Celtic Is Entirely Correct To Stand Firm On The Green Brigade Situation.

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Celtic sent a very clear message to The Green Brigade last night, and in particular in light of their latest attention-seeking “release”. And the message is this; if they want their money back, they can have it. But if they want to return to Celtic Park that is going to mean abiding by the rules of the house.

All of them. Not just the ones that suit them.

And Celtic is entirely right to do this. There is more at stake here than the atmosphere in the stadium, and I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who think that’s the only consideration. It is not, and nor should it be.

The door to a return is open, but just a crack.

That, frankly, is more than I ever expected. These guys should be on their knees thanking people that the door hasn’t been closed firmly in their face already because their conduct towards club staff and fellow fans, their complete refusal to toe the line and obey the rules and their arrogance towards those at the club whose responsibilities they clearly cannot even fathom defies belief.

I don’t know whether The Green Brigade is really this stupid, or whether, as some seem to believe, they have been co-opted by radical elements who couldn’t give a toss about Celtic and only want to promote their own extremist causes, and you know what? I really don’t care any longer.

The sooner this matter is resolved permanently, and I don’t care how that’s done, whether it’s with them making a return or being shown the door for good, the better for Celtic … but that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that it needs settled at all costs.

The club cannot afford to back down. It either imposes its conditions and enforces them or we’ll have anarchy in the stands. It’s that simple. Perhaps there are people amongst our support who would not mind that. They are in a very small minority.

I do not want a renegade fan group having the run of Celtic Park, and I don’t believe many people in the support do. Their posturing doesn’t impress me one bit. Their tactic of ignoring the club’s stated reasons for the ban, and making themselves out as though they are being persecuted doesn’t wash for one second with those of us who know the facts, and those facts are in the public domain.

People say they don’t believe the club. Well, that’s up to them.

When it comes to backing the manager, I’ll trust them when they do it.

When it comes to running this club on merit instead of using it to inflate the egos of various families, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Today there’s a report that says we’re looking for buyers for Gustaf Lagerbeilke in the January window; I’ll be posting on that later, because if it’s true that’s shambolic and plainly ridiculous.

But those are issues of policy and the club and I are at odds on that … in this case the club cannot allow some of the conduct that has taken place and they are entirely right to act.

I keep on seeing this “suggestion” that the club should “sort this out.”

Some of these people sound like mainstream hacks trying to blame us for the Ibrox ticket standoff; we keep getting told we need to sort that out too, but in both of these cases Celtic is in the right, Celtic has set conditions for a return to what there was before and Celtic will not budge until those conditions are met, it’s that simple.

The Green Brigade knows what it has to do just as the Ibrox club knows what it has to do. The door is open for a settlement of these matters … but that’s up to others to step up to the mark. Celtic’s position is crystal clear and in neither case is that position unreasonable.

I read a handful of comments yesterday from people who were at the game the other night bemoaning the lack of an atmosphere and demanding that the club basically back down over this matter just to get singing back at Celtic Park.

And the question that automatically comes to mind here for me is “What the Hell were you doing all night?”

The issue I have with this is the utter abrogation of any responsibility here.

They want the club to allow anti-social behaviour to go unpunished because they personally can’t be bothered to start a song. They want The Green Brigade in the ground to do what they aren’t prepared to do themselves and they don’t care what the impact is on Celtic itself.

And ultimately, the people making this demand aren’t accountable. They don’t have to deal with the consequences, not in any literal sense.

They don’t have to comfort members of our staff who’ve felt threatened at times.

They don’t have to worry about whether the club’s liability insurance will be needed if someone is hurt by a firework. They don’t have to field calls from the media and others asking if the club has any comment about fans flying flags supporting the PFLP.

If a section of the stadium is shut because of what goes on in the stands these same people will be screaming at the club not to take that lying down.

The same people already want us to pick a fight with UEFA and why? Because they’ve swallowed, hook, line and sinker the blatant lie that we were fined for flying the Palestinian flag.

UEFA itself has denied this and the blogs have covered it, yet to those people our club has behaved badly and shown weakness.

Instead of what? Telling them to piss off and inviting a major sanction that does real harm? I mean, how many braincells do you need in your head to know that’s utter madness even on the Ibrox Moon Howler scale?

To me this is like an expended version of the pyro debate, since it is in part connected to the pyro debate. That’s also one characterised by people saying the club has to “work with these guys to find a solution.”

