Support For Lineker Proves That The Born To Rule Brigade Do Not Get Our Game.

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Yesterday I wrote about how the BBC must stand by Gary Lineker, who was under threat from the right-wing hate mob. The BBC caved. He was benched for the show he’s been fronting for years, Match Of The Day. There was talk that it might be the end of his career, or that it would end in some sort of humiliation for him.

But something wonderful happened instead.

Football spoke up. First his colleagues refused to do the show without him, and when the BBC foolishly decided to do the show anyway without a panel, as no-one would agree to be on it, Anthony Joseph last night tweeted that the PFA had been approached by senior footballers who wanted to know what would happen if they refused to talk to the broadcaster.

So this matter continues to escalate, and that has caught the hate-mongers completely by surprise. They had expected another easy victory, particularly as the BBC has proved so easy to browbeat and so susceptible to the dog-whistlers. It helps that the entire organisation is now stacked to the rafters with their ideological bedfellows in the Tory Party.

As some commentators have asked, had Lineker tweeted in support of the policy would we even be having this conversation?

Of course not. This is a government which is grotesquely intolerant not only of immigrants and public servants and unions and such like but it cannot handle criticism at all, and especially not when it comes from a high profile public figure who might put things in such a way as to cast a harsh light on these hypocrites and their ideas.

So getting the BBC to cave was easy. It’s a Tory organisation now, and their objective is to dismantle it from within.

What proved harder was bending football to its will, and we gave them an early lesson in that during their faux outrage over the reaction of our fans being asked to pay tribute to the dead monarch. When our fans made it clear that our philosophy was “citizens, not subjects” they were outraged. But Celtic withstood it.

See, what these people forget is that but for a handful of basket case clubs there is barely one in the country which does the forelock tugging and ass kissing that they were counting on here. We are unfortunate enough to have one of them right on our doorstep, but they are a source of dark humour. Those clubs are very rare.

Put it this way, sides with foreign owners aren’t going to cave in to The Daily Mail, nor are clubs based in working class towns and cities, whose fans have come to detest, once more, the odious shower from Conservative Central Office.

And yes, I have to remind those people that a lot of them voted Tory in spite of all the historical evidence that it was a major mistake, and a lot of them went along for the joy-ride on Boris the Buffoon’s Party Bus before Covid offered a harsh lesson in what happens when the idiots have their hands on the levers of power during a crisis.

Best not to let those grubby fingers anywhere near those gears, just in case.

Still, like someone who returns to an untrustworthy partner the reminders are not long in coming and eventually the lesson takes. I suspect that most of these communities need no further education as to what the Tory Party represents and it’ll be a long time before they are so tempted towards the dark side.

The fans aren’t the real driving force here though.

No, the resistance came from football itself, and as shocking as that must be for the Farage’s and Braverman’s and the other assorted goons who have been getting by on blaming immigration for all this country’s problems for years now, in fact it should have been fairly obvious to them that the sport itself was simply not going to leap on that bandwagon.

It is easy, at times, to look at our football stars and see nothing but pampered, rich men miles removed from the ordinary supporter. But here’s a question; who was the last professional footballer who went to Sevenoaks? Or Oxford? Or Cambridge? Who was the last manager to climb the ladder from an investment banking background?

Most footballers don’t emerge out of the landed gentry.

They aren’t produced, as Prime Ministers were once said to be, “on the playing fields of Eton.”

The Spectator did a piece on this last year and concluded that you could barely put together a decent Premiership XI who were privately educated. One of the ones who was, amazingly, was our own former keeper Fraser Forster. It is exceptionally rare. It is not unheard of, but just 5% of England’s top flight pros went to posh schools.

These guys are wealthy, yes, but the money hasn’t erased their sense of where they came from, and most of them still cling fiercely to that. A lot of them are from communities which have been almost totally destroyed by more than a decade of austerity cuts. Many of them have friends and family members still living in those places.

Many of them knew people who died of Covid whilst Matt Hancock and others were giving big contracts to their mates and slandering public service staff on WhatsApp even as they stood applauding them for the cameras.

Many of them play alongside players from the very foreign countries successive Tory leaders have slandered. Almost all of them have had terrible searing experiences at the hands of the bigots and racists and muckrakers of The Telegraph, The Mail and The Express. They have no love for the gutter media, all of which skews hard to the right.

Footballers who have been outspoken on social issues have been treated like children, told to shut it and seen relentless attacks. Marcus Rashford is not the only one to stand tall against them and emerge from it with more friends and fans than ever. And these fools haven’t learned the most basic lessons from that or thought about what it means.

