For those of a certain vintage, can I take you back to the hit single “I Wanna Be a Winner” by the supergroup known as Brown Sauce? Younger music fans might wonder if this collection of stars consisted of people like Clapton, Paige, Elton John, Daltrey or Les Gray. Instead it was made up of those behemoths of popular culture: Noel Edmonds, Maggie Philbin and Keith Chegwin.
Their song tells of the struggle for recognition and the vindication to be found in public success.
If they reissued it today, then they would be best advised to focus on the story of the Rangers Football Club over recent years.
Let’s look at the roll of honour.
RTC, author of the Rangers Tax Case blog, won the Orwell Prize for Blogging.
Mark Daly, BBC Scotland’s investigative champion, has won a Scottish BAFTA for his programme on “The Men Who Sold the Jerseys”.
Stewart Cosgrove, man of the people, big cheese in Channel 4 and half of BBC Scotland’s “Off the Ball”, won a Scottish BAFTA for his outstanding contribution to Scottish culture, though we all know that this was actually payback for his anti-Rangers diatribes.
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain has not won an official award but Kevin McKenna, former Scotsman Sports Editor and respected commentator on all things. Scottish, declared that Phil deserved to be crowned Sports Journalist of the Year, Investigative Reporter of the Year and Journalist of the Year for his work up to and including “Downfall”.
And we must not forget Keith Jackson, crowned by his peers as Sports Journalist of the Year for his coverage of football, and his ability to bring stories broken by bloggers to a wide and mainstream audience, adding his own distinctive and incisive commentary as he did so.
The view amongst the Rangers-supporting fraternity is (and I apologise if I misrepresent their opinion) that the names above are part of a “Rangers-hating” cabal, obsessed at every turn with denigrating their team. Equally those organisations that recognise these reprobates are also part of the conspiracy, or else duped by it.
No one recognises, they complain, the sterling work of those who tell the truth about Rangers – sites such as Follow Follow and Rangers Media or bloggers like David Leggat or Chris Graham. The failure to give these and others the public accolades is proof of the media omerta on truth about Rangers.
The charges are clear.
RTC stumbled, allegedly illegally, on secret material which informed one or two posts, but after that his information dried up and his blog became a refuge for Rangers-haters, like me!
The shout still goes up, every few weeks, that RTC has been identified. So far those guesses have been 100% wrong and have been responsible for people wholly unconnected with the mess being subjected to abuse.
Mark Daly simply, we are told, rehashed the thin gruel of RTC, revealing nothing new. Well, the PLUS stock exchange and the SPL and SFA did not know what he revealed, but what do they know.
As for Mr Cosgrove? He purports to be a St Johnstone fan when clearly he is a Celtic man. He ridicules Mr McCoist at every turn. He employs Alex Thomson, as the incorrect charge goes! QED
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain is a Celtic fan, condemned by the Sun, and someone with no regard for Rangers, so he too can be ignored.
Only Keith Jackson escapes this criticism, being a man who, as in his exposure of Craig Whyte as a billionaire with wealth off the radar, was able to get to the truth.
On that basis, my own award, whether Nobel, Pulitzer or ROBY(Rangers Obsessed Blogger of the Year) cannot be far away!
Or maybe the story is different.
Maybe RTC was actually responsible for telling a story which the mainstream press refused, for whatever reason, to tell. In doing so he created a network of amateur sleuths and citizen journalists doing the job which in times long ago better resourced papers would have done. In addition there was a process of public education on floating charges, company law, insolvency and many other areas.
The judges of the Orwell Prize, none of whom fell within the category of Celtic fans, viewed RTC’s blog as the best of the many hundred which competed for the prize. Not the best sports blog, or media blog, or legal blog, or Scottish blog, but the best overall in the UK. Either RTC had some mysterious ability to dupe anyone who read the blog, or else he was, as the judges agreed, laying out a major news story in a way appropriate to the 21st Century.
Mark Daly took the plunge and revealed to a major Scotland wide audience what RTC and Phil had been on about for some time. In addition, he uncovered additional information, and managed to sew it all together into a format which was easily intelligible and which showed clearly what had gone wrong, over many years, at Ibrox.
The Court of Session, on more than one occasion, paid heed to what the BBC had uncovered when dealing with the entrails of the former Rangers.
I was due to attend a talk by Mark Daly and Alex Thomson yesterday but it was cancelled on the basis that Mr Thomson, castigated by some elements of Rangers fandom as “Timmy Thomson” and someone who, despite being a multiple award winning journalist over many years, had decided to become involved in investigating the Rangers story to garner himself some publicity.
Mr Thomson however missed his chance for what critics would say was more self aggrandisement by getting stuck in Gaza, reporting from the scene as missiles and bombs fell and were launched all around him. And this man needs to look into Rangers to get some publicity?
Stuart Cosgrove has achieved fame or notoriety as an honorary “Internet Bampot” and indeed wrote a column for RTC’s successor, The Scottish Football Monitor. His appearances on the On the Ball phone in on BBC Radio Scotland have been a breath of fresh air after the regular line-up of the usual suspects over many years. His stance as being happy to criticise trenchantly both of the former Old Firm stood apart from what many of his colleagues would do, and he too was happy to let the contributors to the programme speak, rather than cutting them off before the killer point.
Finally we have Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. He has been ahead of the curve throughout the story, and even managed to get the mainstream press to print some of his stories. However, as a vocal supporter of Celtic, and of Ireland, his homeland, and a campaigner against anti-Irish racism in Scotland, he has become a favourite bête noir for Rangers fans. The loathing directed towards him is unbelievable. Well, it would be if it was not for the fact that it is there for all to see.
As Kevin McKenna said, the mainstream do not acknowledge Phil’s existence to any degree. And his track record of being right is far better, I suggest, than anyone who will be in the frame for the official Scottish Sports Journalist of the Year awards.
I think it is fair to say that none of the people I have mentioned became involved in the story with the intention of winning awards. But winning awards, or receiving the accolade of being told he should do, has been the result for the men, or in RTC’s case man woman/consortium, involved.
Maybe if some Rangers fans had paid attention to the warnings from all of the above sources, then the disaster that struck Ibrox might have been avoided or at least the effects mitigated.
Ironically, the prize winners mentioned are castigated for having been correct!
However the clamour still goes up from Rangers fans that “something must be done” about the “Enemies of Rangers” as Chris Graham referred to them in his post-modern, ironic and frankly hilarious piece in which he brilliantly parodied the views of the stereo-typical “Rangers fan”. Mr Graham deserves an award for that column, undoubtedly.
Perhaps a few people did not get
the joke as he deleted it from his
blog, but I am sure it can be found if you look hard enough.
Indeed, and speaking for myself, I read a tweet from a Rangers supporter which stated that he had written to the Law Society of Scotland to complain about me writing this blog!
Maybe the next few months and years will see those Titans of the blue section of the blogosphere being accorded their due recognition. Until then, as I have realised, you need to do something more, and indeed much more, than simply to mention Rangers all the time to win an award.
Yes, even to win a ROBY!
Posted by Paul McConville, who would like to thank the Academy, Craig Whyte, David Murray, Carlo
Verde, Imran Ahmad, all his blog commenters, his family and friends, the producers, the mysterious PL and DD, and everyone else who has made it possible for him to receive this prestigious award…