Graham Spiers

Graham Spiers is in the news again. An apology by The Herald in regard to an allegation by Mr Spiers that one of the current Rangers directors approves of the proscribed song The Billy Boys was later countered by Mr Spiers. In his personal statement he did not withdraw his allegation, or his conclusion that the current board lacks the mettle to effect change in the sectarian attitudes of what he claims is an underclass at Ibrox. His article in The Herald in 2012 provides an insight to his plight:

“My heart sank as I watched last week’s Channel Four News item about critics of Rangers FC coming in for threats or menacing intimidation from either fans or rogue elements with links to the Ibrox club. I’ve been there, had the treatment, received such threats myself. It was all highly familiar, even if I’ve never written publicly about it until now.

One of Channel 4’s interviewees was Gary Allan, the Scottish QC, who said that, after his involvement with an SFA panel which punished Rangers for bringing the game into disrepute, Strathclyde Police had summoned him to an urgent meeting due to threats being made against him. Allan spoke of the subsequent threats to himself and his family. It was obvious he regretted ever getting embroiled with Rangers in the first place.

My own story of covering Rangers – and being critical of certain aspects of the club – has incurred similar menace. It all started around 10 years ago when, as chief sports writer on The Herald, I began focusing on the bigoted singing issue over which the club was then wearyingly engaged with its supporters. After a number of pieces highlighting this blight upon Rangers, the threatening letters, the phone calls and the internet poison on Rangers fans’ sites all began to build in momentum against me.

Round about 2005, my then editor at The Herald phoned me and said: “How do you feel about this? We have a concern about it at the paper. We think we should speak to the police about your security.” I was pretty nonplussed to hear this, not least because, in truth, I had never been that bothered by it. “I don’t think we need to go that far,” I told my editor. “I really don’t think it’s that bad, is it?” In the end, we agreed to let it lie in terms of police involvement.

Yet the threats towards me grew. It seemed to me they came from a kind of rogue, angry underclass which appeared to have attached itself to the club. Any sweeping generalisations about Rangers fans, however, were both futile and inaccurate. The fact was, whenever I engaged in pub debate with Rangers fans – which was often – the conversation was normally civil, if combative.

But then came another incident, when the press bus stopped 200 yards short of the Villarreal stadium on a Champions League night with Rangers in 2006. I got fairly bumped around and was spat at as we made our way through the Rangers throngs to the arena. That was the night when the Villarreal team bus got pelted and suffered a smashed window, and just months before Uefa censured Rangers for bigoted chanting. On the latter, a few Rangers fans on the fervid message-boards blamed me for somehow “shopping” the club to Uefa via my critical editorials on the subject.

Fast forward to 2011, by which time we’d had the disturbances in Manchester involving Rangers fans, and their offensive singing at the 2011 League Cup final, both of which caused the club further headaches. Again, I’d written critically on these topics, which only kept the poison flowing in my direction.

Then, on the morning of April 21 last year (2011), colleagues began texting me about a fresh alarm. The Daily Record had published a picture of me with an accompanying story, claiming I was one of a number of people being targeted by cranks, because of my criticisms of Rangers. That particular day I had other family concerns on my mind, and I more or less ignored the Record story. But the next day I received a phone call.

“Graham, this is Detective Chief Superintendent [xxxxxxx] from the counter-terrorism unit at Strathclyde Police…”

I was incredulous. “You’re kidding me, right?” I said. “You are kidding me on, surely?”

“No, I’m not,” he said. “And we think we need to come and see you at home pretty soon.”

I duly spent two hours listening to police security specialists explaining to me that they had information about threats being made against me, and that these threats were linked to my writing and broadcasting about Rangers. And so it has gone on, the threat of intimidation rising and falling in line with my writing about this football club.

The context, I believe, is this. Rangers FC have had supporter issues to deal with over the years. Many of these issues have seen great improvement in fans’ behaviour. But among the Rangers hard core there is resentment. Their faux Protestant culture around Rangers is something many Ibrox fans want to bin but the “traditionalists” want to preserve.

It often seems to me that a modern, liberal Scotland has abandoned this section of the Rangers support; left them behind, and even actually mocked them for their out-dated beliefs. Whatever the context, in my own experience, Channel 4 got it right. You sometimes mix with Rangers at your peril.”

