Strange happenings in Scotland after the ‘busting’ of Rangers?

Interesting interview with one of the members of the panel which sat on the busting of Rangers Football Club, Gary Allan QC… It’s ahead of a Channel Four news piece tonight that could be very interesting.

The thing that strikes as most odd is the near professionalism with which he was harassed. Something quite beyond his own experience of dealing with criminals in his own court, he says.

Adds: A QC, 32 journalists, the owner of Raith Rovers Football Club and the publisher of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book all threatened and intimidated… It’s both hasty and organised…

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  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    I don’t know much about Alex Thomson, particularly as I very rarely watch channel 4 news, but this guy has really pursued Rangers, and highlighted at every stage the threats, warnings and other acts of intimidation he has encountered for having the cheek to investigate rangers. He doesn’t strike me as a man who may have had much understanding of Rangers and it’s supporters before this debacle, but I’d say there are probably fewer more knowledgeable now on how deep the ineptitude goes in Scottish society in confronting Rangers, for the few that actually wished to.

    Can someone tell me if the Big Tax case produced a figure yet?
    Is Sevco obliged to pay that? Or what? Does that tax bill get written off?

  • Ruarai

    With the dearth of leadership and integrity and accountability that has enabled this mess and the unrelated mess in English football and European football regarding racism, here’s a simple of illustration of what leadership looks like:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20102547

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon says any form of racist behaviour is “an instant sackable offence” at his club.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    I think Alex’s blog from a couple of weeks ago offers a better summary of what has happened in the months since.

    He mentions phone calls from Belfast hounding that bastion of scottish establishment……the chairman of Raith Rovers.

    http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/threats-silence-intimidation-rangers-fans/2873

    Absolutely shocking. Organised mob rule. How do you begin to extract this poison when these people see a justified investigation into their club as an attack on ‘them’. Would fans of every other club who have seen the wrongdoing of their club laid bare feel so attached to adopt the “defend no matter what” position.

    Did Leeds fans send letters with razor blades to those who looked into their club?

  • Mick Fealty

    Sounds like it’s a lot more sinister than that… The suggestion from this is the work of Loyalist paramilitaries…

  • Mick Fealty

    A QC, 32 journalists, and the publisher of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book all threatened and intimidated… It’s both hasty and organised…

  • tacapall

    “The suggestion from this is the work of Loyalist paramilitaries…”

    The curious thing is Mick, why they are allowed to get away with it when their leadership is connected to British intelligence, its like business as usual, it makes you wonder is their any integrity at all in Downing Street.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Did I miss the inference that paramilitaries were involved?
    if so, that’s my fault but it makes this even more serious. You’re a blogger Mick and a journalist highlighting issues as they come.

    By the laid out above, do you worry if that puts you at risk?

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    By the criteria laid out above#

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    I think Alex Thomson is pretty clued up about football. A friend who worked with him says he is a big Newcastle United fan.
    He worked in Belfast and would probably know a fair amount about Celtic-Rangers.

  • Mick Fealty

    Let me clear. I saw no evidence that there was, just an inference. I’ll watch the item again 4+1. Should be on again in about 20 mins.

    Also, I don’t think if there is an influence it may be an import of paramilitary culture rather than paramilitaries as such.

    But some person or persons unknown is involved in a very nasty set of behaviours that have a rather distinctive and familiar coercive ring to them.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Jesus Christ, someone farts in a Loyalists area these days and it’s the work of ‘Loyalist paramilitaries’.

    When is this campaign of hate and lies against the pro-peace process Loyalist paramilitaries going to end?

    Sometimes I get the feeling the people making these accusations would secretly love to see the Loyalists back retaliating for dissident IRA attacks. Would make their job an awful lot easier.

  • Mick Fealty

    DDB,

    Before you go too far down that route, what we do know is that there is a small and unrepresentative bunch of Rangers fans who are targeted a broad range of people in Scotland, and enough for the police to take seriously.

    As Gerry Hassan said on the film it is up to the vast majority of ordinary decent Rangers fans to tell these folk they simply are not wanted. I know, I was in Glasgow just two days ago, that there is an awful lot of sh!ttiness coming from the green side of of the city.

