Rangers fans have criticised “Scotland’s leading anti-sectarianism charity” for their response to “derogatory tweets” from St Mirren chairman John Needham.
Nil By Mouth have encouraged Needham to donate to the Rangers Charity Foundation after the comments and have condemned the “derogatory tweets”.
We are aware of the recent derogatory tweets directed towards Rangers fans by St Mirren chairman and subsequent apology. We suggest these sentiments could be made more tangible by a donation toward Rangers Charity Foundation to support its education work with young people.
— Nil By Mouth (@NBMScotland) October 25, 2021
However, the charity have come in for criticism for not condemning the sectarian nature of some of Needham’s communications.
New St Mirren chairman John Needham apologised to Rangers and the club’s fans after a series of tweets were unearthed from a Twitter account linked to him.
On Friday 22 October a number of Tweets I created in the past referring to Rangers fans were highlighted on Twitter.
As a club chairman I have extra responsibility for the conduct and example I show.
— John Needham (@johnneedham1961) October 24, 2021
These include encouraging a bridge holding Rangers supporters to collapse, the use of a banned sectarian term, and nods to refereeing conspiracies regarding the Ibrox club.
St Mirren chairman showing his true colours pic.twitter.com/FmqxwyfTav
— ulstergirl (@ulstergirl_) October 22, 2021
Naturally, there have been major calls from Rangers communities to see the St Mirren chairman resign.
Despite the charity listing the insult as “offensive sectarian language” on their own website, fans find it strange that Nil by Mouth have not referred to the use of sectarian language in their own tweet.
Especially when you consider the vociferousness with which they went after Rangers following a kit launch earlier in October.
Anti-sectarianism charity damages credibility with Rangers fans
The charity finds itself under scrutiny from Rangers supporters for their response to a special kit release video which included the Ibrox anthem Four Lads Had a Dream.
In a manufactured response, several anti-Rangers voices essentially accused the club of ‘dog-whistling’ to sectarianism by including an orchestral version of the song; the track has a similar melody to the banned “Famine song”, which is similar to the well-known song Sloop John B by the Beach Boys.
This includes Nil by Mouth.
1/3 The laudable mission statement from Rangers ‘Everyone, Anyone’ campaign. The question the club has to answer today: does using the tune to what has sadly become in Scotland ‘The Famine Song’ on an official video live up to a single letter of it? pic.twitter.com/JLek612lCz
— Nil By Mouth (@NBMScotland) October 15, 2021
However, the club’s entire kit launch campaign has centred around the origins of the Ibrox side, with each of the four kits being adorned with the names of one of the club’s founders.
🎶 Four lads had a dream 🎶
We are proud of our past, and excited for the next chapter.
The dream of the four lads is still going strong.
Their legacy is our future. 💙 pic.twitter.com/WuFwln1bji
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) October 15, 2021
The use of Four Lads Had a Dream – a perfectly innocent chant which has been sung at Ibrox for over a decade – was perfectly appropriate.
This damaged Nil by Mouth’s credibility amongst the Rangers support and the defensive nature of their latest retort regarding Needham has seen fans further distance themselves from the group:
Interesting that @NBMScotland went pretty heavy in their condemnation of Rangers 10 days ago (when they weren’t actually sectarian) but today they call John Needham’s comments ‘derogatory’ rather than anything stronger. If they don’t think he was sectarian, why comment at all?
— Andrew Dickson (@mrandrewdickson) October 25, 2021
Hoping people die isn't 'derogatory'.
Seriously though, this stuff doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just standard football. How they've reported it compared to how they reported a song (mistakenly) the other week is a more interesting debate https://t.co/kiBvIF2fOV
— Pena Cartel (@PenaCartel) October 25, 2021
Your OWN website says this, but you fall short of calling it anything worse than "derogatory"… unreal. Yet Sloop John B got a big response. The bias and agendas are very clear @NBMScotland https://t.co/XNX3vyYqp1 pic.twitter.com/0QGew97sXQ
— sᴛᴜᴀʀᴛ ᴍᴀᴄ (@ottawascot) October 25, 2021
Why is an anti-sectarianism charity commenting on “derogatory” comments? Why can’t they describe the sectarian comments as…sectarian? What is the point of this organisation? https://t.co/hf3aXfqYEH
— Another Rangers Blog (@AnotherGersBlog) October 25, 2021
🤣🤣 a club chairman tweets wishing Rangers fans die and all it takes is an apology and a few quid to make amends, yet Rangers marketing uses a tune by the beach boys and that somehow means the club is bigoted 🤦♂️
Who runs these organisations? 🤡 https://t.co/R5yvhyQpSb
— Curt Davies (@ThaCurtisDavies) October 25, 2021
Nil By Mouth, unless it’s comments aimed at Rangers Football Club, it’s players and fans. https://t.co/xUbHP8loS7
— Iain (@IainWATP) October 25, 2021
According to your own website the comments were ‘sectarian’.
— New Livingston RSC (@NewLiviRSC) October 25, 2021
Last week you tried to make a non sectarian song sectarian just because Rangers used it and tried to ensue a pile on the club
This week, when another clubs chairman is actually sectarian, you just want him to make a donation
Would you like to try harder to keep your mask on? https://t.co/sq60pUvqrM
— Robyn (@Robynnn72) October 25, 2021
If shoe was on the other foot and a Rangers director or chairman made comments close to this, everyone including yourselves would hound them out of Scottish football. Shocking message for not calling it out and really disappointing blind sighted approach. Shameful https://t.co/cp35fTyPkJ
— Copland Streetwear (@coplandsw) October 25, 2021
A tweet saying he wanted a bridge full of Rangers fans to collapse is now just “derogatory”
Honestly, the more I see this RT’d onto my TL the more annoyed I get.
— BC✡️ (@LoyalKP7) October 25, 2021
Not the right kind of sectarianism for yous? https://t.co/9RLpIuv4WL
— Zurab (@Zurab__) October 25, 2021
This is why sectarianism is treated as a one way street
If Douglas Park has tweeted anything similar to what the St mirren fella had done, there would be an uproar https://t.co/MBa8Qh3MZ9
— EvanAlmighty95 (@EvanAlex95) October 25, 2021
What an appalling message from 'Scotland's leading charity for challenging sectarianism'. Sectarian tweets from an SPL Chairman and the organisation suggests a donation to charity as an end to the matter. If that's 'challenging sectarianism', we might as well all give up now. https://t.co/vFjDwNLyC7
— Paul (@HamptonCaught) October 25, 2021
As a footballing community, it is undeniable that Scotland has taken great strides with issues such as sectarianism, racism, homophobia and abuse.
There are still major steps to be made in football and society in Scotland and everyone at Rangers News supports progressive and positive change in this regard.
Like the majority of supporters, we applaud campaigns such as Everyone, Anyone and will always endeavour to be a responsible voice whilst standing up for the views of fans.