PART ONE – The “We told you so Moment”
“All too often arrogance accompanies strength, and we must never assume that justice is on the side of the strong. The use of power must always be accompanied by moral choice.” – Theodore Bikel
“The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance” – Samuel Butler
Back in the early days of the Internet there wasn’t much in the way of instant communication, not with the top of the range technology being less than light speed 14.4mbps modemswith instant penury phone bills. Never the less those lucky few who had access embraced the marvels of IRC, email and eventually the one or two web sites which sprang into existence. Despite the limitations it was a communication revolution. I have fond memories of sitting at the computer in the mid-90s as Celtic played away in Europe and marvelled at the fact Tims were online from Canada, Oz, South Africa and every place in the world that could offer even the feeble feed required by the frugal IRC protocol. I could never guess for one second how those early beginnings would contribute to the demise of Rangers, and how the Citizens’ Media would replace the tired, corrupt rubbish of their mainstream detractors.
How did it happen? Well as we all know websites in those early days lead a shadowy, niche market existence which was largely a mystery to a disinterested Joe Public. Content was little more than plain HTML with the occasional eye-watering atrocity of the Million Animated Gifs With Colourful Background Spectacular, most, if not all, with a contribution team of one person operating in true Island mode. Yet within a few years the Citizen Media/Internet Bampotery established itself as a serious rival to the mainstream media, with the coup de grâce delivered by the emergence of social network sites that delivered the news before the News did.
Freed from the necessity to tailor output to attract advertisers and whore to circulation figures, the new media could basically say what the hell it liked, and it did so with humour and energy noticeably lacking in the complacent mainstream media. At first the mainstream ignored the information revolution, and when it did deign to cast an opinion did so in disparaging terms even as their ivory towers began to sway and buckle. The “proper” journalists were the guys in the know, they were the ones with their finger on the pulse and the Internet Bampots were a howling mass of fetid ignorance – well that was their theory anyway. Like the dinosaurs they cast a glance at the oncoming meteor, didn’t understand its importance, and so were taken by surprise when an Extinction Notice was pinned to their collective ample posterior.
Remember these are the same people who at the time reported on Murray’s ludicrous “bid” for Ronaldo with barely contained awe and admiration (or in the case of Chick Young, not contained at all). The same people who informed us that Rangers had three teams; one to win the league, the other to win the European cup and a third to presumably clean the Ibrox windows, and walk Murray’s dog. It was a time when Ken Gallagher at The Herald could breathlessly reveal Murray’s Cunning Plan to have a Rangers club playing on every continent in a bold campaign to reign supreme for a billion, billion years. A time when James Traynor at the Record sent a nation into convulsions with writing so sycophantic that the phrase “succulent lamb” would henceforth become synonymous with piss poor journalism.
Away from the bloated dead pig that was Scottish mainstream sports media, Peter Burns, and later Andrew Young, at the E-tims were laying out in stark detail the soggy house of cards that was Rangers finances. Through their efforts the truth of Rangers financial malaise began to be publicly revealed; the frantic selling of revenue streams for quick cash injections, the desperate search to find any mug willing to throw more money into the ever hungry cash grinder and the likely consequences of Murray’s runaway train Speculate to Accumulate strategy. It was all dismissed as the haverings of moon howlers by those who thought they knew better; one reporter gleefully reported Minty Moonbeams scoffing at the proclamations of impending doom with a sneered “I earn more in a week than these people in a year”. Which incidentally may be the only true statement Murray every made during his time mismanaging RFC into financial meltdown.
Even when the facts were so blindingly obvious that any sane person could spot them 100km away in dense fog, the mainstream media and the Insider Loop oracles failed to exercise any kind of critical examination. For example when David Murray stepped back into to the chairman role at Ibrox, his return was greeted by the mainstream media like the deluded followers of Brian in the superb Monty Python film. Murray’s mother didn’t grab him by the ear and declare that he wasn’t the Messiah, just a “very naughty boy”, but it’s doubtful the slavering Press pack disciples would have taken any notice anyway. Even when his much vaunted Cunning Plan to get Rangers out of their financial mess turned out to be just some rambling mumblings about trading their way to success, not a single journalist said “Um..hold on a minute”. The Great Man had returned and everything was going to be ok.
