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The Media’s Approach To The Catastrophe At Ibrox Is As Dreadful As The Crisis There.

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Last weekend, I released the first ever CelticBlog podcast, a special on the tax case and the collapse of Rangers. I cannot thank enough everyone who listened to it and sent me their best wishes on it, and especially those who reviewed it for me.

The next one is being produced right now, on another subject I want to explore.

The reason I chose the tax case for the first one was twofold; firstly, it was the anniversary and the BDO report had just been published .. secondly, the media decided that with nothing else to write about that it would completely ignore the biggest story in the game. Not one of them covered the BDO statement. There were no other retrospectives.

We live in a weird media landscape, and let’s not forget that. If I might be blunt, we live in a pro-Ibrox media landscape; that’s a consequence of the accepted view that they have more fans here in the West of Scotland than we do.

As with everywhere else, the local media panders to the local market and by and large that is not us … and especially not now that Celtic fan media has seized the agenda away from them and draws attention to their pro-Ibrox slant.

Rule number one in the media landscape is that you do not write the kind of stuff that will upset the readers. But if you’re going to do this job with integrity you cannot think that way and you certainly cannot write that way. It’s why I have occasionally (ha!) upset my fellow Celtic fans. You can’t let that stop you or bother you or restrain you … yet much of the media does.

This is why I sort of understand the media reaction in the last two days to what is obviously an even bigger story than the old one about EBT’s – bigger because it’s current, because it’s happening right now – and yet it’s being almost airbrushed out of the narrative.

Yesterday my brother-in-law drew my attention to the last “BBC diary” shortly before the website Celtic365 put up their own piece on it. It’s an atrocity. The first five stories were all negative Celtic stories, about how we’d lost out on targets, about links between our players and other clubs and on and on and on. This just 24 hours after Ibrox’s disastrous announcement.

There are two elements to this; not only do you need to consider the shocking way that the media has failed the Ibrox season ticket base over this, people who bought their tickets in good faith and who now don’t know when they’ll get to sit in those seats, and essentially given the club a free ride and secondly the way that Celtic continues to be treated by the same media. You only have to ask yourself one question; imagine this had been us. When you do that, you can easily imagine how the last couple of days would have felt for us … and all of it richly deserved. If our club had messed up something like this the media coverage would have been wall to wall.

Yet is isn’t, and that’s incredible when you consider the acres of coverage the Dundee pitch fiasco got, which wasn’t nearly as disruptive as this is going to be. This is the second biggest club in the country being forced, by their own error, to scramble around to find a neutral venue in which to play their opening games of the next campaign, including two Champions League matches on which tens of millions of pounds might hinge … it is incredible that the response to that is so muted, and so low-key. Even more astonishing is the reaction of fan media.

Over on their fan sites they are hyping the signings of Connor Barron and a striker from the league of Morocco, arriving for an incomprehensibly large fee for a player with 16 goals in two seasons. They have reported the story, of course, but as a series of facts most of which came from the club.

One social media channel over there claims there is a serious issue with the concrete foundation structure not being strong enough to support the new cantilevers; I am nowhere near clued up enough on that subject to know whether it’s true or not … but that aside, there has been no real attempt to get to the bottom of what’s happened or any real analysis of what it means for them. There is certainly no pressure on the club over it.

Celtic sites would be radiating fury and we’d be demanding answers, not asking nicely for them but demanding them. The media being passive is one thing, but you would think that fan media would care enough to do the job that they won’t.

But of course, these are the same outlets who once paid thousands of pounds at a time to get on the list of “official club partners.” I am invited to press events, and have met the manager on a number of occasions via those; I have no interest in being an “official club partner” and I don’t know anyone in the blogosphere who is. I consider my independence from the club to be of paramount importance, and I would never seek too cosy a relationship with them.

Integrity in this game is about saying what people don’t want to hear from time to time, and that includes writing things which make Celtic uncomfortable.

It does not seem as if the Ibrox fan sites are willing to do that at times, and that makes them nothing more than mouthpieces for their board.

At a time like this that’s more than an abrogation of responsibility to your fellow fans.

It’s positively dangerous, especially when you consider that aside from Celtic sites, one of which broke this story into the mainstream in the first place, no-one else is going to do it. If these delays are going to last longer than just the end of August, fans have a right to know that. They have a right to know what they are getting for their season ticket money … and if this puts the club in a place where it’s going to have to cut the transfer budget, they have a right to know that too.

You cannot allow incompetence like this to go unanswered or unremarked on. This isn’t just a routine error, this is a disaster, this is a spectacular failure of club governance and Celtic fans would not permit that inside our club without demanding heads to roll. Why do I suspect that this will all get blamed on James Bisgrove, because he’s no longer there?

People around me lament the failure of the media to hold Ibrox to account, and I write about it a lot, but here’s something I always remind them; that failure does not help the club at all. It damages them. It hinders progress. It acts as a bulletproof vest for people making an almighty mess of things over there. I know the hacks think they are helping but what good has it done them? What benefits have accrued over the years to pretending things are alright when they aren’t?

