Either way for a great deal more supporters all that now remains from the wreckage of their expectations for 2009-10 is a sort of numbness. One in which apathy and rage battle it out, neither winning yet both making themselves felt. It’s a toxic combination for any supporter on the receiving end but also for those running the club, not long ago mapping out the supposed “fightback” whilst directing any and all dissenting voices to Ibrox with a hearty cackle and all-knowing sneer.
On the football front, Neil Lennon had a job to lose and, sadly for him if nothing else, has for the time being well and truly lost it. I feel sorry for Lenny as he is a relatively innocent party in all of this and was never the kind of individual to refuse to take up the reigns in the circumstances. Moreover, the prize of a shot at the permanent job should he have won the Scottish Cup (regardless of the merits of that particular blueprint for recovery) would have tempted anyone in his position.
But as empathy goes that’s yer whack. Certainly I’ve none in reserve for the players and as for those doing the bidding of our absentee landlord, go figure. That one and all appear to have hunkered down and lost their taste for the kind of populist bravado that had until fairly lately become run of the mill in official pronouncements, would strongly suggest they know fine well the scale of bad feeling swirling within the support, now reaching well beyond a simple consideration of the number of empty seats on matchdays.
The sheer magnitude of the collapse they have orchestrated in recent seasons shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Nor should the level of hubris presaging it all. Positively hunnesque insofar as comparisons with David Murray’s ’90s heyday go, if you ask me. Some will take exception to that but the similarities are compelling.
From the SSM leaking feel-good stories to his favourite hacks and encouraging them to run with non-existent transfer targets in a bid to generate positive headlines, to the chairman’s suggestion that shareholding malcontents piss off and join the ranks of the Ibrox “Holy Willies”, to the claims of our tanks taking aim at the Ibrox portcullis by those on-message the whole time. Guilty of taking success for granted and their eye right off the ball. Ring any bells?
You could not have a harder time reconciling the bluster with the unfolding reality without first reaching back to what are now widely-derided claims of private jets ferrying around Brazilian superstars, made at a time when saner voices (Hugh Adam, Fergus McCann, Beach Bhoy) were busily deconstructing the myths, only to be largely ignored amidst a barrage of empty rhetoric and grubby propaganda. Until the proof was in the eating of the pudding, that is, at which point various heads emerged from the sand to nod sagely and posit their solutions, as if they had the slightest credibility left. The more things change.
As for the always-classy John Reid, he might as well have stood at the AGM and blurted “we urra peepo” for all the difference it would have made. Months later I wonder how much of a big man he’s feeling now as the team sink to the defining nadir in a season already loaded with reference points for catastrophic failure, wholly justifying the kind of supporter unrest that makes Jeanette Findlay’s remarks about the running of the club sound positively kiss-ass.
Deep-seated complacency, indecision and lack of ambition in the managerial selection process, and an overly influential CEO with a fondness for ill-fitting, brand-oriented project signings yet a hardball stance toward more urgent player acquisitions and sales, have all combined to slowly decimate this squad. Although the signs were in evidence long before even, since 2007-08 at least an imperfect yet winning team has been stripped of any and all character and momentum to the point where we now see out the Generation of Domination with the huns inching ahead in the trophy count.
The only surprise is that anyone remains who is genuinely surprised. On that note it was not the result itself which disappointed me most on Saturday, as we fell to an infinitely more robust and professional group of opponents. Certainly not given the sense of fatalism already hanging over the club’s present direction and the unrivalled capacity of the current team to engineer spectacular on-field collapses.
Rather, what rankled the most was our failure to so much as live up to even the plucky underdog, hard-working diddy club status which club policy has slowly fashioned for the first team. Even the majority of those teams, on most days, fumble earnestly for a grasp of the basics and, win or lose, at least manage to leave you with the distinct impression that they remotely value their professionalism. Not this heartless posse of vagrant loanees, proven underachievers and afterthought signings, assembled ad-hoc either side of the demise of a capable, utilitarian but increasingly intractable coach and the abortive tenure of a dreamy successor, woefully out of his depth.
Even having shelved a manager mid-term, and having botched a succession of transfer windows in which our once-lauded and in-no-way Jock Brown-esque figure of a CEO/GM/DoF bounced between procrastination and panic to get bodies in and out the door, looking around at the state of the competition this should still have been an ordinary season at worst for Celtic, not an outright historical low. But for £750,000 in bonus payments we can’t even get ordinary right, which in either language, football or finance, has to be a major concern.
From a distinct lack of fight in the club itself now to the pocket of t’Timternet briefly awash with the feverish buzz of an entertaining, old-school square-go last week, although again, not on the pitch. Still, anyone who was around in the days when the first seeds were planted of what would eventually become Celtic’s Internet Family Tree will also know that a good lhist/board/website rammy is every bit as integral a tradition for this generation of supporters as was cavalier, swashbuckling on-field fare for previous ones.
