Does Some Of The Online Criticism Of The Celtic Manager Cross The Line? Sadly, Some Of It Does.

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For the last week or so, one of the most heated debates online has been about whether criticism of the manager is bubbling over into something personal, something hateful, something that crosses the line of what is reasonable, and what is just plain bile.

I’ve followed the debate right across the spectrum, and I have to conclude that for the most part it is being handled with respect.

The bloggers are mostly measured and calm. The language is temperate.

The mood is more disappointment that we’re here than anything else, and although there is anger it is mostly focussed on the board.

The podcasts have always been more expressive than the blogs; it’s the nature of the podcast that those involved with them speak without a filter. You can edit yourself on a blog if you read back on it and think you’ve gone too far.

If you’re doing a podcast the words come out and they are out and there’s nothing you can do about them at all.

I have been impressed by the podcasts, all but one.

Paul John Dykes and his team are amazing.

The guys at 20 Minute Tims were also very impressive.

Less so is another I listened to, and I am sad to report that I do believe they cross the line between legitimate criticism and bile, and I’m even more loathe to say that they target more than just Lennon.

I’m going to be honest here, this blog is one of the targets of their vitriol and so are a couple of others.

This is extremely saddening to me; it does not make me angry.

Criticism of the work we do is perfectly legitimate but there are ways to do it which show some class.

A Celtic podcast attacking Celtic bloggers and telling people not to read us is pretty outrageous.

I would defend any of the blogs if they were being attacked; I think we’re in serious danger of ending up with a divided community if this becomes the order of business. I disagree with my fellow bloggers sometimes; I have never used this site to attack one of them and I never would.

It’s about respect.

And I guess that some people just don’t have any.

Even then, had they left it at an attack on this site and some others I might have been content not to respond; there’s a certain person who constantly takes shots at this blog and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and I’ve responded to that exactly once and never again, and the only reason I did it is because he crossed a very big line and made libellous allegations about Neil Lennon which I found reprehensible and which I believed at least one of the blogs had to take on directly.

And once again, it is highly personal, disgusting comments about Lennon which have inspired me to write this.

These guys went far beyond criticism and veered into personal attacks.

What else do you call it when a Celtic podcaster refers to the Celtic manager as “a [email protected]” and another demands that the club “get the sonofabitch out of the dugout”?

That’s bile, that’s not constructive criticism.

I thought it was some of the most shameful stuff I’ve heard in a long time.

Some of my mates, who I asked to listen to it, were pretty astonished at the language they use, just in general. I don’t think that’s such a big deal, but it makes them sound amateurish and unprofessional, especially compared to guys like Paul John Dykes.

That’s a matter of personal taste as far as I’m concerned. If you’re looking for high minded debate there are alternatives, and plenty of them. If you like your Celtic chatter at the level of pub talk at half eleven on a Saturday night theirs is the option for you.

On top of that, when you consider that their poisonous critique extends to their fellow supporters and Celtic social media colleagues, it paints a picture of the sort of podcast the Ibrox fan-base must lap up. They extend their attacks to Twitter where they used the Ibrox fan’s favourite fifth rate weapon of attack to call some of our bloggers “obsessed” for writing about the club over there.

That’s just schoolyard stuff, it’s a level we’ve all dealt with before, but it’s atrocious hearing the language of the foe used by Celtic minded individuals.

As to the critique itself, if you can call it that, and it doesn’t really rise to that level, as far as I’m concerned, they can live in a bubble where they want to ignore the reality of where we are all they like.

They seem to understand that the board has failed on various levels, but perhaps lack the sophistication to recognise that allowing a similar situation to where Scottish football was post-2012 is one of the board’s gravest errors and epic failures.

Frankly, anyone in our support who doesn’t think we should be keeping an eye on events across the city either grossly underestimates how important that job is to our club or lacks the intelligence to see the clear overlap between what they do and our strategic interests, and I really don’t feel any longer as if I need to explain that to people … look at the league table to see how important it is. The mind boggles at the idea of Celtic podcasters being so ignorant of this.

Of course, maybe it’s not ignorance.

Perhaps they think a “challenge” from Ibrox, even a corrupt one, is a positive thing, in which case I really don’t know why they are moaning about Neil Lennon at all, far less attacking him in such inflammatory, and un-necessary, language.

These same guys boast about their many friends amongst the Ibrox support, they big up the Ibrox team as if they were Barcelona and one of them even suggested that the form of Gerrard’s club is the equal of “and perhaps better” than that of our Invincible team.

I mean, seriously? More than once I stopped the recording and asked myself; “Is this a Celtic fan podcast or The Daily Record?”

Even The Daily Record has never attacked Lennon in the sort of poisonous language they used, and so yes, I do think the criticism has become shockingly personalised in some places, even descending to the level of the gutter swamps of the enemy.

Am I saying this podcast was an example of that?

Of course not. I’d never make such a sweeping generalisation.

These guys might disdain the work this site does and take shots at the journalist who broke the EBT story, the Dallas email, was the first to say Craig Whyte was running up debts with HMRC and they might fire scattergun style at the blogs which have been right about everything over there from Ashley to the level of debt in the current accounts, and they might attack us because Ibrox doesn’t have a closed sign in front of it …

But as I recall it, Paul Brennan was predicting Rangers demise in 2007. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain wrote one of the landmark pieces on their coming catastrophe in 2008. I wrote my own first major article, The Death Of Rangers?, in 2009 … and it took another two years.

But we were right, and I’ll stand behind our records over that of the guys who ended their recent podcast with the words “cheerio to ten in a row” as if they were Ibrox supporters having a sing song.

Their personal attacks on Lennon were beyond the pale, yet even that doesn’t dissuade me from recommending them to the wider Celtic community.

On the contrary; go and have a listen, as many of you as possible, and make up your own minds.

Far be it for me to tell anyone not to follow a Celtic site.

Click on the link at the bottom of the piece and give them the support they deserve.

For me, it went way beyond criticism of the manager’s job performance and veered into highly personal attacks.

But these guys are Celtic fans, of course.

Of course.

So make up your own minds, and listen to them at this link.

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