Scottish Sun Pull Book Serialisation After Rangers’ Fans Kick Up A Stink

Alan Duffy

3rd, September 2012


By Alan Duffy

After publicising the serialisation of a book telling the inside story of the collapse of Rangers FC, the Scottish Sun has now done a major about-turn and decided to drop the feature after their switchboard was inundated with complaints from angry Rangers fans.

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, the writer of the book, entitled “Downfall – How Rangers FC Self-destructed”, was a well-respected journo who had managed to get very close to the shenanigans behind the financial disaster at Ibrox. The Scottish Sun saw the potential in serialising the book, but the level of anger aimed at the paper and Mac Giolla Bhain as soon as the serialisation was publicised, seemed to shock the powers-that-be at the Sun.

The original piece publicising the forthcoming serialisation

Rather than ride the storm, the Scottish Sun promptly decided to pull the whole serialisation, claiming that they had done so after reading one of Mac Giolla Bhain’s blogs, which they claimed was overly offensive and sectarian. The blog in question, which you can read here, is a rather broad satirical piece on the bigotry surrounding a section of Rangers’ fans, not something really relevant to the publishing of the book. However, for the Sun big-wigs, it seems to have been a handy excuse for dropping the book.

Explaining their decision to drop the book, the Scottish Sun published a leader which said:

“Phil Mac Giolla Bhain is not one of our journalists and his blog undermines the entire industry. THAT is why we have decided not to carry the serialisation of the book. NOT because of the social media backlash. NOT because of the internet bullies. But because the author — previously unbeknown to us — is tarred with a sickening sectarian brush.”

Mac Giolla Bhain himself, as well as the Scottish sun writer who interviewed him for the initial publicity piece, have found themselves the target of serious threats from Rangers’ fans (I’m sure the Irishness of his name hasn’t helped either) and he is extremely angry at the situation. He said:

“I think this is a dark day for journalism in Scotland when a major title can be forced into self-censoring in this fashion.

“The most worrying aspect of this are the threats aimed at Simon Houston who interviewed me. An attack on a journalist is an attack on journalism and, ipso facto, an attack on democracy.”

Not a good day for the Scottish Sun, I think.

Photo: The Guardian

Posted in Media, Scottish football

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  1. Glenn SWFC says:

    can we not just get them to pull the whole paper?

  2. Niall JF96 says:

    The Sun at it again. The sooner everybody boycots that rag the better, theres no need for anybody to buy it anyway alls they do is print lies.

  3. Barry mcgowan says:

    Disappointed that you’ve let the facts get in the way of a good story. The bold Phil has never been taken seriously as a journalist due to his inability to be objective or even reasonable where Rangers are concerned. A Proven sectarian bigot, his bitter, twisted diatribes have been stirring up tension for years now. While RFC would appear to be his pet hate, delve a little deeper (as a quick glance at who he follows on twitter confirms) and you find that his real love affair is with Irish nationalism and the Republican movement/armed struggle. While this in itself is not a problem, being, as it is, a valid political standpoint, it is hardly the source from which you would expect an impartial piece on Rangers FC to emanate. I suggest you read the following article to get the other side of the story.

  4. Stewart says:

    I think that’s the one and only time I’ve seen, ‘well respected’ and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain mentioned in the same sentence and I don’t support either Rangers or Celtic. Alan Duffy needs to do some more research into this particular character before passing comment.

  5. John says:

    Barry, do you honestly beleive that you will get a balanced view from ‘the rangers standard’? The fact that the sun has chosen a satirical piece as the ‘reason’ for pulling the planned publication is not only laughable but, as is typical, blatant lies. The reaction to this from fans of rangers (RIP) is typical! It’s ok to sing and rejoice in the blood of another, closely related religion, but dare to mock rfc and the usual threats and intimadation begins. This is a dark day for journalism in Scotland and, as is pointed out in several broadsheet publications, a depressing climbdown and acceptance of bully boy tactics! Shame on the sun and more shame on fans of rfc (RIP)

  6. Barry mcgowan says:

    John, I didn’t put it up as a balanced piece. If you read my comment you’ll see that I posted it as ‘the other side of the story’, i.e diametrically opposed to Mad Phil. The point here is that Chris Graham, who has been asked onto numerous tv and radio debates as a reasonable ‘voice of the fans’, has not written a book doing down Celtic and has not attempted to get his pal, the deputy features editor on a despicable down market rag, to serialise it. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, on the other hand, is the co founder of TAL the notorious Celtic/pro IRA fanzine who has spent his whole career ‘mischief making’, demonising and dehumanising Rangers supporters in print. Why wouldn’t we be sickened by this John? Would you be if the boot was on the other foot? Can you even see this objectively? This isn’t about one ‘satirical article’ nor is it about freedom of the press. It’s about giving a platform in a national newspaper to someone who has spent a lifetime peddling hate. The deranged and bigoted on both sides of this ‘divide’ sicken me as does the petty points scoring. You mentioned religion in your post John, apropos of nothing other than to have a go. I’ll go on record as having no religion, preferring to believe in science, evolution and empirical fact as opposed to made up fairy tales and have noticed a huge reduction, on both sides, in the type of behaviour you mention as we seem to be thankfully evolving as a progressive society. As for ‘typical’ behaviour of RFC fans when their team is ‘mocked’; this is actually a relatively recent and pleasing development as opposed to the ‘dignified silence’ tactic of old which gets you nowhere. It is right that we stand up to detractors and as I’m sure you’re aware, Cetic fans have a long and well documented history themselves of intimidatory tactics against public officials, Internet campaigns, boycotts and sanctions against anyone they perceive to have done them an injustice. The official Parkhead propaganda machine has secretly envied by rangers fans for many a year, particularly in recent times as open season has turned to frenzy and blood lust. Hopefully you can step back John, gain some perspective and realise that this is about more than ‘oneupmanship’. Hatemongers like Mad Phil do your support no favours. Let’s leave these bigots in the past where the belong, (another generation should be sufficient) and make this country a better place for our kids. In these dark days there should be more that unites us than separates us.
    P. S- putting (rip) after Rangers is childish and doesn’t look good if you’re attempting to make a serious point.

