Football, Politics and Police

thScottish football has always been plagued by outside political interference. As far back as a century ago when the establishment searched for a club where they could propagate and influence society through large crowds of football fans. Initially trying to find a home at Queens Park (then one of the most successful teams in Scottish football) where they were swiftly rejected before finding a home at Rangers. It was here they found a space to politicise and spread social disharmony in a direct response to the formation of Celtic FC. A rivalry and division which has endured and strengthened for over a century at the detriment of every other team in Scotland, with far-reaching implications into the very fabric of society throughout the country. For an academic treatment see for eg ‘They Sing that Song, Football and Sectarianism in Glasgow’, Andrew Davies, in Bigotry Football and Politics (Eds John Flint and John Kelly).

This Glasgow city derby with given a political, social and religious edge which was drummed up by the media and influential figures of the time. Pitching the working classes of the city and beyond against each other, lines drawn between religion and ethnicity. All this at a time when west central Scotland was an industrial powerhouse on a global scale. Political awareness and agitation of socialism was arguably at its highest it’s ever been. Churchill then secretary of state for war, locked Glaswegian soldiers in their barracks, deployed troops and tanks in the city centre in response to strikes calling for a shorter working week and full employment. Mary Barbour successfully led rent strikes which captured the support of thousands upon thousands of workers downing tools across the city forcing the Government to step in and force all landlords to reduce rents and lock them at the same rates as before the First World War.

Against this backdrop of working class unity and activism the country’s most popular sport amongst the working classes, football was used as a tool to tear the city and the wider industrial area in two. 100 years later Scotland is still struggling to combat the deep-rooted division in our society the much talked about Offensive Behaviour at Football Act (OBFA) was intended to be the flagship policy that was going to cure a Scotland sick with sectarianism. In reality it has turned out to be one of the most ineffective acts in history, With conviction rates embarrassingly low and no clear definition in most cases as to what constitutes offensive behavior or even sectarian. It has been used to harass charge and disrupt the lives of many otherwise law-abiding citizens who have the audacity to say the word “baldy” at a football match.

But for me this is only scratching the surface of poltical interference, oppressive police tactics and one of the last fronts of a class war that’s been raging for decades in football.

Football historically would come at the end of the working week for millions of men, woman and children on a Saturday afternoon. Providing an escape and release from the graft and hardship of the time. As successive Conservative governments gradually broke down and tore apart industry the communities built around them football remained and still endures as the last beacon and focus of working class pride and community spirit. Countless clubs owe their nicknames, club crest and identity to their town, local industries and the people who worked there and supported the club. With the loss of industry, work places and the social clubs adjoined to many, football also became the last place where people could congregate in large numbers show pride in their area, share stories beliefs and feel part of something feel that camaraderie and sense of society that Thatcher had tried so had to break going as far as to say “there is no such thing as society”.

therdAfter breaking the miners where else would the police, the government and the press turn to in order to ensure the tactics and training and mentality honed during miners strikes weren’t lost? Football became the obvious target with hundreds of thousands of young disillusioned working class men seemingly marauding up and down the country every weekend. The riotous behavior – perhaps a result of a breakdown in the community structure, loss of industry or even a direct reaction to the pressure’s of the conservative ideology at the time. An outlet to express a sense of abandonment and lack of hope. Those on the right-wing at the time seem to have picked up on that and used the crowds as massive recruitment centres places to spread their own propaganda and hatred. A point apparently lost on the left at the time, no doubt swept up in the government and press propaganda labeling football fans as vile right-wing riotous thugs. Which I have no doubt has truth in it but also became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The terraces were largely left to be breeding grounds for the right wing which only fuelled the press and government agenda to demonise and almost dehumanise football crowds to the point where tactics employed, charges pressed and custodial sentences enforced today on football fans are accepted without fuss and even lauded by many.

Many could argue that the tactics employed by the government and police were successful in driving trouble out of the game. I would argue that all-seater stadiums, higher ticket prices the growth of other social movements throughout the 90’s had just as big an impact. But as the game and society has changed the mindset of the police the papers and government hasn’t.

We now live in a situation where large-scale disorder at football games has all but died out. The ring wing groups who used the game to exploit angry disillusioned young men have been chased out. Clubs are a playground and toy for the rich, the game is marketed to those who can afford the extortionate ticket prices, the £5 pies and all the club merchandise and trinkets you could possibly think of.

