The Green Brigade has released its “official response” to the club’s decision to close their section for the next two home games. As communiques designed to foster good relations goes it’s a bust. One of the worst I’ve ever read in my life.
It offers no compromises.
It grabs responsibility for the incidents in question in both hands, like gripping a live rail, and says “and we’d do the same again.”
Really, it’s incredible. For once I am too fed up to articulate in more than a few words how I actually feel.
They don’t care who’s offended; that’s a reasonable enough position because I don’t care either. But to go on to defend the use of flares, to say they won’t alter their behaviour in any way, to basically draw a line in the sand for the club … it’s insane.
They’ve lost the plot, completely lost the plot.
This isn’t about other fans being disenfranchised; the Green Brigade blames Celtic for that, I blame them for it.
And you know what?
I echo their statement in that I understand that not everyone will like that.
Tough. I’m not trolling for sympathy or support.
I’m not tugging on anyone’s heart-strings in an effort to deflect from the point.
The club was faced with no choice here; this is the stadium safety certificate we’re talking about and I’m not interested in the slightest in whatabouttery at other clubs or anything else like that. Flares are dangerous, they are banned for good reasons, and the only people who should be apologising to those supporters who won’t have seats at the next game are the people who brought those things into a football ground knowing that quite well.
The club now has a choice to make, but it looks like an easier one than most would think.
I had hoped cooler heads would prevail here; that, on reflection, was wishful thinking. It was never going to happen. This has turned into exactly what I feared, a pissing contest where these guys are not prepared to back down or change in any way, shape or form … and that’s made the club’s decision for them.
And really, they’re not giving the club an out here.
The club either allows a small group of fans who’ve publicly advertised their intentions to have the free run of Celtic Park, to do what they like, in contravention of the law and the rules of football in Scotland and UEFA, with all the attendent consequences that will bring for us, or they accept this statement at face value and act accordingly and tell these guys they’ve had their day.
The club is bigger than any individual.
It’s also bigger than any group of individuals.
I suspect they’re about to find that out … or the club is about to turn that statement on its head.
It ought never to have come to this, but today’s statement makes it certain that it will.
There’s really nothing left to say, they’ve said it all themselves.