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Rangers FC

The Scotsman’s editor queries the role of Rangers FC’s PR advisers as club ‘implodes’

By Hamish Mackay

February 17, 2012 | 3 min read

The editor of The Scotsman, John McLellan, today asks why there has been such a communications breakdown on the affairs of Rangers FC - considering the amount of high-calibre PR advisers available to the chairman and owner Craig Whyte.

In his editor’s notebook today, McLellan claims Whyte “has more questions to answer about his short tenure at Rangers FC than the Spanish Inquisition ever asked.”

However, he points out : “It is not as if Mr Whyte is short of advice on dealing with difficulties, being a long-standing acquaintance of crisis management specialist, ex-Scottish Sun editor Jack Irvine.

“Long before the club imploded, Mr Irvine and his senior associate Ramsay Smith have been on hand to offer guidance at Ibrox.

“Mr Whyte also calls on the services of Hay McKerron Associates, run by two of Scotland’s most experienced journalists [Gordon Hay and Ian McKerron].

“And with this on top of the club’s in-house communications team – not forgetting former player and BBC pundit Gordon Smith on the board – there will soon be more PR people in Govan than first team players.

“Whether any of them can shed light on why Mr Whyte decided to deploy his business methods on a high-profile institution like Rangers is another thing.”

Pointing out to a lack of communication at various major events in the past few days, McLellan points out ... “communications experts were notable by their absence in another sporting arena, when rugby referee Dave Pearson called off the France v Ireland match ten minutes before kick-off because parts of the pitch had frozen.

“Was Mr Pearson made available to explain his decision? Were officials encouraged to take TV cameras on to the pitch to demonstrate just how hard it had become? No. All fans got were an announcement the game was off.

“And then on Sunday, at the Millennium Stadium, Scotland was denied a valid try by referee Romain Poite who ruled that 19-year-old test debutante Stuart Hogg had knocked on just before touching down.

“Poite could have asked the video referee to check Hogg’s catch, but instead he ignored the technology. It wouldn’t have affected the outcome, but a dramatic moment was lost.

“What these three events have in common is a disregard for supporters, the people who pay the wages – no audience means any game. Treating supporters with respect is a lesson sports organisations still need to learn.

“Craig Whyte has caused nothing but confusion and dismay for those who follow Rangers. Supporters were the last to be considered when scheduling a rugby match for a 9pm kick-off local time, or when calling it off at the very last minute, and there was nothing in Mr Poite’s mind other than imposing his will in chalking off Hogg’s try.

“But maybe there wasn’t a communication breakdown in any of these affairs – for to have a breakdown implies a desire to communicate effectively and fairly in the first place.”

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