Aberdeen fans are coming in for criticism in some quarters today for what one tabloid describes as a “morbid” plan to commemorate the Death of Rangers. Honest to God, that’s a ridiculous word to use in describing what they intend to do.
You can’t have helped notice that Ibrox is the centre of a particularly paranoid fantasy at the moment; the one that says everyone hates their guts. That the whole of Scottish football wishes them ill. Motherwell fans are accused of taunting them, as though no club’s supporters ever did that. Hibs fans are accused of invading the pitch to get at them, as though no club’s fans who had to wait so long for a cup final win ever went on to the playing surface.
And Celtic fans are simply accused of hating them, full stop, in all manner of silly ways.
I’ve seen hate displays from fans. Sevco supporters themselves have a history of it and it’s fairly common in Eastern Europe. What Aberdeen fans intend to do at the weekend doesn’t qualify. It’s comical, even childish, in the best possible way.
It reminds me in many ways of how we commemorated the death of the club that was once our biggest rival.
Sevco fans, and those of Rangers before them, have a strange way of looking at the world. Even their chants need to be studied in context, that of those around them. No other club’s fans spews such negative emotions game after game after game, from the Famine Song to the Billy Boys.
It’s notable that the latter song had vanished from the Ibrox stands in the final years of Rangers; it was resurrected by Sevco supporters as an antidote to adversity and some kind of tie between the new club and the old … the worst possible one they could have picked.
When Celtic was facing its darkest days, do you remember what our fans were singing?
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Has there ever been a more upbeat, blackly optimistic response to hard times?
That was special. I’ve always been proud of that.
And I was equally proud of the way we handled the death of Rangers, and you should stop for a minute to think of it. How did we commemorate it? With children’s party songs. Pass the parcel when Rangers die. Doing the huddle when Rangers die. Jelly and ice cream when Rangers die and on and on. Not exactly boiling with hatred, is it? Even the black flags and the headstones, and the famous Four Horseman banner … that was just beautiful genius.
To have Hector riding one of them, Lenny on another, Craig Whyte on a third and Death riding the fourth … quality.
Nothing hateful about it; a piece of sheer art which encapsulated the situation they were in.
It’s perhaps the finest supporter’s display against a rival ever seen in the UK.
Aberdeen fans intend to applaud in the 12th minute, in memory of the year the OldCo died. They’re also encouraged to wear black armbands. There’s the “morbid” gesture. I have little doubt there will be songs and a jovial feeling in the stands, but this is perhaps the nicest, most low-key gesture Sevco has faced thus far. It’s got a touch of class about it. It’s blackly humorous, not hateful, although I know certain febrile Sevco sites are suggesting the opposite.
This is good natured football joshing, nothing more. But in the event that Aberdeen win, I half expect to hear the now traditional outpouring of self-pity from the Sevco boardroom and their puppet fan organisation. We’ll hear the word “hate” thrown around a lot.
We’re playing Sevco in the cup semi-final next month, of course, and the Green Brigade will be under scrutiny as will other Celtic fan groups. I have no doubt they’ll conduct themselves with their usual class, and if we mock Sevco at all it will be in the same spirit as everything we’ve done so far when coming up against their club – effigies aside.
I applaud the Aberdeen fans for their choice of gesture.
They’ve got the tone of this right.
The fliers they are handing out to advertise the plan are pretty fun in themselves.
“The name of Rangers we used to abhor, but joyously you’re not Rangers anymore …” Nice and neat. But here’s my favourite bit; “Rangers, You Are With The Angels Now.”
If there’s ever been a nicer way to say GIRFUY I’ve not heard it.