Celtic Fans Go Where The Hacks Fear To Tread

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Today the widely trailed full page ad from the Celtic fans appeared in The Sunday Herald, and as was entirely predictable it has everyone talking.

On our sister site, On Fields of Green, I have written a lengthy defence of the ad and laid out the reasons for it, and a link to that is available at the bottom of this piece, but for now I want to focus on the reaction the ad is getting, from one particular quarter.

I refer, of course, to the reaction from the hack-pack, with some of their journalists fishing for dissenting voices amidst the Celtic support, in an effort to claim the ad doesn’t have widespread support, whilst others are making spurious suggestions about where the money might better have been spent.

Let me say, first, that not every Celtic supporter will agree, or does agree, that this ad was necessary or that it will do some good, so I can save the hacks a lot of time on that one.

The Celtic Family is a broad church with a wide range of opinions. Some Celtic fans – a small number of them – do, sadly, remain wedded to the “Old Firm” fantasy, and others will say this article un-necessarily heightens tensions on the eve of an edgy encounter.

There’s no arguing with the first group, and I won’t even try. To the second I would say only this; it is the media, and those who are trying to package this as an “Old Firm” game who are ratcheting those tensions up. If you accept that the club Celtic plays next week is Rangers, then you are, by default, accepting the narrative of their supporters wherein they were the victims of a witch hunt.

That view is the source of all the anger swirling around this fixture.

Where, then, can there be any harm in Celtic fans making a statement which calls for a different approach to how this game is viewed?

The hacks can look for “evidence” of a split in the Celtic Family all they like, but theirs is an exercise in futility because on the subject of the “Old Firm” there is virtually no dissent, save for that small number of holdouts. Celtic fans, in the main, abhor the tag, and the vast majority of us are in no doubt that Sevco Rangers is a brand new football club.

The number of “journalists” who’s columns, today, are desperate efforts to raise the dead makes the media in this country look spineless at best and at worst bought and paid for, their opinions nothing more than regurgitated PR spin.

Take Andrew Smith, in The Scotsman, who used his column to talk up a fixture that is no more, and demand that Celtic fans accept that “there is a Rangers”, and accused of us of refusing to live with the truth.

He has to be joking.

His entire piece, but for one paragraph, where he actually accepted the very premise of our case – that the club died – only to make a convoluted attempt at resurrecting it a moment later, was a distortion of reality so profound I would swear he wrote it from the other side of the wardrobe to Narnia.

To continue living in the realms of fantasy, by insisting that football clubs can’t die, that they are ephemeral entities separate from the companies that pay their bills and hold their contracts and own their stadiums and market their jerseys … that is truly barmy. Smith appears to agree with that view … before veering back into the delusion again.

His trouble is that he tries to square the circle, and ties himself in knots as is inevitable when you’re trying to do the impossible.

I agree with Smith on only one thing; there is “a Rangers.” But it is not the same Rangers. It is a newco with the same blue strip on it, playing out of the same ground, supported by the same fans. His claim that this is still the same club flounders on the wave of the truth he already accepts.

Because if your family pet died and you put its collar on a new animal it wouldn’t change the simple truth that somewhere outside the first animal is lying in a shallow grave, rotting in wormy earth.

His problem, a problem shared by the governing bodies and the Sevco supporters, is that Celtic fans have a wholly consistent view whereas theirs is all over the map.

Matthew Lindsay’s comments on Twitter plumbed the gutter.

His offensive suggestion that Celtic fans should have spent their money on a donation to charity sound like bitter, acid dripping resentment that his own newspaper has been forced to confront a truth he and others would rather not have acknowledged.

Lindsay, as ignorant as he must be of what goes on with the Celtic support, is clearly unaware of the vast sums of money the club’s fans raise every year for charitable purposes.

He is clearly equally ignorant of the fact that this ad was “crowd funded” and that the overage is being spent on exactly those charitable causes.

The idea of accepting moral advice from the same people pushing the Survival Myth, and thereby excusing the dumping of debts running into the tens of millions of pounds, would be sickening if I didn’t suspect deep down that it was some kind of ironic joke.

Today’s media reaction, where they’re pushing the “Old Firm” line harder than ever before betrays the truly lamentable dearth of courage and conviction within the mainstream press.

Whether it’s an editorial policy designed not to upset certain readers or the bias of individual journalists that causes this I care not one jot. They are an embarrassment to their profession.

Some have asked, sarcastically, what the purpose of this was.

I see where this confuses them.

The purpose is to put the truth in front of as wide an audience as possible. No-one is under any illusions about changing a single mind. Fantasists persist in their fantasies no matter what you say to them. The lunatic asylums never have empty wards.

This ad is about promoting the truth. Nothing else. It’s about getting the facts across.

You know … like journalism is supposed to.

Why did the Celtic fans do it? Because otherwise no-one would.

That ought to embarrass these people, and you can tell by some of their reactions that, for the more grounded amongst them, who know what their occupation has become, that it does.

Our “journalistic class” ought to be thoroughly ashamed today.

