There is a section of our support which blames the board for everything we do and a lot of things that we don’t do.
But this board is not always wrong.
This board is not always making a mess of things.
This board is not always being fundamentally dishonest.
I know most people reading that will be like “Eah? Of course not.”
But there are others who clearly need to read that and try to understand it a bit.
On the issue of Ibrox tickets, the board has been accused of “capitulating” and “u-turning.” But this is only true if you believed the utter nonsense that was doing the rounds online last week that the club had rejected the offer of 700.
I never believed a word of that, because it’s not in the club’s best interests or those of the fans for them to do so.
The so-called in-the-knows, who assured people that this was the case, as per usual knew nothing at all, least of all the club’s actual stance on this which has, from the start, been to treat Ibrox precisely the way Ibrox treats us.
If they were offering 700 tickets then, naturally, that was all they were going to get in return.
But turning their allocation down?
Why in the Hell would we? Did people really expect that?
Those who are saying that this is some sort of victory for the Ibrox club, for God’s sake think about it for two seconds.
They were only allowed to deny us tickets in the first place because of red zone requirements which were at the discretion of the clubs, and when they did it we responded in kind using the same rules.
Now those rules no longer apply.
They had no choice but to give us an allocation. No choice.
Their hands were forced.
To those who don’t know how the rules work, it looks like they climbed down, not us.
So how can us taking tickets for our fans be a victory for them?
The real victory would have been if we’d turned them down, told our fans that none of them could get to go and cheer the team on, thus depriving the team of even token support there.
Their directors would have laughed at us, and they’d have been right to laugh at us.
To turn down tickets would have had no upside whatsoever.
It would have been a stupid, futile, meaningless gesture made in a huff … that’s their behaviour, not ours.
Just tell me; what good would it have done us?
Except that some of the foot-stampers would have felt momentarily better for it?
“Oh we showed them!” But did we?
What was it that we showed them, except that we could be as petty as they are?
Do some folk think that by turning their tickets down we wouldn’t have had to offer them a similar allocation for Parkhead?
If that was how things worked I’d understand the idea … but it’s not how things work at all.
They would still be entitled to tickets.
And just a few weeks later, when we were forced to offer them an allocation what do you think their stance would have been?
To huffily turn it down?
“You didn’t come to our house, so we aren’t going to yours?”
You’re dreaming if you think that. 700 of them would have been at Celtic Park come what may and singing their bile until silenced by an early goal.
Turning those tickets down would not have stopped their fans coming to Celtic Park, and we can’t act within the rules and keep them out.
Turning those tickets down – or demanding some all or nothing position – would have made us look ridiculous; I enjoy the cut and thrust of battle as much as anyone, but only when there is hope of accomplishing the goal and there isn’t because their board isn’t going to move on this; this is how it is going to be barring a major course correction over there.
And as long as they hold to that position, not but a handful of their own fans will be allowed in Celtic Park.
All we’ve done is acknowledge that fact.
Honestly, I am genuinely surprised that anyone could believe that it was in our best interests to tell them we didn’t want away tickets.
Nobody has made a case for that course of action that was based on reason and not emotion.
It would have accomplished nothing except to deny our team support on the day.
For sure, our board does not deserve to get stick for choosing a course of action which recognises the current reality, treats them the way they treat us and which is in line with what’s in the regulations.
On this one, they’ve got it 100% right.