I’m sure I’m not the only person who was party to a conversation debating how long it would take Rangers to start banning dissenting voices in the media once Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United, effectively took over the club.
The answer, as it turns out, is not very long. The Daily Record is currently banned from Ibrox for, as the Record rightly puts it, telling the truth.
In the article breaking news about the ban, the Record made it clear it saw the ban as a challenge:
UNPOPULAR Light Blues chief executive Derek Llambias tries to stop us getting the big stories. Good luck with that, Del.
The Record also drew parallels with the ban Newcastle slapped on the Chronicle and Journal. My view might be a controversial one among some sports writers, but I believe when clubs are being run by people so unpopular with the fans, the best thing that can happen is a ban.
It removes any influence the club can seek to exert over coverage by the primary independent media – the local press – which fans turn to. And it’s a clear sign to the fans that, far from being ‘in the pocket of the club’- a claim so often unfairly laid against the local sports club writer – the local press is on the side of the fans.
In such situations, a journalist’s greatest weapon is creativity. The Chronicle – and Journal and Sunday Sun – demonstrated that time and again will brilliant think pieces, data analysis, classy graphics and fan interaction.
Highlights from the Record this week include trying to find out what the directors at the club thought of the ban by collaring them outside a restaurant, added in a brilliant political dimension, and, the prompt for writing this post, actually defied the ban in Ibrox: