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Celtic Fans Know What Madden Is. This “St Mirren Fan” Guff Is Fooling Nobody.

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I really do not understand what the fuss is about over Bobby Madden’s interview on the BBC.

Not the fuss the media made of it, nor the fuss some Celtic fans have made of it, but the fuss Madden himself made of it, in his hilariously bad answer to a straightforward and simple question.

The question he was asked – about whether or not he was a “Rangers fans” – was not ambiguous, so quite why he chose to answer it with a lot of fluff and fiddle-dee-dee and obfuscation, raising straw men just to bat them down I don’t know.

The answer was bollocks because most Celtic fans have never alleged that Madden had a season ticket for Ibrox and I have never heard the allegation that he was a share-holder there, both of which he raised to dismiss them.

Stripped right down to the basics, these were never serious propositions because it would have been the height of insanity for someone climbing the SFA refereeing ladder to appear at Ibrox every week that he wasn’t on the pitch doing games, and even more ridiculous to have been on what would have been easily obtainable share-holder lists at the club.

We have accused people in the refereeing fraternity of many things on this site, including suspicions of outright corruption. But we’ve never said these people were stupid.

The issue, as it’s always been, is where his allegiances lie.

Madden grew up supporting Rangers. He freely admitted that.

His pitiful “and then I started following St Mirren” spiel is not even thinly disguised. It’s a classic nod and wink to the wise, an excuse which has been heard in Scottish refereeing circles for years.

“My Glasgow team? Well technically, they play in Paisley.”

It’s like a bad end of pier joke long past its use by date.

He grew up following Rangers.

It doesn’t matter whether he’s paid money to attend a Sevco match at home or abroad.

We know what Madden is.

We know where his allegiances lie, and they do not lie at The SMiSA Stadium.

He sounded ridiculous pushing that line, a line which everybody is well aware is utterly bogus.

Even his questioners must have been sniggering over it, but all he’s done is draw attention, once again, to the issue we keep on talking about … officials should be made to declare their allegiances the way they do in England and elsewhere.

And yeah, some of them will try this pitiful line … but they do so at their own risk, on pain of termination should the truth ever out and this is a small country and it nearly always does.

Growing up in a staunch pro-Ibrox household and being taken there regularly growing up should be an automatic disqualifier from ever officiating one of their games … it’s not harsh, it’s a common sense measure which is considered routine everywhere but here.

Frankly, I’d have more respect for these people if they simply admitted what we already know.

There are officials in this country who shouldn’t be near, or should have never have been near, games involving our club, and I know of at least two retired officials who are Celtic fans and I’d include them in that number, especially as one of them freely admits to having been harder on us than other clubs … in the service of appearing “balanced.”

A bit like Andy Walker and Mark Wilson try to be.

With “friends” like these, who needs corrupt geezers leaning the other way?

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  • harold shand says:

    The start of his post ref media career in Scotland

    This hun c*nt will be everywhere soon

  • S Thomas says:

    I don’t really care what team he supports or what team anybody supports as long as they are fair and do their job to a high standard. I wouldn’t say to someone you can’t be a referee if you support Celtic or Rangers that’s just ridiculous. The problem in Scotland is the referees are garbage.. they really are average at best. There should be a system in place.. for example UEFA, were you can’t be a referee unless you meet a required standard, and if the standards are not enforced met on a weekly basis you get demoted. I think if something like that was put in place.. then the standard of referring would improve as they would be losing dough.

  • Damian says:

    On the Celtic By Numbers site earlier in the year I had a perfectly eloquent Celtic fan telling me that Madden was not only a Rangers fan but a supporters’ bus organiser. Celtic fans do indeed talk utter nonsense on this issue, with a straight face.

