Sitting back in the Marbella sunshine with my chilled drink should have been the perfect time for me to “put the ball away” but I just can’t help myself. My good friend Stuart “Malky” Malcolm joined us on this holiday and he brings out the football in me. Malky’s playing career stemmed 20 years playing for both full time and part time clubs; he’s a no nonsense defender, brave, a leader and a great big humble guy – yet due to Albion Rovers fly on the wall documentary, he is being talked about as the man that gives his players the old school bollocking at half time.
The outlet that produced the documentary was the “Daily Record”. Some would describe it as a sensationalist, truth twisting, manipulative rag (not me though, chance of a job?). . They shot footage over a training session and the day of a game which I imagine would have covered a plethora of elements in the part time professional game yet 80% of the documentary focused on one moment where the manager has lost his rag at the players when trying to motivate them. This is quite obviously deliberate and paints the desired red top media picture of the lower league game in Scotland. Basically that it is nothing to do with skills, zero tactics, zero man management but all blood and thunder.
It has got me thinking about what good do the media do for the lower league game in Scotland. They frequently like to laugh at us, deride the state of our game and constantly patronise us. To get to any level of professional football you have to be good – many have tried and got nowhere near making one professional appearance. In reality, we aren’t that shit.
It’s always a good laugh reading out the red top journalist’s league predictions which make it into the paper. They will have a good go at the SPFL premiership and the championship but as soon as it gets to league one and league two it’s a farce. I am sure they just pull names out a hat and write them 1-10 in that order. This was certainly the case when I had my second spell at Forfar, we had brought in real quality players for this level and several of the journos had us bottom of the league – we ended up nearly winning it. The poor journalist who wrote the article was being hounded every week by Rab Douglas on every social media platform.
Having said that, without the red top papers there would be little to no coverage in print of the lower leagues. Interviews, reports and photos from lower league games are always included in the back pages. There has also been the rare occasion my picture or name has made it to print, this makes my family extremely proud and my Gran cuts it out the paper and puts it in her family scrapbook. I think they should be applauded for this at the very least.
It is easy for me to have a go at some of the nonsense these outlets spout but at least they care. Your so called sophisticated papers wouldn’t want to be associated with the working man’s game but are willing to put a 20 page spread on for a jolly old game of rugger.
If you go further up the ladder to the Scottish premiership there is a similar media issue albeit with TV rights. Predominantly the battle for TV rights between BT Sports and Sky. BT have characters like Sutton, Craigen and Stewart who often take the piss out the game and themselves, they have in depth discussion and analysis but more important than that; they evidently care. On the other hand the coverage from Sky Sports is pathetic; as long as they get the old firm matches they are happy. They would probably schedule some afternoon Kabaddi ahead of showing anything else from our beautiful game. They don’t care.
Just like BT sports, the red tops might twist and sensationalise but when all is said and done, their coverage is essential to the game up here. It is quite often a lot of drivel but at the very least, it is OUR drivel. Put it this way, I don’t think my Gran will ever find a nice cut out of her favourite grandchild in the Guardian.
Thanks for reading and sticking with the blog – Next one hopefully will be on the pleasures of pre season.