LIKE a bad smell, former Rangers owner Craig Whyte seems unwilling to go away and now he has surfaced again as he has a book to sell.

Judging by some of the quotes that have made it into the public prints, his autobiography Into The Bear Pit is probably going to be the most self-serving snivelling pile of mince on the bookshelves for many a year.

Judgement must be fully reserved until the book is actually out next week, but here are a few quotes that should have you reeling in disbelief at the sheer audacity of the man who in 2010 was reported (by the Daily Record) as having “wealth off the radar” but who turned out to be a thousandaire rather than a billionaire.

This from his time before taking over Rangers: “Administration seemed almost inevitable. We looked at the possibility of putting the club into administration pre-acquisition, or at the time of the takeover. But the outcome of the EBT (Employee Benefits Trusts) tax case was within the first month of the takeover. If we put the club into administration and then found we’d won the case that wouldn’t look great.”

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So administration was always on the cards? Can’t remember Whyte saying that at the time. The EBT tax case was duly lost, landing Rangers with an unserviceable debt.

Whyte was delusional back then: “From the moment I took over I was confident that we’d either win the case or be able to do a deal with HMRC. At the time of the takeover I didn’t believe there was a single problem facing the club that was insurmountable. In my experience, when it came to dealing with HMRC, there was always a deal to be done. They always wanted to get paid. It didn’t make sense to me.”

Glasgow Times:

Oh dear. Whyte just didn’t get the fact that HMRC didn’t trust him one bit – and he had given them good reason, too. More delusion…

“I thought I was in control of the situation. I genuinely believed we could emerge a debt-free club, that I’d still be at the helm and we could move on. The moment I thought I was in command was precisely the time it all fell apart. Duff and Phelps (the administrators) were acting with HMRC. Suddenly I was an outcast. Duff and Phelps were in charge and they swiftly instructed everybody not to deal with me.”

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Gobsmacking stupidity. But that’s not enough to sell a book. So Whyte has made a big play of Rangers’ use of EBTs which he calls cheating.

“Rangers cheated for years under David Murray. There should be a level playing field in sport and Rangers did not adhere to that by using the EBT scheme to sign players they otherwise would not have been able to bring to the club. That was unfair on the other teams.”

Glasgow Times: David MurrayDavid Murray

 

Doh, tell us something we didn’t know. Remember what Murray himself said during Whyte’s trial in 2017?

“It gave us an opportunity to get players that we perhaps would not be able to afford,” said Murray.

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But at the time, the advice to Rangers was that EBTs were legal, and Murray used the system for other parts of his empire, too.

Whyte’s views on the SFA are surely biased, given they have banned him from football for life and fined him £200,000. Doesn’t stop him having a pop.

“They struck me as being completely clueless. They were complete clowns. They had a lot to say about me at the time, but did they say anything about the EBT case? A club effectively cheated the game for years and no sanctions were taken against any of the individuals responsible.”

That’s just not true. The rule which Rangers undoubtedly broke, and for which they were fined £250,000 by the SFA, was the use of side letters to disguise the EBTs. It took the UK Supreme Court until July 2017 to finally decree that EBTs were illegal – that’s when a further inquiry should have been undertaken by the SFA.

You can argue until you’re blue in the face that Rangers should have been fined more, and even had titles docked, and you might have a point, but that’s all impossible now simply because of the passage of time – a civil court case, for instance, would be time-barred.

The Kicker predicts Whyte is going to emerge from the book publication with his reputation even more sullied. Once the fuss is over, he should go back down the tax haven hole he has emerged from and gie’s peace.