Ignoring the story.

In recent weeks a few close colleagues have proffered the opinion to me that there is a book in how the mainstream media in Scotland covered the story of Rangers’ financial problems over the past three years.

These conversations happen almost every time you get a group of journalist in a room for any length of time.

Most of these book ideas are worthy rather than worthwhile.

They usually never get past the discussion stage.

However James Traynor’s blog in the Daily Record yesterday suggested to me that there might well be legs in such a project.


From my perspective it has been a long tortuous process to get the Rangers financial story, particularly the tax case, into the mainstream.

There have been times in the past when I thought we were finally over the last hurdle.


Last April saw the famous nod of the head from Rangers’ Chairman Alistair Johnston and the spat between James Traynor and Chick Young on live radio.



There are two powerful forces at work against the full truth coming out.

The first one is a basic human emotional response to bad news.

No one wants to believe an inconvenient truth.

Despite the basic facts and figures of the Rangers tax case being published in the News of the World Scottish edition in May 2010 many Rangers fans have remained in denial.

The second one is connected to the first and it is about the basic commercial interests of the major titles in Scotland.

Quite simply their readership is mainly of a Rangers persuasion and they don’t want to be fed a daily diet of bad news about their club.

These titles, once with almost total market penetration, operate now on very narrow margins.

Any significant dip in circulation could spell the end.

Quite simply “going big” on the Rangers Tax case story could have cost them readers.

Darryl King of the Eventing Times stands out as the only journalist in a major Scottish title to have followed this story at every opportunity.

He deserves much praise for this.


For the most part his colleagues have been asleep at the wheel on this one.

Into this vacuum has stepped New Media.

The Rangers tax case blog has unpicked the minutiae of this complex story and has regularly scooped the mainstream media.


RTC has also been a gathering point for engaged, knowledgeable posters who have interacted with the anonymous blogger and, crucially, with each other.

I have had a foot in both camps in reporting on this story by filing copy to titles like the News of the World and blogging on this and other sites.

There is a story to be told about how this story, without New Media, would have been largely ignored by the major titles in Scotland.

I believe that the mainstream media’s squeamishness on this story has been a factor in the absence of any major grassroots movement by Rangers supporters to secure new ownership for the club.


There is a glint in the eyes of most Rangers supporters these days when the HMRC case is mentioned.

It is the reflection of headlights.

Oh deer…

Now, someone should write a book about that.

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