01 November 2012

Britney: You got some 'splaining to do


by Gordon James | CRO Guest Contributor

So Spiersy published his Wednesday online Herald article: Spiers on Sport: Coming under threat for criticising Rangers

Speirsy highlighted some unsavoury incidents that involved Rangers fans. One where he got "fairly bumped around and was spat at”.

Not nice at all and I imagine quite frightening.

And yet another where "the threatening letters, the phone calls and the Internet poison on Rangers fans’ sites all began to build in momentum against me.”

Again, uncalled for when people issue threats, but glad to say Spiersy remains unmolested and feels secure enough to attend Ibrox with no need for extra security.

I have to add that his colleague Gordon Waddell said on radio recently that Spiersy intentionally winds up fans with his tweets so maybe he could have a look at that if he has been threatened.

But his take on the Daily Record's report is surely half the story and very misleading. Here is what he says:-

"Then, on the morning of April 21 last year, colleagues began texting me about a fresh alarm. The Daily Record had published a picture of me with an accompanying story, claiming I was one of a number of people being targeted by cranks, because of my criticisms of Rangers.

“That particular day I had other family concerns on my mind, and I more or less ignored the Record story. But the next day I received a phone call.“Graham, this is Detective Chief Superintendent [xxxxxxx] from 'the counter-terrorism unit at Strathclyde Police…'

I was incredulous. “You’re kidding me, right?” I said. “You are kidding me on, surely?”

“No, I’m not,” he said. “And we think we need to come and see you at home pretty soon.”

"I duly spent two hours listening to police security specialists explaining to me that they had information about threats being made against me, and that these threats were linked to my writing and broadcasting about Rangers."

So why did the Daily Record say that Spiersy "was one of a number of people being targeted by cranks, because of [his] criticisms of Rangers”?

What Spiersy fails to mention is the truly shocking, vile and momentous events realyed the day before, 20th April 2011. 

That was the day that we learned bombs had been discovered in various locations in the west of Scotland for Neil Lennon, Trish Godman and the late Paul McBride QC, the work of two despicable true criminal underclass types.

But at that time the police had no idea who was behind it or who else was to be targeted. The fear was that more bombs or devices may have got through. All Celtic staff were briefed as this was a very real danger.

What the police also did was contact anyone who they thought might be a target especially those who had recently criticised Rangers. Again, from the Daily Record:-

"As well as alerting Celtic and their stars, police hunting the bombers have also alerted several high-profile figures who have criticised Rangers recently.

“They include Cardinal Keith O'Brien's spokesman, Peter Kearney, who claimed last November that there was 'deep, wide and vicious' anti-Catholic feeling in Scotland.

“He also accused Rangers fans of 'extremely offensive' chanting at last month's CIS Cup final.

“Kearney confirmed to the Record: 'An inspector told me to take precautions and be careful with mail. They had no direct intelligence about me but were speculating there might be a risk.'

“Police have also identified football writer Graham Spiers as a potential target.

“He has written widely in recent weeks about sectarian singing by a section of the Rangers support, and has appeared on several radio phone-ins..."

If you read Spiers' piece online it gave the impression that an article was penned about specific threats issued to him and others. It was in fact the police being proactive in responding to the crisis.

I would also ask why the police, if they “had information about threats being made against" Spiersy, would wait and tell him when something like this had happened. I am sorry but this does not add up.

Am I the only one that finds this all a bit strange?

This is Gordon's first appearance on the CRO, but you may recognize him from The Rangers Standard. He can be found on Twitter at @Gri64