    So, declaring allegiances as in England: a good idea which I fully support. But, careful using England as the great white hope, as so many Celtic fans do so slavishly on this issue. Go and look for those allegiances and you’ll find that the FA do not publish them. Go look and you will find one or two fan-produced lists (some of which state ‘unknown’ for certain refs), which are based entirely on online innuendos. So, this is the situation that would satisfy us? That, like in England, allegiances are declared to the FA but we don’t get to know what they are? We’d be ok with that? Also that, like in England, we’d take the self-declarations on good faith from the referees unless there is demonstrable and clear proof (not just evidence) to the contrary (and certainly not just online hot air innuendo)?

    And in any case, England is a fundamentally different country to Scotland in terms of its demographics and how they spread out into football allegiances. England is not a country where more than half of the football supporting population (the only recruitment ground for referees) support (or are at the very least favourable towards) one of two clubs. Preventing fans of either from officiating either would drain the talent pool available to either even further.

    But, thankfully, England is not typical. Indeed, Scotland is far closer to the European norm. We don’t need to look solely towards England for inspiration, as if it is the only country in the world worth looking at. Why not the model as in Belgium or Holland, where referees declare allegiances, can officiate matches involving their preferred teams, but they lose twice the appraisal points for having made a poor decision in their team’s favour? That could and would work. The English model wouldn’t.

    In a single season, Bobby Madden sent off more Rangers players than players of all other clubs combined. In a Hampden semi-final between the two clubs, he awarded Celtic two penalties which, while correct, an openly biased referee could have explained away pretty easily (I’ve seen penalties not given for worse offences etc.).

    But this will not get better unless anyone who complains about it is willing to say what they want, state why it would work, and be honest about any drawbacks it would bring.

    • Seppington says:

      I’d be satisfied if the clubs got to see the list.

      • Damian says:

        Me too, genuinely. Would everyone else? Would any sizeable minority carry on moaning about it? I’m not sure there are enough good faith actors on the issue, on our side of the debate. No reason to do nothing (clearly the backdrop to all of this is the clique-ish amateurishness of the SFA), but you can understand why they might be unmoved to appease Celtic fans; it’s not likely they would ever be satisfied.

  • Johnno says:

    If this goes anywhere to bringing down the barriers of the corruption that has existed within the SFA for way to long, then I will applaud it.
    Yet remain very skeptical in doing so.
    I believe this interview is only designed in making the path a bit clearer for getting a job within Sky to explain some of the ridiculous decision making within the game, and continues to put such a stain upon it still.
    Would he be an acceptable face in doing so, like a Gallagher and Walton do for sky and BT sport remains to be seen, even if it’s even in the offering.
    Maybe a watchful eye from an ex ref could be the way to go as the pundits are still far to full of bias still, especially with a fat useless monster munch fuck being given way to much airtime to spout his shite constantly.
    Was never a fan of madden as just another in a long line of been able to do the job properly, yet remain unsure if he could actually remain a voice that could actually improve standards for the future as something needs to be done still

  • Gazza says:

    Why does no hack ask him why he headed down south?????
    If they did and he told the truth you would get the mark of the man.
    Mr. Madden just can’t tell the truth at the end of the day.
    If he ever went into politics he’d rise through the ranks right to the top because they’re all lying b’stards as well.

    • Damian says:

      I would just assume it would be because he could go full time, make more money, have potentially far greater opportunities etc. I would assume he went down south for the same basic reason as Kieran Tierney, Charlie Nicholas, Kenny Dalglish… The same basic reason as many of my friends and relatives (and, I suspect, readers of this blog) have left Scotland for England over the years. Presumably the question would simply force Madden to indirectly insult Scottish football, which would not, in that instance, be to the benefit of him, the interviewer, or the bulk of the audience. The answer would be so painfully obvious.

  • Johnny Green says:

    My son worked with him in Morrisons in Bellshill and he most certainly was an Ibrox season ticket holder at that time. So, he’s a total liar.

  • Tony B says:

    People should be judged on their actions and Madden has proved time and again his pro Ibrox and anti Celtic bias.

    One of the worst examples was his failure to award a penalty when Leigh Griffith was taken out by a chest high tackle from a sevco player whose leg was literally wrapped arond the wee man. Madden later said the hun got the ball but if he did he went through the Celtic player to do so.

