Date: 30th May 2017 at 12:02pm
Written by:

So Gerry McCulloch, who’s spent the last few years as the show-runner on Radio Clyde, is coming back to work at Celtic Park.

He will take on the role as our Head of TV and Digital Media.

It’s fair to say a lot of people are happy about the decision, but it doesn’t move me to tears of joy.

He’s not “coming home” as some have suggested.

Where I come from, you don’t piss on the living room rug and then get a warm reaction when you sober up.

Gerry McCulloch is a guy taking a job.

It’s a career move, and nothing more. Just like his last one.

It’s a very good appointment for Celtic because he’s a solid professional and and he’ll do his job diligently and well. He worked at Celtic before and I always thought him a very fine front man for CelticTV. In that regard, we can have no complaints.

But please spare me the Prodigal Son stuff.

This guy has attacked our supporters, stirred the shit about events inside our club, he’s ignored major stories to focus on fluff, and he’s contributed the sum total of nil to the wider debates about our national game, despite a platform from which he could easily have done so.

Yes, he was “only doing his job.”

So are defence lawyers who take cash from drug lords and PR people who shill for the defence industry and those who lobby for the cigarette companies, and good luck to all of them. They are fully entitled to pursue career opportunities where they please and rake in the big bucks for doing so.

Other people have to live with the consequences of their “work” and Gerry McCulloch is part of a media culture that has eroded confidence in the profession to a degree which is dangerous and represents a major threat to our understanding of key issues.

There are such key issues in our sport which a lot of people have worked hard on, and for no money and for no thanks. They can’t put it on their CV’s. They can’t trade on it for the rest of their lives. They did it because they care about Scottish football.

And he can’t rewrite history and pretend that they found, in him, a friend or an ally.

Because they didn’t, and we know they didn’t, they know they didn’t, and he knows they didn’t.

The guy who is now the head of TV and digital media at our club does not give a toss about the major issues which matter to large numbers of our fans, and that’s just the reality of it.

I’ve long argued that Radio Clyde and the newspapers whose discredited hacks he constantly featured on there are not news organisations.

They are media companies, and let’s be clear on what the difference is.

He wasn’t in the news business; he was in the entertainment business and that’s the business he goes to Celtic Park to continue doing. No serious news agency can adopt the slogan “it’s all about opinions” when everyone knows that some opinions are so ill-informed and ignorant they wouldn’t even rise above the level of a schoolyard debate.

So to a certain extent, Gerry McCulloch catered to his audience and to the whims of his bosses and didn’t push against the fence.

I’m fairly sure Celtic welcomes that kind of acquiescence.

I also feel sure that he could have turned his radio show into something that rose above the vapid mediocrity and spinelessness for which it is notorious.

And that show remained what it always was; a repository for the Survival and Victim Lies, a fence sitter on issues of huge consequence, and a smear machine.

Celtic fans – the very people he will now serve – were called “obsessives”.

That’s a word created by Sevco fans, to keep people from examining what their club is getting up to. I cannot think of anything more profoundly disturbing than seeing someone in the media use that word to describe people who are doing the job the mainstream media itself won’t.

Our head of digital media is a guy who appears to believe in the continuity of Rangers, who has pushed the “Old Firm” brand like a drug when it no longer exists, when our club won’t use the phrase and the fans positively loathe it.

Where was he on Resolution 12? Nowhere.

Where was he on Fit and Proper Person regulations? Nowhere.

Where was he on Financial Fair Play? Nowhere.

The Sevco European license issue? Nowhere.

A more transparent SFA? Nowhere.

Our club doesn’t care about his non-engagement with those things. Some will say that the club itself has no interest in those debates and those issues. They will say this appointment is highly suggestive of that mindset, and they’ll be concerned.

I’m not. I don’t share that pessimism.

The club wanted the right person for this role, and that had nothing to do with how he handled individual issues on the radio. They wanted someone personable, intelligent, someone with experience in the industry, who knows how to prep an interview and build a team … and he ticks all the boxes. Our club acts like any professional organisation should; it goes out and finds the best people it can to fill the roles as they come up and in that regard this is a job well done because I do think Gerry McCulloch is an exceptional talent.

I am glad we’ve hired someone to this post who knows what they are doing; he undoubtedly does.

I congratulate the club on a fine appointment, and the continuation of our professional way of doing business, but that’s as far as my good wishes go.

It’s because he is someone with the skill-set to do this job brilliantly that I’ve been pissed off with him for as long as I have.

He doesn’t have the excuse that many of his “peers” in the business do.

Derek Johnstone, for example, is a halfwit who knows the sum total of nil about the sport he covers, who can’t see past his own bias, who believes every press release out of Ibrox and has never had an original thought in his life. Hugh Keevins betrayed his ignorance of issues so often that he morphed into a self parody, no longer even bothering to speak sensibly when he thought there was a “controversial” alternative to doing so. This is a guy who’s entire media career was summed up by the article he chose as the best representation of it; the one he wrote after he was chucked out of the Celtic Club before a press conference after a series of articles insulting our manager and our fans.

Gerry McCulloch is a cut above those guys and the many like him who swell the ranks of the press here in Scotland and he had an opportunity to join guys like Alex Thomson, Jim Spence, Mark Daly and a handful of others who saw their jobs as providing more than just “entertainment”.

Clyde could have become what it once was, an issues station which broke stories wide open, which sparked real, informed, debate, which made a contribution to the wider game instead of being something that leeched off the margins of it.

We know what it is, instead.

Gerry McCulloch is definitely moving up in the world.

There’s no denying that, at least.

But Gerry McCulloch is not “coming home.”

He’s a mercenary and the media is a mercenary business. He will do a grand job, but when those of us who care about positive reform in our game were looking for people with the profile to take up our cause he just wasn’t there and he made it clear he never would be.

And nothing that happens in the future can change that simple fact.