ONE of Scotland’s greatest sportswriters, Jim Traynor, is calling it a day as a columnist on the Daily Record, signing off with a no holds barred criticism of fellow journalists and online commentators.
While making clear how much pleasure he has derived during his 37 years in journalism – indeed, he begins his column: “It was never a job. More of an absolute joy, if truth be told.” – he says recent events have turned, in his opinion, for the worse.
And it has revolved around the financial problems involving Rangers FC since it was placed into administration in February.
He writes: “ It’s been a pleasure. Until recently. Unfortunately, there has been the last twisted and bitter year during which Scottish football, unable to deal with the Rangers crisis in a civilised manner, has tried to tear itself apart. All in the name of sporting integrity, of course.”
During a career where he has often ‘swam against the tide’, this year he has been notable for often cautioning against the accusations being made in several parts of the media, and among bloggers, against Rangers over a tax case from which recently emerged victors in a tribunal.
He continues: “Even now so many – and I include some fellow journalists – still cannot bring themselves to accept Rangers did not cheat the tax man by using [Employment Benefit Trusts].
“One journalist declared it to be ‘a government conspiracy’ when he heard the ruling in Rangers’ favour.
“Perhaps in time more will be written about this kind of hack and the rabid desire to help bring down Rangers, a fierce desire that, sadly, was widespread. Actually, I’m sure more will be written about them.”
And he goes on: “And let’s not forget how some with telly platforms were prompted by those bloggers and ill-informed commentators. Stupidly they allowed themselves to be duped by supporters with dangerous agendas hidden under the banner of integrity.
“And the result? Some of the most shallow and infantile drivel ever written. These egotists are so into themselves they’ve no regard for the safety or wellbeing of those about whom they have written some awful and completely inaccurate pieces.
“Despicable, pathetic little creatures craving some kind of recognition but lacking in conscience and morality.
“I’m so sorry they’ve had to be thrown up into the same piece as some of the true greats and gentlemen of world sport.”
And he ends: “However, that’s it. My work here is done and I’m glad – but just for the record, I’ve not been sacked or made redundant. I was asked to remain but my conscience won’t allow me to stay in our profession.
“The kind of journalism needed by the country, never mind sport, no longer exists in enough of the media outlets.
“But as I’ve said, the good memories of all those sporting greats will always outweigh the negatives, especially those that bubbled to the surface throughout this last year.
“Thanks to sport’s real heroes I’ve had a ball and thank you for reading while I was with The Herald, the Daily Express and the Daily Record.
“Good luck to you – and be careful about what and who you read in the future.
“There are people out there calling themselves by different names.
“But that’s not the bit that should worry you. They are calling themselves journalists.”