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Fan Group’s Display Of Juvenilia Only Strengthens The Hand Of The Celtic Board.

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If someone ever decided to write a sequel to Dale Carnegie’s masterwork, but with a list of Don’ts instead of Do’s in it, they might call it How To Lose Friends And Alienate People. There was a naff film of that name, but I doubt that any writer would get sued.

The Green Brigade have been protesting against the proposed appointment of an ex-cop to some role or another at Celtic Park.

Most fans, to be honest, don’t understand the issue and don’t particularly care to learn about it, and this is not just apathy.

Their way of thinking is “is the guy qualified?” and if he is then they don’t have any objection to it on principle.

The guy was involved in criminalising supporters when the Offensive Behaviour At Football Act was on the statute books. Which is the central issue.

But he was a cop, and their job is to enforce the law, so the way many see it, all he did was the work to which he was assigned.

Cops can no more decide which laws they enforce than people can decide which ones they obey; this is the logic by which we attacked both police and Ibrox fans when they rioted in George Square, and we were right to.

It’s also been made clear that he didn’t single Celtic fans out, but enforced the law across the board, criminalising fans of other clubs too, so to the best of my knowledge nobody is alleging that he was some foaming anti-Celtic bigot either.

It’s no wonder this issue is not so much divisive as it’s one where those who do care are seriously pissed off and most others really have no interest in it.

I’m with the guys who care.

Because there are a lot of people who could do the job and if the board picks this guy then you wonder if decisions inside the walls are increasingly being made to wind people up. This was never going to be anything other than a petrol on the flames sort of choice, and it seems needless for the board to be provoking a battle.

But with this issue not exactly uniting the support in disgust, the best weapon the Green Brigade had was that the blogs and the podcasts were onside and the fan-base was getting behind them. The Celtic Park thirty minutes’ silence was a superb way of raising awareness and giving people something to think about.

It’s the kind of action everyone can respect.

Another silence today was added opportunity to show maturity and class.

Instead it was disrupted, and in the aftermath they threw tennis balls onto the pitch.

Don’t even get me started on the whole subject of Remembrance Day; I am beyond fed up with it, and the enforced nature of it reeks of the kind of fascism that had allegedly been defeated.

I think the whole thing has become an embarrassment, a kind of national disgrace.

The whole occasion has become shamelessly militaristic, all about British exceptionalism … if you’ll excuse me for saying so, the old Brexit spirit encapsulated. This country has gotten itself into some mess with all this garbage, fetishizing, in particular, the Second World War.

In a multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-ethnic game those ugly red splotches do not belong on any football strip far less the Celtic one.

That fight, at least, has been won.

You’d think that those who lobbied for its removal would be satisfied with that.

But the disruption of a minute’s silence is just plain wrong.

If you have no respect for the occasion at least have respect for the dead.

If you have no respect for the dead because you have a simplistic view on the morality of war – way too complicated a subject for this article and definitely for the armchair revolutionaries – then observe it for world peace.

Observe it for those already caught up in the climate crisis, or more importantly those who soon will be.

Check your phone and pretend to be emailing your mum.

Take the minute to make sure your pre-match bets are on.

Stick your headphones on and play some music.

Just keep your gob shut. It’s not too much to ask.

If you don’t respect anything else, respect your fellow fans, some of whom served and who have a somewhat different appreciation of the issue than you do.

Who are you trying to impress by doing otherwise?

Only yourself.

If you’re worried that some of your “friends” might judge you for finding something in those 60 seconds to focus on then I suggest you need some new friends because the current ones are morons.

The thing is, the tennis balls was a good idea.

But combined with the failure to observe the silence it comes across as a piece of juvenilia which will do precisely the opposite of what it was supposed to and I am incredibly frustrated about that, because these guys have been exceptional lately.

Fans who would have been onside will be walking the other way now.

The point of the tennis balls is now lost amidst a cocophany of noise over who agrees with their politics and who doesn’t.

The media will talk about what a disgrace the shouting was and many people will agree.

Mostly it will simply strengthen the hand of the board.

The wide coalition which was forming against this decision will fray on the back of this, and already I see Celtic fans on social media say that they support the appointment if it will “sort these guys out” and that, ultimately, is what this has done.

It has allowed the Green Brigade’s critics to paint them as a problem that must be “dealt with” instead of guys to be lent support.

What a disappointment that is, because until today they were winning this one and it’s an important one to win.

This is one step forward and two steps back.

If some writer does want to do that Carnegie follow-up, this could be a case study for the text.

