|The Scottish Press on the internet: employing tactics or idiots?|
|18-06-08 08:49 PM|
We poor demented Celtic supporters are often derided for being 'paranoid'. We claim media favouritism for Rangers and see conspiracy around every corner – copyright the Laptop Loyal.
When you look at some of the coverage on the websites of Scottish newspapers though, you do wonder whether they are employing specific, biased tactics, or just idiots.
Here's a case in point. In a quiet week on the transfer front, and with no Scottish involvement in the Euro Championship Finals, Rangers have made their first big signing of the summer. It is a transfer which ties with others as the third most expensive in Smith's second period in charge, with only Cuellar and McCulloch costing more.
More than that, the transfer is history-making, with the player in question crossing the so-called Old Firm divide not once, but twice. Of course, we’re talking about the arrival in Govan of one Kenny Miller, completing a journey from Derby to Rangers which apparently took him ‘over the moon’ in the process.
Now, when you consider that Rangers’ season starts earlier than Celtic’s due to their need to play Champions League qualifiers, you would think there would be a greater degree of urgency in examining and reporting on Smith’s preparations. Think again.
Let’s look at the internet coverage provided by that esteemed quality newspaper, The Herald. Peruse the football pages of their website last week (Saturday 14th June) and you will find the momentous Miller transfer is their fifth news item. Only fifth in a Glasgow paper? It would seem perfectly natural in the circumstances to assume that some astonishing developments have taken place in that football-mad city if Miller is so far down the news agenda.
Have Rangers completed their £700 million plans for expansion? Have the Chelsea, Man City and West Ham fans who instigated all of the violence in Manchester during the UEFA Cup Final finally been unmasked, restoring in the process the reputation of Rangers fans? Has Rangers’ European Finals record been amended by UEFA to read only one 1 riot instead of 2?
The Herald leads with the 4-1 trouncing of France by the Netherlands. Well at least that is news and anyone who saw it will have thoroughly enjoyed it (apart from those of a Gallic persuasion). Items two and three consist of a feature on Chris Hoy (the leading Scottish cyclist for those of you who only ‘Eat Football’) and a mostly blethering homage to the paper’s own chief sports writer.
Item four, more important than any £2million transfer to the SPL runners up, is Artur Boruc. No, he hasn’t started a riot by waving to a supporter again – just an aside but could the Queen start a riot with all that waving she does from the inside of cars? Is she a hit and run riot starter? Back to Boruc. Apparently the ‘news’ is that retaining his services MUST be Celtic’s priority. Is that really a story worth greater priority than the actual transfer of Miller?
More to the point, is the retention of McGregor by Rangers NOT a priority? The Want-My-Holey Goalie has been the subject of substantial transfer speculation in the past two weeks (actually since January if truth be told). Tottenham and Newcastle are among his suitors with £6million the figure being quoted. And the vibe coming from the UEFA Cup runners-up is that he is not for sale – at least, they blush, not at that price.
OK, so what is the coverage like elsewhere? The Daily Record does indeed make the Miller transfer the top story on their website – right next to an opinion poll on whether Celtic should sell Donati! How about an opinion poll on whether Miller would be welcome at Rangers? Wouldn’t that be newsworthy and relevant? Alas, the outcome of that poll would be too predictable and unpalatable.
What about The Scotsman? Their contention is that Miller’s signing is ‘not a universally popular signing due to his unproductive spell with Celtic’. Really? What about his unproductive spell at Rangers? Or Derby? Or throughout his football career even?
They do have a point in raising Miller’s goal-scoring record but Google the words ‘badge kissing taig’ and I can assure you, the subject of Miller is right at the top. And no, it doesn’t come from a Chelsea, Man City or West Ham website.
In any case, if Miller is so unpopular because he often lives up to his nickname of ‘Misser’, shouldn’t Smith’s decision to buy him come into question? Anyone care to predict the Scottish press view of Strachan should he decide to buy Alan Gow?
The Evening Times? Apparently Miller is one of a TREBLE of strikers Rangers will be buying (leaving the previously much praised Boyd, Darcheville and Novo as the three men-in-tears no doubt – apologies to Alexandre Dumas).
And so it goes on, each of these papers reporting the Miller transfer on their websites: sometimes with accompanying positive spin, other times with negative items about Celtic. Never it seems on the real issue – why is there such widespread revolt from the Rangers fans on this transfer?
Is it because there is a sectarian element due to Miller’s past connection with Celtic? Or is it truly only because he is a poor man’s headless chicken, in which case, what is Smith playing at?
So what lies behind this coverage, tactics or idiots? Neither answer casts the press in a positive light and we will all have our own opinion as to which is the more likely.
Celtic fans can take some comfort from the one fact the media will not be able to avoid next season – their team are the Champions.
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