Category: Latest

Rangers: Dave King – More Than Glib & Shameless

The still potential return of Dave King to the Ibrox boardroom has provided a boost to the number of Northern Hemisphere hits received by various previously obscure South African business & finance websites. And if ‘Google’ employs people to monitor such things, those people will be scratching their heads at the concentration of search entries for “glib and shameless liar” coming from certain parts of the West of Scotland. Glasgow-born but since 1976 South Africa-based “entrepreneur” King was branded thus by a High Court Judge, Brian Smallwood, in October 2010. The comment came in a ruling on an appeal (lost) by King against part of the tax debt he recently settled by paying the South African Revenue Service (SARS) the equivalent of £44m and pleading guilty to 41 counts of what he recently called “statutory contraventions” of the country’s tax legislation. That’s “statutory” as in “law.” And “contraventions” as in “breaks,” each of which could have landed King in prison for two years. This ruling isn’t any more “news” than the disturbing revelations which emerged from Rangers’ annual accounts two weeks ago. It is available in all its 37,480-word glory on a “politicsweb” article headlined Dave King, a “mendacious witness” – another of Judge Smallwood’s King-directed gems. Indeed, veteran blogger Phil Mac Giolla Bhain quoted from the ruling in February 2011 in a piece which appears in his 2012 book Downfall,...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part 5 – Aston Villa Start To Come Of Age

As the nights draw in and summer started to turn to autumn in 1980, it was starting to become clear that perhaps Liverpool might not have everything to themselves over the course of the 1980/81. The defending champions were in second place in the First Division table, but a number of clubs were bunched together in the chasing pack behind the early leaders Ipswich Town was one that had spent many of the previous years in a state of relative difficulty, Aston Villa. Relegated from the First Division of the Football League in 1967, it took eight years for one of England’s most storied clubs to regain its poise, even spending two years in the Third Division between 1970 and 1972 before getting promoted back to the top flight again in 1975. Still, though, Villa hadn’t been the champions of England since 1910, and with a relatively small squad of players to choose from – they would complete the season having used just fourteen players, a record which hasn’t been broken and is unlikely now ever to be – and, although the club had successively finished in the top half of the First Division table since its return and won the League Cup in 1977, it had seldom looked like challenging for the league title. They started the fourth of October 1980 in fourth place in the table and...

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Weymouth FC & The Nature Of A “Community Club”

There have been few phrases that have slipped more perniciously into the lexicon of British football in recent years as “community club”. It is a phrase that rolls off the tongue easily, which offers a comforting mental image of a football club doing precisely what it should do, engaging with its community, playing a positive role with local people and, above all else, not being run by rapacious businessmen who would seek to take it for all it has before leaving it to wither and die when it has served its purpose. One person’s idea of what a “community club”, however, might differ very much from somebody else’s and these definitions are currently being tested by an ongoing debate at a club that has graced these pages more than once in the past – Weymouth Football Club, of the Southern League Premier Division. The trials and tribulations of this club over the last decade or so could take us all night to explain, but it should suffice to say that the club finally seemed to have reached some degree of harmony last year with a new shareholding structure which limited any individual to a 7.5% ownership of the club. It wasn’t the holy grail of a club being run by its Supporters Trust as an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS) in which each member has one vote with the...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Four – The Pressure Builds Under Malcolm Allison

We’re now up to the last weekend of September in the first season that we are covering in this new series, and we have a busy weekend of football from the Football League. The cameras of Match Of The Day were at three matches. First up is the Manchester derby between United and City at Old Trafford, which sees the home side continuing to cling onto the coat-tails of the division’s early pace-setters while the Manchester City manager Malcolm Allison is starting to come under serious pressure following his team’s dismal start to the season, which sees them one place of the foot of the table and without a win from their opening seven matches of the season. Match Of The Day’s second match is brief highlights of the Third Division match between Portsmouth and Fulham, and they round off with extended highlights of the match from Molineux between Wolverhampton Wanderers and an Ipswich Town side that has already opened up a three point lead at the top of the table. On the other side, meanwhile, the cameras of ATV were at the match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, whilst Yorkshire Television – featuring a very young Martin Tyler commentating – was at the Third Division South Yorkshire local derby at Bramall Lane between a Sheffield United side that was in second place in the table at kick-off...

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Atherstone Town’s Dereliction Of Duty

Weekends when international matches take centre stage tend to be slow ones on the sports desks of our national newspapers. With no football matches being played in the Premier League or the Football League Championship, there are slim picking for those who want their weekend editions to be covered with the national game and, as such, it is perhaps unsurprising that an outbreak of crowd trouble, even if it does come to pass at a non-league which otherwise would have been of no great consequence. The indicents occurred at the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round match yesterday afternoon between Atherstone Town and Barrow AFC, and involved around thirty or so Atherstone “supporters” – a phrase which we use advisedly when we consider what the cost of their behaviour is likely to be to the club – got onto the pitch, attacked Barrow supporters and lit flares. It was a dismal afternoon for Atherstone Town, who normally play their trade in the Midland Football Combination – four divisions below Conference North club Barrow – and for whom getting this far in the competition had already been something of an achievement in itself. By the time of the incident, which came about at half-time, the home side was already losing by four goals to nil, which turned out to be the final score of the match as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the...

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