Paul McConville

Last Friday night in Blantyre I had, as we say in Ireland, the craic.

The main reason for that was Paul McConville.

The big fella was his usual erudite, urbane self and provided the capacity crowd with his unique sideways look at the craziness of Planet Fitba.

I formally thanked him for his help with my work in the acknowledgments section of Downfall, but it wasn’t nearly as fulsome as it could have been.

As the Rangers saga reached its dénouement, he provided a free translation service for me as I struggled with the complexities of insolvency law in Scotland.

The first time we met was in the summer of 2012. I was on stage with John Fallon and Archie MacPherson for a Q&A in Coatbridge and the message was passed to me at the interval that Paul McConville was at the door.

He was in person as he was electronically: affable, personable and clearly enjoying himself.

I introduced him to the man who organised the Q&A session as I just knew that Paul would be a natural at this stuff.

He was.


Last Friday night for Paul Brennan and I was another night on stage with a consummate pro.

What we did not know was that it would be the last.

Our loss is nothing beside that being felt right now by the McConville clan and my thoughts are with them as these words are written.

Very few of us leave behind any imprint other than the one within our immediate families, but Paul McConville’s passing is undoubtedly felt by the many people who only knew of him through his work as a legal blogger.

It was his patient, quiet and unarguable logic that convinced me that, despite the eloquent advocacy of the late Paul McBride QC, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act was pish.

Ok, Paul McConville didn’t deploy the “P” word, but he often provided a translation service for his dumb sidekick on stage into the labyrinthine ways of the legal mind.

He told me that the new flagship legislation was wrongheaded and unworkable and, as with so many other things, he was largely vindicated.

He was undoubtedly accustomed to being the smartest guy in the room and he dealt with his dullard detractors on Planet Fitba with humour and good grace.

In the age of the username and the pseudonym, Paul McConville was out there.

Many of his detractors were heroically anonymous while hurling appalling invective at him for the heinous crime of telling the truth about Scottish football.

To some he was a “Rangers hater”, when actually if they were capable of knowing anyone on a human level they would have known that almost certainly Paul McConville never hated anyone.

There is still something surreal in his passing.

There was apparently no illness.

The man I was on stage with on Friday night appeared in excellent health and in good spirits.

The last person I spoke with at Blantyre Columba Club was Paul.

We had developed a ritual way of signing off a conversation on the phone over many, many calls, and we carried it over into face to face partings.

I am not a person of faith so I am not pressed to look for some mysterious celestial chess move in all of this.

For me this is just so unfair.

My thoughts are with Val and the girls at this time.

90 thoughts on “Paul McConville

  1. portpower

    My thoughts and prayers have been with the family and friends. If anyone is attending Pauls` funeral could you please place a handful of soil for me. I will have my own wake for Paul on the 12th.

    Rest in Peace My Captain.

      1. hector

        @Phil I see over on TSFM site a post about the McConville family requesting a donation to the British Heart Foundation instead of floral tributes. 1p for each of Pauls posts. Hope we can all come together and do something in Pauls memory.

  2. Iain mcg

    Johnboy, thanks for the details. Unfortunately, I will still be in Barcelona on that date. Rest assured, though, I will make sure my prayers are said.
    RIP Paul, mo chara.

  3. Meths

    Scroll down to archive post May 2011 qnd it’s
    Jennifer Ingles Walker Or Smith Or Liehne v HMA – [2011] HCJAC 51

  4. Monti

    Does anyone know how to locate Paul McConvilles first blog?
    I tried to scroll back but having problems with it?
    Phil could you put the link up?

  5. weejake

    No arrangements for Pauls funeral have been made yet due to a PM to be carried out on Friday. Arrangements to be made soon after. Will keep Phil updated in order to let all know. God bless you big man RIP

      1. hector

        @monti Afternoon old boy I went onto the home page if you scroll to the bottom of the page all his posts are listed in order and just click on the earliest date. Sorry cant be of more help but this cyber crofting and posting is a bit beyond this daft wee laddie. Take care.

  6. Felpen

    Like everyone else on here it is with deep regret that I am here reading a blog about Paul and not on his own blog reading about football legal matters. Some people on there often directed abuse at the blog host but like the big man he was he just laughed it off. He asked people to take the stage if they were not happy with something. Offering to post their ramblings on his blog. As you rightly point out Paul was accustomed to being the smartest guy in the room. He could take a statement apart quicker than a leggo eater (pun intended) could write it. He will be remembered by many and missed by all. For the avoidance of doubt. It takes a great writer these days to keep people coming back to your blog when there is so many outlets to read about what you are looking for and a great writer is what he was. RIP Paul.
    And God be with your family.