  7. marajonna says:

    I’m on my way back from Glasgow as I type, it’s a great place, the people are fantastic, the food is cooked just right (deep fried pizza!) and when the sun shines it’s a beautiful place but it is constantly let down and embarrassed by Celtic and Rangers. From a neutral, read English fairy, perspective it’s shameful that people are so divided and hateful towards each other. I’d gladly see them both swallowed up and sent deep into the ether never to be seen again. Perhaps then Scottish football can collect itself and get up from it’s knees and become a spectacle again rather than a dark comedy.

  8. Headpark23 says:

    One of the most eloquent responses I have heard from either side of this debate. Well done barry. A bit of research and digging helps when putting a point forward. Lets hope there are more Barry’s on both sides of Glasgow. As a Celtic fan I have struggled to find coherence. I’ll admit to using twitter as a source of fact rather than a point of reference in the past. I certainly hope this saga is nearing its end game. Its getting a tad tedious now.

  9. XYZZZ says:

    Who let that spastic Barry mcgowan out of his cage?
    Barry, keep calm and relax. You don’t want that electric baton to injure your large bowel once again

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh it’s the keyboard woman hating hardman xyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ! Good post Barry.

  11. Barry mcgowan says:

    XYZZZ, ha! It’s a care in the community program pal. They let me out once a month and give me access to a computer. I can recommend the baton as an alternative to ECT..

  12. daviec1872 says:

    Simple facts are this

    Phil MacWhatever is a Bigot of the first order , he is a supporter of Irish Republican groups who have gone hand in hand with the lowest kind of murdering scum on the face of the planet , people who killed and maimed British Citizens for over a Century.

    He is also Anti -Protestant in the extreme and makes no effort to hide it (some kind of honesty there I suppose), but that does not mean that he is beyond the bounds of criticism and in fact he should be made to account for his words at all times.

    Too many people are thinking this piece of trash is some kind of freedom fighter when ,in fact, no one has yet had sight or sound of him engaging in any form of open debate.
    He is as cowardly as he is bigotted.

    His words betray his true aims with every sentence, he receives praise and support from like-minded republicans who share his intolerance and extremism, indeed many I am sure will print their support on this forum.

    Make no bones about it,any right minded human being, after reading his ‘incubator’ blog, would be correct in thinking that this man is not only a bigot but also borderline racist- as well as borderline insane.

    It’s well seen he prints his garbage in the form of a online blog(a blog which does not even originate in the U.K.), as no respectable mainstream publication would touch him with barge pole for fear of contamination.

    Maybe that puts the Sun into some kind of perspective , as it was on the verge of going to print with a serialisation of this mans ‘work’ .

    A discredited rag printing the rantings of a discredited bigot , a man who has failed in his attempts to be a Journalist as well as being a failure in his career as a Social Worker in Glasgow.
    Strange how he isn’t keen to discuss that part of his life isn’t it?

    Kind of sums it all up doesn’t it?.

  13. frank says:

    no wonder we are in the state of complete disssaray , with the bigoted comments on this forum, and its shocking that the great country we live in is full of bigoted morons, who should just go away, and if they have the bottle ? which they certainly have not go and jump in the clyde, and let the decent people amongst us live in peace, as it get a bit over the top listening to vile comments on both sides.

  14. Barry mcgowan says:

    No Frank, what’s ‘shocking’ about this ‘great country we live in’ is the amount of adults who lack a basic understanding of punctuation or grammar. I’d be interested to know which ‘bigoted comments on this forum’ you’re referring to as I suspect you probably didn’t read them before firing off your message of morality.
    ‘daviec 1872’ obviously disagrees strongly with the political ideology of the journalist in question but voicing opposition to this does not amount to ‘bigotry’. Having said that, Davie misses the point slightly. Phil 3 names is perfectly entitled to hold whatever views he likes and in a democracy his views are as valid as yours or mine, however distasteful people may find them. The point is that such a person, with an obvious agenda and a track record for vile polemic against the Rangers support should not
    have his book serialised in a national newspaper under the guise of objectivity. I have no problem with this book being published but as a historical document it lacks credibility due to the source. I would expect to see it in the ‘Celtic section’ of Waterstones.
    So, again Frank… Where is the bigotry in any of the above? Reasoned debate and opposing points of view does not equal bigotry which, incidentally, is becoming the most misappropriated word in the English language.
    One more thing, if you feel it ‘get (sic) a bit over the top listening to vile comments on both sides’, here’s an idea… Don’t go looking for it in the comments sections of articles where it’s liable to exist.

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