Posted on Wednesday, 4th August 2010 by Harper
“Oh my God the game isn’t on the TV tonight” cried one fan in Coatbridge, “Oh my God the game isn’t on the radio tonight” weeped another in Falkirk, “OH MY GOD I’m going to have to actually go to Celtic Park” ranted another multiple of thousands all over Scotland. Dry yer eyes wid ye!!!
Ok ok before you release the attack dogs of course I fully realise there are many who can’t attend due to work commitments and other every day to day happenings, especially to a midweek game. Then in the same boat we have the fans who live well away from Glasgow’s Paradise and just can’t manage the journey for a Wednesday evening game. I myself will in fact miss the match living here in Southern Ireland which must be the ultimate black spot on this planet for following the hoops ‘legally’. Also it’s a fact that there are multitudes of supporters who just can’t afford the luxury of attending any games whatsoever or there funds are limited so they pick and choose when to go. Yes I completely understand all of these things but still I’m irked by the attitude of many.
It’s just all become too easy to support from afar that it’s now the norm for some folks to just plank their behinds in front of the TV, congregate in the boozer or sit frantically jumping from one crap stream to another while the commentators scream a sort of holy jihad punctuated with the odd “Samaras, ooh look hair shiny”. Technology has never made it so easy to be a supporter without actually ‘supporting’. Not only is it easy but it’s free so when it comes to actually having to part with cash sometimes for something we claim to love it causes mass outrage.
The TV blackout only really affects those of us in Ireland and the UK though with fans out with these boundaries able to pick the game up if they subscribe to Channel 67. Just while we’re on that matter actually, I’m in the Republic of Ireland, Euro-zone if you like. I find it a bitter pill to swallow that we unlike the rest of the non-UK countries in the world find ourselves in the situation where we are in a CH67 blackout territory and can only subscribe to the audio feed (which I do). The audio feed costs me about a fiver a month by the way and despite CH67‘s faults give me that over Radio Snyde et al every day of the week. A fiver and you don’t need to worry about radio blackouts or listening to a media desperate to see us fail. So friends all-over the world tonight enjoy the fact you have the option to watch whether at home or in your local CSC and if anybody wants to Skype me the game you can contact me below.
Before moving to Ireland and a season ticket holder all the way back to our season as Hamden tenants the only date in the diary was the first game of the season at Celtic Park. Whether this be a friendly against FC Billabong or whoever it was what you looked forward to all summer. For me it was the date you reacquainted with your brethren. When you started out again full of enthusiasm for the weeks and months ahead. When you finally pulled your old unwashed scarf out the drawer and got back to ‘supporting’ Celtic again. Has apathy towards the club set in so deep that this is no longer the case for some? or is it the fact we trail 3 v 0 from the first leg in Portugal thats broken the hearts already of a few?
The fact we trail by three goals should be all the incentive we need to back the side in its time of need. Too melodramatic? I don’t think so. The club seem to be being portrayed as some sort of misery Dick Dastardly for refusing to sell the TV rights because they want a full house in attendance. Since when was this a crime? Let’s not forget this is a season ticket game but with the figure being banded around that those sales are in the region of 40,000 that leaves an awful lot of empty seats. Is it wrong for the club to try and maximise revenue by putting bums on green seats at a time when every penny counts. Selling out the game must be worth more than the TV revenue or I’m sure this entire subject wouldn’t be an issue. Is it just about money though, probably it is for the club but lets look at the other side of things too.
This is Neil Lennon’s first home game of the new season, where we can lay our yardstick of support for the bhoys for the fight ahead. Oh how our enemies (and we have many) would love to scoff at a half empty stadium as Scott Brown leads our hoops down the tunnel to the Celtic Song. “What happened to the thunder” they would mock. If this TV blackout has sold an extra five to ten thousand tickets for the game then this Celtic fan in the free state is glad he will be one of those missing out on coverage. If every one of those stands is bursting with song and atmosphere as Neil Lennon gazes at them from the dugout I’m sure he’ll be a very humbled and proud man to have their backing. If those five to ten thousand extra voices singing You’ll Never Walk Alone push and cheer Celtic on to a famous comeback and victory then so be it, for that cause is far more important than you and me sitting at home wishing we were there.
A wise man once said “football without fans is nothing” lets not forget that.