    Everyone knows Madden is a hun and that he let his bias show through in games involving them and Celtic either together or on their own.

    You would have to be a gullible eejit to believe otherwise.

    • Damian says:

      Indeed, I think it was that season where he sent off more Rangers players than players of other clubs combined and the season where he awarded two penalties for Celtic against Rangers at Hampden etc. He presided over more Rangers defeats than most of his peers and far more than Celtic defeats etc etc.

      I’m not sure he denied having been a Rangers fan? Why’s it such a big deal in an era where our club is so blatantly the most dominant sporting, financial and influential force? Why does it not work both ways? Don Robertson is a Celtic fan; he was at my school and was close to people I know very well. Kevin Clancy is a Celtic fan; I know people who work with him etc. etc.

      The temperature of ‘referees are Rangers fans and even if they’re not, they just are anyway’ is flatly ridiculous.

  • Tony B says:

    The perception of bias is what is important particularly if it is accompanied by baffling decisions.

    Celtic has been easily the most successful club in Scotland this century, yet year on year there are fewer penalties awarded for and more awarded against than sevco.
    This has been happening for decades and is statistically significant.

    Why do the huns have these baffling penalty statistics that are clearly not coincidental?

    There must be a reason for it, and no amount of I knew so and so and he was OK can account for this.

    Something untoward is clearly going on and the common factor appears to be Scottish referees, particularly those from Lanarkshire, whose influence is disproportionately out of kilter with their numbers.

    Solution? Get in professional refs from anywhere but Scotland to remove the perception and incidence of bias in Scottish football.

    • Damian says:

      Decades isn’t true. Throughout the entirety of the O’Neill and Strachan era, the collective penalty balance (for and against) was quite firmly in Celtic’s favour. Was the balance suspended for that 8/9 year stint?

      Indeed, around the turn of the year a lot of the online Celtic community were talking about the pattern for the last five seasons. Why not the last seven seasons (since Rangers were in the league)? The difference was nowhere near so stark.

      Penalty award counts are not a proxy for anything. In last year’s La Liga the team with the best penalty balance (for vs against) was Levante who were relegated. In the PL, Crystal Palace had a better balance than Chelsea, who finished 18 points ahead of them.

      Why not look at stats that don’t suit you? This season, Rangers have had 25 more yellow cards than Celtic (or that was the count a couple of weeks ago). Yellow cards happen more often than penalties. Wouldn’t they be a better expression of bias?

      Celtic are clearly the dominant influence, in every sense, in Scottish football. It’s basic economics; we have the money and the power. I’m fine with that, because I’m a 40 year old Celtic fan who went to his first games in 1989-90. I can remember it being otherwise, and I prefer it this way. There is nothing in the tenure of Michael Mulraney that makes me think our club is a victim. Pretending to be a victim when you’re clearly not is pathetic.

      I completely agree that the structure of our refereeing is bad. It could be better. But no one makes anything better by being wilfully misleading about what the problem is and who it affects.

  • Tony B says:

    Nothing misleadiing either wilful or otherwise about the fact that the huns penalty statistics are year on year always in their favour.

    No pens awarded against them at Ibrox in over a year by a Scottish referee yet several in European games by neutral refreees. Clearly something is seriously wrong here.

    No one is pretending to be a victim and you do yourself no favours by stating this.

    The stats are there for all to see and cry out for an explanation, which your selective facts do not do.

    IF you really are a Celtic supporter you need to wise up, and certainly refrain from expressing these views in Tim company.

    • Damian says:

      My stats are no more selective than yours. Mine at least are trying to balance and challenge the echo-chamber theories that do the rounds.

      Was the fact that the penalty balance was in Celtic’s favour for an extended year-on-year period at the beginning of the century indicative of SFA and/or refereeing bias in favour of Celtic at that time? If not, why would the reverse necessarily stand as true now?

      The constant insinuation is that it’s odd for penalties awarded/conceded not to be in line with general goals scored/conceded. But anyone who’s ever tested that theory knows that it isn’t, at all, anywhere. Until a few weeks ago the PL club with the best penalty deficit was Fulham. They’re not troubling Man City on the general goal difference table.

