Celtic Fans Did Not Cause Glasgow’s “City Centre Party” Problem. Don’t Blame Us For It.

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As a resident of Glasgow, I understand why the council and the police are concerned about the weekend.

If I worked in the city centre or lived in the Saltmarket or Gallowgate I might not be terribly thrilled with the idea of a party on my doorstep, even though it’s my kind of party. I get it. I was a council worker, and so I get that their workers will have to pull mega-shifts just to clean the mess up.

The issues with this are not difficult to understand.

The policing for it will be a nightmare. I get that as well. Bad enough that tens of thousands of people will celebrating and at least some of them will have utter disregard for their fellow partygoers, the surrounding area or even what’s healthy for themselves. But add to the mix the certainty of unhappy Peepul who might not be able to control their anger and you can see why large numbers of officers might have to be deployed.

They will also be watched carefully. We all know what the heavy hand looks like, and it’s hard to imagine how it could be justified in this case, except if certain higher ups believed that this title party in the town stuff needs knocked on the head once and for all.

Well, all I can say to that is that it need not have been an issue in the first place. I remember title parties of yesteryear; this was never necessary before. You went to your pubs after the game and the craziest it got was a Huddle in the middle of the road outside. In the Treble years the party spread to the Trongate; that was perfectly manageable because they were built around the idea of the team driving up to the area on a tour bus.

At that point, the council could have screwed their heads on and made this a priority; to give fans a place to celebrate their triumphs, where it could be controlled, and where it was kitted out and where there were toilets, and stalls, and safety measures laid on. Not all of it, not every year – this year would have been problematic because the league wasn’t officially decided until Wednesday night – but enough of it on hand and ready to go.

But still, a bus-top journey to the Trongate would still have been manageable, until we ended up with a completely ridiculous, and dangerous, decision which should never in a hundred years have been taken; the decision to allow Ibrox fans to take over George Square, and thus the city centre, when this whole country was still on COVID lockdown.

Let’s be clear; the council had not given permission for that. Police Scotland made some noise about how they expected social distancing to be maintained. Crazily, both parties allowed the “event” to go ahead, and it was chaotic and violent and destructive.

Every single “neutral” warned the council and Police Scotland to make sure that the gathering never happened. They allowed it anyway. It’s now thought that it contributed to an uptick in COVID cases across the West of Scotland. People probably died as a direct result of that madness.

And it did something else; it set a precedent.

Just as people warned that it would. The idiocy of letting that happen of giving the Peepul “their day” is still hard to credit. That disgusting decision has been ringing out the consequences ever since. The idea of “our city” is now common amongst both sets of fans, and both want to demonstrate it.

Fortunately, only our side wins the titles which allow you to. But still … this is not going away, and blaming Celtic fans for it is not going to get us any closer to a solution. It was that Ibrox “title party” – the riot – which made his a much larger problem and Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland bear the responsibility for that. And it’s a problem they need to solve.

Demonising our supporters is not going to get that done.

They need to be more creative than that, and they need to start by coming up with an annual plan for this. They broadly know the areas where the majority of fans will congregate for a title party, so why not do more to prepare for that? I know how these things are run – the Parks Department used to run the marathon and annual games in The Green, so they have a lot of stuff in storage, including toilets and fencing.

Police Scotland should come up with a strategy for keeping these events safe. Local shops and businesses should be consulted beforehand and given everything they need. If these areas have stuff laid on there’s no need for fans to go wandering for adventure.

It is the lack of a strategy which causes the chaos. This city had title parties for decades; it’s only now that they have become about “ownership.” And as of next season, that’s the first thing that has to be knocked on the head, and that needs to be clear months out.

The council’s first official “statement” on this was yesterday, for God’s sake. Most people I know have already decided where they are going and what they are doing, so that’s way too late in the game for them putting out statements. Their entire strategy has been a joke.

They just treat football fans with contempt, that’s the fact of it.

