The joint decision by Celtic and Sevco – and it was a joint decision I heard about a month ago – to charge fans up to £50 for the game between the two clubs is shocking but not even remotely surprising. It’s a rip off, but it’s a hell of a lot more besides.
I wanted to be writing something more upbeat about our club before the game tonight. Instead I’m writing this. Oh, I’m sure I’ll do something upbeat but for the moment this is a story that can’t be ignored; our club’s shabby tapping of the hate vein.
That’s what this is.
There are people who will argue that our club has lost its moral bearings somewhere along the line, and without getting into yesterday’s debate all over again they’ll point to flags, songs and other expressions being banned. They’ll talk about our club’s refusal to pay the Living Wage as a point of policy. They’ll talk about us being represented at boardroom level by the kind of person who voted to cut the financial assistance given to millions of people.
But all of that tends to bypass the average supporter.
The average fan isn’t terribly interested in going to the football and finding his or herself in the midst of a political debate.
Politics isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
But this is one of those issues that cuts across politics and consciousness.
You don’t need to have attended a Free Palestine event to understand this one in its depth and breadth and it has suddenly slapped some people into the realisation that what a lot of our supporters have been saying, consistently, for a while is true. We do have a board that views us as nothing more than customers, who view our principles and our values as some kind of aberration that gets in the way of making money.
We’re not respected.
We’re there to be fleeced.
I’ve never polled my fellow fans on this, because I don’t have to.
Those of us who hated and wanted to bury the so-called Old Firm tag are in the vast, vast majority, and so are those of us who openly call Sevco what it is; nothing but the detritus of DeadCo, a club that has assumed the identity of the dead one like Norman Bates walking around in his mother’s clothes.
Many of us found everything about the so-called Old Firm to be loathsome, and rejected utterly the idea that we depended on the bigot pound for our prosperity. Even Paul67 of CQN never held back in his utter condemnation of the very idea.
“Whatever part of my club is dependent on Rangers,” he wrote back in 2012, “I am quite prepared to lose.”
Our club has no respect for that view whatsoever.
I wrote over on Fields, more than a year ago, about how we colluded with Neil Doncaster and others to promote the idea of playing a friendly against Sevco aboard, a concept that does not one iota of good to Celtic’s global reputation and only enhances theirs by virtue of resurrecting the Old Firm concept.
Since I wrote that piece the International Champions League organiser has been busily promoting the same thing, and I have no doubt there are people within our club who think the idea is a goer.
This shows profound disrespect for our fans, or worse; a lack of clear understanding about the depth of feeling on this matter.
I don’t know how many times this has to be said, over and over and over and over again, before people get it.
We want nothing to do with them.
This website only writes about Sevco because the media and our governing bodies keep ramming this thing down our throats about them being Rangers, and as long as they do that I’m going to keep battering this mob as if they were, but in the main this so-called “rivalry” is one we absolutely abhor.
The Daily Record and other organs of the media have said Celtic fan anger over this relates to the price itself; it doesn’t, not in the way they think, although I reckon it takes a pretty cynical bunch of boardroom charlatans to charge £50 to see football in one of the most impoverished cities in the whole of the UK. That alone damns them, which is why that rag’s “comparison” between these prices and those for a London derby simply won’t wash.
What infuriates fans most is that there’s a different pricing policy at all. Treat these guys as if they were special, different, more than they are, and that plays into every one of the myths and lies and distortions that surround them. Worse, it levers us, whether we like it or not, back into a place where we seem like co-dependents, tied to the creatures who sing about being up to their knees in our blood, as two sides of the same coin, mirror images, wedded by hate.
It’s a loathsome concept that makes our skin crawl.
The anger over it has been understandable and I’m afraid it might be what brings matters to a head for some folk. A lot of people might be willing to overlook certain things because our club is showing ambition again, but as yesterday’s article on Palestine proved there is a large and vocal section of our fan base – one with whom I am in near total sympathy – that doesn’t see us as a football club at all first and foremost but as a cultural and social institution with values that transcend everything else about us.
And they see, clearly, that sitting across from them in the directors box is another group who don’t see our club as any of that, but as a business, and one with no real values, nothing nailed down, which simply seeks to make money by whatever means that it can … even if that means auctioning off part of what makes us great; the soul of the club itself.
If they want to promote a rivalry built on everything negative, if they want to tap the Hate Vein, then I’d suggest they cross the city and join the club that benefits most from such a shabby, sordid, cynical and ultimately ruinous relationship.
In Brendan We Trust.
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