This site and others have commented at some length on the events of the weekend. Celtic fans have had much to say about it.
The political class given it the full treatment.
Civic Scotland was outraged, especially about the events in George Square where the Peepul broke memorial benches and pissed all over the Cenotaph. It was quite disgusting behaviour and the country is suitably both outraged and disgusted by it.
I’ve always said though that it doesn’t matter how many of us bang these drums; the vast majority of the Peepul will ignore any outside criticism and carry on regardless. In order for things to change, and really change, it has to start inside their own house and that means inside their own support.
The more of their own fans who face up against the disgraceful element in their ranks the better.
This is why we’ve occasionally praised Ibrox fan sites which have gone where the others fear to tread, and it’s why a lot of us are impressed by guys like James Black, who go on the offensive over their stuff and want to see their club free from this baggage.
Those voices are important. This stuff is important.
If the Ibrox club could rid itself of this stuff our whole footballing culture would be better off and I think our country would be as well.
What’s even more important than the fans saying their piece is that those Ibrox fans with a higher profile do so, and this includes those who are in the field of journalism.
There have been some notable exceptions in the past – Graham Spiers is one of them, and an important one. He freely admits to having been brought up a Rangers fan, but his constant criticisms of the club and in particular those in the fan-base who disgrace it, have made him persona non grata at the ground … but he is doing the right thing.
Today another journalist – Andy Maciver of The Herald – who’s allegiances are at Ibrox has come forward and said his piece, and whilst there is a lot of it which I disagree with, I cannot argue with the basic thrust of it, because it is honest.
I disagree with his daft contention that both clubs are part of the same problem.
His absurd suggestion that we should stop flying the tri-colour is ridiculous coming from someone who claims to know his politics and history. Celtic has its roots in Ireland and Scotland; if the tri-colour offends some people that’s their problem, not our own.
We are honouring our roots in flying that flag, and we even fought an historic battle with the SFA over it once where the consequences of failing to take it down might have resulted in the ground being shut. It will fly there as long as Celtic Park does and the idea that the flag is in some way responsible for some of what we see elsewhere is offensive nonsense.
I think his comments about the “relegation” of his club are equally unwise, as are his references to the “Old Firm.” In this particular week that’s particularly stupid.
Still, he has said many of the right things, starting with talking about some of the poisonous singing at Ibrox. He has said he was “disillusioned by it” which I guess is a polite way of saying that it made him sick to his stomach.
Most importantly, he identified the exact moment at which all of this could have been erased from Scottish football forever; in 2012, when the NewCo started at the bottom.
They could have weeded this element out on “the journey” and chose not to.
He points out that instead they “doubled down” on the belligerence and the arrogance and the insular attitudes. What he doesn’t say – although it’s obviously on his mind – is that those inside the club took that decision very deliberately, for commercial reasons … he does, of course, understand the all-too predictable consequences of that quite well.
“(The club) has the hinterland, and the history, to become a truly globally iconic institution. Perhaps not Manchester United or Real Madrid, but not far off. But such a status is not achievable with so much baggage attached.”
And he mourns that, and he is right to mourn it as other Ibrox fans do from time to time.
As we’ve pointed out over and over again, if they had not embraced all the old idiocy they could have remade themselves as a club which was truly open and accessible to everyone.
They could have been better than they are. Instead, in going down the same old road they have limited what they can be, and probably now forever. That’s a decision they can’t roll back.
I thought the guy slipped up a little when he offered alibis and excuses for the club and said that some of the stick the board took was unfair, but he was correct to point out exactly those areas where they could have gone much further and didn’t, where they had opportunities to calm things down and chose not to. These are things we’ve been saying ourselves.
But think of how much more those words resonate when they come from one of their own?
The only people who can truly drive proper change at Ibrox are people like this, and I applaud him for doing so and I wish more like him would chose to stick their heads up.
Honestly, I don’t often commend mainstream media articles but this is one that you should all definitely consider reading.