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It Is Time To End The Old Firm As A Concept, And Celtic Fans Should Now Insist On It.

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There comes a times when every community, no matter whether it’s one based on religion, race, sexual orientation, political leaning or social standing, takes ownership of the debates being had around it and asserts its right to control the language others use in relation to them. Language is important. It can be used to create empathy, acceptance, tolerance or it can be used to sew division and hate. It can used to inspire. It can also be used to offend.

What am I about to write is going to sound ridiculous to some people.

But it isn’t, and in the end the view that I am about to express is going to have its day. There is no doubt about that in my mind. Because it’s the way of the way of the world.

We, as Celtic fans, have the right to choose our own term of reference. Our club has a distinct identity. We are not wrong to want to be treated in a way that reflects that. We are, in fact, entirely right to insist on it.

For years now, we have rejected the term “Old Firm.”

There are very few of us who use the expression, and I genuinely cannot understand those who do. The vast majority of our fans utterly abhor the term. The club itself pointedly refuses to use it.

There are those who will claim that we are just another half of Old Firm Inc.

That’s doing the work of the enemy because it’s simply not true. Even if you believe, as many do, that our club is content to stay a step ahead of them and no more, and that at Celtic there is a widely held belief that we “need” them, that’s not the same as viewing ourselves as the other head of the same coin, which is precisely what the expression “Old Firm” does.

We are not one half of anything. Even in the scenario outlined above, we are a separate thing, a club standing alone.

Even if we believe that our general health depends on some version of Rangers existing, that does not automatically make us “part” of them or them “part” of us. The “Old Firm” label links us together. No such link exists, whatever the internal policies and general mindset of those who run our club might be.

And without dispute, our club knows this full well and acts accordingly. Not only do we not use the term, but we’ve taken ownership of the term to make sure that nobody else can legitimately use it. We have opposed measures designed to market the term. Our club recognises that all it does is chains us to a basket case organisation which drags us down.

Furthermore, our club’s refusal to use the term, and the Celtic fan’s refusal to accept it, dates back before 2012. The liquidation of Rangers rendered it null and void, but we had stopped using it way before that.

The first Ibrox club was an utter embarrassment. It presented itself as the staunch defender of Britishness and narrow patriotism. Their fans were frequently in trouble in Europe for sectarian and racist singing and even, in Tel Aviv, Nazi salutes.

Our board recognised the utter toxicity of being seen as a mirror image of them, and so when the fans stopped using the term the club stopped using it too. The liquidation of Rangers consigned it to the grave permanently. Or at least it should have.

But the term is still in circulation, and this is no small part because their club fraudulently claims it and uses it and tries to goad us into doing it too, and Celtic won’t. The current Ibrox club is, if anything, even more abhorrent than the previous one, and the risks of being tied too tight to them are surely obvious to every single person at Parkhead.

Our fans have the right not be referred to as part of the odious twosome. Our club has the right not to be referred to as part of it. Yet every mainstream journalist in the country continues to do it. Former players continue to do it. The governing bodies have even done it on occasion, and they aren’t paying a blind bit of notice to our intense dislike of the phrase.

So, it’s time to drive the point home. From now on, whenever I hear the term used, I intend to complain. To do so vigorously, and I would urge that other people join me. The term is not only redundant, it is abhorrent. We all want nothing to do with it, but until we insist on it in a way that matters, we’re going to have to keep on hearing it.

I am going to write to the national broadcasters and media outlets on this issue whenever the use the term, and every single one of us should. Consign it to the bin once and for all. Insist – don’t just scorn the phrase but insist that we find it offensive, cheapening, demeaning and at its heart a complete misrepresentation. We are not two sides of anything.

Watch and see what progress we get by aggressively challenging the phrase.

Maybe we’ll get none. For now.

But if we keep it up and more of us do it, what choice are they going to have but to stop? Our complete repudiation of the term will send a clear message. That message should have been sent a long time ago. We’ve been passive on this.

It is high time we stopped messing about and drew this line in the sand.

