2007 - 2022

The Directors’ Box

At the last home game of 2015 the structures of Ibrox stadium trembled to the sound of ‘The Billy Boys’. It was just like old times at the dilapidated arena as the clientele sang about being up to their knees in “Fenian blood”.

In the Director’s boxes were some local dignitaries at this cultural festival of sectarianism and anti-Irish racism.  Pictured in the middle of this photograph are [left to right]:

Councillor Alistair Watson (Council Business Manager and Labour Whip). Councillor for Craigton
Frank McAveety (Leader of the Council) Councillor for Shettleston
Bob Wylie appointed ‘special advisor’ to the Leader of the council, before being promoted last month (February 2016) to be the City Council’s appointed PR guru.
George Redmond (Executive Member for Jobs, Business and Investment). Councillor for Calton
Davie Russell (Manager at Land and Environmental Services).

Rangers directors box

It might be interesting to know if the Leader of Glasgow City Council made representations to the SFA/SPFL/ and or the Rangers Directors about the racist and sectarian singing. The people in his Shettleston ward will also be interested to know if he has helped the football authorities in highlighting the volume of singing that he almost certainly heard that night.

Watson and Wylie would both have heard this type of singing before. They attended the UEFA Cup Final between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg in Manchester in 20087. Mr Wyle, then communication director of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) arranged an hour and a half meeting with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive on the day of the final. £1,495 was claimed in expenses. Both later left their posts on the SPT following public outcry.

George Redmond, the Council’s Executive Member for Jobs, Business and Investment and Councillor for the Calton is quickly emerging as the real powerhouse in the Council. A council insider told Bella Caledonia that he is a bitter opponent against any monument being erected in Glasgow to the victims of the Irish famine.

Some might be surprised to see Davie Russell, a manager at Land Environmental Services included within such a high power representation from the city’s ‘politburo.’ It is currently unclear if he was there for any expertise that he could lend to the putative deliberations within the Blue Room, but it is understood by all within the Blue Room that  Davie is a brother in arms of some significance. Some might even speculate a real Son of Struth!

These men have fifteen months to make their mark before the local government elections of 2017. With current polling one might imagine that this will need to be a productive time for them not to be entering political oblivion.

Since the new board took power at Ibrox last March these chaps in the picture have become major power brokers for the regime in Govan.
Bella Caledonia put the following questions to Councillor McAveety:

Can you confirm that you attended the match at Ibrox Stadium on Monday 28th December 2015 between Rangers and Hibernian?
Can you confirm you are sitting in the row with, to your immediate right, Councillor Alistair Watson (Council Business Manager and Labour Whip) Councillor for Craigton?
Then to your left Bob Wylie, George Redmond (Executive Member for Jobs, Business and Investment. Councillor for Calton) and Davie Russell (Manager at Land and Environmental Services)?
Were you attending the match as part of an official delegation from the City Council?
Were you a guest of the club?
Did you meet with any of the club’s directors?
If so, was there any specific business discussed before or after the match?
Was Mr Davie Russell part of your party?
During this match, as widely reported in the media, there was the singing of the sectarian song “The Billy Boys”.
Did you hear this song being sung at the match?
Did you raise the singing of this song with any of the club’s directors?
Did you raise this manifestation of anti-Irish racism and sectarianism with the football authorities?
Did you report it to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) or the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL)?

At the time of publishing we’ve not heard back from Mr McAveety but are sure to update you if and when we do.


After we went to publication we received this statement from a spokesman representing those involved:

“Councillors McAveety, Redmond, Watson and Mr McAveety’s senior advisor, Bob Wylie, were invited guests of Rangers FC for the Rangers versus Hibernian game on December 28th 2015. These sort of invitations for the leader and senior officials of the Council to attend events are commonplace. The hospitality offered by Rangers FC has been registered through the appropriate Council channels by all those who were at the match. David Russell attended the game in a personal capacity.

It is accurate to say that the “Billy Boys” anthem was sung by a section of the crowd at that game. Rangers FC have publicly condemned that and are co-operating fully with the investigation being conducted by the football authorities into the matter.

