The Publicity Seeker, the President, the Professor and Phil
- 16 October 2012
Here at The Rangers Standard we like to try to lay out our concerns in a clear and precise way. We don’t engage in speculation, we deal in facts. It is a fact that there is now an element within the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) who are working to the clear agenda of trying to damage the reputation of Rangers, and Rangers fans, as much as they can. Donnacha Delong, Roy Greenslade and Phil MacGiollBhain are all involved and they are being aided by Alex Thomson – most likely for reasons of self-promotion but for all we know Thomson may share their political views as well.
TRS don’t claim a widespread conspiracy against the club but we will continue to present clear evidence of pockets of people who, for reasons of bigotry, sectarianism, politics, hatred or just personal promotion (often a combination), have decided to try to smear the name of our football club and its support. Rangers fans are not perfect. No club’s fans are perfect, taken as they are from all walks of life and all races, creeds, colours and religions. Is there any other club in world football though, who has small groups of activists so obsessed with them, so consumed by hatred, that they are willing to set aside their professional standards, ethics and reputations just to damage that club?
Rangers are an obvious target for people like MacGiollaBhain and Greenslade. For them, our club represents opposition to the militant Irish Republicanism and anti-British sentiment that they hold so dear. They operate on a simple level – we fly Union flags and sing God Save the Queen. We are Scottish but in many cases, although certainly not all, proud to be both that and British. They look at the outward displays of this pride and equate it with racism and far right politics with no evidence in support other than their own prejudice.
In the space of 4 days last week, MacGiollaBhain wrote no fewer than 5 articles attacking Rangers. He has also been interviewed on a bit part sports website referring to “the Rangers racist sub culture“. He uses the line “Xenophobia is what defines them “. His blog often talks about Rangers fans as a “racist underclass” and refers to the “Ibrox klan”. Is it coincidence that Thomson uses this same, degrading term “underclass”?
The latest attack from this little cabal has been based around an NUJ motion which described, with no proof and with no police action having been taken, threats to journalists. This motion was presented by the New Media Industrial Council on which MacGiollaBhain operates. It was amended, presumably to tone down some of the rhetoric, and then admitted by the National Executive Council.
The motion is typically sly and underhand. It talks of the racism of “Scottish football fans” but this racism is “anti-Irish” so I think we know where this is going. It also links these “threats”to far right and racist groups whilst associating these groups with “Scottish football fans”. The motion seeks to “force the police to take seriously”, the claims of people like MacGiollBhain that they are being targeted. This is a clear campaign to legitimise the claims of a man “tarred with a sickening sectarian brush”.
Next up we have Alex Thomson. He produces a blog which has already been shot to pieces in Gordon James’ TRS article earlier in the week. This blog makes a number of unsubstantiated claims and links the motion to Rangers fans. See how it all pieces together? Racist = far right = Rangers. It’s simple and effective but also utter nonsense. We can’t just have Alex commenting on it though – a lone voice in the wilderness.
Into the fray come the grandly named "Bureau of Investigative Journalism" and Alice K Ross. In its own blurb, this organisation describes itself as existing "to put investigative journalism back on the front page” as a “not-for-profit based at City University, London". Her article is delightfully entitled "The not-so-beautiful game: how Rangers fans try to crush critics".
It is a repeat of Thomson claims and rather ironically, Alice seems to have done little or no "investigative journalism" - choosing instead to take everything Thomson claims at face value. However, it was the comments below the article that really sparked interest. Someone had posted Gordon James’ TRS article as a response and a very familiar name was having his say:-
“Donnacha DeLong says:
October 14th, 2012 at 12:39 am (#)
Having been on the receiving end of threatening emails (which have been passed on to the NUJ legal department), I see I’m mentioned again the piece linked above. And in classic anti-Irish hyperbole (I don’t hate the Poppy, I just won’t wear something that commemorates people who shot at my great-grandfather and his brothers in 1916 – if others want to wear it, that’s their choice).”