Rather than do what other cities do – cities in the UK, I mean, not just in Europe where they are obviously streets ahead of us – they sit on their hands. It is pitiful. We need a political class which doesn’t do that.

Meetings should have been held months ago with both clubs and sorted this out.

Yet here we are, with them getting ready to blame our supporters for their own mistakes.

And this will go on and on and on, every year to follow, until they get real.

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  • Big J says:

    James – not really for you to publish.
    I asked AI chat:

    Many thousand Celtic fc football supporters will be celebrating tonight at Glasgow Cross in the city centre after their team have won the Scottish League Championship. What arrangements should the City Council and police put in place in preparation?

    Answer? Simples!

    A big win for Celtic FC! As the City Council and police, here are some arrangements that can be put in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable celebration for the thousands of fans:

    1. **Road closures**: Close roads around Glasgow Cross, including the surrounding streets, to ensure pedestrian safety and prevent congestion. This will also help direct traffic flow and reduce the risk of accidents.
    2. **Pedestrian management**: Designate specific pedestrian routes and manage crowd flow using barriers, stewards, and signage. This will help prevent overcrowding and ensure fans can move safely through the area.
    3. **Public space allocation**: Identify specific areas for fans to gather and celebrate, such as designated public spaces or areas with adequate seating and amenities. This will help prevent unsightly street clutter and minimize disruption to local businesses.
    4. **Licensing and event management**: Work with local businesses and event organizers to ensure they have necessary licenses and permits to operate during the celebration. This will help minimize noise disturbance and ensure public safety.
    5. **Security and stewarding**: Deploy additional police officers, stewards, and security personnel to manage the crowd, prevent anti-social behavior, and respond to any incidents. They should be equipped with necessary communication devices, first aid kits, and riot gear (if needed).
    6. **First aid and medical services**: Provide access to medical services, including first aid stations and emergency response teams, in case of accidents or injuries.
    7. **Noise management**: Consider implementing noise restrictions or noise mitigation measures to minimize disturbance to nearby residents and businesses.
    8. **Waste management**: Ensure adequate waste collection and disposal arrangements are in place to prevent littering and maintain public cleanliness.
    9. **Communication**: Establish clear communication channels with fans, local businesses, and residents through social media, SMS updates, or local newspapers to provide information on road closures, pedestrian routes, and event schedules.
    10. **Post-event cleanup**: Plan for a thorough cleanup of the area after the celebration to restore public spaces to their original condition.

    By putting these arrangements in place, the City Council and police can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for Celtic FC fans while minimizing disruption to the community.

    • James Forrest says:

      Mate I hope you’ll excuse me for publishing this, but I think that’s an excellent post which deserves to be shared more widely.

      No reason why our council officials couldn’t have done the same as you just did, for want of their own ideas.

    • Ryan Ellis says:

      Mate, if you think that Scotland in 2024 can do that then I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you.

      • Scouse bhoy says:

        Any bad behaviour will get full publicity trying to compare it with the two riots in 2021 giving it the one is as bad as the other. I just hope there is no trouble but lets be honest there are some idiots in our support as was proved by the objects thrown towards tavpen last week.

  • Clara says:

    Yes it common sense but can you imagine the outcry from those accross the city and from the politicians who try and stir up votes by siding with them. Who’s paying for this, waste of police resources, blocking streets for citizens going about their business, waste of tax payers money blah blah blah, what do you expect from a kaffolic run council etc, it will all all pour out if it was organised . I think there would be trouble as well as the onion bears etc would be hell bent on causing mayhem. Every year we are subject to the culture fest that is the marching season where all the points they would weaponise against the council are happily accepted and implemented. Since we win the league so often could we not claim that its part of our culture and should be celebrated lol, the Orange Order have been using this approach for years.

  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James

    Great piece but I question why the fans need to go into the city centre to celebrate en masse – it certainly didnt happen in the 70 nor the early 2000s- the club should lay on a party in Celtic Park provide entertainment etc -after all the fans helped win this title -a good way for the club to show some overdue gratitude- just because the Paisley Road West crowd wanted to make the life of Glaswegians who are not interested in football I am sure we should unless it is an enclosed and managed space.