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  • Marky says:

    I agree wholeheartedly but the first step must be for Celtic plc to relinquish all rights to the Trademark. The publicity from this alone would send a clear message to Sky, BBC, msm & the world of football. Barcelona have no such association with Espanyol & neither should we.

    • watsamatabooboo says:

      Owning the rights to it is how we control the use of it – we relinquish that and it becomes available for others to use and market to suit their own ends, to do so would be absolute madness.

  • Mr Vincent McSherry says:

    Pity the Celtic board will disagree with you, we all know they are treated not as rivals but as business partners by our board who have been doing everything possible to get them back on board,we could have buried them recently but obviously refused to do so, as i said “Business partners” HH

    • Damian says:

      Aye, but that’s because season ticket sales plummeted when Rangers were in the lower leagues. The season tickets that were sold throughout that period were sold with a £100 per season discount. I’ve had my current season ticket since August 2012. When I called up to buy it, I was able to take my pick. The top of the Lions stand was closed altogether. More Celtic fans will spend more money if they’re in a contest with Rangers. The club is not wrong, as such.

  • Gerald Toal says:

    Like you I am sick and tired of the references made about the ‘OldFirm’.We are not part of anything that involves them.We have our own unique identity and it really annoys when the media link us with them.
    One of the most annoying aspects is that I continually see that term used on certain if not all Celtic supporters groups.
    I always complain to admin ti have the term removed.

  • David Kenyon says:

    Personally, I’ve never, ever used it.
    Always has been- we’re playing Rangers or something a little more colourful shall we say.

    I still here it used by Celtic supporters.

  • UlyssesGunt says:

    Agree completely with your first paragraph…. and you are as guilty as anyone in that you persist in calling them “ Ibrox “, an all encompassing term that comforts you from conflict, whether in relation to their fans , their board , the eleven on the field of play or even their sycophantic “ brothers “ in the media .
    So James , will you now call them sevco or therangers , after all , as you yourself say Language is important! .., or will you continue and contradict yourself .

    ( I didn’t read past the first paragraph in fear of
    encountering your obsequiousness in use of the word “ibrox” !

    • James Forrest says:

      You missed the point then. I don’t call them them Ibrox but “the Ibrox club.” Which is factually accurate.

      When I refer to Rangers I call them that. Dead club, vanished 2012.

      What I can assure you of is that I never do, and never will, refer to the club presently playing at Ibrox by that name.

      • UlyssesGunt says:

        Ibrox Tries To Misdirect Its Fans With Fanciful Plan To Take The Fight To Celtic.
        25/9/23,

        From your headline on your blog page … right below the article we are discussing .

        You call them “ Ibrox “ not “the Ibrox club “ , as you do in almost every other blog which semantically yes would be correct , but also disingenuous . Yes , you never call them by the name of the club that died , I grant you that .

        Call them Sevco , James ; or therangers, come on .. be brave …. that is their name after all .

        “ It is high time we stopped messing about and drew this line in the sand.”

  • Tony B says:

    How can you have an Old Firm populated with human beings and zombies?

    The huns are dead men shuffling along in a world of delusion.

    The mere concept of an O.F is patently absurd nowadays and we should resist it every time the term is used.

  • Thewildgoose says:

    100% agree with you on this but unfortunately that term is still widely used by many in the Celtic support. Whenever I’ve tried to put people straight on it the normal response is rolling the eyes and a “aye whatever” attitude.

  • Damian says:

    I don’t use the term, but Celtic and Sevco co-own the rights to exploit the term. The Intellectual Property Office confirmed that both renewed in 2021.

    Again, I don’t use it. I know that Celtic fans in general do not. But I’m not sure it’s in our gift to insist that no one else does.

    The only point we’re really making in refusing to use it is a reinforcement of the fact that Rangers was liquidated in 2012. But, happily or not, it remains the biggest money-spinning angle in Scottish football. Since Rangers have been in the top flight, we’ve sold out season tickets where we had gappy attendances when they were in the lower leagues. Being in the same league as a relatively poorer and inferior ‘Rangers’ team, fielding home games at Ibrox is a financial boon for Celtic.