So it was that my immediate suspicions as to what would transpire upon first spotting the emergence of a Generic E-Tims Thread over yonder on KDS, were confirmed by the stooshie which later followed. One caused by the alleged attack by members of that site on contributors of this one and posters on that one (I ain’t at all confused). I mean, it’s not like KDS has some sort of collective Oedipus complex when it comes to the Daddy of all Celtic sites and their erstwhile forum host/overlord, and I don’t know who would want to suggest or even insinuate such a thing. But lo, a little stooshie came to pass all the same.
That said, these scraps aren’t a patch on what they used to be, not helped by the fact that for many nowadays the mere act of disagreeing with or criticising another supporter or site is itself some harrowing violation of the honour code. As far as the art of dissing goes the E-Tims effort certainly wasn’t a classic of the genre but nevertheless out came the usual accusations which never fail to make one cringe.
Sentences which end in “..fellow Celtic supporters” usually start with one or other variation of “How dare anyone…”, with massive helpings of righteous indignation squeezed in-between. The phrases, “Celtic Family” and “in this together” are wheeled out to infer that internal unity is sacrosanct, as if any one of us isn’t familiar with the concept of having a pain-in-the-ass cousin, or meddling arsehole of a father-in-law. Or better still, the evidence that it clearly doesn’t work too many wonders for our goose-stepping chums across the river.
No, some of you shrinking violets widnae have lasted a minute on celtic@isfa back in the day, where friendly disagreements were the stuff of banning orders on today’s fora, and the title of an actual rammy reserved only for the kind of direct bodily threats and virtual slash ‘em up antics that saw folk mailbomb their way toward the very culls and splits preceding the more pluralistic landscape we all enjoy today. The good old days, in other words.
When E-Tims was sourcing that and other early internet hangouts for the kind of talent that could get the most important website in Celtic’s online history off the ground, about the only thing anyone involved was good for was infantile name-calling and mud-slinging. It should come as no surprise to anyone that some of us still can’t help ourselves, and chill pills are definitely in order for anyone reading much more than that into things. The club, the huns, the hacks, MITBs, hun websites, other ‘tic websites, each other’s fecking articles – you name it, we dragged that name through the mud.
Clearly it worked, as the site created a focal point back when there was none for the hitherto-untapped mouthy arsewipe demographic within the support. A group emerging blinking into the sunlight of a new internet wilderness like the small-time, post-takeover, shareholding and season book-owning, upwardly mobile, nouveau riche aspirant fan-dans they were.
You know, the type who are a tad self-important, bought NTV and/or Bhoyzone, reckon they’re somewhat intellectual, opinion-formers, a cut above the majority of the turnstile-fodder (still know what’s best for them but), and who even if their Daddy didnae send them to St Aloysius are still happiest when sharing a drink with the ones who did. A bit like your typical Huddleboard poster, for example.
The good folks frequenting KDS on the other hand prize their independence and distinct cultural roots a great deal more but like it or not you might even say that were it not for E-Tims, certain online Tim epicentres wouldn’t be here today, and none of their ingrate denizens enjoying the sound of their own voices, at least not in the shape and form they’ve become accustomed to.
Nevertheless none of that prevents the recycling of the same hoary old, standard-issue complaints whenever the latest bout of E-Tims bashing comes around. 1) They’re behaving like the Daily Record / hun media. 2) They used to be good but are crap now. 3) All their best writers have gone.
OK so the last of those accusations probably stands up. But the other two? Come on. Don’t think it’s what it once was? Who cares? Go start your own blog or whatever, nobody’s stopping you. It’s easy to post on a messageboard, so probably just as much of a skoosh to go it alone altogether and carve a niche in a market in no way whatsoever already tapped by every last armchair whizz to formulate a single half-baked opinion. Piece of cake. See who misses you whilst you’re off trying.
As for comparisons with the DR, the most obvious one I can think of is that like that rag, E-Tims now has a healthy following of Celtic supporters who love nothing more than to post on threads about it to explain why they never read it and how little they care about what’s printed there, unless it’s pointed out to them by somebody else in which case, how it’s caused them to boil over with the worst kind of disgust – a shaky-heady-smiley.
There were even demands that the ET guys come onto the boards to make their point as part of a “mature and civilised debate”, rather than launching salvos from home base. Good one. They might have lost their best writers but probably not yet their sense of irony. Nobody does mature and civilised anymore so somebody might at least retain a grip on juvenile and amusing, with the sense to then retire to a safe distance. The more honest among those claiming, “I used to read E-Tims when it was good but not now” must have thought this was a welcome return to form. I know I did.
But then I’m the only one left on CU still keeping it Jenny from the block and deliberately filling articles with curse words and “hun” references precisely to keep it all off N*wsN*w. Think I feel another oh-so-principled split coming on, now that tea and biscuits are on the horizon for Eddie. The Continuity CU? CU Timmy? Hmm. In all honesty, I just feel left out at not having gotten wind of the job offers nor been included in the subsequent attacks. As a result of which I’ve had to go to the lengths of penning a blatantly overblown and largely self-indulgent article when still I thought all along that on this occasion at least, E-Tims were indeed talking shite. As is all of our prerogative.
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