Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Paper trawl

The press websites have been getting giddy with excitement as kick off in Rangers "biggest ever game" draws nearer.

Guardian Unlimited had been getting some stick for not covering the game in more detail this week (although when I saw the headline "Bland, Decrepit, Unrelenting" I felt sure it was going to be an article on Broadfoot, Weir and Cuellar) but hit back with a trio of articles.

Be careful what wish you for Rangers fans: Kevin McCarra's measured article defending Smith's defending team is countered by Jonathon Wilson looking back on the violence of Rangers' last European win in 1972 and Scott Murray's tongue-in-cheek piece about Rangers and the triumph of mediocrity (truly though - Kirk Broadfoot in a European final?).

Predictably the Ibrox hordes have been foaming at the mouth. The responses are along the usual lines: everyone hates us, Guardian journalists are left wing, IRA loving polemicists and Celtic fans are worse anyway.

Seriously, get a life. Some of these fans seem to just wait to feel offended so that they can start to moan. If you want to be a big club take the criticism. How such a monumentally large club can contain so many people with a persecution complex is beyond me.

Elsewhere The Scotsman looks at a once in a generation day of desting for the players. Some of the Celtic comments seem to verging on suggesting that the UEFA Cup is a diddy cup. Which it is, of course. But it was a diddy cup in 2003 as well and they seemed pretty keen to win it.

Perhaps wisely the downtrodden web staff at Scotsman Towers didn't open up comments for Mike Aitken's article about the violence of the Cup Winner's Cup Final in 1972. Wisely but rather depressingly. In 2008 football fans can't have a debate without it being hijacked by the vitriolic outpourings of Old Firm supporters.

Over at The Times Dick Advocaat comes in for some pretty stern criticism for refusing to tackle Zenit's racist supporters by what I believe is known as "doing a Souness." So if anyone knows a black Maurice Johnston please point him Napoleon's way.

Seriously though this does raise some intriguing points. And ridiculous as it was that Souness should stoke controversy by signing Johnston at least he did and, most of us, moved on. So although finding a moral highground for Rangers on this could be like tackling a trapeze wire on a quad bike we can at least say that Zenit have some catching up to do.

Elsewhere in The Times Graham Speirs adjusts his cordouroy and asks if UEFA Cup finals maketh Walter a great manager. Well no, probably not in the first line of greats, but a good Scottish manager nonetheless. And well done to the poster who argued for Martin O'Neill's inclusion in the Premier League of Scottish managers. Good going, my man.

And if you really want to suffer it The Sun has around 25 pages devoted to the match. I gave up before the Record.