Wednesday, September 13, 2017

PSG epitomise reality



I'm old enough to remember and to have attended the Neuchatal Xamax games in 1991. Liam Brady decided, in his wisdom, to go with a back three in Switzerland that badly exposed a defence that was already shakier than a Frank De Boer coat peg and we were battered 5-1. European football was changing then. We just didn't know it. Most fans expected us to still turn the tie around at Celtic Park, despite a reduced capacity, and hope sprung eternal when we were awarded a first minute penalty. Charlie Nicholas sent the penalty sky high and brought us back down earth with a bang.

Last night was always coming. From 2001, when we first took part in the group stages of the Champions League, every year since the gap has got a little bigger. Barcelona in 2012 was probably our last strong punch in a tournament that now belongs Oil teams and Oligarchs. I was in Dubai in the summer of 2015 and saw first hand the wealth behind a lot of these teams. This isn't a different ball game, this is a different sport.

There was a clamour to buy a centre half before the deadline but in reality who would have made a difference last night? John Stones at 49m? Virgil Van Dijk at 80? This was a team that cost almost a billion euros to assemble. They are about join Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the elite of world football. (Fucking incredible we get two of them in our group) And by elite, I mean they can and will leave everyone else eating their dust, including the chronically boring EPL.

We've have seen Celtic lose six and seven in Barcelona and now five last night to PSG. Whilst it still majorly hurts, there is really very little we can do about it as long as we play in Scotland. That's a reality that every supporter needs to get in check. I'm not advocating a move to the EPL, I'm not for that at all, just trying to meet the new boss, who may well be the same as the old boss, it's just now he  has Emirates or Qatar on his shirt.

I wouldn't want Celtic to sell out to the oil barons. I love our identity, I love our supporters (apart from maybe that one Bam last night) and I love that fact that we have guys like Tony Ralston coming through the ranks and already fighting for the jersey. I guess you could say I'm an idealist or a romantic (or maybe just plain daft) but I think games like last night are the price I need to pay to retain all that.

It was also still better than that night in Switzerland.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lies, damned lies and The SFA



I've wanted to blog a few times this week but was stopped by those who slaughter "Bloggers" yet claim to hate the MSM. (Sarcasm, come on in) Right now we are getting to the heart of the battle to save Scottish football.

On one side there are the supporters who paid into a rigged game, Celtic FC, The SPFL Board(bar one dope) and a few people within the game who want an inquiry but fear the same treatment that Ally McCoist ensured Eric Drysdale and his family got back in 2012. There's also the sad reality that at least four clubs in the top flight of the SPFL live in hand to mouth and put money above pretty much everything (especially when it comes to spending it)

On the other side is The SFA, The MSM, Sevco, Fans of Rangers(IL) and Sevco, various bigots who run football clubs and all being led by Daryl Broadfoot (Not now officially employed by The SFA but on a retainer from The SFA) who has been tasked with firefighting this thing for The SFA (Probably should mention Chris McLaughlin here who, although banned from Ibrox and not paid by The SFA, is doing his level best to ensure there is no inquiry and is praying for a total whitewash and lifting of his ban from Ibrox)

Let's deal with this nonsense that fans are "sick of all this". You would only be sick of this if you had a vested interest in there not being transparency in Scottish football so who gives a flying fuck what they think? Propping up a corrupt game makes you as culpable as those who corrupt it every day so you can spare us the crocodile tears. I know it is irking certain parts of the media gravy train that this isn't going away but if they had done their job properly, we wouldn't be here now.

I've listened with interest as Daryl Broadfoot has attempted to build his profile again and wondered why? On a good earner from the SFA and part of his new PR company it may seem that he has played a blinder and to a certain extent he has but don't be fooled by his jokey demeanour on Sportsound. He is working every day to ensure no transparency in Scottish football.  And you can be damn sure he has a vested interested in that.

Stewart Regan is a man who just wants this drawn out as long as possible. Of course he is highly culpable in this sham but he is also acutely aware he is in a job with a salary and profile that he will never get anywhere else so the longer this goes on, the happier he is.

And what of Celtic? I've known for a long time that Celtic have been all over this. I've told people this when they have asked me and was usually met with scorn. I can understand the scepticism in the same way that I can understand Celtic not making every utterance public. Celtic, internally, can drive me mad at times but I've said it before and I'll say it again, Celtic want this as much as we all do. They play a long game and try to be measured (sometimes too much in my view) but ultimately the statement on Saturday was clear and concise as to the position.

