A Very Awkward Valentine’s Day

February 14th 2022 was an awkward day for the sports media in Scotland. It marked the 10th anniversary of the day Rangers went into administration. Liquidation and death was to follow a few months later.

The role of patsy for the demise of the Kinning Park giants has been allocated to Craig Whyte.

So keen were crown prosecutors to pin something on Whyte that they launched an investigation that will cost the tax payer millions of pounds. It is a story that was taken up by the Times this month (the London one, not the sevco fanzine based in Glasgow).

The problem is that when reporting the background to all these shennanigans – the administration and subsequent liquidation of the Kinning Park giants – accuracy and truth appear to be cast aside.

The story was written by Marc Horne and appeared in the 12th February issue.

“A sheriff who granted more than 20 warrants during the failed police investigation into the takeover of Rangers FC has been accused of a “glaring judicial conflict of interest” after it emerged he was a shareholder in the club.”

And so we have the opening paragraph begging a couple of questions: whatever became of his Lordship’s shares and how much are they worth at the moment, assuming they’re not the 1p confetti that’s issued every month? Was he a shareholder in the club or the company… or are they the same thing?

Last week The Times disclosed that Lindsay Wood is the subject of an official complaint relating to his close links to the Scottish champions.

Wood regularly attends Rangers matches and social events and was said to have a framed photograph of Ibrox in his chambers.

That a member of the legal profession has risen to high office and is a supporter of Rangers (and presumably sevco, as they are now) is not much of a surprise.

I’m sure it was achieved without the need to belong to any organisation giving him a helping hand, so to speak.

It has now come to light that he held shares in Rangers’ old parent company, which became worthless when the club went into administration in 2012. Records from 2008 confirm Wood owned 110 shares.

Ah, so that’s what the shares relate to. The ‘old parent company’. This is what went under ten years ago while the football team strode boldly on regardless.

Yet there was no ‘old parent company’ of the 1872 RFC. Look as hard as you like. Trawl through every record that’s ever been kept and you won’t find it.

What you will find is one company that was incorporated in 1889. Rangers Football Club (in liquidation). It was renamed RFC 2012 plc once it had to surrender its share in the Scottish Premier League as it lost its membership of the SFA during its demise.

Hope M’Lud isn’t having as much trouble understanding that as so many of his fellow denizens of the Death Star.

“Following the collapse of Rangers, David Grier, David Whitehouse and Paul Clark, of the consultancy firm Duff & Phelps, were appointed to manage the club’s affairs.”

They actually tried to sign a player, Daniel Cousin, which was to say the least, unusual for a company in administration.

“All three were later arrested over allegations of fraud linked to the collapse and sale of Rangers. They were cleared of all charges but many of the club’s supporters believe they failed to do enough to prevent its demise.”

Unlike so many of the directors. David Murray, say, or anybody that on the board leading up to administration.

“The saga has already triggered a public inquiry and cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds in payments to individuals who were prosecuted maliciously.

Between 2013 and 2015 Wood signed off 22 warrants during the botched investigation. They included one which allowed officers to raid the London offices of Holman Fenwick Willan, the legal firm representing Duff & Phelps, which was later found to be unlawful and executed “without proper safeguards”.

Just hope you don’t come before him charged with something heinous, like setting off a firework or singing a song. I can already picture the black cloth being placed on top of his wig.

It was requested by Detective Chief Inspector Jim Robertson, the senior investigating officer, who is said to have worn Rangers cufflinks while conducting interviews.

Always check their cufflinks. That’s what Ronnie Biggs told me after I helped him pull off the train job.

Russell Findlay, the Scottish Conservative spokesman on community safety, called on Lord Carloway, the lord justice general, to establish why Wood failed to recuse himself.

“This represents a glaring judicial conflict of interest in the Rangers malicious prosecution scandal,” he said. “It seems there was a perfect storm of a Rangers-supporting police officer, a Rangers-supporting sheriff and Crown Office prosecutors who pursued innocent men with reckless disregard for the evidence, leaving taxpayers with a bill for tens of millions of pounds and no one being held to account.

Just as well we’re not paranoid.

Hackwatcher

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NTV Badge

This can be our wee 20mm tall secret sign. Spot it on someone’s lapel and give them a quiet nod of recognition. I’m sure M’Lud would approve.

£4.00

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