  • Brian says:

    The content in your article is pretty spot on, I tend to agree with the vast majority of it. However, here’s the rub, pretty much every supporter of every other club refer to Celtic and therangers as the ugly sisters of Scottish football. Sadly, there’s got to be a reason for that and I would suggest that both teams have certain sections amongst their support which have brought them to that conclusion.

    We all know the history of both clubs good and bad. We read the comments on forums and there’s so much of it that is just too awful to mention.

    Both clubs have a responsibility to ensure that their support behave in a way that makes them ambassadors for their clubs. I would suggest that both clubs should be talking about how we can take the hatred and heat out of our opposition to each other.

    I would even go as far as suggesting that the clubs organise a series of activities that the fans start to be integrated with each other. How about a fans football tournament through the summer played at parks around the city and beyond. There could be ten pin bowling competitions and more.

    If we don’t work together to address our differences, we will never respect each others similarities. The vile days need to be behind us, Glasgow deserves better, we deserve better.


  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    If they let the orange mob party on the streets, then they’re gonna bloody let me have ma Celtic party on the streets…

    It IS ma city as well as their one, so Party tomorrow I most DEFIANTLY WILL –

    But if they want a solution to no street partying – Then How about organising a it at Glasgow Green for us twelve times outta the next thirteen years and Ballahouston Park for them once in the next thirteen years (well hopefully these yearly statistics continue) !

  • Sophie Johnstone says:

    My friend recently retired,was on cleansing dept at Glasgow city council so he’ll be glad to be out of it.The council if were to be proactive could’ve organised something to head off any issues the fact they didn’t is of no surprise to anyone

  • L jamieson says:

    No need for GCC to make a statement for CELTIC fans. We RESPECT our CiTY. We behave impeccably. WE don’t destroy memorials and wreck George sq. Be THANKFUL you will NOT see a repeat of such THUGGERY, since its CELTIC who win leagues.

  • JimtheTim says:

    Yes there will be a mess and disruption though some business’s will get a months worth of income in 1 day. This is why regardless of the negativity it gets ignored by the council PRIVODING there is no damage and criminal activity.

  • C says:

    It’s an excellent point that there needs to be a plan for this type of event. If this is going to be a feature then safety, security, facilities, etc etc need to be put in place.
    But. It should be the clubs that foot the bill. Not the taxpayer. Other big events in Glasgow have to foot the bill and this is no different. The clubs should plan, run and pay for whatever needs to be done, including cleaning up the aftermath.

  • Roger Arthur says:

    Close down sevco, bulldoze ibroke and build social housing there, no sevco problem solved.

  • Anne Fyfe says:

    Always Celtic fans that get the raw deal but as was stated the Rangers fans caused havoc even abroad but the biased media blame Celtic they can’t handle that Celtic are mostly great ambassadors for Scotland away and home

  • Douglas O’Neill says:

    Taking responsibility is what’s needed. Your article gives lip service to the demand this unplanned event has on public resources. Don’t forget that whilst our Police and Ambulance Service deal with this event, others more needing of their service are denied. A cancer charity event was due through the Trongate and only went ahead because of the council workers additional hours. All this costs money.

    Here’s an idea, why don’t Celtic (and Rangers in the rare occasion they win anything) organise the after party in their stadium? They employ the security, they clean the mess and they fix the damage.

    Unfortunately, unlike your initial sentiment, Celtic wash their hands of any responsibility – and in the interest of fairness and balance that the Old Firm fans crave, Rangers have previously defended it. Celtic decline to comment once again on the mess left for our public services to sweep up. It’s a bit like parents taking no responsibility for their anti-social children.

    Celtic as an organisation can, and should do more and it should not be left for that Glasgow tax payer to provide your title party.

    • James Forrest says:

      I’ll take your points more seriously when you STOP resorting to lazy stereotype with your “Old Firm” pish.

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