Celtic Must Change Its Tactics When Dealing With The SFA But Not By Swimming In The Gutter.

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In the past few months, I’ve been devouring American politics podcasts with real voraciousness. I have a favourite; The Bulwark, which you can see on YouTube, where my two favourite presenters are a gay political campaign strategist who worked for Jeb Bush and a lesbian Republican lawyer who spends much of her time trying to work out why people vote the way they do.

Tim Miller and Sarah Longwell are two of the most intelligent people I’ve watched discuss Trump and the coming election. That both of them were members of his party until they left it in disgust at his conduct, and now work flat-out to deny him re-election, is amazing to me.

In an era of hyper-partisanship which brooks no compromise the fact that they are both trying to convince people to vote for Joe Biden is almost a miracle. I consider them both to be genuine American heroes, patriots, putting the country first.

The reason I bring them up is, first, because I know a lot of the readers here don’t like politics but that others definitely do, and I urge those people to look up The Bulwark and watch as much of Longwell and Miller, and the other great contributors, that they can. You’ll love it, believe me, but those two especially. They are worth your time.

The second reason I bring it up, the relevance of it, is that Miller had a fascinating discussion on The Bulwark last month with a guy whose name will be familiar to political obsessives like me; James Carville, the campaign director who got Bill Clinton elected and whose documentary, The War Room, is one of the most watched political films in history. Carville is in his 70’s now, but still opinionated, still outspoken and one of the smartest guys in the business.

Miller asked him straight out; “Is it time for Democrats to stop playing by the rules?” He wasn’t even talking about shady campaign tactics, which he has practiced in his time and which Carville himself is a known master of. He was talking about something much larger; if Trump and his people are allowed to lie with such abandon, if they are allowed their own facts and their own reality, if they are permitted to indulge conspiracy theories, why don’t the Democrats?

Then he asked a more fundamental question, and it’s here we come to the point. “What do you think would happen if they did?” Carville really surprised him with the answer, and he surprised me as well because it’s instantly clear that he’s had this debate many times and his response is just so sensible and grounded and his analysis is obviously spot on.

He told Miller that if a Democrat ever got up and said even half of what the average MAGA Republican says in a speech that he or she would be reported on, condemned and then shunned forever by the party and the Democrat voters alike.

“The truth is,” he said, “the average Democratic voter would not allow that … that would shake, like, suburban women up … ‘Oh you just can’t go out and lie like that, that’s not good for little Jeffrey’s soccer team, to send a signal like that ..’”

And I laughed at the analogy but immediately understood the point, and what the difference is between Them And Us. Between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys.

We understand that if all discourse becomes like that, it doesn’t matter who wins or who loses elections or debates or whatever it might be. Everything goes to Hell.

One side has to stay “normal”. Rational. Truthful and fact based. One side has to not only believe in the right things but do the right things in pursuit of that, and the way you know we’re on the right side is that we would consider any other sort of conduct beyond the pale, even if the people saying that stuff were “our” people.

Earlier on today, I posted an article saying that this is the week that our club has to come out against the SFA’s behaviour, to come out swinging at that. But what was I really suggesting? That we lower ourselves to the levels of Ibrox? To intimidate officials? To demand that the club behave in ways which are openly dangerous, and quite often nuts?

And if we behaved that way, would I want to cheer it on … or condemn it utterly? Would other Celtic fans stand for it? Would it change the way we feel about our club, or what we see our club as standing for? Was I really suggesting we vanish deep down the conspiracy rabbit hole, or that our board make Statement O’Clock a thing?

You know what? I wasn’t doing any of that, and I feel that needs to be said. Carville clearly pointed out the difference between campaigning with the kid-gloves off and going full-tilt down and dirty, and he was correct to do so. One of those things is not only rational but sensible. The other is just depraved and unacceptable. I know which side I’m on.

We don’t do the things we should, but those aren’t the things that the Ibrox club does. I’m not suggesting that we demand Robertson not take our game (he would anyway) or that Beaton never manage another match against Celtic. (He would.) But we can no longer suffer in silence, or think that all this “do it behind the scenes” stuff is going to get us change.

We can do this right, and sensibly, and openly and honestly … and still get the results we all know we want; reputable officials, and a clean game.

Miller and Longwell did all that behind the scenes, low key stuff, in trying to convince people around them not to legitimise Trump and his views. They put all that stuff about “party unity” first. They pushed people to confront their consciences. (Try that with the likes of Beaton; try that “you’re here to play fair” schtick on the likes of him. Good luck with it.)

