Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan on the End of the Rangers Tax Case Blog

It is always a pleasure to see a comment from BRTH pop up on my blog.

So that everyone else who reads my ramblings can see his finely crafted and lyrical prose, I have taken his comment from my RTC thread and put it up as a separate post.

Here it is.


Good Afternoon.

A young journalist, Alistair Cooke I think, was setting out in the early days of a career when his then editor gave him some advice….. or perhaps it was an instruction rather than advice.

The tenor of the message was “Bring me the news! I don’t care if it is late – just make sure it is right!”

The author then went on to explain that throughout a career in journalism, the mantra of getting it “right” was always the Golden Rule which had to be followed without deviation or distortion.

Deviation and Distortion are good words. Good– in the sense that Scottish sports journalism, in my opinion, starts each and every morning, and has started each and every morning for some time, in the shadow of deviation and distortion and with a natural instinct to deviate and distort.

Or to put it another way, sports journalism in Scotland has become, by accident or design, an amplifier for whomsoever wishes to broadcast their message to the sports nation on any given day. The Broadcaster can be a journalist, or an editor in search of sales, a player wanting a move, an agent wanting a client to move or secure a new contract, a manager, a chairman, a football authority or just about anyone else who has access to, and the ear of, a hack who can get things into print.

Whether the broadcast contains the truth, or any analysis of the message concerned, has until recently fallen by the wayside. The press scramble to carry the message has become paramount. Get there first, carry the exclusive, give us the sensation and the headline– that is what seems to dictate the ideology of the modern sportswriter in Scotland, with no one carrying or caring about the mantra ” Bring me the news! I don’t care if it is late– just make sure it is right!”.

Before going further, let me add that this is not always the fault of the written press or any particular journalist– even though it is easy to blame individuals who write on a daily basis and who broadcast into our homes and cars almost nightly.

I have a friend who holds a very senior position in broadcasting in London– a global position. He is a scot– a native Glaswegian– and without wishing or meaning any insult to journalistic colleagues who remain in Scotland ( he originally trained here and returns for visits regularly ), he describes the press pack in Scotland ( with a few exceptions ) as a “Gang with sharp elbows” who are always scrambling and climbing over one another to get to the story or a story which no one else has!

That is the culture. That is the rule of the playground. Being First with something appears to be more important than being accurate– and as a result we find many many examples of a news story coming into print by way of an interview with absolutely no attempt to test or question the views of, or the information provided by, the interviewee.

If you watch any political interview on BBC Breakfast, you will find that guests are repeatedly asked about their policy and a counter argument or differing interpretation is put to them– sometimes making them most uncomfortable or sometimes forcing an answer which in itself becomes a news story later in the day!

Not so in Scotland– or at least in the land of the Sports Press– where over a number of years there has grown the impression that the press will carry a statement or interview but will simply not ask any difficult questions.

Take the famous interview of many years ago where Walter Smith ridiculed Chic Young for asking certain questions. Young was belittled but just laughed and shrugged it off Take Jim Mclean physically assaulting John Barnes at the BBC. yes he was sued and had to apologise– but did he really feel free to just banjo the BBC man?

Take Jim Traynor telling the story about a former Ibrox chairman calling a young reporter to warn him that he – and his organisation– would be watching what he wrote in future and passing on the message that the said chairman knew where he lived, where he went to school, who his family were and so on. What are we to make of such an attitude towards the press?

As examples of the press being first with the story at the expense of getting it write– Hugh Keevins famously told us that Artur Jorge would be the next manager of Celtic only to be horribly wrong. Years later I recall watching a broadcast from outside Celtic Park, where Chic Young exclusively revealed that he expected Owen Coyle to be the new manager of Celtic within a 24 hour period.

Kenny Dalglish, became so disenchanted with the press that he conducted press conferences in the slightly hostile ( to certain press men anyway ) environment of Bairds bar in the Gallowgate– resulting in some dreadful journalism concerning Dalglish’s diction, with personal attacks on his social skills and so on. I disagreed with the idea of a press conference in Bairds at the time and I still do now, but some of the writing at the time was absolutely shameful.

It is against this background that I personally come to examine the value of both RTC and the blog that has been given that name.

These pages are not so much an internet phenomenon as a journalistic one.

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs which have never reached the reading figures that have amassed on these pages. I believe that is because the author made it plain that he had information on one very specialised and precise topic– The Rangers Tax Case.

Further, the information that he or she had, was completely contrary to the message being spouted through the Mainstream Press by those who were engaged in that very tax case.

In short, this blog arose because the press were being used and allowed themselves to be so used– possibly by design, or desire but probably out of sheer bad habit and by this time– custom.

Going back to many many moons ago, If David Murray came out and stated categorically that Rangers PLC or MIH had taken detailed legal advice on the tax issue and had nothing to worry about re any tax liability– then that is precisely what was reported– without question– without dare I say it– deviation or distortion. Without hesitation or pause for thought– or enquiry!

