It astonishes me at times how bad our media is at doing the basic joining of dots. It appals me how little thought they give to the stories they put out into the public domain.
From the start of the ticketing crisis they have been pretty much dancing to the tune played by Ibrox. It is a subtle tune, because how could it be otherwise? But they tapped their feet along with the beat and when it was time to get up to dance they did it.
Ibrox was and is in the wrong here. They started this and now, like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice they don’t know how to turn it off. They cannot easily reverse this calamitous decision – which as I pointed out has had knock on effects across the game – but continuing as things are might see their fans permanently unable to go to Celtic Park.
I could care less about their feelings in this. Their actions have endangered our supporters and that is the only thing that lay at the heart of yesterday’s announcement. The safety of our fans is the paramount consideration here and is the reason Celtic refused an allocation. Our club believes that our fans have been put in harm’s way by the actions of their club.
It took me a good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee before I understood why they had thus decided not to take up an allocation from us. I since spoke to someone who pretty much confirmed my suspicion, and the purpose behind this aggressive briefing that a “joint decision” has been taken here. There was, of course, no such “joint decision.”
Celtic told the Ibrox club we were refusing the tickets and laid out the precise reasons why. Those reasons would have been communicated clearly to the media, and in fact they have been.
Had it gone out like that, the story would have broken like a tsunami wave hitting the beach. It would have put the Ibrox club at the centre of a very harsh spotlight, one that would have revealed all their policies and their lack of concern for our supporters.
Think of the enormous reputational damage such an announcement would have caused to them. That story would have reverberated around Europe and would have called into question their ability to protect any travelling fans.
In those circumstances they had no option whatsoever but to refuse their own allocation and spin to the media that they had the same concerns as we did and that this was, therefore, some kind of decision made for the mutual benefit of the clubs.
It is brazenly untrue. I know for a fact that it’s untrue.
I’m not writing this as someone who is throwing darts at a board and hoping one of them hits. I know exactly which of the two clubs was really concerned here and turned down the tickets on that basis.
Their club has denied their own fans tickets for Celtic Park purely because they know they cannot withstand the scrutiny that Celtic’s decision would have subjected them to, if not in Scotland then certainly south of the border and across Europe.
The media has swallowed Ibrox’s narrative hook, line and sinker but then that’s only a repeat of what they’ve done at every step of this. Ibrox thinks this is about managing public relations and they aren’t in the least concerned about disenfranchising their own fans to stay one step ahead of the story.
But the story is out there and people do know the truth.
Whether the media writes them or not, the Celtic blogs know what happened and so do those at Ibrox.
But whereas we’re writing the facts they are doing spin control for their club. That 800 or so of their supporters have been deprived of watching their team is nothing to these Peepul.
The press should be standing up for them as well as our fans … but of course they won’t.