Do you get frustrated in with fans of the now-defunct Rangers when you try to discuss their bluey new-clubness?
Here’s how it usually goes:
First of all, you’ll be met with howls of forced laughter, as Billy points to the existence of a football team wearing blue strips, playing at Ibrox.
“Look – it’s Rangers! Of course it’s the same club!” he’ll chortle.
When you point out to him that in actual fact Rangers Football Club (1872) was liquidated and that he is watching an entirely new club founded in 2012, he’ll continue to scoff.
“You can’t liquidate a club,” he’ll claim, “it was only the holding company that was liquidated.”
At this point, your Sevco-supporting friend is still quite amiable. He’s adopting the condescending air of a faintly bemused parent, trying to correct a loveable but dopey child.
Then you point out to him that there is no difference in Scots law between the club and company. That “incorporation” means the club becomes a company.
It’s at this point in proceedings that Billy will begin to betray some mild irritation.
“The SFA, FIFA, UEFA, ECA, ASA and the FBI all recognise us as the same club,” he splutters, as he tries to remember any other alphabet agencies he can cite in support of the same club claim.
This is known in debating circles as the shotgun method (also known as dumping).
He fires as many arguments as he can think of, all at once, hoping that one will hit the target. You have to address every single one, and if you miss just one out, he’ll proclaim that’s the killer point.
It matters not a jot that most of them are red herrings, you have to plough through each one to discredit it, while the main point is ignored. Basically, he is claiming that each of these agencies recognise Sevco as the club founded in 1872, which does not mean that they are the same club.
After gently explaining to Billy how each of the alphabet agencies has been fed misleading information by the first one, and that ultimately clubs must be legal entities, you may now notice a marked change in his demeanour. Billy is becoming seriously agitated
You may at this point encounter terms such as, “Pacific Shelf,” and claims that “Celtic are a newco as well.”
This is easily dismissed by reference to the facts of Celtic’s corporate history since Fergus McCann’s takeover.
When Fergus McCann bought Celtic Football and Athletic Company Limited in 1994 (the legal entity founded as Celtic Football and Athletic Club in 1887), he floated the company on the stock market. As this entailed a change from a private to a public company, Celtic’s designation had to change from “Limited,” to “plc.” Accordingly, the company was renamed, “Celtic plc,” on 15th December 1994.
At the same time, Celtic plc purchased an off-the-shelf company called, “Pacific Shelf 595 Limited” and on 15th December 1994 renamed it, “The Celtic Football and Athletic Company Limited.”
Celtic plc also has a fully-owned subsidiary which runs its football operation called, “Celtic FC Limited.” This company was incorporated on 24th September 2001 as “HMS (402) Limited,” and the name changed to “Celtic FC Limited,” on 17th January 2002.
In summary, Celtic was founded as a football club in 1887, incorporated as “The Celtic Football and Athletic Company Limited,” in 1897 and changed its name to “Celtic plc” on being floated on the stock market in 1994. It remains the same legal entity it has always been. Oh, and it is still a member of the SFA!
As he senses his argument unravelling, the supporter of the now defunct Rangers FC will fall back on the old Rangers favourite, Whataboutery?
“What about Leeds Utd, Fiorentina, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth?” he’ll triumphantly ask.
There’s a reason why this is the Sevconians’ favourite debating tactic – it takes the attention away from them. Now you’ll get bogged down in explaining to him how none of those cases is analogous to the Rangers situation, but essentially, it doesn’t matter.
Picture the scene – you’ve been hauled over on the motorway by a friendly traffic cop for doing 100mph and you know this time you’re losing your license.
“Officer, look at this guy passing us now – he’s got to be doing 90 at least!” you say.
In what world do you think the traffic cop would reply, “Well that’s alright then sir, if he’s getting away with it, you can go on your way?”
Don’t get mired in whataboutery. None of those situations are analogous to the liquidation of Rangers FC, and whether they are now new clubs or not has no bearing on Rangers’ situation.
Once you address the whataboutery, Billy will then move on from irritation to downright anger and hostility.
“You’re just a Rangers-hater!”
You’ll now hear words like, “bitter,” “bigoted,” “vile,” etc thrown in your direction.
You’ll hear phrases like, “frothing at the mouth,” (the lesser-spotted vanguardbear prefers, “foaming at the nostrils”), “spewing bile,” “hate-filled,” etc.
Your sanity and/or social skills will be called into question. “Paranoid,” is no longer in vogue so much these days, but you still hear it. You’ll also be called, “delusional,” “deranged,” etc.
Billy imagines that you will now slink away, shame-faced at having been found out for a paranoid conspiracy theorist.
You must remain firm, for this is the biggest sign of weakness he has displayed. Now is not the time to back off.
I find at this point, it’s best to embrace your “hatred” of Rangers. Admit to the Sevconian that yes, you do hate Rangers, but so what? Does it change the facts of the matter?
Anyone who has taken part in a school debating society knows these are classic ad hominem attacks. They do not address the point at all, so can be safely ignored.
Billy is now on the point of defeat, and after telling you to go take it up with the alphabet agencies who have (apparently) stated that Sevco run a football club founded in 1872, he’ll take what he imagines to be the Sevco nuclear option – “Whit aboot Sellik Boys Club?”
Congratulations – Billy has now run up the white flag! Who says they don’t surrender????