Before I start on the central point, I have no issue whatsoever with our club banning PLZ Sport from that presser yesterday.
I read Peter Martin’s article on Rodgers, in which he predicted that our new manager would win everything in sight unless Ibrox could “unlock major investment” – shorthand for “finding a mug to piss money against the wall” – and what I saw was a guy desperately trying to roll back from his initial response to the idea, which was this:
So he and his outlet got what they deserved for that.
A poisonous reaction, one that did a fabulous little re-write of history, and was thus worthy only of contempt. PLZ claim to want to resolve the situation; Celtic will probably feel our point has been made.
The BBC is another matter entirely, and whilst their reaction to being locked out was one of shock, they need to really think beyond one article by Tom English. Celtic may be claiming that as the reason for their exclusion, but that is to ignore a pattern of behaviour from the BBC in recent times which will not have impressed the club one bit.
In short, English’s article is the pretext.
But it has to be placed in context, and when you do that it is not surprising in the least that we have taken the opportunity to send them a very clear message. It is one that most fans will feel is long overdue.
BBC Sports Scotland is a joke.
I’ve probably written more articles about their negative coverage of our club than any other single outlet, which is a miracle when you consider they exist in the same media ecosystem as The Daily Record.
I loathe other outlets far more – The Express, The Sun and The Daily Mail are particularly gruesome – and the clickbait sites like Glasgow World inspire derision and contempt. But the BBC is special, for all the wrong reasons.
Because you and I have a choice with those other outlets.
We can opt in or out of them as we see fit.
We can click on their links, pay their subscriptions or just ignore them altogether. The BBC is a publicly funded organisation; we pay for it. Here in Scotland, the sports department resembles nothing more than a retirement home for ex-Ibrox footballers, many of whom have already cheated the public purse with their use of EBT’s.
The building at Pacific Quay is so chock-full of those connected to the first and second Ibrox clubs that this website and others openly mock their hiring criteria by stating that the only qualification necessary to get a gig in the sports department there is to have once pulled on a Rangers or Sevco shirt. That virtually guarantees you a seat at the table.
And this is not an exaggeration, or at least it’s not much of one.
As the Celtic Collectibles twitter feed put it the other day, in their rewrite of the BBC’s statement on this, “We are disappointed that Celtic banned us from Brendan Rodgers Press Conference today. We hope we can resolve things with Celtic soon, that allows our unbiased team of Kenny Miller, Alan Hutton, Derek Ferguson, Steven Thompson, Tom English Kenny McIntyre to return.”
That’s what we’re dealing with, and although we can laugh about it that’s not really a joke.
It’s a bitter reflection on something every single one of us has commented on in the last year or two, and I’ve been writing about it every step of the way, repeatedly pointing out that this tendency they have to put so many people from one club on their air every week not only taints their coverage but damages their reputation and their credibility with it.
Those chickens have come home to roost, as they were always going to, and BBC Sports Scotland and its editorial staff only have themselves to blame for it. This site and others have challenged them on these things time and time again; it was a matter of time before the club itself took action on it, and yesterday we chose to fire a warning shot.
What are Celtic supposed to think, looking at how slanted and biased BBC Sport Scotland’s coverage has become?
Even if you don’t think it’s that bad, having so many ex-Ibrox men in their studios creates the perception of bias, which is toxic for a publicly funded organisation … and to nobodies benefit because the idea that Kenny Miller, Alan Hutton or Ricky Foster are “the brightest and the best” or have anything illuminating to say on Scottish football is frankly absurd.
I know too that Ange Postecoglou had become increasingly intolerant of their nonsensical questions, many of them asking him what he thought of goings on at Ibrox, or in the stands, stuff over which he had no influence and subjects he was not interested in discussing. Some of the negative tone of the questions he did get on our team obviously irritated him greatly.
“Only you could make winning a championship sound like a downer,” he told a BBC reporter after we’d clinched his first title last year.
When Kenny McIntyre’s opening question to him, after we’d won a key match 2-0 at St Johnstone, was on how “drab” the match was, Postecoglou, who by then knew all he had to know, shot back, “It depends what you’re looking for, maybe you’re disappointed with the way it went mate.” These were not the first, nor last, times he slammed them for their conduct.
Rodgers has been out of Scotland a long time, but he must have been aware – he is certainly aware now, because I specifically mentioned it to him yesterday at the end of the fan media conference when the cameras and microphones were off – that some in the media, including at the BBC, are questioning his previous record in Scotland on the grounds that the Ibrox club was weak; funny, I don’t remember being told that at the time.
The outlet pushing this most aggressively is, of course, the BBC itself; indeed, it was a central theme of English’s article. Remember; every success this club has had in recent years has been played down by a media who seem to think that triumphs only count when the Ibrox club is matching us blow for blow. It’s amazing that on his return to Ibrox that none of these people questioned Walter Smith’s initial time at the Rangers on the grounds that we were in a state.
Nobody referred to him as “lucky” either, nor whinged about resources at a time when Murray’s crooked tax scam enabled them to outspent us.
If Celtic is heartily sick and tired of this, you don’t have to wonder why, and all this we can take from the commercial media organisations which run for profit … our fans can choose to buy them or not, to follow them, to read them … but the BBC works for all of us and we don’t have to tolerate their slanted coverage and their newsrooms filled with our rivals.
I think this will probably be resolved, at least temporarily, without further restrictions on them.
I’d be surprised – pleasantly, I have to add – if it went much further than just restricting them from this one press event. I suspect we wanted to make a point and now that we’ve made it, and discussions are being had, that it’ll be enough … for the moment.
But these people have been warned, and they better take note and the rest of their colleagues in the mainstream press better take note with them.
Our club will accept scrutiny and criticism – it goes with the territory, and Celtic fan media is not shy about levelling it – but not an undercurrent of negativity which never lets up, and especially not from the organisation that we all pay for.
The writing is on the wall now.
Woe betide those who fail to read, and understand, the message.