No counter argument, no alternative view point seemed to reach the headlines– unless and until it was forced.

To be fair– over a series of years Graham Spiers tried to question Murray and indeed Rangers ( although please note these habits and practices were not exclusive to matter a la Rangers ) about accounts, finances and indeed the policy on sectarianism. Equally over the years, with no offence to Graham, his voice became weaker and the questioning seemed to wane.

The RTC blog became what it became because in many respects the public had had enough of lickspittle journalism– especially when large sections of that public knew that much of what was in the printed press was just not true– and that same section of the public could work out the consequences of the truth far quicker than the daily journalists could.

No one could have foreseen the impact that Craig Whyte– and the reaction to Craig Whyte– would have on the Scottish Press.

When Whyte’s existence was first reported, that race to be first I spoke of earlier took off like Usain Bolt– the only problem was the runner was blind and headed in completely the wrong direction.

Who can recall Whyte being described as the owner of Braehead? The Motherwell Born Billionaire with the wealth off the radar? Who can forget Roddy Forsyth’s much later lament at the absence of proper financial journalists who could actually look into such things?

“Bring me the news! I don’t care if its late– just make sure it is right!”– aye well not in Scotland unless someone sends in some real proper financial journalists eh?

Well those “journalists” were not in fact needed, because their place was taken by ” The internet bampots”– a motley crew of punters who could check things on Company House websites, google earth, court records and other such places which were as good as foreign countries to your average Scottish Sports Journalist– at least that seems to be the cry!

I recall a period on these pages where contributor after contributor came up with piece after piece of information which countered the Gospel as spouted by sections of the press. The professionally placed spin was disseminated, dismantled, examined, dissected and corrected on here— with the result that the very same press turned their attention to these pages and pronounced that the contributors were without integrity, had their own agenda, were wannabees and followed no professional code.

Names such as “Phil the chancer” were bandied about the net,”Internet Bampotery” became a publicly known phrase and a degree of ridicule was heaped upon anyone who dared to write or bring information to the fore outwith the MSM.

But then– slowly but surely– as others continued to decry as nonsense the comments of the “Bampots”– things began to change.

As more and more was revealed– and remember there has still been no written decision or detail of evidence released by the FTT—some of the mainstream press changed course and in their race to be first ran headlong into that most strange of things– The Truth!

A Sunday Newspaper broke with the story re Dual Contracts– previously fabled as the stuff of nonsense on both Radio Clyde and Radio Scotland– and suddenly the MSM had the whole story and the whole truth all along!

Suddenly there were questions to answer. Tom English ran two interviews that contained some searching questions of Mr Whyte– not devastating questions– presumably Whyte would have refused to answer them– but questions none the less!

Jim Spence gained greater and greater airtime with his knowledge of the views of clubs and fans from the lower divisions of Scottish Football and was able to counter the certainty that “Rangers” in any shape or form would be subjected to the actual laws of the game! Suddenly on air you had debate between commentators rather than just a broadcast which brooked no or little deviation or distortion of the MSM reported point of view.

Mark Daly and Panorama really took the news mainstream on certain issues– those same issues which were common currency on here way long before they were ever accepted as non myths by the MSM.

The point I am making is this. The RTC blog is not, and never should be, a football forum. Yes its subject matter is football related, but it should not be the meeting place to exchange views on Celtic ( there are a predominance of Celtic fans on here ), Rangers , Hearts, Aberdeen or anyone else. There are loads of very good fans forums for that sort of thing/

This was– possibly still is— the place where the football fan can log on, come on and simply say ” Hey– that is not true” or ” I have information on this” or ” there is another side to that story” because there is no such room for that in the MSM other than the comment columns at the bottom of the page– and they are bedevilled by the partisan and the prejudiced in the main.

Further, the contributors to these pages ( the writer excluded lol ) brought knowledge and skills which with respect to the MSM they could not immediately source from their own knowledge.

Accountancy skills, forensic analysis, system analysis, banking knowledge, legal expertise, marketing knowledge, insolvency processes and trends, court reporting and record access. Whilst the blog never became ( thankfully ) the sole domain of the professional, it did house a multi disciplined bevvy of information.. and indeed opinion and debate…. the like of which is not – or was not– openly fostered on phone ins or newspapers!

At no time did the blog as a whole seek to preach– it encouraged debate and information sharing, and in so doing it outpaced the MSM in the all important race to be first with the news or the story– but with the desire for the truth remaining in tact and ever present.

This blog has changed a number of things in terms of reporting the events that it concerned itself with– but I hate to say it– I do not agree with RTC’s most recent post on the issue of wrapping it all up.

My reason is that I am not at all sure that the changes that we have seen are in fact permanent– and for the blog to carry a lasting legacy the changes do have to be permanent in my opinion.

