When Celtic “renewed” the “Old Firm” trademark not that long ago, the question was put to our board as to why we had bothered. The answer fans got back was that it was being re-registered so that it could never be used.
The logic was that Celtic was making sure we held the rights to it so that the phrase would never be monetised against us.
Most of us accepted that explanation; it sounded procedurally and legally correct after all. But as an explanation, it is only as good as our willingness to enforce our rights.
The suspicion remained that our club was engaged in a piece of sophistry.
With the way the Gutter Ball has been announced, and the way the club has sought to dress up a scandalous violation of trust by hiding behind the manager, nobody with a functioning brain cell really believes that the club isn’t hanging onto that trademark in order to exploit it for profit one day.
Recent events have seemed to prove that theory correct.
Because if we own the trademark with the explicit purpose of preventing its monetisation, how can the organisers of the “Sydney Super Cup” be advertising the Gutter Ball as an “Old Firm” game?
How can they be using the very slogan for the very purpose that we took out the trademark to prevent in the first place? How else without our approval?
How else than with with our connivance?
I can’t put this any other way than to just come right out and say it. Unless we get clarity on this, and unless those words are removed from the promotional material, Celtic has resurrected the Old Firm brand and is using it for marketing purposes.
If our club has allowed this, then our club has lied to us and as I predicted earlier in the month, our club does not intend this game to be a “one-off.”
At a time when the club at Ibrox has become ever more toxic and vile, and a time when they are fraudulently claiming 150 years of history even as our club obliquely hints otherwise, our directors have bought into the Survival Lie whole.
If we’re promoting this as an “Old Firm game” – and I make no distinction between actively doing so and allowing others to do so because there is none – then the people running Celtic are a shady, dishonest bunch of charlatans who view us with utter contempt.
I cannot put it more simply and bluntly than that.
In allowing the promotion of this as an “Old Firm” fixture they are not only endorsing the structure of lies on which the current Ibrox operation is built, but they are ignoring the wishes of an entire support that wants nothing to do with the so-called rivalry, going back over 20 years.
And that’s a bigger issue than just one game.