As I write this on the feast of St Valentine, I am reflecting on another day in Celtic related history. The day of 13th February (feast of St Huno – No joke, go and look it up) 2012 is the day that our nearest and dearest rivals announced their intention to place themselves into administration (by the time this article is completed Rangers are indeed in adminstration).
I found myself in my living room having a quiet day when my phone started buzzing with text messages. Immediately I put my TV on in time to see Jim White break the news that we as Celtic supporters had known about and had expected for such a long time. It was a rare “where were you” moment that as Celtic fans we will all no doubt share in years to come.
As I watched the news being read out, I was surprised by what I was hearing however I had a slight problem with it. My issue was that the information that poured into my living room was not particularly new news. In fact, as a Celtic fan that spends a certain amount of my spare time reading various Celtic related sites such as this one, rangerstaxcase blog, the Huddleboard and others, the news was nothing that I had not expected as these sites had left Celtic fans for the most part very well informed about what was going on behind the great marble staircase down Govan way. No, my surprise was more because the media had left it so long to report what we all knew, and to a large degree have got it so glaringly wrong.
If I may cast the mind back to the 1990’s, those old enough to, will remember where they were when we found ourselves in a position not too different to the one that Rangers now face, you will no doubt remember that it was reported as being our own fault and how the years of mismanagement by the old board had left us in the situation that we were in. If you remember that then you will certainly remember where you were when Fergus McCann took over our club, removing the stale board of previous years, pumping his own money into the club and resurrecting the stature of the club to heights we could have only dreamed of at the turn of the 90’s.
At that time, media was very different. Internet in fact was rather scarce at best and there was certainly no Twitter, no Facebook or message boards. What there was were papers, television and radio. When the news broke of the McCann interest the media at the time went into hyperdrive. They did what they were paid to do, they investigated into this man who wanted to buy Celtic and they reported back to the nation. They found out how McCann had made his money, they found out where he had been for the last few years. They found out how he planned to finance the deal and who he planned to bring to the board if he was successful. In fact, every possible angle of the story was covered it was their job to do so, simply because it was possibly the biggest news story of the year.
Now fast forward a few years. David Murray is banding about his casino ideas and telling everyone that will listen about his tenner to every Celtic fiver spending policy. Reporters up and down the country are printing this information with glee, where as Fergus McCann is being compared to that of Saddam Hussein.
Lets fast forward again up to last year, when David Murray is on the brink of selling Rangers to a mysterious “billionaire” by the name of Craig Whyte. The media know nothing about this man, but they are told by Whyte’s PR staff to call him a billionaire to which they duly oblige. A few months after the sale goes through the BBC start to make noises about the financial situation at Rangers, namely in the form of a ‘groundbreaking’ documentary, only for them to be cut out of the picture at Ibrox completely. The press start finally waking up to the notion that all is not well down Edmiston Drive way, hacks up and down the country are writing that Whyte might not indeed be the white knight they had taken him for when he galloped over the horizon.
The media had been caught in broad daylight with their pants down. Where were they were when Craig Whyte was a name first mentioned. Where were the old media when he was mooted as a billionaire? Where were the old media when he bought Rangers for £1 and why were the details of the deal not printed or even just simply explained prior to it going through?
Lets bring ourselves right up to date, today, the 14th February 2012. If we look back over the course of the last year or so it would appear that we and our “internet friends” have been right all along. The wonderful and enlightening platform that the world wide web provides us with has shown us that the old media were posted missing when the crunch came. You would imagine that finding out some basic facts about a Scottish businessman would surely be piece of cake since it was so easy to come by the same information in 1994 without the use of Internet?
The bottom line of this all is that the old media in this country have been guilty of incompetence in the whole Rangers saga. They have hidden the facts from everyone and should shoulder some of the blame regarding the clubs downfall as they have neglected to do what they are paid to do.
We as Celtic fans have not had any need for the media in this country as it is in its current form, as we have various very well presented outlets to get our information from. The recent circus show surrounding the demise of our rivals is painful for them to watch, however we had the facts and we knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. What is clear to us that not only is this a watershed in history for Rangers, but it is a watershed in the history of media in this country. No longer do we have a requirement for the ‘hacks’ of today and further more we don’t want them. Their biased and lazy journalism has been the final nail in their own coffins.
It is yet another where were you moment. Where were you when the old media died?