The Scottish media has come up with a new and brilliant way of increasing its reader base; two of the main tabloids have branched out into the fiction market. And Celtic must not allow that, because their stories are an assault against our support.
I wrote at the weekend about how the media’s stories about the fighting between far right hooligans and a section of the Celtic support had been absolutely misinterpreted by the Daily Record and others; last night an organisation calling itself The Airdrie Trust published a “statement” which was as howling mad as anything that has been pushed out by Club 1872. This morning, the media ran it in its entirety.
At the core of the statement was a wholly fictitious account of events at the weekend.
The media has not bothered to research this – whereas I have, and I have spoken to various people who were in the area at the time – but have accepted it as fact. Barely a single word of it stands up to scrutiny, and some of it is clear-cut pure invention.
The media has not verified any of it, nor tried to.
Indeed, The Daily Record has doubled down on its original article and claimed that video footage proves that the incidents described took place.
But the footage they refer to shows none of what was in that statement; for the second day since this allegation was made that newspaper has published absolute fantasy.
It’s worth quoting The Record’s claim exactly as they wrote it.
“The Trust said buses were targeted on the corner of London Road and Kinloch Street as they attempted to make their way to the stadium. The spokesperson states that the family buses had been arranged to take over 300 supporters, almost a third of which were under 16s. Videos of the scenes emerged on social media showing police, including horse-mounted units and several vans, attempting to control the crowds.”
There was no “video of the scenes”, anywhere.
There is video of groups of people engaged in some back and forth but the incident which the so-called Trust described is not on it.
There are no screaming kids, there are no cowering civilians, there are no 75-year-old men being hit with anything on those clips.
It is a barefaced lie to suggest otherwise.
If they are alleging that Celtic fans attacked a crowd of kids and old men then the trust’s statement describes an incident which never took place; I cannot say it more bluntly than that.
Whoever is involved in The Airdrie Trust naturally does not want anyone to focus on how their supporters were so easily “infiltrated” – if that is an appropriate word; some would argue it’s not – by far-right elements on the day, but to conjure up an entirely fictitious scenario is ludicrous.
For the press to have run it is nothing short of scandalous.
Away fans use the same thoroughfare every single home game at Celtic Park.
Scenes like these have never been described.
That, in itself, should force people to look at what additional element there must have been there, on that day, to cause the scenes we do see on those clips.
And I know – and everyone knows – exactly what that additonal element was.
Celtic Park is and has always been a safe place to visit and every rational person knows that and would acknowledge it.
(I said every rational person; we know not everyone fits that criteria.)
What video clips on the outskirts of the stadium show – and which I have verified in numerous discussions I’ve had with fans – is that Celtic fans were subjected to attacks by far-right activists from various backgrounds and clubs, including Wigan and Chelsea, and responded in kind. There was no riot. There were no ordinary fans caught up in “mayhem” and this is reflected in the handful of arrests; four, in total, on the day.
To suggest otherwise is to push a blatant falsehood, and Celtic should make a statement condemning the media’s reproduction of the Airdrie Trust communique which is not supported by a shred of actual evidence, and indeed is flatly contradicted by that which we can see with our own eyes.
It is important that the club defends the integrity of our support.
The media has no integrity, and Airdrie FC has a serious problem in its stands.
If they want to become knowns as a club which attracts these sort of hangers-on that’s their own lookout, but if it is contacted by its Supporters Trust on this issue I hope they have some questions of their own, such as how so many English based fans got tickets and why they took so many fans to Parkhead in the first place when the average attendance at their home ground is 700 including away supporters.
Not even the numbers add up here.
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