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Fans shed no tears as Rangers end Jack Irvine's PR contract

RANGERS fans have claimed there will be no tears shed after public relations executive Jack Irvine - dubbed the board's "PR bulldog" - parted company with the club.

NO TEARS: 'PR bulldog' Jack Irvine has walked away from the Ibrox club, although he will still represent some of its directors.
NO TEARS: 'PR bulldog' Jack Irvine has walked away from the Ibrox club, although he will still represent some of its directors.

The League One side announced yesterday the business relationship between Mr Irvine's firm Media House, the club and its board, had ended.

Rangers indicated that this meant that the former tabloid newspaper editor would no longer be acting in a public relations role for the board of Rangers International Football Club plc, or with any separate club matters.

Mr Irvine ceased representing directors and major investors Sandy and James Easdale in August last year.

Sandy Easdale, the McGill's bus tycoon is a major player in the Rangers boardroom with a 4.5% stake in the plc.

Mr Easdale, who is no stranger to controversy having served one year of a 27-month sentence for VAT fraud in 1997, is one of Scotland's most successful businessmen. Along with Isle Of Man-based investment group Laxey Partners he is at the centre of a controversial £1.5 million loan to Rangers aimed at preventing a second holding company insolvency.

Media House has in the past acted variously for Craig Whyte, Sir David Murray, Charles Green, former administrators Duff and Phelps, and the Ibrox club. Its contract with the club ran out in 2012 but the company, which caused controversy among Rangers fans, was hired again last year to take up the job of handling the club's media strategy.

A club statement said: ­"Rangers Football Club and Media House International Ltd announce that by mutual consent their current business relationship will end on March 11, 2014."

It comes after a petition supported by 2000 fans was delivered to the club demanding the cancellation of the Media House contract, and that the club "cleanse itself of any connection to its chairman Jack Irvine".

Drew Roberton, of the Rangers Supporters Association, said most fans would be saying "goodbye and good riddance", and added: "There won't be any tears shed for the departure of Media House.

"My biggest concern about Media House was that it is Rangers' finances which were paying for them [yet] they appeared to be working for individual directors as opposed to the club."

Some fans speculated that it was a cynical move by the board to gain support at a time when Dave King had encouraged fans to withdraw their season ticket money and place it in a separate fund until questions about transparency over financial affairs was resolved.

Two weeks ago, a joint statement by a union of fans groups described how "this board" moved to "unleash their PR bulldog, Jack Irvine, whose only function appears to be to attack Rangers fans".

Media House's role came under scrutiny in the middle of last year when a leaked email allegedly from Jack Irvine contained disparaging remarks about Rangers legend and former director John Greig, describing him as "thick and contributes nothing".

Then chief executive Craig Mather reportedly apologised about the comments at a Rangers Supporters Trust meeting after the fans group registered their "deep concern" about the "performance of this organisation and in particular the lack of action concerning comments made about John Greig".

An account of the October meeting said the trust founder Mark Dingwall told Mr Mather that most fans would "struggle to accept the sincerity of the apology".

Mr Mather ordered a probe into the alleged slur in August, which was written during Mr Greig's spell on the Ibrox board before he resigned in October 2011 in protest against Craig Whyte.

Mr Greig - voted the Greatest Ever Ranger by fans in 1999 - has has kept a low profie in the corridors at Ibrox ever since.

Mr Roberton said: "That was not a comment a PR representative of the club should make."

Mr Irvine was unavailable for comment.

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