    Great tribute Phil.

  7. honest john

    So sad about Paul.
    I’m sure he’d have been first up to congratulate Hearts on getting their CVA and keeping their history intact, instead of doing nothing, wallowing in self-pity, and pretending they’re still the same club.

  8. southport bob

    condolences to the McConville family,god bless,and thanks Phil for introducing Paul to me through your blog.

  9. J T

    I never met Paul only followed his blog for the last 18
    Months but I could tell from his witty, clever and informative
    Writing he would have been a person I would have liked.
    I am one of many who I am sure will miss his ability to make
    Complex issues simple for people like me to understand.
    He will be sorely missed.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the McConville family.
    R.I.P. Paul

  10. Jimmybunnet

    An honest and very inteliigent man who was taken too soon

    Enjoyed reading his blogs and learned alot from them

    Thoughts and prayers with his family at this truly tragic time


  11. Fra

    I really feel for Paul’s family as I echo Monti’s sentiments. I am absolutely gutted. For those who commented on a regular basis, Monti, Mick, Maggie, myself, and even Cam, et al, Paul’s blog is going to leave a gigantic chasm in our lives. Paul’s blog was a fix we became addicted to and I keep checking back and still find comments.

    Every time I comment, the tears flow which is in itself, a testament to the work, effort and style which Pauls blog entailed. I have not yet found a blog, no offence to anyone, which encapsulated everything I want in a blog, the way the big mans did.

    From humour to bigotry, it was allowed to flow with very little censorship. Paul McConville, you were a man I only knew for a short time but what an effect your style has impacted on myself and many more.

    I can only imagine the pain his immediate family are going through and if any greater tribute can be paid, then I would say it must be that we all considered ourselves to be part of his internet family.


      1. Fra

        Cheers comrade. Davie coop is attempting to start something to keep the wee family together and maintain shouting abuse at certain individuals which I know you could possibly enjoy.


    1. mark mc conville

      Fra. Just reading your kind comments. It’s taken me a wee while to look at some of them. Thanks again…Pauls brother…Mark

  12. SamBrowneBelt

    Worthy tribute Phil, very apt.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again
    May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

  13. joseph mary

    Well put pensionerbhoy. Guys like Paul , Phil and Paul Brennan have been a godsend for the Celtic support. The media in this country have fought hard to suppress the truth in recent times and due largely to these three guys , the truth is out there. He has left a fantastic legacy and his family should be so proud of the bravery he showed in the face of the online abuse he received. God rest him.

  14. Brendan

    Phil, this is dreadful news…

    Like most on here Celtic Quick News, yourself and Paul have been my source of truth these last few years. Paul brought a sharp, incisive mind to the shady complexity of football and indeed societal matters here in Scotland.

    I never knew him outside of his blogs but he struck me as a self effacing, deprecating and insanely knowledgeable man whose wit emanated from his work,authoritative truths with a sense of fun at the madness of it all.

    I was at Blantyre last week with you, Non-Legal Paul and of course legal Paul..

    I recognised him instantly and his vocal style and persona were an exact match to his blog personality…

    You always know a scholarly man for he is not afraid to say he does not know, as big legal Paul did when asked about an obscure legal term… Non Legal Paul helped him out.

    His family will be distraught and lost, no kind words from strangers will mean anything, you hope that they will find the strength to cope, just cope…

    God Bless him and his family


  15. jimCB

    Shocked and saddened. His blogs have been an oasis of intelligence and just like this one a daily event. Condolences to his family.

  16. tamtic

    It’s not fair, it really isn’t, Paul gone. I never met him but like everyone else who posted on his blog I thought I knew him personally.A gentleman in every sense of the word. God give his soul eternal rest.

  17. Frankier

    Ever since the shock of reading about his death I was hoping against hope that it was only a rumour. I used to get annoyed when he went a couple of days without blogging, poor soul.
    I never ever thought I could get so upset about someone I never met so it shows what he must have been like in the flesh.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace.
    And may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed by the mercy of God rest in peace.

  18. AnneT

    My heartfelt condolences to Paul’s family, a great loss. It’s also a great loss for us who followed him daily. I’m gutted and will miss you all. Keep up the great work Phil. Thank you.

