I hope sincerely that today is a watershed moment in Scottish media history, in Scottish footballing history and in Scottish societies history.
Unfortunately I very much doubt it, indeed the only water I foresee being shed is a few tears of laughter from our fans, our people, our family.
On Tuesday 24th of July, Celtic lined up against Norwich in a pre-season friendly, that Tuesday night our fans filled Celtic Park with a unique atmosphere, a friendly encounter against our recently made Canary chums.
That fateful evening the Celtic support put on something of a spectacular display, albeit sadly not on the hallowed turf where the team succumbed to a boring one goal defeat, Grant Holt scoring the Canaries winner. No, this display was entirely off the field of play and in the North East corner of our stadium, where the Green Brigade unfurled a banner, now as spectacularly misinterpreted, misconstrued and misrepresented, as it was marvellously inventive and hilariously funny.
Without further a-do, I present to you the banner;
The banner, grossly offensive and clearly inflamatory…or so the SFA, the media and the living-dead would have had us believe.
The banner is clearly well-considered, well created and well…funny!
Hilarious, plain and simple.
They couldn’t quite appreciate the humour, they couldn’t quite applaud the sentiment behind such a great big ‘get it right up ye’ gesture to the institutional establishment that WAS Rangers, they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hear us cheer, to see us smile and more importantly they couldn’t quite accept that we held the moral high ground.
Now I have chosen not to comment upon this matter, not a single passage,nor sentence, nor even a phrase, has since been dedicated, or more accurately wasted upon the disproportionate fallout that then ensued….UNTIL NOW that is!
I have long-awaited this moment, at which my comments have some purpose and some credence firmly attached to them. I chose not to waste a breath nor a keystroke on the matter until either a ‘guilty’ or an ‘innocent’ verdict was returned.
Today, the latter, an innocent verdict was declared…with it rightfully a comprehensive and positive sense of vindication was also returned.
Oh how the establishments will hurt, their pride, their feelings and their reputations, must now be aching, throbbing and to be in dire need of some attention…nae surgery!!
The harm having been done may never be fully repaired, though to be perfectly honest, such is the low esteem the outside world must now have of our extremely ignorant, intolerant and oppressive footballing authorities, deceased neighbours and of the overwhelmingly vocal section our society…nae fabric.
Bigotry, petty jealousy, oppression and bullying are rife, indeed they are so well woven into our nations culture that they are surely recognised as the fabric of choice and to be considered as a fundamental and objectionable stance of the moral indignance and the unacceptably ugly face of many within a vociferous and backwards cross-section of our society.
Racism and bigotry is most certainly alive and well…the Scottish mainstream media play out the role of conductors in this very off-key orchestral performance.
The very fact that they rose to the bait and that they graced the back ‘sports’ pages to a very ill-conceived level of attention on a harmless and humorous banner says it all…they sell the nation short, they pedal the filth and the racist nonsense of the dark-days, they give it a platform, they shine a light upon it.
Yet they do so not to act on what’s really required, what’s really right or wrong, what’s morally and socially responsible…no instead they whip the baying hordes of maliciously intending madmen into a frenzy, a free-for-all and a fever-pitch of sectarian sick-mindedness, where of course they should indeed just whip and lash their backs, in lieu of punishment for their sickening and frankly absurd, out-dated and unacceptable behavioural incompetence.
The media love to stir up connotations of Irish-rebel foot soldiers, pro IRA activists and wannabe terrorist masses among our support, publishing and therefore endorsing or at least adding credence, by lending a voice to these outrageous sentiments and to the shockingly defamatory beliefs cycles and statements of so many,
I, sadly, am left in very little doubt that they would have further reveled in peddling the notoriety, the stigmatic scars and of perceived immorality among the Celtic support had institutions gotten its way today.
I hope I am very, very wrong…I fear I am more accurately ‘bang on’ however.
The sincere apologies of all who voiced their vicious and misguided allegations towards us, must now be heard…they are long overdue.
The very notion that the banner may have on any level been intended as a mass Celtic supporters act of unrepentant sectarianism and of proud pro-terrorist extremism is both offensive, narrow-minded and defamatory.
Indeed, as the charges would clearly have implied wrong-doing on behalf of the club it must ‘ve been considered that the banner constituted a display of the utter ignorance and unacceptable condoning of such behavioural incompetence by our great, open and inclusive to all, football club.
In all, we the supporters and by association of our banners and of our cheeky gloating antics, Celtic Football Club, were charged, all-in-all, on four counts, .
The Compliance Officer has issued the following Notice of Complaint:
Alleged Party in Breach: Celtic FC Match: Celtic v Norwich City Date: 24th July 2012 Disciplinary Rule(s) allegedly breached:
(1) Disciplinary Rule 26 (Failing to take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the good conduct and behaviour of Celtic FC supporters at Celtic Park during the above match: by failing to prevent said supporters from bringing into the ground and displaying an offensive banner.)
