Folks, Let’s Face It, Some Of Us Are Just Not Good Celtic Supporters.

Image for Folks, Let’s Face It, Some Of Us Are Just Not Good Celtic Supporters.

In the end, I blame myself. I don’t measure up. How can I?

For years, in my 20’s. I was a political campaigner who supported Celtic. When I wasn’t going to matches I was going to marches.

I was a pro-Palestinian when certain others still couldn’t find it on the map.

Whilst at university, I had the pictures of the ten men who died in the hunger strike on the wall of my student hall digs, but the mattress was clean and not soaked in urine, and the walls were white brick, not smeared with my own filth, so I absolutely admit that I never experienced anything approximating what those guys went through, even before they embarked on their final protest, and martyred themselves for their cause and their country.

The thing is, I’m not sure that any of the guys we’re talking about today did any of that either. Nor ever picked up, far less fired, a gun. I know every Irish Republican ballad ever written, and can sing most of them in a passable voice, and sometimes still do. I don’t kid myself that it equates to activism of the sort that would ever have cracked as much as my toenail.

But maybe if I’d just sung a little louder in the pubs, maybe if I thought Celtic Park was the place for it, maybe if I added “IRA” to the end of every song, I would come that little bit closer to making the grade. I don’t though, so I come up short, and I accept that now.

Yeah, I blame myself.

Because at the end of the day, what were my own principles worth? Where was my own stand when it was all on the line? I should have stuck to my guns, and all the rest be damned.

How many times over the years have I reversed my positions? Stuck my neck out only to wind it in? Is that any way for a man to behave?

I had strong feelings on Ange. I should have held on tight to them. I should have been the last guy standing in the Celtic car-park with the “Aussie Out!” banner.

I should have stood there with that thing clutched in my hand until Spurs came along and whisked the guy away. So what if he was a sweeping surging success in between times?

It was Paul Samuelson who first said “When the facts change I change my mind, what do you do?” That’s commonly cited by those who want to wriggle out of their starting principles. In short, it’s a coward’s way of being able to sleep at night.

Intellectually honest? No, I should have stuck to my ignorant snap judgement and facts be damned! Because that’s what a real Celtic fan would have done.

I don’t like pyro. I think it’s unsafe and stupid.

I think the insistence that you can’t enjoy football without it is moronic and the idea of wearing a ski-mask whilst you do something that is manifestly illegal and then greeting about police persecution is a bit rich and a bit hypocritical.

But then, it’s the willingness to indulge in that which makes you a real fan. An ultra. And because I won’t, I realise that I’m not. No matter what else I do, I’m just not.

I attend testimonials.

Now I realise that ultras don’t do that either; I am a very poor excuse for a supporter, me.

A very poor excuse.

All these years, I thought this was what fans did, that it was right to honour those who have brought success to the club, instead of pledging allegiance to charlatans and mercenaries. Honour for them, nothing for the loyal soldiers?

I just don’t think I’m much of a Celtic man.

Although I spend every single day defending the club from its myriad enemies.

Maybe that’s the trouble.

Maybe I should pick one specific set of enemies; the police, UEFA, the council, the safety executive … anyone but those who might actually do us harm out on the pitch.

All these years I focussed on the media and on refs; who knew I should be standing outside the City Chambers fighting for the right to disobey the laws on fireworks inside stadiums?

What have I been doing all these years?

I should have been telling UEFA to F off instead.

I guess that’s why guys like me will never have their own part of the ground.

I realise I cannot be alone in asking myself these questions.

We’ve all done this, we’re all guilty of some version of it, we’ve all got our sins in this regard. Guys, girls, friends, comrades, ladies and gentlemen, it’s clear that we’re not the beating heart of this club, that this title belongs to a small band of rebels who alone stand against the man.

The rest of us?

I’m afraid we’re just not good Celtic supporters.

Or maybe I’m overstating it.

Because no-one ever said we weren’t.

But to read some of the internet chatter today, I’m finding it hard to work out what constitutes being a good fan, but I know that in my heart of hearts I’m coming up short, and so yeah, that’s on me.

I blame myself, even now for it, even when I don’t actually know what the it is.

Share this article