This is an article that brings me not one iota of pleasure to write. It is more than just a chore. It is carrying heavy stones up a hill. I don’t want to do it, but it needs to be done, but although I know that I am reluctant just the same.
With the bulk of Scottish football unified in grief, it feels just wrong – wrong in every way – to be highlighting the evil that is out there, but we do not get rid of that evil by failing to confront it. Dave Campbell had that right on in his piece earlier today.
We get rid of it by standing up to it, by looking it squarely in the eye, and saying in the loudest possible voice that “nobody wants you or your kind here.” And today I know that’s true as I read the tributes to Billy McNeill which are pouring in from all across football, but notably those from Ibrox and those in its environs.
These voices are not just the voices of former players and managers; they are the voices of the true football fans, those who understand that colours don’t count in matters of life and death, those who can see honour and good in a rival. There are many, many, many, many more of those people than the media would have you believe; we are in the majority.
Yet a minority does exist who will forever wallow in filth and hate. Today they are out in force on at least one of the Ibrox fan forums; the one in question calls itself Rangers Media, and today its ten pages (and counting) on McNeill’s death – buried in the General Sport And Football section – trawl the ultimate depths of depravity and disgrace.
Even as they pour bile on the great man they attack another forum – Follow Follow – for the way its members have chosen to pay tribute to our fallen hero, and I want to thank the guys on that site for the respectful and decent way they have behaved.
Next to them today, Rangers Media looks like a backward cesspit.
The filth who chose to dishonour and degrade their own forum – and the admins who allowed such a loathsome and evil thread to exist there – ought to be ashamed. The disgrace it heaps on their site is such that they should all want to crawl under the bed and not come out again for a long, long while because almost the entire section is mired in filth. But for a handful of folk who utilised that thread to pay tribute to Billy it is a cesspit of awfulness.
Why am I highlighting it?
To be honest, I’m doing it in the hope that it shames the moderators over there into taking action and deleting the entire thing. If they want to ban those responsible I’d applaud that not only without reservation but with heartfelt thanks.
I cannot believe that those who run that site are content for its members to express their hatreds so freely on a subject such as this. Do they know how it makes them look?
That site has become a real breeding ground for this kind of stuff; there is a thread promoting the absolutely barking mad “Scottish Protestants Against Discrimination” demonstration on Saturday, which I highlighted in a piece last week. That demo is being organised in protest at the Orange Order not being allowed to march past a Catholic Church.
Its organisers claim this has created a “no go area for Protestants.”
And this is the kind of arrant nonsense, the kind of craziness, that Rangers Media now openly promotes, not even caring how backward and ridiculous it makes them seem. One poster on that thread – the Daily Record blogger James Black – tries, in vain, to demonstrate the utter ridiculousness of the claim … but his efforts fall on deaf ears.
There are muppets in every support, and it makes me cringe when ours are displaying their stupidity, but I would be appalled if I read stuff, following the death of an Ibrox icon, like I have today on that site. It is inhuman. It is disgusting.
Under normal circumstances I’d say such behaviour shames their club, but not today.
Because their club could not be further away from their depraved nonsense. Their club has been steadfast in paying tribute to Billy, and almost everyone associated with it has done the same. They don’t speak for their club today or even for the bulk of their own support.
So this is a plea to thsoe who run that site; for God’s sakes get that thread in the bin where it belongs.
These people aren’t you (are they?) and they certainly don’t speak for the mood inside Ibrox.
Events like this – tragedies which touch everyone – should be used to bring communities and peoples together. I do not believe any of those who run that site can possibly want these kind of sentiments associated with it. It is certainly not representative of the Ibrox support as a whole.