The SHAMEFUL behaviour of bigoted Celtic football fans

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    8th November 2010

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    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.’


    The answer to that question is, oddly, yes and no.


    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.

    Celtic supporters with their banners of protest at the team wearing poppies on their shirts

    [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.”


    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.


    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.

    British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern speak during a press conference after talks aimed at re-establishing devolution to Northern Ireland on October 13, 2006 in St Andrews, Scotland. The British and Irish governments have set a deadline of November 24 for an agreement on political power-sharing in Northern Ireland to be reached.

    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 –

    Former IRA/Sinn Fein activist, now Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland's devolved government, Martin McGuinness (l) laughs with Irish PM Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair, Peter Hain (Sec of state for NI) and Ian Paisley as peace finally settles in the Northern Ireland Troubles. This was 8th May 2007, a few days before Mr Blair announced he would be leaving office on June 27th, the job he started ten years earlier, done.

    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.’

    Contrast: Liverpool fans hold a banner with legendary boss Bob Paisley depicted wearing a poppy at Sunday's game

    The “imposition of the poppy onto our shirts”?


    “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?


    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.

    And on religion and sport too, some of us are still making a decent effort: Tony Blair Faith Foundation / Tony Blair Sports Foundation.

    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!

    Many in my school supported Celtic as a result of the proximity and the ease with which they could clamber over the wall to watch the matches. Those kids, like me, had no bigoted views or hatred of Catholics. They just took a keen interest in football.

    Approaching Celtic Park, Glasgow

    See The Glasgow Story here


    From ‘Rangers Media’

    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.



    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.”

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    18 Responses to “The SHAMEFUL behaviour of bigoted Celtic football fans”

    1. Rob Says:

      I assume they were after publicity. They must have been livid that the BBC and press didn’t give it to them. Still, if any of them read your blog (or have friends who can read the hard words out loud to them) you’ve given them a little. I’m sure CFC for their part would much rather have the day remembered for the 9-0 thrashing than for the eejits.

      Even the numpties’ website seems to suggest they don’t mind if the players wear poppies (big of them): just not on the pitch. When you consider the tight controls over what is/is not acceptable for players to wear I’m quite surprised it was allowed by the authorities – not for any political reason but just for the usual bureaucratic ones. And I do wonder how well they would stay on during play, especially this year’s flimsy ones. Still, I suppose poppies trampled into mud would be an especially poignant symbol.

      The only problem I have with the red poppy is that it only commemorates the armed forces, not the civilians (who of course include folk like ARP wardens and firemen). I either wear a white poppy (which includes the lot, in which case I don’t mind adding a red one to it) or I don’t wear any. I have no problem with poppies or remembrance, and I don’t think those most concerned with them view them as triumphalist: most of the veterans I’ve heard on the matter observe their eleven o’clock silence as much to honour those they fought against and killed as to mourn their own comrades. (An attitude well summed up in this song – can’t find a clip right now so the lyrics will have to do).

      But a civilian blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq deserves commemoration just as much as the soldier (Iraqi or British) next to him. For that matter, the millions killed by Hitler in concentration and extermination camps were just as much victims of war as the crews of downed Lancasters. At least, I think so.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:


        You “assume they were after publicity” etc…? Sharp of you , Rob.

        And of course they DID get it publicity from at least the Mail, though I really couldn’t give enough of a damn to be bothered to check who else did or did not publicise this.

        Trouble is, Rob, and I know you disagree with me on this, I don’t think it is wise to just ignore religious fanatics or bigoted fundamentalists. They need to be outed for what they are – fanatics/bigoted/fundamentalists etc. Then their whole community can make it clear to them that they are NOT speaking for them.
        Or, in principle, that’s what caring ‘communities’ should do.

        Unlike other communities you and I could mention, or I could ayway, I don’t think it’ll take long for the Celtic Park wayward fans to get the message that they do NOT speak for all of Celtic’s fans.

    2. Rob Says:

      If you really grew up in Glasgow then you will realize that the actions of a minority of religious fanatics / fundamentalists have been bringing shame on both Celtic and Rangers since before either of us was even born. Why else did it make the UK national headlines when Rangers signed it’s first Catholic player? It all got particularly ugly during the N.I. “troubles” when there were slogans and chants far more unsavoury than the ones last weekend. Why suddenly make a fuss now? Or has Glasgow’s history of footballing sectarianism wholly escaped you until now?

