David Leggat - giving it to you straight

Monday, 16 December 2013


ALASTAIR McCOIST’S decision to proxy his 1M shares to his local supporters club has boosted the fans’ stake in Rangers to more than 13.5 per cent.

And it flies in the face of everything the £270,000-a-year spin doctor employed by the Rangers regime, Jack Irvine, has been whispering in the ear of journalists, namely that the outcome of Thursday’s Annual General Meeting is a foregone conclusion in favour of the deeply unpopular board.

The Irvine strategy is clear. He wants to sicken the already battle weary Rangers supporters. He wants them to believe they have no chance and that it is not worth their while voting.

But Irvine’s typical sneak attack is not working. For Rangers supporters know they hold the key to the outcome of the AGM. They know that their votes will count. Now the most high profile Rangers fan of them all, manager Alastair McCoist, a Rangers icon, has gone back to his Bluenose roots to act with deep commitment and display his real love of Rangers.

Any Rangers supporter who is also a shareholder must now act. Every Rangers supporter who is also a shareholder must make sure they vote on Thursday. They must attend the AGM or proxy their vote to a trusted pal.

For despite the black propaganda from the regime’s hated £270,000-a-year spin doctor, Jack Irvine, the fact of the matter is that the outcome of the AGM is tight and still too close to call. And the regime knows that.

Therefore every vote counts. Every percentage of ownership of Rangers will be vital in determining whether Rangers remain in the grip of the current regime or are passed into the hands of those who will act as custodians of what Bill Struth called the sacred trust of being a Ranger.

McCoist has already displayed his Struth credentials....again.

Lest it be forgotten, it was Alastair McCoist who stood tall during those dark days of the late winter, spring and summer of 2012 when the club’s very existence was in peril.

It was Alastair McCoist who sent out the clarion call of “We don’t do walking away,” and rallied a stunned support. Now he has once again given them the message that he remains, at heart and soul, a Bluenose.

Now it is up to the good men and women and true of the East Kilbride Rangers Supporters Club to use the Rangers manager’s proxy wisely.

And it is up to every Rangers fan who owns a share to do the same. The message is simple, you have a vote and you have a club. Use your vote or lose your club.

It will also be interesting to gauge the reaction from the Institutional Investors to the news about McCoist’s 1M votes, his 1.54pc stake in Rangers being proxied to the fans.

Blue chip investors from London’s Square Mile will surely look again and wonder what is going on inside Ibrox when the plc’s most high profile employee does not automatically throw his weight behind the directors. That will give those investors much to ponder and could sway the undecided, or even force those who have previously backed the board to start think that the best way to protect their investment is to vote for regime change.

McCoist’s move comes on the back of his old team mate, nine-in-a-row captain Richard Gough coming out against the controversial regime.

It comes when the man voted the Greatest Ranger Ever, but branded “Thick” by the regime’s £270,000-a-year spin doctor Jack Irvine, John Greig has refused to go to Ibrox for over a year.

While the best Rangers manager since Bill Struth, Walter Smith is also in exile from the club he loves.

It all adds up.

They all know the danger of the regime retaining its stranglehold on the Rangers purse strings. This regime has coined in around a staggering £53M in the past 18 months, but by their own admission will have a mere million left come April.

How can they possibly get their hands on another £50M-plus in the next 18 months, the year and a half which is left before the planned Rangers return to the top flight?

Yet Rangers supporters know it will take that and more to run the club over the next 18 months and then buy the sort of players capable of beating Celtic to the title in season 2015-16.

They also know how tough it will be for Rangers to get back to the top flight, before even starting to think about halting Celtic’s procession to 10-a-row and more, an unchallenged cake-walk which will put Rangers proud world record of 54 titles under serious threat.

Even with the current squad, getting promotion from a Championship which unlike League One will contain a number of full time contenders, including Hearts, Dundee, Falkirk and Dunfermline, will be hard.

But with cash so tight inside Ibrox, it is more likely that the Rangers squad will be weakened by the sale of its best players, rather than strengthened by the arrival of better ones.

Lee Wallace is an obvious target.

And Wallace is the only member of the squad who is good enough to be part of a team supporters could have faith in stopping Celtic in their tracks during a return to the top flight which is only, at best, 18 months away.

All of which adds up to why it is absolutely crucial to everything Rangers supporters hold dear, their 54 world record titles, the spirit of Bill Struth, the legend of the Greatest Ever Ranger, John Greig, their belief in nine-in-a-row hero Walter Smith and his loyal captain, the outspoken Richard Gough and now the courageous actions of old Golden Balls himself, their iconic manager, Alastair McCoist, that those fans return Rangers to the sort of men Bill Struth would have recognised as being worthy of the sacred trust of being custodians of all that he held dear.   