 

It’s important to stress that Mr Spiers was a Rangers fan. As you can see from his article he has covered games at home and abroad. He has incurred the wrath of Rangers supporters for not accepting that Charles Green’s purchase of a basket of assets was a continuation of Rangers. James Traynor also publicly expressed this view, but later recanted it when employed to be Green’s Press Officer. Mangetout Traynor’s hypocrisy is the stuff of legend.

Mr Spiers has also campaigned against the singing of the UEFA proscribed song at Ibrox. The SPFL and the SFA have gone out of their way to avoid this issue. Both governance bodies have feigned temporary deafness when attending these games, and the delegates’ reports that allude to this issue are evidently mislaid or trashed with the junk mail. The Offensive Behaviour (Scotland) Act empowers Police Scotland to arrest those who engage in this proscribed anthem, but as Stewart Regan has stated, you cannot arrest 50,000 individuals. The introduction of facial recognition cameras is a red herring. This will be used to arrest those who have skipped bail or under warrant of arrest, but not to address this issue. This anthem will continue until such time as UEFA intervene, as they inevitably will.

This intimidation of journalists must be brought to an end. The attitude that those who criticize Rangers or their support are ‘haters’ is frankly ludicrous. Mr Spiers is correct in his assertion that a modern, liberal Scotland has abandoned this section of the Rangers support. However this section has not abandoned Rangers and will continue to be an affront to Rangers at home and abroad. The current board are culpable for elevating some of the recidivist underclass to positions of prominence at the club. This is something Mr Spiers has yet to touch on. He may well think twice about doing so.

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33 thoughts on “Graham Spiers”

  1. Vanguard Bears understands that Parks Motor Group has withdrawn £40,000 worth of advertising revenue from The Herald newspaper due to persistent and unwarranted attacks on the Club by its article writers.

    Only last week, a Rangers Director voiced Club concerns regarding biased reporting with Herald Editor Magnus Llewellin.

    These concerns were totally ignored, and Friday past saw a deliberately inflammatory article with the headline “Crooks at Rangers” appear in the aforesaid newspaper.

    VB welcomes this move, and that of other Rangers-friendly companies who previously have withdrawn financial support to this newspaper, which clearly has no intention of being impartial.

    1. I checked out this ‘deliberately inflammatory article’. The headline is :

      Rangers set to land Crooks and Windass for bargain fee if Accrington refuse to sell

      If this is what passes as impartial and inflammatory…….

    2. JJ

      It beggars belief that a Director of a successful company and a Director of our club, feels it is right and proper to mix business interests with those of our club. I have never bought into the fact that there are some good ones on the board at Rangers, if they have backed and stood by Glib then they are as complicit and guilty as our CCC is. I thought VB was a decent site and didn’t cow-tow and agree with this sort of shit, mind you I haven’t visited it for a long time so I am disappointed they agree with that, if true.

      I see Glib’s business strategies, which seem to work well for him, are now being adopted as the de-facto way to do business by the only directore with a pot to piss in….good god, there is nothing good on that board as far as I can ascertain, they have brought us nothing financially, apart from loans and more debt and are using us as fans to further their business and interests by idiotic and childish acts like this.

      Something must have brought the CC to Scotland this week, he doesn’t make visits unless there is a can of worms about to be opened, or there has to be some lies and glibness released through the media supporters …..one thing for sure, he will be gone before the end of ‘silly season’ (transfer deadline) that’s for sure, hunkered down in his now empty cellar, avoiding the shit storm that will be flying when W&W fail to sign any of their projected targets, maybe Boydie wasn’t far off the mark with his statement about losing them and Glibness has flown it specially to lie in person…..just a thought but something stinky is going on to attract a dung beetle like G&SL here at this time.

      GSTQ

  2. Another unreported win for Ashley – Lord Tyre dismisses Ashley case about AGM resolution for extension but wont consider matter of costs – so RIFC pay yet another days court fees.

    Our bleeding continues.

  3. With this threat-induced control of the press being ignored by the football administrators and the trust that Mike Ashley’s legal assault will clean up the game fading with every court appearance it looks more and more likely that the only route left is the one the fans take.
    If you share my concerns SIGN the PETITION-
    https://www.change.org/p/scottish-football-association-return-integrity-to-football-administration-in-scotland-673d2730-4863-4499-8b6d-b4c6e908318f

    John-it would be extremely helpful if you could place the link as sticky on your site.

    1. Some questions around this petition:

      Is the person who created it really named Anthony BLIAR, just like our recent war criminal and former PM, Tony Blair, in the common parlance?

      This is the name given at the top and the side of the petition indicating that either it’s a spelling mistake or, most likely, it’s a pseudonym, which does not exactly inspire any further trust.

