Date: 17th February 2017 at 9:00am
Written by:

There are times when I despair of doing what I do, because it seems so futile, like a losing battle. After all, in all this time the Internet Bampots have not made one single newspaper more honest, nor the SFA more transparent nor Sevco more sane.

If these are the standards by which we measure our success or failure then we’re not doing very well.

And then I remember that it’s not our job to make the papers honest; it’s our job to highlight their dishonesty. It’s not our job to make the SFA more transparent – that task belong to the clubs. It’s our job to shine a big light where they’d rather there wasn’t one. And it’s not our job to make Sevco sane. Our role is to catalogue their insanity, and all of it in spite of our warnings. Somehow that makes the schadenfreude all the sweeter.

Yesterday in one of my articles I mentioned Sevco’s latest scam, and how The Daily Record gave it a free advert.

The issue in question was their effort to recruit “volunteers” for match-day; in essence, they were looking for people who would be willing to do stewarding for nothing, or in exchange, at least, for watching their third rate brand of football.

I suggested that perhaps this was a violation of health and safety rules, that maybe it wasn’t a good idea. I wrote it with no expectation at all of it accomplishing anything; surely The Record had thought through the ramifications before they printed it, right?

Well maybe they did and maybe they didn’t, but they essentially talked up this scheme as if it weren’t a piece of sheer cheek on the part of the club. They didn’t praise it as such – the article wasn’t big enough for that – but they didn’t offer a word of criticism either.

And some will no doubt ask, why should they?

Is it their business to comment on Sevco’s employment practices?

Well yes, I’d argue that it is, especially as they were very quick to pass judgement on ours when we weren’t committed to paying the Living Wage. In fact, half of civic Scotland got very animated over that issue.

I agreed with them, by the way. It was ridiculous we waited so long to do something so good and positive for our workers. The decision to change that policy was as overdue as it was welcome, but the odium we ate over it was grotesquely disproportionate, the kind that’s always reserved for Celtic. A lot of people take great pleasure in sneering at us.

Yesterday’s piece in The Daily Record wasn’t the first article this year which the paper published about a football club’s hiring practices. Last night, it was brought to my attention that Partick Thistle had advertised for a volunteer entertainments worker, in a website ad which was almost identical in tone and description to the one that The Daily Record happily re-published with an even more upbeat headline yesterday.

When Thistle did that, in January of this year,  you want to guess what The Daily Record’s take on that was?

What civic Scotland’s take on it was?

Yes, you’ve guessed it; Thistle were slammed for it.

The ad was labelled “deeply concerning.” The Scottish Government offered a highly critical opinion on it. The Labour Group at Holyrood did too, and on top of that the Scottish Trade Unions Congress jumped into the fray. I wonder who brought it to the attention of all these folk? I wonder whether that same individual (or organisation) thought to highlight Sevco’s similar appeal, which is all the worse for potentially violating licensing regulations.

Where is civic Scotland’s outrage here? Where is John Mason of the SNP, who was quick to leap on the passing bandwagon when it meant taking an easy shot at the Firhill club? Where’s the STUC on the issue? I look forward to statements from them today, as well as the Labour Party and the Tories. They all ought to pile in on this one. Who spoke to the council, and asked them if these guys will be trained and if not isn’t it illegal for these guys to work?

John Mason had this to say about Thistle; “These types of unpaid positions in our football clubs are deeply concerning. Paying at least the minimum wage is a legal responsibility – to not do so is completely outrageous.”

Lewis McDonald, Labour’s spokesperson on culture and sport said, “This is worth a red card. It’s very disappointing that a part-time job such as this is advertised for no pay.”

And the Scottish Trade Unions Congress said, “It is regrettable that Partick Thistle should seek to fill what appears to be a crucial match day role on this basis.”

I got every one of those quotes from The Record’s article. They didn’t give Thistle an infomercial and a pat on the head; they took a flamethrower to the idea. Sevco gets no such treatment. Sevco gets no such scrutiny. This club can literally do what it likes.

I’d like to know where these organisations were when Sevco leaked Joey Barton’s medical records to the newspapers; about as egregious an offence against a worker that I can ever recall coming across. I’d like to know where their outrage is over the apparent hatchet-job that’s been done on Mark Warburton, David Weir and Frank McParland.

Outrage! Ha! That would be a fine thing.

Those issues barely got scrutiny.

When Sevco decided to publicly slander the three men it sacked last week the newspapers played an active role in their shaming and caning.

But we expect nothing less. We expect nothing better. We expect the media to play the role of the attack dog for Sevco’s deranged boardroom. And we expect their subservience, their bowing and scraping, their doling out whatever favours the club requires.

Our media was long ago corrupted.

But the silence of others is not so easily explained.

And to think certain people now call us the Establishment Club.

Yeah, right.

Too many people in this country are either too scared of the Ibrox basket case or too broadly sympathetic to it to offer any kind of criticism at all.

Hey, prove me wrong.

Speak up this time.

Challenge their reprehensible nonsense.

The Scottish Government in particular enjoys poking its nose into football; let’s see if they give this particular affair the attention it deserves.

Otherwise they better shut it, because their moralising would be hard to stomach even if it wasn’t so obviously lacking in backbone.

Thistle was an easy target. Celtic are still seen, by some, as an easy target. But Ibrox … well that place just scares the piss out of a lot of folk.

And I’ll tell you, the more people tolerate this club’s shameful behaviour the more they’ll test the boundaries.

On this one, they should be stopped dead in their tracks.

I look forward to those critical press statements over the course of the day.

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