The consequences of the alternative may be hard for Rangers fans to think about. But Rangers supporters should think about them.

For the more than 13.5 per cent of Rangers which is in their hands gives those Rangers fans the chance to save Rangers. But only if thbey use their power.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Institutional Investors are professional investors and they are in the business of making money.

Whether it be for themselves, or on behalf of others, others who could be you and me via the hard earned cash we entrust to them to invest in our pension funds.

Which brings me to the puzzle which is Colin Kingsnorth and Laxey Partners who have invested in Rangers and who have seen the value of that investment slashed under the current regime. Yet Kingsnorth insists he will continue to back the board.

What’s in it for Colin Kingsnorth?

Certainly not a profit, if past experience is anything to go by. After all, the share price protected by the Rangers regime has been dropping like a stone to 38p, meaning those who invested at £1-per-share have seen their investment slashed by almost two thirds.

While those who charged in at the IPO price of 70p have seen their money almost halved.

In fact, just last month Colin Kingsnorth waded in with another £1.3M , only to see the value of his extra investment slashed in a matter of weeks. How much longer will it take for the Rangers share price to plummet even further? How much longer before Kingsnorth takes yet another financial hit?

So what is Colin Kingsnorth’s continued fascination with a regime which has banked around £53M of his and other people’s dough – including two lots of season ticket money from supporters – in only 18 months, but who, by their own admission will have a mere million left in April?

A regime which has seen the value of Rangers tumble since those heady days of Charles Green and Imran Ahmad’s IPO a year ago.

It’s as big a puzzle as the one about exactly who it is who is behind the mysterious and highly secretive Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings, whose proxy, along with the proxy of Charles Green’s shares, the Easdales hold.

No wonder the overwhelming majority of Rangers supporters want regime change.

In fact, the only wee gang which backs the board and who had a meeting with financial director Brian Stockbridge arranged by fans’ liaison officer, Jim Hannah, is Vanguard Bears and they are now at the centre of a police probe, plus an investigation into their dodgy activites by the very board they back. Both Police Scotland and Rangers have gone on the record to confirm this.

No doubt Jim Hannah is privy to the details as to just who the Vanguard Bears are and will be able to help police with their enquiries.

So, if Vanguard Bears thought that by backing the regime they were on a promise of privileged access should the unthinkable for Rangers future happen and the board win the AGM, they can think again.

The only privileges Vanguard Bears will be getting will be the ones earned for good behaviour inside the Bar-L.  And as for access? When Vanguard are banged up, they will also be banned from Ibrox.

That’s right, isn’t it?

Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings, two dangerously mysterious outfits, Vanguard Bears, a gang which now has the boys in blue on their trail and the Ibrox board it backs investigating it , along with Laxey Partners, an investment company which appears to take pleasure in throwing good money after bad.

It certainly is a motley crew

And the one thing they have in common is that they are backing the Rangers regime. Peculiar, that.

Monday, 9 December 2013


WHAT a spectacular own goal the recently appointed chairman of the under fire current Ibrox board, David Somers has scored.

In an Open Letter – an old tabloid trick - which was awash with a blizzard of gutter language which looked as though it had dripped straight from the poison pen of Jack Irvine, Somers stripped the office of Rangers chairman of all the dignity Walter Smith had attempted to imbue it with, following the ranting and dodgy dealings of Craig Whyte and Charles Green.

In fact, some of the language which spewed from David Somers in his ill judged Open Letter, was up there with much of the cheap talk which was Charles Green’s trademark, never mind Jack Irvine’s tabloid style.

By the way, just where is Green these days?

There are rumours that he is off on his travels in search of cash to shore up his and his close business associates’ investments in Rangers, investments which were hit last week as the share price tumbled below the 40p mark less than a year since those investors shelled out 70p a share and only 18 months since the original investors coughed up £1-per-share.

But back to that appalling letter from David Somers, a letter which has been criticised in all quarters, and its point that he and the other current directors have no intention of selling Ibrox.

No intention of selling Ibrox falls a long way short of the solid gold pledge made by Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson. Their promise, which they have also pledged to enshrine in a watertight legal document, is that they will NEVER sell Ibrox.

