The Daily Record newspaper appears to have taken an editorial decision to push for Rangers to be stripped of titles won during the years the club used EBT payments. Their coverage since HMRC won the Big Tax Case (BTC) has been so one-sided that Rangers fans have been left wondering if there is any way back for the relationship between the newspaper and the club.
In the days following the BTC result, the Daily Record ran several stories in which they promoted the agenda of several fans groups. The first was extensive coverage of a four-man protest by Aberdeen fans at a friendly game.
This was swiftly followed by another story about an Aberdeen fans group, who nobody had ever heard of, again calling for title stripping.
A day later this was followed by Dundee Utd fan group 'The Arab Trust' calling for, you guessed it, title stripping.
The paper then covered Dave King's statement — let's be honest they had no option — but they tagged it on social media with a headline that had no relation to story itself and put a clearly negative slant on it. When the story was posted online it had no explanation of the comments that the headline claimed were conflicting.
The Daily Record then completely ignored the Club 1872 statement which defended Rangers and laid out the response that would be forthcoming should Celtic, Aberdeen and Dundee Utd get their way. This was despite them giving wide coverage in the days previous to several tiny fan groups with no significant holdings in their own clubs.
Following that decision to ignore the views of Rangers fans, they then returned to form by posting another call for title stripping by Celtic fans.
Perhaps this is to be expected. Daily Record Editor, Murray Foote is a Dundee Utd fan and has previously ignored the sectarian comments and anti-Rangers sentiment of several of his staff members.
In one instance, Jane Hamilton, a news reporter and Celtic fan, made sectarian comments about Rangers fans and fabricated a story about their behaviour at the Scottish Cup Final. This led to IPSO upholding a complaint against the newspaper. Despite this, Foote backed Hamilton and refused to take action either for her fabricated story or her sectarian Twitter posts.
Another of those staff members, Darren Cooney — who used sectarian slurs to describe Rangers fans in several Facebook posts — is the online Sports Editor and an Aberdeen fan. That maybe explains the extensive coverage of the four-man protest and mystery fans group. When his sectarian posts came to light, Foote again backed him.
The senior management's backing of their staff was curiously not forthcoming for young journalist Alan Clark earlier this year, though, when pressure was applied by a certain chief executive.
Given the reliance of the Daily Record on Rangers fans for its continued survival, it is strange for their editor and senior management to take such a position on title stripping. However relations between the newspaper and Rangers have been poor since the fabricated cup final story.
Rangers fans have already voted with their feet with many calling for an outright boycott of the publication. Every click and every share of a Daily Record story online is criticised by those who believe Rangers fans should no longer support a paper with such a clear agenda against the club.
If a widespread boycott were ever to be put in place then it would almost certainly mean the end of the title which has seen its circulation drop year on year. That doesn't seem to bother the senior management of the paper though, and they continue to back bigoted staff and pursue a clear editorial agenda which aligns them with Celtic, Aberdeen and Dundee Utd in trying to strip Rangers of several of their titles.