Stenographers and scabs

I was shocked to learn that the interest from China in Alfredo José Morelos Aviléz had “cooled”.

Anyway, it was an amazing scoop for the Daily Radar.

And only last night I had submitted a media question to Beijing Rehne apropos their pursuit of the Colombian striker.

Ah well.

Journalism, in a sense, is all about questions.

Questions answered and answers questioned.

You’re serving the Public Interest by finding out what should be widely known.

However, many of those in positions of authority do not want the general public to be aware of their machinations.

Consequently, the Fourth Estate must continually subject them to scrutiny.

This is a Jeffersonian view of those in power.

Now, it shouldn’t be a matter for debate that the Fitba Fourth estate massively failed in their journalistic duty on matters Ibrox for decades.

They gorged on Succulent Lamb during the Murray years.

Any journalistic abilities that might have been extant within the press pack atrophied to an alarming extent.

Then the day arrived in November 2010 when the chaps at the Daily Record were told to call Craig Whyte a billionaire.

More than two decades after David Murray bought Rangers there was a generation of hacks in place who were trained to obey.

Their only professional input was to add the “Off The Radar” flourish.

Now there is an alternative to this nonsense.

The Fitba Fifth Estate is an eclectic amalgam that includes your humble correspondent.

There are some very fine journalists in Scotland, but they tend not to be on the sports desks.

At the end of the day, it is about asking questions that you think the public might want to be answered.

Here is a recent example of my correspondence on behalf of the public.


You may remember that the competition organisers posted up a video of the klan on tour with one of the Florida Cup folk in the shot.

Hat tip to the Sunday Herald.

However, I was informed by a very well-placed source close to the action that the sports chaps at the Herald Group were not keen for this story to be pursued any further by their newsdesk colleagues.

Therefore, I decided to do a bit extra myself.


[Jan 19th]


I am a journalist who writes about Scottish football.

Please see press card ID attached.

I have a few questions for you about the Florida Cup.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks

[Jan 19th]

Hi Phil. Thanks for the note. Feel free to pass your questions along at your convenience.





[Jan 19th]


Please see attached an image from The Sunday Herald website.

TSH is a leading newspaper in Scotland.

The picture is taken from a video where supporters of The Rangers Football Club were singing a song called “The Billy Boys”.

This commemorates a street gang in Glasgow Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s.

Their leader Billy Fullerton was a member of various right-wing organisations in Britain.

He was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan and corresponded with the KKK in the USA.

The song has the line “we are up to our knees in Fenian blood. Surrender or you’ll die”.

The word “Fenian” is a highly pejorative word in Scotland and the North of Ireland.

It refers to a person of Irish Catholic heritage.

For Billy Fullerton and his followers, it was their “N” word.

This song was banned by UEFA in 2006 and their judgement can be accessed on their website.

The video (and the still image I have supplied) also appears to have one of the organisers of the Florida Cup taking part with the supporters.

Can you confirm that the young man in the black T-shirt is part of the Florida Cup staff?

Many thanks



[Jan 21st]


Thank you for the additional background you have provided, it is very educational. Below is the statement the tournament released in response to the unfortunate and hurtful video. As you can imagine, we are far more aware of the extreme sensitivities around this issue, and have learned a great deal from this.


“The Florida Cup is an international celebration of football, open and inclusive to all, bringing together a variety of cultures from around the world. We apologize to all who were offended by the video we posted from the Rangers’ fan base at the club’s first match at the Florida Cup. We did not understand the lyrics of the chant and its inclusion in our social media coverage was 100% unintentional. We have removed the video the moment we learned of the issue.”


The gentleman in black is a member of the social media team, who created the video. As stated above, he did not understand the lyrics or sensitivities around the chant, and this whole video was 100% unintentional. We apologize for its posting, and took it down immediately upon learning of the mistake.





[Jan 21st]


Many thanks for your prompt response to my enquiry.

For the avoidance of doubt, I didn’t think that you folks in the Florida Cup would have had any background knowledge about this song or the sentiments contained within the lyrics.

I fully take on board your statement about the Florida Cup being “an international celebration of football, open and inclusive to all”

My supplementary questions are relevant to those core values:

Did the Florida Cup organisers contact the Rangers Football Club (TRFC) about the incident in question?

If so, did the Florida Cup Organisers state to TRFC that such behaviour from their fans is not acceptable?

Did the club respond?

Was the response to your satisfaction?





[Jan 29th]


You have had my questions for over a week now.

Can I take it that you are refusing to answer them?

Please let me know as I am about to publish a story on this incident.



[Jan 29th]

Hello Phil.

Thanks for the follow-up. I passed along your additional questions and am waiting to hear from my colleagues at Florida Cup. Since the event ended last week, it has been a bit hard to get a hold of some folks.

When is your deadline? “About to publish” meaning today or this week?

Also, any insight as to the tone of the piece that you care to share with me?




[Jan 29th]


Thanks for getting back to me.

I can stretch the deadline until the end of the week, but no further.

The tone of the piece will not in any way be accusatory at the Florida Cup folks.

I totally get that you guys had no idea of the sub-culture around The Rangers FC.

I hope this clarification helps you to help me.




[Jan 31st]



The statement below can be attributed to tournament officials, in response to your additional questions.


Best regards,



Upon learning of the incident, we contacted the club and learned of the sensitivities surrounding the issue. They provided good counsel, which we followed. They understand our open and inclusive philosophy, and agreed this fan behavior was completely unacceptable and has no place in the Florida Cup or the game as a whole.


[Jan 31st]

Many thanks for coming through on this XXXXX.

I will reflect that in my piece.





Now, I still have the question in my head as to what exactly is “good counsel” when it emanates from Ibrox.

However, I suspect that the decent folks in the Sunshine State wouldn’t be able to appreciate the darkness that resides there towards the Irish and Irishness among the home crowd.

I have many more questions apropos matters Ibrox that those in various positions of power do not wish to answer.

That said, the very act of asking them serves the Public Interest as their refusal to answer is also revealing.

It is worth noting that the national broadcaster in Scotland is still banned by Sevco because one of their journalists committed the sin of accuracy at Ibrox.

Chris McLaughlin reported facts, but these were deemed to be “unfairly focussed” on arrests made at Ibrox during a match against Hibs.

In fairness to the BBC, they have stood firm on this matter.

However, I’m told that not all at Pacific Quay are thrilled at this show of journalistic integrity towards the basket of assets.

It is worth noting that the contractor currently providing PR services to Sevco once crossed an NUJ picket line in at Pacific Quay on November 6th, 2010.

My wee granny in Baillieston taught me never to pick a scab.

I certainly wouldn’t take a press release from one.

My promise to you dear reader is that anything you read here hasn’t been cleared at a high-Level.

Moreover, the content contains are no traces of contaminated lamb and it is free of any harmful PR additives.

Unlike some, I can confidently state that this is all my own work.

30 thoughts on “Stenographers and scabs”

  1. Succulent poodle Stenographers now out to head off wee Alfie’s demand for a pay rise with a high-Level ‘interest cooled’. You couldn’t make them up.

  2. Do you think “good counsel” extended as far as “Ignore that fenian agitator, we want to be up to our knees in his blood”?

  3. Well Phil. Close Brothers indeed. Rugger Guy’s insight into this comapny would be interesting as would a list of some of their recent clients. That might be revealing.

  4. Further to this excellent piece, I heard a wee rumour which I feel I’m obliged to share.
    As a result of his Messiesque performances recently and abundance of goals, Mr. Windass has caught the numerous eyes of galactic football supreme, from somewhere far, far away.
    His team Saturn’s Rings F.C. have submitted a bid of 12Billion Mingions for young Windass to Sevco.
    They also requested information on the availability of a Mr. Walter Smith who they were informed was an expert in parking buses and possibly interstellar transportation.
    If our “ sports journalists “ can come with this type of shite ,on a daily basis , then so can I.
    H.H. The Fifth Estate’

  5. Scabba the Hutt? I wonder if he was driven over the picket line in a Parks of Hamilton bus? Karma must be lining up a helluva blow to those scoundrels…

  6. It’s not hard to guess that the Florida Cup people are privately appalled at the negative publicity the behaviour of the Sevco/Rangers fans has attracted.

