During the half century plus that I have been on this planet, I have on occasions needed the help and support of my family. On other occasions, I have had the privilege of being able to reciprocate. Both ways, the support has always been forthcoming with no strings or conditions attached. The last thing my dad said to me on my way to getting married at the tender age of 23 was ‘the door of this house will always be open for you’. In other words, whatever the future held for me, whatever situation I found myself in, I could always rely on my family for support. Thirty years later, I hope that my wife and I have passed on these strong family values to our own offspring.
Based on the above, it will come as no surprise that I think the PLC Board and their PR advisers have handled the events of last Thursday evening very poorly indeed. Unless the law of this land has recently been changed by Salmond or Rupert Murdoch, we still live in a democracy where you are innocent until proven guilty. For Celtic PLC to pander to the media rat-pack by naming and shaming an innocent young man is nothing short of disgraceful. Yes he is innocent until proven guilty.
When convenient from a PR perspective, the ‘we are just one big happy Celtic family’ line is trotted out by the Board. For some reason, this always seems to coincide with AGMs. My message to the Board is that you should never hang-out to dry an innocent member of your family. There was a much better way of handling this, the traditional Celtic family way.
Also, I do not think it is right to call Celtic fans scum, even renegade fans. This was the word used, on Friday evening, by two of the best known members of the Celtic twitterati. One then backtracked by saying that he was not referring to all Celtic fans, just some. This was followed by a tweet saying that it was only a small section of fans he was referring to – the Green Brigade. So that’s fine then? The Green Brigade is “a group of people regarded as contemptible or worthless”. Different fans will have different opinions on that one. Because of my traditional Celtic values, I do not consider any human being to be worthless.
The words scum and Celtic fan should never be used in the same sentence. Not at all! Never! End of story! If you are scum, you can call yourself a Celtic fan, but you are not. If you are indeed a Celtic fan, you cannot be scum. It’s that simple. (Ok I know I have just done what you should never do and used the words in the same sentence, but hopefully you get my point).
I will refrain from given the two of them any further publicity through identification. Both claim to be journalists and really should know better. But then again, we all know that sensationalism sells. Most of us will remember the Celtic ‘scum’ who forced a plane to make an emergency landing at Cardiff airport on their way back from a European away game? Tried and convicted by the media rat pack, the ‘scum’ were subsequently shown to be ‘scumless’ i.e. totally innocent. By then the PR damage had been done. I can’t remember a public apology being issued. Support from the Board at the time to clear their name anyone?
The young man, and others who may have been involved in the Udine incident, may well indeed be guilty. If so, he/they deserve to be punished, but surely the punishment should fit the crime. If, as claimed, a physical assault took place then that does become a much more serious offence. However, to the best of my knowledge no one has yet been convicted of any crime. I am not a lawyer, but I think the presumption of innocence still underpins our legal system.
The following comments have been attributed to members of our Board and football manager regarding the incident:
“These people are embarrassing me and my backroom staff………..they are embarrassing the club, they are embarrassing 99 per cent of the support. But most importantly of all they are embarrassing the players”.
I would agree fully with this. The incident was stupid in the extreme coming so close after the recent fine imposed by UEFA. However, would the same comments not also apply to our Board? No vision, no ambition, no strategy, nothing; managing a vicious circle of decline off and on the park.
To say that Thursday was a ‘magnificent’ performance and our best in a European away game since beating Liverpool in 2003 shows the depth to which we have sunk. We are now accepting the unacceptable. The performance was good but not ‘magnificent’. Is one decent European away performance in almost a decade not embarrassing to the support? Glass houses anyone?
Quote 2: (This one is a mash-up)
“We’re going to go on the front foot. We’re going to weed these guys out. We know who they are and we’ll deal with them”
“You are not doing the club any good……… You are not wanted”
“Our real fans will come forward and try to put an end to this’
What a nice thought to finish with – the Celtic diaspora working together to put an end to a decade of Board mismanagement and neglect. But then again, maybe we “should be careful what we wish for and grateful for what we have.”
A Merry Christmas and Good New Year to the real Celtic family. You know who you are.