8th November 2010
The Glasgow club said in a statement: ‘The actions of this small minority have no place at Celtic Park. We are currently investigating the matter and, clearly, we apologise for any offence caused.’
IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL, ISN’T IT? WELL, ISN’T IT?
The answer to that question is, oddly, yes and no.
DON’T MENTION THE
The utterly SHAMEFUL behaviour of some Glasgow Celtic supporters at the weekend, aka devils from hell, should make the sane amongst us hang our heads.
[I have a personal interest in this story. I’ll tell you more at the end.]
At a football game on Saturday, (‘soccer’ if you’re American), one of Glasgow’s, indeed Scotland’s two big football teams shamed themselves and the rest of Glasgow, indeed Scotland if not the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland … oh, and today’s Ireland too. (More on Ireland’s interest later.)
At the same time their team did the right thing at Celtic’s Parkhead football ground. They played their hearts out against Aberdeen, thrashing them 9-0, while wearing poppies in commemoration of the fallen in ALL wars. Remembrance Day here in Britain is 11th November.
During their 9-0 thrashing of Aberdeen on Saturday, supporters held a banner split into seven parts and covering a large section of supporters, which declared ‘no bloodstained poppies on our hoops’ and ‘your deeds would shame all the devils in Hell’. [The ‘hoops’ refers to Celtic’s football kit.]
Whose deeds? Which deeds? The team’s? The banner specifically named Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly these understanding peace-loving types are anti-war and anti-armed forces. Odd that they forgot to mention Kosovo or Sierra Leone. There were no fans, as far as I know, with the wherewithal, political nous or plain courtesy and gratitude to unfurl a banner saying –
“Thank You, Our Soldiers (and politicians), for Helping to bring Peace to Ireland.”
FIGHTING A CENTURIES OLD WAR. A WAR ALREADY SETTLED (in May 2007)
But of course NONE of this banner nonsense was about football or even about Iraq or Afghanistan. It was all about the Irish/British wars of 100+ years ago. (See Irish War of Independence.)
As mentioned at the Daily Mail, Celtic Football Club have apologised, launched an investigation and insisted it was the action of a ‘small minority’.
The Glasgow club have also agreed to wear poppies on their shirts at St Mirren on Remembrance Sunday, which has caused fury among a section of the club’s fans. Let’s hope the boys in green hoops are not intimidated by the football hooligans who turn out wherever they can make a political point against THIS country. These people are often anarchists or anti-western types, and to my mind their behaviour is almost treacherous as well as being politically ignorant and above all disrespectful. The papers reporting this (and the BBC have NOT covered it at all) obligingly omit to educate us on the background to all of this. So I’ll give it a go.
OUR “ME-ME!” SOCIETY!
The political is now personal in our “ME-ME!” society. Even when the politically ignorant and/or mischievous are determinedly indifferent to the changing facts on the ground. Even when politicians have already sorted out the roots of their “ME-ME!” discontent (Blair & Ahern, 2006, The St Andrews Agreement.) It’s all about The Big “ME” and what “I” have to say about things in my voice of unlearned and historic outrage.
These people are fighting yesterday’s battles and throwing a few other things into the mix to make it more acceptable and comprehensible to the average person.
Yet the battle they are fighting is over. See Kevin Connolly – ‘Restoring devolution under Blair’, 10th May 2007.
Clearly no-one’s told them, or they’re not happy with their settlement. But if these Celtic fans/Irish nationalists don’t accept how central Tony Blair was in settling Ireland’s decades-long woes, they might have had a kind word for at least ONE of these people –
If Martin McGuinness, a former prime mover in the Provisional IRA is happy with the Northern Ireland settlement, why not football fans from across the water in Scotland?
A section of Celtic supporters calling themselves the Green Brigade are reportedly organising a boycott of Sunday’s game at St Mirren and a statement on their website made reference to Bloody Sunday, the conflict in Iraq and the sinking of the Argentine warship the General Belgrano during the Falklands War.
Defending the protests, the statement says: ‘While we recognise the right of individuals to remember their dead and that many within the Celtic support will wear the poppy in memory of family and friends lost in WW2 and other conflicts, we cannot accept the imposition of the poppy onto our shirts.’
The “imposition of the poppy onto our shirts”?
Presumably the Celtic fans involved in this disgraceful insult towards our forces can accept freedom and democracy? Or can they?
As the Royal British Legion explains here the poppy signifies 11 November 1918 and the end of The Great War, when the Armistice between the Allies and Germany came into effect. Since 1921, the nation has come together to remember the sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of British and Commonwealth Service men and women made not just during the Great War, but World War II and all subsequent wars and conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some of us DO remember what we owe the armed forces who serve and die for our country. Some of us willingly donate pennies, pounds or multi-millions towards their sacrifices. Tony Blair, the former prime minister has donated the proceeds from his memoirs to the Royal British Legion’s funds.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell told the Belfast Newsletter: ‘I think that Celtic Football Club have to confront the small number of fans who have engaged in the past in this type of totally unacceptable and outrageous behaviour. ‘Remembering that former Celtic players as well as Rangers players and those from other clubs have served in the Armed Forces with distinction, and that the chairman of Celtic, John Reid, is a former Secretary of State for Defence, they must be appalled, embarrassed and humiliated by this. Celtic must lance this boil once and for all.’