  • Sheila Millar says:

    This is true enough James Most broadcasters do it on purpose and it needs to stop

  • SFATHENADIROFCHIFTINESS says:

    Great idea James.
    Perhaps if some of the bloggers could compile a fact sheet repudiating
    the validity of the phrase and also attack the Survival Myth. They are conjoined.
    If ‘ ranjurs’ did not survive Liquidation, nothing survives Liquidation’, then the term ‘ O— F—m’
    cannot be accurately employed unless referring, in a historical context, to the pre 2012 scenario.

  • Seamus says:

    Totally agree. Thing is this oldie is 73 and rather a dinosaur on technical issues like complaining to those who use the OF term, as you rightly suggest, so it would be appreciated if you would submit the email address of those media, tv or whoever uses this term when you expose them.
    I don’t have a laptop or pc just my mobile phone, as l said I’m a bit behind the times. Good luck, I too am sick of this tag. HH

  • Effarr says:

    On one of the rare times I listened to a phone-in, during all the talk around Ange`s Australian return, a Celtic fan came on and referred to THEM as Old Firm FC. That was when they had the arch with `We are the Old Firm as a gateway onto the pitch. You just knew by the response in the studio that they were absolutely raging. All you heard was an angry snicker. I was glad that someone had referred to them in the same way as I already had. As I have mentioned before, Ian Paisley tried to taint Sinn Fein by
    always referring to them as Sinn Fein/IRA and it worked to an extent. He knew that 90% of the human race are sheep: easily influenced. If THEY wish to be called the O7d F!rm then accommodate them.
    Keep referring to them as such and it will soon sink in. No need to complain to anybody: it is simple to
    refer to them as OLD FIRM SEVCO. There is nothing to lose except that horrible quote. I have never, ever referred to that game by such a name, even in the best of times. Keep repeating it, like Paisley did,
    and every time anyone hears it THEY will be ones that come to mind. I remember at an AGM a few years ago a motion was put forward to boycott the term and, whether by spite or not, both Lennon and Lawwell kept repeating it. Even a couple of days ago on a Celtic blog the writer was referring to the OF,
    so nobody should be expected to listen when many Celtic fans keep using it. It goes without saying that I absolutely, even when it was considered harmless, have hated it and would never, ever have used it even if I had been bribed.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    A nice banner at EVERY game “There is no O** F*** right in front of The TV cameras would be a possible idea…

    Mind you if Bennett and Bisgrove got upset about it as they probably would and had a quiet and sneaky word with Police Scotland – The Polis would likely bend to the poor wee souls whim and have the said “The O** F*** is DEAD” banner removed on their demand !

    Thank Fcuk that that link is as dead as the dodo !

    Keep at them James…

  • Peterbrady says:

    More lies untruths obstifacation in media today re: big donut at Inverness is called not ex Dundee utd Everton or Newcastle but dead club to keep sevco relevant. Every fan supporter of every club bombard all media with e-mails and any other means to stop there lies refuse to use or acknowledge the r word in any way shape or form they are sevco they know they are sevco all the media football sporting association know they are sevco and will always be sevco till they go the way of dead club the sooner the better cleanse football sport glasgow Scotland the planet of dirty vermin filthy scum. HAIL! HAIL! COYBIG.

  • Leon says:

    Celtic fans should be singing
    “Can you hear the Sevco sing”
    Why do we call them by the Old Clubs name.
    It helps with the “survival lie”.

  • Malcolm Morrison says:

    100% behind this idea!! HH

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Celtic should have it up on the tv screens,on the electric advertising boards and even put a small banner on every seat to be held up whilst singing walk on at paradise when we next play the sevco scum.

  • Jack says:

    Celtic own the rights the say they have to so no one take advantige of it so the name stiol their and people will use ot some to rub our noses init thats this city

  • DixieD says:

    “If we keep it up and more of us do it, what choice do they have but to stop?” I’m pretty sure I can think of an alternative choice they have, and I’m almost certain that’s the one they’ll take.

  • Pan says:

    Totally agree.

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