Football has moved away from its roots; this is the commonly held view. And yet those who play the game still come, predominantly, from the working class areas in which large sections of the fan-base live and work, and no matter how much money these guys have the streets they emerged from are still a part of them, and still mean something to them.

Most of these guys share dressing rooms with players from all over the world. When the Turkish earthquake struck, a lot of these guys played alongside people who had friends and family in the disaster zone. Christian Atsu died in that quake; he played for Newcastle. Now this country is barring the doors to people displaced by that disaster and by others.

If you polled professional footballers in England’s top flight on the government immigration policy, you probably wouldn’t find enough support for it to put together an eleven a-sides match. That’s how much has changed. That’s where the game is now.

The dressing rooms aren’t filled with yobbish BNP boot-boys like they were back in the early 70’s when you could count high profile black players on your hands, and when foreign signings were virtually unheard of. The reek of sectarianism might still cling to a club up here which still tells its Catholic players to watch what gestures they make, but the rest of the game won’t tolerate that kind of thinking at all within its walls.

The government’s immigration policy stinks, and you don’t have to be part of the Islington chattering class to recognise that. Millions of people are appalled by its callousness, its inhumanity and aghast at the idea that we might be wilfully violating international law. Gary Lineker wasn’t speaking out as a media personality far removed from the real world and it’s problems; this guy is a national icon, and speaking the words a lot of folk wish they were able to say.

This government and its ghastly apologists, not to mention its media shock troops, believed that they were tackling just one man and that once he was silenced there would be no more dissent.

But that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the football family, which sticks together and which is nowhere near as intolerant and insular and hateful as the right-wing media believes it to be, and that’s because whilst its own ranks are made up of public school elitists, football isn’t, at least not yet and I don’t think that it ever will be.

And you know what? I’m damned proud of that, and we all should be.

Because all too often football is presumed to be followed and played by nothing but Neanderthals.

It is great when those within it show themselves to be so, so much more.

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  • Johnny Green says:

    Wow, what a brilliant article James, it might be your best ever.

    I am not worthy.

    • John L says:

      What a shit article

      • Stesano says:

        Really?! I bet your as thick as you sound! Yeah ” shit article ” defending people and their rights! We know where your minsets is eh bet you dont have a life or much going on outside your hun hate and here you are! Clown shoes like you are the reason we have royals abd tory governents! You utter loser!! Just full hate you people consumed it by it! Now off with you as another TREBLE is incoming!! Ha ha

      • Jim Duffy says:

        What do you know John L,are you a right wing shitkicker.

    • Henriksgoldenboot says:

      Tongue in cheek Johnny! Very good!

  • Johnny Green says:

    Solidarity…….we are all Gary Lineker.

  • John L says:

    It’s not right wing. As I said before. Why do people like you not realise that our schools, health, teaching and infrastructure can not cope with illegal immigrants without the Department of our services . Stick to football as you quit good at that

    • Kingmurdy says:

      Wtf does “department of our services” mean ?

    • Stesano says:

      You stick to racism! The world belongs to us all!! Tho i am betting you never been or worked anywhere else in your puff eh Clown shoe!

    • Stesano says:

      I replied to this clown shoe above where my comment?! Anyway to reiterate your a clown shoe ! That i reckon has never been anywhere bar maybe a fortnight in spain!! The world belong to us all ! You fool

    • Jim Duffy says:

      John L our schools , health care , teaching have always depended on overseas workers helping us, even in the 50s and 60s we needed all these immigrants to help run our country,you my friend are a rabid right wing redneck shitkicker Tory bastard and should be nowhere near this Celtic website,ie fuck off.

  • James Connolly says:

    Superb James totally agree with you on this one every decent person should stand against this bullying with the scum of the earth ?

  • SSMPM says:

    It is right wing, fascist even, when a government shuts all the doors and the there is no legal route for asylum seekers to escape persecution from for example dictatorial genocide or state policies that discriminate against women and girl’s education. Have you counted how many have contributed to that health service. Guess they don’t you agree to free speech either. As we know there’s a lot of selfish uncaring bigot idiots in this country too

  • SSMPM says:

    A few errors there, oh dear I may now be doomed to a life of hell

  • Bob (original) says:

    Can’t get too excited about this.

    The BBC – along with the other corporate media – has never been impartial.

    Other recent examples where the BBC has obediently followed the govt. narrative:
    Covid, Ukraine, the Assange blackout.

    That a multimillionaire ex-football player is now the ‘BBC martyr’ is strange.

