The Kicker: Greater freedom but bloggers must still beware

I have been castigated for introducing my politics to this site. Readers should note that I do not allow politics to undermine my objectivity. I have no problem in reproducing an article in today’s The National. The following text has not been edited:

“THIS column from the outset has sought to solicit the views of Scottish football fans about the state of the game. Too often nowadays those views are expressed via befuddled internet websites, some of which are notorious for vitriol, bigotry, sectarianism and downright hatred.

An exception has been the Scottish Football Monitor (SFM), while the johnjames WordPress blog has been interesting, to say the least – probably the best single-issue sporting blog since the Rangers Tax Case was produced by a well-connected anonymous author, though that blogger saw the “omen”, so to speak, and discontinued operations before the sequel…

Both these current sites and many others enjoy the luxury of having the time to look into things which their operators find interesting. Believe me, a lot of sport writers found them interesting long before the bloggers got to them, but either they don’t have the time to chase up these items, or have lawyers standing over them saying “No you can’t write that”.

Bloggers have a freedom that the sporting media just does not enjoy – ask Chris McLaughlin of the BBC, disgracefully banned from Ibrox, about press freedom.

Yet the best of the bloggers have a legitimate point of view, as do all those fans’ websites and blogs which keep matters to football and kick out any charlatans and trolls.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that the latest blog on SFM followed up on the johnjame site, is a lulu. It appears that SFM blogger John Clark got an interview with two very senior SFA figures. The meeting was entirely about the status of Rangers, and the issue boils down to whether the club is actually a new entity called Sevco founded by Charles Green or the club which was formed in 1872.

For legal reasons not unconnected with a forthcoming trial, some of the matters reported on his blog by John Clark cannot be published in a newspaper – the contempt of court laws are pretty strict, and you can take it The National’s lawyer has checked this column.

The substantive point in the blog can be printed: “I (Clark) further made the point that many sports administrative bodies had come under the spotlight in current times and people were naturally concerned that the governance of football should be above suspicion: and that substantial numbers feel that the Football Authorities have been at fault, in permitting a new club to claim to be an old club and pretend to the honours and titles etc etc.”

The SFA two’s reply can be summarised as follows: they wouldn’t discuss the matter, and felt “the future would show whether Scottish football supporters were really concerned about the old club/new club debate, if huge numbers turned their backs on the game,” in Clark’s words.

Clark’s views are shared by many fans, even some Rangers fans. If his account is accurate, there must surely be some club in membership of the SFA who will take up this matter, if only for the attitude its representatives displayed.

If his account is wrong, then the SFA have to take the matter up with SFM. We await the outcome with interest.”


23 thoughts on “The Kicker: Greater freedom but bloggers must still beware”

  1. Who controls ALL of the Scottish media with such a firm grip in your opinion JJ?

    It’s pretty telling that not a peep about John Clark’s interview with Broadfoot and Mc Rae has appeared in the SMSM, that’s 2 days passed.

    Even the Broadsheets are rammed with puff pieces about red cards, non-transfers, general dross, yet that MONSTER of a story floats on by.

    We live in an annexe of North Korea it would appear, thing is, who is our Great Leader?

  2. This is the old hat that the media roll out every time they are shown to be totally inept and not fit for purpose especially if Internet Bampots are involved.
    This is tantamount to saying that the bloggers don’t have to ‘stand up’ their stories. Our hard pressed media don’t have the time or resources to follow up stories or do anything of an investigative nature………really, who are they kidding?

    What about ‘Off the radar wealth, Motherwell billionaire’ headlines. Pure, unadulterated lies and the writer knew exactly that. …so don’t give me that ‘we have to stand up what we print’ sh*te.
    Where was the Daily Radar lawyer when the award winning scribe came up with this crap?

    How totally embarrassing for TMSM when the rep of an Internet Blog site gets a scoop interview with two senior figures in the SFA…….OK, one senior figure and A N Other.
    I would imagine several backsides have been well and truly skelped in the media industry for being beaten to the punch by a blog site with a few hundred followers and contributors.
    I doubt very much that a loss making entity such as the Daily Radar, shredding thousands of readers every month, can survive much longer particularly when their lazy, inept, unremarkable output is put to shame by a bunch of amateurs……….no offence to the guys at SFM.
    Would it be any surprise, now that someone has shown them the way, if one of the Redtops has their own face to face with our football authorities though don’t expect any hard hitting or near the bone questioning by the mainstream…………..that’s way beyond their capabilities.

