Creating Divisions

Don’t worry, this ain’t another League Reconstruction blog by yours truly. Personally I feel that it’s more important.
This blog was planned before the past weekend, certain things which I had noticed I thought I’d use TCN to get my point across a lot more than any 140 character tweet could.
However with recent events on Saturday, I felt that I wanted to sit back, put my little bits in myself and engage with the rest of Twitterland to see what the general feeling was with the supporters.
Bear in mind, this blog was never intended to be about the Green Brigade, far from it. It was intended to be about the overall Celtic support and how things are developing that is causing me some alarm.
Please note that this is my personal opinion and not that of TCN however I’ll happily engage in dialogue with anyone that feel’s i’m speaking out of turn etc.
So before the weekend, even more so before the Juventus game. We saw a huge interest in purchasing tickets for our last 16 game & rightly so. What we also witnessed was supporters annoyance at the craving for these tickets but empty seats domestically. This I understand, it would be great to see Paradise packed every game, everyone would benefit.
So there was some grief caused by the clamour to pick up tickets for the first leg game against The Old Lady. What I witnessed was accusations as such from supporters that there were too many “fair weather” supporters who were not interested in the league and only cared about “supporting” the team in big, high-profile games. I even witnessed many tweets from supporters claiming to be “better Celtic fans” as they went to every home game, away game or European tie.
Again I fully understand that we want Celtic Park full every game, it was a pleasure to once brag about the “waiting list” for season tickets back in the days of the bunnet however what I cannot understand is this new-found desire to criticise fellow supporters for simply not attending games.
For me this is personal. Bear with me so I can state my case –
I had a season ticket for several years, paid mainly through the club’s 4 instalment scheme. I had my own issues with the ticket office, late cashed cheques, Direct Debit’s being taken not as initially planned etc. I missed the first half of games against Shakthar Donestk & Rangers (I watched the Nakamura goal in the ticket office) I had my issues but I was still determined to fight through them and still pay my season ticket.
The club then introduced the Zebra Finance partnership. This was billed as the clubs way of “appreciating the needs of the support in a difficult financial climate” With that the option from a 4 instalment plan to a 10 instalment plan seemed more easier & attractive even though i’d pay a little bit more along the way. All started well, until Zebra like Celtic couldn’t meet the arrangements already set and take the payments as agreed. The payments were fine, the charges were ridiculous however I knew what I had agreed & decided to carry on.
New season, new renewal application – REJECTED. Credit check failed. I then contacted the club to be told that as I had stepped away from their arrangement, the only option left was to pay the full season ticket price up front. I had just been made redundant, although I found other employment, I took a hit financially and was in no position to fork out full price. I had decided that I would have to scrap the season ticket but I’d still hopefully attend as many games as possible.
Now we all have been hit hard in some way over this financial mess, We all have our issues but all I’m saying is that we should all understand that people are in a difficult situation, some more so than myself. IF matters were different, you can bet your life that i’d be at that stadium backing the team. It angered me reading some “Celtic supporters” having a go at others as they couldn’t attend.
Guess what, the 3 games in the Champions League? Benfica, Barcelona & Spartak Moscow? I had tickets for all 3. My reason? I could attend the midweek games but at the weekends I’d be choosing overtime over the games. Perfectly valid reason – not just I couldn’t be arsed turning up for “Inferior games”
If things changed tomorrow, IF everyone suddenly became better off. You can bet that it would be punters like me who’d be clambering to get their season ticket back, you could maybe say I’d face difficulties due to demand. If things were easier to get to football, more would attend.