Clubs are a playground and toy for the rich, the game is marketed to those who can afford the extortionate ticket prices, the £5 pies and all the club merchandise and trinkets you could possibly think of.

Semi-organised groups of young people are to be feared, scrutinised, stalked, filmed, intimidated, have their movements restricted. At a time where police budgets are being slashed and scrutinized, their presence at games have never been higher the technology and resources have never been more available all this at a cost to the clubs themselves. Every officer, horse, surveillance unit and overtime logged is charged back to the clubs. Not a bad little earner.

In order to justify this exceptional source of extra income police are forced to find new and imaginative ways in which to meet targets and keep public opinion on their side. Standing in a seating area, crossing a road at a time that displeased a police officer, singing in an aggressive manner can all allow yourself to be treated to a head lock down a flight of stairs, a criminal record, hundreds of pounds worth of fines, surrendering of your passport on certain days, restrictions on where you can walk or in some cases even live on pre-determined dates and times. Not to mention any knock on effects all this can have on your employment.

Teenagers with no previous convictions or even police interactions outside a football game are now subjected to having their movements monitored, Details taken of what clothes they are wearing, social media accounts tracked and recorded, constantly filmed without consent, police escorts to fast food outlets, having their parents houses front doors kicked in at 6am and greeted with police storm troopers and national press photographers greeting them outside only for charges to be dropped quietly a few months down the line with no apology. Persistently harassed and goaded into reaction from a young age (Heels clipped from behind, ears flicked and their scarves pulled tight to the point of strangulation whilst stopped on their way to a football game) their mentality and attitude is shaped into one of distrust with our police forces.

There is a growing feeling that this is only been allowed to continue due to the working class image football still holds, the image a group of mainly working class teenagers having the audacity to create their own cohesive and functioning large social circle centered around and ideal or goal in this case supporting a football team. Something than enables them to create that feeling of togetherness and pride, create an identity and a collective voice that they are denied anywhere else in our modern “society”. Something that is just slightly outside their influence and control, something that they have shown time and time again that they do not understand.

What other section of society would we allow to be subjected to such level of intense supervision? What other section of society would we allow to politically targeted? What other section of society would we allow to have their ideas, movements, voice and identity suppressed?

Politics and class have always been part of football, Society has a whole is still struggling to overcome the mistakes made in the past. Lets not allow them to be made again. We are allowing a generation to be criminalised to suit a political agenda and top up police budgets. Football and its fans have the potential and ability to be the rock where we can build community spirit and the foundations of a better society. There is very few places left where people can organise, build a sense of community and identity that can take pride each other and fight for what they believe in. Lets not lose football to corporate business and overzealous political policing. Lets not make the same mistakes of the past.

Comments (33)

Leave a Reply to James Alexander Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Paul Cochrane says:

    We;; said Sean

  2. Bryan Weir says:

    Fantasy!

  3. Gordie says:

    Interesting well written article.

  4. willie says:

    Football has been lost to corporate interest a long long time ago. Just look at the composition of the boards of Celtic and Rangers. And look at the payscales too.
    Of course there is nobody to blame for this state of affairs save for the punters themselves.
    Indeed, when the annual season tickets come out it’s payday I believe for the Provided Cheque agents as people of modest means clamour to get a loan to buy their season ticket.
    And with many more loans apparently being sought by Celtic fans, as opposed to Rangers fans, it did make me wonder how accurate my Provvie Cheque informants analysis of who was taking loans and for what teams actually was. But there you are the Tic buy more season tickets on tick than the Gers and if even remotely true, what social comment does this tell us about the composition of our illustrious faithful football fans.
    But enough. I’m a rugby man my self. Much better class of thug at the rugby together. None of this beastly sectarianism. Much better altogether and maybe the answer would be to ban football in the schools and make Rugby mandatory. And for those who would be conscientious objectors, they could be threatened with Cricket lessons. There, sectarianism sorted!

    1. C Rober says:

      Rugby ye say , why no shinty?

      Keep the violence on the park , and professional I say.

  5. bill fraser says:

    I am totally neutral in this matter.I do follow Scottish Football and am a supporter of Glasgow’s (3rd team??)where all that matters is the game itself.

  6. Malcolm Kerr says:

    Much of this is valid from a civil liberties perspective, and well put. For me, though, this all misses the target: why no reference anywhere in the article to sectarianism? The OBFA may be ineffective, but it was well intended and remains popular. It is not responsible for the policing culture described, which predates the Act and would not be influenced by its repeal.

