The Vice Closes

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Like Zilch above, I feel a little bit uncomfortable having …

Comment on The Vice Closes by Highlander.

Like Zilch above, I feel a little bit uncomfortable having stirred a hornet’s nest over the matter of singing/chanting offensive songs, so these will be my last words on the subject.

Zilch and Realshocks have helpfully explained the difference between political and sectarian songs/chants and I’ve absolutely no problem with that differentiation.

However, to deny that Celtic fans participate in pro-IRA chanting and other offensive behaviour, particularly at away matches, is disingenuous. It may not be on the same scale as ‘The Billy Boys’, but it should be significant enough to alert Police Scotland from their matchtime slumbers. Unfortunately, just as with the Ibrox crew, they seem completely disinterested.

One of the largest broadcasters of Scottish football recently admitted to having to turn down the volume at Celtic matches in order to drown out offensive singing and chanting. I Googled the words ‘Celtic’, ‘singing’ and ‘chanting’ and umpteen different reports of offensive crowd behaviour appeared, and that’s not to mention all the instances that go unreported and unrecorded. Just ask any Hearts fan about the chants from the away end when Celtic visit the volatile atmosphere at Tynecastle and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that the same occurs at other grounds, much of it unreported in the press.

It’s been clear to me for some time that the only solution to offensive behaviour is strict liability, whereby the clubs bear responsibility for their fans behaviour inside (and immediately outside) stadia. It’s equally clear that the clubs aren’t going to voluntarily subscribe to strict liability, so government intervention is necessary, regardless of whether that creates a problem in the eyes of UEFA/FIFA.

I’m conscious that this post might come across as critical of Celtic, whose fans make up the vast majority on here. It’s not intended to do anything other than provide a degree of honesty and above all balance in a contentious debate.

Highlander Also Commented

The Vice Closes
Having arrived at a landmark birthday last Friday, at which point I retired from work, I was lucky enough to be whisked off to Barcelona for a long weekend by my daughter, son-in-law and 15-month-old grandson, accompanied by my wife.

We witnessed large-scale political unrest throughout our visit, with numerous demonstrations and rallies all over the city, all of it vociferous and noisy, but also good natured and trouble free. Fortunately, we saw nothing of the brutality dished out by the Spanish police that we were later to see on TV back at the hotel.

It was my son-in-law’s birthday at the weekend too, so I’d bought a pair of tickets for us to watch Barca against Las Palmas at the Nou Camp on Sunday as part of my present to him. We began to hear rumours of the match being postponed as we got off the Metro near the stadium but we joined the throngs outside our designated stadium entry point before discovering via my smartphone that the match was to be played behind closed doors in the light of the political unrest in the region.

What has any of this got to do with Scottish football governance? Well, nothing directly, but bear with me. I’ve long been of the opinion that money has been the ruination of football in modern times, as well as many other things in life.

We now live in an era where an elite group of clubs are so wealthy and powerful, they can control the future direction of football for their own benefit and are given carte blanche to do so by football’s governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, who are increasingly powerless (or perhaps willingly compliant) to do anything about it. The rich get richer and stick two fingers up at the rest of us resorting to feeding off scraps.

I’d had a massive moral dilemma when deciding whether to donate a far from paltry £243 to one of these elite clubs in order to watch the sublime skills of Messi in what I am told is a majestic stadium. I was equally mortified when my family gave me an array of FC Barcelona merchandise for birthday presents. As it happens, I received a full refund for the tickets shortly before we had to head to the airport, so Barca never made any money from me, even if they did from my family. I have tried to explain to my wife as best as I could why she won’t see me wearing the lovely Barca present she bought me, but I don’t have the heart to tell the rest of my family that the t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets they bought me won’t be worn unless hidden by outer garments.

Finally, like Barcelona, Rangers Football Club is an elite, big money club. However, in Rangers case, what makes them elite is the unique set of qualities they share with only Third Lanark, Airdrieonians and Gretna.

The Vice Closes

SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 at 20:28

Highlander – the list of proscribed songs is well established. Singing in direct support of the IRA is proscribed and I have no time for ninety minute republicans.

Many innocent Rangers fans would argue their case along similar lines. The fact is that a sizeable number of Celtic fans participate in such proscribed songs at away venues, and that’s without going into pitch invasions and pyrotechnics etc.

I recognise that every club has its fair share of fruitloops and the two clubs with the largest support will therefore have more examples of pondlife on display than the rest of us.

I can assure you I have no affiliation or liking for either of the two clubs to have played out of Ibrox, but lets keep a semblance of balance.


The Vice Closes
SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 at 18:38

Zilch, I agree with every single word and sentiment of your commendable post.

However, in the interests of balance, I’m obliged to mention the equally vile and equally sectarian chants and songs evident at each away game played by Celtic every second week. It’s not for you or I to decide what amounts to merely an ‘Irish folk ballad’ and what constitutes support for Irish Republican terrorist organisations but I would suggest that neither are appropriate in the setting of a sporting contest, Scottish or otherwise. 

Recent Comments by Highlander

It Is Better To Offer No Excuse Than A Bad One
A couple of subjects on here caught my eye over the early festive period. Firstly, the subject of goal-line technology, in view of Hibs’ ‘non-goal’ in the early minutes of the recent Edinburgh derby. As a Hearts fan, I have to hold my hands up to having got lucky on that occasion.

Perhaps surprisingly, Tom English makes a decent fist of the subject of goal-line technology and the use of Video Assistant Referees in his recent BBC article:

If only Tom English was entirely consistent in his analysis of the history of Scottish football, we might not have been subjected over the past five years to such manufactured words, phrases and myths as ‘engine room subsidiary’ and ‘after leaving liquidation’.