There is also the claim made on Twitter by Jack Irvine, the spin doctor whose deal with the board will, I believe, see him pocket £270,000 for a year’s work, whichever way you cut it, that David Somers’ words were all his own.

In which case, just what is Jack Irvine for? What is he doing for his dough?

For anyone with a modicum of common sense, who looked at the Somers’ tabloid-style Open Letter, would have been immediately aware of how badly it would backfire. So, why did Jack Irvine not tell Somers he was backing a loser and strongly advise him to spike it? And if Somers then declared his intention to go ahead, why did Jack Irvine not do the honourable thing and resign?

Oh, sorry. There’s that word honourable. It’s the one which Irvine needs to look up in the dictionary as it is such an alien concept to him.

But there are honourable men and women out there and this week a deputation of them, Rangers supporters concerned at the danger Rangers are in and worried at what will happen to their club if the current directors under the chairmanship of David Somers remain in place, are meeting the Laxey Partners.

Laxey are the largest shareholders with an 11.64pc stake. Their chairman, Colin Kingsnorth had previously pledged he would vote in accordance with the fans’ wishes before spending a further £1.3M for shares, which became worth a lot less last week.

At that time he performed an about-face and said he was going to vote for the current board, adding that there were 101 fans’ groups and 102 opinions.

Well, the pictures of the Red Sea of unrest displayed by more than 30,000 angry and frustrated Rangers supporters at Ibrox on Saturday nailed that lie.

And no amount of spinning and downright lying on the increasingly bizarre and marginal Rangers Media chat room, a place infected beyond cure by Jack Irvine’s wee tea boys, possibly even Irvine himself, along with those from the highly secretive Vanguard Bears who are backing and helping Irvine’s campaign, can change that

And when it comes to scoring own goals, Vanguard Bears hit a spectacular one with their barely disguised threats. They were also sensibly dissected and put in their place by Sons of Struth activist Craig Houston, a man who uses the kind of language a Rangers chairman should use.

No doubt the sensible supporters, the ones meeting Laxey this week, will be able to show Colin Kingsnorth that and point out that this is the one fans’ group – a wee hard core of no more than 50 – which is backing the board.

That delegation will also be able to point to the growing groundswell - so well articulated by the Sons of Struth, that those big battalions which form the Union of Fans - to deny another investor Mike Ashley the huge profits he was handed on a plate by Charles Green when the hugely beneficial to Sports Direct deal was negotiated.

All of which would surely drive down the share price further, thus hitting Laxey where it hurts....in their pockets.

All in all, the campaign by the Nominees, which was going well last week, started to go even better when that spectacular own goal of an Open Letter from chairman David Somers was published.

Before the Nominees got another massive boost when more than 30,000 fed-up fans turned Ibrox into a Red Sea as they angrily showed their red cards to the board.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


FOLLOW-FOLLOW the money! And wave it, cheerio! That is what Rangers supporters have had to do as they have watched a well documented Niagara Falls of cash gush from the Stadium in the past 18 months.

Now those fans wait and wait and wait again, kept in the dark by the current regime, as to how they can possibly raise at least the same again in cash in the next 18 months in preparation for Rangers returning to the top flight in the summer of 2015 and wresting the title from Celtic.

From the new chairman, David Somers, there has been not a word of substance on the subject. In fact, from Somers there have been only Jack Irvine-style slurs questioning whether or not Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch would pass the AIM and SFA fit and proper persons test.

Here’s a wee message to Somers and his spin doctor Jack Irvine. They will! No problem!

Now comes a pop gun attack on the Union of Fans from Irvine’s favourite blogger, questioning the loyalty of those tens of thousands of fans who have said that if the current regime survives, supporters will target billionaire Newcastle owner and Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley by refusing to buy his Rangers strips, etc.

In the wake of that statement about Mike Ashley by loyal Bluenoses, other Rangers fans are waking up and wising up to the sweetheart deal Imran Ahmad and Charles Green struck with Ashley. A deal which sees Ashley the bigger winner. It is already a hot topic on Follow-Follow.

Let’s be clear about this. This fans’ threat is not aimed at Rangers. It is aimed at Mike Ashley and his profits. It is aimed at his coffers, which are boosted every time someone buys a Rangers strip, or indeed anything at all from any of the Rangers Shops.

That last bit is not generally known. But I had personal experience a year ago which led me to believe that everything in all the Rangers shops, including the Megastore at Ibrox, from books which are published by publishers who have no links to Ashley, to crystal, has to be supplied via Mike Ashley’s warehouse, somewhere in the heart of England.

And Mike Ashley takes his cut. On everything.