Try taking that attitude in any other area of your life; your relationships, your job, your kids, your own health. Ignore problems and they’ll go away?

How does that usually work out for people?

It’s the same with big institutions and if the media isn’t being part of the solution then it’s simply another part of the problem and this has been a stellar week for providing an example of that.

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  • Pbbroon says:

    Don’t think it’s been mentioned in the Herald yet or couldn’t find it anyway.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      You probably won’t see or read anything about it in that rag or any other bedfellow rag in The Scummy Scottish Football Media Pbbroon…

      My advice – Treat yourself to something far nicer that The Herald with your hard earned…

      The Sevco View or whatever their new club rag is called will in all likelihood be more honest and less biased than anything in The Scummy Scottish Football Media will be…

      Let every Celtic supporter starve the bastards towards the graveyard of ‘papers’ !

  • Roonsa says:

    Where can the blog be streamed from, James? I had a look on the web and could only find an old Celtic Undergroung podcast from 2020 that has you on it. I known you embedded it into one of your recent articles but I was hoping to get it on Spotify so I can play it on my Sonos. Failing that I’ll just chill out in the bath later on with the embedded audio playing on my Bluetooth speaker.

    • James Forrest says:

      https://thecelticblog.com/2024/06/blogs/for-rangers-to-have-a-good-time-well-scottish-society-finally-knows-what-it-cost-us/

      You can still listen to it on there pal … we’re looking at other hosting sites though, and we’ll have it up on one of them soon.

      • Roonsa says:

        Bravo James. That was brilliant. From the opening chimes of Chopin’s Marche Funèbre to the closing …. erm … chimes of Chopin’s March Funèbre, I thoroughly enjoyed that.

        Please don’t take this the wrong way but there is nobody in my World who makes me as angry as you do. There is no hiding from the injustice of it all. It angers me so much that these bastards get away with such an easy ride from people who are supposed to investigate and challenge injustice.

        That we need fans of Celtic to shine the light of truth onto these unholy matters is, perhaps, the biggest injustice of them all.

        I hope you keep doing what you do. As do others like you. I don’t have time to check them all out but I am sure they are as good as you say they are.

        Hail hail to the Celtic fanblog journalist community.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    If there has ever been a more arrogant, disrespectful statement, made by a club’s owner (tho ahm sure there prob is…..somewhere) against their biggest rivals, that’s came back tae haunt them so spectacularly, than murray’s ‘if Celtic spend a fiver, we’ll spend a tenner’, ah would love tae hear it.

  • John Copeland says:

    If a massive overhaul is required on Ibroxland stadium and corners were cut financially and on materials required to make the place a fit and healthy arena for football fans ,what would happen if God forbid , something went amiss with injuries to fans and the SMSM sat on the story knowing full well it was a distinct possibility that it could happen ? Keeping quiet would be unforgivable especially if there was accidents in an unfit for purpose stadium ! I hope I’m wrong …

    • Johnny Green says:

      It’s nothing new, they ignored safety warnings about stairway 13 prior to the Ibrox disaster.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    You’re right on the button there James, kicking problems under the carpet has never solved them, the quicker you face up to problems the faster they’re sorted.
    The Scottish media are so biased and stupid that they think they are helping their favourite team by trying to bury bad news. All they are doing is covering up gross incompetence, and although most of them are too stupid to realise it, they’re treating the Ibrox fanbase as fools.
    For those fans who purchased their season tickets only a few weeks ago this is a real kick in the teeth, and for the clubs accounts a bit of a disaster.
    I gave up buying newspapers a long time ago and quite honestly I would give up on the BBC too, but she who must be obeyed won’t have that, as she likes some of their drama output.

  • Joe says:

    My enemy’s friend…..is my friend. ???

  • The Joker says:

    James what about that article Michael Gannon has written in Sunday Mail today,he has had a go at our club and fans for laughing at sevco’s current situation they find themselves in just now.

    Apparently we have our own issues going on regarding how results will go foe us in the coming up Champions League new format,and we should be careful about laughing at sevco’s predicament.

    The guys a FUD.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      By reading his crap Joker, you’re keeping him in a job !

      He – and the rest of The Scummy Scottish Football Media – will always condemn and down Celtic 24/7/365 as reported by The Celtic Blog here on a daily basis…

  • scousebhoy says:

    james i am giving you my opinion on this their fans deserve everything they get i have not one bit of sympathy for them same club lies demoted booted down the leagues i can only say hell mend them, and hell mend the gutless media as well.

  • Tony B says:

    It’s not called The Crumbledome for nothing.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Nothing to see her move on Timmy….

    I haven’t read the rangers blogs on their recent scandal but like other bloggers here can’t see the fans at Ibrox this year. Scandalous, the papers would have a field day should it be Celtic but eh Klanbase must be thinking wtf!!!

    Can you imagine ANY EPL team faced with this calamity and how that would be reported!!

    Anyhoo Celtic get the cheque book out now… Rodgers notorious for last minute business, surely we had 4 or 5 targets in mind from month’s ago if not someone should get their P45.

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