      No pens awarded against them at Ibrox in a year does seem odd, but there haven’t been many awarded against Celtic in that time either. Can’t think of many blatant errors in there either other than one at Celtic Park in the opening weeks of VAR (was happy to defer to the Yorkshire Whistler on the new year handball, having thought that was a penalty at the time etc.). There have been very few blatant errors since the World Cup break.

      I honestly think that the way the two teams play explains it a lot better than bias. If active bias was in play – either from Michael Mulraney down, or simply at the level of the officials, including the ones that are Celtic fans or genuine non-Rangers fans – I would not expect Rangers to have so many more yellow cards than Celtic (yellow cards given/not given is a far easier and more regular scenario to simulate than penalties).

  • Tony B says:

    Still no explanation of the discrepancy between Scottish and non Scottish referees in terms of penalties against the huns during the same time period.

    You are in a minority of one I suspect among Tims, if you are one, in believing that there is no hun bias among Scottish referees.

    To be quite frank mate you sound like a hun to me.

    • Damian says:

      Yeah yeah, heard that nonsense before. Indeed, the moderator of this site has my full email address and can have a picture of my season ticket in section 438 in the Jock Stein stand as soon as he would like, if that would settle that matter for you? Indeed, happy to meet outside turnstile T90 before the St Mirren game if you’d like to chat about it more amicably in person.

      Again, why only pivot to the stats that suit you? Why not deal with Rangers getting wildly more cards than Celtic despite an apparent pro-Rangers bias among the people issuing the cards? Why not deal with the pro-Celtic penalty deficit under O’Neill and into Strachan’s tenure (a chunky enough time period), despite apparent anti-Celtic bias at that time too?

      Non-Scottish referees? In European matches? They’re playing against better teams who tend to out-possess them. They commit more fouls in those games. Why would there not be a discrepancy?

      Tbh, the idea that refs are biased against Celtic has simply been assumed bread-and-butter stuff for me since I was a kid. I’ve only really changed my view in the last year or so when I started digging into the stats that fellow Celtic fans were putting out there. Most of them are hollow and can be countered very easily by anyone willing to put a Devil’s Advocate hat on for five minutes (which anyone who’s actually interested in anything should).

      Why? Because I hate bad arguments in favour of things I am favourable towards. When Rangers fans spout unfounded, daft and paranoid theories, as they generally do, it amuses me. It’s easy to swat it away. I don’t like it when Celtic fans do it. It cheapens us.

      As an analogy: I am strongly in favour of Scottish independence, say. But I can’t stand bad arguments in favour of Scottish independence. I really quite like bad arguments against Scottish independence. I can give further analogies if you’d like.

      There are stats that point against Celtic, there are stats that point in our favour. You need to look at all of them if you wish to arrive at an informed conclusion – particularly if you want external parties to do anything about it (which I do; I’ve made clear which specific refereeing changes I’d like to see many times, and why I think they’d work).

  • Tony B says:

    Sorry mate. In the words of the bard……… Methinks you doth protest too much, and you now appear to be obsessed about this.

    BTW. You have produced no evidence to support your claims, e.g. reference to statistics and articles that anyone can access.

    I’ll keep looking in to see what you come up with next.

    • Damian says:

      What would you like evidence of? The penalty deficits are accessible on, as are the cards awarded this season. 2000-01 is the first season there are records of. So from O’Neill onwards.

      You can believe me or not. You can look for yourself or not. But, having looked (and initially being very surprised by what I found), it is undeniably true that for an extended period at the beginning of this century, the penalty deficit was in Celtic’s favour, it is true that Levante had a penalty deficit of +13 last season, en route to being relegated, it is true that Scottish referees this season have penalised Rangers players with cards more than twenty times more than they have Celtic players etc etc.

