And You Dare To Call Us Sectarian?

133605071-c2bc15dd-b8a9-4c80-ab0d-7e6454f88526-1“No, no, no, it’s not ok, it’s not going to be ok, and I’ll tell you why.

Because you’re fair game, so I hope your knickers are clean because every seat-sniffing little shi@bag that’s ever filed a by-line is gonna be questioning you!

Because now it’s in the f@@@@@@ public interest, isn’t it? And they are gonna hit you with any sh@t they can find and you’re gonna be spread out in front of them like a trollop in the stocks!” – Malcolm Tucker.

They say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. We’ve all heard that expression, right? I am amazed at the number of times you catch folk out doing just that.

Supporters do it all the time. This week is the first time – and it ought to be the last time – that a football club does it. Sevco’s statement on the behaviour of our fans was disgraceful, but it was also kind of amazing, in that way watching a posing twat walking into a lamp post is. Being lectured on sectarianism by their board of directors … it is jaw-dropping.

You could write an entire dissertation on the shameful baggage that clubs at Ibrox have carried everywhere with them, from a sectarian signing policy to UEFA fines for the song-book. But you don’t have to go as far back as that, all the way to the OldCo to find scandal and hate wafting down the Marble Staircase at you. You don’t even have to dig as far as the on-pitch outrage at Linfield just over a week ago, although that’s an excellent case in point.

No, you only have to look at the day itself to realise that Sevco’s sanity smashing statement about what their fans had to “endure” stank like a week old corpse. It takes formidable brazenness to point that self-righteous fury at another club’s fans when your own behaved, on the same day, like the lowest order degenerate scum.

I’ve written about the behaviour of a small number of Celtic fans over on The CelticBlog, so as far as I’m concerned anyone who wants to accuse me of whatabouttery here can bin it. This isn’t about that. Did some of our fans let us down? Damned right. This is about not wanting – not being willing – to be lectured by anyone who’s double standard is quite so pronounced.

These people aren’t even hiding their own hatred; they wear it front and centre.

Some of them have said the effigies were a reference to suicide, timed to offend their fans and one of their former players, on a day which sought to raise awareness of the issue. I’ll tell you right now that I had no idea Saturday was Suicide Awareness Day and the vast majority of our supporters would have been equally clueless about it.

But of course, they will believe what they want to, that our fans learned this and timed their actions accordingly.

Well it was also the anniversary of Jock Stein’s death. I don’t know whether their fans knew that or not, but there were at least two banners on full display referencing a certain scandal. Did their fans time that well, or was it a coincidence?

I’m happy to accept the coincidence explanation, and not because I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt or because I think the milk of human kindness runs through their veins, but simply because some of these gutter rats fly those banners everywhere they go and have been smearing the great man’s name for years.

So they don’t get to talk about hate, or targeting individuals who were at their club.

They don’t get to make that accusation whilst there are scum amongst their number flying those flags.

We’re not standing for it, not putting up with that.

And I’ll go on, because the National Famine Memorial Day – commemorating the victims of the Great Hunger – was the day after the game, and our club wore a logo on their shirts in recognition of that fact. Did their fans know that? I neither know nor care, but they spent much of the game singing the sectarian, illegal, bigoted dirge entreating us to “go home.”

Coincidence? Who cares?

They’ve been doing it so long no-one even notices anymore.

On top of that we were “treated” to various renditions of The Billy Boys, with its expressions of joy about being up to their knees in our blood. That song is also illegal, and for a while it wasn’t being heard in the Ibrox stands. Now it’s back, as ubiquitous as it ever was, part of that “unique Ibrox atmosphere” Warburton and others go on about so much.

The sight of those effigies at Celtic Park made my skin crawl, but no more than those Sevco fans themselves once brought to Ibrox, one called Green and the other Whyte.

They can spare me the sermon on how vicious the image of the hanging dolls was, because as horrendous as they were their own had names, and wore suits, and did not represent an impersonal generic “they” but were specific, targeted, like one I saw once of “Neil Lennon” and those you see on the top of the Loyalist bonfires every year in July, like the one in the picture at the top of this article, the hanging effigy of Gerry Adams.

And what’s that he’s wearing?

Oh yes, it’s a Celtic top.

“But that didn’t hang from the stands at Ibrox ..” is doubtless the refrain I’ll hear on that, but it doesn’t take much imagination to draw the line from the people who hung that ugly thing and those the club’s players and officials – including some of the hypocrites who okayed that statement – were photographed posing with in Linfield the weekend before last.

Club 1872 can bite me as well; their own foaming at the mouth statement contained an oblique reference to our fans’ support for the people of Palestine, and what do you know? They’ve got a new logo, the six pointed star, so similar to the one on the flag of Israel.

I shake my head at the lamentable nature of that, and marvel at the mind who came up with it.

They will appropriate anything to score cheap points, but this one’s espcially delicious considering their history of Nazi salutes and the undercurrent of far-right, fascist sympathy that runs through their support like a virus. And let them wail about how it’s a Red Hand Salute instead, as if commemorating the killing of Catholics is somehow a better proposition than celebrating the murder of Jews.

