Oh how the media has enjoyed the last few weeks.
Oh how they have had fun.
I’ll tell you who else has enjoyed them; Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan.
Because nothing does more harm to the reform agenda and our principal objectives than the sight of a few guys in Celtic strips swapping punches with people or singing a sewer level song.
If I were on the other side of this, working at the SFA or the SPFL, if I were a PR guy who’s job it was to destabilise the very concept of a Grand Coalition of Scottish football supporters this is exactly how I’d have gone about it. Start with the idea that this is a campaign led by a bunch of guys in the Celtic support who are focussed on nothing but crushing “Rangers” and then smear the Celtic support as a whole. Because who wants to work alongside that?
If this winds up as a campaign only involving Celtic supporters then it’s easier to dismiss.
If the Celtic support in general seems to be comprised of political extremists and cranks, it’s job done.
Some of our fans are making it awfully easy for them.
The rest of our support has to be on alert from here on in; these people are a major threat to what the majority of us are trying to do. I don’t like the term “self-policing” because it has a lot of negative connotations, but we used to be good at it.
We used to be able to weed elements out who threatened our good name and reputation.
What the Hell happened to us in that regard?
There have been things in the last few weeks which have made me despair, but for reasons other than the consequences to the club and the reform campaign. But I can’t be unaware that the club is being damaged and that the reform agenda has been set back.
I personally don’t believe there’s news value or a public interest element to a video of a bunch of neds in football tops walking down a street singing a disgusting song; you could film something like it every single week.
You know how I feel about, I wrote it in the last blog, but it does not constitute a major news story.
If that’s news how come the videos of Sevco fans signing sectarian songs in Sheffield hasn’t been highlighted?
They are out there.
But we all know why the media did this, and if I were in their job, with their agenda, I would have done it too without hesitation.
The headline itself is appalling and the damage it does to the way we’re viewed can only be imagined … and it’s not the only one. My Newsnow feed is full, at this very moment, of stories about the arrests from the game at Linfield; this is like a revolving anti-Celtic news cycle that just won’t quit.
And if you think that’s a coincidence you’re daft.
This is only the start of the most vicious media campaign we’ve ever seen, and its objective is to make our support look bad because it’s our support which is setting the pace in holding the people at Hampden to account.
Celtic fans are not extremists. The majority of our support has no truck with any of that stuff.
And before anyone starts flapping their traps, I’m not talking about The Green Brigade here. There are elements in our support who make them look like choir boys, and I happen to think The Green Brigade’s general political outlook is roughly in line with the founding principles of Celtic. The flares have got to go. The banners … a little consideration, please, is it too much to ask? But what they do can be so easily spun and misrepresented … a little common sense wouldn’t go amis.
Yet for all that, this campaign to label our support of being comprised of extreme elements will have its good days, because we’re a global club and if you look hard enough – which they will – you’ll find morons behaving moronically.
But we’re giving them way too many good days.
The wounds of recent weeks have been wholly self-inflicted.
I’m just asking that people look at the big picture.
To look through this thing and see the other side.
We’re taking a battering at the very moment the Celtic name needs to be at its very best.
Right now, if I were an outsider with no view on Scottish football’s long dark era, and all I had was what’s in the media I wouldn’t come near any of the campaigns. I’d see all of it as nothing more than a farce, people slinging endless mud at each other.
A plague on both your houses, I’d say, and I’d go.
And if that happens, our enemies win this, because all they need to do is keep the status quo, to have things just as they are. We’re the ones with ground to make, with objectives to accomplish, we’re the ones pushing a rock up a hill.
To fans of other clubs I’d say, ignore the white noise.
If you don‘t recognise it for what it is then Hell mend you.
But we’re going to need each other going forward, if you want this to go forward at all.
This is all an effort to distract and deflect … and at a time when there’s real work to be done. Don’t let it get in the way. We’ve got one Hell of a mess to clean up here and those on the other side of the wire are loving every minute we don’t spend getting on with it.