      1. I was referring to the number of followers…….there is no doubt that the comments run to thousands

    1. joe

      Excellent critique re MSM.

      Just one point re SFM: they may be a little disappointed with your assessment that they have only “a few hundred followers” 🙂

      1. Have a look at my comment in regard to the withdrawal of £40,000 in advertising revenue at the Herald and the the commercial rationale for their apology. I lifted it directly from the VB site.

  3. John

    Inside Fortress Hampden you hear nothing except the sound of a ticking clock..

    Their default strategy is to do nothing and ride out the storm in their tea cup.

    More oxygen for their incompetence and duplicity is the last thing they want.

    That’s why they have those tightly managed off the record meetings with journos/correspondents.

    Deniability, obfuscation, evasion, confused.

    Just four words that you cannot speak inside Fortress Hampden.

    Tic Toc

  4. Having read and reread Broadfoot ‘ s crass comments, and his obvious contempt for the fans who pay his salary, I sincerely hope that his employer has taken disciplinary action and hit him with a final warning letter as to his future conduct and utterances whilst involved in SFA business.

    1. Employer take disciplinary action against him ?!! Why I might ask?? He is saying and doing exactly what his employers want him to do.

  5. JJ,
    What a joke! Trying to explain why they won’t write the truth…. “Ohhh, a lawyer standing over you saying “You can’t write that”. Laughable!
    Would be funny if it weren’t so serious.
    As I’ve said before, the world is now too educated to swallow such nonsense en masse.
    However, just to disprove my theory, a halfwit on a radio phone in last night wanted to…… “Talk aboot aw ra money ranjurs huv spent rarrar than aw this talk aboot wit we huvnae spent. Mr. King paid off Ashley and he’s already bought 2 players this month, and Mark Warburton has turned doon 5 jobs”.
    When challenged on the 5 jobs Mr Warburton has turned down, halfwits reply was…. “I read it in the papers”.
    So there you have it! This is clearly the captive audience now left to the rags. Yet they wonder why they’re losing influence as well as sales, not to mention listeners deserting radio phone-ins for very similar reasons.
    Thank God you and similar bloggers exist. ….. look at the alternatives!!

  6. JJ apologies for my earlier post on Broadfoot’s comments and the suggested action that an outward looking employer should take.
    I’ve just realised that it’s hardly plausible to expect I AM THE SFA to hand out a written warning to himself.

  7. That was an interesting article in that whilst it pleaded a bit of self defense for MSM it nevertheless found a way around the legal issues to pose a very relevant question to the SFA. A bit of a first. It also suggests the court cases are a bit of a straight jacket – for now.

  8. Even if we are extremely generous and swallow the line about journalists being primed to bring us the big scoop but thwarted in this pursuit by lawyers, restrictions due to court cases, standing up stories etc. It still leaves me as a reader, coming to the conclusion that Scottish newspapers cannot be relied upon to provide truthful, accurate coverage of issues critical to the integrity and future of Scottish football.

    Regardless of the risible excuses offered, the end result is expecting me to pay them money for, at best, censored coverage, and at worst, deflection and downright lies.

    No thanks. It’s like a car salesman acknowledging that the product for sale is a clapped out old banger, riddled with rust with no chance of passing an MOT, but asking me to buy it anyway.

    This is the delusional planet Scottish football journalism lives on these days.

  9. Do people reading your work realise just how important the job you are doing actually is, JJ? I, sincerely, hope so ( I believe the vast majority do to a certain extend but are not fully aware of the position you have put yourself in).

    I have highlighted it on several occasions and shall continue to do so. Why? In the hope that you, yourself, understand the magnitude of gratitude I, and others, feel for the contributions to the welfare of Scottish football – indeed, Scottish society as a whole – you are making.

    Again, as one of life’s ‘worriers’, I hope you remain safe, well and as mentally strong as you have been all along.

    Thank you!