Because as they and their media acolytes like to remind us, it’s the visual image that reeks; it’s not what people intend something to be it’s what other people think it is.

See? I too can utilise that particular weapon.

I’ll tell you what; their club and its shareholders group can give us the big talk when they get their own house in order.

They can point their fat ignorant fingers at Celtic Park when they’ve pointed them into their own stands first and said, with loud voices for everyone to hear, “You lot … clear out.”

But that will never happen, because as Rangers was built on the back of barely legal bank largesse, the NewCo, from the moment of its inception, from the moment Charles Green stood on a pitch in front of the media and said that Rangers had been targeted by bigotry and hate – birthing the Victim Lie in all its unholy splendour – was built on bile and hatred, all the better to spoon money out of gullible fools simultaneously preaching their supremacy whilst lamenting the reach and the influence of their myriad, fictious enemies.

Talk about an exercise in doublethink.

This lot are so far outside the margins of reasonable behaviour now that it makes your head throb trying to imagine what they are thinking inside that crumbling ruin of theirs, but see, that crumbling ruin is the point, that wreckage of a football club is the real issue, because if their supporters weren’t all focussed on this kind of nonsense they might instead be focussed on that, because there are real issues there and real problems looming.

But this board knows its audience.

They know its fans.

They know they can get away with anything, anything at all, if they blame every failure on somebody else.

They can blame us for what they like, as they tried with Motherwell fans, as they attempted to do with Hibs supporters. Aberdeen fans will be next, you wait and see, after they leave Pittodrie with a hiding and the gap is even wider than now.

They could go round the block for the whole of this season, hitting every club one at a time or all in one shot, throwing blame hither thither and yon. The media can get behind it, or ignore the double standard, as they like. But sooner or later a reckoning will come, with their own supporters if not with the governing bodies or the legal system.

Until then, this whole country – and their club too – would benefit from a long, enforced period of dignified silence over there. I don’t expect it, because dignity is another word they simply don’t understand any longer … if they ever did.

At a time when the mainstream media can’t even be trusted to cover the biggest sports story in the history of this island sites like this one are more important than ever. If you are able to, and you want to help real Scottish football journalism, and not the sort you get in the tabloids, you can make a donation by clicking the link below.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

24 thoughts on “And You Dare To Call Us Sectarian?

  • 14 September, 2016 at 6:53 pm
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    100%

  • 14 September, 2016 at 7:19 pm
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    Did you watch Brendan Rodgers media conference after the Barcelona game on Facebook live. The comments made me feel ashamed to be Scottish. Such sick vile people

  • 14 September, 2016 at 7:24 pm
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    Did Celtic let the Sevco fans in early to organise their display ?
    The massive banner that they held up at the start of the game “3 cheers for the red,white & blue” is line from a song the zombies sing…also no mention of that.
    Marty

  • 14 September, 2016 at 7:30 pm
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    Absolute marvollous piece James..Pleasure to read it..This shower are guilty of double standards you can smell it aff then..Every thing you’ve said here tonite us spot on..Well done mate..Hail Hail ????????????????????????

  • 14 September, 2016 at 7:53 pm
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    Brilliant mate
    I’ve been saying as much over the last few days.
    Hypocrisy is a foreign word over there.
    They will continue to deflect to hide their Own Ineffecincies. Its laughable that they are claiming there fans were subjected to Sectarianism.

  • 14 September, 2016 at 10:27 pm
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    You’re really on the money here. The orange order has in recent years tried the old flipperyoony; we’re victims of intolerance, bigotry and sectarianism!!??
    All that’s needed is a compliant media to push such an agenda and hey presto , flag-waving knuckledragging peepil are mobilised and ready to ‘defend’ their rights , culture and traditions . Celtics media response was curt , dignified and right , let radio Clyde or Jeremy Kyle indulge their woes .

  • 14 September, 2016 at 11:18 pm
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    Hi James. I read your blog often without commenting. However, this piece is worth commenting on.

    You have captured the feelings of decent people effectively. This is one of your best pieces yet. I don’t always agree totally with what you write, but I usually respect your opinions and I agree with you 100% on this one.

    As I quoted elsewhere recently:

    ” An opinion should be based on reasoned thought, not a substitute for it”.

    Yours is reasoned, theirs is not.

    Thanks for this post. I have been utterly sickened by the complete hatred and bile emanating from so-called responsible people at Ibrox. Especially since I have friend who support this club, but are becoming very uneasy with what they are hearing.

    The good thing is that more and more people are seeing clearly what they are really like. Many of their own followers even have seen it and no longer go. They have clearly played to the lowest common denominator with the bigot and racist cards and that is mostly what is left.

    Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    The response from Celtic Park has been professional and measured, as we would expect. This will be dealt with responsibly without inflaming and putting the public at risk. There are a small number of clowns in our support who would do well to learn from the Club and stop their nonsense. The vast majority of our support have condemned them for this.