    I just hope they realise the rest of us in Scotland know fine well what the situation is, and our expectation would be that the stateside organisers could not be aware of the hateful depths of the singing. In fact – as reasonable businesspeople – even once apprised of the situation, they would probably struggle to believe or even comprehend it.

    I mean for pity’s sake, the big debates in US sport are quandaries like kneeling or standing during the anthem, or whether “Redskins” is a politically-acceptable appellation for a sports team. The staggering reality of a fanbase of tens of thousands howling about wading to their knees in the blood of a racial minority probably seems like some dystopian science fiction novel to them.

    Unfortunately it’s dystopian science fact, where Rangers are concerned.

  7. If memory serves im sure that the the coca cola corporation pulled out of a potentially lucritive deal for the now liquidated rangers due to their sectarianism. The basket of assets will never be able to find sustainable sponsorship out with their receding demographic. Like plastic and VHS tapes their days are numbered.

  8. Thanx Phil,
    Really enjoyed the insightful read,feel for you Phil;1 journalist with integrity looking at the ‘West of Scotland’s Biggest Hidden Shame.’

    Sad,so very sad.🍀

    Sports journalism in Scotland is practically non-existent,1/2 exceptions,at best.
    Although I couldn’t name them.

  9. Brilliant piece of journalism Phil . I actually look forward to the day the first Scottish Newspaper that has refused to right any thruths about the Ibrox clubs goes under. I really do . I will feel for the poor staff but the Sports reporers and Editors i could care less about

  10. Brilliant piece Phil. Very informative. Have you tried emailing questions to Level5? Be interesting to see what the response would be.

    Keep at them and don’t give them a seconds peace.✊

  11. Thank you for the timely update Phil. I was addressing the FAKE NEWS on MORELOSses at the listed building on my own humble little Primrose Pledge page, as it relates to the SPFL, as the DAILY BUNgle tried to soften the blow of the Fake Bid being moved from the hearts of the Chinese take-away menu at 16 million EULOs. In other words the deal was always dead.

    While “Fenian Blood” relates to Catholic Irish folk, the Catholic South and Central Americas of Florida would be just as Papist as the Irish, and they too are horrified when the nature of this beast is explained to them here in the North East where many Hispanic folk gather for welfare AND work. Keep up the good work and may God bless you for your integrity.

  12. Well said that man. Excellent piece.
    As prophesied it would appear that Scottish Meeja are kicking the Morelos fantasy into the long grass. Their tactic of, telling the lie often enough and ergo it becomes a truth, doesn’t work anymore with the more enlightened fans, only with their own delusional support.
    Once upon a time a real journalist would report news fairly objectively and intelligently except where there was a political agenda.
    These “stenographers, cyphers etc” are not journalists.
    You are right .
    Thank God for The Fitba Fifth Estate.

  13. When I was a kid I could spend a whole Saturday afternoon waiting for the the classified results, reading Exchange & Mart and dreaming of the cars we’d buy when my dad won the pools. Happy days.

    Today I can while away a train journey wandering around TransferMarkt building squads I’ll buy when I’m a Russian oligarch or oily Sheikh.

    The Available Managers list offers hundreds of familar names – by natiuonality – past and present.

    So why can’t the SMSM see past a short list of The Caridigan for the Scotland job – who is in a different list – Retired Manager.

    And why can’t the Ibrox super-brains find anyone better (more expensive) than The Caretaker to lead the Loan Rangers ?

  14. If only we could have someone, anyone, in our sports press as good as you. Some hope. Thank you very much for all your work, Bravo. Hope you receive a reply from the club in China, that would be very interesting.

  15. The word ‘Fenian’ is a highly pejorative word…

    I have to disagree Phil. This is a word I and most Fenians are very proud of. It is nothing like the deliberately scornful ‘N’ word. Call someone the ‘N’ word on its own and it is nothing other than full of hate and insult. Not so with the word ‘Fenian’. This is made insulting with various different expletive add-ons. The word b*****d being much preferred.

    However, I do sound a bit churlish considering all the investigative work you do for us in uncovering unpalatable truths about Scottish football and all things Sevco Rangers and their previous incarnations.

    What a surprise the events of 14 February 2012 would have been were it not for your good self being all over the biggest story in Scottish football since a certain team became the very first British club to become champions of Europe.

