Kris Commons was one of my favourite players. He is never going to be one of my favourite journalists. Since first getting his writing gig at The Daily Mail – what, were there no jobs open at The Record? – a newspaper so bad I wouldn’t have it near my home, he has morphed into the green version of Kris Boyd.
His columns are beyond bad.
The newspaper that still pays Dan Hodges a salary has plumbed new depths here.
His columns have already become fairly notorious in Celtic cyberspace, mostly for the absolute nonsense that runs through many of them like red through a stick of rock. His criticism of our start to season was hysterical. That which he directed against the manager was unbelievable.
He accepted, at face value, every stupid rumour of splits in the camp.
Just a week ago, he wrote a truly shocking article about how James Forrest – who has just signed a new deal – will be sold sooner rather than later if he can keep up his scoring form.
It was an atrocious piece, the kind of clickbait garbage that we’ve become used to at The Record and The Sun and, lately, from Joel Sked at The Scotsman … he is one of the worst “writers” plying his trade in the business today, in my view.
Shame on Commons for pitching at that end of the field. But reading today’s piece on the delinquent ex-Rangers players I can’t help but feel that it’s not Commons’ fault that a national newspaper has chosen to pay him for this stuff. Nobody would turn down money for doing what he does; the fault, as with Boyd, is with those who pay his wages.
Commons is another ex-player who is proving, conclusively, that playing the game does not remotely qualify someone for writing about it coherently. His article today is weak and contradictory. I have read it several times and still don’t fully know if he backs the decision or not.
Entitled “How Paul Gascoigne has been treated is nothing short of appalling… the fact he was publicly humiliated a day after World Mental Health Day makes the situation even worse” – and who the Hell writes these titles? – it opens with a cry-me-a-river paragraph that makes you want to reach for the sick bucket at once.
“A human being who has battled depression, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts for the majority of his adult life was publicly humiliated last Thursday, just 24 hours after World Mental Health Day,” it shrieks. “The fact that it was a high-profile footballer is irrelevant. The basic human element in what Paul Gascoigne has been subjected to over the past week is appalling.”
No, what’s “appalling” is this notion that the recidivist sectarian thug is being painted as “the victim” here.
I mean for God’s sake. This is a guy who racially abused his own bodyguard. Who mocked the playing of the flute, twice, on the pitch during derbies which could have erupted because of his conduct. He has consistently basked in sectarianism … that’s the measure of the man we’re talking about here, not a mistreated child.
What exactly happened to him that was so unacceptable?
An invite which should never have been extended to him in the first place was withdrawn, and those who did it even offered him a face-saving excuse that he didn’t deserve. He’s been given far more respect than he has shown the people who have rolled through his life and suffered for it.
This “mental health” thing and the way we’re supposed to focus on that and not on the notorious aspects of his character is an insult to millions of people in this country with similar issues. They don’t all turn into thuggish neds, unable or unwilling to exercise the most basic restraint and that so many are using his mental health problems as a shield to divert attention from his abhorrent behaviour is disgusting, it really is.
Commons fills the article with praise for Gazza the Player; he too was an unrepentant thug who’s knee high lunge could have ended the career of Gary Charles of Notts Forest. He was the player who went to Lazio grossly overweight and who’s earliest public act upon landing in Italy was to make a vile comment about the daughter of his new club chairman, at his first press conference alongside the guy. That, alone, is an appropriate measure of the man.
What no-one ever likes to say is that Ibrox was the very worst possible environment for someone with his attitudes and proclivities. That club did nothing whatsoever to curb his excesses; indeed, they stoked them as numerous books and interviews and public statements have demonstrated time and time again. If he is a shambling wreck of a human being at the moment – as he clearly is – then those who “coached him” at Rangers bear their share of the blame.
What’s incredible here is that Commons’ article veers at one point from his stance that Gascoigne has been treated disgracefully to one where he actually agrees with the decision that’s been taken; it is a turnaround, on the spot, that Dave King would have been eminently proud of.
“While I think the timing of the Hall of Fame decision and the way it was handled was disgraceful, I do understand why it was made. Such a sporting institution cannot be seen to be endorsing a guy who has faced such serious accusations.”
And here is where I wonder just what the point in the article was in the first place? The way it was all handled was disgraceful; he’s right about that, but only in that Gascoigne was ever nominated. Who cares how sanity was restored, just so long as it was?
Confusing drivel overall from Commons, an article which slams the right decision because it has “humiliated” a neddish ex-player who has been the architect of his own destruction. It is chock full of sentimental pap, not one bit of it extended to Gascoigne’s ex-wife or his ex-bodyguard or any of the other people whose lives he’s driven over in the course of his life thus far. Commons writes more like a drooling fan-boy than serious media professional.
But that’s because he’s just a drooling fan-boy and not a serious media professional.
This is what passes for “journalism” these days.
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