Football clubs find it difficult to maintain a positive brand image that not only helps its commercial imperative, but binds fans ever-closer and attracts new supporters. There is always some idiot doing something idiotic that neither the club, nor the support as a whole, would even remotely tolerate.
As a consequence, fans across the country sigh at news reports when someone punches a horse, throws a bottle or generally behaves in a manner that defies the struggles their genetic make-up went through to be here today. Darwin suggested it should not be this way, but here we are.
When a club’s name is associated with some random act of idiocy, a well-known script is followed. Suspend the culprit and hope it is glossed-over by many, if not, publicly state disapproval while giving the obligatory “tiny minority” sop to the rest of the support, to let them know you have their back, whether it is a tiny minority or not, or even a minority.
Employee-transgressors are almost universally and immediately sacked. The chef who got drunk and wrote someone on social media that would never be said sober, has supreme-d his last chicken at the club restaurant.
This is harsh, but them’s the rules. Clubs want to attract everyone in the family, hospitality business and commercial partner spheres. Negative publicity, however tenuous, has to be curated through the ‘What would Walt (Disney) Do?’ prism.
So when a club diverges from this path, you’re left wondering why? Why would a club appoint a DUP councillor and Orangeman, inevitably with all of the baggage that world brings, as their public relations manager?
Today’s revelation in the Daily Record, that Newco’s new PR man, David Graham, referring to Celtic Park as “the piggery”, a few days after his “No surrender” video emerged, will surprise no one. Do not blame a duck for quaking, material like this is inevitably going to seep out.
But why do Newco want to be represented like this? Why challenge the modern sports business orthodoxy of appealing to families, high-value corporate spend and big ticket commercial deals? There is a constituency that will always stay loyal to those with values they share, irrespective of football success or general competency in any other area.
They are circling the wagons ahead of a ‘business interruption event’, either that, or they are the stupidest of stupid people who ever made it through 250k years of largely progressive genetic selection. No one sailing home on HMS Beagle could predict such a regressive wonder as this lot.
Wash your hands, isolate the vulnerable. If you are vulnerable and need food, shop at quiet times and do not touch your face until you wash your hands at home. Most of us will get through this, but all of us need to act for those who might not.