    1. It’s a fair point Malcolm, though not sure the OBFA ‘remains popular’. Is there evidence for this?

      1. SJI says:

        I’m a football fan and totally in favour of the OBFA. Even more so if it could be modified to lead to more convictions. And I would say that the majority of fans at my club (SPL outfit, east coast) are in agreement.

  7. greatbighoo says:

    “when the establishment …”

    Zzzzzzz.

    The root cause of all problems is “the Establishment” isn’t it?

    Including the appalling behaviour of Scottish / Glasweigan ‘football fans’, whose bigotry and violence is a shame on Scotland to this day.

    Ever since I’ve been old enough to understand, I’ve been embarrassed by this – especially now living outside of Scotland.

    “The Establishment”. Yes, it’s all down to the Establishment, not the agency (or lack of it) or (bad) decisions made by individuals.

    Change the bloody record, ffs.

    “football was used as a tool to tear the city and the wider industrial area in two. 100 years later Scotland is still struggling to combat the deep rooted division in our society”

    Christ almighty. There is quite literally no end to all problems being someone else’s fault, is there?

    “the game is marketed to those who can afford the extortionate ticket prices, the £5 pies and all the club merchandise and trinkets you could possibly think of.”

    Supply and Demand. How awful!

    There is a very simple solution to all this. If people stop going, stop buying the pies, and the trinkets, and stop buying Sky TV, then a message will be sent to the market and there will be a correction.

    Mike Small will be on in a minute, reminding us how “David Beckham is an example of everything that is wrong with society” (unquote).

    “Politics and class have always been part of football”

    What a pathetic cretin you are.

    1. James Alexander says:

      Agree with many of your comments here. This article about blaming “the establishment” doesn’t make sense. It’s a rant. If football crowds behaved themselves there wouldn’t be a need for policing the events, and I truly do hope that clubs playing are indeed paying for the policing around the grounds, but I strongly suspect they are not and it’s the rest of us that are paying to control their violence and sectarian behaviour (Scotland’s not so secret shame).
      I’m sick to death of hearing about poor punters when these so called fans, like taxi drivers, do nothing but moan, particularly about the price of tickets and YET these same people repeeatedly buy the damn tickets and subsidise the paypackets of their so called “heroes” (god help me if another prrson calls one more sports “personality” a hero !! These players are skilled at ONE thing and invariably get out of control on their vast salaries. When will the “fans” see that Sky, the players, their agents and the clubs are laughing all the way to the bank while the self same “fans” pay exorbitant prices to stand often in the p*ssing rain to watch a mediocre and rather simplistic game (where it take 20 men to keep a piece of inflated leather away from another 2), while being charged filthy amounts of money for snacks or drinks served in turn by vendors that are not even being afforded the minimum wage let alone the living wage…. I could go on. It’s ALL about tribalism and supporting your team no matter the ethics, the values or the cost. Sectarianism and it’s petrie dish, Football, is Scotland’s shame!

      1. It is a rant. Rants are needed. Rants are okay.

        1. Bryan Weir says:

          They are OK but so is disagreeing with them when they are nonsense.

  8. C Rober says:

    Theres nuggets in the article thats bang on.

    I have seen casuals in action , perhaps as the author says there was a persecuted minority accused of being so , but history tells us there was casuals , nor were some persecuted for no reasoning.

    The downturn of the Game was pride chasers , regardless of the origination of Rangers or Celtic. When people stopped going to games supporting their local teams , it only served to fuel the rise of Both Celtic and Rangers , and ultimately the demise of supporters themselves at those other clubs.

    Of course little has changed , except the location of the biscuit tin , and the the people/family lining their pockets.Rangers was not run into the ground by those of any religion , but those of the same one , or the true religion , personal wealth and rich over poor , just the same as the two times with Celtic.

    If REAL fans want a solution , then perhaps the Barca route is a perfect financial option.

    A team which unites about the same population of Scotland , for the same reasoning , a region wishing Indy from their controllers , and still supported by those Spanish generational interlopers as well that dont want separation. No Religion , No Politics , wealth created by the fans , for the fans and wholly spent on the team not shareholders wanting their profits.

    Another reason why the local teams were supported in numbers was their players were like the supporters , pre career professional that is.The player might be in the bar with them during the week , or indeed hammering rivets in the yerd. With professionalism came dislocating.

