A Terrible Week For The Hacks

JS69303298This has been an interesting seven days for those of us who watch the media.

First, let me say how tremendous it was to see Jim Spence talking to one of the blogs, on the record, over the weekend.

That’s what I predicted when he left the BBC and I’m delighted that one of his stated reasons for doing that was that he wanted to be less constrained in what he could say.

A guy like Jim, with integrity and passion, and who understands the fans, is a voice we should have articulating his views without fear or favour. He will be a supreme asset to our national sport debates going forward, and I am looking forward to his next intervention.

With other journalists, I have less sympathy and less desire to offer praise or support.

I refrained, at the weekend (although only just) from posting a full-on rant over Neil McCann’s latest spitting out of the dummy, over whether Craig Gordon should have been sent off against Ross County, this time complete with pamphlet waving as if he was holding the Ten Commandments.

McCann isn’t my favourite person. He can’t hide his dislike of Celtic (and yes, I know he grew up a Celtic fan; King Kenny and Danny McGrain grew up Rangers supporters and neither has a whole lot of love for the blue half of Glasgow) and that’s an appalling thing in a so-called impartial reporter.

I let it slide because there’s not much more to say on the subject. I’ve ranted about him a couple of times in the past and most people have a pretty clear idea of how I regard him; I would not let him into Celtic Park even if he was paying at the gate.

The club has, to the best of my knowledge, done nothing to keep him from our door and that’s up to them. Perhaps it’s not wanting to piss off Sky and perhaps it’s just that they don’t regard a torn faced hack and his ludicrous opinions as more than a minor irritant and they probably don’t want to give him the oxygen of more publicity, which a ban would do.

I can get behind that view and I can only imagine the squealing he’d do if he was given martyrdom to wrap himself in.

When we banned Keevins I thought it was about time, and his own wailing was sweet music. He, too, has had an odd seven days. I didn’t listen to Clyde myself last week (I never do unless there is an expanding crisis on or off the park at Ibrox, because then it is just beautiful; at any other time it is  a hellish drag, so pro the Ibrox club it would make you sick) but I heard about it afterwards from numerous friends, most of whom were incredulous.

Apparently the “poor man’s Gerry McNee” (and you can have no concept of just how low that standard is unless you once endured that eejits writing) thinks Warburton is a proven quality who will lead Sevco to the Championship title by ten points at least.

Let’s forget for a moment that he thought his mate Coisty (he freely admits this) was of similar skills and made exactly the same prediction last year … let’s focus on this one.

For one thing, he like many of his hack mates has been impressed by Warburton’s track record although none of them have been able to say just why. I’ve gone over that subject here before too, but in case any of the hacks is reading here’s a wee refresher course.

He’s in his fifties and has exactly eighteen months experience as a coach. He has won nothing in that time, save for a couple of manager of the month awards. He came from Brentford, not AC Milan, and only then because their ambitious and brilliant chairman made a decision halfway through last season not to renew his contract. Get that? He was let go and out of work and there was not a queue of clubs at the door, enquiring about his services.

If we contrast that with the way Keevins and others reacted to Celtic’s appointment of Ronny Deila we see the old familiar pattern; we aren’t a million miles away from the days when Jo Venglos and his signings were being slated without mercy.

Deila, apparently, “had to prove himself” and was seen as a huge risk. Despite being in his mid-thirties, with a national league title and cup to his name already.

These kind of “expert opinions” from lickspittle gutter grabbers are why Scottish sports journalism is viewed with such absolute and utter contempt. You don’t ask for much more than consistency, than some intellectual integrity, some basic honesty. What you get instead is spiteful, wilful idiocy designed to earn controversy points.

It’s because of people like Keevins that there’s very little sympathy going around for Chris McLaughlin and Graham Spiers, in light of their ban from Ibrox.

Now, as a guy who has called for Keevins’ ban from Celtic Park to be extended to everywhere within 100 miles of the stadium (or any stadium where we are likely to play) and who wants McCann to do his next Sky commentary at Parkhead from the carpark, it would be somewhat hypocritical of me to criticise Sevco for handing out bans to hacks they don’t particularly like.

Yet there is a difference and you don’t have to be a genius to see it.

Just take off the blue tinted glasses.

I do have some residue of empathy with Graham Spiers. I’ll get to him in a minute. But I find what happened to Chris McLaughlin almost painfully funny even if the club is disgracing itself in pandering to its lunatic fringe with the move.

All McLaughlin did on this occasion was to highlight that a number of the vermin who follow that club and who keep on shaming it had been arrested following the match at Easter Road and that the match delegate had noted sectarian singing in his report.

Now whether some Sevco fan sites and groups like it or not, that is news. It’s a big story and I was glad to see that the BBC was acting responsibly by covering it and not simply ignoring it and hoping that it would go away. McLaughlin was right to highlight it and the ridiculousness of the reaction from the Blue Room puts the writing on the wall for every hack in the land.

And it will work too, because most of them, and most of their papers, are gutless frauds. Not everyone has the integrity and courage of Jim Spence.

What laces this with deadly humour is that McLaughlin has been one of the most sycophantic pro-Sevco, pro-King supporters out of all of the BBC’s resident line animals. He is mocked almost constantly on Twitter for the way his nose is constantly pressed against the backside of whomever occupies the Ibrox boardroom at any one time.

He was entitled to better than this, he really was. The Dave King Medal of Honour at the very least. In my view he has been treated abysmally considering the services he’s rendered over the years, all of it whilst working on the taxpayer’s tab too.

Spiers is a different ballgame entirely, and his being singled out is significant and should be a big flashing warning light for everyone who believed, for a second, King’s claims that he wanted to run a more transparent club.

