03 September 2013

And they couldn't prevent Jack from being toxic

by Andy McGowan | Contributor

Agenda, propaganda, hand wringers, apologists—just a few of the terms thrown around in the Ibrox game of buzzword bingo. The irony of our current situation is that the men throwing these words around seem to be the ones with an end game that isn’t in the best of interests Rangers Football Club.

The end game The Copland Road Organization is hoping for? Simply, the best outcome for Rangers and our fans. We have nothing to gain from the current board being cleared out other than that it is what Rangers need to move forward. There’s no blazers or freebees in our future; only attacks from the lunatic fringe backing the current board to all ends for a variety of reasons.

The attacks on anyone willing to speak up against our dysfunctional boardroom will no doubt ramp up in the weeks to come with the return of Jack Irvine. I’m sure most Rangers fans hadn’t heard the name Jack Irvine until a few weeks ago, but everyone will remember Media House, the utterly useless PR firm who ‘represented’ us for years under both David Murray and Craig Whyte.

Media House oversaw years of dignified silence under Murray while Rangers' name was dragged through the mud by the more extreme elements of the mainstream media. They also helped Whyte act like a playground bully, threatening to sue anyone who dared to reveal the truth about the pretend Billionaire during his time at Ibrox.

With the club’s fresh start in SFL 3 it was a chance to reshape the club on and off the park. While we struggled on the park last season we done our best work off it in many years. For all the things Charles Green did wrong one thing he did right was to see the potential of Rangers’ self-produced media. 

Over the last 12-18 months the work done by staff at Rangers, RTV in particular, has been nothing short of exceptional. From documentaries such as "The Rising," to match day coverage for UK viewers and a fantastic interview with Ally McCoist, it is clear our in-house media had improved substantially. The club even used the official website to deal with propaganda being spread by Celtic bloggers determined to destabilize the club with rehashed versions of the same rumours they have been touting for years which previously went unchallenged.

There is also a common misconception of the job Jim Traynor is doing at Ibrox. While our in-house media begun to thrive there was a boardroom war brewing in the mainstream media with both sides of the boardroom using certain newspapers to leak stories about each other. Traynor seems to have spent the majority of his time at Ibrox putting out fires started by our board, mainly those started by Charles Green himself.

Jim Traynor worked wonders to have The Sun hold the Craig Whyte/Sevco ownership story to give the club a chance to reply only for Green to start a race row by calling Imran Ahmad a paki the very next day in the same paper. In the few months he’s been here, despite the constant fire fighting, Jim Traynor has done more for Rangers than Media House done in years. There is a lot of criticism of Jim Traynor because we don’t see him in front of the camera more often, but he is the Director of Communications — you don’t often see the Director appear in the movie he is directing. It’s not his job to be in front of the camera. It is his job to try and control how the club presents itself, one that he is doing exceptionally well under the most difficult of circumstances.

Such is the good job Traynor and our staff have done and the poor job Media House have done that Rangers finally and correctly decided to part ways with the firm much to the delight of anyone who has witnessed their limp-wristed attempts to act on behalf of the club over the years.

Sadly, it was a delight that didn’t last long. Despite the best efforts of the men they had been using to attack McColl et al public opinion had turned on Charles Green, Imran Ahmad and the board members who will now put aside what’s best for Rangers in an attempt to hold their positions. They needed a real attack dog, the ramblings of a discredited blogger shouting about politics weren’t cutting it and so Jack’s back.

Jack wasted no time in telling us he’s here to represent Rangers and not the board. He certainly has a funny way of defending the club. His cosy relationship with Paul McConville and Scotzine’s Andy Muirhead—two men who have been slandering the club with half-truths and full lies for years now—should set alarm bells ringing for anyone unconvinced about this man’s intentions. There is something very strange about the relationship between these two Rangers haters, Irvine and his PR pawn Bill McMurdo. McConville even has a link on his website dedicated just to McMurdo which is akin to a link on the Rangers website to the Celtic store. Are these the men Rangers fans are willing to put their faith in?

Jack has certainly made a great start to his defence of Rangers with the surfacing of his email from the Whyte era insulting the greatest ever Ranger John Greig and showing complete disdain for the fans. It certainly made for an interesting dynamic between Irvine and McMurdo who had to play down the incident on his blog. It’s not often you see the monkey defending the organ grinder. I’m no public relations guru but when the PR man immediately becomes the story, a highly negative story at that, then there is something deeply wrong.

The PR campaign is about to be ramped up by Media House and I would urge fans to take everything they read with a pinch of salt. Taking these men at face value is incredibly dangerous for the future of Rangers football club. The recent Craig Mather interview for example which taken in and of itself seemed to be a forthright and robust piece until you look deeper as Shane Nicholson did. 

Curiously, Irvine chose to do an interview with Scotzine, a website which is nothing but a diet Celtic fanzine. You’d have to ask Jack why he chose Scotzine, a website even McMurdo describes as ‘ESPECIALLY media hostile to Rangers’ to speak through rather than one of the several Rangers websites who would be willing to sit down with him. Maybe he’s worried he wouldn’t be given such an easy ride from those who have Rangers at heart.

I have doubts about Jim McColl, Paul Murray and Frank Blin but those doubts pale in comparison to the doubts I have about the men currently in our boardroom. Our CEO speaks well but he’s all talk — he’s tried to play both sides of this divide and now we can all see him for what he is: A yes man who will flip-flop on a moment's notice in an attempt to keep his position at Ibrox secure. 

We have a Financial Director who isn’t entirely sure how much money we have and a host of undesirables who manage to scare away two chairmen in Malcolm Murray and Walter Smith who, whatever your opinion of them, undeniably have Rangers' best interests at heart. And these men chose to be represented by a firm who did nothing but damage to us for years and who choose to keep the company of Celtic bloggers. 

We are in danger of seeing all the good work done by our media department undone by Media House who are already peering over their shoulders and who will have full control of our Club's output if Jim Traynor walks away like the many men who put Rangers first already have.

There may yet be the opportunity to broker an uneasy peace between the current board and the group demanding change which is potentially a far more palatable outcome than our AGM being hijacked as a vehicle for both sides of the civil war, neither of which is without fault. It is looking more likely we will see a compromise from both sides but however it plays out whoever ends up sitting on the board it changes nothing with regards to Jack Irvine and Media House.

Fans demanded the removal of Charles Green as a consultant when he became the story and the fans need to do the same again before Jack Irvine is allowed the time he needs to cause more havoc for the Club. He is here to muddy the waters as much as possible before the AGM and he will do so at the expense of Rangers and its fans in an attempt to keep the current board in power. 

Don't buy into it. For the avoidance of doubt Jack Irvine does not speak for Rangers.

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Keep it civil, lads.