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Spiers admits guilt in grassing Rangers to UEFA


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/graham_spiers/article7121286.ece

How influential are newspapers when it comes to decision-making by football clubs? Surprisingly so, it would seem, given events of recent times.

The latest case of Rangers suffering due to unflattering editorial comment comes from across the Atlantic, and more specifically in Boston, where the club had been planning to play an Old Firm pre-season friendly against Celtic at the iconic Fenway Park, the 37,000-seater home of the Boston Red Sox.

That is, until the Boston Globe, quite a renowned newspaper, weighed in and put the kibosh on the idea.

The Globe, in its wisdom, decided it didn’t fancy having Rangers fans marauding around its city in the height of summer, and ran an article ten days ago in which it chose to cite a list of delinquent or unsavoury incidents by travelling Rangers fans down the years. In compiling such a list, with the Manchester riots at the heart of its findings, the Globe found it an almost effortless business compiling its damning evidence.

Now what do we find? Rangers, as a consequence, are pulling out of the trip. The club was embarrassed and annoyed by the newspaper coverage — so what’s new? — and have decided to change tack.

“We have decided not to pursue it,” Martin Bain, the club’s chief executive, said of the Boston match. “Instead, there is the possibility of matches in Australia and an announcement on that will be made in the next couple of days.”

In fairness to Rangers, one important aspect about the Globe article has to be pointed out. The author made confusing and downright erroneous claims about the Ibrox disaster of January 2, 1971, which did not enhance the piece at all. Moreover, it only whetted the appetite of those usual suspects among the Rangers support who are perennially offended, and who got straight on to poor Bain by letter or e-mail to haver indignantly about the article.

But the upshot of it all is quite amazing. Yet again, a newspaper article has contributed to a Rangers shift in policy, due to the unwanted publicity.

This episode caught my eye, because I have had experience with others in the past of writing things which, while seeming to be no more than tomorrow’s fish-and-chip paper, suddenly appeared to have a bit of political muscle.

Most infamously, in the case of the Rangers fine and reprimand by Uefa for bigotry in 2006, it wasn’t anything the club did, or the SFA did, which brought Ibrox to heel. On the contrary, it was newspaper articles that triggered Uefa’s wrath.

I know this to be a fact, because of one startling incident. I was lolling around Uefa’s headquarters, supposedly working at a European club draw in December 2006, when a Uefa delegate whom I knew called me into the organisation’s disciplinary department and, before my eyes, opened a drawer full of newspaper cuttings. To my utter amazement, stuffed into this drawer were various pieces I and other reporters had written, about the Old Firm and the bigotry problem.

It genuinely flabbergasted me that columns written in The Herald or The Times or elsewhere should have such an impact on Uefa, yet there was the evidence before me. It seems, just as this latest Boston case testifies, that there is nothing worse than bad publicity for Rangers, Celtic or anyone else.

Indeed, after that Uefa case, Rangers went into a PR overdrive, hiring a firm to try to ensure “nicer” coverage for the club in the papers, whereupon various characters began to appear hovering over reporters’ shoulders, politely asking what they might be writing about the club the next day. Simultaneously, Mr Bain, whom I’ve always found quite likeable and conscientious, commenced a serious of meetings with newspaper writers and editors, asking if coverage of the Rangers problem might be toned down while the club set about tackling it itself.

If you were a sports columnist, your ego might be hugely inflated by all this, though I suspect that aspect can be greatly exaggerated. Yet the fact remains, rightly or wrongly, that big football clubs are very wary of what the media are saying about them. Rangers have clearly been embarrassed by wrongs that were highlighted in the press, and, from what I can detect, they don’t fancy a further dose of it over the summer.

I have to confess I had always been cynical about the so-called “power of the pen” or, in the modern world, the “power of the microphone”. But this latest incident from Boston proves otherwise.

The main pity of it all is that Rangers and Celtic, for the meantime, will not now meet on American soil. I hope it happens one day soon, because it would be quite a spectacle

Fuck me eh? A reporter amazed that his own made up stories are actually read elsewhere. So, do you think he'l stop writing his bile? Or do you think he'll continue on his quest to disgrace Rangers at every turn?

