Date: 10th February 2019 at 7:00pm
Written by:

Now I know James, and a lot of you, have a major issue with football phone ins. And specifically those who listen to them and call in. Especially Celtic fans.

I agree, to a point.

I listen to Scottish football phone ins, which actually means Clyde Scoreboard’s phone in. On top of that, I have called in a few times. There are two reasons why. First, I believe in knowing the enemy, in knowing what they are discussing and knowing what’s on their agenda. I comment on the media as James does, and so I like to know what they are up to.

But second, and more important, I call because I want to give a point of view that I do not feel they get, in a manner in which makes them uncomfortable. I agree that it’s rare to get any point discussed in an intelligent manner from a caller.

I am well aware of what the issue are with that show and others.

But ignoring them will not make them better.

Social media has changed the game, and you do notice a small change over the past few years. Yes, those phones ins are still PR right out of Ibrox, and very anti Celtic, but pick a media outlet in Scotland that is not.

I feel like it qualifies me to write and speak honestly about these shows, and because I do I can tell you that in the last seven days their defence of referees and their “incompetence” is now bordering on the ridiculous. I sometimes think they are trolling.

Much of their audience is no better; a specific caller phoned up last Monday to allege that there is only a major issue made of the things when bad decisions are given for Ibrox teams. Other clubs get decisions and nothing is ever said about it.

That is ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

Here’s the thing; I cannot recall, in all my years, any decision going against any Ibrox club that materially affected the outcome of a game that they lost, or even one where it negatively affected them at the business end of a campaign.

What I do remember, is Jorge Cadete – after finally getting into the Celtic team after his registration had been held up by SFA – being flagged offside at Ibrox after scoring a goal which would have had a material impact on a title race. I remember John Rowbotham giving, the now dead Rangers, three penalties against Dundee. I remember Mike McCurry chopping off 3 goals for Dundee United against the same, now dead club, at Ibrox.

These weren’t just bad decisions, they were scandalous. Can you remember any Scottish team ever getting calls like this? And Scottish football has a long history of it.

Referring in this country has always been like this, it’s just that now it can be reported through other means and because of that people outside Scotland see it, and we other forms of media that can discuss and review it.

All these different avenues are utterly dismissed by the mainstream media as though they don’t count. How many times have you heard a hack dismiss the blogs with “we aren’t interested in that medium” sort of remarks? And why?

It’s because the bloggers regularly correct them and find things out long before the hacks do. For all their dismissiveness, I’ve seen the hacks blatantly use stuff from the bloggers when it suits their argument, and they are referenced often.

Last weekend, we saw Andrew Dallas singlehandedly trying to change the goal difference equation which is almost worth an extra point for us right now. Willie Collum was terrible on the Sunday against us with the two penalties we didn’t get.

There are individuals within the game who are most definitely anti Celtic and utterly pro Ibrox; look, we have already proved this more than once. They exist within our game, and always have given the history of the game and Scottish society as a whole; this cannot be denied.

In fact, it has been admitted; oh most want that ignored, but it has been admitted.

Going back to Neil Lennon’s time and the “penalty decision” against Dundee United which finally led to the referee’s strike; even after the change of mind the Celtic manager was lied to by officials.

There are those within the game who are fair, incompetent yes, but fair. Their incompetence is used to mask the others.

The only way to change it is to have a better standard of official, professional refs like Brendan said, whose match report is published after every game and, as James has said, as many others believe and have stated, club affinity rules must be brought in.

These guys are in it as they love football; this is what the media always tells us. So by that token they must have an affiliation to one team or another. Only in Scotland is that not considered to be something that might lead to bias … even if it doesn’t, what’s the point in opening ourselves up to the kind of position where it could be influencing games?

Yes, I realise that some will lie and you’ll have a rash of people claiming allegiance to St Mirren and Partick Thistle. It was ever thus. Some in the media maintain those fictions to this day although they are transparently on the side of Ibrox.

How that is managed I don’t know.

If they go professional though, more will want to do it, and if they are given a salary it means they don’t have to get a game every week; make it like players, make it performance related with an “appearance fee” based on the quality of the refereeing.

Yes, I listen to the radio phone ins and even call them, but that means I know what they’re saying and know what their agendas are. I also know that we should be using any means at our disposal to highlight what’s going on in the game here.

Dave Campbell is a Celtic fan and blogger who is a self-confessed Clyde listener and caller.

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