Mr McAveety will be making no further comment on these issues, other than this statement.”





Comments (41)

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  1. w.b.robertson says:

    perhaps they were present to cheer on Hibs …after all the Lord Provost, traditionally, (and his or her guests) always received a free pass for Ibrox games. This was made available to councillors in the event of the LP not attending.

  2. bringiton says:

    Some of the supporters of this football club are the same as the British state in that they look back in time (a very long time) for their inspiration and motivation and refuse to accept that the world has moved on.
    Let’s hope Glasgow decides to move on next May and we see the back of a power system well past it’s sell by date.

    1. Blair MacHattie says:

      Glasgow moved on forever in September 2014, that forwards journey continued in May 2015 and will continue in May 2016 and then in 2017.

      The people of Glasgow are making the journey together with the SNP at a time when the two branches of unionism, the labour and tories are merging into one, whilst declining numerically in Scotland.

      The group of suited parasitic labour councillors, leave them to it, their time has gone. Last year bevied in the blue room at Ibrox, next year stuffed on a plinth in the Kelvin Grove Museum!

  3. Soar Alba says:

    Not only Scotland’s shame, but also a good part of Scotland’s problem.

  4. John Page says:

    God help my beloved city. (And I am sure many of our elected representatives partake of hospitality at Parkhead). Glasgow faces huge health and education attainment gap issues and like all cities in the 21st century needs to gear up to meet the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change. And who do we have to lead us…….these people who gravitate to this outdated locus of tribalism and who feel that sustainable economic development is more motorways and more city centre retail outlets to shift the consumerist tat of multinationals.
    I have just completed a Coursera mooc on Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities. I kept thinking of the SLAB lowlifes that Glasgow has for leadership………
    John Page

  5. chris says:

    move on , that’s the cry isn’t it .
    there are people where I work that whistle and sing these songs , they have families .
    it gets passed on through the generations and nothing will stop it .
    I don’t agree with it , saying something wont change it .
    who can stop it ?

    1. Robert reid says:

      I worked with people who also whistled tunes, on both sides of divide. How do we change it by telling them, and particularly telling 17/18yr old new starts, it’s not acceptable, and why. These kids hear it from parents, but in a workplace, as an appretice (etc), they become my kid for next 4yr, so I teach them job and ethics of a modern workplace. If we all keep saying it’s wrong it will change.

      1. chris says:

        theres so many who will continue to say it’s right .

  6. Bruno says:

    Well, David Cameron said just today that it was just a song. So what are you getting so annoyed with? Just a bunch of guys enjoying their freedom.

  7. Shen says:

    Stop giving Lip service to a small and irrelevant line of Haters !!

  8. Monty says:

    what a turnaround. Not so long ago the Labour were seen as the party that stood up for Catholics and against anti Irish racism when this was a major problem in the West of Scotland whilst the SNP were anti Catholic. Determined efforts by Alex Salmond seems to have turned this around whilst some Labour people seem to have forgotten their party’s past.

  9. Robert Macfarlane says:

    What does this have to do with Scottish independence. Do you realise that we actually need more Rangers supporters to support independence?

    All this does is alienate them.

    Well done, you must be very proud?

    This is why I and many of my fellow independence supporting Ramgers friends stopped following you’re work. The bigotry is palpable!

