Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

A club capable of being owned and operated

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

On last night’s Sportsound programme on BBC Radio Scotland, the former Herald journalist Richard Wilson – now working in some sort of capacity with the BBC – spent some considerable time attempting to explain the current financial farrago going on at Rangers.

During his stint on-air, he was asked a question by the programme’s presenter, Kenny McIntyre, that went something long the lines of: if the club runs out of cash, would this be classed as a second or a first administration?

McIntyre’s question is important, for two reasons; one is down to how the club would be punished if it was forced into administration due to cash-flow problems, and the second concerns the myth being perpetuated by supporters of the club that it is the same entity which existed prior to its liquidation in 2012 with honours and history intact.

Wilson responded with the following remark:

“In February 2013, Lord Nimmo Smith ruled that the current club was a continuation of the same entity, so Rangers – in a football sense – are the same club, so therefore it would be a second administration. In corporate terms, it would be a first administration for Rangers International Football Club.”

Now, here is the problem with this: the High Court Judge Lord Nimmo-Smith, in a document produced for the Scottish Premier League in 2013, published a remark to the effect that football clubs are capable of being owned and operated or bought and sold by a “parent” company or operator.

The document was produced as part of a tribunal commissioned by the SPL to determine whether The Rangers Football Club PLC had broken league rules in its remuneration to players.

The crucial element here is that Nimmo-Smith’s remarks were not a legal ruling or court judgement; they were his own personal view.

His opinion has never been put to the test in a court of law, but it suited the SPL’s agenda at the time (ie. to restore Rangers – and their income potential – to the top-flight of Scottish football).

However, Wilson casually passed along Nimmo-Smith’s remarks as fact on-air – either because he does not understand their original purpose, or he has a deep-rooted desire to somehow make them true.

It’s a form of journalism best-suited to a newspaper.

The BBC has often found itself in trouble for remarks made by its presenters and journalist like this before, especially where Rangers are concerned – usually when the corporation has reported that Rangers were NOT a continuing entity (see: Jim Spence Rangers Jibes), so this is a curious about-face by the national broadcaster – and it will be interesting to see if Wilson’s remarks go unchecked, or if the angry hoards rise up demanding redress.

Ultimately, it’s a classic illustration of how the individual perspective of one journalist, based on the subtleties of their language when tasked with interpreting and reporting information can be influenced by their own world view.

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

Friday, September 5th, 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’).

Peter Lawwell and the “Celtic miss Rangers” narrative

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

A narrative is doing the rounds of Scotland’s media outlets which suggests that the Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has said his club “needs” Rangers in the top-flight of Scottish football.

This is untrue.

The assertion is based on a series of one-to-one interviews given by Lawwell to television, radio, newspapers and online outlets last week.

So far, what Lawwell has actually said is that Rangers’ absence has brought about a significant reduction in income – not just for Celtic, but for other Scottish clubs – although, he stresses that Celtic have suffered more than any other club, financially speaking.

The actual narrative of Lawwell’s statements are less about Celtic “missing” or “needing” Rangers in the top-flight, and are more about the historical financial mis-management at Ibrox, which brought about the subsequent liquidation of the club and it being forced to reform in the lowest division of Scottish football – the net effect of which has been a dent in the overall finances of clubs around the country.

However, this is not the narrative that is being adopted by Scotland’s sporting journalists.