Unless the club can change the law of the land, what exactly do people think the solution to this is? Are Celtic actually being asked to – and expected to – assist people in breaking the law? How can anybody think that’s a credible point of view?

The accusation that this is about flags – specifically that it’s about Palestine – doesn’t stand up for even one second of scrutiny. Just for the record, by the way, we’re not the only club whose directors are a bit leery of having this issue in their stadium.

No club on this island would want any part of this debate in their stands, and for a good reason; this is not one of those black and white issues, there is nuance here, there are issues peripheral to this which cannot easily be seperated from it, and the Cliff Notes “understanding” of this … it’s just not good enough.

Football grounds are not the place for a debate like this. Hell, if some of the smartest people on the planet can’t agree a way forward on it, or easily navigate it, some armchair revolutionary has no chance.

For God’s sake, The Green Brigade wants to fight with St Pauli over this because their fans have expressed some sensitivity to the plight of the Jewish people. To criticise them for that, to hold that against them, is both tone deaf and moronic, and emblematic of how extreme their position has become.

Bear in mind that not once have they expressed the slightest regret for that banner which upset many people connected to Celtic including one of our own players, and led so many, many of us to believe they endorsed that atrocity.

But even that tiny number in our support who would be perfectly prepared to do that should at least draw the line at the physical intimidation of our own club staff, because every one of us would be beyond pissed off if we found out that visiting supporters had treated Celtic stewards like that, and anyone who would condemn that and excuse this isn’t playing for the right team.

Celtic will get its way here because it has to.

When this game kicks off today there will be 50,000 of our fans inside the ground, and so any talk at all that the board has compromised the team by banning 200 or so … it’s absurd, absolutely absurd.

If the tens of thousands of us who are there can’t muster up the enthusiasm to get behind this team properly, then maybe we’re the problem, not the men and women at the club who had to take this difficult, but correct, decision and now have no option but to see it through.

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  • Pcelt says:

    They are too arrogant to admit they are in the wrong,if they are true CELTIC supporters they would accept they are at fault and abide by the rules.

  • David Cleghorn says:

    Well said…. The Green Brigade are disgrace. How many times can they be allowed embrace celtic.
    In out life we have to abide by rules.
    My own politics sympathise with the left but I do it through the ballot box not use others to express my feelings. Celtic football club are adored world wide yet these people embrace us time and again. Abide by the rules or keep out

  • Frank Speirs says:

    Well timed article ,right before a must win game ..well done to you…are you happy now? Are the
    board happy you backed them? There was absolutely no need to start this again,let them all get on with it.The atmosphere was thoroughly toxic today and will only get worse.Give yourself a pat on the back for NOT READING THE ROOM.

  • Memphisblues says:

    Hear hear. Pretty much everything “wot he said”

  • Brendan says:

    This aged well.

  • Phil says:

    “If they want their money back, they can have it”. They have been banned by the club so they are not getting the product they have already paid for. Surely any refund should be automatic.

  • Unbroken promise says:

    Absolutely souless atmosphere without the green brigade . If you can’t acknowledge this then the title is over . Whatever happened to freedom of speech. Love them or loathe them they get the best out of the player’s

  • Daniel says:

    Can’t argue with any of this, great article

  • Donnybhoy says:

    They’re not needed. In their absence you can here the mass response of the crowd incident by incident instead of the incessant attention-seeking background cacophony of the GB

  • Derek Murray says:

    Brilliant article. I’ve been a celtic supporter since the late sixties because the football they play , I hate all this political stuff get rid off it and support Celtic FOOTBALL club.

  • Anthony Martin says:

    That was a very long rant with the core message being repeated ad nauseam.
    I have supported the club since the early sixties and can well remember the raucous atmosphere of the ‘Jungle’, the original ‘Green Brigade’!
    There was a spell some years ago, before the Green Brigade became an entity, when the atmosphere at CP was practically nonexistent.
    The issue of fans groups like the GB are world wide. Football clubs, with the exception of some European countries like Germany, shun the very idea of fan/community involvement in the running of the game. They sit in their thrones, totally separated from the working class fans they tend to tolerate rather than embrace. During the close season they can’t even be bothered giving the toilets a lick of paint for goodness sake!
    Is it any wonder there is a total disconnect at times when things don’t go smoothly?
    Rather than ridicule and look down your nose at fellow supporters, engage in meaningful discussion and try to come to some consensus.
    Get the atmosphere back, get the team sorted out and let’s get the club moving forward.

  • Ged mullen says:

    Spot on James

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