Current season book holders – Champs League prelim games, domestic games, league cup games, champs league proper games, last 16 games, Scottish Cup games. How many supporters have bought a season ticket and have attended EVERY single game? I know season ticket holders that haven’t been able to attend every game. Even season ticket holders have decision’s to make.
So I’d just ask that before anyone consider’s criticising another supporter over his or her failure to attend games, think about the bigger picture, give some consideration on how others live and how hard times mean’s hard decisions to make. Football over family? Football over a pay?
You see for me that’s creating a division, supporters having the audacity to claim they are any better than others. See if one supporter went to every game home & away and another couldn’t go but still put in a £40 shirt purchase and wore & spoke of the hoops with pride, they’d be no different in my eyes. Stating there is a difference in class, is creating divisions.
Which leads me to the Green Brigade.
I’ve read & heard some comments regarding the Green Brigade. Some comments personally baffle me as I’ve read some say they act as if they are above every other Celtic supporter. For me, if I witnessed this myself, I’d be disgusted (read comments above) however I’ve spoken with a few members on Twitter, I’ve visited their forum and I’ve spoken with supporters who know GB members VERY WELL and I’ve never saw any proof whatsoever that they consider themselves as a better class than you or me.
The bottom line in this weekend’s events is that SUPPORTERS are being treated poorly, very poorly and should this end with no Green Brigade then it’ll me you, me or anyone else sitting around you or going to & back from the game that’ll be next. Make no mistake about that.
The statement released from the club is what I was mainly waiting on however I feel that it doesn’t deal with the situation from the weekend nor since this bill was brought into play. The club claim to have received ONLY 2 complaints since December last year. I’d personally like to know what do they class as complaints and also, have they contacted the other bodies involved in previous discussions regarding any complaints they may have received?
I’d urge every Celtic supporter that should they feel victimized, antagonized or bullied by anyone within the ground & its premises to contact either your own CSC, Fans Against Criminalisation Group (The Celtic Supporters´ Association, The Green Brigade, The Affiliation of Registered Celtic Supporters´ Clubs, the Association of Irish Celtic Supporters´ Clubs and The Celtic Trust.
We should use this as a way of publicly airing our side of the story rather than what i believe are statistics being counted for the benefit of the bill.
I’m sure sites such as TCN and other forums etc. will also be willing to provide areas for where supporters can provide details of any issues. The club state that only 2 complaints had been received, as it stands, people will have to take that for face value until any other proof is provided that says otherwise. Should there be examples, which have been gathered then it’ll make it more difficult for the club to side step.
Let me say this also – I feel that the club are in some way stuck between the rock & a hard place. This bill was brought in above the club, what actions the authorities decide to take upon supporters is out with the club’s remit however I do feel that the statement provided this evening does very little to clear matters up. Too many questions are still unanswered.
Imagine you turn up at a game and your friend or family member is subjected to issues the GB have faced – Would you think, okay something must have happened, no smoke without fire?
Would you watch as they were lifted, filmed, given unnecessary attention, comments, body searched, visits at home & work?
Imagine that is someone you know personally, would you defend their civil right or would you say “had it coming to them”
Ask yourselves these questions –
Why would the Green Brigade pay £500+ for this?
What have they got to gain by paying money, missing games and possibly being criminalised?
Simple questions that if you put yourself in that position, you may just feel differently.
I’m not asking anyone to support the Green Brigade, however consider them simply as they are, Celtic supporters. Surely they deserve the same rights as you personally would expect attending any game.
#FansAgainstCriminalisation