The FTT decision is not yet out. When it does come out it will contain many many details which may well raise many further questions. The detail will be poured over, and is capable of not only interpretation but also manipulation and spin.

Remember that the FTT is only a tax tribunal, and the detail of evidence may well give rise to all sorts of other questions that are more suited to another forum and involve rules and regulations which are outwith the competency of the FTT. We will not know until the fat lady has sung so to speak.

For now, I echo the sentiments expressed by others who state that we have a lot to thank RTC for– and an awful lot to thank so many others for as well– others who brought their knowledge, expertise, time and effort to make the RTC blog a deserving Orwell prize winner.

But the fat lady has not sung– and unless she sings to an audience, and in a language which her audience can understand and have explained without distortion and deviation, she might as well not sing at all– because no one will hear her and her message.

No this blog must stay open– so that when the FTT reports, the decision can be analysed, explained, discussed and clarified.

That RTC has chosen or saw fit to retain anonymity is understandable– some things are not necessary to throw into the public domain, but the readers of these pages– and I genuinely do not know how many there are— have come to expect truthful analysis and explanation of both fact and statements of opinion and will no longer accept without question bland unverified and unchecked statements from the MSM.

Craig Whyte never owned Braehead, had numerous companies with names similar to extremely successful ones as a matter of practice, had different dates of birth on company forms, was never a Billionaire, was disqualified from being a company Director…… and helped destroy Rangers PLC.

David Murray oversaw the running of an unlawful tax scheme, withheld full details of players contracts from the SFA & SPL, ran up huge debts at Ibrox and with the Bank of Scotland.

Various others were complicit and were party to the actions of these men, actions which were not openly reported in the MSM, actions which deceived and fooled the footballing authorities in Scotland and Europe, actions which were not disclosed and covered up by some of the most influential people involved in Scottish Football.

The MSM failed in many respects to report or investigate these matters timeously when they came to the fore, and were slow to accept the fact that RTC and others on here were not fooled by the press proclaimed pronouncements of Murray and Whyte on all or any this, and that they wanted to make the truth public.

” Bring me the news! I don’t care if it’s late- just make sure that it is right!”

There is much more news to come in my opinion– so who do you trust to “Make sure that it is right”?

If the resounding answer is not the MSM……. then the job is not yet done


Posted by Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan



Filed under Daily Record, Football, Guest Posts, Press, Rangers

42 responses to “Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan on the End of the Rangers Tax Case Blog

  1. CuillinDreams

    Can’t disagree with any of the sentiments above.

    So long as the MSM continue to pedal spoonfed lies and to fail to property interrogate chairmen, managers etc. attached to Ibrox then RTC, Paul et al have a huge role to play within Scottish football.

  2. Excellent BRTH – one of the best posts I’ve read since I started following this whole subject online.

    RTC has been a godsend for me. I live in London and had been out of touch with what was going on (I reckon another consequence of Scottish MSM being so woeful has been the lack of interest in what has been going on among the London-based media, Mr T at Channel 4 apart – mainly because they are mostly proper journalists and expect just to be able to check out the main Scottish papers for their background info, and assuming, bless them, that mostly proper journalists – and editors – worked on Scottish sports desks).

    Luckily I have intelligent friends in Glasgow (and some thick ones) and when I asked them to get me up to speed, they all just directed me to – one summed it up beautifully “If want all the proper team stuff, go to XXXX, if you want a good laugh, go to XXXX, but if you want the proper low-down about it, the real stuff,’s yer man.”

    I agree with BRTH – we still need this site, at least until the verdicts come in (but completely salute the author’s decision if he is calling it a day – he must be utterly knackered).

  3. Albert

    Well said! Quite excellent in fact.

    Will the MSM bow to criticism and get their act together? Of course not, but at least we can now treat these comics (in both senses of the word) with as little respect as they deserve.

    My worry is that the worst offenders will reinvent themselves as internet bampots in order to ply their biased stories as the truth. Watch out folks!

  4. Ernesider

    Expressed my appreciation already. But again, one of the best pieces ever posted and well deserves its promotion.

  5. Martin

    This is fine stuff, thanks for the post.

  6. mick

    hail hail lol its basicly a site for educating yourself on current topics ,i do agree with you its for every1 but most celtic fans are clued up to the media thats why we get our news here also a lot of the fanzine websites see paul and the rtc as pro celtic this is not true as you kindly highlighted its for every 1 the butcher the baker the candle stick maker no matter what team you like there is rangers fans and celtic fans aberdeen hibs you name it there all here some slag each other but most are looking for a alternitive to the msm paul rtc and the newly formed tcn provide that they have there own sayings and dialect if you no what a mean just no the blog is full of sport fans as the topic is soccer me being celtic when its over will be getting my news at the celtic network from now on ,it gives celtic men a place to catch up on the news and catch a bit of banter the good thing is most are up for critical reviews and can have a laugh and a joke at it personally a wont be leaveing till its tesco and not sevco ,there is still lots of storys to come and athink it will run to after xmas even at that as long as the blog goes a think a will always pop in this link is the only place to read the news if you are feed up with lies and pro dodo media

  7. mick

    just like celtic the blogs are for every1

  8. ecojon

    In many ways I agree that RTC should continue but there may well be very good personal reason for the person behind it not to continue. I feel sure that a lot of thought must have gone into his/her decision and I feel it has to be accepted. However, dare I use the word, I understand the closure is ‘conditional’ on a return to explain the tribunal findings if that becomes necessary.

