This past weekend, on the Gallowgate we saw scenes of young girls & their Dads being terrified to the point of sobbing. The tales of children in wheelchairs being shoved aside by overzealous, power hungry cops was too much for us all to bear. The conclusion is clear to all. The Green Brigade, love them or hate them, are unfairly being targeted and harassed and the video evidence is now there for the world to see. Ironic considering it’s usually the police filming the Green Brigade trying to catch them out. This time we saw a 15 year old boy being taken down and roughed up by 5 police officers…..5! We then saw a bystander filming the proceedings get chased down by one of Alex Salmond’s foot soldiers all because they were not “moving along”. Ok, so some 75-100 kids get done for marching and then others nearby are threatened because they’re not marching. This is the west of Scotland in 2013 folks.
So now we can all agree after evaluating these horrific actions and events that the enemy is Strathclyde Police. But it seems as though those who hold the board close and dear to their hearts, feel as though anyone who’d criticize their handling of this situation is thereby anti Celtic. We’ve heard claims of rascals seeking to “drive a wedge between the fans and Celtic”. This is laughable, especially considering the fans and Celtic are not mutually exclusive. The fans ARE Celtic. The sooner these charlatans acknowledge and understand this fact, the more expedient their understanding will be of what is truly going on here. The board is in place to serve the shareholders and the fans. We are not there to serve them. It’s not just our right as supporters to question and hold the board accountable, it’s our duty.
There are also those who are going ballistic on message boards and twitter suggesting folks are claiming Celtic were responsible for the police brutality on Saturday. I don’t remember reading anything of the sort to be honest. I don’t subscribe to the idea that Peter Lawwell runs the SFA, Strathclyde Police, Opus Dei and the Bilderburg Group. That’s the particular specialty of zoomers like Chris Graham. I’m not claiming Peter Lawwell ordered the rounding up of several dozen Celtic supporters who’d planned on walking together to the stadium. What I am saying is that the board is not doing nearly enough to try and mediate a peace between the police and our supporters and they are doing next to nothing with regard to supporting the men and women who they’ve asked so much of in the past 24 months. It’s enough to make you sick.
There is a disconnect between the board and the supporters that has been present for some time. Issues such as access for disabled supporters, the poor quality of the food being served at the stadium, the prices of season books skyrocketing (especially for children) and there’s an impression that the powers that be don’t give a toss. Now we have our own supporters being jailed and beaten for doing next to nothing. Where is the empathy? I want to get a sense from the mouthpieces on Kerrydale Street that they understand how frustrated we are and are just as frustrated themselves. The support want to know that the administrators of the club are as passionate about stopping the abuse of Tims as we are. But you never get that sense from these overly cleansed, soulless statements that more than anything seem to want to deflect any blame for what’s taken place. This “wasn’t me” attitude doesn’t connect with the support and doesn’t reassure us that they’re working to fix the problem. Are the powers that be more concerned with how they’ll be perceived in the press instead of how their own supporters are being treated? If so that’s complete insubordination.
There’ve been allegations and claims that Peter Lawwell is only too eager to see the end of the Green Brigade. On Sunday night, Big G from the Celtic Dreams show welcomed on a former member of the Affiliation who attended a meeting where the CSA and affiliation were in attendance. This guest described a conversation where Peter Lawwell, speaking about the Green Brigade, said he’d “give them enough rope to hang themselves” by relaxing the stewarding in that section. Keep in mind, this gentleman had previously not had a high opinion of the Green Brigade personally and was a member of the affiliation in good stead. But he found these remarks to be wrong and he felt that members of the Green Brigade should know as well as the rest of the support.
I have no reason to suspect this man is lying. He seems very earnest and genuine in his motive for revealing this information. He hasn’t released his name, he’s resigned his post within the affiliation and he’s put himself out there in great peril. What does he stand to gain from speaking out? Claims are being flung that he’s anti-board. How can that be though when he had the seat at the table that gave him this information? I’m sure that seat will not be available to him any longer. Why would he just chuck that? Again, he’s also mentioned that he wasn’t a particularly big fan of the Green Brigade prior to this, so what motive would he have for slandering the board to aid the Green Brigade? I can’t see it.
Peter Lawwell has been all too eager to condemn the Green Brigade at a moments notice when he feels they’ve done wrong. Less than 18 hours after the “Dundee Riots” that never happened and have never been proven with a video or a photograph, Peter Lawwell came out and said the behavior of the away fans (understood, incorrectly, to all be Green Brigade) was unacceptable and would be dealt with. Yet, it took two whole days for the PLC to issue a wishy washy, hollow statement that did nothing but deflect blame.
In stark contrast, have a look at a statement put out by Hull City on behalf of it’s own supporters who’ve been unfairly criminalized:
Hull City’s official statement mentions, ”In listening to fans we recognise, and empathise with, the deep sense of grievance over West Yorkshire Police’s effective criminalisation of Hull City supporters. “
They go on to say, “Since the imposition of this unprecedented level of security categorisation, we have been endeavouring to remove, or at least reduce, the categorisation which places an unpalatable slur upon the club, its fans and its home city.”
Contrast that with what was mentioned in the statement by Celtic. Nobody at Hull was deflecting, saying they didn’t do it. They empathized and made it clear that they stand with their supporters against the heavy handed policing.
Celtic’s statement is listed here:
They mention, “Any suggestion of collusion between the Club and Strathclyde Police is, quite frankly, ludicrous”. We still don’t have an explanation as to how members of the Green Brigade had their season books suspended as soon as the police pulled them from the crowd entering the stadium? Either the police are controlling ticketing or Celtic are working with them to stamp out certain supporters without cause. I welcome a coherent explanation as to how this happened.
Celtic have set up an email address for fans to issue their complaints. This is fine and it’s a good outlet for sharing our complaints and concerns. The problem for me is that we don’t know how the club feels about it. What are the club’s complaints? Where is their outrage? Why is it so easy for Hull City to level with its support and stand shoulder to shoulder with them and so hard for Celtic? Nobody knows and there’s a fair amount of speculation going on in the void.
It’s time for Celtic to make its stance known and either back its supporters who’ve been wronged or make their case for why they won’t. The PLC asks the supporters to support Celtic until they’ve got nothing left. It’s time for the PLC to return the favor.
Graham D. Wilson – @BTWCelticShow
Photos courtesy of @krys1888