Comments

    1. Yeah that’s concerning for me. We should respect each other and have an understand of what is happening & affecting many. Thanks Maureen.

    1. Yeah that’s concerning for me. We should respect each other and have an understand of what is happening & affecting many. Thanks Maureen.

  1. Kraljski
    I can empathise with all that you say. There was a time when my working conditions and pay allowed me to travel to home and away games without a second thought. I was mad enough to go to to games when finishing time meant I would only catch the last half hour. I once left work at 7pm and travelled from Motherwell to Aberdeen just to watch the last 20 minutes, then travelled all the way back to arrive home at about 1am. Then things changed. I took ill and had to stop working. My comfortable savings dwindled and before too long I found myself slipping into debt just to keep myself and my family in a decent life. When I eventually returned to work it was in England and for very little money. Then to cap it all I became very seriously ill and will never fully recover. I live on my pension with little or no other income. If some see this as a sob story, I apologise as it is not my intention to seek pity for myself. I live pretty comfortably and enjoy a decent life with a loving wife and family. I also have the comfort of still being in constant contact with other fans on this and other websites. Many others are denied these basics. However, I make no apology for the fact that I can no longer attend football matches for a whole variety of reasons. I do try to make a contribution in other ways when I can even though it is no substitute for the real experience of attending games. That is my loss and no one else’s. Be assured I tell my tale simply to support your contention, Kraljski. Judge not if you know not the facts. To Celtic I say, charity begins at home and that should mean supporting the supporters in difficult times.
    As for the issues relating to the treatment of sections of the Celtic support, I will have my say here tomorrow (written prior to the club statement). However, suffice it to say for now that I recognise all the arguments you put forward in support of the Green Brigade. There is something not right in all of this conflict. The problem is not knowing all the facts. The truth is hidden somewhere in the mire and for now I tend to lean more towards the fans than the club. I will be shattered if the latter fails to change my opinion.
    H H

  2. Kraljski
    I can empathise with all that you say. There was a time when my working conditions and pay allowed me to travel to home and away games without a second thought. I was mad enough to go to to games when finishing time meant I would only catch the last half hour. I once left work at 7pm and travelled from Motherwell to Aberdeen just to watch the last 20 minutes, then travelled all the way back to arrive home at about 1am. Then things changed. I took ill and had to stop working. My comfortable savings dwindled and before too long I found myself slipping into debt just to keep myself and my family in a decent life. When I eventually returned to work it was in England and for very little money. Then to cap it all I became very seriously ill and will never fully recover. I live on my pension with little or no other income. If some see this as a sob story, I apologise as it is not my intention to seek pity for myself. I live pretty comfortably and enjoy a decent life with a loving wife and family. I also have the comfort of still being in constant contact with other fans on this and other websites. Many others are denied these basics. However, I make no apology for the fact that I can no longer attend football matches for a whole variety of reasons. I do try to make a contribution in other ways when I can even though it is no substitute for the real experience of attending games. That is my loss and no one else’s. Be assured I tell my tale simply to support your contention, Kraljski. Judge not if you know not the facts. To Celtic I say, charity begins at home and that should mean supporting the supporters in difficult times.
    As for the issues relating to the treatment of sections of the Celtic support, I will have my say here tomorrow (written prior to the club statement). However, suffice it to say for now that I recognise all the arguments you put forward in support of the Green Brigade. There is something not right in all of this conflict. The problem is not knowing all the facts. The truth is hidden somewhere in the mire and for now I tend to lean more towards the fans than the club. I will be shattered if the latter fails to change my opinion.
    H H

  3. Glad you took the time to put this together Kraljski, all issues that were in need of a good commonsense approach!
    I believe that much of the ‘I deserved a ticket more than you’ carry on was overflowing passion misdirected. I hope so anyway.
    One thing that infuriated me at the Juventus game was the thousands of supporters who stood up and left as soon as the 3rd goal was scored.
    Tens of thousands would have given anything for a ticket. Leaving early was disrespectful to them and to the team. Some way to show appreciation at the (more than likely) end of an incredible European campaign.

    1. Thanks Steven, means alot bud.
      I think the Juventus ticket thing was as you say. It’s the recent, how dare the stadium be full on Tues but not on Sat. For reasons given, decisions have to be made. To criticise some for not being there is Very harsh.
      HH bud.

  4. Glad you took the time to put this together Kraljski, all issues that were in need of a good commonsense approach!
    I believe that much of the ‘I deserved a ticket more than you’ carry on was overflowing passion misdirected. I hope so anyway.
    One thing that infuriated me at the Juventus game was the thousands of supporters who stood up and left as soon as the 3rd goal was scored.
    Tens of thousands would have given anything for a ticket. Leaving early was disrespectful to them and to the team. Some way to show appreciation at the (more than likely) end of an incredible European campaign.

    1. Thanks Steven, means alot bud.
      I think the Juventus ticket thing was as you say. It’s the recent, how dare the stadium be full on Tues but not on Sat. For reasons given, decisions have to be made. To criticise some for not being there is Very harsh.
      HH bud.