    As to the other issues regarding Scottish journalism, a lot of what you say I would agree with but it is a horrendously complex area to accurately plot the cause and effect of the various influences and factors that can and have come into play.

    Looking at football journalism, the decline in story content quality and real exclusives dates IMHO from the time that players rocketed into the wages stratosphere. Before that they were on a pay par with football journalists that they palled with. They drank together, partied together, played snooker together, bet the same horses, holidayed together, stayed in the same kind of houses, drove the same kind of cars, were godfathers to each other’s kids.

    But as journos were left behind in the wage stakes the wealth of info and story leads started to dry-up. Obviously it wasn’t like closing down a dam with an instant withdrawal of a supply. More like individual taps in different journo/player relationships.

    The old mechanism of a local newspaper reporter making it into the nationals along with a local player he was pally with being signed by one of the big clubs still worked. But these by and large died a death as well.

    An important side-effect of this was (and this was a slower process) the loss of access to club managers. This had always been a natural extension of the player/journo relationship. If a player climbed up the coaching side and made it to manager then the journo has struck gold. But as the earlier player/jorno relationships declined so to did ‘real’ friendships with managers.

    The system had good points and it had bad as well but the stories, even if planted to suit an unknown agenda, came at least from the horse’s mouth or close to it. What we have now is garbage cycled through agents, sponsorship PR and uncle Tom Cobbley an’ all.

    As to the decline of news journalism I would need to go and get a doctor’s employment to find out if I’m likely to live long enough to write that story. But I can confidently predict it will continue to get worse.

    It is a pity to see RTC ‘go dark’ but I am an optimist and I do tend to believe in ‘Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Person’. There will always be the awkward sod out there who won’t swallow the pap and who will fight to get to the bottom of things and ignore the PR message that has left us with a generation of politicians, for example, with nobody believing a word they spout. That is truly bad for Democracy.

  9. ian lewis

    Or to quote J.Traynor on a radio prog.a few weeks ago”I feel the Record has lead the way on this story”.

  10. Aberdeen83

    To list a few examples where the MSM has got it wrong is a feeble excuse of an argument. Of course the Press has erred. It has, however, published millions of stories that have been proved right.
    But this is not eulogy for the MSM. And neither am I an apologist for it. But as your write, let’s have some balance when commenting on the Press. Let’s be fair and acknowledge and respect when good work is done, as I will do now.
    RTC among others have been excellent in the Rangers affair. They have shown up the MSM and change in that bastion is needed. It is, however, already afoot.

    • Ernesider

      Other than that Mrs Lincoln I didn’t think it was too bad a night.

    • Marching on Together

      “It has, however, published millions of stories that have been proved right.” And millions of stories that have been proven wrong. Including most transfer stories.

  11. JimBhoy

    EXCLUSIVE: The record don’t do exclusives….

  12. ADM

    Catching up belatedly after a long day – had skimmed this once earlier but now read it properly. @brth – respect as always, excellent post, indeed as Kenny McCaffrey says, one of your best. Also thanks to ecojon for the insight to how Scottish football journalism has evolved.

    Think I lean to the view that RTC may have been right – there was a risk of the RTC blog losing focus and commenters drifting too far towards a Celtic agenda. However, my opinion is irrelevant next to that of RTC him- or her-self. Think we can all agree that s/he has earned the right to call time at a point of his/her own choosing. As I said on the RTC site, “the secret is always to leave them asking for more”. Suspect we will see him/her again somewhere, some time…

    • ecojon


      It is always difficult for me trying to draw that important line between club interest and the wider interests of Scottish Football and sometimes I fail. It would be easy to blame certain sections of a certain club for me losing my objectivity but that is no excuse.

      The recent events in Scottish Football has shown what the fans can do to have Sporting Integrity and many may mock that principle. But we are a broad church and there is room for all of varying opinions and, indeed, aspirations.

      But at heart there has got to be a basic decency at work and consideration for others but this isn’t a one way traffic because in my church you get nothing for nothing – you have to earn it through honest endeavour. But I am always within my ‘church’ as the sky is the roof of my temple – my heart lets be know what is right; my brain tells me what is possible and my upbringing keeps me in touch with morality. Thus girded I face ‘reality’ and usually get it wrong but I do learn, hopefully.