    The obsecenely overpaid Lineker represents just one of the problems at the BBC:
    whilst the over-75’s are no longer exempt from the TV licence tax – and during a cost of living crisis.

    If I watched the BBC, or paid the licence, I’d be bothered.

    But, if this media storm is another nail in the BBC coffin, then it will all be worthwhile.

    • Effarr says:

      I would assume that you pay a licence fee to the BBC, James. If you do I would suggest that you ask for a rebate, otherwise it is a bit hypocritical to go on such a rant. A bit llke a drunk man standing at the bar lamenting the price of drink.

      I have no intention whatsoever of paying for a licence and this has nothing to do with the Linekar situation. The reason is a bit nearer to home.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      You sure you’re not the green machine come back to haunt us ,your statement is utter inane rubbish,COVID and the Ukraine war ,wtf are you on you fuckin loony.

  • Charlie Kelly says:

    Again some of our support show a complete lack of empathy or sympathy for refugees or immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves,funny how a large number of Celtic fans are from immigrant families who left there homeland to make a new living for themselves and children ,and that was the reason our club was founded,so John L go away and support some other club who really don’t give a fuck for anyone else but themselves

  • cowdenpix says:

    May I digress from your (aced it) piece to highlight the 1 and only comment on the celts are here spotcene article which I have tried to counter twice only to be mediated twice, to highlight that this site or Aaron the author are not becoming of the wider celtic family or of a site whose values reflect the mindset of us as a community.

  • Christina says:

    Excellent article James which goes a long way in elucidating the Lineker situation and the subsequent fall- out from same, which is still growing. Whilst the subject matter of this argument, i.e. the treatment of immigrants in this country, is the primary focus of most of the anger here I believe the issue of free speech is also a cause of much unrest. The latter point is being downplayed in our appalling right-wing media who are hoping to galvanise the rascist/xenophobic hordes so that the discourse will stay exactly where they want it and not on the more sinister issue of government suppression of dissent. In Lineker though, I think they have under-estimated their opponent and his appeal, not only to the football ‘family’ but to a wider audience.Their snobbish dismissal of football and those who follow the sport may well be their undoing!

    • Stesano says:

      Spot on Christina it was always thus, that country shoukd never be in this position as it essentially a working class country and always! The divide and conquer merchants laugh no doubt and probably cant believe how easy it is to divide people tho with right wing hubs like ( snake mountain)ibrox is it any wonder !! Where you have thousands of lost souls hanging onto to they old racist,sectarian bigoted ways whith no sense of self!! What a country!

  • Kingmurdy says:

    Great article james…

  • Henry says:

    Our history is one of standing up for the powerless, the downtrodden, giving a voice to the voiceless. Tory and Labour politicians don’t give a flying f*ck about anyone but the oligarch class. Thanks James for carrying the Celtic tradition into print in 2023, for reminding us that we are Celtic, we don’t hate immigrants but we despise those that try to demonise them.

    Next time you are in hospital, there is a good chance the nurse or doctor that is caring for you at least part of the time is an immigrant. Hail Hail.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      Henry do you think SNP give a flying fuck about the working class,they are obsessed with nationalism and couldn’t care who they tramp on , remember the SNP were just Scottish Tories,if there was a close result between labour and Tory who’s side do you think the SNP would take,it wouldn’t be labour, remember,they are Crawford, Findlay, Farquhar, Campbell, Alasdair,posh pseudo right wing.

  • mhiguel66 says:

    Thanks James, enjoyed that

  • John S says:

    BBC Scotland coverage (commentary silence) this weekend was a vast improvement on the usual sycophantic propaganda.

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    The BBC stinks from top to bottom. As I stated before it is an arm of government propaganda. The governments media wing. Just look at howr Sharp got the job. The fact the the BBC chairman is picked by the prime minister says it all. And anyone still paying their licence is a fool.

    In fact we should be banning them from Celtic park. We see their agenda and we see what they think of our club and it also stinks!

    What also stinks is this whole immigration or (anti) immigration policy. As I also stated before this is about creating hysteria about immigrants to get people programmed to accept digital ID. The whole immigration argument needs broken down. For instance what are we talking about here. Is the argument about economic migrants, illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. Because Lineker not anyone else.has been clever enough to ask that question.

    And I have another question. Specifically for you James. Are you a communist? You harp on about the extreme right yet you have very very extreme leftist views.

    I have family and friends over in Ireland who are saying the same thing currently, send the immigrants back. The south is being flooded with them at the moment, and this isn’t migrants seeking safety, this is bus loads of fighting age men. With no women or children among them. What do you say to these people in the east wall etc in Dublin who are taking a stand and demonstrating again this influx of migrants?

