26 January 2015

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Sportswriter hits out at journalists as he quits industry

A well-known sports journalist has quit the industry after 37 years, saying his “conscience” will not allow him to remain in the profession.

Jim Traynor has written his final column for the Daily Record in which he criticises other journalists for how they have reported on the plight of Rangers Football Club.

In the piece, he writes about accusations made regarding the financial problems surrounding the club since it was placed into administration and a tax case recently won on appeal by Rangers over its use of Employee Benefit Trusts.

Jim has worked at The Herald, the Daily Express and the Daily Record during the course of his career, and is also a presenter for BBC Radio Scotland.

He wrote: “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.”

“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.

“Actually, for the last couple of years some of the most bilious types have been allowed to emerge from the shadows and spew invective that sadly became regarded as fact, even though what they were saying and writing wasn’t even close to being definitive. Or honest.

“Overnight all sorts of anonymous bloggers became experts. These champions of decency had all the answers. They knew better than anyone else. They said over and over Rangers would be done for cheating the tax man.”

“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 EBTs.

“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.”

Jim writes that he does have many happy memories of his time in newspapers and it was an “absolute joy” to him rather than a job until recently.

“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.”

His full piece can be read here.


  1. Ed

    “The kind of journalism needed by the country, never mind sport, no longer exists in enough of the media outlets.”

    David Walsh says the same thing, the media love in with Lance Armstrong was embarrassing. Journalists should be there to do a job, report, not be there as fans.

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  2. Out-of-work Hack


    Unfortunately, most sports writers act, think, and write like fans. What is to be done?

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  3. Kendo Nagasaki

    I take it Jim’s a teddy bear then.

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  4. Sub Be Good to Me

    The bottom line is newspapers these days don’t care about proper journalism.

    They care about making money and execs wouldn’t care if their newspapers were full of advertorials.

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  5. Kol Kurtz, Parkhead


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  6. Peter Jeffery, London

    Problem is most journalists have to report events on the run, as they happen, and do not have time to investigate, so for the sake of reader-grabbing headlines they fashion a good tale based on what has just happened. The truth comes out later, as it did with Lance Armstrong. Known as a follow-up. By then the original reporter has been sent out to cover another story and never knows the background. The problem has got worse because news now is instant, and has gone round the world via the internet in just a few seconds. As always, you have to be first with the news. Coming second is a loser. That has always been the reality of the game, in which I have spent 48 wonderful years.

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  7. Tsk

    Traynor’s sincerity would be more believable if he’d issued this statement before the result of the tax tribunal had been issued. For the record, Rangers won the tribunal on a majority verdict so it wasn’t the clear-cut victory that Traynor’s statement would indicate and HMRC have today announced they are seeking permission to appeal the tribunal decision. And old Rangers DID cheat the tax man – they went into administration for non-payment of some £9m PAYE and VAT, an issue unrelated to the ‘big tax case’.


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  8. shinpaddy, south

    Without the words “linked with” a lot of sports hacks would be out of work. Speculation and comment, often hopelessly biased, have replaced sports news.
    Someone should compile statistics on the number of transfers etc reported as given facts by national sports writers that prove to be rubbish.
    As for papers like Telegraph filling space with probable line-ups! What use?

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