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14 comments

  • Bill Gallacher says:

    I’m a big supporter of the Green Brigade and today a handful of fans shouted during the minutes silence, out of about 4,000 Celtic who were at the game. Not many shouted out – but enough did to cause offence. We really need to self-police our own during silences like this. Like many, I don’t agree with poppy wearing, especially now that it’s also representing the war crimes committed in the north of Ireland. But it also represents ordinary folks, including Celtic fans, who died in two world wars. Let us at least respect the dead by being quiet for one minute. Because when we don’t we just look like immature idiots and we only give our enemies a massive stick to beat us with.

    • Damian says:

      How do you self-police individuals or small groups intent on shouting out during a minutes’ silence?

  • Ange Baby says:

    James-99% of fans coukdnt care less about Higgins.

    As the GB have made it an issue then their worshippers will join them.

    I suspect Higgins will not take up the post but the board cannot allow the GB to run the club.

    A lot of us are fed up with the GB and their antics, its always all about them.

    Today was an embarrassment for Celtic when we should be reading about an entertaining display instead we will quite rightly get crucified by the rest of Scottish football and beyond

    We go through this every year, when will these idiots grow up?

    Way past time to withdraw away tickets from the GB

    • Charles says:

      When a journalist asked Ange about how quickly the sevco board reacted to the racism row over kyago he stated that it is not how quickly it was done, it’s just about doing the right thing and that is what should be happening here. “Do the right thing”. I am beginning to think the GB don’t know what that is.

  • Deek says:

    I have known Bernie Higgins professionally for many years. As well as I know him, I have no idea what his football allegiances are. All know is that he is a thoroughly professional police officer and all round good guy. And believe me, there are not many like him in Police Scotland. If I was looking for a solid professional to take on the security role at Celtic, I can’t think of anyone better qualified. I have known Ronnie Hawthorn and George Douglas too; previous Security managers and both of them were utter professionals. Celtic has a good track record in employing security chiefs. On this occasion, I would let them ge on with it.

  • John smith says:

    Angebabe, speaking for 99% of the Celtic support,,WOW!,I don’t always agree with them,on this occasion I do, removing their away allocation angebabe you would fit right in with this spineless cowardly board,,,

  • Michael Gallagher says:

    Sshhh I was at dens park today I kept quiet I’m 60 years old but just forget about Derry Ballymurphy Shankhill butchers Sean Graham bookmakers n more all involving collaboration with British forces yes forget keep quiet no your place while we still suffer bigotry everyday I’m not angry with the green brigade they don’t speak for me but they are entitled to their opinion

  • Bob (original) says:

    The financially-focused Board should agree that in business “the paying customer is always right”.

    If some CFC fans object to something about the club, and how it’s run, then the Board should respect this – and address the feedback accordingly.

    …and that right there is the problem: a Board simply not wanting to listen.

    Any non-violent action which embarrasses the Board is no bad thing.

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Well said Michael and John. Where do you get your “99% of Celtic Supporters Couldn.t Care Less” about this issue “Ange Baby”? Do you think it is beyond the wit of Celtic supporters to consider and have an opinion on the matter? And when we do all shut up and follow our immediate line – manager’s every command, it really is then too late!

  • John S says:

    Keep politics out of football.

  • Roonsa says:

    Yawn. The strap line on the GB banner should be “It’s All About Us”. Self important gobshites.

    As for Poppy Nazis, I see Roy Keane succumbed to them to appear on Sky Sports for the Manchester derby. He should get tarred n feathered for that.

    Haig was a butcher. Countless British soldiers lost their lives because of that idiot and they want me to buy a poppy to contribute to a fund that he set up to salve his own conscience? F**k off.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    Fans have always had a mixed reception to the views and actions of the Green Brigade so this is nothing new. How many support them and how many reject them is unknown. But they are consistent in their concerns and actions and I believe can ably defend themselves. And they do good works away from football too. So don’t anyone portray them as juvenile and only self-serving. Football spectating is a kind of bread and circuses phenomena and the GB refuse to accept this limitation – after all it’s one that has been imposed not chosen. However I am not in favour of disrupting the game as happened on Sunday. I think that backfired and will always backfire as it will divide the fans even more.

  • Iljas Baker says:

    phenomena = phenomenon

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Did you see Celtic players helping to clear the tennis balls off of the pitch? I wouldn’t have been doing that. Not the remit of a player to do that! They maybe don’t employ enough stewards at Dens to be capable of doing that themselves. And the also have a vacancy for a Ball-boy on the Off-stand side, as Tony Ralston had to climb a Message board and dive a ditch to retrieve a football himself. If Dundee get a share of TV money, perhaps they could get their Staff in shape and maybe up to speed! Maybe these are contributing factors as to why Leigh Griffiths saw fit to clear the flare from the pitch himself? Maybe because, if you wait for the Dens Park Club officials to do it – it just ain’t goin’ to happen?

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