Donnacha DeLong is the NUJ President. We have no idea why Mr DeLong mentions "classic anti-Irish hyperbole". The words Ireland or Irish were not used in the TRS article and his nationality is not mentioned anywhere. Mr DeLong always wants to talk about it however – once commenting on Twitter that his Irish name should be a clue as to why he dislikes Rangers.
It would be interesting to know why Mr DeLong never passed the emails on to the Met Police in London if they were threatening. However, it is not his lack of action over these so called “threats” that is the most telling part of the story. Here he is talking about himself in the third person on his own website:-
“Donnacha is also working on his MA dissertation in Political Communications (City University London).”
Have you spotted the connection? An amazing set of coincidences have occurred here. Alice K Ross, having never penned anything about Rangers, has suddenly taken an interest in them. On the same day that Thomson produces his blog, Alice is ready, having done her research and brought herself up to speed on everything Rangers, to publish her article. This article basically echoes and endorses everything Thomson has said - not a single piece of original thought is contained in it.
I’m sure it is entirely coincidental that the NUJ President, Delong, who was partly responsible for the original motion at the NUJ conference which sparked Thomson's blog, is studying at the same seat of learning as Alice, who is now supporting Thomson’s view.
Here is the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s own take on its relationship with the University's Journalism department:-
“The Bureau has an ongoing relationship with City University’s Department of Journalism which includes offering work experience and internships to its journalism students. Senior members of the Bureau’s staff guest lecture at the department.”
So the "Bureau" actually declares their interest in this department. But hold on, who is the professor of that department? None other than Roy Greenslade, NUJ activist, fellow Irish Republican sympathiser and staunch supporter of Phil MacGiollaBhain – a good friend and colleague of Donnacha Delong.
Greenslade is the man who wrote as George King for the Sinn Fein paper Anphoblacht. A paper MacGiollaBhain also wrote in under the false name Mick Derrig for many years. This is a man who has promoted and supported Thomson and MacGiollaBhain’s assaults on Rangers through his Guardian blog - the same Guardian blog where Donnacha Delong occasionally appears. Finally we round things off, back where they started, with MacGiollaBhain - re-entering the fray to essentially agree with himself by lauding Thomson’s blog.
A small organised group therefore puts out a version of their own truth and perpetuates it. Anyone looking, but not too deep, will see a series of articles claiming Rangers fans are threatening journalists and therefore democracy. They will see the fans described as an “underclass” with far right leanings and racist undertones. Many will react with glee as these stereotypes, driven into them from a young age, reinforce their own prejudices and hatred.
Rangers is a football club. Yes it may represent many things to many people but at its base it is just that. The fans that support the club are not an “underclass”. Many of them support the Monarchy, the Union and are fiercely patriotic to both Scotland and Britain. Some are Republicans and support Scottish independence. Some are white, some are Asian, and some are black. Some are men and some are women. Some are British, some are Irish, some are American, some are Argentinian. Many are Protestant, some are Hindu, some are Catholic and some are Sikh.
Rangers have had players of all religions, colours and nationalities. They have been lauded as heroes without any form of discrimination on any of those grounds. Do Rangers have some, individual fans who act in a way unbefitting of such a great institution? Yes. So does every other club on the planet though, so think about the motives of people like Delong and MacGiollaBhain for a second?
Only in the minds of these activists is the simple act of flying a Union flag a racist act. Only they equate the singing of the national anthem with far right politics. Only they see Remembrance Sunday as an attack on Ireland. One can only imagine how they reacted to the recent London Olympics.
We will not stand by and watch these people make accusations they cannot back up and spout rhetoric unchallenged. If they want to examine every supporter of our club to find something that offends them then we will examine every one of them and their supporters and, I can assure you, we will find plenty to offend us.
TRS will continue to challenge the actions and methods of these people and if they wish to take that as a “threat” then so be it.