That is the sweetheart deal which the disgraced duo of one-time Rangers commercial director Imran Ahmad and former chief executive Charles Green handed on a plate to Mike Ashley.

It is a great deal for Mike Ashley. And a great deal for Imran Ahmad. But, by the look of it, a right, red, rank, rotten deal for Rangers. And that deal which Imran Ahmad signed with Mike Ashley is one of the reasons why Ahmad is hounding Rangers through the Court of Session for £3.5M, some of which will be his cut from the Ashley deal.

No wonder Mike Ashley has said he will use his 3M shares to back the board, no wonder Mike Ashley has pledged his 4.61pc stake in Rangers to vote for the current regime. It’s great business for Mike Ashley.

That is why Rangers supporters should not only stop buying the strips etc, which are part of the Mike Ashley Sports Direct empire. But also stop shopping at the Rangers Megastore at Ibrox and other Rangers shops, as Ashley, it seems, gets a huge cut from every quid anyone spends there.

All anyone is doing by buying strips and by shopping for other items in Rangers shops, which are freely available elsewhere, is adding to the Sports Direct Empire and helping Mike Ashley on his way to his second Billion quid. Money which he may well pour into the club which he owns, Newcastle United. But which increasingly hard-up looking Rangers will not benefit from.

Mike Ashley is paying Rangers what amounts to relative pennies for the sweetheart deal handed on a plate to him by the disgraced duo of former Rangers commercial director, Imran Ahmad and ex-chief executive Charles Green, two men whose presence lingers around Rangers like a bad smell, via a £3.5M Court of Session action and in Green’s case, desperate secret pleas to shareholders to vote for the current regime.

However, it won’t be such a sweetheart deal for Mike Ashley if Rangers supporters boycott his gear.

Therefore, Mike Ashley is a legitimate target for Rangers supporters who are worried about the Niagara Falls of cash which has gushed from Ibrox in torrents over the past 18 months, fans who are concerned where the cash needed in another 18 months to wrest the title away from Celtic, is coming from.

Monday, 2 December 2013


JIM McCOLL’S revelation of sinister threats, when he spoke to last week’s meeting of Rangers supporters, told only half of the story.

Now I can reveal more. More of the shocking, shady and deeply worrying things that have been going on in the background since the Requisition was first moved on August 2nd.

I can reveal McColl admitted that he had been the recipient of two phone calls from two northern English cities. McColl admitted this at a meeting I and a dozen or so others attended at his Clyde Blowers headquarters in East Kilbride in mid-September.

His revelations that day about those deeply disturbing phone calls came in the wake of the news that Frank Blin, the City big hitter who McColl and Paul Murray had lined up to become financial director, had withdrawn from the campaign to change the board.

And that, in turn, followed a public statement by the then newly appointed board spin doctor, Jack Irvine, that McColl and Blin and the others should be warned that they were now fair game. Many took that to mean Irvine would be behind a dirty tricks campaign.

Certainly there were plenty of red herrings planted by Jack Irvine in the Press concerning whether or not Paul Murray would pass the Scottish Football Association’s fit and proper person test – he will – and claiming Dave King would not be acceptable to either the London Stock Exchange or the SFA, disgracefully inaccurate allegations which King blew out of the water.

It is interesting to note that since King’s visit, Jack Irvine has not mentioned Dave King’s name again.

But now, newly appointed chairman David Somers has taken up the cry that Paul and Malcolm Murray, along with the other two Nominees, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch, men of the highest integrity and probity, men whose credentials are above reproach, may fail any Stock Market and SFA tests. Somers has put his name to this scaremongering in the official Notice of Annual General Meeting document, signed by him on November 25th and sent to all shareholders.

Entirely separate from that, Jim McColl then followed Blin in withdrawing from the campaign, sparking suspicions by those who he told about those initial phone threats, that he may have been subjected to further outside pressure.

McColl seemed reluctant to discuss the threats in great detail after the meeting with fans on Thursday night, though Friday’s newspapers carried the statement he made to the supporters’ meeting which touched on them. That was the first time the threats which McColl told me about in September, entered the public domain.

But at the midday meeting in the Clyde Blowers boardroom on September 13th, which I attended, when the news of the threats was first revealed, McColl was much more candid.

He revealed that he had taken two telephone calls – one from someone in Manchester and one from someone in Leeds – and that he was advised by both callers that it would be better for him if he stepped back from the whole affair and took no further part in the campaign to oust the board.