    The game therefore was once accessible , affordable , where an hours wage was admission , and ye could lift the wain over the styles. Heroes came from , lived in , worked in the community that supported them , fueling the fan base with pride … where the only hate crime was directed not towards players but the “ref” , with a question on quality of vision as well as lineage on the paternal side – via song and shout.

    Today though you go to Aberdeen , you see Celtic and Rangers taps. You go to Falkirk you see Celtic and Rangers taps , you go to Dublin or Corby… well point proven , fair weather fans for the most part. This may actually agree slightly with the authors point , lost community , in a form of division to conquer , but was hardly forced , encouraged perhaps.

    Its a non fan base , someone that calls themselves a fan , but their erse probably hasnt seen neither the terraced seat or the very church or chapel pew that has baith aided their outlook and created the problem – and one that Holyrood once again has ineffectually has tried to tackle , serving to only untie the hate towards the establishment.

    I did note this week though the SCOP asking for more money to tackle a non problem , the rise in violence around stadia . We have CCTV and mobile phone location that makes identification so much easier than in the 80s when it was a problem , everyone is already tagged , it might not be their ankle but in their pocket , what does he really want the money for though is perhaps the bigger question?

    After all the first thing Thatcher did was put money into the police , can INDY therefore be like the Glasgow Barracks and those tanks in George SQ , where investment is needed to reinforce a power? The author has a right to ask if there is a correlation , even if that means the tinfoil hat accusations that may ensue.

    Today Glasgow though still has one of the best teams in the World , that are neither Celtic or Rangers , but CITY , a team that only has a fan base of a couple of thousand and little money. A team with affordable ticket prices and family atmosphere , if only they took their tap aff when celebrating a goal , then the gate numbers would swell like a Hampden pre war cup final.

    Perhaps there lies the solution , forget the lining of the pockets of the owners of Celtic and Rangers , and support 11 wummin instead , some of them have a better touch game than those on 50k plus a week , and are not mercenaries feart of a tackle when wearing the deep blue , and when asked will do so with pride , but without politics.

    Just maybe Scotland will be the first national squad that doesnt need to look for a Scots Grannie for a player selection to play for it , but someone that will be a Scots Grannie being selected instead.

  9. Kenny says:

    What a shock to find it’s all the fault of Rangers AND Celtic yet again.

    Only ONE of those clubs has a long history of religious discrimination. Only ONE of those clubs still sings about the indiscriminate murder of members of another faith. (And never forget that that song has NOTHING to do with Irish politics and everything to do with Scotland’s long, dark history of anti-Catholicism.) Only ONE of those clubs revels in being “the Establishment club.” Only ONE of those clubs had the entire Scottish football establishment turn itself inside out to ensure their preservation/resurrection. (Does anyone remember anyone but Fergus McCann doing anything to save Celtic when they were at death’s door in the 1990s?)

    On the OBFA, you can argue that it’s popular all you want, but very often it’s most popular with people who have been fed the “all as bad as each other” myth. I have a friend who went to a Scottish Government-led workshop on dealing with sectarianism and the two “sectarian” songs that were to be discussed were The Billy Boys and The Fields of Athenry. If you can’t see the difference between those (or even between The Billy Boys and The Boys of the Old Brigade or the The Soldier Song) then you really should avoid commenting on the issue because you’re equating Irish nationalism with glorifying the murder of Catholics. (If you’re still confused, look it up. The Billy Boys is not about William of Orange – the original “King Billy” – but about a Bridgeton razor gang leader known as King Billy.) You can’t separate the Act from its enforcement, whereby Celtic fans (and quite probably Rangers fans too, but I don’t really know many Rangers fans so it’s harder for me to judge) have been harrassed and intimidated by police just for gathering in one place or for expressing political sentiments. It’s led to the absurd situation where a minute’s silence is mandated at football grounds for Nelson Mandela, but Celtic fans are told political statements are inapppropriate at football grounds when they point out Mandela’s support for Bobby Sands and the other martyrs of the Irish cause. (Don’t forget that Mandela was a convicted terrorist too.)

    For the most part, Celtic fans don’t stalk, harrass and intimidate journalists who criticise the club. To the best of my knowledge, Celtic have never been able to get one, let alone two journalists sacked from a newspaper for daring to criticise their blatant bigotry. In fact, one of Spiers’ greatest crimes was always to point out that it WASN’T a two-sided affair. Celtic have at most a handful of nutters who are drowned out by the rest most of the time. At Rangers, it’s a majority and the club doesn’t seem to care. Nor does the SFA, which could hand out heavy sanctions for this nonsense. The courts could too. The police could arrest half the crowd at Ibrox some weeks and not even need the OBFA. Incitement to racial or religious hatred and even just plain old breach of the peace would get the job done. But the OBFA was deliberately framed to say “if we say one side is bad, we have to say the other side is too.” That’s like saying that you can’t criticise apartheid South Africa without criticising the ANC for fighting back.