    That is the difference. Dignity and integrity.
    Something that is not embraced at Sevco and was not embraced at the old, dead club.

    As has already been said by one respected journalist, now deceased, “they are an embarrassment”.

    Hope that they will change their ways is fast diminishing, as seems to be the good will of the other clubs in Scotland.

  • 14 September, 2016 at 11:26 pm
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    Fantastic HH

  • 14 September, 2016 at 11:42 pm
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    I couldn’t have written better myself. I have continually said this for years and get told we are as bad as them with certain songs and being sectarian. One thing James. With servco fans going on about our greatest manager. Didn’t they no have a coach who was going to be investigated for unlawful behaviour with minors but killed himself before it could be investigated.

  • 15 September, 2016 at 12:16 am
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    You could also add to their recent litany of shame the “Father’s Advice” dirge they belted out on Saturday to the tune of “the Fields” with the usual add on that was clear to hear….

    “F*ck Bobby Sands, he’s deid”!

    These are the guys who pompously condemn any reference to the IRA and yet take great delight in mocking the MP’s death in a sick and disgusting manner.

  • 15 September, 2016 at 12:49 am
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    As long as their kit includes the black socks with the red around the knees, then you can guarantee no one from the ‘higherarchy’ within ibrox is willing to address or change anything at their club.
    Ps a piece worthy of a bigger audience James

  • 15 September, 2016 at 3:16 am
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    To keep going on about paedophiles shows the mentality of the peepul the word makes me sick yer these balloons have great joy in repeating it

  • 15 September, 2016 at 8:57 am
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    excellent piece James their pomposity knows no bounds, we had 4 uneventval years now the Rangers are back we have trouble, Scottish cup final Rangers v Hibernian = TROUBLE(violence), Celtic vRangers=Trouble (not violence) common denominator Rangers time to get rid of them

  • 15 September, 2016 at 9:17 am
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    No surrender they say well they have nothing left to surrender anymore it’s all gone and good riddance I say

  • 15 September, 2016 at 9:49 am
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    great writing, you mentioned whyte and green, if paddy orange had to joined them we would let them FLY the irish tricolour

  • 15 September, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    Distraction, hoodwink, misdirection, blame the foreigners, the poor, immigrants, the other team’s supporters…history is littered with governments and organisations doing just this to hide their own failings. And you know what? It works.
    For a time. The failings at Ibrox are epic, almost mind blowing, but I believe, truly believe, that the end of Sevco is inevitable. A few more hidings and the pressure will be unbearable, then their fragile illusion will break. Won’t miss this lot either

  • 15 September, 2016 at 10:37 am
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    There was a wee “rangers” supporter at work who claimed that the hatred was “back”. When asked what he meant, in fact he was not asked, he just offered his reasoning; he explained that Neil Lennon was responsible and it now culminated in the lynchings at Celtic Park by the Green Brigade. Myself and the other Celtic fan present declined to comment and left the office.

  • 15 September, 2016 at 11:07 am
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    I have never read your blog before just do happened that a friend of mine posted it. I am a Rangers fan a lot less die hard than before. Gave up my season book I couldn’t be bothered with the lies. I was also a member of the Ladies Orange Order of Scotland but considering I fell in love with and married a Catholic I decided to leave before they took great pleasure in expelling me. Was I once one of the supporters that you describe in your article? Honestly, yes I was!
    I got married on Friday before the game & my poor hubby didn’t go to the game we went to a neutral pub to watch it. I didn’t know anything about the dolls or banners until they started popping up on Facebook. Just like you I had no idea it was World Suicide Prevention Day tbh didn’t know such a day existed. Did the dolls offend me? No! This whole sectarian issue will continue no matter what laws are passed. The clubs need to deal with the idiot element in both set of supporters. I would say Rangers more than Celtic I do believe the exact same thing will happen at Aberdeen £30,000+ worth of damage. The brain capacity of some of these so called fans does make me think of them as “zombies”
    Lastly I will say I was slightly pissed off about the “know your place Hun scum” banner. Again it’s kind of tit for tat. I know my place right beside my husband standing in front of our family. Then there is the issue of the banners in the Rangers end disturbing that they take pride in constantly bringing up something so horrible.
    I really enjoyed your article & look forward to reading more.

  • 15 September, 2016 at 12:11 pm
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    Your forgetting Alex Salmonds gushing praise of them as well when he was acting as their cheerleader. Part of the fabric of Scottish life apparently, is that right Alex, well you were quick enough bumping your gums after the “shame” game when we were entirely innocent yet were the only ones punished & dragged along to the Scottish Parliament to get put in the naughty step. This led to the OBAF legislation remember which our fans have bore a heavy price under. Politicians & those at the SPFL, SFA make you puke. I’d take the 5th division of English football any day to get out of here, but they only see the £ signs down there so we come as a double act. I wish Celtic would publicly come out & distance ourselves from them starting with no more Old Firm, but they never will as bigotry makes money.

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