  5. In regards to your first point I feel disheartend by the poor attendances at Celtic Park in the league fixtures. If someone has work commitments or simply cant afford to go to matches week in, week out.. Fair enough. But I simply do not believe there aren’t at least 50k tims around the Glasgow area who dont have the means to go to Celtic matches more regularly. Comparisons in attendance with they-who-shall-not-be-named are quite embarrassing even if they’re selling tickets at a reduced price in compared to Celtic.
    Our average attendances since the new stadium was built have been exceptional and befitting of the size of the club, lets get back to the days of 50k at every match, if that means the club has to reduce ticket prices then so be it.
    As for your 2nd point all I can say is I hope the club and the Green Brigade can come to an agreement of some sort. They bring a terrific atmosphere to Celtic Park that’d be sorely missed if they were forced to quit.

    1. Appreciate & value your opinion. Thanks Sean.
      Regarding the attendances, I see where your come from but alot of our support don’t come from within the Glasgow area, all over the country, from north & south, from England & Ireland.
      Consider these fans who’d make the lengthy trip for European nights then considering the same journey only a few days later. The journey, the cost. It all adds up. Like myself it’s mainly a financial decision, as I say, I know season ticket holders that have chosen not to go from the west of Scotland simply having to make ends meet etc.
      Fully appreciate and respect what you say. Hail Hail

  6. In regards to your first point I feel disheartend by the poor attendances at Celtic Park in the league fixtures. If someone has work commitments or simply cant afford to go to matches week in, week out.. Fair enough. But I simply do not believe there aren’t at least 50k tims around the Glasgow area who dont have the means to go to Celtic matches more regularly. Comparisons in attendance with they-who-shall-not-be-named are quite embarrassing even if they’re selling tickets at a reduced price in compared to Celtic.
    Our average attendances since the new stadium was built have been exceptional and befitting of the size of the club, lets get back to the days of 50k at every match, if that means the club has to reduce ticket prices then so be it.
    As for your 2nd point all I can say is I hope the club and the Green Brigade can come to an agreement of some sort. They bring a terrific atmosphere to Celtic Park that’d be sorely missed if they were forced to quit.

    1. Appreciate & value your opinion. Thanks Sean.
      Regarding the attendances, I see where your come from but alot of our support don’t come from within the Glasgow area, all over the country, from north & south, from England & Ireland.
      Consider these fans who’d make the lengthy trip for European nights then considering the same journey only a few days later. The journey, the cost. It all adds up. Like myself it’s mainly a financial decision, as I say, I know season ticket holders that have chosen not to go from the west of Scotland simply having to make ends meet etc.
      Fully appreciate and respect what you say. Hail Hail

  7. My Dad doesn’t have a ST, really only goes to games when I can’t use my ticket, and rarely buys any other merchandise.
    Anybody tries to tell me he’s not a Celtic fan is talking rubbish.
    I have an ST, and buy all home cup and CL games despite a 500 mile round trip to see the games, and I try to get to all the Euro away games.
    Do I believe I am a better fan than others? Better than my Dad? Of course not!
    I’m just lucky I have good health, financial means to go, and an understanding partner!
    The superiority complex creeping into the support really annoys me.
    We need to remember there’s only one group of people we go to see categorised as the best, and that’s the Team.
    If we want to be the best fans, then we need to start with some respect.

    1. John that’s a terrific way to look at it. Imagine a close one wasn’t at the games as much as he or she would like to be, some wouldn’t be so quick to have a pop. HH

  8. My Dad doesn’t have a ST, really only goes to games when I can’t use my ticket, and rarely buys any other merchandise.
    Anybody tries to tell me he’s not a Celtic fan is talking rubbish.
    I have an ST, and buy all home cup and CL games despite a 500 mile round trip to see the games, and I try to get to all the Euro away games.
    Do I believe I am a better fan than others? Better than my Dad? Of course not!
    I’m just lucky I have good health, financial means to go, and an understanding partner!
    The superiority complex creeping into the support really annoys me.
    We need to remember there’s only one group of people we go to see categorised as the best, and that’s the Team.
    If we want to be the best fans, then we need to start with some respect.

