Graham Spiers Misquotes Neil Patey on BBC Radio

On Saturday, I appeared on BBC Sportsound Extra to discuss a number of topics relating to Rangers. At the end of the show the issue of whether Rangers were a “new club” was discussed in the context of an agenda by certain people in the media. I cited the opinion of the SFA, the European Club Association, Lord Glennie and Lord Nimmo Smith who have all made it clear that they recognise that the club has continued despite a new company owning and operating it. For the avoidance of doubt the quotes I was alluding to are included below.

SFA, Tuesday 17th July 2012 – “Sevco Scotland Ltd bought Rangers Football Club PLC’s share in the SPL and membership of the Scottish FA as part of their acquisition of assets. Under Article 14.1, Sevco Scotland are requesting the transfer of the existing membership of Oldco. This is different to an application for a new membership, which generally requires four years of financial statements.

SFA, Friday 3rd August 2012 – “The Scottish FA can confirm that The Rangers Football Club Ltd have today received confirmation that full membership of the Association has been transferred”.

Lord Nimmo Smith, 12th September 2012 - “In common speech a Club is treated as a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated, and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner or operator. It is the Club, not its owner and operator, which plays in the league.”

Lord Glennie, 6th June 2012,also made clear the distinction between club and company when he said:

“This is a petition for judicial review by the Rangers Football Club plc, a company presently in administration. That company presently operates Rangers Football Club (to whom I shall refer as "Rangers")”

My comments got something of a reaction from Graham Spiers who countered my position by saying that he had spoken to several unnamed “insolvency people” who had said there was “no debate about it that Rangers are a new club”. When pressed he then stated the following.

“Neil Patey was on TV throughout last year and I asked him about it because guys like Chris and other Rangers fans became very touchy about this old club, new club thing. Neil Patey said that technically they are a new club”

I have also spoken to Neil Patey on many occasions about Rangers and I never recalled him saying anything of the sort. So I called him. Neil was kind enough to provide me with a quote on what he actually thinks the position of Rangers is as opposed to the way it was represented by Graham Spiers. He said:

“My view is that it is like many other business acquisitions where the assets, people, trade and trading names are "acquired" by another entity. It is a new legal entity, but essentially the old business continues. So it is right to say that it is a newco in legal terms, but the "club" is a continuation of the old one. Then it is up to football authorities if they confer membership and titles that "belonged" to oldco, which they obviously appear to have done.”

So there we have it. Neil Patey does not think that Rangers are a new club. In fact he thinks quite the opposite. Like any other professional expert in this area he can make the clear differentiation between the club and the company - something which is backed up in the comments by Lord Nimmo Smith and Lord Glennie above. He also recognises the unique role of the football authorities in this case and acknowledges that they have confirmed Rangers status as the same club.

I would hope that Graham Spiers would now acknowledge that what he said was inaccurate and that he misrepresented Neil Patey’s view on the subject.

If you want to listen to the podcast of the show you can get it here . The final 10 mins has the discussion in question.

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