      Although I do understand a desire for anonymity, this choice of name is dubious, at the very least, and may be being used for more nefarious purposes, as I will explain.

      This alone puts me on edge but not as much as the fact that the full names, and general regions, of all signees can be viewed by people such as Bears Fightback and their ilk, people who have publicly announced their intentions to ‘attack by all legal or illegal means possible’ anyone who has dared criticise Rangers/Newco online.
      This threat also extended to their families, explicitly, and alarmingly, mentioning ‘their wives & children’.

      Although I fully agree with a collective fans petition, the nature of this one is ‘off’, and it seems to me like it could be a very handy place for the dangerous and unhinged to gather a great deal of personal information at one swoop without going to the trouble of actually hacking any websites.

      One reader, who prodigiously contributes to this site, and Phil’s & the SFM, has inadvertently put his own address up for public view, and I’m not certain that it will be an easy task to get it removed, though I would advise him to begin the process immediately, given the sudden menacing change in tone from the disgruntled who may have just realised that the charade of the last 4 years is now coming to a close.

      So, in light of these disturbing signs, I will refrain from signing this petition for now, at least until these matters have been verified, or not.

      For those of you still wanting to sign, there is, of course, the option to sign anonymously, by unclicking the tick box, but I think the creator of this petition should further clarify his motives for us to be certain of his intent.

      One can never be too careful in light of such blatant threats and I’m sure that ‘Anthony Bliar’ understands my doubts, as his pseudonym indicates.

      But why use a nom de plume that invokes a liar ..?

      1. You say this could be a scam of some sort. That people will be waiting to digress the information given ? What you are saying is exactly what the knuckle draggers want people to think, I would urge everyman and there dog to sign this petition ASAP. Whether you truly believe this or not, you have no right to engage in whataboutery ? The knuckle draggers and our beloved SFA would just love people like you on there payrole to warn every Tom Dick and Harry to toe the line and not get involved in the truth.
        Absolute nonsense,
        If you don’t want to back up what is true then don’t, but leave the whataboutery in the RIFC sites.

      2. I was all the signing the Petition until I saw the Name Anthony Bliar and they asked for my full Address then something just didn’t feel right so I declined to sign

      3. Yes it is a nom de plume and I agree it is unfortunate. I originally put together the petition using my real name not realising that it would be published on the petition page. As I had everything ready to go I quickly re-registered with the site and the username was the first to come into my head that was obvious to the reader to be false. I don’t think that I need need to explain my desire for anonymity at this stage. If I could change what I used I would but I am not aware of how to do that
        I should draw your attention to the detail of the petition though, and point out that it is aimed, not at any club, but at those charged with running our game. It did attract my attention though that many of the comments indicated that the posters were concentrating on what was happening with regards to one club. In my mind that side of things is more a symptom than a cause.
        As to the address of a poster, I see only the town appearing and no detailed address. It is, though, with in my powers to remove posts if requested but I fail to see how I could identify whether the request was genuine

      4. Zam, feel free to sign, if you feel comfortable with it.

        I do not, and therefore will not.

        However, could you please clarify at what point in my discourse I ‘engage in whataboutery’?

        For I unequivocally do not, and at no point do I ‘tell people to ‘toe the line and not get involved in the truth’ …

        For this site is all about uncovering the truth, however uncomfortable or painful it may be for all of us and, should you read back, you will see that only last night I both implored JJ to stay in the fight and not give up, as the awfulness of the truth is painfully revealed to us, AND also called for a collective fans’ petition, (see, A Cynical Commercial Imperative) just prior to finding this ‘Anthony Bliar’ number.

        I do express a strong opinion, coupled with a warning for all of us, and I include myself here, who want collective, and immediate, action taken in this crime.

        But I reserve the right to express my own doubts about this petition and, again, I ask whoever created it to clarify their rational behind it, if not their true identity.

        (West Ham Fan clearly shares my reservations.)

        But I most certainly DO NOT ‘engage in whataboutery’, as this dictionary definition will illustrate to you in your confusion:

        Whataboutery
        /ˌwɑːtəˈbaʊtərɪ/
        noun
        1.
        (of two communities in conflict) the practice of repeatedly blaming the other side and referring to events from the past’

        Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition’

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/whataboutery

      5. On reflection, zam, a comment such as yours, coupled with other subtle indicators, serves only to confirm my suspicions ….

        You don’t happen to be ‘Anthony Bliar’, do you?