      Btw I am not a church-goer, am not a member of any religion, although I have taken many bits from various religions as long as they don’t have a vengeful God, and I try to accept people as they are but refuse to accept base hatred without challenge. However, I also recognise the closed-mind syndrome and as I have said here earlier I have no interest in opening them as that would take brain surgery and I just can’t be annoyed going to nightschool to get the requisite qualification 🙂

      • ADM

        @ecojon – just in case…

        Comments about RTC going to too much of Celtic agenda certainly weren’t directed at you. Fwiw, I think you’re consistently one of the most open-minded and interesting commenters. Cheers!

      • ecojon


        I didn’t have that impression for a minute BTW – gawd that ego I’ll need to stop polishing it 🙂

        No, I was just trying to illustrate in general how easy it is for topic ‘drift’ even when it isn’t consciously intended. And there is a vast difference from that ‘drift’ of course and a rabid, fixed starting-point which brooks no balanced discussion let alone a possible understanding of another’s view even although you wouldn’t necessarily ever adopt that position.

        It’s a bit like my position towards the religion of others – I may have no interest in adopting it but I defend the right of other to do so. However, I tend to keep a tight definition on what is an acceptable ‘religion’ to me which tends to keep me on the ‘mainstream’ path. I have to admit that history – that word that seems to create Thumbs Down dislikes for some reason – down the centuries has provided countless examples of mainstream religions responsible for horrendous slaughter and conflicts.

        I just happen to think that today sects can be far more damaging usually on an individual basis but sometimes regional than mainstream religion so I steer clear. But I do end-up with strange bedfellows in feeling very close to aboriginal beliefs where from my understanding there is no specified God-Head but more a spiritual amalgam of the ancestors and nature and the importance of being in-tune and at one with them.

  13. Dunderheid

    “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.”
    Hunter S Thompson 1958

    • ecojon


      I must confess that I have never seen the quote before and am slightly surprised at how early it is dated – if it had been 80/90s I would have wholeheartedly agreed. I will need to read the quote in context however to try and understand what Hunter was saying.

      I remember the time when he wrote the quote and would say that I recognise much of what he said but not purely in relation to journalism but to a much wider reach of society.

      You have to remember the time – Britain was still recovering from WWII which had totally bankrupted the country. But things went far beyond this in that young men had gone to war less than 20 years before in their millions. It had disrupted their lives in so many way and many never really recovered from it. This had all come on top of the Great Depression of the 1930s and well within the living memory of their own parents and indeed many who fought in WWI also fought in WWII.

      So by 1958 many of these soldiers were moving towards middle-age and were unhappy with life, their job and wondered whether it had all been worth it. And, of course, we must never forget the upheaval in society caused by the Liberation of Women through ‘War Work’.

      A walk down memory lane but a reminder of why history is so important, warts n all.

      • ecojon

        Deary me – it looks like any reference to history seems to spark-off a Pavlovian Response. Just for the record – my comment was solely fixed on social history and had nothing to do with footballing history and indeed neither the poster nor I mentioned football.

        Paranoia as bad as this is very serious and I would advise that you seek immediate medical assistance if you believe that my mention of ‘history’ has anything to do with the absolute catastophe that has befallen Rangers and which shows every sign of getting even worse.

    • Gortnamona

      Good, but doesn’t seem to cover the charlatans who are presently at work. So to complete the picture.

      Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.
      Janet Malcolm

      • ecojon


        I would say that before you could judge something as ‘morally indefensible’ the journo in question would need to have a strong moral compass which wouldn’t deflect when threatened with the sack.

        Sadly journos are not, in the main, superheroes. They are just ordinary people working for a wage to support their family and therefore open to pressure to cut-corners just like most employees in other industries. I don’t say this as an excuse but merely in the hope that the pressures they face can be recognised and we live in hope that the Leveson Inquiry Findings might prove positive in that respect.

        Some journos do betray without remorse although this is often aimed at people who deserve to be exposed even if betrayal is involved. The betrayal aspect tends not to initiate with the journalist but with the nearest and dearest to the person betrayed and the reasons are plentiful from straight-forward payment to spite, jealousy and marital infidelity.

        It isn’t all as black & white as it sometimes appears although sometimes it is and reprehensible behaviour and lack of morality does occur.

  14. Andrew Keith

    I’m afraid I came a little late to these blogs. I have spent most of the past several years in Africa. Africa is, of course, a place where Rangers’ try to discourage illegal poachers from killing big game and stealing their trophies, rather than (and you can see where this is going) killing the big game by illegal poaching and stealing trophies. The international media were little better than the Scottish media in getting this story out and I seem to have missed much of the fun and games. Luckily, though, I have been around for the really fun part, and am delighted with the way things are turning out for my team (Dundee).

    Regarding the probable demise of the RTC blog, I share the feelings of nearly everyone in lamenting its passing and saluting its principal author. I am not so sure though that we can so easily sound the death knell for the Scottish sports media. It seems to me that they have simply been caught offside by the speed of developments in social media. And as if to ape the likes of Derek Johnstone late in their careers, are finding it difficult to drag themselves back behind the ball after yet another fruitless foray into the opponents box. They would, it seems, much rather stay where they are and wait for the ball or stories to come to them.