    But this stuff is way way out of order…

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    On a previous thread I asked (and received) good guidance on what the whole Rangers thing was about.

    Good to see that the sheer nastiness of sectarianism in Scottish football persists.

    Now — more positively — can anyone source any other versions for Hamish Henderson’s magnificent John MacLean March:

    Argyle Street and London Road’s the route that we’re marchin’
    The lads frae the Broomielaw are here tae a man.
    Hey, Neil, whaur’s yer hoderums, ye big Hielan teuchter?.
    Get yer pipes oot and march at the heid o’the clan!

    Hallo Pat Malone, I knew you’d be here so
    The red and the green we will wear side by side,
    Gorbals is his the day and Glasgow belangs tae him,
    Noo great John Maclean’s comin’ hame tae the Clyde.

    My iPod has the Dick Gaughan version (I’ve lost the Alistair Hulett CD — never lend gold-dust — and had to rip from YouTube). Any other renderings around?

    If you don’t know of the John Maclean of which I speak, and the reason for his March — shame on ye!

    [Yes: that was an exploitative post.]

  • DC

    Let the police do its job, till the convictions come in all the rest is nothing other than speculative reportage.

  • dantheman

    “Before you go too far down that route, what we do know is that there is a small and unrepresentative bunch of Rangers fans who are targeted a broad range of people in Scotland, and enough for the police to take seriously.”

    TBH all one need to do is to browse on Rangers fan sites such as RangersMedia or Pulseresources to see this group of people. I am in no way a fan of Rangers, and they do by no means represent anywhere near the majority of Rangers fans, but its not hard to see this. They are not exactly discrete”

  • welshrarebit1

    Well as my first post here I would like to say I think Rangers football club has been hounded to near death. Now I don’t know all the facts as I’m sure not many do although they seem to think they do anyhow I will tell it as I see it as a rugby supporter.Football in Scotland is falling behind the English set up as has welsh football barring our big two

    And to hound one of the big two out of the game due to politics is in itself wrong how can 1 team be given a punishment that doesn’t exist in the rules be acceptable? And why do 1 set off supporters get away with sectarian singing and banners while the other get hounded at even the slightest hint of sectarianism? Is Scotland now a republic.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    Mick Fealty:
    DDB,

    Before you go too far down that route, what we do know is that there is a small and unrepresentative bunch of Rangers fans who are targeted a broad range of people in Scotland, and enough for the police to take seriously.

    But this stuff is way way out of order…

    .
    Before you made the massive leap to claim it could be Loyalist paramilitaries behind this campaign did you consider:

    1, Not all Loyalist paramilitaries watch football.
    2, Not all football-watching Loyalist supporters are Rangers fans. (might be a toughy for our green friends to believe, I know)
    3, Not all Rangers fans are so angry about their club’s treatment that they would resort to violence/threats.
    4, Loyalists have (more-or-less) held their eighteen year ceasefire steadfastly despite the 1996 IRA return to violence, Drumcree 96/97/98, Omagh bomb, 2000/2001/2002 IRA ethnic cleansing campaigns in Cluan Place, Torrens, Glenbryn, Suffolk, etc, Massareene atrocity and Stephen Carroll’s murder. Do you seriously think demoting a Scottish football club to Div 3 makes them far more furious than any of those incidents and therefore willing to breach said ceasefire???

    Mick, your ‘claim’ in post 7.28pm is like the anti-Loyalist, factually incorrect, amateur shite peddled regularly in the Irish News and Sunday World.

    I’m disappointed.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    *Should say

    2, Not all football-watching Loyalist paramilitaries are Rangers fans…

  • john

    ‘ I think Rangers football club has been hounded to near death’

    In fairness Sevco have been treated quite well. First and foremost they were allowed to buy Ibrox, a UEFA 5 star 50000 capacity stadium and the top of the range Murray park training facilities, assets that were valued at 150 million for the grand amount of 1.5 million, you couldnt even buy a detached house in Glasgow for that so looks like it was the tax payer that got screwed there. Then the other clubs in SFL managed to allow Sevco into Division 3 despite all other new clubs having to work there way up through the lower leagues and also provide 3 years of accounts in order to be accepted into the league. All in all I think Rangers have been treated very well!

