Sunday, 5 January 2014

Tar them all...
In recent months I’ve started avoiding writing about contentious or political issues as I try to focus on why I began writing here a year ago, my love of Celtic. However, I take such exception to the tone and content of Alex Thompson’s blog that I feel the need to exercise the right to reply to it.

Few decent people will have anything other than disgust for the vile minority who use the internet to abuse others. Sadly, the new technologies allow even the most ignorant of individuals to post their moronic opinions in public forums for all to see. The abuse suffered by Angela Haggerty and others such as Louise Mensch demonstrated clearly that a there exists a thick minority who do not possess the wit or intelligence to debate points of contention but would rather resort to the language of the gutter. Thompson is quite right to lambast this idiotic minority which sadly attaches itself to every big club. His point on the need for the police to act against these cowards is correct and I hope they are driven from the internet until they learn some sense. However he then states….

‘The Celtic of today is rightly gaining a reputation for the most consistently violent fans in the UK who attack stadiums as if we’re living in 1974. They are Scotland’s modern Millwall: an underclass of extreme politics and mindless violence – the same old toxic brew. That’s the Celtic Underclass on tour.’

When did this ‘mindless violence’ take place? Who holds ‘extreme political views?’ By what measure do you declare Celtic fans ‘the most consistently violent in the UK?’ Celtic do have an issue with an element of fans who in aping European Ultras culture indulged in pyrotechnics, political and other banner displays and occasional vandalism. Some sing, as they always have, Irish political songs which are no worse in content than the Irish national anthem. However to equate all of this to the goings on of the serious football hooligan ‘firms’ of the UK is simply nonsense. Anyone with any knowledge of British football will point to a dozen clubs who are streets ahead of Celtic in the Hooligan department. A cursory search on YouTube will lead you to scenes of serious violent disorder occurring from Cardiff to Newcastle. All of it on a scale unknown at Celtic games for decades. Thompson may even have unwittingly put Celtic fans in danger as some serious English ‘firms’ will perhaps take note of his ridiculous claims.

Thompson also seems to wrongly assume that the Moderators on the Huddle-board chat site are representative of the West of Scotland. He states …

‘I refer to Glasgow’s bizarre blindness to racism, bigotry and all manner of criminal activity which would scarcely be tolerated in any other British city outside N Ireland. Yet, in and around Glasgow it’s scarcely noticed,’

This is simply wrong. Who ignores this poison? Does he refer to the media who failed to report the abuse of Angela Haggerty? By talking of ‘Glasgow’s bizarre blindness’ he seems to imply it’s wider than this. The Scottish media may have liked to ignore such goings on but decent fans of all clubs, Churchmen, educationalists, Journalists, bloggers, fanzines and a host of other commentators have spoken out against the poison of bigotry and racism loudly and often. There is a clear feeling that Thompson, in jumping to the defence of a fellow journalist, is being less than objective. His article is a poorly written, poorly researched piece of work which gratuitously insults Celtic FC and their fans.  I thought he was a better journalist than that. It seems I was wrong.


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