WITH Scottish football starved of big-money transfer deals, it could yet turn out to be one of this season’s most talked-about signings.
Former Daily Record journalist and BBC pundit James Traynor was yesterday unveiled as the new director of communications at Rangers.
Traynor, 59, who signed off from 37 years as a sports writer earlier this week by launching a scathing broadside at fellow journalists, will oversee the Ibrox club’s media strategy when he takes up his role in the new year.
A former associate editor of the Daily Record as well as the presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Your Call, Traynor used his final newspaper column to label bloggers and journalists “despicable, pathetic little creatures” over their coverage of Rangers’ financial problems.
His appointment was confirmed by the club yesterday on its official website after speculation began to grow on Twitter earlier this week.
In a statement, the club said: “The Rangers Football Club has announced today the appointment of James Traynor as the club’s director of communications. His appointment will take effect from early next year.
“James will be head of media and oversee the development of all media platforms, including Rangers TV, digital, online and print publications.
“He joins Rangers following a distinguished journalistic career with the Herald, Express and Daily Record newspapers as well as being a presenter with the BBC.”
It said Traynor would be supported by Rangers’ own in-house media team as well as Media House, the PR agency led by the former editor of the Scottish Sun, Jack Irvine.
One of the country’s best-known sports journalists, Traynor is still routinely lampooned for a 1998 interview with former Rangers owner David Murray in which he referred to the “succulent lamb” the two ate during their meeting.
Celtic fan Michael McMahon MSP said the phrase became emblematic of some sports journalists’ failure to properly hold the Ibrox chief to account during his years in charge.
“I haven’t met a Celtic fan yet who’s really bothered that Jim Traynor’s working for Rangers, because they always thought he did anyway,” he said.
“He’s gone from being their unofficial spokesman to their official spokesman.
“I don’t think any fan has a particular problem if a journalist has an allegiance to a particular club, as long as they report in an even-handed manner.
“His parting shot showed the lack of class he had.”
But John DC Gow, the co-founder of fan site The Rangers Standard, welcomed the club’s decision to appoint Traynor. He tweeted: “Jim Traynor will have more information on the Scottish media than the CIA have on Iran. Great appointment from the Rangers.”
Traynor’s appointment means he will no longer present BBC Scotland’s phone-in show Your Call. Last night, the BBC said a new programme would replace it.
In a recent column , Traynor said he was leaving journalism upset at the way some media had reported Rangers’ financial woes. He wrote: “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.
“Just when did they become consumed by such eye- popping rage? Was it always there, a dormant fury against Rangers and their fans, who deserve enormous credit for having saved their club, just waiting for the catalyst?
“Now they can’t help themselves. They can’t stop foaming at the mouth and we can be sure their determination to have titles stripped will go into overdrive.
“They need some kind of victory or they might explode and that would be terribly messy. All that bile all over the walls and streets.”
He added: “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.”
Traynor used his column to single out The Rangers Tax Case, a blog which won the prestigious Orwell Prize for blogging earlier this year, accusing those behind it of being “dolts”.