The date was 27th of July 2012 and Scotland's biggest and most successful football club faced oblivion. Just two days before the club were due to face Brechin City in the Angus town, Rangers FC had no licence to play football.
This doomsday scenario had been created by twisted individuals representing the SFA, SPL and others. Their determination to see Rangers punished to the full for an as yet unproven "charge" (a charge which the club was subsequently found not guilty) was matched only by an underlying driven agenda to see Rangers damaged as much as possible, perhaps beyond repair.
The club had been given a stark choice - accept sanctions and trophy stripping or be granted no licence to play football, in any league, anywhere.
Rangers, with Ally McCoist and Charles Green representing, had fought bravely to retain the clubs' history, heritage and sporting record in the face of those determined to steal it away at any cost. In defiance of the Scottish Football authorities equivalent of a firing squad they fought valiantly for a club that had already lost most of its first team squad following SPFA and agent interference allied to greedy individuals who saw a fast buck.
The future of the Scottish game lay in the hands of those men sat round a table. Their dirty game of chess had reached stalemate; their attempted "Five-Way Agreement" had morphed into a carefully contrived monster that included:
- stripping of 5 SPL titles
- stripping of 6 Scottish Cups
- a signing embargo
The message delivered was loud and clear. Accept "guilt", and accept our punishments or we put you out of the game. We feel it's necessary to repeat this; no ruling had yet been made on EBTs from Lord Nimmo Smith, and two years and two appeals later, the EBTs are still judged in law to be loans that did not give Rangers any footballing advantage in the years the scheme was in use.
Whilst SPL Chief Ralph Topping was regaling anyone who'd listen with tales of Armageddon and insisting the SFL accept a club the SPL had thrown to the wolves, the SPL looked to maximise revenue from that same club they had just kicked out.
So, on that day 27th of July 2012, the last possible day that agreement could be reached, the SFA's lawyers Levy & Macrae hosted all senior stakeholders in the Rangers issue to their office in St Vincent Street, Glasgow.
By this stage, Rangers had forced the title stripping off the agenda, however, they were not to be meekly handed a punishment free passage in to the SFL. Other measures were being quickly discussed. The determination of some to punish the club as much as possible at a late stage where desperation saw them more likely to accept to get the licence and keep the club alive hadn't waned.
The presence of Duff and Phelps could not help the Rangers cause; they were now bystanders only interested that the business entity they were representing wouldn't have any financial liability thrown in its direction.
With a draft agreement on paper and separate signature pages at the back (to be signed upon all attendees reaching agreement on the conditions of Rangers re-entry in to the SFL and SFA), talks got underway. All in attendance agreed that a conclusion had to be reached and papers signed off that day, no matter what. The future of Scottish Football and that of its biggest member club was at stake.
Reaching agreement on any issue was difficult, and the meeting was interrupted several times as Stewart Regan answered his mobile phone and left the room. An expectant wife was calling from Yorkshire. Mr. Regan was reminded he had a dinner date that evening.
With no indication that middle ground could be found regards the many sticking points and Scottish football facing disaster the SFA Chief Executive took a remarkable and shocking decision that reinforced the belief of many that he is inept and has zero interest in the welfare of the beautiful game here.
At 5pm, with the document far from finalised and even further from being agreed, he took the SFA signature page from the table and signed it, informing all of those present that he would put his name to whatever was agreed, had a dinner engagement with his wife and friends in Leeds, and wasn't going to cancel.
In essence, Regan signed a blank piece of paper.
The Chief Executive of the SFA, with overall responsibility for the game in Scotland, was more interested in having dinner, than leading the decision makers to reach an agreement to safeguard the future of both Rangers, and Scottish Football.
The meeting lasted approximately another four hours before a conclusion was reached. Rangers were forced to accept their second transfer embargo in 4 months, and various other financial penalties including the signing over of television rights, and the payment of football debts, on the agreement that they wouldn't have rights to SPL prize money, or debts owed to the club.
There were a number of revisions to the draft document in Regan's absence which already had his signature, as he travelled to Leeds and made his way out to dinner.
To the best of our knowledge Regan didn't phone anyone in attendance after his departure for a progress update.
Regan's signature page was simply inserted into the final document and issued as the Five-Way Agreement.
This absolute disdain for the future of Rangers and Scottish football has never left that room, until now.
One month earlier, Mr Regan had shown a similar lack of interest when an email written by him had been leaked to the press. In his email, amongst a bunch of 'decisions' he had pre-determined, Regan revealed that while Scottish Football was in disarray, he was off on holiday.
What would Regan have done the following day if any of the people in the room had simply scribbled 'I, Stewart Regan, knowing that I am unfit to hold the position of Chief Executive of the SFA, hereby tender my immediate resignation.'
Vanguard Bears henceforth ask that members of the SFA, SPFL and SFL demand Stewart Regan's resignation. This man should not be heading up Scottish Football, especially at this very crucial time where attendances are dwindling and sponsorship is drying up.
The phrase "NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE" has never been more apt.