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Yes, I do realise this, although I have to say as per normal, it didn’t apply to all of us. My family, though mainly Protestant, have several members who married catholics. My atheist (protestant-by-upbringing) father as well as my brother.

        And we are too bright, on the whole on both religious sides of our family, to ever argue about two denominations of the same religion.

        This ongoing hatred over Ireland, especially when the Irish question has been settled, is for numbskulls. In short, NOT the vast majority of catholics or protestants.

        Abusive, backward-looking numbskulls like these are little better than the “football hooligan types” (aka rentamob) who wrecked the London Millbank offices of the Tories today. And I do not belong or subscribe to ANY political party, as regulars will know.

        Btw, I’m only making a fuss now because the last such Celtic/Rangers & catholic/protestant story of controversy that I recall was the one you referred to – when Rangers signed up a catholic player. Now remind us , Rob. Was that 20 or 30 years ago?

    3. Rob Says:

      Apologies for the stray apostrophe in “it’s” back there: my phone added it in an attempt to be helpful!

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Don’t worry, Rob, the numbskulls who are reading this, unless they too were educated in MY primary school (or yours) will think that is the correct spelling.

        The fact that there is no possessive in the indefinite article will definitely not matter to the definite articles who possess yesterday in preference to today, or even tomorrow.

    4. Steve Says:

      Dearie me, talk about a selective article full of half-truths, nonsense, selective quoting and spin. As it happens every Celtic supporters organisation have protested to the club over the poppy appearing on the club shirt.

      I won’t bother picking apart the delusional points contained in this laughable drivel as anyone who slavishly salivates over the war criminal Blair is beyond the possibility of reasonable discourse. I’ll instead leave you with the reply from the Green Brigade which I think should be included for balance. You might also want to include the press statement from the Celtic Supporters Association:


      At half-time during today’s match against Aberdeen we displayed message banners calling for `No bloodstained poppys on our hoops’ in protest at the Club’s decision to once again wear the poppy on our shirts during next week’s game at St Mirren (a match our group will not attend because of this decision). This is in support of an appeal by Poppyscotland to all SPL clubs. Poppyscotland describes its role as `supporting heroes’ and state that `the poppy has become a symbol of remembrance and for the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces’. Our group and many within the Celtic support do not recognise the British Armed Forces as heroes, nor their role in many conflicts as one worthy of our remembrance.

      Earlier this year, the Saville Report on Bloody Sunday confirmed that 14 unarmed civilians were murdered in Derry in 1972 by the Paratroop Regiment. They were among hundreds killed by the British Army during the most recent phase of conflict in Ireland. More recently, the British Armed Forces have murdered and maimed many thousands more innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The poppy remembers not just our grandfathers who fought the Nazis but also those who sank the Belgrano and brutally occupied the streets of Belfast and Basra. 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.

      As far back as April, representatives from the Green Brigade, Celtic Supporters Association and Celtic Trust met with Peter Lawwell to express our united opposition to the Club imposing the poppy on the first team jersey. We also know that the AICSC and many other individual supporters had called on the Club to reverse their position of previous years and take the poppy off the shirt. Following our meeting in April, the Club were contacted on several occasions for further dialogue on the issue but informed us that they were still considering their position and would get back to us.

      The first any group knew of the decision was after it had been made, and publicly announced. We share the views of the AICSC whose recent statement on the poppy stated that `to see the jersey being used as a medium for such a divisive symbol and the message it communicates is deplorable’, and that it showed a complete lack of respect for the support, further highlighted by repeated declarations on the official website of Celtic’s delight to be wearing the poppy and supporting Poppyscotland. It appears rather than leave his politics at the door, chairman John Reid, the former Armed Forces Minister and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Defence, has forced his onto the first team jersey.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        So good of you Steve, to let us know that “every Celtic supporters organisation have protested to the club over the poppy appearing on the club shirt.”

        If true that’s a little something the press, in their forgetful way, omitted to tell us.

        Being (quote) “someone who” (as YOU state, so it must be true) “slavishly salivates over the war criminal Blair” you won’t care what I have to say on this anyway, especially since I am, quote, ” beyond the possibility of reasonable discourse.”

        So, instead we’ll just have to put up with what the hateful and divisive Green Brigade has to say on the matter.

        For “balance”, you understand.

        Thank you, Steve. Most educational.

