Yesterdays events at Celtic Park

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TCN Supports the Green Brigade
Towards the end of 2012, the Green Brigade announced a two-match boycott of Celtic Park due to the continued police harassment of our members. We hoped to highlight the extent of our ill-treatment and perhaps force the police into a re-think regarding their bully boy tactics. Sadly the harassment has actually worsened since then, leading up to the events of yesterday which left the group with little choice but to leave the stadium before kick-off.
It has reached the stage where our very existence is under serious threat as fans will not continue to pay £500+ to be treated like criminals.
After the disappointment of Tuesday night, we had made it our intention to thank the team for their efforts and once again back them to the hilt. However, it was clear that the police, and indeed club officials, were not going to allow this to happen.
Even before we had even got near Celtic Park, the police had tracked us down at the CSA on London Road. They took our merchandise off of people who had recently purchased it and questioned the staff as to why our members were allowed in the building.
As we approached the stadium and began to enter, some members were told that they were to leave as they had received a football banning order. No warning or explanation was given. Others were greeted by a message at the turnstile after swiping their card that read “suspended for one game.” Again, without any warning or explanation as to why this was the case. These ‘’bans’’ were at the behest of the club and not the police, for reasons still unknown.
We were then approached by a Celtic steward who advised us to be wary when entering the section, as he was advised by Strathclyde Police that they intended to arrest some of our members, and that they were in possession of a ‘wanted’ list with names and pictures of the unfortunate fans who were to be singled out. It was at this point that we decided that we were putting our own members at risk by entering the stadium. As we made our way to the exits, one Focus officer, Tommy McCrindle, was grinning from ear to ear, goading the group into a reaction that fortunately he never got.
It would seem that the police and indeed the club have upped the ante even further in recent weeks. The facts are;
– We are now 10 members down since the turn of the year.
– We have had two members arrested and charged over the ‘zombie’ banner that was unfurled at the Norwich friendly. One of those members was arrested at a busy airport in front of family on arrival from holiday.
– The first of those charged had his first court appearance last week. This was laughed out of court but not before the stress and inconvenience of telling family members, taking time off work and missing big matches.
– Numerous members’ have been harassed at their homes in recent weeks, another clear tactic of intimidation.
This is all done under the say-so of Strathclyde Police’ FoCus unit. Celtic supporters have the same police officers following them week in, week out. This allows them to become familiar with the names and faces of our fans. It would appear that they use this familiarity to try to intimidate us even further. Simple things like name-dropping partner’s names or family members’ names has become an all too common theme. It’s all part of the bullying nature of this unit. The aforementioned McCrindle actually has on his social networking site that his job description is “full-time Fume-a-pest & termite control.” McCrindle was also in the midst of controversy following the Juventus game, as three members were arrested to be charged with a minor breach of the peace which quickly became offensive behaviour at the football, leading to banning orders being made a part of said members bail conditions. McCrindle even went as far as to attempt to pressure the Procurator Fiscal in to ensuring that one of the accused would not even be granted bail. The sad thing is that it’s our money that pays this man’s wages, whilst also affording this unit countless ‘’working holidays’’ to places like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Moscow.
After the last boycott, Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon publicly expressed their desire to meet with us to iron out any issues we may have. We decided that this was something which we should try to use, so contacted them via a private email about this almost immediately. Sadly, they were ‘too busy’ but would contact us when they were ready. We’re still waiting on them getting back to us about that particular email, although we did receive one prior to the Juventus game with an agenda that in no way mentioned any of the concerns that we outlined. We advised that we weren’t prepared to discuss anything any further with them until our initial request was granted. We are still no further forward with that and as a result, any relationship with the club has completely disintegrated. Since this relationship has broken down the ticket office has become entirely uncooperative with us whilst the chief steward with whom we had a good working relationship with has been moved post.
We have never met with Neil Lennon before but have had numerous dealings with Lawwell in recent years. At almost every meeting, he has made promises that were never kept so this is nothing new. He met our members to discuss the fall-out over the “Let’s go to War banner” that depicted Lennon setting fire to Ibrox and had “Huns FC” written on the stadium. This led to charges and court cases which lasted 18 months for 3 of our members. We had met with Lawwell to discuss this and to see if he could lend his support to the case. Lawwell advised us that he thought the charge was ‘a joke’ and it was his opinion that the term ‘huns’ was in no way offensive. Furthermore, he went onto say he’d be happy for the club to defend us in court. We were clearly delighted with this. However, when our lawyer contacted him about this a few weeks down the line, Lawwell denied all knowledge of the meeting and refused to comment any further. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a senior member of Celtic security, David Brannan, was used as a prosecution witness.
We have heard in the last couple of weeks of meetings involving Lawwell and other Celtic fan groups. At these meetings, Lawwell has made no secret of the fact that he intends to see the end of the group sooner rather than later. He was quoted as saying that he would “give them enough rope to hang themselves.” We were told that Lawwell used CCTV footage of the section to pinpoint who he felt the ringleaders were and picked out a member as someone who ‘had to go’. We have also been informed that other fans groups may have attended similar meetings with Peter Lawwell and if this were the case, we would find it extremely disheartening that we were not informed of the club’s intentions by other Celtic fans. At this stage however Celtic’s agenda seems clear – They are intent on finishing the group off.
Our decision not to attend yesterday’s match was not something that we had planned. We simply felt that it was a decision that had to be made purely to protect our own members and those within 111. It has now gotten to the stage whereby members of our group live in constant fear of the police showing up at their homes or workplace with a trumped up charge, or to be told that they are banned from football matches as they approach the gates of 111. Now, more than ever, the continued support of the rest of the Celtic fans is appreciated immensely. We cannot stress enough that if things do not change for the better, the group will be unable to continue to attend matches to support the club that we all love.

