The Importance of Being Open

When a theme develops in the Scottish media, the cynic in me is alive to the possibility of the unseen hand of PR. The current ‘clamour’ for Alex McLeish to be the new Scotland first team coach must come from those who say their bedtime prayers facing the Copland Road. I assume that they are The People who look back nostalgically to Helicopter Sunday as Rangers cheated their way to title wins with players that but for systemic tax evasion they could not have afforded. To these individuals the fact that McLeish also had his nose in the EBT trough, to the tune of £1.7m, is not a showstopper.

Suddenly Alex McLeish is ‘open‘ to the Scotland position. Is there a causal link between McLeish’s new found openness and an Advance Payment Notice arriving by registered post from HMRC? It is my contention that Regan and his cabal of gutless frauds want Mackay to be appointed permanently. Mackay is cheap and a ‘yes‘ man. Mackay also has a relationship with Celtic as a former player in the period 1993-1998.

The Scotland job is not a difficult gig if you forge a relationship with Brendan Rodgers. If one were to choose Gordon in goal; Tierney and Ralston at full back; with captain Scott Brown in a holding midfield role, partnered with Stuart Armstrong; McGregor and Forrest on the flanks; and Griffiths up front all one needs to add are two centre backs and a number ten. I realise that Ralston at 18 might be considered a little green at this level by the Lee Wallace apologists who wanted Tierney to wait his turn. However the Celtic left back has developed to the point where Wallace would not be fit to lace his boots. Mark my words: Tierney will be a future captain of both Celtic and Scotland. Scott Brown, the best player in Scottish football bar none, would pass his armband to Tierney with pleasure when the time is right.

The Celtic players are being blooded in the crucible of The Champions League. Lining up to face Neymar and the sublime Cavani was a learning experience. Lining up tonight against FC Hollywood in Munich, lining up against a squad valued at north of £525m, will be learning in the raw. Any optimism from the Anderlecht result should be tempered when considering a forward line containing Müller, Robben and Lewandowski. Celtic will not go toe-to-toe with Bayern as this would be suicide. The best that they can hope for is that Robben has a quiet night and that two of the finest predators in world football have their supply lines blocked. The Celtic defence is in for a torrid time.

I digress. Birmingham City with Alex McLeish in the dugout were relegated twice. After the ignominy of this double, he walked three miles down the road to Aston Villa and overnight became the biggest football pariah in The Black Country.  Having only narrowly avoided relegation in the 2011–12 Premier League season, his contract was terminated by Villa at the end of his first season. McLeish was then appointed manager of Championship club Nottingham Forest in December 2012, but left after 40 days by mutual consent. He managed Belgian Pro League club Genk in the 2014–15 season, and Zamalek of the Egyptian Premier League in 2016.

In the absence of EBT’s, McLeish’s record is nothing to write home about.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Stewart Regan has briefed Darryl Broadfoot (always the bridesmaid, never the bride, but not one to Mone about it) at Frame to introduce the spectre of McLeish to improve the prospects of their preferred candidate, Mackay.

On this occasion the unseen hand of Slim Shady Traynor is nowhere to be seen. In a further sign of the weakening of King’s position in the blue boardroom, Lite are currently recruiting a full-time PR professional. Traynor will soon find himself to be redundant. Level 5 PR’s accounts were published yesterday. With an annual turnover that is shy of £632,000, and £316,000 or less on its balance sheet, this micro-entity is heading for choppy waters. Is Traynor just keeping the seat warm for his replacement? If the Lite account is not renewed, Traynor will be chapping over a game of dominoes at his favourite ex-serviceman’s club in Airdrie. One can but hope that he will be drinking bitter.

In other media news, Grant Russell is serving his notice at STV. He will live long in the memory of those who questioned his integrity apropos Andrea Traverso’s assertion that Rangers Lite are a new club. Grant claimed that his communiqué from UEFA did not hole the good ship Continuation Jeopardy under the waterline. As he refused to publish his letter, it smacked of Lite-facing editorial control.

In the moribund world of the SMSM where cub scouts like Chris ( The King is Back) Jack have a voice, Russell was a breath of fresh air. I wish him well.


22 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Open”

  1. Which country was the only unbeaten team at World Cup 2010 in South Africa? The country only has one professional football club.

  2. Grant Russell’s reputation will never recover from the Traverso letter scandal. Excising critical words from a document in order to maintain a fiction is not something any self-respecting journalist would do or allow himself be told to do.

  3. Big Eck has no credibility in the football, his time has long gone. His Soft approach to the vacancy should be more reflective of his remorse at how he left the job previously rather than his ego saying he will not lower himself to formally apply, humility has no home in Big Ecks world. The man has no integrity either. His track record has caught up with him.
    Would The SFA actually employ Malky McKay? A man who will do their bidding yes but a football pariah awaiting any sort of offer from elsewhere who will be away if any offer ever transpires!! That indeed would be a new low for the lowest form of Corrupt Football Governing Body in the world! I see they are soft PRing a move away from Hampden. Mmmmm, with Ibrox requiring essential maintenance but casjh being in short supply a money spinning deal with the SFA for some matches or a 5 year lease would be most welcome obviously with SFA picking up repairs tab to make it suitable for their purposes. And a vacant Hampden available for rent would assist should the alternative of RFC having to decant for a time come to pass.
    (and just a point but saying Brum and Villa are in the black country is like saying Glasgow is in Edinburgh to Brummies! Black country is West Brom,Wolves)

  4. The importance of being honest might have been a better title and if you find a Scottish journalist who is honest ask him the continuation question , it might take a while to get the honest answer.

