This hasn’t been the easiest week in the recent history of our club, but it’s worth remembering things were pretty settled and relaxed this time last week. But old failings, old doubts and old problems have pushed their way into our thoughts again because of the last two displays.
The European one was the worst and most serious of them, with widespread implications.
And you know what? There’s not going to be any let-up on the way Celtic fans are now scrutinising the performance of the board and the manager. The focus on whether certain people at Parkhead are up to the job will only sharpen as this season goes on.
There is nothing wrong with that, it reflects our commitment to excellence and there is nothing unhealthy about fans holding their club to account. For an object lesson, one only needs to look across the city at the club there.
Their fans are the most gullible in the game, and on their so-called watch they’ve already suffered the total loss of one club.
There are those who say that the modern Celtic fan is a spoiled brat who has never known anything but success and twitches at every blip on the radar.
Gordon Strachan, whose opinions on fans and their views I’ve always believed were contemptible and the reason he’s not more loved by our supporters, is only the latest person to trot out this lazy nonsense. I can’t speak to the many thousands of voices on Twitter, but as far as the bloggers are concerned this is cobblers of the worst sort.
I know many of the bloggers personally and I’m familiar with the backgrounds of nearly all of them, and I can’t think of one of them who wasn’t around and supporting the club in the 90’s when things were really, really dark. Look at the editors of all the major sites and you’ll see what I mean.
I hope they’ll forgive me for saying it, but there isn’t a one of us younger than 40.
When people talk about a generation that lived through the hard times, well Hell, it was ours and we never even had the countervailing joys my old man and his generation did of seeing our own nine in a row and the triumph in Lisbon with it.
No, we grew up with Murray and with them winning everything and spending money like it was confetti at a wedding.
There’s something else too; we had to sit, mute and helpless, as the media pounded our club without mercy, relentlessly, day after every single day. We were powerless against that daily assault, all but a small number who started the first fanzine movement. They were the original Bampots, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for it. Not The View was my personal favourite, and I looked forward to every issue. They had some fantastic writers.
They were print publications with small budgets, and tiny distribution networks. They also came out monthly whereas the papers came out every day. They could not hope to hold back the tide of negativity that was coming at us in waves.
All that changed with the internet. It transformed the game for us, and gave us a platform on which to stand up to this. I remember the days before it, when you had the mainstream press and they set the tone for everything.
Those who accuse the bloggers of “doing the enemy’s job”, I really want to give them a slap for their pig ignorance.
It was the bloggers who started the fightback. It was the bloggers who first developed what the political parties call “rapid response”; the capacity to slap back, instantly, at every smear and slander and erroneous report.
Some of us now do it for a living, and we’ve gotten very good at it, so good that we often beat the media to report on new developments.
Most importantly, we can now challenge the media narrative and even reverse it.
We have exposed and embarrassed them over and over again.
And yes, we occasionally challenge the club, when that’s necessary, as it sometimes is.
This has not been our club’s finest week, and I think every one of us was fully entitled to say that.
The fact that so many of the blogs were united in their view that the guilty man in all this is Peter Lawwell should be sobering for him; a few pet hacks and their editorials aren’t going to cut through when every single one of the fan media outlets are taking a critical line.
The manager is on notice too, because the blogosphere was united in condemning his own tactical choices.
Neither man can afford to be complacent about their position, and don’t listen to anyone who says that neither is bothered by what’s online because neither of them reads any of it. That’s garbage as should be all too obvious.
To ignore the thoughts of the support would be akin to a political party deciding not to read the opinion polls.
There are those in our support who claim to disdain the blogs; perhaps they’d prefer things as they were before, when the media could spend an entire day attacking a fine man like Tom Boyd and there would be no comeback whatsoever for doing it?
Back then when even the club released a statement you wouldn’t even know it until the following day, if the press bothered to report it at all. It would be stuck at the bottom of another relentless piece of negativity, all weight to it lost.
We are here to stay, it’s as simple as that.
The New Media is not a passing phenomenon.
There will be times when we will seem over the top but it isn’t because we are spoiled at all. It’s because we have seen the bad times and we will not allow the club to drift back towards them. Our historical opportunity is real. We will not let those running Celtic pass it up.