    5. Martin Dillon Says:

      I have never heard such an ill informed piece of absolute drivel from anyone on the poppygate affair that happens annually at Celtic park. I’m sure even Blair himself would agree that the article above was ill informed at the very least.

      The issue about Poppies is not about religion and never has been. Many in the Green Brigade are protestants and the larger Celtic support has it’s share of protestants among it, though not as much proportionately as the Green Brigade in my humble. There are other groups such as the Celtic Trust that I was a committee member of at the time, though I’m not speaking for them here, and the Tál Fanzine group that I was a member of at the time though I have not been in touch as much and certainly can’t speak for them or any other Celtic group.. What I can say is that there was a united voice among supporters groups and not just fringe supporters groups on this issue. The only divisiveness that existed was on how to go about making a protest once the Celtic Board led by the war criminal (don’t let the door skelp you in the bum on yer way out Reid) ignored our warnings about getting involved with Poppy Scotland. A political organisation whether it even wants to be or not. They are directly involved in glorifying war as they join the MOD in their recruitment drive leading up to and after “remembrance day”. There is already an armed forces day for that. Why foist upon football clubs the symbols and enforce participation in this thinly veiled and cynical attempt at recruiting more young working class kids to, not only their own slaughter,, but the slaughter of many other innocent human beings, in the cradle of humanity. The poppy campaign is run concurrently with with a hard core recruitment drive through media advertising to join up and get a career. (because you have no chance of getting one any other way you working class cannon fodder)

      I have yet to meet a soldier that has left the Army with the same faculties he went in with. They must lose them somewhere but out of about 50 guys I’ve known who have left the Army, 98-100% of them have left with deep psychological problems. I don’t know about post-traumatic stress disorder or anything in particular. I’m talking about a whole range of things, from alcoholism to peeing the bed and from outgoing personalities being turned into introverted bubbling wrecks, to guys that are as happy as anything one minute and the next they want to kill themselves or kick the living daylights out of their wives and/or friends. Yes, this is anecdotal evidence but I know for a fact it must be backed up by studies because I see it on the ground at grass-roots.

      Those kinds of problems are not going to be fixed by more of the same. You have to stop the wars, the recruitment drives, the hypocrisy, the lies and recognise the root of your problems and address them. That’s the fist step to recovery when you can eventually rejoin the nations of the world as a Nation with credibility and not as a rogue state in the axis of hypocrisy. For the hard of learning, the axis of hypocrisy includes the US, UK, Occupied Palestine (AKA Israel) and those clamouring desperately to join the EU after harbouring war criminals and many more that are too many to mention. I include China on a par with the US, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt before the Spring revolution, Zimbabwe and Sudan but that’s just off the top of my head, who are or were in Egypt’s case, flouting human rights to the point were they must be ostracised by every other decent Nation on this planet. I know that sounds extreme but quite simply, it is true and there is no getting away from it. Meanwhile the UK is bogged down in Afghanistan fighting a war that is well past it’s sell by date. Bin Laden is dead. Al-Qa’ida is not in Afghanistan. It isn’t even an organisation. It is an ideology, a narrative nothing more. If the NATO forces cannot defeat the Taliban with the support of an Afghan government democratically elected with our imposed democracy, and it looks like if they haven’t done it by Xmas, then they never will and they should start pulling out, apologising for the mess they’ve left behind, and guess what? Accept refugees from Afghanistan and force the Americans and the rest of the Axis of hypocrisy to accept them as well. How do you force the Americans to take in refugees? Walk right out now and leave them to it unless they agree beforehand.

      In short, keep your advertisements for joining the Army out of football. Learn a wee bit more about the history of both clubs and the Irish connection. Until then shut your ignorant, bigoted an prejudiced mouth.

    6. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      Mr Dillon, I could start by telling you to shut your ignorant bigoted mouth – in the good ol’ rude ol’ Glaswegian way. I have the background and can dish it out if and when required. But I was brought up to behave better.

      To be blunt I’m not sure which article you are referring to – my post or another’s comment.

      Whatever, it is clear where you are coming from. I refer other readers to the top few lines of the headline here.


      The answer to that question is, oddly, yes and no.



      It’s not about religion, is it? It’s about war, wars, and so-called “war criminals”.

      Btw, I DECIDE what I write in MY blog, pal. Not you. Go off and write your own blog about Che Guevara. You can be sure of this – I won’t impose my instructions on YOU.

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