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Rangers owner Craig Whyte meets with Bigoted Vanguard Bears group

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Despite his comments when he took over the club, Mr Whyte is now fraternising with a group of Rangers fans whose sole aim is peddling their hate-filled bigotry and sectarianism on Scottish Football.

Media House guru Jack Irvine in July also stated: “Respectable Rangers supporters – and that is the vast majority – condemn bigotry and sectarianism but we will not be the whipping boys for society’s failings. For too long, Rangers have taken it in the neck. Now it’s a new owner, new management, new rules.

“Craig wants a more robust challenge to ill-informed critics. He does not intend for Rangers to be pushed around.”

At this moment in time the only person who is ill-informed has been Mr. Whyte and he really does need to rethink who his PR team and advisers are given this fraternisation with a group who not only make death threats and threats of violence to people they hate, but also target their fellow Rangers fans.

The Vanguard Bears reportedly met with Mr Whyte on Tuesday night, with three members of the site attending, just four days before the Rangers group turn out for a third time to protest outside the Pacific Quay headquarters of BBC Scotland, over what they believed was a constant attack on the club and the Rangers supporters in an unbalanced manner.

Now why would Mr Whyte take time out of his busy schedule to discuss issues with a group that called on Rangers fans to start singing the Billy Boys once again – a song that ultimately proved costly for Rangers as they were hammered by UEFA both in fines and seeing their fans banned from the away game against Malmo due to sectarian singing in their two Europa League games versus PSV Eindhoven last season.

The line of questioning from the three Vanguard Bears representatives were nothing new and in fact had been answered before by Craig Whyte in the mainstream media bar one or two. In fact the whole episode looks more like a CBBC Newsround interview conducted by 8 year olds asking their hero to answer some questions, rather than a fan group asking their club chairman hard-hitting questions to get to the nitty-gritty of the issues involving the club and the state it is in financially.

Craig Whyte really does need to re-think who he associates with and to announce that a mainstream journalist in Graham Speirs is on a yellow card, is quite frankly unprofessional from a man who is supposed to have decades of experience in business, dealing with all sorts of characters.

Mr Whyte was posed the question: “What is your position on Graham Speirs?”

He answered: “I decided when I took over the club, that while I would address media imbalance, I would start with a clean slate, and expect the same in return. After seeing Mr Speirs’ involvement in the BBC Documentary, we were considering whether to withdraw all press privileges, but decided against it, as we were of the view that his influence and readership is not significant enough to trouble us. That said, when we took that decision we only considered “The Times’” reach in Scotland, not their reach in England and beyond. [Following discussion with Jim Hannah] It is too late to reverse that decision. If Mr Speirs appears on our radar again for the wrong reasons, we will take a more holistic view. In football terms he’s on a retrospective yellow card.

Yes, Mr Whyte has every right to defend himself, the club that he owns and the fan base. But to actually enter into discussions with a group who had a history bringing shame on the club and the majority of decent Rangers fans in general is nigh on impossible to defend. And in fact it is a PR opportunity that has seen Mr Whyte shoot himself in the foot.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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