We’ve said from the start that you can’t believe a word that comes out of King’s mouth and it not greatly surprising to see the notion of openness go by the boards. These people, for whatever reason, are determined to avoid scrutiny of any sort, even when, as McLaughlin has done, all the hacks are doing is reporting the facts.

But Spiers has simply been critical and asked some questions about the club and how it’s being run. He’s asked the questions a lot of the supporters of the club would want a good journalist to ask. The decision to ban him reeks of fear and suppression of dissent.

It is the behaviour, frankly, of people with something to hide.

Sevco fans ought to be grievously concerned by that, instead of stupidly dancing on the tables at the purging of “enemies of the club.” Haven’t they ever heard the phrase “sunlight is the best disinfectant”? Do they not know what it means?

They are only following a NewCo In the first place because Whyte was able to bamboozle some of the media and silence the rest whilst he got on with running them into the ground. Murray only got away with his own disastrous policies because he was doling out the succulent lamb.

The media has been the club’s most effective ally in keeping the truth from the supporters for many, many years now … and every journalist who has broken ranks in that time and delivered the facts to those who needed them most ought to have been a hero amongst the fans.

Instead … they get this.

Witch hunted by the websites and the supporters groups.

Madness. They just never will get it.

In the meantime, the dearth of good sports journalism in Scotland has taken a battering and a half over the last seven days … with only Spency emerging with much credit.

It was ever thus, though.

(Writing is my full time job friends and neighbours, and the support of my readers is vital. If you want to support it, you can make a donation at the link. If every reader was able to donate just £5 a year that would keep the site going strong well into the future. Many thanks in advance.)


James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

18 thoughts on “A Terrible Week For The Hacks

  • 4 August, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    great article as per James but a small maybe moot point-King Kenny and Danny McGrain were both supporters of the Old Rangers nevertheless a great story and well done yet agaon

  • 4 August, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Good stuff James, hard to believe sevconians think the smsm are against them!!

    You need to change the line about Danny and Kenny to …..growing up as RANGERS fans

  • 4 August, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I think you meant to say that King Kenny and Danny grew up Rangers supporters. Great article though (as usual).

  • 4 August, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks guys. I noticed the typo on Kenny and Danny before I saw your replies but bet that you would all mention it 🙂

    You folks keep me right! Nothing gets past you! HH

  • 4 August, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Lol lol james your really losing it now that the RANGERS seem to be progressing in your paranoid teams direction. Enjoy your tunnel vision views on the worlds most successful club with your servco , hun and new co comments . We all laugh at paranoid self centered supporters of selic pacific coast version 4 of a club called celtic oh sorry athletic oh sorry paraselic oh whatever. WE LOVE OUR OWN CLUB, WE SUPPORT OUR OWN CLUB ,WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN COMMENTING ON OTHER CLUBS RIGHTS OR WRONGS. BUT WE DO ENJOY A LAUGH WHEN WE SEE ALL YOUS SELIC FANS CRY ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING OR NOT DOING. LOL. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO GET STRONGER, YOU WILL CONTINUE TO GROW MORE PARANOID ABOUT A CLUB OTHER THAN YOUR OWN. Enjoy your unchallenged league championships and your two or three games in europe from your couches while we get behind our team, and finally finally finally worry about your own team you are becoming a joke and a laughing stock amongst us lol lol lol . W.A.T.P

  • 4 August, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Bang on again James,Keevins a pompous idiot first class,Regarding the “Pep” at Ibrox,it’s early days,him and his side kick have not met anything yet,and the Hibees will be a better team H H

  • 4 August, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    And thus it ever shall be 🙁

  • 5 August, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    keevins is in the same category as McCann, both grew up Celtic fans and both are bitter and twisted with resentment towards our great club.
    typical media….anything the huns sing about is all quietly kept under raps but as soon as even only 1 of our fans is caught singing something out of order its in all the papers headlines for weeks on end.
    consider this…..since the start of our journey (1888 lol) we have always had the refs, sfa and media all against us while the huns have had the opposite, getting as much help(cheating) as possible and considering this fact, it just shows how far ahead of them we always have been because if it was an even playing field ….god we would have won so much more than we have…….it could be as much as a 50% swing in our favour of honours won, and lost for them.

  • 5 August, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I couldn\’t agree more about the double standards, James. Here is Lee Doe from HITC Sport today:

    \”It is difficult to see where the Gers could improve under Warburton\” WTF

    No wonder Sevco are going tits up, like Rangers did, if Jabba is trousering their cash for organising spin like this. Joseph Goebbels would blush reading this pish.

  • 5 August, 2015 at 8:56 pm


    What was it H. Keevins did or said that got him the bum’s rush from Celtic Park? I heard he said some unpleasant and untrue things about Tommy Burns. Is that correct? Does anybody know?

  • 5 August, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    ehhh…..david……why are you reading or commenting on celtic blogs ????
    I laugh at your pain and I laugh at your sorry mess of a newco football team……what was it last season ? third in the 2nd tier of Scottish football lol……oh and how much money has your saviour dave honest king pumped into sevco ?…..what ? nothing….but I guess that’s ok because ibrox isn’t falling apart and your squad of players will easily win promotion and be the Scottish champions the season after that…..no money needed, all is well…….lol ……..how thick are you lot ? will you ever learn ? I guess not….

  • 5 August, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Not entirely clear who you mean by that last. If it’s me, some idea of why would help.

  • 6 August, 2015 at 12:04 am

    David the deluded

  • 6 August, 2015 at 8:52 am

    That’s a relief. Excuse the pun.

  • 9 August, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Hi James
    I have just made a small donation keep up the good work.


  • 10 August, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    “Pacific Shelf”.

    Whenever I hear/read this retort I know I’m reading the rantings of an Imbecile.

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