Of course, none of it worked.

To do it right they had to first renounce their party memberships and then to speak out, and loudly. We need to do the same as a club.

We need to speak, loudly, not just about the inconsistencies but clearly point out the ones we’re talking about. Contrast the decisions Ibrox gets with the ones we don’t. Contrast the ones given against us with the ones that officials have waived away when it comes to them.

The advantage of that is that we bring incidents involving other clubs into this, and that will be important to the overall strategy.

The strategy. Oh yes.

We have to speak up not just about what we’re unhappy about but what we want to happen so that we don’t continue having to go through this stuff over and over again.

So, the first thing we need to do is plan our response to the nearly inevitable verdict on Thursday, and that response should be put out as quickly as we get it onto social media as soon as the call is made to us. And that response should be scathing, it should blow the doors off the building, it should seek to change the firmament forevermore.

It should – it must – include the words “this has to change” or whatever variant we think best. “Things cannot go on like this.” Something like that.

Hey, this is hardly revolutionary, everyone knows this. It’s just that no club has so far been willing to just come right out and say it. We should. We should – we must – call on the stakeholders to come together in a proper way to find solutions.

In short, and this is the point, it should be an open challenge to the status quo.

Not something sneaky or underhanded.

Not something that the media should have a chance to trash-talk us about. But a straight up, cut through the BS, declaration that we are not going to tolerate this any longer, that clubs which are willing to are welcome to stand on the sidelines but that from now on they should shut the Hell up about injustices they think they’ve suffered.

The rest of the clubs should start grabbing their shovels.

Motherwell’s statement says we’re not alone. Just look around. If our board open their ears and pay attention for once they’ll know that the buzz of discontent is getting louder and its everywhere, all around us, and that we will not be short of allies.

The SFA wants to keep on running its wee closed shop.

It wants to protect its people, no matter what those people might be up to.

The way to beat these people is not, as Miller tentatively pitched to Carville about beating Trump, that we get down in the gutter with their tactics.

That’s not what I meant when I said that what they do works.

I mean simply that they take their grievances public.

They put the pressure on through the media.

They know this behind-the-scenes guff is weak. They know that more than anything else the media wants to cover controversy, and that if we stir some and make a statement effectively telling the SFA that we’re coming to demolish those walls that they will cover it, gladly, and amplify that statement and look for people who agree, especially at other clubs.

And so we start the debate, and make it clear that it will continue until it produces change.

As I said, all the SFA cares about is maintaining the status quo.

We have no appeal process. We have no rights of free speech. Nobody does. Our governing body does not govern, but it certainly does not want to change.

Nothing will hurt them more than confronting them with the reality that this is what’s in their future. Nothing will give us a better revenge … and at the same time it will protect us far into the future. Only change will do that. We’ll get none with the current tactics.

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  • Jim says:

    The SFA is rotten to the core , referees are blatantly favouring 1 team , VAR , is a scandalous waste of our money considering it’s used to favour again 1 team.

    Start by pulling funding and ban it from parkhead if that’s possible, and start asking for every audio after every game, I’ve heard the audio from the hearts game is still to be released, I don’t know if that’s true though.

    Finally Crawford Allen has to be removed immediately from his post, there’s no way he can be allowed to remain till the end of the season.

    Look how the SFA tried to cover up the EBT years,the SFA is an absolute embarrassment. .

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      They will see it as the end for Crawford Allan justifies the means if Sevco prevail to the mega millions of The Champions League and the inevitable spending and the inevitable success that’ll follow for them coupled with the inevitable misery for us Celtic supporters…

      Just as they seen the end justifying the means with the bent and corrupt Jim Farry…

      Just as they seen the end justifying the means with Dallas…

      Just as they seen the end justifying the means with Nimmo-Smith (Fcuk calling him a lord – He doesn’t deserve the title and I don’t recognise it for his type)…

      Just as they seen the end justifying the means with me chucking ma season ticket – I lose out, Celtic lose out…

      Just as they’ll ALWAYS see the end justifying the means with Celtic and her supporters as second class citizens…

      NB – Delighted that Scotland lost to The Six Occupied Counties tonight (an opinion that I never thought I’d ever possess – But that’s where I am with The SFA I’m afraid) !

