I never write about the English based media unless I’m talking about the TV deal down there, or keeping tabs on idiots like the one who writes for The Daily Star and who I mentioned in a piece last week. The newspapers I read for pleasure, for actual news, are based there and staffed by serious professionals, especially The Guardian, who’s football coverage is almost uniformly brilliant and who’s writers are insightful and hugely entertaining to read.
I have always been troubled by how little attention they pay to the game here.
Their Scottish football staff writer, Ewan Murray, can be monumentally frustrating to read at times and at others offers analysis which beats those who work on titles here hands down. His article on the McLeish appointment is typical of both of these traits; it is well written, pours scorn on the association for the decision, describing it as lacking foresight and stemming from “blind panic”. Yet it misses so much that ought to be in there.
It describes McLeish as a decent man, and he might well be in terms of how well he comes across to the media and in social gatherings. But he is also a tax cheat, and presided over an era at Rangers which was nothing short of disgraceful.
As an EBT recipient he knew what was going on at that club.
The financial doping happened on his watch.
Murray’s lack of scrutiny of what McLeish and others there were involved in is emblematic of the problem we have here; if he doesn’t treat that era seriously how can we expect anyone down there to? But they should. Because the McLeish story shines a light on an association that cannot shake its past, because it has never properly faced up to it.
Scottish football is run by men who have no business sitting at the top of any organisation.
What they, and their predecessors, allowed to happen these last six years has been an outrage which any decent person would condemn.
And I am convinced the sports following public south of the border either knowns none of it or a distorted version of it.
But there is a monumental story here, if anyone down there wants to look into it. There is a story that would shock their readers down there every bit as much as they have horrified, and continue to horrify, those of us who live up here.
If anyone down there wants to have a look at it, I can suggest some places where they can start, some issues they should take a peek at and which offer them a glimpse into the dark corners up here. They might just be interested in what they find.
I am a Celtic blogger, which means I’m wholly partisan on these matters.
But serious journalists should know that there’s a serious situation here … and give these issues a look for themselves.