    Keep up the good work. Sports journalism needs guys with integrity just like yourself.

  16. Ah yes the Chinese, no flies on them, if they don’t get their man they have another galactico lined up, what an oppurtunity missed by both parties, (tongue firmly in in cheek)

    Last night was interesting on radio Scotland their studio debate before the game was most enlightening. We had a pesky blue nosed guest amongst them who had the balls to judge a football managers success based on the level of competition he participated in, imagine that !!! based on the level he had reached, not the amount of times he had won anything but at what level…Better not let anyone from the most successful team in govan hear him talk that way or he will be accused of being a timmy..(1967, say no more)

    The debate then moved onto the subject of “The Bufallo”, and those phantom bids…It was incredible listening, witnessing these bastions of footballing punditry skirting around the subject of offers such as those suggested by the Daily Tripe. I feel I witnessed Scottish radio history, to hear these highly cultured creatures, prevaricate and procrastinate using one lined answers was a marvel, laughing up sleeves for some and dead pan for others in their debate was truly a jocular affair with the straight face of embarrassment all around. You could tell they believed you had a better chance of finding Dr Fu Manchu’s moustache in a west end charity shop than getting millions out of the chinese.

    At one point some guests reigned themselves in when they gushed if it were the case then it was the most astute move in Scottish football, only to remember that belongs to Celtic also.. (If it were,the case indeed)

    What was mentioned during the debate was a young Griff of Celtic FC, and then the comparison was made, on value (how dare he) The guest asked, If Morelos is seen as worth millions to the chinese then what do they value Griffiths at?

    On a happy note, isn’t it nice to see that the national daily liar has taken to the advice of the temporary manager of the most skint team in Scotland, not trying to be belittling but he is effectively a youth coach. Call me cynical but do you think those in hampden towers are of the belief that if old Walter walks through their doors then so will the legions of bluenoses who have deserted the national squad as supporters.

    1. Followed by an exodus of fans from all the other clubs, not just Celtic.
      If Cardigan Wattie gets the gig it will be an appropriate time for Broony to make his retirement permanent. Similarly other Celtic players may fall victim to the malaise that frequently visited the players of the now defunct, deceased, deid and liquidated club from Govan, sudden sporting injuries as soon as a national squad was named. Not that I would expect many to be named when Real R—— Men are in charge. Now wouldn’t that be poetic justice.
      In the same vein you would see Flower of Scotland ditched for that other anthem associated with Little Englanders, including the massed Sevco choir, who don’t consider themselves Scottish anyway.
      Though how any sponsors or broadcasters will relish the thought, Rule Brittania followed by the entire Sevco repertoire, The Billy Boys et al. Global coverage at last.

  17. The QC chosen by David Cunningham King and paid for by RIFC plc must today set out his grounds for appeal against the Court of Session’s decision to uphold the Takeover Panel’s judgement requiring King to offer 20p per share to all non-concert party RIFC shareholders or else face The City’s cold shoulder.

    At the original CoS hearing, King’s expensive defence was banal beyond banal “it’s just not fair and he’s done nothing wrong and you’re just picking on him and you can’t do anything about it anyway and he’s broke so you’ll get nothing and it’s so unfair”. Vicki Pollard would have been embarrassed to charge for that.

    Lord Bannatyne’s long awaited judgement was long and detailed. At the time I thought it was unnecessarily so – perhaps reverting to his jobbing lawyer days of charging by the word. But respect where it is due, the brother obviously saw where the brother was going and cut off every route he could possiblty imagine for appeal by the career criminal. Will King’s QC rise above the banal this time? Only time will tell, but one cannot help thinking that King has become an acute embarrassment even to those sworn to assist him.

    Today, I’ll msotly be singing “We the people, who are darker than blue” by Curtis Mayfield.

  18. Ah, already the back tracking has started.
    Question: how fo you cool interest when there was none to begin with?
    Thinking about Chris Jack’s fantastic, or fantasy, piece yesterday.
    Wow, what planet is this guy on. An article full of pish and half truths at best.
    Has he been promoted at the Herald as I’m sure he signed off as Senior Sports Reporter on the article?
    If he keeps this up he could find himself in charge of BBC Scotland football output!

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