A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Bedsheet Banner, a decidedly amateurish production that I thought focussed overmuch on two Irishmen.
I said that thing could not possibly have been done by Celtic fans.
Some folk disagreed and said it simply reflected the general mood of the support as a whole.
My view on that was, “maybe it does, but it does it badly.”
Well there’s a new banner outside Celtic Park today and by no stretch of the imagination was this one done by anyone other than our supporters.
Later on today I’m going to do a piece on constructive criticism versus unhinged bile; the question as to where that banner falls on the spectrum doesn’t really need an answer.
It is direct, but it’s not vicious.
The banner comes with a statement; it is, of course, from The Green Brigade, and nothing in it is anything with which this blog, or I’d suggest the majority of our fans, would disagree. Neil Lennon is not going to take us through this campaign.
The only question is when the end comes. It’s just a matter of time.
Without a radical change I can’t see how we win ten in a row.
The Green Brigade has shared its view that unless the manager is removed there’s no chance of it.
I’ve heard the same sentiments on podcasts, read it on the forums, heard in discussions with friends and family, it’s been in many of the blogs …. It’s been expressed everywhere except in the Celtic Park stands, and only the virus has prevented that.
All through the last couple of days, the board has maintained its arrogant silence and used a few tame hacks to get out their message in a wholly deniable way. Lennon is safe in his job and he still has their confidence. They could have done this in public, of course, and not relied on their pet journalists to spread the word, but that, you see, would have committed them to standing by their man, that would have locked them in, made his fate their own.
You know what? They picked him. His fate is their own.
One journo said that the mood inside the club is “business as usual.”
Well anyone coming into Parkhead this morning, and seeing that first thing, would surely not even attempt at this point to claim that this is business as usual. This situation has been building for weeks. Anyone inside the ground still living in denial … well they are the ones with their heads in the Twilight Zone, because this is as real as it gets.
This is the first time the board and the manager are unable to dismiss fan anger as simply the work of a few “online rabble rousers”. This is the first direct message from the guys on the ground, those who the lockdown has denied a voice in the stands … and worse, these are Lennon’s most vocal fans, his praetorian guard amongst the supporters.
This is one of those moments in Roman history when even the emperor’s most trusted bodyguards got involved in the plots against him. You know how many were assassinated by the praetorians? Enough to scare everyone who ever sat on the throne.
What I’m saying is, this isn’t a drunken prank or an ill-thought out gesture … this is a deadly serious message, and the accompanying statement makes it clear that getting here has been a process of confronting regret and wishing it were not so.
But this is where we are, and for the first time ever the online guys are not the only ones saying this. The writing is on the wall, if you were, right outside Parkhead and from one of the supporter’s groups which has a direct line to the club.
That’s the difference between this and the Bedsheet Banner … that was easy to dismiss as the work of a few cranks, and the modest press coverage it got reflected that.
This is blanket coverage, if you’ll pardon the pun.
This is a different order of magnitude. Every outlet is talking about it, and whilst the forums and blogs and chat-rooms and WhatsApp groups might debate the way in which this message has been sent, you aren’t getting too many people arguing with the message itself.
This one matters. This one is significant.
Anyone at Celtic Park who still wants to cross their fingers and hope this passes … they better think again.