Tom English and every so-called journalist in this country knows precisely what happened to Rangers Football Club in 2012. The fact that they know so is recorded for posterity, since every last one of them reported the death of Rangers FC back in the summer of 2012. Whether Tom, like so many others, subsequently took the view it was safer for him to print the official PR propaganda rather than the truth he incontrovertibly knew, doesn’t alter the fact that he, like his cowardly colleagues, is guilty of propagating fiction as fact. He has no excuse, because there is no excuse for such dereliction of duty as a supposed journalist.

The second subject that caught my eye is the fact that Manchester City currently sit 15 points ahead of their nearest EPL rivals and have a goal difference that exceeds the combined totals of the clubs in 2nd and 3rd places.

PSG currently sit eleven points above 2nd placed Monaco in Ligue 1 while Barcelona lead 2nd placed Atletico by 9 points, and Real by 14 points.

Bayern Munich unsurprisingly lead Schalke by eleven points at the top of the Bundesliga at present.

In Scotland, Celtic presently hold a mere eight point lead over second-placed Aberdeen, yet we are lead to believe our league is a meaningless-one-horse-race-foregone-conclusion. It is unjust, we are told, that one club has such an unfair financial advantage over its rivals.

Feel free to correct me, but are Sky and BT customers in England queueing up to cancel their subscriptions because they’re witnessing a foregone conclusion regarding Man City? Spain? France? Germany?

Now I’m not for one second suggesting that the quality on display in the SPFL comes remotely close to those other major leagues, but I can’t help but feeling that we do ourselves a massive disservice by undervaluing our domestic game here in Scotland. I sense a reasonably bright future for Scottish football, probably enhanced by my own club’s relatively successful academy programme allied to news of various other youngsters coming through their own club’s systems. Perhaps if Doncaster and Regan were to promote the positives (ie resign), instead of ridiculing our game, we might make further progress.

It is puzzling why we didn’t hear about Scotland’s unfair financial disparity during the glory years of the now defunct Rangers FC, season after season in which they lifted titles and trophies that they couldn’t genuinely afford to fund, lording it over the rest of us while exploiting a massive financial disparity between themselves and their rivals!

The infuriating thing is that there’s a massive story out there for a real journalist; a story that involves deceit, corruption and cheating. A story that would seal a journalist’s place in history forever. And that’s just about the governing bodies!

Finally, as a Hearts fan I’m contractually obliged to point out that although Hibs were undoubtedly deprived of a goal in the midweek derby, an incident which has justifiably been replayed over and over ad nauseam, and which supposedly highlighted the inconsistencies/frailties of our officials, little time has been spent highlighting the blatant handball in the penalty area by Lewis Stevenson of Hibs in the dying embers of the same game. As penalties go, that was a stonewaller, but I accept those same officials are mere mortals, subject to the same degree of error as you or I.

It Is Better To Offer No Excuse Than A Bad One
Regarding the Q&A session between Club 1872 and club 2012 posted above by eJ, there is one point which rips my knitting more than all the others.

9) Given the volume of lies being published and broadcast daily about our Club, when are the Directors going to adopt a more robust stance with our detractors in the media, as the current policy, just like its predecessors seems to be failing miserably?

How do you even begin to reason with people so deluded by their own misguided sense of victimhood?

Having told us loudly and in unison in 2012 that Rangers FC died, the mainstream media in Scotland shortly afterwards did a complete u-turn and has consistently advised us ever since that Rangers FC somehow survived its failure to exit administration in 2012 and inexplicably survived entering liquidation, but without ever attempting to explain how it did so, presumably because reporting the truth would offend the flat-earthers who couldn’t cope with that truth!

The big lie has been rife in the media ever since.

Yet these morons claim to have been badly treated by the media! Really? What planet do they come from? Uranus? 

It Is Better To Offer No Excuse Than A Bad One

Significant Control – johnjamessite

but why be thorough when you are ripping someone off?

….says the man who had the audacity to “borrow SFM’s editorial article for the good of his readers” (ie our current blog in its entirety) just a matter of days ago.

I’d wager “borrowed” means stolen without permission, although the mods might confirm that permission was indeed sought and granted and a suitable donation made to this site. It’s just yet another example of the blatant double standards he employs. You couldn’t mark his neck with a blowtorch.

It Is Better To Offer No Excuse Than A Bad One
DECEMBER 16, 2017 at 19:10

I agree with every single word you just posted. However, you’ve stopped going to matches and I’ve withdrawn all financial support from my club too. There will inevitably come a time when the trickle becomes a flood. The mainstream media is living on borrowed time as more and more information is dissected and disseminated through the agenda and PR-free internet. Keep the faith – it will eventually happen.

It Is Better To Offer No Excuse Than A Bad One
The outcome of the the SFA Compliance Officer’s investigation into the the SFA‘s award of Rangers European Licence in 2011 is a foregone conclusion. It is like turkeys voting for Christmas, or the football authorities in their infinite wisdom allowing Rangers to investigate themselves in the matter of links between Craig Whyte and Charles Green a few years ago.

Anybody waiting for justice best not hold their breath.

The football authorities and club chairmen only see pound signs. Those club officials and football authorities are all expendable. Unlike fans, when one leaves, he is immediately replaced.

Only when the penny finally drops and those officials realise that the real investors in our game, the fans, are leaving permanently in their droves, will it dawn on them the damage they have perpetrated on our national sport. Unfortunately it will be too late by then. “We did what we did for the good of the game” will ring hollow in empty stadia. 

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