Their profession has been shown up in its own living room.

I can see why some of them aren’t happy about that.

You can read the piece from On Fields of Green by clicking here.

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  • Patricia Gow says:

    Well done . I can totally see what your doing unlike a few of my fellow fans.

  • Tommybhoy1888 says:

    this morning I bought a “newspaper” for the first time since the SMSM tried to blacken Celtic`s name after the club had a night out in Newcastle, solely to read the advert from the Celtic support.

    I`m grateful to those responsible for that, and believe it gives a voice to the vast majority of the fan base, regardless of reaction by so called journalists in this country, who continue to perpetuate the myth that this new club playing out of ibrox are the same club as before.

    rangers died in 2012, and no amount of lies or fiction can ever change that.


  • holy sea says:

    Great article,James.
    The ‘truth’ hurts the hacks.Thus the ‘Statement’,was truthful,original and thoughtfully constructed.Yes,we are a broad church.But,I feel,the very small minority of our support who accept the OF tag,are easily influenced by phone-ins and the laptop loyal.I,and the overwhelming majority of our support are able to think for ourselves.And to this end,we are not fooled by the untruths,about a ‘dead’ club.
    All we can hope for,is that the original Celtic,hammer this ‘new entity’ next Sunday.That for me,will hurt the laptop loyal,more than any truthful words !!

  • Tyneside No1 says:

    Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye, a club like no other because we care , we are the underdog as Billy McNeill once said , I used to have some respect for our adversaries, when Walter Smith and Ally McCoist carried the late great Tommy Burns but now they are no more than a Circus act, the foolishness of Jim White and the hospital bed saga, no dignity, the favoured clandestine way they were accepted under a new licence and secret 5 way agreements, the questionable backgrounds of the people supposed to be looking after their interests, The media should all hang their heads in shame, they are complicit in whatever happens next week , for it is those peoples rantings which are stoking the fires of anger on both sides, it is a football match I would love to take my grandson one day but still in todays media hate filled pages I probably will never be able to do that, Yes the SMSM have a lot to answer

  • LiaFo7 says:

    You are preaching to the converted James, I fully agree on all the above issues
    One particular issue really annoys me big time , can the hacks please explain why Ann Budge at Hertz felt compelled to forensically wade through her clubs debt debris before making savge cuts to help preserve her clubs name and history?
    Surely she should just have hit the canvas been counted out , then played the Sevco card and reappeared asif nothing happened

  • Supersonic says:

    IF we (for I am a Celtic fan) were to be in the same circumstances as the-team-known-as-Rangers, in effect with a change of ownership but the same players, management, strip, stadium and name, what would I and most celtic fans do? Would we walk away from football or towards other clubs, or would we continue to support the hoops. To maintain a physical and emotional connection with an entity that goes beyond legal ownership. I cannot see abandonment being an option for most fans. Why are we making such a big deal of this?? Genuinely confused!

    • angrytim says:

      I agree supersonic. If the same thing happened to us would we accept being told that we where no longer Celtic1888, I very much doubt it. This has the green(good republican)brigade written all over it. We have high unemployment, food banks, homelessness, ebola, victims of terrorism but these knuckle dragging neanderthals spent 3 grand to prove a point. Brother walfred will be turning in his grave. This is not the true celtic way that money could have helped someone less fortunate than themselves, the true spirit of Celtic. Anybody that put money into this should hang their head in shame.Good tims my arse just a bunch of uneducated small minded bigots who need to get a life.its only football.

    • amatim says:

      you seem to be missing something liquidation. if celtic went down the road of liquidation. i would not walk away I would support the NEW team as that is what we would be a new team. Glasgow celtic 1888 would not exist

  • edward says:

    Rangers were liquidated and Sevco is a new team.A team who were not relegated to the lowest Division in Scottish Football as they finished second in the SPL.The NEW TEAM were allowed by the SFA to start as a new entity in the lowest level of Professional Football,although they should not have been favoured over other Clubs..The term Old Firm is also gone forever and Celtic fans feel that it should not be used to perpetuate the fallacy that Oldco Rangers still exists.

  • terry palfrey says:

    Supersonic. The ‘reason’ the majority of Celtic supporters pursue this is,for myself anyway, simple. Rangers FC broke rules to win titles and competitions. They were able to purchase top class players using illegal methods. They CHEATED. The Governing bodies both at Hampden and Holyrood have bent over backwards to help them. It will not wash. Ibrox was being run like a Colombian drugs cartel, monies being paid clandestinely this way and every way. Like a disbanded Regiment they have their Trophy room but they will not add to it under the name of Rangers.

  • regilives says:


    It was actually AIDAN Smith, not Andrew Smith who penned the Scotsman piece. I thought it was strange while reading it that an Ex-Celtic View employee should never have seen a Celtic-v-Rangers (IL) match.

    As for Aidan, I don’t know much about him save for the fact Andrew will be imploring him to write under his own Mother’s maiden name from now on.

    You are spot on with the rest mind you.

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