  10. I have been reading this blog from the beginning and I find it hard to beleive that the journos simply don’t report the facts that we all read on this and other blogs.Could sum of the non reporting by these journos not be down to fear.As we have all read and seen articles were the NUJ have stated that over 30 of their members have been threatened and addresses published online,for writing about this crazy situation.How r fans going to find stuff out,if bloggers like yourself and others in the know don’t tell us,as the press won’t or can’t tell us.Im of the belief that fans of your club need to unite under the one banner and rid your club of these shameless people.As I stated in a post yesterday,some of the leaders of the fans groups have jumped on the I can make money out of this bandwagon.What happened to the transparency they were so vocal about.These people are even willing to fleece and misinform their own fans.Some fans are taking every word these people say as gospel.Keep up the work u r doing,as your fans need u and eventually these people will b found out.I long for the day when we are debating and having banter about the fitba and not court cases.

    1. Lest we forget …

      ‘”It is also common cause that the vital issue for the fans is to be told what ambition the owners have for the club and how this is going to be funded. It must be obvious that the fans need this information prior to investing – not after. The board’s new version lacks integrity even if it was believable.”

      – Dave King, April 2014.

      For proof of how much the media loves, or should that be ‘fears’, this guy, let’s look back at his demands for ‘transparency’ and wonder what he really meant and why no one will ask him the same 4 questions now.

  11. Has anyone noticed the rapid change in media output over the last week or so with regards to King’s war chest?
    We have almost came full circle from a couple of deals, almost there, nearly done, guts of £1m to be spent……..then over the last few days to a very different narrative.

    What we have is good enough

    Current squad will see us through the Championship.

    Trust Warbs if he thinks what we have will do the job.

    I have no arguments with any of these statements except that nothing has changed since the previous weeks when the press and Warbs were talking up the targets……..what’s true this week was equally true the week before, apart from the war chest doing a runner.

  12. John

    Your article today speaks to the real issue, which is not at all about the old old club/new club issue. That fatuous debate is just one thread of the curtain behind which the SFA Blazers of Oz hide. The SFA are happy for the football public to become distracted by this nonsense, when the real issue is the future (and therefore the governance) of Scottish Football. This presented “problem” merely deflects attention away from the real issue; the competence and integrity of the SFA. The thing that scares the SFA most of all is the possibility of a united football public, where club loyalties all converge into one thread. We all saw how they abruptly changed tack when several clubs objected to their plan to tear up their own rules to put Rangers immediately back into the SPL. As long as a particular view/criticism can be presented as being part of a partisan club (sectarian?) narrative the SFA are safe.

    With constitutionally restrained member clubs and a largely compliant and lazy media, the SFA actually believe that they are untouchable. Experiences over many years have shown that their complacency is quite justified. For years they have gotten away with incompetence and obfuscation for the very reasons outline in the sentence before last. For them, social media has less substance than an empty milk bottle. Truly we are all internet bampots to them.

    Regan, Ogilvie, Bryson and Dickson were shamefacedly arrogant before McRae and Broadfoot were in place at Hampden.

    Watty Scott’s two lines from Marmion spring to mind…

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive.”

    To put that earlier presented problem in some clearer context, one that you yourself alluded to a week or so ago.

    The Same Club stance should logically result in the creditors from the liquidated club being paid off in full by the continuation club.
    “How can we seriously want the trophy and title history to transfer to TRFC, yet the outstanding debt from that club not also transfer?”

    The Different Club stance should result in only trophies won since 2012 being credited.
    “We are a different club and the debts from the old club remain with that liquidated entity, and so, by the same logic, any titles/trophies must also remain with the liquidated entity.”

    It is a non issue and designed to divide.

    That the Uefa and FIFA registered regulatory authority, whose sole task is to govern the business of professional and amateur football in Scotland, are prepared to lie or hide on such issues speaks not to any one such issue, but rather to their own integrity. Using the standard by which they allegedly assess the suitability of others who seek to be involved in running football clubs in Scotland –

    Are they fit and proper people for their duties?

    I often wonder if this Scottish society “code of look the other way” is like the infamous Henry Kissinger situation in the USA.
    Everyone in DC knows what wretched things he did years ago, but no one will publicly say much about it because they all fear that they may have something to lose if Henry’s roof caves in.

    Keep up the good work.

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