        Or know something of his prior reasoning ..?

      6. Thanks for your prompt reply, Reiver.

        I fully understand your wish for anonymity, and the main thrust of the petition being a call for the SFA et al to be shown up as the nefarious puppets that they are, and your swift actions in getting this call up in a short space of time.

        But, if you go back to yesterday’s signatures, you will clearly see a home address printed in the comments box and hope that you can indeed adjust or delete it, for this could be risky for the individual involved.

        (I won’t repeat it here, for fear of drawing unwanted attention to it, but you will find it there, listed at ‘1 day ago’.)

      7. Bare Faced Scot, the only reason I replied in “angry” mode is because I , like others are sick to the back teeth of persons trying to educate us to what we already know or assume to know regarding threats aimed at people taking a stand against corruption.

        I did not sign the petition lightly, and to be honest I will not stand around and expect everyone else to act when I do nothing. Yes, everyone is free to sign or not, but do not insult peoples intelligence by saying this could happen or that can happen, WE ALREADY know what IS happening.

        I believe “Anthony Blair (alias) has posted now on JJs blog and explained himself, can we now all expect your good self to sign ?

      8. Zam, before I answer your question, could you please answer mine:

        Where, in my earlier narrative, do I engage in whataboutery?

        And as for ‘insulting people’s intelligence’ I have no inclination whatsoever to do that to anyone, as all of my previous comments on here will testify.
        And I particularly would not do it to someone who, by attacking a mere observation, appears to be doing a fine job of it on their own.

        This site is an excellent forum for all true Scottish football supporters, and plenty more besides, and I appreciate the exceptional standard of comment allowed by JJ, but will not let unfounded accusations go by without asking for an explanation of their meaning, preferably with some clarity attached.

        So, pretty please, with bells on:

        Could you, for the benefit of all readers, point out my whataboutery?

  4. JJ: I read the attachment but decided on balance not to approve it on this site. I have taken the time to inform you as I do not wish to discourage further contributions on your part.

  5. It’s surprising that, whilst Police Scotland (Strathclyde), are advising on security I don’t recall anyone being brought to book.
    The threats will continue until someone is charged and covicted. Many journalists say mens things we don’t and or agree with but that’s what they’re supposed to do. The fact that some print media have all but given up reporting and instead reprint, with little editing, PR releases, twitter stories or plagiarise blogs is closely related to a decline in sales.
    Football fans should reflect on what they would have been told had it been left to SMSM, with no input from sites like this one and TSFM.

  6. Hello JJ:

    I refer to John Clark’s admirable initiative in pursuing an interview with the SFA a president and his ventriloquist. I was struck by the National’s comment that sports writers do not have the time to chase up these cases. What a lame travesty of an excuse!

    In reference to the article by Mr. Spiers, alluding to a specific Police Superintendent seals it’s authenticity for me. I note that the complaint of unbalanced reporting does not include repudiation of Mr. Spiers account regarding the Ibrox director’s endorsement of a vile song glorifying wading in gore.

    The fact that the Ibrox directors do not order public announcements requesting fans cease and desist, or include such in match programmes, or play loud music to disrupt the choir, is indicative of overt support in the Boardroom for despicable behaviour. It is also instructive that the police do not publicly request the Ibrox board for some such window dressing for public relations reasons.

    It appears obvious that the only public the Board is remotely concerned about are those that constitute the choir.

    IniquitousIV

  7. It is a sad day when a journalist cannot write constructive comments about a very important subject because threats will be made to him and his family. We live in a democracy where freedom of speech was earned due to the sacrifices of the previous generations. In past under various kings and queens, if you criticised them, then you lost your head. I had hoped that we had moved on from this but obviously not. Graham Speirs calls it as he sees it; it is his opinion. By the way, did the Rangers director deny that he made the comment?
    I ceased purchasing Scottish based newspapers several years ago as I considered their reporting to be unbalanced. Now due to the fact that they just print the information supplied by the PR machines, they will soon disappear. I guess the internet bampots will take over fully at that point.
    The day that the newspapers ceased to print will be a sad day for Scottish society.

  8. Instead of, foolishly, waiting for ‘one of the clubs’ to ‘act’, when we know damn fine they will not, why doesn’t someone make a formal complaint to the police about suspected criminal activity by the SFA?

    There seems to be no shortage to choose from but I reckon one accusing a former top man’s deliberate involvement in tax evasion and attempts to cover the tracks of others should do it.

