Clearing out a box the other day, I found the newspapers I had bought when Mo Johnston stunned the whole of Scotland by signing for the Rangers.
A Daily Record, and two Evening Times.
Plainly, even then I found the Sun's apologetic, half-hearted porn not to my taste.
Apart from the poor printing quality and excruciating, pseudo-patrician prose style, what struck me was the memory of how I found out about MoJo and his great decamp across Glasgow.
Summer holidays, if I recall correctly. A nice sunny morning. Out of bed at about 10, so it's just possible a nice long evening was had over at the bowling green, where we used to play football till it got dark, then moved onto the blaes tennis courts under the lights and play keepy-uppy over the nets.
However, my morning routine was always the same: telly on, ceefax on, page 302. I can remember the headline yet:
"Johnston Joins Rangers"
My first thought was Willie Johnston, and given that this was '88 I was a tad puzzled. I can recall the utter disbelief and amazement as I read the story. I can remember phoning my pal Cooman, getting him out of bed, and directing him to the telly.
I can recall waiting patiently while he wandered off, and I can recall hearing the rather faster footsteps coming back to the phone. I can recall the rest of the day being spent phoning and meeting people and everyone being in a state of stunned shock.
It was different. In those days, there was usually an exclusive in the papers, and the first you knew of it was when you picked up a copy. Football was a footnote on the Scottish news, itself the arse-wipe at the end of the 'proper' news. No internet, no forums, no 24-hour news feeds with an insatiable appetite for the beautiful game.
But is it any better now?
I can't remember the last time I was excited by a story coming out of Rangers. That might have something to do with our money woes or lack of league success, I suppose, or my age.
But there's been no 'MoJo moment' for ages now.
How I wish something could be kept secret, something could be sprung on the fans as a pleasant surprise, rather than the media-telegraphed, GMP style assaults on our senses that the Old Firm dependent Scottish media rely on. I think we've come to the point of overkill—in fact, we probably passed it some years ago—where the amount of news and comment on Rangers outweighs the content by a ratio of 100:1.
It's unsustainable. Like the tims constantly bleating about how they are oppressed, the more we feed people tastless tat, the less interested they are.
I suppose it's a bit rich for an anonymous internet warrior to moan about the amount of people talking about Rangers, but I fear we're killing the golden goose. Just as too many games reduce interest in the SPL, too many voices shouting reduce interest in debate.
Democratic principles state that we, as uncensored forum users, should be allowed our voice. Who, then, is to go?
Plainly, the newspapers.
Of all the strange, incomprehensible gibberish I have come out with, it's odd that this one should make the most sense—in order to make better news, we should do away with newspapers.