McColl assured us all that he would not be put off and for the next 10 weeks he was as good as his word. Then, after the meeting with supporters last week, Jim McColl announced he would play no further part in the campaign by the four Nominees to win seats on the Ibrox board.

Now McColl has followed Frank Blin and left the fight and he made that announcement on the very night that Paul Murray was able to lift the lid on the influence the disgraced Charles Green is still exerting with shareholders in the background and the power Green continues to exert over those with a stake in Rangers.

With that Charles Green active influence now known to extend to more than merely handing the proxy for his shares to the Easdales, the spectre of money-grabbing, greedy Green and his power, now hovers over the Annual General Meeting.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


HERE’S a figure Rangers supporters may recognise.... £25M. Remember it?

Well, here’s a wee clue. Think back to the summer of 2012 and the overwhelming support from Rangers fans for the club to tell the SPL to get stuffed and start the fight back to the top, from the Third Division.

It was a time when I coined the term, The New Gallant Pioneers and talked about the romance of following Rangers during an exciting journey back to the big time.

A time when the Rangers regime headed by Charles Green and his placemen promised that by the time Rangers returned to the big time there would be a war chest of £25M ready and waiting for the manager to put together a team good enough to wrest the Scottish crown away from Celtic.

Well, Rangers are now approaching the halfway stage of that journey. Rangers, in fact, are now just weeks away from being half way through that journey, with Charles Green’s placemen, Brian Stockbridge and the Easdales and their placemen, the three new men they appointed, still in charge.

And how much of that promised £25M is stashed away in the war chest?


That’s what!

With just 18 months remaining before Rangers must start buying and paying the sort of wages to the calibre of players who will be needed to stop Celtic winning a fifth successive title, Rangers are no nearer to having the money they will need than they were when that promise of a £25M war chest was made.

Indeed, by their own admission, by the last recent explanation of the club’s current financial plight, Rangers are living what many may believe is a hand-to-mouth existence. After banking two lots of season ticket money, plus £22.5M from the IPO.

Leaving, the Rangers regime actually further and further away from being able to explain to the club’s increasingly agitated fan-base just how that promised £25M war chest will be found.

Actually, when you look at what will be needed, when you look at the current Rangers side, then £25M is a conservative estimate of what the Ibrox outfit will need to start thinking about spending to take on a cash rich Celtic.

With the spending perhaps having to start, even sooner than 18 months down the line when the summer transfer window opens in 2015 ahead of season 2015-16, Rangers first back in the big time.

In fact, it is likely we are just a few weeks short of a year away from that team building having to begin when the January window opens in 2015, at the halfway point in Rangers Championship campaign.

For a Rangers team which looks like a Rangers team, the sort of team which will be needed to wrest the crown away from Celtic and stop them hitting the halfway point of what could go on to be a Parkhead ten-in-a-row run, can’t be put together overnight. A few players will have to be introduced a year from now, with the rest arriving in 18 months.

How many?

I leave it to Rangers supporters to decide how many of the current crop they believe will be good enough to go toe-to-toe with Aberdeen, Dundee United and all the rest every week and head-to-head with Celtic four times and emerge as top dogs.

For all their disgraceful slurs about the Nominees who want to unseat them, the current directors have yet to explain what happened to that £25M pledge and how, after failing to get half of it stashed away halfway through the journey back to the top, they are going to be able to come up with 100 per cent of the promised £25M war chest with just half of the time left.

It will be interesting to see what spin Jack Irvine produces to get to the bottom of that.

Maybe someone will give a wave of their wee magic wand and make £25M appear.

Monday, 25 November 2013


TAKE a bow Sons of Struth front-man Craig Houston, a man who tells it exactly as it is and does not mince his words.

For it was Houston who nailed the rebel renegades of Vanguard Bears as the handful of those who claim to support Rangers who could not have done Jack Irvine’s dirty work any better for him than if they were in his pay.

Last week, while Houston was in London doing good work on behalf of those who want the current board ousted, Laxey Partners were buying up an extra 5pc of Rangers shares and then trying to justify their broken promise and their declaration to vote for the current board, by saying they had found it hard to gain a consensus from supporters groups.

Laxey partner Colin Kingsnorth, who had previously said Laxey would vote in accordance with the wishes of Rangers supporters, further attempted to wriggle out of that solemn previous pledge and promise by adding that he believed there were 101 supporters groups and 102 different opinions.

Where on earth did Kingsnorth hear such unadulterated twaddle? From Jack Irvine?

