If I had wanted to pursue a career as a war correspondent, I would have spent the last few years in a warzone.
There are plenty of them, all around the world.
But if I wanted to play at being one, to see how it felt to be documenting history in relative safety, I might be at Parkhead tonight, just to capture a little wisp of what it must be like to stand in front of a government building during a people’s uprising and know you aren’t going to get shot for it.
Looking at the images and footage from outside Celtic Park, it feels a bit like that.
This is a surreal year, and I’m sure you can smell that on the air over there just now.
Those scenes are not to be defended. They are saddening. I am not going to defend them, but I wonder why I’d have to.
Things are heated but this is an intense situation, and anger is coursing through the supporters and I completely understand why.
So, I won’t condone it … but I do get it.
Our board of directors have scorned the fans the last few weeks.
I’ve used the word contempt, and it’s a strong word but I’m using it in its correct context.
They have viewed us with contempt for years, and one of the best signs of it was their decision to deny questions from the floor at the AGM, because they know that supporters had plenty of them.
They don’t care about fan opinion.
They have no respect for it at all.
They sneer at the online community, although it now encompasses the vast, vast, vast majority of the fan-base.
And here, in the era of the global health emergency, the forums and blogs and group chats are what we have instead of the pub.
To deride us at a time like this, and especially when so many fans have shown the most incredible loyalty, was virtually guaranteed to spark a reaction like that.
Whatever other emotions those inside Celtic Park feel tonight, shock ought not to be amongst them.
The fans are far smarter than this board gives them credit for, and they know exactly what our directors thinks of them.
They feel that contempt radiating out of Celtic Park.
You would need to have your head lodged in your backside not to recognise it.
We aren’t deemed worthy of explanations when things go wrong, or our opinions sought when decisions are being made.
Only when it’s time for season ticket renewals and merchandise being bought are we considered at all.
The people who run Celtic act like those politicians who only acknowledge the voters before election time, when they promise jam tomorrow and cross their fingers. They look at us and the success of the last couple of years and are amazed that it doesn’t insulate them from scrutiny.
They think we should all just say thank you, tug our forelocks and be on our way.
This disaster was made on 25 May 2019.
It can be traced back to that day and the decision they made in a shower, when they could have gone another way and aimed for another top tier appointment.
They gave Lennon the role full time when that was opposed by the majority of our support.
Hey, I know that there are large numbers of our fans who claim to have been psychic seers who saw it all coming but who at the time were giving those of us who were vocal in that view dogs abuse for expressing it, but even dismissing their claims I am still in no doubt that it was a decision which ran counter to the wishes of most supporters.
The anger most fans felt was easily dismissed that day by those at the club, but then that’s why they picked that day in the first place.
They knew they would get stick for it, because they knew there were better options out there.
That’s why they did it the way they did, because they thought that even those of us who weren’t happy would have no option but to park that anger until “a better time.”
It must have shocked them when some of us reacted as we did.
The fact is, nothing in Lennon’s career as a manager away from our club remotely justifies his getting the gig once, far less twice.
That day was the moment the board took a conscious, wilful decision not to hire the best man for the job.
Lawwell even boasted about it.
For weeks now, they have hidden behind a manager whose public pronouncements have become ever more bizarre, ever more divorced from the reality of this. They don’t give a toss about the opinions of the fans, and they couldn’t have made that clearer if they tried.
Tonight it’s no longer “online keyboard warriors” and whilst I am certain that they will tell their media pals to paint what happened as the ultimate expression of self-entitlement whilst the club gamely soldiers on, the whole scenario reeks with the odour of all those last stands of a despotic regime which has spent eons ignoring its citizens and who finally realise that comes at a cost.
Huddled in their “government building”, watching the police line push back the protestors, they can kid on all they want, one last time, that this isn’t happening, that the “real supporters” would never have acted like this … but if not for the virus and the health implications there would have been thousands outside that ground tonight, not hundreds.
Indeed, if not for the virus 60,000 supporters would have given them it in spades, leaving no doubt at all how widespread the anger is, when Sparta Prague humiliated this club more than a fortnight ago.
If they had been, this would be over already.