While Crikey loves to perpetuate the
tales of Col Allan’s wild fighting days, it is our sad and solemn duty
to report that the tabloid thug wasn’t actually to blame for the
extraordinary scenes at New York’s Soho House back in June. The version we retailed from the New York Daily News is, apparently, in the grand tradition of tabloid rivalries – quite a beat-up.

Never
let the truth get in the way of a good story tabloid story, especially
when it’s about your rival. Col has been responsible for dozens of such
beat-ups over the years, so he can hardly complain.

However, Crikey can reveal that the mystery Australian hack involved in the fracas was none other than SMH
reporter at large and Iraq specialist Paul McGeough. The blow-up
occurred after Carol Myler, the wife of Colin Myler, Col’s deputy at the New York Post, was incredibly rude to McGeough’s wife, AFR investigative reporter Pam Williams.

When
the Mylers were leaving the club, McGeough told Carol Myler very
quietly that he thought she had behaved like “a real scrubber.” Carol
Myler then rushed off to wind up her husband.

While it normally
takes two to tango, Myler was apparently so drunk that none of his
punches actually connected with anyone. He kept trying to grab
McGeough’s shirt, but it was a one-man brawl with a volley of slurred
expletives from the Manic Myler with his arms flailing whilst the rest
of the guests, including McGeough and Col Allan, remained in their
seats – completely transfixed by the spectacle. Col Allan’s wife kept
saying “stop it Colin” when he nearly hit her several times.

Col
finally had to get up and help restrain the berserk Myler and assist
security in getting his drunken deputy out of the club. Then Col came
back and the party continued to catch up as if nothing had happened for
at least another hour. Of course, this being New York, if Myler had
managed to land a punch the police might have been called.

Myler is from Liverpool and sounds like a dreadful piece of work with a very short fuse.

He was the editor of The Sunday Mirror
who published those appallingly intrusive photographs of Princess Diana
at the gym. Myler was sacked from the same paper four years ago after
publishing an interview that caused the collapse of the Leeds
footballers trial. Check out the press release explaining his sacking in April 2001, this BBC piece on his resignation and some other coverage in The Guardian which explains his major blunder.

The
bloke is obviously a complete goose, yet Rupert keeps on employing
these disgraceful tabloid characters. Here was Col Allan having to
intervene to make sure his own wife didn’t get hit by a stray drunken
haymaker coming from his deputy. Myler should be sacked and we might
just take this issue up with Rupert at next month’s AGM in New York.

The Australian’s Media gossip column covered this intriguing
story today but missed all out detail, so it will be interesting to see
if anyone follows it up given there is some embarrassment for both News
Ltd and Fairfax.

Peter Fray

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