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).
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.”