The importance of good men

Jim Spence is a good man.

All’s well that ends well and yesterday afternoon a good man got the support from his employers that he had perhaps thought wasn’t going to be forthcoming.

Had it not turned out so then it would have been a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Our hero’s fatal flaw would have been his basic honesty and that would say so much of where we are after the death of Rangers.

Despite some spinning to the contrary, my BBC sources tell me that Jim Spence formally requested redundancy on Monday night when he emailed the corporation’s HR Dept.

Although various Beeb staff had been asked to consider taking a severance package some months ago, it was the brouhaha over the broadcast last week that forced Spence to consider his position.

Once the email was sent into HR I understand that the Dundonian confirmed this decision in a telephone conversation with the BBC’s business manager, Ian Small, yesterday morning (Tuesday 10th September).

Moreover Spence’s request for redundancy and the controversy over the broadcast were entirely connected.

It may have suited some in the higher echelons of the corporation to dismiss it as a coincidence, but this is not the case.

Had it not been for the controversy over the broadcast Spence was would not have requested redundancy at the start of this week.

I published my piece just as Jim was going into a meeting with his union rep and BBC management at Pacific Quay.

With Paul Holleran of the NUJ in his corner it soon became apparent that the Beeb would back their man.

However, it is important to remember that Jim Spence is entirely blameless in this entire episode.

He was merely stating what many people in Scottish football consider to be true.

Indeed, the folk at Pacific Quay had defended their position after complaints were made to the BBC Trust and the advice of their QC was that The Rangers Football Club (formerly known as Sevco Scotland Limited) was indeed a new club.

Since the BBC Trust ruled on this matter, the corporation’s journalists in Scotland have been in a somewhat difficult position.

What is now needed is clarity and guidance from their management.

There are good people at the BBC in senior positions who have the best of intentions, but like all big organisations their internal communications could be better.

The failure to counteract the piece in the Herald about the BBC’s “apology”  for the reference to the death of Rangers was a crucial error and certainly Spence could be forgiven if he had thought  on Monday and through to Tuesday lunchtime that he was going to be ‘hung out to dry’ by his employers.

When I contacted The BBC Press Office at Pacific Quay yesterday morning-a full 24 hours after the Herald piece-I thought that they were off the pace.

Perhaps we may look back and see that Spence’s off the cuff remark last week was an Andrew Gilligan moment for Planet Fitba.

What we have been treated to since last summer is the rather unedifying sight of Sevco being sexed up for public consumption.

However, it would be unfair to be too harsh on the management at Pacific Quay as the fudge was originally manufactured on the 6th floor of Hampden last June.

Even when asked by the Beeb’s man Chris McLaughlin last July, Stewart Regan would not clear up the status of Sevco Scotland Limited apropos Rangers (1872).

To pacify the supporter base of a club that was liquidated, the football authorities allowed a phoenix operation to take its place without due diligence being carried out into this new company and their business plan.

Charles Green was allowed to make ludicrous claims about buying titles and history.

This should have been subjected to the scrutiny of the Fitba Fourth Estate.

That, of course, hasn’t happened.

Subsequently, Spence’s rather unwitting contribution has brought the current official fiction into stark relief.

As for Spencey?

He has done the state some service.

We know’t.

No more of that.

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