Comments

  1. Celtic Football Club and Strathclyde Police must make a statement on the harassment of Celtic supporters. An attack on one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us.
    Who will be next after the Green Brigade ?

  2. Celtic Football Club and Strathclyde Police must make a statement on the harassment of Celtic supporters. An attack on one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us.
    Who will be next after the Green Brigade ?

  3. This is terrible state of affairs, especially when Celtic seem to be chasing fans from supporting Celtic at a time when every other team in the SPL are trying to attract fans back to the game. I don’t think Mr Lawell knows when he is well off.

  4. This is terrible state of affairs, especially when Celtic seem to be chasing fans from supporting Celtic at a time when every other team in the SPL are trying to attract fans back to the game. I don’t think Mr Lawell knows when he is well off.

  5. Sniper
    If you are correct, and I have no reason to question what you say, then it is a shameful stain on Celtic Football Club and officials. Of all the people involved, Neil Lennon, more than any, should understand your feelings with regard to harassment and injustice. It is beyond disappointing if what you write is the full story. For me, however, it is difficult to make an assessment when there are no public statements from the club. If that should continue and the powers that be take no steps to seek a resolution, then I for one will no longer be supporting Celtic FC. This is a serious matter. The principles at stake actually go beyond the club and football . The very ethic of “The Celtic Family” and civil liberties, so much promoted in theory, is under threat or at least is being challenged. We have all been fighting a battle for well over a year now for the voice of fans to be heard. We have claimed it is essential for the survival and development of Scottish football. We have fought everyone and everything that has challenged or opposed this concept. Are we to cast our principles aside because it is OUR club involved or do we stand for the family values that are at the heart of the Celtic ethos? We have an obligation to support and defend our fellow supporters as well as the club against attack, not only from outside but from within. I believe all supporters should write to Peter Lawwell DEMANDING a statement outlining the issues and the reasons for the club’s actions and silence till now. This is a developing canker that has caused pain among fans for too long to be left unresolved. If a statement proves there is good reason for the club’s actions, I will be the first to acknowledge that penalties should be imposed. If not, the club itself will have destroyed my love and faith in it.
    H H

  6. Sniper
    If you are correct, and I have no reason to question what you say, then it is a shameful stain on Celtic Football Club and officials. Of all the people involved, Neil Lennon, more than any, should understand your feelings with regard to harassment and injustice. It is beyond disappointing if what you write is the full story. For me, however, it is difficult to make an assessment when there are no public statements from the club. If that should continue and the powers that be take no steps to seek a resolution, then I for one will no longer be supporting Celtic FC. This is a serious matter. The principles at stake actually go beyond the club and football . The very ethic of “The Celtic Family” and civil liberties, so much promoted in theory, is under threat or at least is being challenged. We have all been fighting a battle for well over a year now for the voice of fans to be heard. We have claimed it is essential for the survival and development of Scottish football. We have fought everyone and everything that has challenged or opposed this concept. Are we to cast our principles aside because it is OUR club involved or do we stand for the family values that are at the heart of the Celtic ethos? We have an obligation to support and defend our fellow supporters as well as the club against attack, not only from outside but from within. I believe all supporters should write to Peter Lawwell DEMANDING a statement outlining the issues and the reasons for the club’s actions and silence till now. This is a developing canker that has caused pain among fans for too long to be left unresolved. If a statement proves there is good reason for the club’s actions, I will be the first to acknowledge that penalties should be imposed. If not, the club itself will have destroyed my love and faith in it.
    H H

  7. If the Green Brigade are hounded out of existence, I’m finished going to CP. This group has been a breath of fresh air and bring atmosphere to the stadium.
    I have been Celtic fan and supporter all my life. I will always be a fan but not necessarily always a supporter. The current Celtic PLC management couldn’t give a fuck about the supporters, or “customers” as they see us. I asked a question over ticketing pricing last July and despite being assured on three occasionas I would get an answer, I’m still waiting. They don’t care about us, so long as we turn up and pay the money.
    Get behind the GB, they are Celtic. Every bit as much, and more so, than the cash motivated suits driving them away.