  • tacapall

    “2000/2001/2002 IRA ethnic cleansing campaigns in Cluan Place, Torrens, Glenbryn, Suffolk, etc”

    DDB how many thousands were killed from those areas in this “ethnic cleansing campaign” during those years ?

    How many protestants and loyalists have been killed by the UVF since the GFA ?

    “Do you seriously think demoting a Scottish football club to Div 3 makes them far more furious than any of those incidents and therefore willing to breach said ceasefire???”

    Why would they not when they have murdered people before simply because they weren’t allowed to walk down a road.

  • DC

    DDB, don’t forget the guy shot in Longlands by dissidents the other night, shot all over the face on his sofa, all alone.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    tacapall:
    DDB how many thousands were killed from those areas in this “ethnic cleansing campaign” during those years ?

    .
    You don’t have to kill people to engage in ethnic cleansing:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3610190/So-now-another-estate-has-been-cleansed-of-Protestants.html

    100 protestant families driven out of Torrens by religiously-motivated Sinn Fein mobs between 1996 and 2004.

  • Mr Beach

    Alex Thomson is a very confused individual who keeps some very questionable company (notably Phil MacGHiolla Bhain). He is far from an impartial judge in this case, and one wonders what his motive is for continuing to hound Rangers, long after the club has started getting back to focusing on football.

    Thomson was caught out making a making a tasteless joke mocking the victims of the Ibrox disaster, involving the statue to commemorate the victims. Originally Thomson said he was unaware of the meaning behind the statue. That was interesting as he blogged about the memorial just months before.

    Furthermore his claims that ’32’ journalists have been targeted by Rangers fans has been rubbished by Paul Hughes of the Scottish Sun (who incidentally is a Celtic fan). Indeed, I doubt there are many more than 32 dedicated football journalists in the whole of the Scottish mainstream media. Thomson also claimed he was threatened by a journalist months ago- a claim Strathclyde Police said was laughable.

    The man is a proven liar and an embarrassment to what is supposed to be a reputable news agency.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Mr Beach,

    It’s a bad way to start a contribution by attacking one the few journalists who’s been either bothered to, or not afraid to, go and investigate Rangers FC.

    While I’d like to see some evidence that he keeps company in the way you describe, let’s say you’re right, it is irrelevant as the scottish media have been totally useless at uncovering anything, and seem to have had too much off the succulent lamb to get off their backsides.

    Put it this way, if not Alex Thomson then who? Had someone mentioned him to me a year ago I might have said, “who?”

    The fact that he’s discovered a culture that frankly doesn’t surprise many of us, shows hoe naive he may have been at the beginning.

    Basically if you can’t have a closet Rangers fan like Chick Young or Jim Traynor investigate you’d probably go for as many journalists as possible until presumably one says: “Actually Rangers FC are a lovely family club which contributes enormously to scottish society, ran it’s affairs with integrity, certainly didn’t cook it’s books, owes the taxman nothing and no-one has been harrassed or threatened as a result of Rangers current predicament.”

    I suppose the Rangers Tax Case blog, which won the Orwell prize in May, is more to your taste?

  • galloglaigh

    Loyalists have (more-or-less) held their eighteen year ceasefire steadfastly

    Tripe…

    paramilitaries

    Terrorists

  • Mr Beach

    Guru,

    Tell me, what has Alex Thomson actually investigated that others have not? For all his talk, he has not broken one exclusive story.

  • Mark

    How long did it take for Paul Gascoigne , the fun loving daft as a brush , cheeky chappy fake boob wearing Geordie to turn into a snarling pipe playing sectarian pig once he arrived at Ibrox ……was it six months ?? .

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    “Thomson was caught out making a making a tasteless joke mocking the victims of the Ibrox disaster, involving the statue to commemorate the victims”

    To be fair he did make a pretty quick full apology.