Did Irvine use the so called “neutrals” of the no more than 50-strong Vanguard Bears – a secretive organisation – to try and usurp the views of the democratic Rangers Supporters’ Association, Assembly and Trust who represent tens of thousands of real Rangers fans and who all wholeheartedly back the move to replace the current board with the Nominees?

It certainly appeared that way to the man whose Sons of Struth group has rallied those three groups, plus the Blue Order and the Union Bears to form big battalions into an army marching under the same banners and bellowing the same mantra of “Sack the Board.”

It was an angry Houston who made it clear that none of these groups, who have all democratically and unanimously agreed to join this fans’ union, had spoken to anyone at Laxey.

However, it was what he added and what he was quoted as saying in a national newspaper which was more telling, more revealing and more damning as far as the Vanguard Bears rebels are concerned.

Houston said: “The only supporters’ group not to join, are Vanguard Bears. They represent 50 fans and have stated all along they would remain neutral. So if Laxey have spoken to any fans’ group it could only have been them.”

The fact of the matter is that nobody believes the so-called neutrality policy claimed by Vanguard Bears on their web site. Not when so many of their members and their handful of camp followers infect the Rangers Media site attacking all and sundry who support the Sons of Struth, the Union Bears, the Blue Order, the Supporters Association, the Trust and the Assembly and their backing for the “Sack the Board” campaign.

Not when so many of their members and their handful of camp followers take to Twitter under the guises of a series of anonymous but easily identifiable with Vanguard Bears names, vilifying all and sundry who support the Sons of Struth, the Union Bears, the Blue Order, the Supporters Association, the Trust and the Assembly and their backing for the “Sack The Board” campaign.

It is a particularly cowardly, sly and sleekit way of going about their business.

Vanguard Bears should either have the courage of their convictions and come out publicly and join disgraced former director Ian Hart in saying they back the board.

And they should tell us who they are. For any endorsement of the board, who held a secret meeting with Vanguard Bears, by Vanguard Bears, an organisation which is just as secretive as Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita, would be no endorsement at all.

After all, we know who have been elected to lead the three main supporters bodies. Drew Roberton is the still recently elected secretary of the Association and has impressed everyone who has come into contact with him with his clear sighted and commonsense approach.

Andy Kerr, the president of the Assembly is a man who I have had cause to be critical of in the past, but who has more recently shown his true mettle and risen to the challenge in a fine and admirable way.

While Gordon Dinnie, the chairman of the Trust, is a quietly spoken man of rationale with a huge breadth of experience in the field of organised labour, an experience which makes him an invaluable asset during negotiations.

These are the people who are now urgently seeking talks with Laxey Partners chief Colin Kingsnorth in order to impress upon him just how wide spread and deep rooted the distrust of the current Rangers board is among their tens of thousands of Rangers supporters members and to put him right. Kingsnorth has been being fed lies.

But who represents Vanguard Bears? What are the credentials of their leaders? Are their representatives elected? And why do they cower behind the shield of anonymity, just like Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita do?

Craig Houston has done the overwhelming majority of Rangers supporters a massive favour by finally outing Vanguard Bears in the mainstream media.

For now their backs are up against the wall. Now Vanguard Bears must tell the rest of the Rangers support – the tens of thousands – just who they are. Now they must tell those tens of thousands of decent Rangers supporters, just who they are giving their support to.

It is no longer an option for Vanguard Bears to officially espouse neutrality, while their members and few followers take to Rangers Media and Twitter to anonymously attack those who want regime change at Ibrox.

They must put up, or shut up. And weigh in balance the consequences if they chose to continue with their present totally unacceptable behaviour.

The Rangers Supporters Association will no longer tolerate it. The Assembly will no longer tolerate it. The Trust will no longer tolerate it. The Union Bears will no longer tolerate it. The Blue Order will no longer tolerate it. The Sons of Struth will no longer tolerate it.

And as I have said before, the days of the handful of people who drive the Vanguard Bears’ agenda, such as it is, remaining anonymous to skulk in the shadows, are coming to an end.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


MYSTERY continues to deepen about the recent meeting the so-called “neutrals” had with the Rangers fan’s liaison officer Jim Hannah and financial director Brian Stockbridge.

It is now almost a month since the “neutrals” were spotted locked in talks with Hannah and Stockbridge in a coffee shop and everything about the meeting – particularly why the venue was not Ibrox Stadium – remains unexplained.

For instance, at whose instigation did the secret meeting – whose cover was blown – take place?

The financial director?

The fans’ liaison officer, who is believed by some to have close links with the “neutrals?

