In 2002 the Record printed their now infamous ‘Thugs and Thieves’ article relating to a Celtic players’ night out in Newcastle. The then Record editor, Peter Cox, was eventually fired because of dropping circulation figures as the Sun usurped the Record and became Scotland’s highest selling daily newspaper, something that would have been unimaginable 10 years previously. Celtic players won a court case against the Record who did not come out of this well whatsoever.
Celtic fans had led a campaign against Cox and his newspaper and though it is too simplistic to say that this alone caused his sacking and led to the Record’s falling sales figures there is no doubt that this played a part in it. I know because I‘m one of them who stopped buying it and I won‘t buy it even in the present day.
After that I flirted with the Sun or the Herald. Or the ‘Loyal Orange Glasgow Herald’ as an acquaintance of mine refers to it, a reference apparently to times previously when the paper had questionable employment practices and also the fact that every July they would print a big picture of ‘The Walk’ on their front page as a news item.
The main reason for the Sun’s increase in circulation in the past 20 years is two fold. Firstly, they invested a huge amount of money in their football department, witness their exclusive coverage of ‘you know who’s’ transfer to Ibrox in 1989. This was the footballing scoop of the century, make no mistake, and was owed entirely to their cheque book and not to any decent old fashioned journalistic research.
Secondly, the Sun backed the rise of the SNP in Scottish politics. Now anyone who believes that Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation advocate the break up of the union is, quite frankly, bonkers. But the Sun where able to find a niche in the market which allowed them to tap in on Scots opinion who support the Nationalist cause. Try reading the English Sun edition as compared to the Scots’ version and the contrast is startling.
Recently we have had the ‘Leckie’ affair in the Sun and although that paper was never universally popular amongst Celtic supporters it seems that there will now be a backlash against this publication by an irate Celtic support as complaints rain in on them. The man in question has previous, he once referred to Celtic fans as ‘bead rattlers’ which, in truth, was a better example of when to complain to the relevant press authorities. It appears these days that sports journalists are not content to report the facts but have to impose their opinions on others even when it causes grave offence.
Confession time; I no longer buy any daily newspaper. Mrs Saint will occasionally buy a Record and I will chastise her for it although I will occasionally buy an Evening Times at night to stay abreast of local news in Glasgow and I find it mainly inoffensive. Thing is, I don’t miss having a newspaper in the morning. Far easier to log on at work and catch up with the news or to lie in the comfort of your bed with the laptop and peruse the net. Celtic fans are very fortunate to have Celtic Underground, The Huddleboard, Celtic Quicknews, Etims and Kerrydale Street. With that plethora of fine websites there is, frankly, no need to waste your hard earned cash on such publications because everything you require with regard to Celtic you can find in them.
A few years back Eddie Pearson stated on this site that not only was communications technology developing rapidly but people’s habits were changing with regard to the modern media. As newspapers struggle to maintain their dwindling circulation figures one wonders how long some of them have left ?