  10. Gordon McShean says:

    As a Glasgow Keelie teenager, growing up in a ghastly Govanhill tenement in the 1940s, I was surrounded by exiled highlanders and immigrant Irish as well as native Glaswegians who did manage to get along with one another EXCEPT WHEN TEAM LOYALTIES WERE CHALLENGED. My Dad was proud of our family’s Scottish second-generation history (despite our Irish surname) and was able to keep us out of the football- associated barneys by following Third Lanark. However, when I became a young nationalist activist (read about that in RETIRED TERRORIST), our opposition to English rule became a sentiment to be held above and beyond squabbles concerning the nature of God’s supposed directions. But in 1949 when I was accepted into a new government educational initiative to change city laddies into farm workers (Lawmuir College, East Kilbride), I was puzzled to find that Catholics were being separated from Protestants – THEY had a dormitory with 15 beds, while WE had a 30 beds (I was included in the latter; I assumed the planners never considered supplying a single-bed accommodation for the likes of me). When my political activism subsequently making it necessary for me to take work in American Occupied Germany – and eventually in the US – I found was able to progress socially without joining a “righteous” club. I regret, however, to observe that the ideological motivations of German, American (and Kiwi) peoples are regressing again. Can Scottish bigots be excused now that the Trump arguments are becoming an exemplar for “loyal” folks (incidentally, which team does he support?)?

    1. willie says:

      With a gaidhlig speaking mother from the very Presbyterian island of Lewis and a father with German parents, do you need to ask what football team Herr Trump would likely support. I mean the immigrant potential president elect even managed to warn the Holy Father that if he wasnt careful he might need to come looking for his help. I’d guess therefore that if asked to pick he’d choose a guid ‘ Hun ‘ team like the Glasgow Celtic. And with, apochryphal thought, I’ll get my worry beads out.

  11. Robert reid says:

    I remember growing up in the early 70’s. I was a child brought up in the Orange Order. The membership was huge in those days. But through self education and maturity of people realising they have the right to free thought, many young people left, much to their parents dismay during the 80,s & 90’s. These parents had been brought up in the lodge, and expected their kids to be the same. I myself was actually registered as a member of a juvenile Orange Order lodge, before I was registered as officially being gave a birth certificate. I believe, although the the trenches in the west of Scotland feel deeper at the moment in my opinion, the more we keep pointing out the stupidity of moronic, bigoted, racist and offensive songs, from whichever or wherever, the more some teenager will hear, and realise we’re right, and stop. And therefore their future family will change too. By a process of osmosis we can change the culture of this country, probably not in my lifetime, maybe not even in my kids lifetime’s, but hopefully in my grandkids lifetime’s. 80yr fae now 2096! Surely this conversation won’t still be going on?

    1. joe says:

      Their membership now is enough to call them irrelevant. Young people don’t talk about this crap anymore, give it one more generation and religion will be almost obselete.

  12. Derek says:

    Have you asked the same question of all of them? I’m not from Glasgow, incidentally – and neither am I a Hibs supporter.

  13. willie says:

    Labour councilors to a man suited and booted enjoying corporate largesse at Rangers comes as no surprise because during the referendum the very same Labour Party were supplying the Orange Lodge Better Together posters.

  14. Bryan Weir says:

    Don’t any Labour councillors (or any other party councillors) go to Celtic Park? (Just asking)

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      I just did a wee bit of googling and very quickly came up with this interesting wee article.

      Please do not associate me with the above organisation or indeed any organisation from either side that feeds on sectarianism. My point is just to illustrate that problems are manifold on both sides. We can argue who are the worst culprits but attacking one side while ignoring the transgressions of the other only creates further divisions. They are all wrong.

      1. ian says:

        When you quote “vanguardbears”you have already lost any pretence to a balanced argument.

      2. joe says:

        Are you seriously offering that insane article from a bigot group as ‘they are both the same’?

        Brian Wilson, John Reid, Jim Murphy, Lawell are all Red Tories and are either on the board or were/are very close to it.

        Celtic is a club open to all and never had a sectarian policy for over 100 years, one did. Are you saying the poor catholic irish community are as bad as the people who repressed them for decades in Glasgow?

    2. Robert Graham says:

      I agree fully with your comment , both sides of the divide in Scotland just feed the other , a one sided attack as seems to prevail here and on wings over scotland only serves to alienate a good section of the Scottish yes voting public , it is becoming more than irritating , just a thought .

      1. joe says:

        Sevco fans are attacking Wings every day, is it any wonder he takes the piss out of them?

        I forgot you are not allowed to say anything about that team are you? shhhhhh might hurt your feelings.

