Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly apparent that Sky Sports do not take Scottish football seriously. The proofs of it are everywhere, but it is most apparent in their commentary team choices. They have gone the tabloid route.
Whereas with English football there is reasoned, balanced discussion on the merits of games and tactics and systems and signings and managers, Sky Sports Scotland puts the emphasis less on offering analysis than on provoking controversy and pandering to certain clubs.
But this is the reason many of us despise the tabloids up here in the first place.
Our media is woeful. If you’re in the slightest doubt about that, check out The Record today and read Michael Gannon.
His articles are appalling. This guy shouldn’t be writing for a student paper far less a national title. To call it dumbing down would be an insult to the dumb. Between his crap jokes and lazy pop culture references there is not one iota of actual insight.
And this is what Sky Sports Scotland has reduced itself to.
Andy Walker in the commentary box?
Has that man ever said anything in that role which wasn’t either facile and stupid or the blindingly obvious?
Could these people not find anyone intelligent?
If Walker is bad though, what is there to say about Kris Boyd?
He is incapable of speaking about Celtic or the Ibrox club without his naked biases showing through. Last night he allowed his irrational hatred for all to do with us to cloud his judgement so much that he made grotesque comments about Leigh Griffiths which have sparked universal disgust and fury from our fans.
Boyd did it without even thinking about it. His own brother killed himself as a result of mental health issues, so in the cold light of day I am certain he understands full well the implications of what came out of his fat witless gob last night … but for just a moment he was so caught up in his desire to say something that would generate headlines at the expense of Celtic that he let stuff out that should make him ashamed when he plays his comments back.
Boyd will do what Boyd does. He is a pig ignorant clown who ought to be nowhere near a TV studio or a national newspaper column, but this is the trouble. He is part of a media culture that increasingly believes a “journalist” should be making the news rather than reporting on it, and the more shameless and ridiculous the ideas are the better.
It is a toxic idea, and it is destroying rational discourse. When the media complains about the bloggers they want to look in their own house, for the kind of trash they have allowed to go out under the own banners. They were the ones who started to lower the standards.
Rather than fight to raise them, they’ve given gigs to the likes of Boyd.
Celtic’s passivity in the face of this is disgraceful, but it is no worse than that of the other clubs, who have all allowed the press to employ cretins like this without comment.
Let’s not be under illusions that sending petitions or complaining to Sky will help.
None of that will accomplish anything.
Sky’s decision to employ Boyd is part of a deliberate strategy.
Their Scottish coverage is pitched at the lowest common denominator. Boyd and idiots like him don’t work for nothing but real quality doesn’t come cheap in the commentary box any more than it does elsewhere in football and Sky has decided not to push out the boat.
His employment reflects the way they see the game up here.
Their contempt is clearly expressed in selecting him in the first place.
The only way we’re going to improve the standards is if the clubs take a stand.
Instead of lobbying Sky, fans should be lobbying our own club.
Boyd is a poisonous individual who has insulted our players, our manager, our supporters and our club again and again and again.
To ignore it is to simply sit back and wait for the next offence.
Do not listen to Lawwell or the board when they say that banning individual journalists runs counter to what our club is about.
Daily Record hacks have been locked out of Celtic Park for writing negative things about our CEO, so the excuse that we just don’t do that simply won’t wash.
Sevco told the BBC that they would not allow Chris McLaughlin into their ground; the national broadcaster responded by refusing to cover games at Ibrox, and they’ve stuck to that.
Sky covers only a handful of games at Celtic Park; those which involve Sevco coming to town. Celtic should tell them, and the other outlets which employ Boyd, that if he wants to sit in our front room and badmouth us he can get in line and buy his ticket.
They should make it clear that he is persona non grata in the press box and everywhere else but the stands.
On top of that, they should be refusing to do interviews whilst he’s in the studio.
Yes, it would be a breach of contract but what are they going to do? Fine us?
It will be chump change because the whole TV contract with Scottish football is chump change, and that’s just one of the ways they insult us.
It is time to get a grip on this, and not just on Boyd but on those who employ him as well.
Nothing will change until we do.