Little By Little, Celtic Forced Ibrox To A Resolution In The Ticket Affair. It’s Just The Start.

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As a movie lover, one of the genres I love and come back to over and over again is the courtroom film. One of the best, an under-rated classic, is A Civil Action starring John Travolta as an ambulance chaser who does the worst thing a lawyer in his field can do; he starts to get emotional about a case.

At one point in the story, he gets a settlement offer, and he rejects it out of hand, to the astonishment, and even anger, of his law partners.

The offer is $8 million; enough to get the families some money and to basically get their firm out of hock after it’s spent every available penny on the proceedings. Travolta’s character, Jan Schlichtmann, isn’t prepared to accept that.

“Would you take $10 million?” one of the partners asks him, hoping to make the point that, really, it’s not worth the candle for such a modest – in the grand scheme of things – amount. Schlichtmann confirms that he would.

“So, at 10 million dollars this is some sort of uh… a, a mythic struggle,” the partner says to him with scorn. “But at eight it’s just another lawsuit?”

And then Schlichtmann gives it to him straight; this is not really about the money at all, it’s become about the principle of the thing. “If they’re willing to pay eight,” he says with even greater contempt, “then it’s not enough, is it?”

For a couple of years now, that’s where we’ve been with the club from Ibrox, from the moment they decided to cut our allocation.

We have been locked in a battle in which we knew they weren’t going to give us the number we wanted, but in which we were simply not prepared to accept the number that they were offering. Ego wasn’t the thing here; it was about basic respect, and safety.

Their offer was deeply insulting, and it endangered our fans.

They made two fundamental errors in their dealings with us. They assumed, first, that what they did would be essentially consequence free, and they thought that no matter how much we moaned that we would eventually accept the new situation.

But as this wore on, they learned two things about the limits of their own control over all this.

First, they learned that their little experiment had escaped the lab.

The intelligence services have a name for what happened here; blowback. It’s when something you start with one outcome in mind has ripple effects you never anticipated and which finally brings your own creation back to your door in a form you never expected.

Think of the Americans arming the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, never thinking that once the mullahs had expelled the Soviets from their country that they might fancy a crack at The Great Satan a continent away and go after them next. The last Soviet soldiers left that country in 1989. Seven years later, Osama Bin Laden issued his Declaration of Jihad Against the United States.

Ibrox’s own operation self-destructed almost immediately when Celtic instantly cut their allocation for Parkhead in line with their actions. As odd as it will sound, they didn’t expect us to so swiftly respond in kind. Talk about arrogance and stupidity.

But what they really hadn’t banked on was that it would unleash a wave of other clubs doing the same, to their fans as well as to ours. They unleashed the beast which now devours away fan allocations all across the country, and their supporters have suffered enormously for that. This was their own stupid act, coming back to haunt them.

It would almost be funny if it wasn’t affecting ours as well.

The second thing they never expected was that Celtic would not relent.

No matter the media campaigns that were whipped up against us, no matter the pressure they tried to put us under with our own fans through their press lackies. Even when they compromised the safety of our fans and refused to take that seriously, we never quit at all.

A year or so back they even tried to use the COVID emergency to screw us out of the handful of tickets we had been given for their ground; Celtic responded by immediately using the justification of COVID measures to deny them tickets for the corresponding fixture.

When our safety concerns were ignored, they sniggered wondering what we would do. Our decision to refuse the allocation entirely and to make it plain we’d done so for that reason spooked them into a wholly fabricated story about how the decision had been “mutual”. They weren’t, at that point, banned from Celtic Park yet. But that, of course, was to follow.

There is a moment, early, in A Civil Action where one of the lawyers for the other side offers Schlichtmann $20 million; he never shares that with the partners.

He knows in the moment he rejects $8 million that he’s never going to get $20 million, just as we know we’re not going to see 7000 Broomloan Road tickets any time soon.

But their offer was 700 guys, and so we’ve secured more than three times as many tickets as they had been willing to give us … and that makes this our win folks, the second of this week, and I know that like the one we got yesterday it doesn’t look like that to some people who think we should take all-or-nothing positions on these matters; the trouble with that is that you do very often tend to end up with the nothing part of it.

This is a great result … for the moment.

And bear in mind that phrase; for the moment.

We’ve forced – for that is the word here – Ibrox to give more than they would ever have offered, just as we forced the SFA to settle for their face-saving verdict yesterday instead of the one they wanted.

It’s taken Celtic several years to get to a place where the SPFL has felt the need to step in and actually legislate this matter, and it’s just the beginning. Rodgers is right; this is a step in the right direction, nothing more than a jump-off point to the next step.

And you know what? All those steps will be in the direction we want.

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  • Brattbakk says:

    I’m really not interested in point scoring now, this was a terrible state of affairs which is now resolved. It took far too long to sort, now it is, let’s move on. I get that trying to highlight the good work the club does behind the scenes.

    • Jimmy ao says:

      Spot on Brattback. It’s a big step in the right direction. Some of my best memories are in the Broomloan end. Getting it from 3 ends of the park then seeing them go silent when we scored with us going mental in the stands. I recall those times clearly and will cherish the memories for ever.
      Some of our fans have been missing out in that.
      They started it yes and I understand why some of our own would like to keep it that way but for me celebrating before during and after games in the Broomloan were very very special and never to be forgotten.

  • Peterbrady says:

    This is all obstifacation deflection smoke and mirrors we all know the fix is in and no doubt statement will be released on Monday 8th April by Celtic or Celtic plc when we are cheated by all the corruption absolutely certainly

  • bertie basset says:

    or is it an Omen that for some reason they will not forced to sell these SBs so early next season ? the decision to restrict Celtic fans at ipox was firstly a financial one surely

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Interesting to see their take on it on Swallow Swallow (anything)…

    A right mixed bag so it is – Starts off with delight and the usual cockiness of winning in The (Lisbon) Den then morphs into how they will have to be moved from their seats and / or lose them and they seem to hate that we will be seen in Liebrox on TV while they in their minds think they won’t be at our Paradise… What difference does that make if it’s equal percentages which will see them get more then !

    The most important thing from me is that it’s on the TV results channel by the hour that Brendan is clearly stating that it wasn’t Celtic who wanted the visiting support (us) / visiting thugs (them) cut to nothing…

    I wonder how Davie King is feeling tonight…

    Pig (that he is) sick I’d imagine !!!!

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