Here’s a snapshot of the responses Lawwell has given:

“Rangers going has taken millions out the game. We have probably lost more than anyone. We have bridged that gap by selling players and making profits and we’ve kept Scottish football at a level more than any other club and I think we don’t get enough credit for that.” (BBC)

“When Rangers went down we took £100 off the season tickets. So that is £4m for two years. The Rangers games, that is at least another £3m. The fact there is a perception among our supporters that there is no competition and you are going to win anyway, and you don’t go to the game, so it could be £10m. We could have lost £10m a year, quite easily, on the back of Rangers going down.” (Herald)

“The lost money which Rangers, and now Hearts and Hibs, have taken out of the game, has been made up from profit from selling players. Our revenues have stayed the same from selling players to make up for those lost millions.But when Rangers went down we took £100 off season tickets. So that is £4m for two years. The Rangers games, at least another £3m.” (Daily Record)

By and large, the media has reported with headlines along the lines of ‘Revealed: Rangers’ troubles have cost Celtic £10m a year, reveals Parkhead chief exec Peter Lawwell‘, ‘Peter Lawwell admits Rangers’ absence from top-flight has left Celtic with a £10m black hole‘, but the broader narrative being expounded on programmes such as the BBC’s Sportsound, Clyde’s Super Scoreboard and by journalists like Tom English and Graham Spiers on Twitter is the nascent view that Scottish football is dying a slow, painful fiscal death due to the absence of, effectively, its most financially reckless club.

The Monkey finds it odd that journalists are bleating on about one club (which has managed its finances quite frugally over the past 25 years or so) requiring some form of monetary support from an outfit that has systematically, repeatedly and shamefully mis-managed its finances during the same period to the point of oblivion.

Sources close to US billionaire George Soros rubbish claims that he is ready to buy into Gers

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Gary Ralston writing in The Daily Record:

They insist they’ve never heard of Green, have no interest in doing business with him or any desire to invest in Rangers.

Claim Chowder from the BBC’s Chris McLaughlin only 10 days ago:

Former Rangers chief executive Charles Green has told BBC Sport he is close to raising up to £10m to invest in the Scottish Championship club.[...]

[...]One of the interested parties is Soros Fund Management and it is believed the US-based group have held talks with a senior Rangers official.

Rangers: Charles Green ‘raising £10m’ to invest in club

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

BBC Scotland’s Chris McLaughlin, fresh from his role as the Corporation’s Commonwealth Games reporter, and without a hint of irony:

Former Rangers chief executive Charles Green has told BBC Sport he is close to raising up to £10m to invest in the Scottish Championship club.

Green left the Ibrox club last year following allegations about business dealings with former owner Craig Whyte.

Now Green claims he has investors ready to stabilise the club financially.

One of the interested parties is Soros Fund Management and it is believed the US-based group have held talks with a senior Rangers official.

McLaughlin’s distinct lack of analysis of Green’s proclamations is quite worrisome.

Scottish football: Who will win what in season 2014-15?

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

To a man, the BBC pundits and journalists pick Rangers to win the SPFL Championship title.

Filed away for future Claim Chowder.

Fear and loathing at Scotzine

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

From Scotzine’s Aiden Wylie. I don’t think you’ll see a more embarrassing, poorly-written piece of pseudo-intellectual codswallop all year:

Whether or not Terry Butcher, the popular manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, takes the Hibernian job is hardly a matter on Watergate level. But if he does not – and the denials from ICT suggest he will not – somebody at the BBC has at best jumped the gun, and at worst set his or her profession’s reputation back decades.

Especially since Inverness have now granted Hibs permission to speak to Butcher.

Rangers, bloggers, the media and The ‘L’ word

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Ireland-based Scots blogger Phil McGillivan, once again deliberately ignoring evidence when it fails to suit his agenda:

Only Jim Delahunt on Clyde consistently uses the “L” word when discussing matters Ibrox.

If liquidation isn’t in the narrative then the entire Sevco saga makes no sense.

Subsequently the hacks start to tie themselves in knots to present the same club fiction to their readers.

Only today, the Daily Record has used the very word Phil claims the newspaper refuses to print:

Murray and his partner Paul Murray have concerns about two shareholders – Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita holdings – who hold a 12 per cent stake in the club, with fans fearing they could be a front for former chief executive Charles Green or even Craig Whyte, the man who started the club on its path towards liquidation last year.

