Last weekend, after Celtic had moved to distance the club from the scandalous behaviour of the Ibrox fans in the aftermath of their riotous behaviour and the deplorable statement released by their board, most of us were delighted.
We had rebutted their shameful attempts to implicate us in their disgrace and drawn a line under the “two sides of the same coin” argument which they appeared to be deploying as some sort of defence.
Whataboutery had been weaponised by a football club.
No wonder our statement was so dripping with contempt for them. They earned it.
That night, and I suspect it was prompted by people inside Ibrox, their supporters were suddenly extremely knowledgeable on one of those fronts which they dismiss as being unimportant; somehow they knew exactly what to look for and where, and they were able to claim that we had recently renewed the “Old Firm” as a joint trademark.
I had some questions for Celtic on that front, and so I sent them, in the form of an article, to John Paul Taylor. He got an answer back for me earlier in the week that in some ways was unsatisfactory, but in others was informative and revealing.
I knew that the club wasn’t going to commit to more publicly denouncing the Survival Lie – although they should. But I thought most of the other questions got their reply in the short statement which he was able to elicit.
I still have issues with it though.
“The trademark is an old one, established in 2001. It is renewed for legal reasons to protect Celtic Football Club,” was the official answer. John Paul elaborated further, basically firming up the statement.
It pretty much gels with what I thought they would say.
The trademark was registered to stop others profiting on the name and we renew it so that we may continue to hold that power; in short, we did it because as long as we hold the “rights” to it nobody can use it to market the term without our express okay.
Crucially, that includes the club that plays at Ibrox.
So in the ways that matter, the club is correct in what they sent out in the tweet.
We don’t’ consider the rivalry to exist.
We don’t consider ourselves “one side” of anything; we stand alone, as has been the position of Celtic for more than ten years.
I had a feeling that the registration was to protect Celtic.
I had a feeling one its intentions was to prevent the club from Ibrox trying to use the term to make money on.
But it was good to get that from the club itself. I am grateful to John Paul for taking it forward for me and to the club itself for their response which although it looks limited actually says it all.
I do have one gripe, but in fact it’s not that big of a one.
Celtic’s claim to have done it to protect ourselves holds water. We’ve neutralised it as a marketing strategy and that means that although the press and others can bang on about it, there’s no monetising it, which is really all Celtic is concerned with here.
Nobody can attach our name to theirs for financial gain.
My gripe is simply this; a definitive statement on this from the club would probably have an even greater neutralising effect than holding the trademark. If we completely washed our hands of it, in a public way, there is nothing to market on the back of.
Who’s going to try and piggy-back on a concept which we’ve put to the sword, on the record?
Nevertheless, the club has decided to use the law for that purpose, and they’ve done so in a very low-key and understated manner. Doubtless the Ibrox board thinks it is being clever in putting this in the public domain, but it has zero force or effect.
Celtic fans can know that the position of the club on this is uncontroversial and uncomplicated.
This is not proof of “Old Firm Inc.” and I suspected that it wasn’t … but it was important to get this recorded which is why I put the question to them. With Celtic having answered it, I am happy to declare my satisfaction with the response.