Stand By Your Fans.
111 is closed, the board gave supporters in that section a final warning a few weeks back. As far as the board are concerned breaches of health and safety carried on in the form of lateral movement, therefore they have effectively closed that section. So this is where we are at the moment.
Should the Green Brigade and others who occupied that section followed safety instructions ? Yes.
However I quite staggered at the way a section of our support have lined up to put the boot into their fellow fans. The Celtic Family ? Families don’t turn on their own. I’m also very wary of fans who tell people to leave their politics outside the ground. I don’t sing political songs at the game but I’m sure as hell not going to dictate to my fellow fans what they can or can’t sing. That’s their choice, they paid their money.
Before I go any further I want to state that I am not a Board basher. I’m over the moon with what we have achieved on and off the pitch. I also think the stadium improvements like WI-FI, family area and upgraded disabled facilities are a credit to the boards good financial planning. However I do have some concerns.
Now as I said I’m definitely pro Green Brigade but that’s probably because I’ve got to know some of them via the Fans Against Criminalisation movement. I know and understand what the GB and others in our support have been put through. I’ve heard about and witnessed Police harassment targeted against them and other Celtic fans who have nothing to do with the Group. I listened in total shock when a prominent Celtic fans representative told me they witnessed a senior official from Celtic Football Club stand in court, under oath trying to insure a Celtic fan was convicted. Your fellow fan was up in court for the Lennongrad banner, the Club official tried to link the banner to the Bradford disaster in order gain a guilty verdict. Fortunately enough your fellow fan was found not guilty. And my fellow supporters that’s not the half of it.
Over the past year we have heard from a former office holder from the ARCSC tell of Peter Lawwell’s comment of ‘give them enough rope’ directed at supporters in 111. If that was not the truth then I’m sure the guy who let us all know would have been sued. Also for all the board’s talk about dialogue they never invited the Green Brigade to the meetings where they were the topic of discussion. At this point you have to ask why the board of our club would act in such a manner towards its own support?
If we take the above examples I think it’s fair to say that health and safety while being a legitimate concern for the board is also a very convenient excuse for disbanding 111. I think it’s also clear to see why distrust has built up between some fans and the custodians of the club. I would like like to see more clarity and openness from the board.
The people running the club may have legitimate reasons for wanting an end to lateral movement and other such things. It could be that they need to bring an end to this to make it easier to obtain planning permission and a safety certificate for a safe standing area. They may also want an end to republican songs because they are trying to engineer a move to England. Let’s face it a lot of ordinary English people won’t want to hear those songs. All I would say is if any of this is the case then please let the support know. I’m sure we would all do our best to help.
I would also appreciate the board clarifying their position on law abiding Celtic fans being harassed by Police Scotland and FoCUS in general. Oh and while I’m at it why they are not so keen on pursuing the football authorities in this country for money we have last out on due to their maladministration of the game and the shady practices of a dead club.
Where there is a lack of dialogue and information a vacuum will form and that vacuum will fill with nonsense and mistrust.
Someone posted yesterday “The GB are every much Celtic fans as you and I, nothing more, nothing less, we are all equal”. I wholeheartedly agree with that, I would also expect the members of the Green Brigade also agree with that. So if we are all equal then we should not be putting the boot in to our fellow supporters. The best thing the rest of us can do is encourage the board and the Green Brigade to work together and resolve this issue. If the issue is resolved to both parties satisfaction it will tell us a couple of things. One: The reason for this latest action is genuinely health and safety. Two: The Green Brigade are prepared to live by the same rules as the rest of the support.
Thanks for reading my rant, I can’t write as eloquently as my big pal Lorenzo but then not many can.