Help! Our game has lost it’s sense of humour after tax jibe ends in sacking


Hibernian have sacked their stadium announcer, Willie Docherty, for reportedly playing the Beatles song ‘taxman’ during the half time interval at the Hibs and Dundee United match at Easter Road.

The Edinburgh side claims that Docherty was sacked ‘following a breach of conduct’.

The jibe was aimed at city rivals who have been served with a winding up order over unpaid PAYE and VAT, along with a disputing a separate £1.75 million tax bill.

However Hibs have announced a statement following the earlier reports, by claiming that Docherty was sacked because he ‘chose to willfully disregard specific instructions given in the pre-match briefing’.

The statement read: “Hibernian FC today moved to address supporter concerns around action taken by the Club against the Stadium Announcer. The Club stressed that speculation that the action had been taken as a song played may have offended supporters of another club is not correct. Rather the action has been taken because the individual chose to willfully disregard specific instructions given in the pre-match briefing which itself was consistent with guidance given during the week in the run-up to the match at Easter Road Stadium on Sunday, which was broadcast live on television.

“The stadium announcer is not an employee of the Club, but is contracted to provide the service. In doing so, he operates as part of the Club’s official channels of communications – which also includes the Club website and match day programme. Under SPL and SFA rules, the Club is directly responsible for what the Stadium Announcer does, says and plays. For that reason, the Club has specific guidelines in place and before each match detailed briefings take place. These reflect the values and behaviours the Club and its Supporters believe Hibernian FC should stand for. The conduct of other clubs is a matter for them.

“Before our recent home match against Dundee United discussions took place and specific instructions were given. The individual concerned has admitted that he deliberately breached the terms of the instructions the Club had given. The Club was left with no option but to take the course of action it did.

“This is not an issue about having or not having a sense of humour. Nor is it a decision based on whether supporters of other clubs have or do not have a grievance with what happened. What is important is that those delivering official communications on behalf of Hibernian FC act in a way which the Club sees as both appropriate and professional.”

It is a sad indication of our game that the musical interlude and playing of a classic Beatles tune is deemed inappropriate and unprofessional.

Did the club specifically state not to take the mickey out of their rivals?

When did the SPL and Scottish FA rules state that banter is now outlawed? The whole issue stinks of some officials at Easter Road having a humour bypass and trying to justify their sacking of Docherty.

Or maybe just maybe Petrie & co. do not like the Beatles and they would prefer something by ABBA like money, money, money.

Scotzine backs the fan campaign #justiceforwilliedocherty


About Author


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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