    Since it’s a crime in itself to witness a crime and not report it, then it should take just one public complaint to spark a police investigation, no?

    And if hundreds of individuals were to complain of the same crimes, in the same wording, on the same day, or even the same week ..?

    Would the police not be compelled to act?

    Or would they, as ever, stoically stand stony faced and claim immunity from any possible action, given the obvious ‘ranking’ of those involved ..?

  9. Disgraceful treatment of a journalist who’s only crime was to tell the truth. The support from his colleagues in the media is deafening by its silence.

  10. Being angry is a safe place for some people – safe from unpleasant facts – safe from changing realities – safe from perceived injustice – safe from dealing with the cards life has dealt them. Finding a more contented safe place is not easy and first requires a desire to change. Until such change, they will always strive to be angry.

  11. In a earlier blog I posted giving the press pelters about not reporting the truth on this crazy situation. What have the journos to do when they and their families are receiving threats and their addresses published online and getting calls at their hones saying we know we’re your kids go to school.I repeat what I said earlier,until all the fans groups come under one banner and until some of the fans groups leaders stop putting their own agendas first,then the club will keep getting fleeced.I find it strange that the most vocal and probably most followed and listened to fans group have went hell of quiet.They are doing their fellow fans a disservice by not still shouting for transparency.It would b good to know why all of a sudden it’s not a peep from them.Surely a blazer is not that important.keep up the good work,your blog is fighting the fight that these people are claiming to b fighting

  12. Reading this and other recent blog pieces, it has become obvious that this great little country of ours is being run to suit a small (but not small enough) group of morons and Neanderthals. The “press” won’t touch certain stories with the proverbial “barge pole”, the police are unwilling to act in the face of mass law breaking, football officials are advised on personal safety. These same officials seem keener to hang on to an official position than adopt a moral / legal position on issues for which they have responsibility. Meanwhile the whisperings of the silent majority have reached little more than a murmur (Despite the best efforts of your good self and SFM)
    What can be done? Me, I look on in constant amazement that small time spivs like Broadfoot and big time spivs like King continue to flaunt themselves as untouchables while an assortment of wannabe spivs try to cling to the coat tails. So what have I done (apart from read blogs and sign petitions)? I did what Darryl Broadfoot has suggested might have an impact. My season ticket money for the last 3 seasons has gone to the “biggest team in Glasgow”, Glasgow Warriors rugby side. I fear it will take more than me walking away before the SFA (or anyone else) gets interested. There is an old adage “follow the money”. If the money supply begins to dry up sufficiently to threaten the “positions” of the blazerati at the SFA something might be done. One thing the SFA have done consistently is follow the money, it’s just a shame they are not very good at catching it.
    “We don’t do walking away!” Look at the circumstances. Look at what is happening. Make an honest assessment of your own position and take your own decision. Don’t have your decision taken for you by a master of soundbites or misplaced loyalty.

      1. Cancel Sky subscription
        Cancel BT subscription , write, phone or email both and tell them why you are cancelling.
        Email Ladbrokes etc and explain you have stopped using there premises .
        Anything and everything should be used to bring them down.

        I have already did these small things, but it takes us all to act and stop waiting on someone else.

      2. Boycott all sport if there’s money in it, it is corrupt. QED.

        Only a fool would spend money on sport.

  13. A couple of days have passed since the historic meeting between John Clark and Michelle ‘ s ex and that other broke from the SFA.

    Seriously who is Alan McCrae? As Scottish football supporters we demand to know!

    Not a mention in the media, not even Spiers has uttered a word on the subject perhaps undertandable considering his job may be in peril for, er, telling the truth.

    Of course there is no mention in the media. If you were a journo and put out a story that an amateur, apologies John, from a blog site had a tete a tete with the SFA new President, and his rottweiler, your erse would be kicked around the office by the Editor, who has just had his kicked by the owner.

    Is there anyone out there, anyone, whose estimation of the SFA has risen following this historic occasion?

    Given Darryl ‘ s previous low profile, what profile some would say, I’m sure he’s well chuffed with his contribution. His name’s all over the Web but probably not in a way that he would have liked…….but hey ho they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, eh Darryl.

    Michelle,hen, you can do so much better

  14. i like reading graham spiers sensible stuff from a brave journalist I stayed in the quad in Castlemilk for 30 years. I have never heard of Dave King or any one called King The Rangers who play at Ibrox are not the team of my teens or youth. King is an asset stripper. Does anyone know him personally? He who controls the past controls the future. He’s just a chancer.

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