This is very difficult for me to write, but I have no choice in the matter.
I have to admit that I was wrong about this entire Rangers tax story and I apologise.
In all of this reporting around their alleged illegal tax evasion and questionable tax avoidance schemes I really missed the point.
There were attempts to steer me off the path I was on by other journalists, but I just wouldn’t listen.
They were correct and I was wrong.
Although I have to say sorry about my investigative journalism into the finances at Ibrox, many in my trade in Glasgow are without blemish on that one.
Their conscience is clear on this matter.
They never muddied the clear blue waters with difficult questions or long hours of persistent research.
The real issue was actually staring straight at me the whole time yet I was too busy writing about how Rangers had sought a financial (but of course not a sporting) advantage in the first decade of this millennium.
Their various tax strategies allowed them to pay higher salaries to players and senior staff, but you see the problem was right there all along.
Any football club playing at Ibrox and calling itself Rangers and that attracts their usual customer base should be exempt from all taxation.
When the club was cruelly placed in Administration by the tax authorities Alex Salmond described Rangers as a special case and said that they were “woven into the fabric of the nation”.
Sadly, control over Hector is not a devolved function so the tax chaps in London told him to go away.
However, I think Eck had a point.
Think about it.
Well, opera and classical theatre get subsidised by the taxpayer, so why not the wonderful carnival of British patriotism that is the Ibrox match day experience?
In June 2012, Dave King said that the Rangers “that we all want it to be” could not be run on a profit-making basis.
Yeah, I get that Dave, with you so far and by the way, all that paying tax stuff in South Africa, sorry that you had to go through that man.
Quite simply all of this turmoil could have been avoided at Ibrox.
There would have been no need for that embarrassing stuff with the sheriff officers about the Wee Tax Case.
Ok, the Discounted Options Scheme was an illegal tax evasion scam that wasn’t even challenged by the old club but hey, come on folks, a bit of slack please.
The thing is Rangers should not have had to do this tax stuff in the first place.
Martin Bain should not have been reduced, lowered even, to asking admin workers to shred emails.
It would have saved all of that work by HMRC investigations – tribunal time, fees for judges – if Rangers had been granted charitable status.
Yes, yes I know that cash raised at a charity match at Ibrox was, well, kinda diverted away from the charity.
For the record I think that £191,430 is no biggie.
However, in future people would KNOW that the cash would always being going to the cause of ‘Rangersness’
Lots of things that are generally considered to contribute to the public good are paid for from the tax take.
The Scottish Ambulance Service is a good example.
Yes, yes I know that Rangers didn’t pay them for the lifesaving services they rendered back in the day to the deceased club, but that’s all in the past now.
Of course how vital public services are funded is always a touchy subject, but in the end someone has to pay.
The beloved First Minster has some small powers to raise extra taxes on the people, but of course not on The People.
So far he hasn’t used those powers to levy the ‘Tartan tax’.
However, in my opinion, this would be an excellent use of the funds happily handed over by a grateful nation.
Another way for ‘Rangersness’ to be funded is for football itself to step up.
Perhaps an annual subvention, let’s call it a tithe, could be placed on all other football clubs in the country to fund the institution that is Ibrox.
In fact, once all the calculations have been made apropos taxation then perhaps the people who run this national treasure might even be due a rebate.
When all of this is settled the fitba world my come to see that Craig Whyte was a visionary when he decided that paying tax was something that the owner of the Ibrox should just not do.
You see, when it comes to those who would ascend the magic marble staircase, all things are possible if you just spin hard enough.
I now realise that the ‘Rangersness’ is such a powerful cultural asset for Scotland that the normal rules should not be imposed.
You know, all of this paying tax, obeying the law, abiding by the rules laid down to govern professional football in Scotland stuff.
Like the side letters and the SFA registration stuff, these are minor administrative matters when it comes to ‘Rangersness’.
I now see that all of that is a bit of an encumbrance to the maintenance of the institution that is ‘The Rainjurrzzz’.
The problem for the previous club that provided ‘Rangersness’ to The People is that they were required to ostensibly operate within the rules for everyone else.
Now that’s just not fair.
I do not doubt that the current chaps at Sevco are abiding by all the rules and regulations laid down and that’s the problem right there.
They shouldn’t have to!
After all, this is the centre of ‘Rangersness’, verily a special place where normal financial common sense rules just don’t apply, nor should they.
We know this to be true because Walter (reverential pause) has told us so.
Therefore there cannot be any dispute on the matter.
“There is no common business sense at a club such as Rangers,” he said. “Yes, money is being lost. But what can you do?
“You can’t sit on the board of directors at Ibrox and tell the Rangers fans, ‘We can’t afford to do this.’ You have to go out and find the money to do it.”
So there you have it from Walter himself: the basic rules of financial management do not apply in the Blue Room.
Yes, yes I know the rest of Scottish football, and, well, everyone else in Scotland has to live within their means, but this is the club/company/clumpany of The People.
The only answer is the state provision of ‘Rangersness’.
So I was wrong about Rangers.
I was wrong to highlight the HMRC investigation into millions in unpaid taxes.
Moreover, I was wrong to work on this story for years about concealed side letters and loans that weren’t really loans and billionaires that weren’t really…
I now realise that Scottish football needs a strong supply of ‘Rangersness’ and, at this point, a Rangers, in fact any Rangers will do.
I simply don’t trust the private sector anymore to provide this vital service.
Therefore the state will have to step in because the last few years have proven to me that someone somewhere will have to pay for the full cost of ‘Rangersness’ because The People certainly won’t.