  5. Could someone be so kind as to donate a token amount. I have received nothing today, not even a missed payment or recurring donation terminated message. I’m concerned that PayPal is down. The alternative, that it’s working fine but no-one is prepared to contribute, on a weekday, would be sobering.

  6. McLeish touted for a stipend from the SFA-whom he’d already walked out on-while his friend was still in that job.

    IMO,that’s a slimeball.

    Also IMO,WHS went easy on McLeish in his first season or two at CP so as to keep his pal in a job. He could have had that Rangers team skewered. He didn’t.

    As I said,IMO. But think back,say I’m wrong.

  7. I am glad Grant Russell is moving on from an organisation where his integrity became compromised. The lad to me has talent and if a backbone is added he will recover.

    Events around June last year when the Res12 lawyer received the Traverso letter dated 8th June that was copied to Celtic and the SFA, are that Grant was fishing on Twitter before he published the article around mid June that omitted Traverso’s full para on reasons why RFC could no longer be sanctioned.

    To UEFA RFC had been replaced under UEFA FFP rules Art12 with a NEWclub/company (TRIFC) who did not have the required 3 years membership of the SFA in order to be eligible as a new club/company to apply for a UEFA licence. The principle of Art12 FFP is to preserve the integrity of UEFA competition.

    That information was not given to Grant when fishing for simple reason the question of RFC’s status had not been asked and Res12ers were unsure how it should be presented, especially as it could divert from the prime enquiry – how was the licence granted and monitored by SFA.

    Res12 was always about SFA accountability and remains so.

    Grant was also advised to hold off publishing until the full details did come out.

    When STV published the news of the UEFA reply a few days later, the suspect para was shown on Social Media by Grant to have come from the UEFA Media Dept, not from Traverso.

    Why it differed, why the SFA did not clarify the position with UEFA, having a copy of the Traverso letter in their possession, then inform Grant, is something that neither Grant nor the SFA Head of Communications Darryl Broadfoot nor the SFA itself have chosen to do.

    Did Grant amended the Traverso letter? I think not, but the SFA were in possesion of the Traverso letter when Grant was fishing for what it said. They could have told him before he published if he asked them.

    The one person who could clear Grant of deliberate misreporting or a genuine error in reporting is Darryl Broadfoot, but he like Grant has left the scene.

    Until one of them comes clean both will find the absence of integrity hounds their media future, devaluing anything they do, even where it has truthful value.
    Deliberately intervening in an enquiry from the shareholders in a member club is a serious business.

    1. Overall a measured comment but I struggle slightly with the inferred extension of “benefit of doubt”
      Surely (had he been innocent or misled) the opportunity existed for Grant to put the record straight when subsequently appraised?
      I’m afraid that the absence of this leaves him culpable or at least complicit.
      His next appointment may well be illuminating in that regard

      1. Agreed.

        The comment was to correct the earlier one that Grant changed the Traverso para based on what is known to have taken place at the time.

        That does not mean he is in the clear, quite the opposite in complicity terms.

        The sequence from him following the Celtic Company Lawyer after a surprise announcement by Regan at the SFA AGM at start of June that UEFA were being approached, until Grant published his article smacks of an attempt to keep the SFA in the clear and close any investigation which is now underway.

        The inclusion of the new club/company para by Traverso threw everyone and made it impossible for the SFA to use the content of the letter directly without raising questions on the legitimacy of their transfer of SFA membership.

        The best laid plans etc.

    2. or he could have asked the Res 12 guys and this would have been a gsture willing to publish an article. No he ran with the shite and the smell is still emanating to me he is a non checker of facts and miscalculated. Tough call but the truth was already available he only had to ask. WOTR ran with shite when google was available.

      1. He did and whilst not told what the Traverso letter said he was advised to wait (until it’s contents became public.)

        That did take a few weeks whilst all aspects of the UEFA reply were considered to enable an appropriate response.

  8. jj, love your articles. I normally try to donate monthly but last month i had problems with paypal. I live abroad for most of the year and do not always have wifi. However have managed to donate today ref 5800. Keep up the good work and tske care.

    JJ: Thank you

  9. Donation made ***********35621W. Appreciating your well written and thought provoking articles. Keep up the good work. … McMacho.

    JJ: Thank you.

  10. The last time that the SFA tried to be Earnest was in the days if Ernie Walker. We all know Oscar’s play to be a comedy. A farce. A hoot.

    And that is what the SFA has come to. A pretentious organization and self serving. Hopeless, inept and I am aware that senior officials read this excellent site.

    “Illusion is the first of all pleasures” was one of my many favourite Wilde quotes.

    The SFA continue to play the PR machine with no substance.

    This body of officials has harmed Scottish football and the allegiance to the Ibrox club has compromised them dearly.

  11. Regarding your picture above of the EBT recipients. I expect all is being done to assist all of the RFC EBT recipients.
    It would be interesting to see some just how many are now receiving restitution money from the Football Fraternity /Market. I know Big Eck seems to pop up quite regularly, as does Alex Rae, Kris Boyd, Neil McCann, Baz with the 2 brain cells and of course Syrup Souness who’s dodgy dealings a la Bumsong brought the whole edifice crashing down in the first place.
    However what is beyond the pale is the sight of Stephen Thompson being a mainstay of the BBC Scottish Football coverage I find this quite despicable and a very good reason to boycott any coverage he is involved in. How many times is this tax dodger allowed to fleece the honest UK tax payer? Not only did he pick our pockets with his EBT he is now doing it again and being paid for his services by the BBC, who are funded by the UK tax Payers!!
    Absolutely shocking by BBC Scotland and an affront to every honest tax payer that this tax dodging cheat is now taking from the Public Funds yet again!!

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