Posts Tagged ‘herald’

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.

Rangers fans concerned by potential deal with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The Herald’s Hugh Macdonald quoting the Rangers supporters’ group ‘Union of Fans’:

“Will the board get an unequivocal assurance that the SFA will not use this issue as a stick to beat the club with further down the line? The SFA have a track record of attempting to impose draconian sanctions on Rangers using tenuous methods.”

Two obvious things spring to mind when reading this article, which have not occurred to Macdonald, or he has chosen to ignore:

One is his role as a journalist in questioning the above statement – as opposed to simply re-printing it verbatim and skipping to the main course – ie. the barefaced accusation from the Union of Fans that the SFA somehow has a history of treating Rangers unfairly or disproportionately for misdemeanours and will do so again.

Macdonald offers no opposition or analysis to this assertion.

At the very least, the idea that the SFA would offer the club (at the behest of a fans’ group) any kind of assurance that it would not take issue with a potential investor who later proves to be undesirable or problematic from a regulatory perspective is risible.

Rangers – and its fans – have a proud history of embracing investors of questionable wealth and dubious character; it would be perfectly normal for the sporting authorities to reserve future judgement on any potential investor or owner, although it’s worth pointing out that they have been somewhat lax at doing so in the past.

Secondly, the entire article reads like a personal plea by Macdonald on behalf of Rangers fans to the club’s board not to seek the help of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley as a solution to their financial problems, or, to permit the renaming of Ibrox as part of an investment package.

Imagine if Celtic had ‘done a Legia’

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Graham Spiers in The Herald:

Had it been Celtic who had been bounced out of Europe on a Bartosz Bereszynski-style admin glitch – having beaten Legia Warsaw 6-1 over two games – I’m guessing the club’s response would have gone something like this.

Peter Lawwell, the Celtic CEO, would have been apoplectic with the injustice of it. So, too, the club’s supporters. And the Scottish media would have been urged in the strongest terms to try to overturn this affront to decency and fairness.

This is what passes for newspaper journalism; creating a hypothetical scenario in order to justify an attack on Celtic.

King still in play as financial chess game rumbles on

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Hugh Macdonald (a journalist that the Monkey has a lot of respect for), purports to analyse the financial machinations at Ibrox with a feeble chess metaphor to describe the potential re-emergence of Grandmaster Dave King as a knight in shining armour to save a company facing checkmate.

King has been working the City since at least March. His initial strategy was to canvass support for his plan to take the proxy vote for significant shareholdings and force change. This, increasingly, has been seen to be impractical, perhaps even unworkable, as long as the major players remain united within the Ibrox boardroom.

The pressure must be applied to the Beaufort Group that holds the majority of shares. This has been applied effectively by the strategy of some fans to withhold season ticket money. There has been much argument over whether this constitutes a boycott but it would be much more instructive to investigate the action’s consequences.

It has brought King back into play, despite the reluctance of some on the Ibrox board to deal with the South African businessman. King’s patience was criticised over the summer but he may just have played his cards astutely.

Rangers are searching for money and King claims he has it. This seemingly straightforward case of demand and supply, however, founders on the rocks of implacable politics at Rangers.

In some circles, King is viewed as a criminal and a tax-dodger – rightly so, since being convicted by the South Africa Prosecuting Authority after pleading guilty to 41 contraventions of section 75 of the South Africa Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 and being sentenced according to his plea agreement.

However, make no mistake – King has money; lots of it. And he is no pawn.

Expect a Zwischenzug sometime soon.

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.

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)

Murrays could return to Rangers

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

The Herald’s Richard Wilson does his level best to gloss over Paul Murray’s role as a non-executive director of Rangers during the five-year period preceding the club’s insolvency event in 2012, which would be necessarily scrutinised under the Scottish Football Association’s Articles of Association regarding fit and proper office bearers:

Despite (Craig) Whyte taking Rangers Football Club plc into administration, Paul Murray would not be prevented from returning to by the Scottish Football Association’s fit and proper person criteria.

Forget the fact that the sentence above does not actually make any sense (“prevented from returning to by”?), this is an astounding assertion with zero supporting evidence other than Murray’s own public proclamations about his own suitability for the board position; either Wilson has contacted the SFA regarding Murray’s potential return – and has been told his prior involvement with a failed football club would not present an obstacle to him joining the current PLC’s board – or, Wilson’s remark is pure propaganda disguised as news on behalf of Mr Murray.

Fact Howler 1: Yes, Craig Whyte took Rangers Football Club plc into administration, but the correct usage would be “liquidation”, not “administration”.

Fact Howler 2: If he somehow manages to pass the SFA’s fit and proper person text, Paul Murray would not be “returning” to Rangers Football Club plc; he is attempting to secure a seat on the board of The Rangers International Football Club PLC, which is an entirely separate entity. He has never occupied a seat on the board of this company, so he can’t possibly “return” to it.

Building blocks help Rangers construct road back to the top

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

The Herald’s Richard Wilson stares at the mantlepiece while poking the fire:

Rangers are still developing, and McCoist himself admits they are some distance from the club’s old standards, but the manager is attempting to put building blocks in place for the future.

This is what is known as ‘Succulent Lamb Journalism’ – the benefits accruing to journalists who produce flattering and uncritical articles about Rangers FC.

BBC Trust denies reports it is to pursue Jim Spence Rangers complaint

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Newsnet Scotland on the BBC Trust not investigating a complaint regarding broadcaster Jim Spence, contrary to a report by The Herald’s Martin Williams claiming it was:

The BBC Trust’s rebuttal of the story came on 17 September, the day after The Herald article was published, but the article has still not been updated.

Mr Williams, the story’s author, admitted to Newsnet Scotland that he had received an email from the Trust informing him the story was incorrect but “did not realise they wanted a clarification”.

This is exactly the sort of thing Hostile Monkey was established to expose and highlight: deliberate failure to report the facts.

Note the very unambiguous language towards the end of the article (the Monkey’s emphasis):

When liquidated in June of last year, Rangers FC owed tens of millions to 276 creditors. Charles Green’s Sevco Scotland Limited acquired the assets of the club and the company was renamed as The Rangers Football Club Ltd. The new entity entered Scottish football in the lowest tier Third Division.

The Monkey awaits the deluge of complaints to Newsnet Scotland and the inevitable statement from The Rangers International Football Club Plc (or one of its subsidiaries) encouraging the same.

SFA fined Rangers because they asked them to

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Rangers’ lawyer, in contrast, specifically asked for the club to be fined in
respect of Charge 3, or Rule 14(g). He did not lead evidence of Rangers’ financial position or ability to pay any fine. Rangers did not appeal the fine.

Makes you wonder why the current Ibrox regime made such a fuss about the disparity between punishments handed out to Dunfermline and Hearts for their insolvency events…