Rangers investor Mike Ashley bought naming rights of Ibrox Stadium for just £1   

Friday 5 September, 2014

For a change, most of Scotland’s media were running to catch up with the Daily Record’s Keith Jackson yesterday over the story in which he revealed that the former Rangers director Charles Green had sold the naming rights to Ibrox stadium two years ago for just £1, to the Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

The sheep simply trundled along with the herd as the story was drip-fed to the media by Green and the Easdale brothers – including the BBC, who really should know better.

However, later in the evening on Thursday 4th September, the BBC Scotland journalist Jim Spence said something on their nightly Sportsound programme that caught the Monkey’s attention:

“Who stands to benefit from this?”

Not even Jackson asked this question in his “exclusive” story, yet it is the single, most important question that needs to be answered – and with the exception of Spence, no-one has bothered to raise it.

Jackson’s story, by comparison, reads like a distraught, emotional plea on the part of the so-called journalist for Ashley “not to press the button on renaming Ibrox”.

It’s a fundamental problem for an individual like Jackson to investigate and report objectively on the club he clearly loves.

The basic conundrum for him is that anything he prints has to be commensurate with the Daily Record’s commercial requirements to sell advertising space and punt newspapers, while perhaps being of interest to the public – but Jackson is simply incapable of doing it because it would require him to cause harm to his favourite club.

The consequences for him would be a reduction in his access and sustained attacks from the club’s supporters.

His credibility as a journalist does not enter the equation, because he simply has none – yet his peers in the Scottish media repeatedly, and quite astonishingly, vote him newspaper journalist of the year at the annual Scottish Press Awards.

Similarly, journalists elsewhere in the Scottish media have significant issues with finding ways to broadcast or publish a story that is already out in the public domain, but which has clearly been leaked in order to benefit (either financially or commercially) third-party individuals like Charles Green, Mike Ashley or the Easdale brothers.

It’s a big problem for Scottish football journalism.

Update: he’s at it again today with a story about Ashley taking control of the club’s superstores. (Note the typo on the sub-heading: ‘payrole’).

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