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The author made confusing and downright erroneous claims about the Ibrox disaster of January 2, 1971, which did not enhance the piece at all. Moreover, it only whetted the appetite of those usual suspects among the Rangers support who are perennially offended, and who got straight on to poor Bain by letter or e-mail to haver indignantly about the article.

well, apparently he isn't going to stop writing his bile about us

this part was the most offensive bit of the article

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So, do you think he'l stop writing his bile? Or do you think he'll continue on his quest to disgrace Rangers at every turn?

We all know the answers to those questions, unfortunately. The good news is, he's taken less and less seriously by everyone every time he writes his shite.

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http://www.timesonli...icle7121286.ece

The author made confusing and downright erroneous claims about the Ibrox disaster of January 2, 1971, which did not enhance the piece at all. Moreover, it only whetted the appetite of those usual suspects among the Rangers support who are perennially offended, and who got straight on to poor Bain by letter or e-mail to haver indignantly about the article.

well, apparently he isn't going to stop writing his bile about us

this part was the most offensive bit of the article

I love that bit TWB. Yes were pyoor offended all the time, songs hurt us and we even go to the irish embassy when we are offended. Oh wait...............

Hes a wanker, and more strangely im agreeing with you this morning, whats wrong with meboogie.png

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Somebody got there wee dig in the comments

Scott Lithgow wrote:

I think you will find Graham that it was the reaction of the Rangers fans worldwide to the Boston Globe blog, not article, both in it's falseness of blaming both Rangers & Celtic fans for the 1971 Ibrox disaster and it's bias. It was so bad it was even worse than yours and that's saying something. Rangers fans asked why support a city that condoned IRA fund collection by NORAID and auctioning of IRA sniper rifles to send bombs to the UK and only stopped after 9/11?

If the Boston Globe has such power - why did they take 20-30 years to report the child abuse cases by Roman Catholic priests & bishops in the Boston diocese? Isn't that what the media is supposed to do?

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http://www.timesonli...icle7121286.ece

The author made confusing and downright erroneous claims about the Ibrox disaster of January 2, 1971, which did not enhance the piece at all. Moreover, it only whetted the appetite of those usual suspects among the Rangers support who are perennially offended, and who got straight on to poor Bain by letter or e-mail to haver indignantly about the article.

well, apparently he isn't going to stop writing his bile about us

this part was the most offensive bit of the article

I was honestly shocked by that part. Imagine us being offended by ridiculous claims made about a tragic event in our past that claimed a number of lives. Shocking isn't it.

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http://www.timesonli...icle7121286.ece

The author made confusing and downright erroneous claims about the Ibrox disaster of January 2, 1971, which did not enhance the piece at all. Moreover, it only whetted the appetite of those usual suspects among the Rangers support who are perennially offended, and who got straight on to poor Bain by letter or e-mail to haver indignantly about the article.

well, apparently he isn't going to stop writing his bile about us

this part was the most offensive bit of the article

I was honestly shocked by that part. Imagine us being offended by ridiculous claims made about a tragic event in our past that claimed a number of lives. Shocking isn't it.

I wonder if he thinks Liverpudlians are silly for not buying the Sun.

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Didn't Spiers recently profess to actually be a Rangers fan (fan, not supporter, obviously)? His whole career seems to be a medium through which he can exorcise his self-loathing.

He did.

There's nothing about which he won't lie.

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It is an interesting piece.

One thing it highlights is how confused journalists get when talking about what influence the press has. They love to boast about being opinion formers and the like but suddenly when somebody blames the press for something they are quick to deny any influence....

But as for the story he has concocted about Boston, I don't believe it is true. I just don't believe that that game was ever going to happen.

As for his shock at the influence the press had on UEFA over TBB, again he lies, that whole affair was led by the Scottish press, as he well knows. His being 'genuinely flabbergasted' is again a lie. He made sure that UEFA had plenty of ammunition from himself and from the other Rangers haters throughout the mhedia. And we know about the standard of the writing - slanted against us in every way imaginable....

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There's no point in leaving comments, I don't think he even bothers to read them and even if he did he doesn't care what we say, he knows it won't make any difference, the damage is already done.

He's so obviously lying, I get the impression he's gloating about UEFA/TBB and the influence the press had.

I agree with Manti, I don't believe the Boston thing was ever going to happen.

Does no-one at RFC see him for what he is?

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