I am delighted to welcome a new Guest Poster on to the Blog. Angela Haggerty worked as an Editor on Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s new book. She has been kind enough to offer some thoughts on the book, the controversy around its publication and the abortive serialisation in the Sun.
As mentioned in my last post, if there was a hope amongst any group of people that the book would disappear quicker than Craig Whyte post-administration, that has proved to be ill-founded.
Indeed, as you can see from the picture below “Downfall” is WH Smith’s Scottish Book of the Month!
It looks as if Angela’s work has complemented that of Phil, taking the book to the top of the charts.
And therefore, enough from me, and I pass you over to Angela.
A fortnight ago, Rangers fans celebrated a very hollow victory. The only group to lose out after the Scottish Sun’s decision to pull the serialisation of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s new book, Downfall: How Rangers FC Self Destructed, is Rangers fans.
I can speak with some confidence on what Rangers fans stand to lose by ignoring this book – I worked as an editor on Downfall and I have read every single word in it.
Real Rangers fans should have no bone to pick with Mac Giolla Bhain. His alleged Rangers hatred is not hatred, nor is it directed at a football club or its followers. It is an unrelenting criticism of what he argues is an inherent racism in Scottish society and a ruthless expose of those who have profited from engaging it.
Good, decent Rangers fans hate the Billy Boys song. They also hate the Famine Song. No decent person can advocate singing about Fenian blood on a Saturday afternoon in front of impressionable young ears. Nor can any right minded person find a song urging Irish descendants to go home because the famine – responsible for the deaths of a million people – is over, “funny”.
Decent Rangers fans hold as much contempt for racism and bigotry as their fellow right-minded citizens up and down the country.
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s Incubator blog commits the apparently grave sin of ferociously mocking Scotland’s most embarrassing export. Those who make the conscious choice to sing those songs, to follow the club they claim to support and proceed to humiliate it on an international scale with rioting and thuggery, leave themselves open to fair comment, and that comment should shame them as strongly as words can. The blog does not describe all Rangers fans, it describes the angry mob of Rangers crazies who have chosen that path.
Real Rangers fans should vigorously seek to expel that minority of their club’s support. Instead, that poisonous element is dominating it.
Sir David Murray and his cohorts sat by as the Rangers crazies got crazier. As the club slid slowly into bankruptcy and shame – think of Manchester in 2008 – real Rangers fans lost out.
One of the only journalists screaming from the rooftops warning of the disease destroying Rangers was Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. The same journalist lambasted by a minority of Celtic fans for calling them out on their IRA chanting. Yes, he gets it from them, too.
Mac Giolla Bhain reported the truth. He was always a marathon ahead of the Scottish tabloids and his warnings were grave. Predictably, he was targeted immediately by the Rangers crazies, whose incredible obsession with him is truly frightening.
He was proven right time and again, despite the protestations of the angry mob that he was a fantasist. The people who dismissed him were the very people who should have been listening. Rangers 1872 now awaits liquidation and the club has been disgraced. Again, the Rangers fans lost out.
The publication in the Scottish Sun of an interview with Mac Giolla Bhain about the death threats he has received since breaking the Rangers story was enough to send the angry mob into meltdown. There were appeals on Twitter to find the home address of the Sun journalist who wrote the piece. They don’t even try to hide it.
The mob, consumed with fury and speaking of fenians and taigs on Rangers message boards, raged over the Incubator blog, published months earlier and not featured in the book. The bullies raged at the audacity of Mac Giolla Bhain to confront them.
After bombarding the Sun with complaints, the serialisation of Downfall was pulled. The Sun did not cave because of a moral stance. It is a business first and foremost. Enough pressure was applied for it to be too commercially risky to run with the truth.
For every decent Rangers fan, this is a worrying development. If ever evidence was needed that it’s about selling papers, not informing readers, this was it. What the Rangers crazies don’t like, they can prevent being printed in the Scottish press. Now that they have thrown their weight behind Charles Green – who pandered directly to them with his bigotry comments – decent Rangers fans had better hope he is the real deal because if he isn’t, don’t expect the Sun to rock the boat and risk the wrath of the angry mob.
Again, the Rangers fans have lost out.
Posted by Angela Haggerty