The question is: So what now? Sadly, I've never believed any fan-led movement will bring the change we want in Scottish football. Because the only thing clubs would act on is a long boycott of their grounds and that's never going to happen. This has to come from within the game and I was delighted to see Celtic vocalise that. This is not a Celtic v Rangers (IL) thing though, This is a justice thing and a few folk would do well to remember that.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Anyone but Celtic-Available on DVD&Stream

You can now buy the DVD of Anyone but Celtic. (If outside the UK and Ireland, stream is better)

http://www.ls86productions.com/anyone-but-celtic/

This marks the end of the ABC project, two years after it began in Carluke.

I've said enough in the book, in the film and on here, it's time to shoot it out there into world forever.

I just want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the project, without you, it's nothing.

To all the haters? See you for Armageddon. (@tay2armageddon)

http://www.ls86productions.com/anyone-but-celtic/

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Boo Bhoys enjoy the silence



In a climate of continual chat about how you should support Celtic, it was nice to see two of the Boo-Bhoys silence their critics last night. James Forrest and Nir Bitton played massive parts in Celtic's progress into the Champions League play offs. Supporters know, every generation has players who get it in the neck from the fans more than most. In my lifetime I can remember Pierce O'Leary, Paul McGuigan, Derek Whyte, Mike Galloway and Peter Grant, to name but five, who all got it. None of these players were ever going trouble the Ballon D'or judges but all of them gave everything they had.

I was talking on @HomeBhoys on Tuesday about how when players got barracked in a game, this normally ensured greater support for them in the next game (Similarly I always remember fans being even more keen to go on a Saturday after a Wednesday defeat) Many moons ago, The Jungle used to chant the name of every player in the team before a game. It was routine. If I think about it, I can still hear it. Indeed, it was also how you knew the team back then (One Packie Bonner, there's only one Packie Bonner, One Chrissy Morris, Anton, Anton...)

Davie Provan, not brought up in the Celtic tradition, always spoke about how the affinity between the players and fans was what drove the team on (Why else do you think we go the reputation for last minute goals?)

In recent years, Calum McGregor was a target. Ronny Deila said it really affected his game as he got scared. Think about that, a Celtic player scared of his own fans. Nowadays, it's Forrest and Bitton. Some of the comments aimed at Forrest after the first leg against Rosenborg would have seen a ban from Follow Follow never mind be befitting of Celtic supporters whereas the collective gasp on Twitter when Bitton came on was akin to a vaping convention.

Yet, guess what?

Bitton strolled through the game at centre half and Forrest scored a goal so good that it dropped Rob McLean's bitterness to a new level.

The moral of the story is, a lot of us forget, we aren't the coaching staff or judges on some sort of Football Factor, we are supporters and it is time a lot of us remembered that.

Or shut the fuck up.

Friday, July 21, 2017

'Anyone but Celtic' the DVD-Out August 1st



http://www.ls86productions.com/anyone-but-celtic/

Click on the link above and you can pre-order it (UK and Ireland only)

Rest of the world can find a stream on the same page.

There is also an updated book on sale from August 1st which contains a brand new chapter after a meeting with the primary source.

The DVD has 30 minutes of extras on it.

Every sale helps us do independent projects like this.

Thank you
Paul

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pipe up Peter

When the draw for the game against Linfield was made, I scanned the usual airlines and looked for a deal. Pretty soon I realised that we were a while away from getting a confirmed date and I just don't have the dough to go for a week or anything like. When Linfield were our confirmed opponents, it became obvious quickly that it was going to be on Friday the 14th. I went on Easyjet and saw a flight to Belfast for £28.99 over, £34.99 back on the Saturday afternoon. Then it dawned on me, we are playing Lyon on the Saturday afternoon. So I hesitated and in that time, it was announced we would not be taking/getting an allocation for Betty Windsor Park.

Hmm.

I know some folk have an image of the stadium and the area surrounding and probably saw good reasoning in this but most of that reasoning doesn't apply. One day I was in Belfast, this was probably four years ago, after a night in Larne. My mate who looks after me in the north, Gary, always takes me wherever I want to go and we decided to go to west Belfast. We did all the usual things, a pint in The Rock, various murals and even had a chat with the Mayor of the time. After visiting a guy in the RVH, we got back in the car and I nodded off for 10 minutes or so. When I woke up, all around me I saw union flags, red, white and blue kerbs and even a U.V.F. mural in the distance. Gary was just parking the car up and I looked at him like any Fenian bastard would having just pulled up into a bastion of Loyalism (Boucher Road to be precise) Now anyone who knows Gary, knows he wears Celtic gear almost everywhere he goes. So there he was, breezing out the car, Celtic tracksuit top on, not a care in the world. And guess what? No one batted an eyelid. This shocked me at the time but Belfast has changed a lot since I started going there in the 90's. Then, you stuck pretty much to places like Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and Andy Town (sic).  Not that I am suggesting everything is fine now, it never will be as long as the British occupy the six counties, but I saw a lot of comparisons with the time Ireland played at Windsor to qualify for the 1994 World Cup back in late 1993 and, quite frankly, they were ludicrous. When Ireland played there, there was a war on. I can't be any more concise.

