Jesus wept. I just listened to the most absurd podcast ever.
In it, Gary Ralston, his voice infused with bitterness, dripping with anger and the frustration of looking into the future and seeing a long, long, long unbroken line of Celtic titles wins, poured out his pain and offered his view on how it could be lessened.
He thinks Sevco should reduce our ticket allocation for Ibrox.
There are three reasons why this is ridiculous and two of them barely need pointing out; first, their team on the pitch will be garbage come what may. Second, the more of their fans there are in the ground the more hurt will be available to spread around for the handful of Celtic supporters who would be allowed in under such a bizarre scheme.
The third reason is the one that sinks the idea like a stone.
I’m going to be a naughty boy here and let you in on something I’ve known for a wee while.
I am sure those who gave me this information will forgive me if I divulge it.
The cause is right, and this ridiculous nonsense has to be hit on the head.
There has been much chit-chat inside Celtic Park, and amongst the key supporter reps, for the last twelve months, about reducing the Sevco fans allocation for Parkhead or, and this was especially true after they wrecked our toilets, cutting it back to virtually zero.
I don’t think you’ll all be surprised to learn that all the parties involved are broadly in favour of doing it, except for one key thing … reciprocity.
In short, they have rejected the idea because the supporters groups don’t think fans want the allocation for Ibrox to be cut which would be the logical response from Sevco, and that has stopped a lot of people from recommending that our cut go ahead.
It should be pointed out that Sevco are quite aware that these discussions have taken place, and on the occasions when their own fan groups have been consulted about cutting our allocation and taking the attendant hit they are equally aghast at the prospect.
But there’s one crucial point here that has to be considered; there was a time when Celtic fans as a whole would have been clamouring for Ibrox tickets. In the wake of revelations about decades of cheating and the general contempt those running the club have for our fans and the rest of the game here, that number has been falling for years. Added to that the price of these tickets; £50 each. On top of it is the fact that all of these games are on the telly …
In short, this is not an issue that would drive a wedge between our club and the fans.
A lot of people wouldn’t be happy if our club cut their allocation and paid the price for it, but let me tell you, nobody would be banging on Peter Lawwell’s door and demanding a meeting about it either. The general feeling would be that our fans would live with it just to limit the number of their supporters who were allowed inside Parkhead. Whilst most prefer things as they are, on balance, there would be no great outpouring of anger if that was to change.
If Sevco do this then all bets are off.
The last barrier to our club telling them they are no longer welcome would be gone.
Our reciprocal response would be virtually automatic.
I mean, it would happen the same day. Within hours.
Ralston thinks this is a goer.
He thinks it would help.
The idea is as stupid as he is.
Would 2000 fans instead of 7000 make our team materially weaker?
No, of course it wouldn’t.
On the day Murray banned us from Ibrox entirely we still secured a draw … this team would roll over them without a moment’s pause, as we do at Tynecastle and those others grounds where our allocation has been cut to the bone.
It would make no difference at all.
Ralston thinks their fans will get sick of seeing us go there and celebrate.
What he means is that he’s sick of it.
This is the kind of puerile, childish nonsense these people indulge in so intensely and which means absolutely nothing.
This is banning green boots and sticking a sectarian supremacist slogan on the walls; it’s all moronic symbolism, it’s all frittering around the edges. Not one part of it makes the team better or the club more ready and able to compete.
When you’re reduced to this wretched scrambling, this pitiful gesture politics, there’s really nothing left in the ideas box.
You’ve given up, and that’s what this is. Craven surrender.
This is saying “well, we know they can take us anytime they like, but God, don’t let us have to watch them rubbing our faces in it.”
I take it as a compliment.
It’s a daft one, it’s a little pathetic, but it’s an acknowledgement that there’s nothing left but the hurt, and you can hear it in Ralston’s voice.
In a way, it’s sort of beautiful, actually.