    To believe that the people who work for The Guardian and exposed phone hacking are even of the same professional genus, let alone species, as the football journalists at the Daily Record, Herald, Scotsman, etc is laughable. To compare Alex Thomson with his BBC, STV and local radio football minded cousins is just as preposterous.

    That said, it is also true that most, if not all, media publications in Scotland are quite capable of clear incisive and independent journalism. Even sports writers and broadcasters. The healthy debate that surrounds Scotland’s political life is testament to that. Many good journalists love football and some of them at least would surely love to be writing about it. Perhaps the problem is that they feel the game is rigged. That they will not be allowed to write what they really think or to ask really difficult questions. Maybe it is because the people who reported on Scottish football when I was a teenager are still around today. Some of these guys have been trolling along for 10, 15 or even 20 or more years. I even listened to Archie McPherson on ‘Off the Ball’ the other day. I saw that man buying a white pudding supper in the chip shop at Auchterarder over 30 years ago now and thought he looked old even then. I honestly thought he must have died and no one thought to tell me.

    My point is, lets not decry the lack of good journalism in Scottish football. Lets just politely ask the current incumbents to simply walk away and leave space for a new generation of journalists who have not been spoiled by the rottenness of the Rangers/Celtic hegemony of the last thirty or so years that has brought the game to its knees. These blogs are the new sources of information for younger aspiring journalists. But remember, for every one like Paul’s or RTC, there are many more that wouldn’t look out of place in the Daily Record.

    If Scottish Football changes fundamentally, then I think Scottish football journalism will also change. My only fear is that in electing to humiliate Rangers as much as possible instead of using the bargaining power that the moral high ground proved for making changes, we may have missed a golden opportunity to negotiate fundamental change. The negotiating chips will be fewer and less valuable when the rest of the Premier League’s shoogly pegs discard their own colourful financial liabilities.

    • Gortnamona


      For the umpteenth time, Rangers humiliated themselves. If the original macho man chooses to undress in public and his legendary equipment is viewed as being as being diminutive, then people being people are going to make fun of him.

      • Andrew Keith


        Yes, Rangers humiliated themselves. I found that enormously entertaining. I think they are where they should be, i.e. in division 3. I also think that there was a missed opportunity to force change on to the structures and mores of Scottish football.

        It would now appear that the SPL played a blinder. Once our clubs, and, most alarmingly, their fans decided that getting Rangers into Division 3 was worth any cost, the chances of any real change were lost. I believe that we could, and should, have called the SPL/SFL/SFA’s collective bluff. The offer on the table was to put Rangers into Div 1 in return for significant change. The counter offer should have been, “We’ll take your changes and raise you Rangers joining the junior leagues until they can supply three years’ worth of good financial accounts after which they may apply for membership of the SFL. Rangers in Div 3 would have then been a compromise that the cubs acceded to and we would have had the structural changes that are sorely needed.

        Tell me that what we have now is worth the price we have paid. What was the price? Nothing less than the chance to alter the underlying structure of Scottish football and permitted several SPL clubs to continue believing that their are financially viable. Look at the new TV deal. No changes to the distribution of cash and only a very small drop in income. Celtic must be urinating in their stripy socks with joy at these outcomes. I doubt they had the clout to manipulate events to this degree, but if they did, we might well have ended up where we are now.

        The fact is, it is now almost impossible for any cub to be completely removed from senior Scottish football against their will. The precedent has been set. Lets say Hearts, Dundee United and Aberdeen all conveniently go into administration towards the end of the season once they are sure that the ten point penalty will not see them relegated. One of them might even be forced into liquidation, a kind of maroon apocalypse, if you will. The powers that be might suggest that we can’t force one of our big clubs into Div 3. Think of the loss in revenue, think of the damage to Scottish football etc, etc. Lets talk about restructuring things if only you you will let one of our big teams back in soon.

        Well, actually, they won’t, of course, because they will be too busy telling us all that we were stupid and this is all our own fault for not listening to them over Rangers. We will be back to square one before you can say, “Hey, wait a minute……

        My solution. Punish clubs now for having an unsustainable financial structure and give them three years to bring their debt down to the maximum of the value of their assets or twelve months trading profit. This would be tantamount to a slow motion administration-type process designed to stave off actual administration. It would save many jobs, give small creditors a degree of security and ensure that the clubs themselves continued to trade and play through their restructuring process.

        My ulterior motive, of course, is that Dundee, having made something of a hobby of going into administration, have now taken our medicine, and are well and truly on the mend, would then clearly be the best team in the NOF league and go on to conquer the world. (NOF = Non-Old Firm).

  15. ecojon

    @Andrew Keith

    Some interesting points and all the more so because of the period out of the country which I think helps focus better on return.

