Date: 15th September 2020 at 3:00pm
Written by:

The Evening Times tonight has one of those articles up that makes the blood boil. The headline itself is a despicable piece of click-bait.

The actual piece is little better.

Entitled “Tortured: How Celtic fans travelled to England to taunt ex-Rangers striker Sam English over John Thomson’s death”, it a horrible little piece of excreta which should be quickly scraped off the shoe of the internet and forgotten about.

Taken from a recently published book, it focusses only on the most sensationalist elements, from a part that contains stories and rumours, some of which simply do not stand up to the slightest examination.

The central thesis of the piece is that John Thomson’s death followed English to the end of his career; this is true, without the slightest shadow of doubt.

It was a dreadful, horrendous, accident that killed our goalkeeper and haunted the Rangers striker forevermore.

Some of the claims in the book are pretty awful, like the players who called English a “murderer” which goes a little bit beyond the standard wind-ups that footballers have to listen to on the park and delves much deeper into the psychology of those who did it.

The article contains at least one potential slander, against a former Sheffield United player named Jimmy Dunne, who is described as a “a staunch Republican” who had once “served time” for being in the IRA.

It was during a match involving Liverpool and United that English faced that awful allegation.

The book’s author, Holmes, wrote the following … and The Times tonight reproduced it. “(Dunne) was playing in that game. Was he in the dressing room winding his team mates up before the game? You just don’t know.”

No, you don’t know which is why such scandalous slanders are probably better off not being repeated.

Neither Holmes nor the “journalist” here gave that much thought.

But it’s when the article gets to the headline moment that you truly understand that all the writer is doing is chasing clicks. He has no interest in whether these accusations are true or not, and hasn’t done the least bit of thinking it through.

Holmes, the author, claims English’s son-in-law Ronnie Cree told him a story about our supporters in the course of his writing the book.

“He told me that Celtic supporters used to travel down to England so they could jeer him at matches,” he said. “Even when he moved to Hartlepool, who were in the bottom league, they were down there giving him a hard time.”

For The Evening Times to have considered that allegation – third hand, based on what? – as worthy of a headline is absurd and shocking.

Is this how Matthew Lindsay, the alleged journalist who wrote this piece, got to be Chief Football Writer?

With this kind of garbage?

It actually takes the article’s public comments to spell out the utter absurdity of this allegation, and just a couple of the reasons why it should be dismissed.

That the writer of this article thought it worthy of a screaming headline is dire.

One comment, from Robert Carberry reads thus;

“The writer regarded Sam English as a murderer until he did this research? Really? I know not a single person who held that view. Even as a child I remember crying listening to the John Thomson song and, at the age of 6, I knew it was a complete accident. This book will be in the Pound bin soon enough.”

Another, Peter Paul, asked a pointed question;

“As Celtic fan I really feel sorry for Sam. For the ET to dig this out of their archives is nothing short of really poor journalism, what on earth are they looking to gain from it? I have family who support Rangers, Rangers through and through, and they have no idea why a journalist would stoop so low to stoke these embers.”

And a third, Allan Corrigan, got right to the heart of the allegation itself with a damning verdict;

“What an appalling load of nonsense. 20,000 Celtic fans turned up at Glasgow Green train station just to watch the 2,000 that could afford the train fare leave for the funeral. Many thousands more walked from Glasgow to Kirkcaldy and suddenly they were all jumping trains to Hartlepool to boo someone? I hardly think so.

The bit about Sheffield Utd’s Jimmy Dunne is nothing short of shameful and outrageous and gives some indication as to just where the author is coming at this from.

Rather than the author asking questions about what he doesn’t know let’s check what the author claims he does know; He writes “It started when he returned to action in the Glasgow Cup semi-final against Celtic at Parkhead a few weeks later.

“The Celtic players said publicly they had nothing but sympathy for Sam,” said Holmes. “But in his next match he had to go off twice because of fouls against him”

Sam English’s next match was Rangers next match, against Partick Thistle, and he played in every subsequent game until near the end of the season. There was no return to action as he never left the action in the first place and it certainly wasn’t against Celtic.

if you are getting something like that wrong…”

It amazes me that ordinary members of the public are more capable of doing basic research than the author of this piece.

And I have to say this; the guy in question got his information slightly wrong, which to me doesn’t invalidate his point.

Because Rangers actually played a game two days before that, in the Glasgow Cup, against Third Lanark … and not only did English play in that game but he scored in it as well.

Allan Corrigan is 100% right about their next league game, on 12 September against Partick Thistle.

Honestly, it took me five minutes to check that out and find that information.

Allan Corrigan knew what he was talking about as well … far more than either the author of the book or Matthew Lindsay did, who simply published this claptrap without bothering his backside to see if the central allegations had any force or fact behind them.

The book itself now has to be viewed with deep, deep skepticism … the author is guilty of lack of research at best.

But that doesn’t give Matthew Lindsay the slightest excuse for plucking the most lurid passage of the whole book and trying to get a cheap headline out of it.

It is not just lazy journalism.

When you combine lack of knowledge with a shocking headline like that it becomes almost malicious.

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