A Response To “JohnBhoy”

For those that have read the recent musings by 'JohnBhoy' on disgraced lawyer Paul McConville's blog page, the diatribe will have a familiar feel to it. Once again, we are being presented with the ever curious modus operandi of that now recognizable cartoon character; the anonymous Celticminded blogger. Namely, that although Rangers F.C. are 'dead' these bastions of morality, good will and probity should spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about, researching, developing, upholding and defending their positions on Rangers F.C. Ironically, given these fearless bloggers propensity for championing parity their musings rarely contain any at all.

These well-informed moral compasses, like the intrepid JohnBhoy, always seem to focus solely on the negative when discussing Rangers, the club's support or its management. Often, there is also a lack of context and supposition to consider as well. However, this particular piece is not a forensic analysis of JohnBhoy's assertions about Rangers. Rather it is about balance. One would be forgiven for thinking that these integrity charged guardians of morality would have a natural inclination to strike a balance in their work. One can only assume, given the fact this is completely absent, that these people have no desire to write anything other than a piece about how Rangers F.C. is guilty/evil/bigoted/favoured (delete as applicable). As a result, their articles become blinkered and one-sided.

This is the face of the brave new media that Jim Spence, Stuart Cosgrove and the rest told us was challenging the old guard and all its sycophantic tendencies. It is ironic that kowtowing is exactly what this courageous new media excels at. The sole guiding principle is and always has been to kick Rangers at any opportunity possible: hell-mend Rangers, its supporters and the consequences for Scotland's national game. You know? Sporting integrity and all that jazz...

Outrageous, sometimes sectarian, always inflammatory, rhetoric is something that this particular group of bloggers performs without fail. And, oh my, do their readers ever lap it up. Working themselves in to a state of rage with each passing paragraph as some anonymous tax expert gets them increasingly agitated. One only has to look to the deification of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain; a man revered by this group and (in my experience) a noteworthy section of the wider Celtic support. Worryingly, this proven liar is venerated by characters like JohnBhoy although he might be one of the brave few amongst his own supporter base that despise the sectarian views of Mac Giolla Bhain. I have my doubts based on the piece he penned for McConville's blog.

To focus on Rangers undeniably questionable signing policy and the club's well established links to the Loyalist side of Northern Ireland's Troubles is the right of any person, no matter what football team they support or how much research they have done. Even the intrepid JohnBhoy, with his loose grasp of history and context is allowed to spout an opinion. But I for one would welcome more informed and contextualized debate on the subject. It is overdue and I don't think it is something that, although unsavory in parts, we as a support should hide from. No, JohnBhoy has become the subject of my ire for another reason all together-the aforementioned absence of balance.

Once again, we have someone that is determined to lay the blame solely at Rangers door. To put all the ills of the West Coast of Scotland sectarian divide at the feet of Rangers is not only amateurish it is irresponsible. See, that's not 'exposing' anything JohnBhoy we already know the gist of it. The majority of us grew up with it. In fact, my great, great, great grandfather fled Portadown because staying would have precluded him from marrying the woman he loved. You are not breaking some earth shattering news here. Your piece was not an expose and it was not enlightening.

What I would suggest, if you truly want to help (?), is that you approach the issue with the sensitivity and balance it deserves. I suggest that you examine both sides of the problem. Look at the socioeconomic factors and the drug and alcohol abuse culture that infests Scotland. Scrutinize the gang culture and subsequently the knife culture. Get to understand that both sides of this problem continue to contradict themselves. Embrace the fact that Rangers have had a Roman Catholic manager, captain and numerous players who have been exalted by the self same people you describe as bigoted in your piece. Don't get on a soapbox and stir up anger to go on top of the hatred you described.

See what I did there? I provided a suggestion for the start of a solution. At the very least I presented an idea about how you might bring less provocation to a piece on a sensitive issue. I didn't start slinging mud back in the general direction of your club. And, let's face it, there is a veritable surplus of material available if I had chosen to go down that route. So, the next time you pick up your pen, have a think about the value that you are about to add. Are you going to attempt to challenge your audience or are you going to present them with the same empty language you did this morning and that they have been spoon fed for decades? Unfortunately, instead of advancing the sectarian debate you seem so passionate about, you've done quite the opposite.

McConville and his blog are surely now bereft of credibility. He has shamed himself repeatedly throughout one of the most heated periods in Scottish footballs history. The publication of this article once again proves the blog's inherent bias and is just the latest example of transparent editorial policy. The fact he refused to provide balance, from the platform afforded to him by the Celtic support, is disappointing and bordering on reprehensible.

Ross E. J. Hendry is a lifelong supporter of Rangers F.C. He lives in Toronto, Canada and is a member of the Toronto Central Rangers Supporters Club. He is a standing member of the We Are The People Podcast which was established in 2008 and was the first podcast fully dedicated to the trials and triumphs of Rangers F.C.

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