Similarly when Craig Whyte emerged as a possible buyer for Rangers, the Internet Bampots outlined his dubious track record which had been extensively covered by Private Eye, and was readily available by searching Google. Yet when Whytebought Murray’s share in Rangers for an overpriced £1, Keith Jackson at the Daily Record led the way in greeting the greasy spiv as if he was anotherbluenosed messiah. It was Jackson who declared Whyte’s wealth to be “off the radar” as in a lot, not as it turned out to be undetected by the radar as it wasn’t actually there.
From Jackson’s article of 18 November 2010 “Craig Whyte profile: The Scots billionaire on the brink of taking over the club he loves”:
“By the age of 26, Whyte was already Scot land’s youngest self-made millionaire. Now, 13 years on, and in charge of a vast business empire, his wealth is off the radar.”
“Record Sport understands self-made billionaire Whyte has entered into the final stages of negotiations to buy control of the club he loves from Sir David Murray.”
“Murray may even regard Whyte as something of a kindred spirit.” (hahaha – Ed)
Billionaire? Where did that come from? Well some PR lackeys spouted the billionaire nonsense to the slavering press pack and true to their modus operandi, they never questioned a single claim or even asked for such boasts to be substantiated by tiresome nonsense like evidence. So used where the MSM to simply repackaging RFC press releases or faithfully typing up David Murray’s dictation, that they carried on regardless even when the smell of dysentery-riddled bovines permeated the air. It was only when it became abundantly clear even to the serial deniers that Rangers were heading for administration, did they turn on Whyte in a furious attempt to find a handy scapegoat.
So we now know that mainstream media failed to do their job, and indeed lent their own unintended contribution to Rangers demise by providing uncritical coverage to an institution hell bent on self-destruction. But In stark contrast to the smoking crater that is the MSM’s reputation, the Internet Bampotshave been totally and utterly vindicated. From the days when Burns and Young first lifted the lid of the maggot tin, to the recent superb efforts of sites such as Rangers Tax Case and Celtic Quick News, the Citizen Media has shown the corporate lackeys how journalism should work. Supporters have known this for a long time, and with the Internet now readily accessible for everyone the loss of MSM influence meant that when The Establishment called, the answering media disinformation campaign petered out in a small puff of ineffectuality.
As Mike Small wrote in The Guardian on 16 July 2012: “We’ve just seen the transformation of Scottish football, realised almost entirely through Twitter and key websites that have proliferated as the story has dominated every media outlet for over a year: the award-winning Rangers Tax Case, fans site Pie and Bovril, rebel journalist Phil Mac GiollaBhain, Wings Over Scotland, Scotzine and Paul McConville to name a few. These sites give us hope that what may follow is not just a renaissance in Scottish football but in Scottish media. A core part of this saga has been the failure of the sports and business media with allegations of laziness, partiality and just a complete lack of any critical faculties.”
Rangers Football Club is dead, gone, buried and David Murray has now no involvement in the game other than an object of ridicule for many, and of seething hatred from the same supporters who once bowed and scraped before his revered presence. The mainstream media in the shape of discredited buffoons such as Jackson, Keevins and Traynor are left ranting and railing at everyone and anyone who dares to opinion that the whole of the Scottish sport should not be tarnished and corrupted just to help out one club who for decades lived far beyond their means – probably illegally.
I’m of course aware that all of those who queued up to inform us of David Murray’s omnipotence, like Young and Traynor, are highly unlikely to read this article, but well just case they do I’d like to take this opportunity to say “We told you so!” Yes that felt good, I think I’ll do it again “We told you so!”