    1. John that’s a terrific way to look at it. Imagine a close one wasn’t at the games as much as he or she would like to be, some wouldn’t be so quick to have a pop. HH

  9. I think you have given a very balanced view of being a celtic supporter. Whilst I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of the GB I do appreciate the colour, spectacle and atmosphere that they bring to games. However I understand that the club has concerns that there has been an element that has attached itself to the GB who are not there to just watch the game. If people are using celtic to use as a vehicle for anything other than football then that is wrong. If this is not the case then the fans who are being harassed should complain to the club and they should also send their complaint to the Police complaints commission. Supporters have a basic right to support their team without harassment but in return they shouldn’t do anything to blacken the names of celtic. In response to your point about some supporters being better than others I agree that we are all equal and that because you or I have a season book or not it doesn’t make you more or less of a fan. In fact if you aren’t a season book holder it will probably cost you more to watch the team over the season even more so if you take a son or daughter. Celtic is an all inclusive club and the supporters should be the same. Finally maybe it would help if the GB were more open and allowed any fan who wanted to join them join. If for no other reason it would make it harder for the police to harass them if they had greater numbers.
    Thanks for reason

    1. Much appreciated Shugg. Think a better dialogue is needed to steer us away from this. Easier said than done but fingers crossed. Overall it’ll be the club & team that misses out. HH

    2. Shugg
      My sentiments entirely. Openness or the lack of it from both sides is at the heart of the problem. I have yet to witness a conflict or in fact read about one, that was ever resolved outwith talks round a table.
      H H

  10. I think you have given a very balanced view of being a celtic supporter. Whilst I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of the GB I do appreciate the colour, spectacle and atmosphere that they bring to games. However I understand that the club has concerns that there has been an element that has attached itself to the GB who are not there to just watch the game. If people are using celtic to use as a vehicle for anything other than football then that is wrong. If this is not the case then the fans who are being harassed should complain to the club and they should also send their complaint to the Police complaints commission. Supporters have a basic right to support their team without harassment but in return they shouldn’t do anything to blacken the names of celtic. In response to your point about some supporters being better than others I agree that we are all equal and that because you or I have a season book or not it doesn’t make you more or less of a fan. In fact if you aren’t a season book holder it will probably cost you more to watch the team over the season even more so if you take a son or daughter. Celtic is an all inclusive club and the supporters should be the same. Finally maybe it would help if the GB were more open and allowed any fan who wanted to join them join. If for no other reason it would make it harder for the police to harass them if they had greater numbers.
    Thanks for reason

    1. Much appreciated Shugg. Think a better dialogue is needed to steer us away from this. Easier said than done but fingers crossed. Overall it’ll be the club & team that misses out. HH

    2. Shugg
      My sentiments entirely. Openness or the lack of it from both sides is at the heart of the problem. I have yet to witness a conflict or in fact read about one, that was ever resolved outwith talks round a table.
      H H

  11. Agree that personal circumstances have a lot to do with some fans not attending matches as regularly as they would like to.However I can recall during the MON era attending matches with a group of eight fans,all of whom I would consider more financially comfortable than I was and who continue to be now.Of that group I am the only one who still has a season book or indeed goes to games on a regular basis. Their reasons for falling away from the game are more to do with the quality of play/value for money rather than affordability.As well as this I am aware of a number of work colleagues whose circumstances are similar to my own who have relinquished their books for no reason other than a lack of competition.Some of these guys were quite despondent that they were unable to acquire briefs for the Juve tie while as they put it ” part-time supporters have managed to get tickets”. Seems like some of them thought previous years following the team gave them more rights than others hindered by personal situations. I think that when you look at the rapid decline in season book numbers (peak 53000 now approx 40000) it is more likely that the majority of stayaways are from the type of fans I have referenced. Unfortunately the product on offer no longer appeals to them and is beyond the means of many others. Finally, I’d like to say that the club needs to address the issue more proactively.It has issued a questionnaire to season book holders seeking their opinions on a variety of issues but it is the ‘missing’ support that needs to be recovered and perhaps some form of survey should be available to all on the CFC site to discover ways of attracting them back to Celtic Park.