  8. If the Green Brigade are hounded out of existence, I’m finished going to CP. This group has been a breath of fresh air and bring atmosphere to the stadium.
    I have been Celtic fan and supporter all my life. I will always be a fan but not necessarily always a supporter. The current Celtic PLC management couldn’t give a fuck about the supporters, or “customers” as they see us. I asked a question over ticketing pricing last July and despite being assured on three occasionas I would get an answer, I’m still waiting. They don’t care about us, so long as we turn up and pay the money.
    Get behind the GB, they are Celtic. Every bit as much, and more so, than the cash motivated suits driving them away.

  9. Whether they are being victimized is perhaps up for debate ? Who knows ?
    I predicted to a few of my mates a while back that it would not be too long before we seen the end of the GB. Whether you support them or not does not matter as Celtic fans went to paradise in their droves and have continued to do so since the club began. Celtic and its fans were here long before and will be here long after the demise of the GB. That is just a basic fact, nothing more or nothing less.
    The political side of the group i have no problem with at all but, why the need to bring it inside the ground ? If they are that passionate about these things can they not organize events to participate in which does not involve the club? Would be a good start maybe.
    The poppy banner had absolutely no place inside a football ground, that was their biggest mistake and turned many against them. They more or less signed their own death warrant that day

    1. Joe Bhoy
      I accept that the GB have done some stupid things but were you not just a little reckless on occasion when you were young? Surely there is enough value in this group to work with the members rather than hound them, if that be the case, of course. Everyone hails the thunder restored by Neil Lennon but I believe he would simply have been a “John The Baptist” in the desert if the brigade had not answered his call. You must have sat amongst or heard the seemingly deathly silence when the brigade are not in full voice. It is not the same as the old days when we all just “let go” and could not avoid being infected by a “crazy loon” standing next to us. Sometimes I was that crazy loon. It appears the vast majority of supporters today need stimulated before they react. In my younger days it was simply spontaneous.
      However, I will not judge until I know exactly what the issues are and how they have been dealt with. But part of the problem for me is that I only hear one side all of the time. The club seem to feel that silence is apposite. My concern is that this festering sore has gone on too long wrapped in apparent secrecy and silence. Have we not all avidly and roundly condemned such tactics by others elsewhere over the last couple of years or perhaps for even longer? Have such methods not led to a proliferation of conspiracy theories and ill informed judgements? Has silence not been the licence for SMS to accuse and call foul without evidence? It is time to get the issues out in the open and damn the consequences. We can not be so cocooned by long desired happenings elsewhere that we become immune to our own problems. I love my club and condemn anyone or anything inside or out, leaders or led, custodians or supporters who would do it harm by the way they behave or the decisions they make. If the whole story is revealed, I will act accordingly. If not, I must walk the difficult path of condemnation.
      H H

  10. Whether they are being victimized is perhaps up for debate ? Who knows ?
    I predicted to a few of my mates a while back that it would not be too long before we seen the end of the GB. Whether you support them or not does not matter as Celtic fans went to paradise in their droves and have continued to do so since the club began. Celtic and its fans were here long before and will be here long after the demise of the GB. That is just a basic fact, nothing more or nothing less.
    The political side of the group i have no problem with at all but, why the need to bring it inside the ground ? If they are that passionate about these things can they not organize events to participate in which does not involve the club? Would be a good start maybe.
    The poppy banner had absolutely no place inside a football ground, that was their biggest mistake and turned many against them. They more or less signed their own death warrant that day

    1. Joe Bhoy
      I accept that the GB have done some stupid things but were you not just a little reckless on occasion when you were young? Surely there is enough value in this group to work with the members rather than hound them, if that be the case, of course. Everyone hails the thunder restored by Neil Lennon but I believe he would simply have been a “John The Baptist” in the desert if the brigade had not answered his call. You must have sat amongst or heard the seemingly deathly silence when the brigade are not in full voice. It is not the same as the old days when we all just “let go” and could not avoid being infected by a “crazy loon” standing next to us. Sometimes I was that crazy loon. It appears the vast majority of supporters today need stimulated before they react. In my younger days it was simply spontaneous.
      However, I will not judge until I know exactly what the issues are and how they have been dealt with. But part of the problem for me is that I only hear one side all of the time. The club seem to feel that silence is apposite. My concern is that this festering sore has gone on too long wrapped in apparent secrecy and silence. Have we not all avidly and roundly condemned such tactics by others elsewhere over the last couple of years or perhaps for even longer? Have such methods not led to a proliferation of conspiracy theories and ill informed judgements? Has silence not been the licence for SMS to accuse and call foul without evidence? It is time to get the issues out in the open and damn the consequences. We can not be so cocooned by long desired happenings elsewhere that we become immune to our own problems. I love my club and condemn anyone or anything inside or out, leaders or led, custodians or supporters who would do it harm by the way they behave or the decisions they make. If the whole story is revealed, I will act accordingly. If not, I must walk the difficult path of condemnation.
      H H

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