Alex Thomson

I believe that in any sphere of professional activity the recognition of your peers is simply the best.

For it is they who truly appreciate what it is you are trying to achieve and, indeed, how difficult it is.

Subsequently, I was delighted to learn that Alex Thomson had picked up the Royal Television Society award for best television journalist.

His work in the last year included reporting from Gaza and Syria.

However his time spent on the Rangers story was, for me, one of the UK media stories of 2012.

That is because he shone a light on a section of our trade that simply wasn’t fit for purpose when they were needed most.

I wrote last March that the guy from Channel 4 would have an impact on Planet Fitba.

In my opinion Thomson’s vital contribution to the Rangers story was to wrest control of the narrative from the succulent lamb lads in Glasgow.

As well as breaking important stories about the Big Tax Case, most notably, the Martin Bain email story, what “Tomo” did was to mercilessly expose the cosy incompetence of Glasgow sports hacks.

Almost immediately he stepped into this story he realised that the local mainstream football reporters where shamefully asleep at the wheel.

He had no hesitation in realising that it was the guys in the Fitba blogosphere had led way on telling the tale of the impending collapse of Rangers.

He underlined that view when he agreed to write the foreword for my book on the demise of Scotland’s establishment club.

Moreover he would thereafter stoutly defend   his decision for doing so.

Time and again when he was asked to disassociate himself from Downfall he refused by simply pointing out that the book was truthful.

A journalist defending the truth!

This was new stuff for the klan to have to cope with.

A veteran of over twenty wars Thomson considered Glasgow’s so-called mean streets to be laughably tame compared to places like Aleppo in Syria.

However, my native city was the ONLY place where he had ever been threatened by a fellow journalist.

At the time that person was also a member of the National Union of Journalists.

I am happy to report that this individual is no longer a member of the NUJ as he resigned just before being brought before the union’s Ethics Council.

Alex myself and another journalist had made complaints about his conduct.

Thomson realised fairly quickly that in the mad world of the Fitba internet the anonymous online crazies deal in smear and falsehood about the messenger if they don’t like the message.

We would regularly swap stories about what had been invented about both of us and we chortled about the bizarre nature of these delusional defamations.

The important thing about Thomson was that this crap didn’t put him off the Rangers story.

Although he told he was primarily reporting on the collapse of the Ibrox club I think one of his most important contribution was to look at the reasons why the Glasgow press pack was so timid about what was happening on Edmiston Drive.

His piece on Channel 4 broadcast on Friday October 26th was ground breaking on the reality of reporting on Rangers if you live in Glasgow.

The ‘one side is as bad as the other’ official fiction was finally nailed.

His dedication to telling this saga of corporate misgovernance was impressive and I recall that he once texted me about the First Tier Tribunal as he was among the ruins of Gaza assessing the impact of Israeli air raids the night before.

When he told me a few days ago that he had decided to take a step back from the Ibrox omnishambles I thought it was the correct decision.

His final contribution was to expose the Sevco PR director James Traynor as a journalist that submitted his copy to Craig Whyte for prior approval.

The denizens of Planet Fitba now know what it is to have a journalist on the beat that doesn’t take the lamb and won’t be frightened off.

This is what it should have been like all of the time.

On more than one occasion I reminded him that he was a war correspondent based in London, often being sent around the world at no notice, and I was a freelancer in the West of Ireland and we were both breaking stories on Rangers with little or no time spent in Glasgow between us.

It was simultaneously undeniably true and utterly ridiculous.

I am personally grateful that he stayed with this story was long as he did, but as Alex said to me  “a big world beckons” and he is, of course, spot on.

It will only be in time that his journalistic contribution to the Great Rangers Collapse of 2012 will be properly assessed.

However, his peers in the Royal Television Society had no hesitation in saying that he is the best television journalist in Britain.

Very few fair minded people would argue with that decision.

Well done mate!

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