17th March, 2020

By Democrat reporter

This is not fake news. Rangers new PR chief is senior Orange Order figure, David Graham, a familiar figure in Northern Ireland politics.

Video footage has emerged of the new man, who succeeded the controversial ex-journalist James Traynor, on St Patrick’s Day, March 17.

A DUP councillor in the party led by Arlene Foster, Graham’s official title at Ibrox is head of communications. He represented a staunchly Unionist electorate in the Balmoral district of Belfast.

Graham David rangersGraham, right, who is a ‘worshipful master’ in the Order according to his registered list of interests, is one of the most senior members of the George Telford Memorial Orange Lodge.

The Orange Lodge drew criticism last year after allowing guests from the Govan Protestant Boys to march through Belfast City Hall during centenary celebrations.

Now, a fresh video clip has surfaced online of Mr Graham addressing an event thought to be on the “loyalist and protestant identity” of Rangers fans.

Donning a ‘Gers shirt, he talks about unionists’ fighting spirit while referencing the Ulster Covenant signed in 1912 by those opposing Prime Minister Henry Asquith’s plan for Irish home rule.

Graham says: “We as Rangers fans have that identity with unionism, loyalism and Protestantism.

“I know when our forefathers went and signed the Covenant 107 years ago as it was now today, I bet you then republicans and nationalists were saying ‘I bet the union will never last and it’ll never see 1920.’

“Well the union is still here and it’s still strong because of our fighting spirit.

“It’s very easy as Rangers fans and unionists to take the flack and to lie down, but our cry has been since 1688 and always will be No Surrender.”

Graham, who describes himself as a boyhood Rangers fan, was previously a special adviser to Education Minister Peter Weir before the Stormont Assembly collapsed in 2017.

He told the BBC: “As a lifelong Rangers supporter, it is an honour to work for the world’s most successful football club. When the opportunity arose, I was very pleased to fulfil this role and am looking forward to getting started.

“I am excited by the board’s vision for Rangers as we work towards our 150th anniversary and beyond.”

Commenting on the appointment, Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson added: “David shares our vision, passion and enthusiasm for the club.  We are delighted David has chosen to join us.”

The news of the appointment has stunned many people in the football business in Scotland.

One of them, Neil Cameron, in the [Glasgow] Herald, wrote: “Sectarianism remains an issue because of the club’s history and because within the Rangers support remain people with King Billy tattoos.

“William of Orange had the political backing and private financial support of Pope Innocent XI – the Mo Johnston of his day. That never gets a mention in any song…

“And because at every game anthems are belted out with blatant sectarian messages across an increasingly secular Scotland.”

Cameron, who describes himself as “a left footer” [a Catholic] added: “I’ve always been a defender if not a supporter of Rangers. I’ve met so many good people at that club.

“Most of my mates are Rangers fans. I was and remain of the opinion that more should have been done to keep the club in the Premier League in 2012; not that they didn’t deserve what happened to them per se, but the impact on the other clubs and our game as a whole was hugely negative.

“To quote the great Kevin Bridges: “We had a two-horse league and we’ve lost a horse.”

“But then they go and appoint DUP councillor David Graham who is a “worshipful master” of the Orange Order to be the face of the club.

“No club is without sin when it comes to making appointments. Dundee had Giovanni de Stefano on their board – a jailbird, friend of terrorists and Saddam Hussein’s lawyer.

“And as for Celtic, where to begin? Well, let’s start with John Reid as chairman, a man who is “at ease with his conscience” about when, as a Labour government minister, he supported the war in Iraq.

“But we are talking about Rangers here and the appointment of Graham is, in my view, a bad call.

“Why, when Rangers are supposedly doing their best to show themselves to be an inclusive club, have they given a job to a member of a Northern Ireland political party with links to many Unionist paramilitary groups that continue to haunt them.

“The DUP is ostensibly anti-homosexual, has a pro-creationist faction within the party and aren’t keen on women having control of their own bodies. I had to check the calendar there to make sure this was the 21st century.”

Speaking to Good Morning Ulster about his new role, Graham said: “The future includes everyone, irrespective of sexual orientation, religious background or cultural affiliation.”

His membership of the Orange Order is not illegal. Indeed, who am I or anyone to tell another person what to do in their spare time.

“But while the Orange Order  says it isn’t anti-Catholic, it wouldn’t be outrageous to suggest they aren’t overly keen on them.

“Is this really the type of person Rangers need right now? Graham will replace Jim Traynor, a controversial figure who happened to be my boss for the best part of 10 years.

“Why didn’t they go for a bluenose journalist, there’s plenty of them, who would bring calmness to such an important role?

“Instead the powers that be have acted like the Rangers from the bygone days.”

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