This morning, I read with interest Gordon Smith’s reported plea for “Newco” Rangers (although, significantly, he doesn’t acknowledge that embryonic status) to act with dignity and volunteer for relegation.
His outpouring is rich in irony, the first instance being that very premise of volunteering for “relegation”. Self-evidently, only a club that has competed at a given level can be relegated. A Newco, by definition, has nowhere to be relegated from … the only real debate is where (if anywhere) it should be accommodated.
Call it semantics if you like – but in the current scenario, the specifics are crucial.
Anyway, back to my initial point.
Superficially, Smith’s outburst appears like a welcome acknowledgement of the need for contrition and apology in pursuit of the greater good – a very laudable, if somewhat tardy, standpoint and I applaud it to that extent. However, scratch below the surface and it is just another thinly-veiled attempt at damage limitation.
Relegation (as he would have it), yes – but only to the First Division. To render Newco to the lower echelons would, apparently, unbalance the division in football terms. No, don’t laugh … well, do, actually – long and loud!
In relation to the EBT scandal, the bold Gordon allegedly declares that, while it is sad for Rangers and Scottish football that it (the whole EBT business) has happened, the fact is that it has and now we have to try and move forward.
That’ll be that, then, eh Gordon? Trivialisation, or what?
There is no point, he opines, in the stripping of honours, making trite arguments about disallowing goals scored by players on EBT’s and the retrospective entitlement of players of other clubs to bonus payments, etc – all totally irrelevant.
As regards the former, has no-one enlightened him that it is not the existence and operation of an EBT scheme that matters (strictly in terms of the football … it is for others to decide in terms of legality, morality and social responsibility) but the failure to register such in a player’s contract, thereby registering them ineligible – the prescribed penalty for which, if proven, is not the chalking off of a goal but forfeiture of any game in which they are fielded, by 3-0?
The matter of retrospective bonus entitlement (funny it always gets around to money, isn’t it), would be equally irrelevant if, as I have proposed in previous posts, any competition, league or cup, deemed and/or proven to have been unfairly won was simply declared null and void, in the time-honoured tradition of the “No Contest”. No re-allocation of the tainted titles, however welcome the belated award may be to some. The record books would simply be re-written to reflect the embarrassing reality of nullification; and history would explain it to the curious of subsequent generations, laying bare for all time the shame of the perpetrators.
Come off it, Mr Smith!