Jack Irvine?

Or did the “neutrals” ask for the meeting?

And what subjects were discussed?

Were there any promises made?

Promises of support by the “neutrals?”

Promises of rewards for the “neutrals” for any such support from the “neutrals” should the Annual General Meeting go the way of the boardroom incumbents?

That’s a whole lot of questions. All of them unanswered. No wonder that with every day which passes without the so-called “neutrals” publishing minutes – including the full cast list – the mystery deepens and the suspicions of the three main fans’ groups, the officially recognised Supporters Association, the Assembly and the Trust, grow.

Especially as we learn today that the Trust have so far been unsuccessful in their quest to have a meeting with anyone from the board, following their meeting with the Jim McColl-Paul Murray group, minutes of which were published.

Perhaps now that the make- up of the board has altered with the addition of David Somers as non executive chairman, Norman Crighton as a non executive director and Graham Wallace as chief executive, effectively the finance director’s boss, there will be moves to meet the three bodies which represent tens of thousands of Rangers fans.

Though as the hugely impressive new secretary of that most traditional of all the groups, the Rangers’ Supporters Association, Drew Roberton has pointed out, time is running out.

The paperwork for the December 19th Annual General Meeting will be dropping through the letterboxes or into the inboxes of shareholders any day.

So time is indeed of the essence as far as the Rangers board meeting with properly constituted, democratic and entirely open supporters’ organisations, who represent tens of thousands of fans, or even having another attempt at a wee cosy chat with the so-called “neutrals,” a highly secretive, totally undemocratic gang which numbers no more than fifty.

Though not in a coffee shop slap-bang in the middle of Glasgow’s busiest shopping centre. Not, what John Le Carre would call, good tradecraft. Perhaps the Scotstounhill Bowling Club, their usual Sunday afternoon haunt, would be a more secretive meeting place.

Monday, 18 November 2013


MOST Rangers supporters acknowledge that Peter Lawwell is an extremely clever man.

Which makes it strange that it has not yet occurred to some of them that Lawwell’s Rory Bremner-Tony Blair jibe at Rangers may have not only been a carefully calculated insult, disguised as a joke, but also a feint, a cute move to create a diversion to Celtic’s advantage.

If it was, it certainly appears to have worked.

For the PR machine which acts on behalf of the current Rangers board – Jack Irvine – swept into action, denouncing the Lawwell joke and announcing that those who run Rangers at the moment are reporting Celtic to the Scottish Football Association.

Which had the desired effect of diverting the news schedule over the past few days, away from the story that Dundee chief executive Scott Gardiner was reported as having turned down the chance to become Rangers chief executive because he would not have been allowed full chief executive hire and fire powers.

The debate should have centred on just what executive powers will be given to any new chief executive, shoe horned in before the December 19th Annual General Meeting.

Instead – particularly on a particularly insipid BBC Radio Scotland show on Saturday night – listeners were subjected to a re-hash of the “old” club, “new” club debate, a debate which has been gone over and over and over again and again and again and which has been resolved by everyone who matters, from the Court of Session, through UEFA, down to the SFA.

Which means that, despite his wee jibe, when faced with revolting Celtic supporters at the Celtic AGM, Peter Lawwell, by dint of his position of power at the top tables of the SFA, agrees Rangers are the same club they have always been.

After all, if he does not agree, if he was in dispute with the SFA over such a serious and fundamental matter, then the only way for Peter Lawwell to have shown integrity would have been to resign from his position in the Hampden corridors of power. Not only has he not done that, but since participating in the SFA’s decision to recognise Rangers as the same club, with the same history, Lawwell has actually ascended to a position of greater power at Hampden by joining the Main Board of the SFA.

But Lawwell does not use his seemingly untrammelled power like a bludgeon. He is not merely clever. Peter Lawwell is cute. Or, in Glasgow parlance, Lawwell is a fly man.

Certainly a lot more fly that Jack Irvine. And a great deal cleverer too. Unless of course, Irvine was happy to snap up the bait Lawwell’s jibe offered. It’s for sure that Irvine’s PR machine was quick to grandstand over the Lawwell jibe. And there were even some Rangers supporters – the neutrals? – who jumped on the bandwagon.

However, a wee moment contemplating what Peter Lawwell believes would be the best outcome for Celtic from the Rangers Annual General Meeting, should put his Bremner-Blair jibe into context.

Does any sane, rationale and thinking Rangers supporter really believe Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell actually wants Paul Murray and the Nominees, with the return of Dave King and his millions to follow, plus the possibility of a Jim McColl investment in 2015?