And The Scotsman: Skipper Lee McCulloch believes reaching their first final since Rangers went into administration and liquidation last year shows they are on the right track on their road to recovery.

And the BBC: King lost the £20m he invested during Sir David Murray’s spell as owner after Rangers went into liquidation last year.

And the Express: Rangers entered administration in February last year. Charles Green’s Sevco bought the club’s assets last June as it faced liquidation and later changed the name to The Rangers Football Club Plc.

And even The Herald’s Richard Wilson, a man known for his Succulent Lamb journalism manages to use it: The governing body would take into account the period King spent on the board after Craig Whyte took over as owner, preceding Rangers going into administration then liquidation last year.

The Monkey is baffled as to which “hacks” McGillivan is referring to.

Rangers: Dave King cannot broker Ibrox compromise

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Interesting use of language from the BBC on the reasons why South Africa-based criminal Dave King has given up on his bid to become Rangers chairman:

King has been talking with both factions in the power struggle for boardroom control at Ibrox.

But he revealed no “consensus agreement” had been reached because “certain influential shareholders are unwilling to compromise”.

In other words, he’s given up because he would fail the Scottish FA’s ‘fit and proper person’ test, not to mention failing to meet the requirements of the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange as they relate to individuals with criminal convictions controlling publicly listed companies.

The Sevco Fusiliers

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Ireland-based Scots blogger Phil McGillivan trots out a well-worn classic in the wake of Saturday’s controversial Armed Forces Day celebration at Ibrox:

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media in Scotland turned a Nelsonian eye to the Ibrox match day atmosphere.

Plus ça change…

This is despite almost every single major Scottish media outlet actually covering the story at the point when there was an actual story to cover, other than the event itself – ie. that complaints had been made regarding potential criminal activity and the authorities had decided to investigate the matter further).

McGillivan repeatedly condemns the Scottish mainstream media (which he usually refers to as ‘SMSM’, even though ‘mainstream’ is actually one word, not two) for failing to cover stories which he feels are worthy of note (from his perspective).

He conveniently forgets, that unlike him, traditional media outlets (ie. television, radio, newspapers) are legally accountable for their content (unlike bloggers – even those who bandy about their NUJ credentials as some kind of qualification permitting them to publish the erratic contents of their heads).

Speed is not the mainstream media’s concern – in fact, for most media operators (ie. commercial entities such as newspapers) their major concern is their income. Understandably, this can be frustrating, especially when you feel an injustice remains unreported.

However, McGillivan’s attitude towards this well-established process presents itself as an acute form of irrational media hostility, largely centred around a unique confirmation bias: the Scottish Mainstream media has failed to cover a negative story about Rangers, so there must be a conspiracy within their ranks to protect the club’s fans and the custodians of Ibrox from public embarrassment or punishment.

To people like Phil, no other explanation is possible; the Scottish mainstream media are all in cahoots.

So, to refute McGillavan’s criticism and skepticism of the SMSM’s failure to cover the Armed Forces Day celebration at Ibrox, here’s a few ‘SMSM’ outlets that actually did cover it (doubtless, he will claim each of these outlets only succumbed to reporting on the matter due to pressure from bloggers like him – and, around 48 hours late, at that – although, it is important to note that Phil’s item was not published until 30 September, the same day most of the SMSM reported on the same story):

Rangers: Soldiers Accused Of Sectarian Singing (Sky News)
Police probe ‘concerns’ over Rangers’ Armed Forces Day (BBC News)
Soldiers accused of sectarian singing at Ibrox (The Scotsman)
Sectarianism probe launched by police & MoD as troops are accused of joining in vile chants at Ibrox (Daily Record)
Military probe into sectarian conduct at Ibrox forces day (The Herald)
Army and police investigate ‘sectarian chants’ at Rangers match (STV)

And one from Phil’s pal, Alex Thomson:

Armed forces’ involvement in a sectarian Rangers ‘party’ a PR disaster (Channel 4)