I AM in journalistic parlance: “an old hot metal man”, or, if you are one of today's youthful graduates with a diploma in media or journalism studies - “a dinosaur”.
I had to contort myself and jump through hoops to enter the Fourth Estate, when I left school, nine in every ten would-be journalists was unable to get his or her foot on the bottom rung of the ladder; then, if you did get in, it was a hard, unrelenting school.
Back then, we didn't have 24-hour rolling TV news stations and, while opinion was free, facts were sacred. You had to be able to stand a story up, and accuracy was everything.
Some of today's so-called top talent would not have got over the threshold back then, in the days when the Sunday Post was read by over two-thirds of the Scottish population, the Express was a serious and high-selling newspaper up here and journalism was a proud craft.
Sure, stories were spun, no journalist who wanted to remain in a job in Glasgow would dare rip into the Old Firm, but, there were two or three Partick Thistle fans to give a modicum of perspective on events.
Oh! And while former players were occasionally asked for their opinion and quoted, being an average Old Firm striker, with a couple of Scotland caps, or, being “a character” would not guarantee you a cushy number as a media pundit – because, we didn't have media pundits when I was a boy.
I blame Chick for the deterioration in standards
I don't remember when the rot set-in, maybe around the Millennium, when the Press Association decided former players knew more about covering football than trained journalists with years of experience. Around that time too, if you were an ex-player, knew Chick Young and had had a game for Dukla Pumpherston, you would be pontificating on the BBC within the month.
Now, to be fair, some of the guys who got in that way have become rather good, but, the lack of genuine journalistic talent continues to hinder the way the media covers Scottish football.
Today, we are in the era of the churnalists and stenographers. OK, the likes of Graham Spiers is still going, Alan Pattullo at The Scotsman has grown-up from being the Future of Scottish Football Writing in 2000, to the man today. But, some of the younger guys have me channelling my inner David Francey: “Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear! Disaster for Scotland.”
Let's have a look at this week's big idea. Now, you are aware of the protocol, whereby a “bevvy” of football writers, mainly from the red top tabloids, get together in Glasgow on a Monday and decide what will be the agenda for the week – with everyone else falling into line.
The Bring Back Walter campaign is in full flow
Well, this week, is let's boot the SFA week, and, somebody, perhaps with an IQ in single figures, has decided – Walter Smith is THE MAN to be the next Scotland boss.
Nothing against the man with no surname, but, I reckon, he would not have been half as successful away from Ibrox – as his spell at Everton proved. But, 18 days shy of his 70th birthday, is the Scottish Football Writers Association's “brains trust” really trying to tell us – Wattie's Da Man.
For Fuck Sake, (and pardon me swearing), if they must punt a geriatric for the job, go the whole hog and ask Fergie back. In any case, given that they have two hugely-important posts to fill, does common sense not dictate, the SFA ought to fill the more-important job, that of Chief Executive, first?
We are told, the SFA has an eight-person “short list” to consider for the job. Whoa! That's an awfy long short list to me, so, who else?
- Alex McLeish – good course and distance record in the job before, but, his star has since waned, he's been out of a job for a while, and is probably tarnished goods.
- Scot Gemmill - has impressed as Under-21 boss, but, no real club managerial record – which might be a good thing. Already on the payroll, so, the cheap option.
- Malky Mackay – Stewart Regan didn't fancy his
- m for the job, but, Regan is now history, might the situation have changed. Again, already on the payroll, so, another cheap option.
- Neil Lennon – has been mentioned in despatches. Will be a divisive figure, however.
- Felix Magath – has been mentioned as “interested”, but, after Berti Vogts, is Scotland ready for another foreign boss?
- Stevie Clarke – the Killie boss is being strongly touted, but, no way Jose, he's got a job to finish at Rugby Park.
- Ally McCoist – naw, cannot see that one either.
- Stewart Baxter – well, he always got mentioned before, why not this time?
Not exactly an Oscars nominations list, is it? As I have said, CEO first, then Team Manager is the logical way to go, but, this is the SFA, the place where logic does not exist, anything could happen.
A DOFF this morning of Socrates's trusty Aussie bushman's hat to two giants of football comment, very much on opposite sides of the fence.
Firstly, to Airdrie's second-finest, that Intergalactic Media fixer Wee James Traynor, for keeping so-many of the churnalists and stenographers onside with non-events at Rangers throughout the January transfer season.
In particular, his success in persuading the hack pack that Rangers could turn down a £7 million Chinese offer for Alfredo Morelos. That club is skint, they are living hand to mouth, they don't have a credit line from any bank and are reliant on the largesse of some directors and fans for survival.
Oh! And their Chairman was described as: “A glib and shameless liar” by a leading South African judge.
The Donegal Blogger - called it right again
There is no way Rangers could have turned down a serious £7 million offer for Morelos. If the hack pack had done their jobs, they would have easily found out that the Chinese club supposedly looking to sign him already had their full quota of overseas players and were in no position to try to recruit him.
So, chapeau to Wee James for keeping the boys on-message and in-line with that “fake news”, and a further doff of the hat to "the Donegal Blogger" - Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, who did speak to someone in the know in China and discover how absurd, not forgetting false, the whole “fake news” about Morelos was.