    I’m afraid that the ‘scions’ of Football Journalism that you speak of really are there till the death. It is difficult to understand the adrenaline rush that comes from the power of believing that hundreds of thousands of people are hanging on your every word.

    In effect the celebrity overtakes the ability and they become known by other more grounded and usually better journalists, as ‘legends in their own lunchtime’.

    And of course what a helluva lot of fans just seem to miss is that part of their job is to stir up controversy so they throw in provocative jibes and the fish rise to the pay and angrily dial the phone-ins, send letters, organise petitions, threaten to boycott but are continually drawn back like a moth to a flame to get their own daily fix of adrenaline rage and reinforce their belief that the writer has it in for their team.

    One point I might disagree with Andrew is his statement: ‘It is also true that most, if not all, media publications in Scotland are quite capable of clear incisive and independent journalism’. I think the longer Andrew is here the more he might alter his opinion. The general standard of journalism throughout the UK has never been lower and there are many many reasons for this which I find it hard to believe can now be reversed in view of the economic backdrop.

    It is easy enough to occupy the moral high ground but it can be very difficult to advance from there if the entrenched opposition – or a substantial percentage of it – would appear to march to a different morality from the overwhelming majority of the population whether they be football fans or not.

    However that is not to say that the struggle is not worth fighting but I hae ma doots that very many idealistic young journalists will be in the Scottish Vanguard – but I remain an optimist that they may yet join their internet bampot colleagues 🙂

  16. It’s clearly no excuse for football journalists failing to ask basic questions but the business journalists did fail miserably and there has been no examination of this failure anywhere as far as I know. Why not?

    What on earth is going on there that they have missed a story of such financial and social significance, that has seen almost a billion of debt to a disgraced bank and the humiliation and failure of one of the most recognisable and supported brands in the country?

    They, too, it would appear, have gorged themselves at the heaving table of succulent lamb.

    • ecojon


      The Business Jounalists? Basically there aren’t any. A lot of the copy on business pages is wire copy, pais-for copy and PR puffs which are actually ‘fitted’ into the page by sub-editors whose main pre-occupation is to make things fit, think-up an appropriate headline and check for typos. That’s it. Scotland is an even smaller ‘pool’ for business reporting than it is for football reporting, so don’t rock the boat is very much the accepted ethos.

      The likes of the Rangers story in terms of digging would be down to news journalists but if it has been decided that it is to be in the main dealt with as a football story then that will be the line. There are some pros in this but also some major negatives but it is hard for someone outside of journalism to believe that it isn’t all down to bias.

      It is quite common for journalists to look at a paper which they had worked on even till quite late and possibly taken part in the various conferences and not be able to work out why some things didn’t make it and others did – and believe me we are talking about totally non-contentious items.

      The public tend to view a newspaper as a fixed lifeless object – but people in the industry see it as a live, sometimes fire-snorting shape-shifting monster that virtually takes on a life of its own throughout the production process which doesn’t just involve the journalists but a whole host of other people and departments. But none of this and the raw emotion involved is evident when it sits on the news-stands the next morning coyly tempting purchasers with a catchy ‘Splash’ headline.

      • ecojon


        I really must apologise as my earlier reply was predicated on thinking this was to do with Rangers Collapse and its financial effect on Scottish Football and not the banking collapse affecting the worldwide economy.

        Today’s post by Gortnamona made me realise the error of my ways.

  17. ADM

    As a partial exception, Douglas Fraser has written a few decent posts in the later stages. Also, to be fair to the business journalists, such as they are, football clubs are small businesses and generally shouldn’t be getting a lot of discussion on the business pages

    • ecojon


      I tend to agree in the case of Douglas Fraser – my original comments were really to do with print media. I am unsure of the actual resource level put into broadcasting niches so can’t comment with any knowledge.

      But broadcasting suffers the same problems that print media does and that is the time taken to dig into these stories and the difficulty in writing them toi avoid legal action and all the while you still have your day to day job to do on other stories in a pressured environment. There really is only so much one-person can achieve no matter how motivated.

      And to be fair to management they have nowadays less resources and when things happen which have to be covered then anything on the investigative back-burner suffers and it can’t be any other way as that or the next day’s story must have priority.

  18. Gortnamona

    Afternoon Picini

    £1Billion and a bit of humiliation. You are only in the penny ha’penny league. When it comes to getting rid of money and reputation. Nobody does it better than the Irish.

    April 1, 2011
    “London (CNN) — Ireland was hit with a ratings downgrade Friday, following The Central Bank of Ireland’s revelations the country’s banks need a further €24 billion ($34 billion) to enable the sector to cope with further economic shocks.
    The figure, coming on top of the €46.3 billion already shovelled into the banks, brings the total cost of Ireland’s banking sector bailout to €70 billion.”

