Skepticism of the powerful should not be a foreign concept

The devil, of course, will reside in the detail.

As soon as it was announced at the Rangers International Football Club (RIFC) AGM that the £5m loan was going to be repaid to Sports Direct then various questions should have framed the story.

As this event was taking place I was rather out of the loop despite being fair Caledonia.

I was in Edinburgh making a short documentary for the NUJ which will be screened at the union’s Delegate Meeting next spring.

This is neither the time nor the digital space to reveal the subject matter, but yesterday my mind was on much more weightier matters than Sevco.

On first face it would seem that most of the mainstream media were gushing that they had some unbridled good news to bring to The People.

However, the provenance of the putative £5m will be crucial.

Moreover, I have not seen any report that fleshed out the statement by Mr David Cunningham King regarding this holistic U turn.

Consequently, there remain many unanswered questions on these matters, certainly for this foreigner.

Here are mine:

Was this “change of heart” brought about by an impending legal move by Sports Direct to recover the outstanding loan?

Did Mr King contribute any part of the £5m?

Who else has contributed to this amount?

Was this sum raised as a loan?

If so and will it be secured to any or the properties currently secured by Sports Direct?

At the start of the Ibrox ominshambles there were three fatal pathogens in the death of the old club:

The folk at the top of the Marble Staircase on Edmiston Drive thought they were untouchable and that rules were for other clubs.

A governing body based at Hampden who believed that a Rangers, any Rangers, was vital to the health of the national game.

Finally, the mainstream media saw that their job description as simply being a conduit to funnel good news to The People.

These are the components of the world view that gave birth to Sevco.

If Mr King and his colleagues have somehow magicked up £5m and it does not have to be paid back elsewhere then that is a significant game changer.

However, forgive my foreign scepticism that the £5m is a monetary reality.

Of course, the retail deal with Sports Direct remains extant.

This means that merchandising revenue to Sevco is a fraction of what it should be.

The announcements at the AGM have not altered the trajectory of the debates and disputes which will be played out in various courts over the coming months.

When the annual accounts of RIFC were published recently it was stated that a £2.5m in external finance would be required to keep the lights on.

That issue was not, as far as I’m aware, dealt with yesterday.

The day before I set off on my documentary duties I spoke to one excellently placed source close to the action at Shirebrook.

He told me that “the nuclear option has been discussed” by Ashley’s inner circle.

I asked him to explain as he simply said “…asking for the five million back…” and he left it at that.

For the avoidance of doubt I do not know if this discussion by Ashley’s people has had any bearing on this apparent change of heart by the board of RIFC.

All being well I hope to have a clearer picture on all of this in the days ahead.

I will certainly be striving to ascertain the story behind the announcement.

Of course, this is the task for the mainstream media and there are plenty of lines to be explored out of this AGM.

Although dear reader you know that probably will not happen.

However, there are good things going on in the Scottish media landscape, even in traditional sectors.

A hat tip to the Sunday Herald for appointing Ms Angela Haggerty as one of their new columnists.

As regular readers here will know she was the editor of ‘Downfall’ and also of ‘Minority Reporter’.

On both projects she brought her rigorous eye and keen intelligence to bear on the subject matter.

Unfortunately her role in the production of the former book brought her to the attention of The Bears.

The subsequent abuse and threats she still endures fills me with a mixture of anger and guilt.

That first emotion is there because a fascist underclass felt culturally authorised to intimidate a woman for doing her job.

The second feeling comes from the fact that it was her association with my book which brought this opprobrium onto her young shoulders.

In the tumultuous summer of 2012 the macho cabal of Scottish sports stenographers timidly towed the line laid down by The People.

However, it was a young woman from Rothesay who faced down a representative of this delightful sub culture in open court.

She received justice when David Limond of the ‘Rangers chat’ podcast was sent down for six months.

That was in January 2014.

Since then Ms Haggerty’s career has progressed exponentially.

For over a year now Angela has been the editor of the increasingly influential ‘Commonspace’ and she runs a tight ship of highly motivated young reporters.

There is a belief aboard among the klan that they can have books banned and make journalists unemployable.

It is important they are seen to publicly fail in these fascist tactics.

The Sunday Herald has signed a genuine star which is something that Sevco can probably only dream about.

Now Ms Haggerty has a national platform in the Scottish media commensurate with her talents.

Angela’s observations and insights every Sunday will be value added to that publication and to the public discourse.

Now that is worthy of a standing ovation.


Leave a Reply