  19. JimBhoy

    He was a lovely, inteligent human being, a saint amongst men… I actually found Paul’s site, maybe 20 month’s ago thru this site Phil, for that I thank you mate..

  20. Westie

    Phil, please pass on my condolences to the McConville family, I never met the man but certainly enjoyed reading his blogs. RIP Paul.

  21. JLeeHooker

    Nice tribute Phil. I was introduced to the world of internet bampotery via Paul’s blog.

    He will be sadly missed.

  22. Pensionerbhoy

    I am quite simply shocked at this unexpected and tragic news.

    My prayers and thoughts are for Paul and with his family.

    Others can say much more eloquently than I what he meant to the many of us who browsed or commented on his blogs. He was a touch of eloquence in an often crude and abrasive medium; a man of honesty, honour, faith and courage who allowed and respected the freedom of others to express themselves as they saw fit, often beyond decent restraint. What he contributed to the Scottish Football debate will be nigh impossible to replace but it is the man himself who will be by far the greatest loss.

    1. George Collins

      That’s spot on. The amount of good humour shown towards his detractors was evident.

      And that’s something we all could learn from him – his ability to turn the other cheek.

  23. Benji

    Absolutely tragic when someone so young and talented is taken from us and even more so when he leaves behind a loving wife and family. I can only repeat what others have said in that I only knew Paul through his blog yet it somehow felt like he was a friend, a trusted aide in times of need. Rest in Peace Paul, my prayers are with you and your family at this terrible time and you made a difference, thank you and God bless.

  24. Thomas Devlin

    Phil, unfair indeed, I think you have written well about a chap I never met, I looked for his blog every day and felt emboldened, as I did when Paul McBride spoke agin them with inteligence, dignity, humour and defiance. I’m glad for him in this, that according to yet another Paul (Brennan) he was back delighted doing the job he loved, he died at peace with his self. Small small comfort to his family, may they find a little comfort in their pain that grown men, strangers to the Family of Paul have tears in their eyes at the unfairness of losing such a Good Good guy.
    We should remember Paul as an example, C’mon you Albion!!!

  25. simon Durning

    Along with many others, yourself included Phil, Paul was a champion in bringing truth and understanding to many ordinary fans regarding the complex issues in Scottish football the past few years. I loved reading and being able to understand the complex issues and events unfolding before us.
    Paul you will be sadly missed,
    God bless and rest in peace.

  26. ecojon

    What a tragedy and loss to his wife and children and even to a legion of people who had never met him but whose lives were changed through his writing – he has left his mark and will always be remembered as a warm, decent guy with a razor-sharp intellect coupled with patience and a passionate belief in the right of all to exercise free speech and especially those who didn’t share his point of view.

  27. droid

    A shocking reminder of the brevity of this life which I hope encourages us to do something worthwhile with what’s left of ours. Telling the truth is worthwhile and Paul did this extremely well, and in the process he brought light and clarity to some questionable practices.

    He will be fondly remembered by many which I hope brings comfort to his family.

  28. sligobhoykds

    I was fortunate to see Paul alongside Paul Brennan and yourself at the Blantyre Columba Club in July. His wit and knowledge was as evident as it was in his blogs. It was a memorable evening.
    ‘ Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.’

  29. lennieslions1967

    RIP Paul our thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends at this very sad time.You leave a big space in my life ,you were always the first blog of call for the truth and things will never be the same now truly so sad.

  30. Patrick Conway

    A worthy testimonial to a very honourable man. Didn’t know him personally Phil, but met him, yourself and Paul Brennan on a few of the Blantyre nights. He was everything you said and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, children, family and friends. So sad and, to echo your words, so unfair. A tragic loss.

  31. Peter

    Really stunned and saddened to hear of the passing of Paul. I knew him, like most here, from interacting with him via Twitter posts, Twitter IM and email. I agree with the others who have stated this, we felt like we knew him. Strange that, considering that we never met him in person but still had that connection. I think that speaks more eloquently to Paul and who he was than anything I can ever put into writing here.

    I will pray for him and his family as they try to cope with this tragic event. I will certainly miss him and his blog posts! I feel so sad for his family as I know they must be heartbroken. I hope he is resting in peace.

  32. hector

    I found your blog through Pauls blogs in the last 6 months. His site was unique in the tolerance he displayed to all who had an opinion no matter how removed from his own. A true gentleman and only wish I had come across his musings earlier in his all too short career. God bless his family and friends and we can all try to emulate his compassion ,warmth and wit.

