Outside The Box: Swell the coffers, not the crowd, Dunfermline urge Rangers fans


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One of the Scottish clubs suffering from Rangers' descent into administration (OTB last week) are Dunfermline Athletic, who failed to receive £85,000 owed for tickets sold at the recent game between the teams and were therefore unable to pay last month's wages.

Now a Rangers fans' website is organising a day out to the Fife club's home game with St Mirren on March 24 hoping to add an additional 2,000 to the normal gate of barely twice that number. Buses will run from Glasgow to Dunfermline and Rangers fans from all over Scotland are encouraged to attend as their own team do not play until the following day in what is expected to be a particularly feisty Old Firm match on and off the pitch. The idea has received a mixed reaction, however, from Dunfermline fans, some of whom feel it is a patronising gesture.

On one of their message boards a supporter poses the question "why don't they just send their £20 cheques to DAFC?"

Still marching on together

It is commonly accepted that fans remain loyal for life while players and coaches move on. But sometimes even hard-headed professionals find their allegiances hard to break. Take Glynn Snodin, who was sacked as a coach by Leeds United along with Simon Grayson recently, and has now rejoined him at local rivals Huddersfield Town. Last weekend he was to be found sitting among the 3,000 Leeds fans at Middlesbrough in a smart suit and, according to some of them, joining in with the anthem "Marching On Together", which he told the Leeds programme earlier this season he had as his ringtone.

Needless to say this has not gone down well among some sections of Huddersfield's support. Others point out that Grayson's predecessor Lee Clark hardly made a secret of his support for Newcastle, while Grayson's successor at Leeds, Neil Warnock, always supported Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United.

A Huddersfield spokesman said: "Glynn was there for a routine scouting trip - hence the suit!"

Bang to rights

The day after last week's item about the taxman's clampdown on football on both sides of the border appeared, it emerged that Manchester United had settled a hefty bill with HMRC running into several millions of pounds over image rights payments. Image rights of a top player like Wayne Rooney can account for nearly a quarter of his salary, which does not therefore attract the 50% rate of income tax. Of the 20 Premier League clubs, 17 have now settled outstanding items with the HMRC and negotiations with the other three, who include Manchester City, are continuing.

The drain in Spain

The sums that British football owes the taxman are a drop in the financial ocean compared to Spain, where clubs currently owe £588million in tax and £504million in social security. The country's sports minister said "It is unacceptable that any company, including those in football, have a high level of debt and that's why formulas are being sought, within what is possible, to correct it." Total debt in Spanish football is now estimated at £3.4billion. Players went on strike at the start of the season over unpaid wages and six clubs including Real Mallorca and Real Zaragoza were in administration.

Portuguese man of war

Real Madrid and Barcelona will continue to share 45 per cent of Spanish television revenue under a new agreement due to start in three years' time, with Atletico Madrid and Valencia sharing 11 per cent and the other 16 clubs divvying up what is left. In neighbouring Portugal, however, there is now a move to copy the system in operation in our own Premier League, under which all clubs take an equal share before appearance money is added. At the moment deals are done with individual clubs, as a result of which Benfica, Porto and Sporting take half of the annual £62.5million between them. But last week the Portuguese Football League's president, Mario Figueiredo, said he would go to the European courts if necessary to end the current system.