      You haven’t provided any evidence of yours either. Though I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m only saying there are other stats which paint a different picture and it’s curious that you’re not interested in them. I’m also saying that there are explanations which go beyond bias and certainly which go beyond the idea of a structural and institutional bias against the most dominant, wealthiest, most powerful and influential sporting institution in the country.

      But, ‘you’re a hun’ and ‘obsessed’ are kind of an online Celtic chat Godwin’s Law sort of thing. So, we’ll call it a day.

      Take it easy.

    • Damian says:

      That’s yer card/booking table, btw.

      The current count is that Celtic have had 19 fewer yellows than Rangers in the league this season. You can scroll back easily enough..

      With the exception of the season Rangers won the league (where it was pretty well neck-and-neck), Celtic have had substantially fewer cards from officials than Rangers have every season since Rangers’ first in the top flight.

      Again, that’s the kind of thing that shifted my long-held views. Is that a pattern that is likely to appear in a system where there is institutional bias against Celtic (I’ve been told by many, even from referees who may themselves be Celtic fans)? Yellow cards happen quite often. You could explain away giving/not giving any given one, most of the time, quite easily. And yet, year on year on year, Celtic get by far the fewest.

      Now, please understand, I am NOT arguing that there is bias IN FAVOUR of Celtic. This pattern can be logically explained: Celtic is the best team, we play the best football, we dominate possession. It is therefore likely that we take far fewer bookings than anyone else (even Rangers, who have been towards the bottom of these tables quite a few times in recent seasons).

      But, there are also style-of-play explanations for Rangers getting / not conceding penalties. Rangers play a relatively deep line and their defenders are substantially better than almost all attacking opponents they’re up against. The deep line (relative to Celtic, say) makes chaotic situations at the back less likely, especially with relatively better players. Up front, they have players who are actually quite skilled at LOOKING for penalties. Kent in particular is good at it. He dribbles the ball at the edge of the box and waits for a foul to come. Regularly enough, it does. Sometimes he literally dives (and has picked up bookings for doing so), but usually the foul he’s looking for is a foul.

      This contrasts with the way Celtic plays in attack. Celtic players rarely touch the ball in the box more than twice. They play the ball into dangerous spaces (the most common pattern), they pass directly, or they shoot. If you’re not on the ball for very long, you’re unlikely to be fouled.

      At the back, Celtic plays a very high line (and they’ve played a relatively high line under successive managers). But while we have good CBs (and one excellent CB), we don’t quite have CBs who are tailor made for this. They’re not rapid quick. Couple this with having a keeper who is not able to cope with that space at all, and once in a while there will be chaos. And penalties usually come from chaos.

      Now, why does none of this bother me? Because I’m a Celtic fan. I’d rather have forwards touching the ball once or twice and creating a high volume of chances and far more goals than anyone else (Jota, Kyogo…) than forwards who dribble in the box to no particular effect other than to lure fouls, when they could look more often to beat their man and create opportunities (Kent, Morelos, Sakala…). The objective is to score goals, not get penalties and Celtic do that far better than Rangers.

      The space and chaos issues at the back (while they WILL remain a problem in Europe with the same personnel), don’t bother me either. We control the ball far better than our opponents and so while these situations will happen from time to time, they won’t matter much when they do. It’s a good risk to take. The benefits of the high line are far more considerable than its drawbacks.

      I genuinely think these are better explanations. The more I’ve genuinely thought about it, it just doesn’t sit right with me that anything is explained by the institution led by Michael Mulraney, with Nicholson at the top table, is institutionally biased against its most powerful asset, or that there’s an orchestrated campaign against Celtic by referees, a number of whom are themselves Celtic fans – especially in the VAR era where in order to act on that campaign there would have to be an explicit conspiracy.

      I support Celtic and I’m happy that the club I support is the dominant power in Scottish football. I’m absolutely fine with that. Rangers are and will likely continue to be a relative irrelevance.

  • Tony B says:

    Aye take it easy mate. I hope you find the peace you seek.

    • Damian says:

      Fingers crossed it arrives around 4pm on Sunday. Have a nice weekend. Cheers.

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