Read Daily Mail report on this.
So, what, you may be asking, has any of this to with Ireland? Everything, as it happens. It is all to do with religious, or should I say denominational differences which stretch back hundreds of years and are linked to Ireland’s independence struggles against Britain. As fallout many Irish people settled in the west of Scotland, around Glasgow, and thus sprung up the Old Firm of football teams – Celtic (Roman Catholic) Vs Rangers (Protestant.)
Most of us had hoped the religious element between the teams had long been left behind.
Who says religion doesn’t matter?
THE SOLDIERS’ SONG AT CELTIC PARK
This is often sung at Celtic’s games. In case you assume by this title – Soldiers’ Song – that Celtic supporters are clearly all supporters of the BRITISH forces, forget it!
The Soldiers’ Song is Ireland’s (Eire’s) national anthem.
“Soldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland…” [full lyrics here]
Celtic and Rangers have traditionally gathered their followers from the Roman Catholic & the Protestant elements, respectively of the city. And some of them, some from the Celtic side anyway, seem to be still fighting the battles of yesteryear, even though the battles are over thanks in large part to a Scots-born politician who lived some of his early childhood in the late 1950s in Stepps.
Tony Blair, was born in Edinburgh. But that should be no reason for Glaswegians to hold it against him. Remember he WAS a protestant, and is now a catholic. You can’t please all the people all the time, true, but some of us have made a decent effort.
This football banner against the poppy & armed forces business is just one small example of the unfortunate insidious effects of religious bigotry on the minds of some.
Oh, God, keep me an unbeliever.
More on the Irish National Anthem (Wikipedia)
And my personal interest? As a youngster I attended London Road Primary School, a protestant school, situated just in front of Celtic Park. I often sat with my pal Donald as we ate our lunch against that wall the woman is passing. Neither of us was that interested in football. Though I, at least at that time, was a determined church-goer. Don’t know about Donald, though!
At Rangers, any banner coming into the stadium is checked in case it is a fire hazard for health and safety and it would be safe to assume that this is the exact same at every SPL club, including Celtic.
Does this mean that this banner was checked and therefore approved for display before it was unveiled at halftime of yesterdays game?
Perhaps more critically, why has there been a complete media blackout of the banner? […] why is this inflammatory one not newsworthy?
It is not as though there is a plethora of news stories to be carried this morning in the tabloids given that the Edinburgh derby is today and Rangers also play today. The only story they have to run with is Celtics victory and just how terrible Aberdeen are. Are there other reasons this hasn’t been covered?
The way that Remembrance Day touches so many people across the country and further afield, should mean that a sickening slight on our troops by a supposedly Scottish multi-cultural institution should be national news, not West of Scotland news, not even merely Scottish news. One need only take a cursory look at the complaints that Channel 4 received when newsman John Snow refused to wear a poppy and inflamed the situation with comments on his blog to see how close this is to public.
Celtic, the SPL, the SFA, the media and even our government should be making comment against this slight on the memory of the few that the many owe so much. The silence is deafening and needs to be addressed – the question is, will they have the guts.
MY THOUGHTS –
The answer is that few in the media have the guts, and none in today’s political classes. The media and our present crop of so-called politicians prefer to avoid anything to do with religious differences, ANY religion, as this site has frequently noted. And of course, the press largely agrees on the Iraq & Afghanistan issues anyway. So why rock the boat of the brain-dead who on Saturday unfurled a banner or three parts of which the press largely concur?
Shame on the Green Brigade – from a Celtic fan:
“… as I was sitting there tonight and I heard “You can shove your fucking poppies up your arse” chanted by about 80% of them I had my mind completely made up on them. Ok, granted they may disagree with the whole Britain/Ireland thing (and so do I), but can they not at least show one iota of respect for the men who gave their lives to give us freedom in the first and second world wars? Do they not understand that we’d have been completely FUCKED had it not been for them sacrificing their lives in a selfless act to protect their future and our today? And do they not understand that the poppy isn’t just a sign of “British Imperialism” and that it commemorates everyone who’s died in war, whether it be the British troops, the gerry’s or even those who fought for the IRA? Just comepletely[sic] sums up my opinion on the backward, narrow-minded, shallow, selfish, “apparently non-racist/fascist” pricks that make up the Green Brigade. Shame on them. It makes me feel ashamed to be part of the Celtic support being tarred with the same dirty brush as them.”
- Celtic issue poppy apology (skysports.com)
- Celtic apologise over anti-poppy banner (tribalfootball.com)
- Celtic plan ban for poppy protest (news.bbc.co.uk)
- SPL: Anti-poppy banner regrettable (independent.co.uk)
- Celtic: We’ll Ban ‘Bloodstained Poppy’ Fans (news.sky.com)
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“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Bertie Ahern, bigoted Celtic football fans, Celtic F.C., Celtic Park, Daily Mail, Glasgow, Green Brigade, Northern Ireland, poppy banner, Rangers, Remembrance Sunday, Scottish Premier League, St Andrews Agreement, The SHAMEFUL behaviour, Tony Blair