    1. Monti

      Evening hector, still feel very sore & hurt at Paul passing away!
      Paul’s blog got very over heated a lot at times & I was very much at the heart of that as you know, passion would overspill & poor comment after poor comment would ensue.
      I was reading some of my own comments before I knew Paul had passed away & to be honest I was ashamed at a lot of them.
      Hindsight is a great thing they say & if I’ve learned anything over the last two days, it is to have a think, have a bit of pride in how I come across to others & to basically be a better person, through my words.
      I actually feel loss hector, the loss of Paul is clearly the greatest, but a lot of people from the blog will lose contact now as well, very sad!
      On reflection I feel I brought a lot of humour to Paul’s blog at times, but also some poor stuff at times.
      I feel happy to have made people laugh & genuine regret at the other stuff at times.
      I hope Paul would have forgiven me.
      Gutted m8!
      Take care hector my friend.

      1. Portbhoy

        Hi, Monti,
        You have absolutely no need for any kind of regret.The posts you have written on Paul’s blog have been very funny and sometimes very serious. I think in some of the comments you made I might’ve said myself,(especially with a cuppla gills a lannie doon ma throat.) :-). Hope I’ve not heard the last from you.

        PS. As far as Paul for Paul forgiving you, I think Mick would say, you are WELL forgiven.



    We have now lost two great warriors to our cause and club and two decent men – both named Paul – McConville and McBride.

    My sincere condolences to the McConville family – may he rest in peace.

  34. 61patrick

    That was the 1st time I seen you both in person,

    I seen you standing at the door chatting and laughing together and I said to my friend “that must be Phils minder”.

    A sad sad loss to the internet bampot family and society.

    Sincere condolences to his family.

    May God speed big man R.I.P

  35. Mr.Green

    Shocked!! Sad news. I didn’t know Paul McConville, but i enjoyed his blogs. He will be sadly missed by t’internet bampots. His family must be devestated, thoughts and strength to them. Thanks, Paul McConville, for your informative blogs, i’ll miss them. Rest in peace.

  36. mick

    fine tribute phil also in memory of Paul and his great works its vital we seek truth and justice not just in sport but any were we can in our lifes RIP Paul McConville YWNWA

  37. John Clarke

    Just in from work and am totally shocked by this one…… an avid follower of his blogs I can only wish his family every condolence and hope their god watches over them all. Our loss is nothing compared to his family’loss ….May he Rest In Peace

  38. mattl2

    Stunned! This took my breath away. Never met Paul, but I just knew he was a lovely man. His script on Catholic education I thought was just remarkable. He loved his Church, he loved his Faith. I will miss him terribly.

  39. Ben McGinlay

    Very sad news. Read all of his blogs, and commented in a few, as I do on here..puts everything into perspective really..feel for his family and friends, strange, I feel as if I knew him, probably down to his articulate skill of putting his thoughts down for all to see..will be sadly missed…

  40. Patrick Wiggins

    Terrible news and a complete shock. I only knew Paul through his blog, and he was obviously a highly intelligent, good natured and tolerant man. Do you know anywhere online where messages of condolence can be passed on to his family?

  41. mcilhaney

    Hi Phil, what tragic news.. this has really taken me aback. I’ve been keenly awaiting Paul’s next Blog offering. What a shock, really sad news indeed.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Paul’s family and friends.

    May God rest his soul.

  42. Bawsman

    Life just isn’t fair at times.

    One of the many reasons I don’t ‘have’ religion that I fail to fathom why, at times, really good and decent people like Paul obviously was, are taken from us way before their time.

    I wish strength for the ones he leaves behind.


    Im stunned, what a sad sad loss, i only new of Paul the same way as most and that was through his blog,the brilliant way he could explain the complex technicalities of law so your average bampot like me could try understand was priceless to anybody interested in what was happening or going tae happen in planet fitba, the world of blogging has truly lost a gifted man, hail hail PAUL. R.I.P.+

  44. The Wallace

    My most sincere condolences to McConville family. I not only respected Paul’s legal insights on all that has transpired during and after the downfall, but his wit and easy writng style were a joy. RIP Paul. I am only one amongst many who will miss his missives.
    I attended the funeral of my best friend this week, you may have known him Phil. He was a NUJ FoC in Fife. Another man who died too young.

    1. Bill

      I always enjoyed Paul’s scholarly writing. He seemed to be 2 or three steps ahead of everybody. The best tribute I can give echoes the words of Bill Shankly to Jock Stein. ” Paul You’re immortal” Farewell.


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