(2) Disciplinary Rule 28 (Failing to take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to prevent misbehaviour by spectators at the above match: by failing to prevent spectators from bringing into the ground and displaying an offensive banner.)
(3) Disciplinary Rule 31 ((i) Failing to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that policies and procedures have been adopted and implemented to prevent instances of Unacceptable Conduct: by failing to prevent spectators at the above match from bringing into the ground and displaying an offensive banner and; (ii) by failing to deal effectively with an instance of Unacceptable Conduct: by allowing spectators to retain possession of said offensive banner after it had been initially displayed, which allowed them to display the banner on a second occasion during the above match.)
(4) Disciplinary Rule 32 (Failing to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that supporters of Celtic FC did not engage in Unacceptable Conduct at the above match: by failing to prevent said supporters from bringing into the ground and displaying an offensive banner.)
Principal Hearing Date: Thursday, 11th October 2012
Celtic FC have until Thursday, 27th September 2012 to respond to the Notice of Complaint.
Rule 26: A club shall take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the safety, good conduct and behaviour of its supporters on any ground. A club playing at its own ground or allowing its ground to be used for a match in which it is not participating shall also take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure the safety, good conduct and behaviour of all spectators at that ground.
Rule 28: Any misbehaviour by spectators before, during or at the close of a match resulting from the failure of a club or recognised football body to take all reasonably practicable steps to avoid the misbehaviour shall render that club or recognised football body liable to any combination of sanctions provided in this Protocol.
Rule 31: A club playing at its own ground or allowing its ground to be used for a match in which it is not participating must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, (i) good order and security; (ii) that policies and procedures have been adopted and are implemented to prevent instances of Unacceptable Conduct; and (iii) that any instance of Unacceptable Conduct is effectively dealt with, all at its own ground, on the occasion of a match.
Rule 32: Each club must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that its players, officials, supporters and any person exercising a function for or in connection with the club do not engage in Unacceptable Conduct at any club’s ground on the occasion of a match. Any failure by a club to discharge a requirement to which it is subject by virtue of Article 28.6 and this Article 28.7 shall constitute a breach of these Articles.
Even in my lifetime, this appears to be a new and unacceptable low; in bringing forth this issue and in pandering to the real bigots of the piece, or to actually acting out the role of same, the SFA, the Rangers support and the media showed overtly, a newly heightened determination to tar us with an entirely undeserving reputation, to censor our joy, to oppress our voices, to criminalize our traditions, to alienate and to pigeon-hole our supporters, to criminalize our every word…to steal our freedoms, of speech and of mind.
Today I gladly say they failed!
Indeed the SFA who organised this sham of a charge sheet, who, when implored by the real bigoted extremists, pandered to their every whim, their every desire and in doing so, much like they did in the tri-colour flag scandal of old, they showed that real bigotry has manifested itself on corridors of power within our game, had today to make yet another embarrassing climb-down, they had once more to bow to the overt, the obvious and the utterly inexcusable miscalculation of proceeding to trial with our club, to going to war with our support, all the while being utterly dismissive of the even greater evils peddled by Mr Green and his bigot boys down Govan way!
Make no mistake, the SFA wanted our heads on a plate, they seek an opportunity to tear strips off our club and to censor us fans. Today was a close call but now their pride is once more hurting…their efforts to take us to task will now double, we must be mindful of that fact. We must make no mistakes, we must act righteously and in the best traditions of the club we hold dear.
I for one have long hoped to stamp out the utterly poisoned chalice, the utterly disgusting and the utterly embarrassing and uninformed ‘pro-IRA’ chanting, the illicit signing and the misguided political demonstrations of a minority within our great support.
Could this be a tipping point, a landmark moment and a watershed event in the cleansing of our, very few, sins…I sincerely hope so.
There would be no better way to fuck up a system than to not fall foolishly into its traps; they want us to fail, they want us to hand them the moral superiority we possess, they want all that they so far cannot reach…we must never let them oppress our voices, we must never concede our freedoms in a fool-hardy ‘GIRFUY’ moment.
We are the real people, the good folks and the morally compassed individuals, lets keep it clean, keep it legal and keep our voices be recognised, unlike them we have a footballing hymn sheet. So what do you say we ‘let the people sing’, our stories and our songs and the music of their native land? Lets not hand them any more reasons to cast doubt upon us all, we are football fans, Celtic fans, first, foremost and in entirety…the political bullshit has and will never define us.
There really is something inside so strong…morals! Now let ours never be doubted again through the actions of anyone in Celtics name. Hold our traditions and our morality dear…in it we have something no level of financial could ever buy…moral high-ground!!
I will now welcome the thoroughly expected and imminently delivery of mass public apologies…who’s big enough to kick it off?…C’mon seriously who’s first?!