Celtic social media would exist without the events of 2012.
It would exist because fans have plenty to say about their teams and the monetisation of sites through ads offers the opportunity for people to earn money out of doing something they love.
So whatever had happened back then, I am firmly of the belief that we’d be in a similar place to now.
But the tenor of the conversation would be different in certain ways, and some of us would be doing this job in a very different fashion if we were doing it at all.
Because one of the things that provoked many of us to get involved in blogging in the first place had nothing to do with either of the things I mentioned above; it was because the mainstream media colossally failed at doing its job.
I was doing this in no small part because of them.
There were two things that characterised that period; a lack of imagination and fear. The fear is easy to understand. For some of the hacks, it was their favourite club which was circling the drain. I fully recognise their need to cling to the Survival Lie, I recognise that they needed an intellectual underpinning for that and thus birthed the Victim Lie.
That word is “understand”, mind you. I don’t condone. I cannot condone. I cannot accept the willing participation in the spreading of untruths, no matter the motivation. I cannot accept that people in their profession chose to publish fiction instead of facts, and that the whole media industry in Scotland continues to do so to this day.
I understand that for others there was the idea that their own job might lose all relevance.
That without a big derby to cover Scottish football had nothing happening in it. They prided themselves on covering “the biggest game in the world” and that was really all that stopped them from becoming an absolute joke to their English based peers.
But this is also what I mean by lack of imagination.
Even when the NewCo emerged they wanted it in the top flight. They couldn’t imagine an Ibrox club clawing its way up from the bottom tier. They could not imagine any benefits this would have to the game.
They couldn’t imagine that it might spark life into Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts, Motherwell or others … the second spot was up for grabs, and Scottish football was about to enter a new era.
They didn’t even have the imagination to think about what the club from Ibrox might be if it shed the baggage that had killed its first incarnation. They immediately set about trying to promote “the journey” and talked up “the Old Firm” until they could cover it again. Very few of them recognised that if we’d planted something different something new would have grown.
This failure of imagination sees the whole game through the prism of two teams. Incredibly, one of those clubs feels exactly the same way and will spend every moment from now until the end of the season brooding over how it’s going to stop us.
Today we got a scandalous article from one of the hacks who, during that whole period, was in effective retirement. He should have stayed there. He contributes nothing positive whatsoever to the discourse around our sport. He brings nothing to the table. His article today is about how the Scottish Cup final needs to be between the two Glasgow clubs and he’s even offered the suggestion that this might be a time for the old heated balls.
What a disgraceful viewpoint to hold far less to promote.
What ever happened to the romance of the cup? Whatever happened to talking up the best parts about Scottish football? A lower league team reaching the final … that’s what cup competition is all about.
That’s a showpiece. That’s special even if they never win it. That’s something every one of their players would take pride in and talk about and remember until their dying days.
Here’s exactly what I mean about failure of imagination.
Everyone loves a giant killing story. How can you have David and Goliath if there’s only two big guys knocking Hell out of each other?
What’s the story that would reverberate around football? Celtic winning a treble, which everyone expects, or some plucky outsider taking us all the way?
I can imagine Celtic winning the treble. I can imagine that very easily, because I’ve seen it happen four times in the last six years.
But I have the imagination to consider how amazing it would be to see a bus-top parade as Falkirk or Ayr or Raith’s jubilant squad brings the Scottish Cup to fans who never in their wildest dreams expected it.
That’s why people love the game.
That is the essence of what football is about … and this clown cannot muster up enthusiasm for even the possibility of it? I think his attitude stinks to high heavens, even if he wasn’t obliquely suggesting that the SFA fix the draw in order to get the final he wants.
This is why we cannot promote this game.
This is why every attempt is a bust. The people responsible for doing it cannot imagine it as anything other than the Glasgow derby with a bunch of meaningless fluff around it. Shame on them.