    • Brian Cavanagh says:


      Oh ironies of ironies – Henriks father came from Cape Verde and got asylum in Sweden thanks to its progressive approach to immigration over 60 years ago, yet you want to give out about immigration. Your comments are absolute nonsense. The Republic of Ireland is not being flooded with immigrants -I live

      here and proud to support an Ireland for all. We are now a multi cultural country. For the record the three large groups of asylum seekers are from 1] Afghanistan 2] Urkraine 3 Syria – it is absolutely right that our country a very rich one supports those in dire straits. And the vast majority of asylum seekers seeking protection are women and children.

      Your recycling of fake news from extreme wing fascist organisations has no place on a Celtic website. And if you are so concerned about illegals living in our countries are you going to demand the US expel the 50,000 illegal undocumented Irish? Or is it just different skin tones that concern you? I would expect better from a Celtic fan

      • Henriksgoldenboot says:

        Brian, you must have missed the east wall demonstrations then, did you miss it a few weeks ago when the M50 was brought to a standstill for a few hours due to protestors.

        I frequent Donegal, Carraigart and Dunfanaghy in particular and they have been lumped with a few thousand Ukrainian refugees. People who should never have been there. Now the locals have accepted them but they are not happy about it.

        The fake news you accuse me of comes from my own experience, which unfortunately is real life and not fake. And yes, if there are 50000 illegal Irish in the States they should be sent home. They are breaking the law. And this brings me back to the whole point regarding the immigration agenda. There’s a difference between economic migrants, people who want to contribute. Illegals who come and essentially end up contributing to the criminal elements in the countries they aim for. And then there is the genuine asylum seekers who need and deserve help.

        I just happened to be listening to the radio the other day at work and they were covering this issue and they had a Lady on from Scotland who works with refugees and had done for years in Glasgow and even she admitted we have too many and give them too much. Maybe you could help out Brian?

  • Eldraco says:

    Old Etonians v Blackburn.

    It’s time ,lads lassies support Gary.

  • Stesano says:

    It digusts me thst in a country of basically working people there is a tory government there! And in Scotland there is a club with fans no doubt struggling that bow to that bs with that joke monarchy and back in the day thatcher making draws at that cespit ! A strange contridiction in terns is ” der hun” There should never be a royal family or tory party in power in that country only through division and right wing mindsts mostly down south. Tho in brigadoon Scotland der hun plays the royal, milatary and tory card most are right wing tho dont even know it!! But worse most have nothing and still pandering to these entitled people what a place eh tho they need to belong to something i suppose eh In reality they are utter poisonous scum! That care little for their fellow man, thank God we know what we are about!! And fight for it mostly!! Hail Hail another TREBLE on the way

  • Charlie Kelly says:

    Amazing attack on James because he has views about helping people,and is being accused of being a Communist or left wing.As Henrik should know the People who started and fought against the oppression and conditions that his family and friends and my family lived under had strong Socialist ideals so there is nothing wrong in caring about your fellowman and if our. ancestors hadn’t stood up and gave there lives we wouldn’t be able to have these conversations we’re having just now HH

    • Henriksgoldenboot says:

      Maidin mhaith.
      Charlie, you have misread my post. This was not an attack on James at all. I respect the man and value his blog far too much to ever do that. It was merely a question in relation to some of his points in previous posts where he himself has “attacked” the right and those with right leaning views. Which isn’t myself may I add. This is supposed to be a football blog, and football is supposed to bring people together and span divides. I am dismayed that football like everything else now has been politicised, and this is EXACTLY what the Lineker saga is all about, look at what happened during the world cup with the ridiculous virtue signalling about the rainbow flag as another example.

      I note in your above post you mention about our ancestors and what they fought against, and I’m wondering what you think about my point I made about these very people standing up against their government and the finger puppets in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and saying no more to all the immigrants being flooded in. Most of these being fighting age men with barely no women or children with them if at all.

      And please watch this link if you can it will open your mind and will leave you swearing that one of us will ever give our lives again for these phoney wars and causes. Tog go bog é mo chara.

      • Brian Cavanagh says:


        you are repeating the lies of the fascist right, I repeat the vast majority are women and children – and anyway we have enough space. I repat my point why is it ok for the Irish to to to UK, US and Australia often as illegals but no one can come here?

  • Jack Curran says:

    Well said !

  • Tony McHugh says:

    Spot on, James. I do not understand why so many people are obsessed with making life miserable for so many fellow beings. Unfortunately so many of these are in government positions and keep getting voted back in.

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