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Has Scottish Football had a humour bypass of late?

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Sadly recent events seem to back up the stance that humour and banter has no place in Scottish football, as news broke that Falkirk had suspended their match day announcer, Dave McIntosh, following announcements he made at the Bairns’ home game with Raith Rovers at the weekend.

During the half time break, McIntosh was reportedly to have included ‘the Sevco franchise 2, East Stirling 1’ followed later by ‘the final score from Castle Greyskull was Sevco franchise 5, East Stirling 1’.

Now what was illegal, bigoted, offensive about those statements? Well nothing from what I can see obviously but it seems that numerous Rangers fans had a problem with being labelled Sevco franchise rather than Rangers football club. Even the issue of Ibrox being labelled Castle Greyskull was deemed offensive and yet it was the fortress of cartoon character He-Man – the good character who fought the evil Skeletor. So being labelled good is now offensive? Would they prefer Mordor or Snake Mountain instead?

Of course the humour bypass is now in full swing, with Rangers fans on their forums discussing boycotting the games against Falkirk to hit them in the pocket both in the Ramsdens Cup tonight and the Scottish Communities League Cup tie at Ibrox at the end of the month.

So the decision to suspend McIntosh by the club could be seen as the club taking a stance to protect their financial gain rather than actually suspending an employee for a breach of disciplinary rules. I wonder if the decision was taken after the club took legal advice or if they just looked at the bank balance? The lawyer’s office will certainly be the first port of call for McIntosh if the club decide to turn his suspension into a sacking that is for sure.

The club published an official statement on their website from chairman Martin Ritchie, stating: “It has been brought to our attention that our PA announcer made some inappropriate comments about Rangers at half-time on Saturday. We have already apologised to Rangers and would now like to apologise to the many Rangers supporters that have been in contact with the club.

“Falkirk FC are treating this incident very seriously and the individual concerned has been suspended from his duties, pending a full investigation by the club.”

‘It has been brought to our attention….’ that is a very misleading comment from Mr Ritchie. Was he not at the game against Raith Rovers? Do the board members attend the games? So they had to rely on the emails from disgruntled and angry Rangers fans who weren’t even at the Falkirk game to take action against a club employee when they were at the game themselves and heard the announcements themselves.

Even Rangers club employee Andrew Dickson – one that is not free from controversy himself – hit out at McIntosh by stating on his twitter page on the 18th August:

“It’s one thing having cheap digs at people who aren’t there. I suspect he won’t be so bold to our faces three days from now #actingthebigman”

He then replied to Guardian journalist Ewan Murray by stating: “I thought it was a bit pathetic of him, yes. I’d hardly say I’m losing sleep over it.

“Just thought it was a cheap shot from a guy nobody has heard of….”

When Murray replied: “….he probably doesn’t know who you are either! ;-)”

Dickson finished by saying: “Yeah, he probably doesn’t so I’m sure he’s not losing any sleep either. Difference being I’d say what I thought to his face.”

I guess Dickson forgot his #actingthebigman jibe earlier in his tweets as he acts the big man saying that he would have said something to McIntoshs’ face. I wonder what he would have said? I wonder if he has marked Mr McIntoshs’ cards also? Dickson has a history of doing that also and then commenting on his twitter feed so that his followers then target said individuals who he has an issue with or who do not brown nose. And all this from a Rangers employee – where is the dignity in that? Has he lost his pair of club-issued brown brogues and replaced them with a pair of trainers that neds sport on a night out and in court?

Also it is a bit rich that oor Andrew states that McIntosh is an unknown, given the fact that outwith those following oor Andrew or those at Rangers football club, how many actually know him? Dickson is certainly not famous nor is an individual that is well-known outwith certain circles. I would envisage many-an-SFL fan know Mr McIntosh than they do oor Andrew. But hey at least he doesn’t lose sleep over it, he just sends his angry followers to do his biding like good lil sheep.

Now I do have to state though there are some sensible Rangers fans who have seen the comments from McIntosh for what they are – jokes.

One poster on Follow Follow stated:

Oh, come on guys….seriously? Are we at this level? Fans will wind up other fans. That’s part of the game and if it’s done with some degree of humour it’s fine. The problem is when it is ‘impartial’ organisations like media outlets doing it. But if we can’t let opposition fans have a laugh at us at the game then we abdicate all freedom to do the same back. It should annoy us and we should retaliate with songs and chants, not by complaining to the authorities unless he says something genuinely offensive.

Before I get a lot of abuse, I’m not happy that he’s saying it and will happily join in any (good-natured) abuse of Falkirk. But I’m sure that the Sheep don’t like being called the Sheep; that Nakamura didn’t actually slice or dice many things in his wok; and that Dundonians don’t like being reminded that they live in Dundee.

Our support is unfairly targeted to prevent us singing normal football banter but doesn’t mean we should respond in kind to something as relatively innocuous as this.

While another stated:

A slap on the wrists is about right, hardly the crime of the century. People wanting him sacked need to lighten up a bit.

So while those at Sevco franchise, Sevco FC, THE Rangers Football Club or Rangers Football Club round on anyone who has a joke at their expense after losing their sense of humour at the same time as their credibility and dignity over liquidation, the rest of us can hopefully get on with singing those ditties, those chants that do not breach any laws in this country and are seen as jokes or banter between fans.

The same Rangers fans who complained about being labelled Sevco franchise supporters could invariably be the same fans who said that singing The Famine Song is okay because it’s just banter or those that wasted police time when making a complaint against Celtic manager Neil Lennon for racially abusing El Hadji Diouf – and then rounded on Diouf for actually telling the truth which cleared Lennon.

They can dish it out when they want too, but they certainly can’t take it. Time these Rangers fans check in at the Southern General and ask the surgeons to give them a bypass or at least remove the broom handle that is stuck up their orifice.

Hopefully Falkirk see some sense and reinstate Mr McIntosh, certainly he will get a lot of support up and down the country as well as from this site. #FreetheFalkirkOne

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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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