    The Anglo Irish Bank which alone was responsible for around €30 billion of that bailout, had attracted the following praise in January 2007 just two years before it finally went bust:

    “On the eve of the World Economic Forum in January 2007 in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where the leaders of global capitalism go to network, financial consultants Oliver Wyman named Anglo Irish Bank the best bank in the world.”
    (Carswell, Simon: Anglo Republic: Inside the bank that broke Ireland: Penguin UK.)

    So much for “financial experts”

    And as for restraint from our political leaders. The Prime Minister of our Hallowed Island of Saints and Scholars had this to say, about those who cast doubts on Ireland’s ability to sustain economic growth based on property development.

    “Taoiseach Bertie Ahern tackled the economic naysayers in one of the most controversial comments of his entire leadership. ‘Sitting on the sidelines, cribbing and moaning is a lost opportunity, I don’t know how people who engage in that don’t commit suicide,’

    So count your blessings.

  19. Name

    As a partial exception, Douglas Fraser has written a few decent posts in the later stages. Also, to be fair to the business journalists, such as they are, football clubs are small businesses and generally shouldn’t be getting a lot of discussion on the business pages

    • ecojon


      I wouldn’t accept that in Scottish terms that Rangers or Celtic are small businesses as a football club is of course something much more than its turnover.

      And thousands of creditors, in Rangers case, may well think had there been good business analysis in the media of what was actually happening financially they might not have been dunned the way they were

  20. ecojon


    Funny I was in Dublin a few years ago mainly to see a Leonard Cohen tribute-concert.

    I hadn’t been in Dublin for a number of years but as I walked down to The Point from the city centre I was staggered by the recent redevelopment that had taken place and was still taking place.

    I was aware of the whole Celtic Tiger economy thing but found it hard to believe that it could really sustain what I saw – of course next day I walked, again from the city centre, with my English partner to Kilmainham via Dublin Castle and I saw little of the Celtic Tiger economy at work. Indeed as I wandered the backstreets I came across a Training for Work centre where the guys were having a fag break. As is my won’t I stopped and chatted to them and realised that this new wave of prosperity didn’t appear to be that deepy-rooted and could be seen to be purely cosmetic.

    Kilmanham was atmospheric, as always, and my partner said on leaving: ‘I’ve never been ashamed in my life before to be English’. I think that’s when I felt there was hope for her and probably when love dawned. Ah, the effects of history – that word again which seems to surface as often as mick’s pies.

    I then had a look at property prices and I was shocked to the core – I just couldn’t believe it even in Euros.

    Of course I personally was well-prepared for the financial collapse that eventually arrived partly through my trip to Dublin but mainly because of history 🙂

    I knew all about the South Sea Bubble, The Dutch Tulip Scandal, The Wall Street Collapse and the Great Depression, maybe even through in the Darien Adventure for good measure and the casino-investment aspect of the Alternative Investment Market.

    So I had never ever remortgaged my house and sat quitely waiting for the maelstrom that I confess to completely underestimating. It reckon when the history 🙂 is written it will be clear that all the warning signs were there but the market riggers didn’t care and the trip wires didn’t sound the alarm plus the politicians worldwide failed the electorate for a variety of reasons beyond the scope of this post.

  21. Gortnamona


    Enjoyed and appreciated. Except to ponder on whether we have strayed a long way from the beliefs and standards espoused by those commemorated in Kilmainham I will say no more.

  22. ecojon


    ‘Rangers are considering a move for Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu, Sky Sports understands. The 24-year-old is set to leave Belgian outfit Royal Antwerp due to issues over wages not being paid. And Rangers have been alerted to the midfielder and are ready to make a move.’

    Sounds like the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall.

  23. John Pollock

    I agree with the sentiments of the original post 98%. I agree that RTC should have one more shot at the title when the findings are made public, but I disagree that the MSM will go unchecked should RTC call it a day. The reason I say this is that the genie is well out of the bottle now. Fans have matured and taken control of the situation. People don’t believe a word that Jim Traynor et al say anymore and they know that nothing will alter their mindset, not even mass boycotts of their products apparently. What the RTC has achieved, along with many others, and more importantly in my opinion, is change the mindset of the fan more than the MSM. It has helped galvanize and encourage a new fraternity within ALL fans and that has been the greatest thing to come from this whole sordid affair in my opinion. I’m at the stage of saying feck the MSM, feck rangers and lets watch fitba again. I also need to move on from this now for my own sanity and marriage so who am I to demand he or she continues to devote so much time and energy to this story. Once more RTC I salute you;)

  24. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan

    Good Evening all,

    On the question of business journo’s— everyone should read Ian Fraser’s blog a link to which you can find here.

    He has written repeatedly about the Banks and associated problems– some of which lead to the door of Sir David Murray.

    The stuff re Operation Hornet is very illuminating and also the stuff about Stadia, Peter Cumming and Gavin Masterton.

    Searching under any of those names and headings will take you in the right direction.


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