    1. H in the S
      I find your comment particularly sad. I have written below why I am now unable to attend matches and none of them are to do with quality or value. Yes these elements come into the equation but for me supporting Celtic is a commitment to a club I love and not an Amazon bargain hunt. AS for opposition, do they really believe Celtic had only one team to challenge them in the past? They obviously do not remember or, perhaps only want to ignore, the 80s when THAT team were no where to be seen. They should also be made aware that our greatest ever manager saw THAT match as simply another two points gained or dropped in any season. If these hypocrites, for that is what they are if they go for product rather than commitment, only knew the pain for old timers like me who can no longer enjoy being at Parkhead except on a very rare occasion, they would not be so ready to abandon their good fortune. It is people like them that are destroying our game in Scotland and who give fodder to the Armageddon theorists. There are enough elsewhere who use that excuse thank you, without our own.
      H H

      1. Pensionerbhoy
        The point I’m trying to put across is that there are too many glory hunters who attached themselves to the club during the MON era and now choose to spend their cash on other pursuits that to them offer better value. Not many of them wish to remember or are prepared to consider Celtic teams featuring players of the calibre of RoyKay,Joe Filippi,Wayne Biggins. Regrettably due to the financial constraints of the SPL that is where they see our game heading in the longer term. However,like you I believe that following Celtic comes from the heart and is a privilege to be enjoyed win,lose or draw.

  12. Agree that personal circumstances have a lot to do with some fans not attending matches as regularly as they would like to.However I can recall during the MON era attending matches with a group of eight fans,all of whom I would consider more financially comfortable than I was and who continue to be now.Of that group I am the only one who still has a season book or indeed goes to games on a regular basis. Their reasons for falling away from the game are more to do with the quality of play/value for money rather than affordability.As well as this I am aware of a number of work colleagues whose circumstances are similar to my own who have relinquished their books for no reason other than a lack of competition.Some of these guys were quite despondent that they were unable to acquire briefs for the Juve tie while as they put it ” part-time supporters have managed to get tickets”. Seems like some of them thought previous years following the team gave them more rights than others hindered by personal situations. I think that when you look at the rapid decline in season book numbers (peak 53000 now approx 40000) it is more likely that the majority of stayaways are from the type of fans I have referenced. Unfortunately the product on offer no longer appeals to them and is beyond the means of many others. Finally, I’d like to say that the club needs to address the issue more proactively.It has issued a questionnaire to season book holders seeking their opinions on a variety of issues but it is the ‘missing’ support that needs to be recovered and perhaps some form of survey should be available to all on the CFC site to discover ways of attracting them back to Celtic Park.

    1. H in the S
      I find your comment particularly sad. I have written below why I am now unable to attend matches and none of them are to do with quality or value. Yes these elements come into the equation but for me supporting Celtic is a commitment to a club I love and not an Amazon bargain hunt. AS for opposition, do they really believe Celtic had only one team to challenge them in the past? They obviously do not remember or, perhaps only want to ignore, the 80s when THAT team were no where to be seen. They should also be made aware that our greatest ever manager saw THAT match as simply another two points gained or dropped in any season. If these hypocrites, for that is what they are if they go for product rather than commitment, only knew the pain for old timers like me who can no longer enjoy being at Parkhead except on a very rare occasion, they would not be so ready to abandon their good fortune. It is people like them that are destroying our game in Scotland and who give fodder to the Armageddon theorists. There are enough elsewhere who use that excuse thank you, without our own.
      H H

      1. Pensionerbhoy
        The point I’m trying to put across is that there are too many glory hunters who attached themselves to the club during the MON era and now choose to spend their cash on other pursuits that to them offer better value. Not many of them wish to remember or are prepared to consider Celtic teams featuring players of the calibre of RoyKay,Joe Filippi,Wayne Biggins. Regrettably due to the financial constraints of the SPL that is where they see our game heading in the longer term. However,like you I believe that following Celtic comes from the heart and is a privilege to be enjoyed win,lose or draw.

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