do you honestly have no faith in the Celtic board to do the right thing ,also dont know the other ricky who just posted {i dont run a supporters bus]

Posted by Andy M on 05/05/2012


In all honesty money rules the roost in the Scottish game now. Yes they have came out officially stating previously that they do not need a Rangers or a strong Rangers to survive. Of course Celtic will survive as their business model is run on what Celtic FC produce and bring in, not relying on revenue from Rangers games solely.

However you cannot deny that if they looked at the balance sheets that the likes of Bankier and Lawwell would vote in favour of a Rangers newco if it means them bringing in a few more million.

Posted by ricky on 05/05/2012

well sorry but they will do so with no money from me [AGAIN DONT KNOW OTHER RICKY] still wil wait for quote from board which am sure will come when situation dictates

Posted by The Chinaman on 05/05/2012

Been looking at a few fans forums and they all seem to be telling their chairmen exactly how the fans feel. Also appears that Killie chairman has been misquoted.

Posted by Thai Tim on 05/06/2012

All fans should write individual letters to UEFA - If Newco Gers get back in the SPL Celtic (ALL Scottish clubs) may be banned from Europe.

Posted by CarlisleCelt on 05/06/2012

The European authorities need to get involved if Rangers punishment does not match their many crimes. I feel I have been cheated for many years.

Posted by CarlisleCelt on 05/06/2012

The European authorities need to get involved if Rangers punishment does not match their many crimes. I feel I have been cheated for many years.

Posted by Stevie on 05/06/2012

The way I see it is that Rangers have killed Scottish football and there is only one way to bring it back from the dead. There must be confidence that you are paying to see an honest competition. I personally dont think we have ever seen a totally honest competition in Scotland.But if Rangers get back in to the SPL we can be confident that we are watching a dishonest competition.

SPL chairman need to know that I wont pay to watch that anymore and there are thousands who feel the same. I now have my two season ticket renewals in for myself and my son and I have opened them but I will not renew if Rangers get back in to SPL. I will also cancel Sky sports and ESPN and tell them both why.

When you hear Johnston from Kilmarnocks disgusting comments you cant help but wonder what the teamtalk before last years last game of the season was. Yet this numpty is ok with risking his clubs finances by inviting boycotts from other SPL fans, including his own in order to save his boyhood team.

Posted by Steviec on 05/06/2012

Celtic fc have to remember for every 2500 season tickets at £400 = £1,000,000.
So no chance of Celtic voting for a newco if purely down to finance.
Mr Lawwell ain't a stupid man he'll know how the figures stack up.That's without talking about sporting integrity.
Personnally I would ditch Sky anyway give football back to the fans 3 pm on a Saturday.

Posted by Martin on 05/06/2012

If Rangers Newco is in next seasons SPL then I will cancel my subscription to ESPN and Sky Sports if they continue to show SPL games.

Posted by Mark on 05/07/2012

Even if there isn't a massive boycott, it will still be another nail in the coffin of Scottish Football.

Propping up the current system isn't just shameful - it's sheer cowardice. The opportunity is there for a new dawn for Scottish Football and the likes of Johnston seem willing to do everything in their power to quash it.

Posted by pete on 05/08/2012

I don't think the individuals who are answering your polls are indicative of the majority of fans who pay to watch SPL. i.e. Rangers fans would not be well represented here. So it doesn't "say it all" as you suggest. Its amazing that celtic fans truly believe they are the best in the world!! Hate has always been a big part of many celtic fans lives. So they are in no position to talk about integrity!

Posted by Joe on 05/10/2012

If you accept that the SPL is won half the time by Celtic, the other half by Rangers and one (generally, last season being an anomaly) team gets to the CL and 15 million, then I don't see how any financial benefit to Celtic from having Rangers in the SPL mitigates the risk associated with potential lost CL revenue.

Also, especially if the EBT case is proved, every Rangers title from the past 22 is unequivocally tainted. Hopefully, good riddance to them.

Posted by Slemsman on 05/12/2012

Didn't P Lawell himself say that Celtic didn't need Rangers to flourish financially?

Celtic, like the SPL overall, would survive if Rangers didn't exist but they certainly wouldn't flourish.

1. The TV deal would collapse - a fall of up to £1m from SKY/ESPN...there's the £180k 6 month profit gone straight away.

2. Reduction in the commerical aspects of the club with the lesser exposure of the Old Firm so bang goes a proportion of the £1.5m a season Tennants pays as well as many others.

3. Merchandising revenue has already fallen this year due to economic concerns and without a rival to compete against that will fall further - ditto tickets sales.

Celtic would dominate the SPL but just as Rangers failed to impact in Europe when dominating so will Celtic due to their reduced budgets and need to sell players more regularly to break even and the Scottish coefficient falling even further.

You may not like it but the fact is the Old Firm is symbiotic and the SPL needs them.

Posted by Ken on 05/12/2012

If we are to be honest as you seem to be, the thing you say most is what the fans say. Take this to the next level then. Have the Rangers fans had anything to do with the cheating, have the players had anything to do with the non payment of taxes, have the cleaners or groundkeepers not paid their taxes. Have the kit boys not disclosed their income. The real issue is one or two men are responsible so why punish the fans, employees. The SFA have to be accountable as they are the ones who allowed this to happen.

Posted by Ron on 06/21/2012

Its an absolute disgrace how rangers f.c has operated. It will be unacceptable to all true Scottish football supporters if they are allowed to stay in the premier league .

Please note - all chairman-don't ignore your fan base-do so at your peril

Posted by Paul on 06/22/2012

I'm a Celtic fan and totally agree with the boycott plan but agree it would be difficult to achieve because we all love to support our team. Why don't we travel to the away grounds in numbers but refuse to buy tickets into the ground and support our team from behind the stadium walls? would still get the message across but we would still show our team support.

Posted by john on 06/26/2012

wouldnt worry about espn and sky because without old firm games they will not be showing spl games soon,its only during old firm games they get paid premium advertising rates , the only time a spl game is shown in my local pub in bradford is an old firm game ,to be honest outside scotland their is no interest in the spl only the old firm , i fear for your league ,i dont see it lasting very long now , will soon be a league of ireland set up , i think next year you wont see much of a difference as the fans of the spl teams will go all out to prove the league dont need rangers but over the next few years the attendance will drop and drop til their will be no option but administration for a handful of clubs ,the spl has been dire for years now with a two horse race every year ,imagine it now with no race its going to be a walk over for celtic every year , please dont be offended by my opinion ,its just a view from outside the spl ,good luck and i mean that honestly

Posted by daviec on 06/29/2012

Its good to see all you guys united in your Spoting Integrity outfits.

I wonder - will the Celic - minded among you be as united when the rest force through the changes to the voting system?
I'm sure it will be a love-in from start to finish.

Did you Cetic guys actually think this was really about Sporting Integrity? Oh god what if the rest were just kidding you on to get more of your dosh?

What will it leave you with (apart from reduced profits and a red face)? - Just your combined hatred of a single club and their support.
Keep that hatred stoked guys im sure it will keep you united at least until the money runs out for some of you.

We will maybe see some of you on your way down (if you're lucky) and maybe we can catch up old times and see how we are doing respectively. Should be nice

Posted by paul McCann on 07/14/2012

to all the rangers supporters in votes the good teams counted35 only 6 voted for you please boycott all35 clubs and trail round the shops and help the economy

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