One of today’s newspapers did its very best to run with a one’s as bad as the other’ suggestion, saying : “Yes, both sides have justifiable grievances. Celtic were rightly outraged at the state their stadium was left in. Likewise, the Rangers board were understandably disgusted at those mock executions of blow-up dolls draped in red, white and blue scarves.”
This is wholly misrepresenting the situation. Celtic were rightly outraged at the blow-up dolls, criticised the actions at the time while endorsing the behaviour of the fabled “vast majority”. Celtic don’t have a problem with self-analysis; they’ve done it often enough in recent seasons in the face of Uefa fines.
The blow-up doll incident, and the faux defence of it, which Celtic didn’t offer, has nothing whatsoever to do with who pays for tens of thousands of pounds worth of vandalism carried out by visiting fans at Celtic Park. You can make your own suggestions as to why it was raised in connection with the subject.
The article goes on to offer up evidence of the bigger story, which it somehow manages to miss.
“Rangers (sic.) believe they have every right to take the hump because Celtic have chosen to ignore years of protocol – an unwritten rule which has stood the test of time, whereby each club pays for damage done to its own stadium by opposing fans on derby day.”
Maybe, maybe not, but here’s the thing, whatever unwritten rules Celtic and Rangers observed died in 2012.
You want unwritten rules to persist? Pay your taxes, register your players correctly, make full and honest submissions to HMRC inquiries instead of shredding correspondence. Play by the rules everyone else has to play by.
Cheat, lie, hide and shred and you have no defence in written rules, never mind unwritten objects of your imagination. This reality should now be writ large for all to understand.
After the 1909 Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers ended suspiciously in a draw, one astute observer noted that the clubs were acting in concert, like an Old Firm, in order to generate gate receipts from a replay.
With the permission of Oldco’s administrators, Newco were able to change their name to “Rangers”, but that act of an administrator cut no ice at Celtic Park, or most other Scottish grounds.
There is no Old Firm, it died in 2012. Celtic don’t use the phrase, they don’t observe unwritten rules they had in place with Rangers, they don’t want their stadium trashed, they don’t want to install “prison grade” facilities for visiting fans (this is what’s now required in Scotland in 2017, good grief!), they would happily never host the club again.
If you think all that happened in 2012 was a “relegation” (which you’d earlier reported was impossible), this might be news to you. It was more than this; it was the end of the old ways – and good riddance to them.
Celtic will stand of fall on our own merits. We will observe the laws and rules of the land, the tax authorities, the Association, Uefa and Fifa (even if it means criticising our own fans). If you’re looking for unwritten favours after vandalising our property: tough.
And for those who continually see O.F. conspiracies, none of them have ever been able to tell me a business case for Celtic to put life into that concept. It’s not good for business, no matter what the wildest conspiracy theorist might tell you. Anyone who tells you it is needs to take a look at himself.