Sometimes a simple choice of words can betray a greater truth.Listen to the exchange between James Traynor and Tom English (4.51minutes) on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Your Call” on Saturday August 13th.
JT: The pictures. These are embarrassing. Aren’t they?
TE: They are embarrassing. I don’t doubt that Rangers have the money to pay this bill. Right?
But it’s allowing that picture. You know it was…I thought it was mortifying to be honest, to see it.
An interesting choice of words from Tom English: “allowing that picture.”
This, perhaps, shines a, light on the unconscious understanding of the press pack in Scottish football.
Tom English is one of the most respected and experienced journalists working in Scottish football and he certainly knows the basic topography of the SPL.
His words hint at an implicit acceptance that Rangers usually get the press coverage they want in Scotland.
Well they didn’t last week.
I know that Rangers’ PR people fought very hard to prevent those pictures being taken and finding their way onto the front pages of the tabloids in Scotland.
The Sun, acting on my tip, had their snapper there on Wednesday morning.
Taking a belt and braces approach, I had a freelance photographer there also just in case. I know there would be just one chance to capture the moment Sheriff Officers entered Ibrox with the demand from HMRC. He was able to sell his snaps to the Daily Record where he used to work.
I only asked that he give me two images for my site for use on the Wednesday- the day the pics were taken.
I was delighted that he sold his pics because it meant that Scotland’s two biggest daily selling newspapers had the pictures that Rangers didn’t want on their front pages.
Dear reader this is rare. This is very very rare.
With the Record running the story and the Sun “going big” then it wasn’t surprising that Sky had a guy outside Ibrox the same day.
This was not the media coverage that Rangers wanted on Thursday August 11th.
The PR plan since then has been to minimise the significance of the visit of the Sheriff Officers going into Ibrox. This strategy is aimed primarily at Rangers’ own supporters.
Perhaps that is why Rangers’ Director of Football went onto Radio Scotland the same day to be interviewed by Traynor and Richard Gordon. The Rangers fans listening, I am sure, would have been looking for reassurance.
The interesting revelation for the listeners would have been the fact that Gordon Smith does not have a hands-on role in transfer negotiations. This is surprising given his knowledge of the game and his previous work as a football agent. Why is he not centrally involved in transfer matters? I met Gordon in Dublin at the Carling cup earlier this year (just before he was appointed DoF at Rangers) and a long chat with him. He certainly knows what it takes to be a Rangers player. He also knows the soccer marketplace inside out. So his non-participation in Rangers’ transfer dealings is puzzling. There is definitely a story worth pursuing here for some determined journalist in the Scottish press pack. Rangers’ supporters, especially those who bank roll the club with season ticket money, have legitimate concerns and their questions need to be answered.
The primary function of Scottish sports journalism is clear: find the stories that are of public interest and publish them without asking whether powerful institutions will “allow” them or not.