    Tom English who is on The Scotsman, no fan of Rangers and is coincidently Irish (and is thus you would have thought likely to have been a prime target) has challenged the “32” figure. He says he hasn’t been threatened, hasn’t been asked if the NUJ if he has been theatened and doesn’t know any other journalists who have been threatened.

    That’s not to say obviously threats haven’t occured (and the various shit sent to them through the post wasn’t Paddy McC’s, Niall McG’s or NL’s imagination last year, nor is a QC likely to go on nationwide TV and lie about what the police have warned him about) but in such a small and incestuous world as Scottish sports journalism that fact is puzzling.

    Another curious thing about this whole episode is with Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book “Downfall” (that was the “factual” one alluded to in the report). It concerns one of the biggest sporting stories to have occured probably ever in the UK but the only MSM outlet prepared to mention it was The Scottish Sun, which was going to do a serialisation of it before the Editor belately realised that Mac Giolla Bhain was “tarred with a sickening sectarian brush”. The fact that he had been deluged with an avalanche of emails (some very hostile) from Rangers fans and the fact they were threatening a boycott if the serialisation was to go ahead was inconsequential.

    The strange thing is that Mac Giolla Bhain’s blog, which in my opinion does employ bigotry occasionally to make his point against not only Rangers fans but also on occasion the Ulster Scots and even East Belfast prods, is completely open to the public with no censorship.
    Are we then to believe that after having gone to the trouble and expense of arranging a serialisation of Downfall, the Sun’s Editor suddenly realised that Mac Giolla Bhain is sectarian and therefore the Sun readers couldn’t cope with reading about his book? I don’t think so. Not one other element of the MSM has even mentioned the book’s title never mind reviewed it. Again, why not?

    It would be interesting also to know if Mick Fealty had received a copy of Downfall to review, after all Mac Giolla Bhain has also written on here.
    Would Mick review it if he had?

    More than one thing stinks in this whole affair however I really don’t think Thomson is the man to shine the light on it.

    It also may or may not also be a relevant fact, bearing in mind that disputed 32 threatened journalists figure, that Mac Giolla Bhain, along with his mentor and fellow ex-journalist on An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade both hold prominent positions on the NUJ

  • Dec

    Just to clarify, Paul Holleran of the NUJ made the claim about the 32, not Alex Thomson. C4 simply reported it.

    ‘It also may or may not also be a relevant fact, bearing in mind that disputed 32 threatened journalists figure, that Mac Giolla Bhain, along with his mentor and fellow ex-journalist on An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade both hold prominent positions on the NUJ

    Ah, it’s all a republican plot…case closed.

  • iluvni

    Does channel 4 still have a funding relationship with Sluggerotoole?

  • BarneyT

    From a football perspective, I found the relegation to division 3 a tad extreme, but then again I understand an example had to be set and I perhaps don’t know the intimate detail.
    It’s surely akin to Man United losing Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea from the English premiership in one hit. The old firm games (although still possible) were clearly tribal…but I understand it was a magnificent event (four times a season).

    But, if the need to support Rangers is driven by culture and a sense of identity, that surely will remain and only be emboldened as Rangers inevitably fight their way back in the next 4 our five years.

    If the relegation to Div 3 is universally warranted, perhaps the main issue is financial (ye don’t think). The same cash will not be flowing into Rangers and more pertinently, out of Rangers. Perhaps the demise of Rangers has led to the drying up of “outward investment channels” devised for non-footballing purposes….hence the professionally orchestrated intimidation.

  • Submariner

    Barney Rangers(rip) were not relegated to Div 3. What ever gave you that Idea.

  • david thistle

    Lots of nonsense being spouted about this. There seems to be no threats against any MSM journalists ( I actually think Tom English is one of the best currently in Scotland ). Not excusing it or condoning it, but most of the venom seems to be directed at those around “Downfall”- and the character of its “author”.

  • tacapall

    “but most of the venom seems to be directed at those around “Downfall”- and the character of its “author”.

    Oh that makes it okay then, for a while there I though that would be classed as terrorism.