      2. Richard MacKinnon says:

        I agree. Why shouldnt city councillors go along to Ibrox or Celtic Park or Firhill?
        This is a non story at best and at worst, in trying to create division this article is provoking sectarianism itself.
        Bella Caladonia should take a good look at what it are trying to do.

      3. Stewart Small says:

        I’m with you Robert. I hate sectarianism, but to suggest that it exists only on one “side” or is associated with only one football club is utterly ridiculous.

        Also, the idea that all Rangers or Celtic fans condone sectarianism and the songs that are sung at football matches is similarly ridiculous.

        To then start suggesting links between Rangers and Celtic (or Protestants and Catholics) with unionism and the independence movements is both hugely inaccurate and just plain dangerous.

      4. John S says:

        Ah, the old ‘both sides’ deviation. It might take two to tango but only one to bully. The blame both/blame the victim also argument is precisely the type of rhetoric which encourages racism and sectarianism. Might as well blame the Jews for the Holocaust.

  15. kailyard rules says:

    “The Billy Boys anthem…” Anthem? Anthem?? So they recognise it as a f^%@$%$ anthem.

  16. Bob Agassi says:

    Encapsulated in that photograph is Jimmy Hood’s unforgettable words in the Commons that even if independence was the best thing for Scotland he would still vote no. The scales will never fall from these peoples eyes. And what is Doncaster doing in there?

  17. Big Jock says:

    Robert to a point it is correct that bigotry feeds bigotry. However in the case of the way Rangers think as opposed to Celtic.

    One tradition celebrates oppression -Rangers. The other celebrates freedom from oppression Celtic. We must not fall into the media shroud of deliberately ignoring the reason the two factions exist.

    Rangers exist and are ventilated by anti Irish anti Catholic and now anti Scottish oxygen. Rangers are the shame and enemy of modern Scots. Celtic have their eejit, but they are not institutionaly anti protestant and anti Scottish.

    The Union flag waived by Rangers fans is an act of venomous triumphalism. I have no problem with the Irish flag. I would rather Celtic fans waived the Saltire. But the tri colour was the flag of Irish peace so it is not used offensively to Scots.

  18. joe says:

    I wish people would stop saying ‘both sides of the divide’, there is no both sides. Scottish society put the Irish into a corner and were sectarian against them. If there is a divide it is created by prejudice against Irish catholics, they didn’t wish for a divide.

  19. geordie says:

    “FAMINE” it was GENOCIDE. Records show that the British plundered the land during this period.

  20. Alf Baird says:

    No many happy faces in that picture.

  21. john young says:

    I have many aquantancies that are out and out Rangers supporters some on the fringes of the Orange Order and I respect their views,in the case of the latter what I find most frustrating is the lack of dialogue they just close down when you enter into dis-cussion of the finer points,the barriers go up and that is it.I think obviously that parental input or should I say the lack of is a huge contributor but I believe that our educational curriculum also has to shoulder a lot of the blame,we are taught all about the great British Empire we are taught almost nothing of our own countries acheivements,this should be reversed.One of these associates of the Orange persuasion told me no I don,t want to know about that? we did after all win world war2?? get past that.

  22. arthur thomson says:

    Sectarianism is promoted by the unscrupulous and supported by the uneducated. Unionists from left and right exploit it for their political ends. How despicable is it that unionists care so little for Scotland and for the lives diminished by this poison? What moral code do they live by that they actively support/turn a blind eye to sectarianism for self-interest?

    Sectarianism will be rendered impotent by the combination of education and removing the unionist parties from positions of power in Scotland. We are on our way to achieving that, step by step.

  23. Doubting Thomas says:

    Dempsey…….that name sounds familiar……anyone got any ideas?

  24. Doubting Thomas says:

    Wasn’t sure so just checked……Frank MaCaveety attended All Saints RC Secondary in Glasgow.
    Hardly being corrupted with a visit to Ibrox Stadium.

  25. Mags says:

    The guy next Mark Hardly is also a Glasgow city council employee

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      Your point being?

  26. Jim Catney says:

    Interesting that he called the sectarian song – the “Billy Boys” anthem.

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