In recent times, the ultra faction of the Celtic support has been increasingly damaging the Club both financially and in reputation.
Political banners, political songs, a certain UEFA banner, flares and seat ripping are just some of what these hardcore “supporters” have been accused of.
Though many do lie with the Green Brigade, we can not say for certain as yet that all the recent, and not so distant past, issues with crowd trouble is down to one particular group.
Many fans are now beginning to wake up to the notion that although these Ultra groups provide volume, atmosphere and colour to Celtic Park and travelling grounds, it may be time to say goodbye.
We had built up a spectacular reputation for the behaviour of our fans proven by the awards from UEFA and FIFA purely on that aspect. An achievement that all Celtic fans can be proud of. Though now our reputation is slipping. Constant UEFA fines and disciplinary procedures taken against the Club are slowly chipping away at us.
I for one can not stand to see the Club and the support hurt by this minority. When things like this happen, the vast majority of the time it becomes a case of ‘all tarred with the same brush’. It allows the main stream media to label us “thuggish”, “unruly” and that us and oldco/newco/sevco or whatever they’re calling themselves now, are “just as bad as each other”.
As I said before many Celtic fans like myself were enchanted by the atmosphere the GB created when the initially got together. Their vibrant footballing displays and songs are renowned through out Europe and the wider world. The foremost display, Barcelona. An incredible dedication to the Club and a lesson on jovial banter mixed with great behaviour was demonstrated by the Green Brigade that night. It was given extra media attention due to it being Celtic’s 125th birthday, playing Barcelona in the Champions League, at Parkhead and we won. Tony Watt, 18 years old, Champions League début, against arguably the best team in the world at the time scores the winner. You couldn’t have wished for a better picture of Celtic to be sent across the globe. The players, manager and fans did the Club the honour she deserved that night.
Fast forward one year. Ajax casuals tear up seats in Celtic park, throw them at the Celtic support, start fights with the police and smash up George Square. Celtic fans show restraint to their admiration.
Away game. Ajax fans had already boasted online of what was awaiting the Green and White support in Holland. They made good on their promises, though the Scottish media attempted to paint Celtic as the attackers and not the victims of these assaults, which is evident from the video footage we have available.
So we know the media will twist everything they can to make us look bad, even more so now that their club has took a sudden southern journey into financial meltdown. Resulting in a newco they refuse to acknowledge as such, but in the lower divisions of Scottish football in obscurity. They have nothing to write about now.
So why do we have people sitting in the Celtic support, collecting fines, racking up disciplinarians, bringing in flares and destroying property? This Ultra section is going down the route of the European Ultra faction. Highly politicised, opinionated and show no regard for others. Smoke bombs can damage lungs, bangers can damage hearing, flares can damage vision and all can cause burning. It is a criminal offence to carry any of these items into a football ground. You don’t even need to set it off, just having it on you is enough to be detained, charged and prosecuted.
It would take effort to break off seats. It wouldn’t happen by accident. This is intentional. Celtic receives the bill for this. Celtic pays the fines for the chanting and the banners by these Ultra groups we now have. Then who is at the front of the line accusing the board of penny pinching in the transfer market? Its simple, you want the Club to spend more on players, STOP RACKING UP FINES !! If you really think you can’t go and enjoy the football without these extra political aspects and just plain hooliganism then don’t go.
With the increasing popularity of social media, everyone is a journalist in their own way. Everyone can broadcast what they like, when they like to like-minded individuals. Every thing is scrutinised and more and more of the Celtic support are becoming enraged by the behaviour of these “fans”.
They are infact, not fans of Celtic. The football is no longer enough for them. Political views are being aired at almost every game we play. References to Irish Nationalists and William Wallace displayed live on TV for all of Europe to see. Yes it grants their views exposure, but what they are actually challenging is the Scottish Parliament and Police Scotland. It has nothing to do with the Club. They are hi-jacking the Club and her status to promote their own agenda. These people claim to be Celtic fans, in recent times I don’t see it. The 1st grumblings against the Ultra fad were shot down, not just by the Ultra groups themselves but by the majority of the support. Yet more fans are breaking free from the spell the vibrant colours and loud songs had cast over them. They are beginning to see these groups for what they are. Somewhere deep down these people may have once been Celtic fans, but they have lost their way. If they truly wanted a change in law then contact Glasgow City Council. Apply for a peaceful protest. They will ensure the safety of everyone involved. Or would that mean you lose your stance of “we’re being persecuted and oppressed” a mantra that is becoming synonymous with “until the last rebel”. They claim to be victims of police harassment. There is no doubt in my mind that this is at least partially true. The law is vague and open to interpretation. They claim to be under attack from the board, they’ve not shown evidence to back up this claim. The majority of these Ultra group members are not victims of any sort. They are deliberately and consciously provoking confrontation with the police and the board. Perhaps statements should be signed off with the truth “Rebels without a cause”?? They wish they had something to rebel against.
This can not be allowed to continue. We as the Celtic support have a responsibility to make Celtic the best it can be. This means challenging these issues as they arise. This means posting and re-posting the pictures of the Ultra’s actions. Reminding and discussing in public the financial cost they are having on our Club, not trying to keep it hidden behind closed doors. The message needs to go across to them that we will not stand for it. We are better than destroying property and mixing up where to air your political affiliations. We do not insult the European governing footballing body, while playing in their competition.
You don’t need to agree with the rules to observe them.
We all manage it, why can’t they?
– Martin Sinclair