      • Jimmy says:

        Seriously depression kicks in when I read your posts Clachnacuddin. The mob over the other side don’t want Scotland to won either. I follow Scotland as well as my Celtic supporing family. Sevco fans also scream shout and sing about their hatred for the Sfa, Al least their malaise is because we have won nearly everything for a few years now.
        Smile and get some sunshine now.

        • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

          I’m Scottish (Born in Paisley) Jimmy and so very fondly remember loving to see Scotland do well at Spain 82’ Mexico 86’ Italy 90’ England 96’ France 98’ etc – But The SFA / SPFL have just ‘got’ to me big time with their utter pandering to Sevco on such an industrial scale…

          My opinion on Scotland does not go down the best with ma drinking buddies but hey ho it’s all about opinions I guess at the end of the day and that’s currently my one regarding Scotland…

          But I still talk the country up on ma travels out with it regarding whisky, scenery, seafood, nature, fishing, etc and dearly and passionately want independence away from the blood and tyranny of The Butchers Apron (The Union Jack)…

          But I certainly ain’t talking up The SFA / SPFL up any time soon and I think that I’ll be well justified in sticking to that stance come Brendan’s trial on Thursday !

  • DixieD says:

    I agree with you 100%. However I fear our board have neither the will or the ability to do it. I was always sceptical when the ‘5 Way Agreement’ was brought up as a card the SFA could play to ensure Celtics unquestioning compliance. However the more I watch this boards complete impotence in footballing governance matters, the more I believe there may be something in that theory. Maybe the only time we’ll be able to play a major role in the governance of football here is when we have a completely new board who cannot be held to ransom by SFA.

  • John L says:

    We should mirror image everything they do, or have ever done! And that way the wee sfa can do SFA about it.

    Job Done HH

  • Archie Thornton says:

    If Brendan is banned, it’s time to boycott the Scottish Cup semi and final.

  • SSMPM says:

    If it ever gets done it needs to be over a long period of time and from the perspective of not only Celtic FC. Video of incidents on the pitch simply would not be enough and easily disregarded as ‘honest mistakes’ or simply errors.
    It has to evidence cheating and corruption such as hidden player signing documentation, ie Jorge Cadette, verbalised sectarian bias ie Gordon Smith, liquidation, 5 Way Agreement, former referee speeches at rangers events, etc
    Empirical historical statements, documents, emails, transcripts from CEOs, Chairmen, head of refereeing Hugh Dallas bigoted comments, etc.
    Importantly it has been shown on u tube, footballing websites, and social media. DVD
    It’s unlikely national media, newspapers, magazines and radio would want to touch it certainly until it was unavoidable and hopefully would take off.
    There’s money to be make from the man or woman that produces that and of course death threats and harm. HH

  • Gerry says:

    I don’t think many of us believed we’d have to play by the dark arts, to try and get some movement on this ongoing SFA issue.

    Maybe there is some credence in the argument that Fraudulent House, has some hold over us, by way of our complicity in the 5 way agreement.

    If that is indeed the case, then of course it reinforces, the already much needed and requisite changes, to our board.

    A new board that listens to its fanbase, and equips our manager with the correct tools on and off the park.
    A new board that will stand up for the ethos and values of our club, to ensure we move forward positively.
    Most importantly, a new board that ensures we are playing in a clean sporting environment with no bias, cheats or corrupt individuals involved in our game.

    Complete reform of officialdom and governance within our game, is a necessity.

    Can BR’s disciplinary hearing provide the breeze that actuates the winds of change?

    If we can retain this title, in spite of all the obstacles, then it would be one of the most satisfying, for many a year.

  • Adam Thomas says:

    James we should have joined the other six instead of sitting at the back of the bus,the fact that we didn’t I fear the sfa will think we are week and Brenda will get a ban ,should it be appealled another one game will be added please not this is IMO only .

  • Effarr says:

    The best thing now, since we’re into the “sour grapes” zone, is to keep quiet, put the ball into the net more often and ignore them as if they didn’t exist. As for Joe Biden who has as much blood on his hands as Netanyahu: I am in constant contact with American, Catholic Irish/ American at that, cousins and they HATE Biden. One of them told me that he makes her “skin crawl”, I also have one who is Jewish and she told me only yesterday that she is ashamed of the massacre (her word) of children and women in Gaza. She has as much love for Yahoo as the others have for Biden. So things are not always as they seem..The hatred for Biden is the fact that over 400 Catholic Churches have been vandalised or burned to the ground in Good Old USA in the past year alone and Biden fails to condemn it and also the fact that he supports abortion until birth and still takes communion.

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