Who thinks Lawwell believes that would be good for Celtic?

Or is it more likely that Lawwell, quite properly looking out for Celtic’s interests, would prefer to see the current incumbents remain in power?


In fact, were Graham Spiers – aka Odious Creep – half as clever as he preens himself, that is a point he would have made on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday night.

Instead, behaving like Lawwell’s useful idiot, he continued digging himself into the hole of insisting Rangers are a new club and citing the expert testimony of a number of totally anonymous insolvency experts, who he claims have told him just that.

Why does Creep – who increasingly resembles the last fully paid up member of the Flat Earth Society – continually refuse to name these so called insolvency experts?

Do they exist? What are their credentials? Their status?

The fact is, the fight with those who matter to have Rangers recognised as the same club, with 141 years of history and all its honours intact, including that world record 54 Championships, has long been won.

Anyone such as Odious Creep, who continually carps that the fact of the matter is untrue can be seen for exactly what he is – the last fully paid up member of the Flat Earth Society.

Or perhaps, even as Peter Lawwell’s dupe, after the extremely clever, cute and fly man Lawwell successfully created the sort of diversion Rangers supporters, who should be concentrating on the Main Event, should not fall for.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


THE latest leak from BBC Scotland - his favourite receptacle – from Charles Green has left the situation about any police probe and any alleged continued involvement of Craig Whyte in Rangers, as clear as mud.

Which, in my view, is probably just about as clear as he intended to make it when his improbable story was fed to BBC Scotland’s Al Lamont, who appeared to fall for it hook line and sinker.

Though, since Lamont’s original story first appeared on the BBC Scotland’s website on November 11th and although it was still there last night, it has been amended more than once.

The most notable alteration being the removal of all quotes from Police Scotland.

My information is that the stuff was leaked to BBC Scotland by a source close to disgraced former chief executive Charles Green. But why? After all, there was nothing new in the story about a police probe.

For the tale first surfaced a full seven months ago, way back in April when STV quoted Green as saying he did not sign any document making Whyte a director of Sevco 5088.

And it was known way back then that Pinsent Mason, with the express permission of their clients, the Rangers board, has passed on information to Police Scotland.

The legal firm needed that permission, as everything pertaining to their forensic legal examination inside Ibrox was privileged.

So, if the story was not new – which it wasn’t, even though it had slipped BBC Scotland man Al Lamont’s mind – why did Green appear to want to see it represented as new? Did he, for instance want to re-create the false impression that Craig Whyte may still be lurking in the background?

For that would alert the Scottish Football Association who only granted Rangers their licence to play on the strict understanding that Whyte had no involvement. Any hint that the conman was still on the scene would put that licence in danger.

Without the SFA licence, Rangers would be unable to play and therefore unable to trade.

And who would be most fearful of that happening? Why, the institutional investors. The very institutional investors who are backing the Jim McColl-Paul Murray move to have the current board removed.

There are those who know a bit about the ways of the City, who have suggested to me that it may have been a Charles Green ploy to stampede those institutional investors into a flurry of panic selling of Rangers shares. And that would send the share price plunging. Which would be right up Charles Green’s street if there was someone lined up to buy them.

Though why would he be bothered? After all, those inside Ibrox insist he no longer has anything to do with Rangers. Apart from the fact he has proxied his shares to the Easdales who have an agreement to buy them just hours before the December 19th Annual General Meeting.

Former chairman Alastair Johnston however, went on the record last month, in the Record, claiming that he remains far from convinced Green no longer exerts any influence. That is Johnston’s opinion.

All of which should serve as a warning to every reporter covering the Rangers story in the five weeks before the AGM to check out every tip and steer they get.  And to delve deeply into whatever links there may be – tenuous or otherwise  - connecting new board members with anyone who has ever been associated with Green.

Which will not apply to Sun man Chris Musson, who has now become a laughing stock among the press pack for his willingness to treat everything Jack Irvine tells him as gospel.

Not that Musson has many mates in the press pack. But I am told his best buddy is not a Sun colleague, but the Herald’s local government correspondent, Gerry Braiden.


THE Sons of Struth go from strength to strength and I enjoyed the company of some of these fiercely determined-to-get-rid-of-the-board hard headed guys this week.

Among the fine work they have done so far – and there is more, a lot more to come – is this video interview with one of Jim McColl and Paul Murray’s closest allies, former chairman Malcolm Murray.

For those who have not seen it, it is well worth a look.