Over the last few days, Scottish football has had time to digest the child abuse report which was published by the SFA. It’s a harrowing document. I’ve looked through it but would be lying if I said I’d done so in any detail. I don’t want to read it in detail.
I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty of that report, in part because I can’t.
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, who is qualified to write on this subject, has done so with decency and compassion.
What that report does make clear is that this is what I’ve always believed it to be; an issue in football not an issue of football.
Abuse was widespread in the sport, but it was not limited to the sport.
Every major institution in this country could tell its own horror stories.
When abuse allegations erupted at Westminster there was no political point scoring, because most MP’s knew it was not a party issue and couldn’t stomach even the idea of trying to make hay out of it.
I don’t know if football fans up and down this country are waging the same despicable war of Whataboutery as has been seen in Scotland, but I know that it’s not been used, elsewhere, to buttress sectarian and racist opinions and to harden a sense of moral superiority.
What happened within Scottish football was not unique, but here some adopted a unique response to it, seeing it as a way to settle grievances which had nothing to do with the issue. They saw it as a way to try and gain a sporting advantage. Worse, they have used it to justify hateful attitudes which were already keenly felt.
A section of the Scottish populace didn’t need an excuse to hate Catholics and fenians and Celtic fans and Irish, but they were grateful for the opportunity to wrap that hatred in moral validation. First it was our church. Then it was our football club. And let’s not forget that old truth of British “justice” that everyone is innocent until proven Irish.
For the last few years now, the Peepul have enjoyed this one, picking over the bones of it like vultures, painting our institution as venal and corrupt.
What happened at Celtic Boys Club was abhorrent. So was what happened in the Catholic Church. That it also happened in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other institutions, great and small, across the country and across the world is neither here nor there.
It doesn’t justify a thing or make any of it less horrific.
What it does do is explode the vulgar far-right Ibrox myth that this is a fenian issue. Don’t get me started on Kincora or the government of Margaret Thatcher, who was so surrounded by them I once wrote a lengthy piece for another site calling her “the paedophiles friend.”
See, I am not afraid of this issue. I’ve written extensively on it outside of football; the reason I only reluctantly write of it in the context of the sport is that it’s not a discussion that remotely belongs on a site which writes about the sport.
What this site does write about is the hypocrisy of Celtic’s enemies and these Peepul are the worst of the worst. They are gutter rats, grubbing around in this issue for their own gain.
They couldn’t give a stuff about the victims, and they never have.
Their fascination with this subject – which, actually, has morphed into a dark and unhealthy obsession – is all about hate. Not their hate for child abusers, but their hatred of fenians and the fabled Unseen Hand, which is behind all crimes and cover ups.
To fully grasp the extent of this sick fixation you have to have taken a deep dive into their forums. There you read all manner of reprehensible and vile points of view.
You have to understand, they were awaiting the publication of that report with all the excitement of kids waiting for Christmas.
The views on those forums are so extreme on this subject that if you’d offered them the magical choice between stopping the ten or a report which damned the name of Celtic for all time, inflicting draconian punishment on our club Neil Lennon would have nothing to worry about.
The anger that the report didn’t lay waste to our club is plain.
Their fury against the media for daring to report it as it was written is even greater.
The mere mention of their club in there, at the centre of some pretty serious allegations, is considered a sacrilege and the final proof that we fenians still run everything although our club is not doing particularly well.
The same Peepul who have been hollering for investigations and turning over every rock are suddenly foaming at the mouth because someone did exactly that, and they don’t like what was found. Concern for the victims?
Forget it. Instead, it’s turn the guns on the media and the governing bodies and wallow in the usual filth of conspiracy theories of the worst sort.
I am not interested, not in a football sense anyway, in what Rangers knew and when and what it allowed or didn’t allow to happen inside its walls.
Their hands weren’t clean, we’ve all known that from the start.
I do think we should explore the reasons the current Ibrox club hasn’t issued an apology; their own defence is truly wretched; they are happy enough to claim the trophies and titles but on something like this they point towards the liquidators and say “take it up with them.”
That our club refuses to challenge the Survival Lie is all the more disgraceful because of how Ibrox itself hides behind the death of Rangers whenever it’s to their advantage.
I think I have a pretty strong stomach, but this particular instance of accepting the death of Rangers is sickening.
But none of that matters. The club has to sort itself out, much as ours does.
It has to deal with what happened on its watch and afterwards.
They didn’t mark Neely’s card for him, they sent him off to his next job with their official best wishes, just as we did in the Celtic View with some of the bastards who worked for the Boys Club.
Both clubs – all clubs – have a lot of work to do to make this stuff right.
It’s not my primary area of interest here. I’m talking about hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of a certain segment of the Ibrox fan-base who hates everyone and everything that isn’t wrapped in a Union Jack and which has appropriated this most serious of issues for their own sickening ends. Now the issue has blown back on them, and how they hate it.
On top of that, not only are the moon-howlers of the Ibrox fan-base furious that their club was mentioned at all in the reports, but they are slagging the journalists who have asked where the apology is, rather than point their indignation at their own boardroom for not offering one on behalf of the institution they claim they still follow.
As usual, they want it both ways.
Their club has “nothing to apologise for” is the line.
It stinks to high heaven; some of their own number are thoroughly disgusted with it, although not enough of them.
James Black is fighting the good fight, as he usually does as a voice of reason, and one of their fan media sites, Ibrox News, has taken a commendable stance and backed up Graham Spiers venomous dig-out of Stewart Robertson, where he’s accused him of cowardice.
Fair play to James Black and the guys on that site.
They are doing their club, and the wider game, credit but to be honest they are pushing a boulder up a hill because those who have spent years on this subject were never interested in doing the right thing or seeing justice done, and they aren’t going to start now.
As far as those scumbags and their weaponisation of this issue goes, I’ll tell you this, their days of moralising on it are over.
They have plumbed the gutter these last few days and we won’t let them forget it.