Shooting The Messenger

If anyone thought that Rangers CEO Graham Wallace wasn’t up for the fight with the rebel faction of the Rangers support then the appointment of Paul Tyrrell as PR consultant will disabuse them of that notion.

Tyrrell is a notorious spin doctor who is well-known as a prominent PR consultant in football in the north of England. His appointment at Ibrox is surprising for several reasons.

Firstly, Tyrell has history of upsetting Liverpool fans by comparing some of them to the Khmer Rouge. I am told the Everton fans were not too enamoured with him either. Considering that Jack Irvine was recently removed from the PR role at Ibrox because some fans were unhappy with his involvement, the appointment of Tyrrell seems a strange one. Particularly just before the 120 day review which is bound to incur some fans wroth no matter its content.

Secondly, Paul Tyrrell is presently acting as a consultant for BBC North. Given that Rangers are presently not coperating with the BBC, retaining Tyrrell’s services poses awkward questions if not conflict-of-interest issues on either side.

There is also the matter of whether or not Rangers PR should ideally be handled by an in-house executive. At the very least, perhaps Scottish-based PR firms could have been considered. To say that an English-based PR guru would have a good grasp of media and the politics of football in Scotland better than a home-grown one is a bit much.

My question would be: What contacts does Paul Tyrrell have in the media up here that will benefit Rangers?

And if that isn’t why he has been hired, then why exactly has he?

Paul Tyrrell is the man you hire if you expect a bruising fight with fans. But is that what Rangers need right now?

Tyrrell’s appointment has surprised people in the game down south because he is not seen as a bridge-builder or a man to repair breaches. Perhaps the board expects a dirty war of words with Dave King and that is why Tyrrell has been brought in.

For me, it makes no sense. Why get rid of one man who upset some fans with another who has the potential to upset much more? The reality of doing Rangers PR with the support so divided is that you can’t avoid upsetting some – it goes with the territory. Public Relations isn’t always about being everybody’s pal and keeping everybody happy. Sometimes it is about managing things which are unpopular but necessary.

Retaining Paul Tyrrell is an acknowledgement that Rangers need a dirty fighter in the PR and media department. I have no problem if that is the case. What I DO have a problem with is if they are going to bow to fan pressure and bullet Mr Tyrrell when he upsets some fans.

Those entrusted with delivering the message throughout history have often known they were the ones carrying the risk of being abused when the recipients didn’t like the message. The bearers of bad news have suffered horrendous things just for being messengers.

That’s why really dirty fighters in PR and media are rare – they are happy to provide scapegoat services and be an object of hate on behalf of their clients.

Paul Tyrrell has already been promised he will get the hate treatment in his new role.

He is going to have to be one tough son of a gun to deal with it.