It is 2017 now and Ireland is a very different place from 1993. Of course, the sectarian hate-fest provided by the Orange Order still rains over the six counties but then look at the ongoing situation in Palestine and I don't remember anyone saying we shouldn't play there last summer. All this centred on Celtic pre-match. There were suspicions that the club made the choice to not take tickets and this was backed up Linfield and the PSNI (Hold on, I'm getting there) Now, I've never had any dealings with Linfield but there hasn't been a police service in the north of Ireland that has been a bastion of truth and so I'll take anything they say with a pinch of salt. My own sources at Celtic are adamant that the only way they were getting tickets for that away leg was if the tie was switched to Celtic Park first. Brendan Rodgers did not want that. Over-cautious? Think back to a year ago...

There were a couple of operations meetings at Windsor Park that had Celtic officials bewildered. Quite simply, Linfield said one thing and then did another. This is what led to the announcement at Noon on the day of the game that there would be Celtic section for existing ticket holders. Like you, that majorly pissed me off. I could have been there. You could have been there.

Cut to the game itself and as we strolled around the park, bigots threw batteries and bottles. For some reason, the referee deemed that a bookable offence for Leigh Griffiths. You will always get a bonkers/corrupt Ref but are we really going to just accept the one match ban?

The home tie was played last night although you'd barely know it given the coverage since. A banner went up. Some folk didn't like it, others loved it and Celtic put out a statement about it. I won't moralise about it, I would not listen to me if I was an angry young man just as I didn't listen to folk like me when I was an angry young man. I did know though that as soon as it went up, UEFA and Celtic would go ballistic.

I think we all did.

Just as all on Twitter threatened to collectively lose their minds, there was some comic relief although it was about as funny as the actual show. "Celtic Travel" (one guy in an office basically) released a price for a day trip to Trondheim. £489. When I saw it, I felt like a Doctor Who fan who hates women.

Then as encore, Celtic announced we would be charged £25 for the Rosenborg game. This after we watched the bulk of the academy side against Lyon? Come on, eh?

The overriding thing in all of this is, where are our leaders? The SLO appears to be answering for most of the club right now as everyone else seems to have lost their tongue. Nameless statements won't fly these days and neither will the complete lack of communication with a support who are getting restless about the increasing lack of transparency at Celtic.

Peter, it's time to talk to your public.






Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Peeling the Orange


The photo above, I think, pretty much sums up the attitude we face every day from a lot of people in Scotland and the north of Ireland. It's been that way in the 43 years I have been alive and never really changed. After the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, there was talk of a peace dividend that all involved would reap the benefit of.

It never reached Scotland.

This pre-bonfire erection isn't in Scotland (Thank God says Iris Robinson) but you can see the references to Celtic. You all have experienced the attitude that slithers out of that photo and very rarely does anyone outside our own community give a monkey's toss.

The SNP have been in power in Scotland for 10 years now. Yet still orange feet march on our streets with impunity, spreading their hate like butter on warm bread. In a climate of dodgy deals with the DUP and well-known bigots like Richard Cook facilitating campaign funds to them to fund a Brexit campaign, there seems to be a reluctance to tackling this hatred head on.

You could draw a line from West Lothian to Belfast and pretty much take in the home of every bigot in Scotland and Ireland. I've experienced most of them over the last 25 years or so. Even last month I was walking into a cafe with one of my sons and a couple were sitting having a meal outside. As we walked past them, the woman said "Haw Larkin, do you want me to sing The Sash for you?"

The fact that Scott Sinclair is facing this kind of thing on an almost daily basis is not surprising. Especially when you consider the pathetic punishments handed out to the perpetrators of this hate. Quite frankly, you can't even think about an independent Scotland when you have thousands of Orange men and women marching every year and spreading these attitudes that they learn from events like July 12th in the north of Ireland.

That photo at the top of this blog should act as a reminder as to why we have to fight this with everything we have. We are not second-class citizens and we demand equality always.

Otherwise what? We just accept that we can be treated like this? We just accept our place in society as victims?

Fuck that.

These people are awash with bigotry and hatred and they should be exposed always. When the DUP did that dodgy deal with the Tories, the UK MSM woke up to the fact that they were anti-gay and anti-abortion. Nowhere was it said that their whole reason for being was their unadulterated hatred of Catholics.

And as long as all of this goes unchallenged?

You'll always see banners like the above.