    On that note, I always like to try this wee thought experiment with people. Imagine there’s a club in Glasgow that was founded by black people fleeing South Africa at its worst. They have an open signing policy, but naturally black players gravitate towards it. They also quite openly celebrate their heritage, with fans singing songs about the struggle, praising Mandela and his comrades and so on. Across town, there’s a club that until very recently has had a no-blacks signing policy and whose fans still regularly sing about being “up to their knees in nigger blood.” Are both sides equally to blame for racism in the city? Are the black fans just as racist and hate-filled as the whites and must have their songs silenced just as urgently?

    1. Delparks says:

      The problem most people have with Rangers and Celtic is that however valid you think your political analysis is, the rest of us are interested in a sport. We aren’t following football to back up our religious/cultural heritage, our political identification, or anything else; it’s a game.

      However if there’s an “establishment” in Scottish football then prior to Rangers going out of business it was the Old Firm in tandem, not one club or the other. That establishment ensured TV revenue, for instance, was disproportionately skewed toward the top two places in the league (it hardly gets more establishment than that). It also created a climate in which the authorities could never be seen to favour one or the other side, so if in doubt the smaller teams would pick up the slack – e.g. St Johnstone getting thrown under a bus when Celtic should have had 20 away games.

      Arguing over which one of Celtic and Rangers is closer to the establishment is a bit like arguing over whether Labour or the Tories are closer to the British establishment – you can come up with a case for one side, but you’re ignoring the real issue: namely that they form a destructive duopoly capable of crowding out every other voice when they speak together.

    2. Andy S says:

      Roll of Honour celebrates the man responsible for burning Yvonne Dunlop to death, Roamin’ in the Gloaming is evident bigotry, Sean South was a fascist and an anti-semite, Celtic fans have been convicted of racist abuse and have subjected one of their own board to vile anti-semitism.

      Get over your perpetual victimhood and you may be taken seriously.

  10. George Wood says:

    Rather poor article verging from a romanticized notion of how football was in the old days and fantasy as to how the police behave now.

    There was large scale football disorder long before right wing groups got involved and it would have continued whether they did or not. Segregation of crowds, the banning of alcohol, more proactive policing and the pricing out of working class hooligans. The days of having a cheap day out where you fought with or intimidated people from another town went away.

    It’s thanks to police tactics that the casual problem was marginalized. If you ask these casuals why they stopped, they would tell you it was the efforts of the police that made it near impossible to get their pre-arranged fight. Surveillance and infiltration frustrated them.

    The innocuous incidents mention that apparently lead to police action are seriously lacking in context. No policeman is going to do anything if you simply called somebody “baldy”, there must be more to it that is not being mentioned. It is the same with the “crossing of the road ” there will be more to it than that (eg hostile groups on opposite sides of the road).

    Groups like the green brigade complain about their treatment, but if the green brigade refrained from standing in seated areas, setting off flares, singing illegal songs, organizing illegal marches and stopped issuing challenges to other supporters to fight via social media then the police would have nothing to do with them.

  11. RJB says:

    Dear goodness, it’s amazing the weird and wonderful things that go on in the mind of some Celtic fans.

    Let’s boil away the fantasy rhetoric and political posturing and get down to the solution:

    STOP SINGING OFFENSIVE SONGS.

    Do that and spare us the rest of your hot air.

  12. Robert Harman says:

    As much as I enjoy reading the Bella articles, I wish that the writers would check spelling and punctuation before posting. If you enjoy writing please be willing to edit your work.

    1. Typos and spelling errors are our responsibility. Apologies.

  13. Coul Porter says:

    Good comment about Westminster sending the tanks into George Square.

    Let’s hope that the Scottish Government has set aside some cash to commemorate the centenary of this aberration. It will occur during the next parliamentary term.

    However, I disagree with the myopic ‘Football and its fans have the ability to be the rock where we can build community spirit and the foundations of a better society.’

    Football as a foundation stone of the new Utopia – I don’t think so. Free Magner’s cider and discounts at Sports Direct? Grandiose, sanctimonious ramblings of a sub-cultural apologist. If football ever gets to that state of national importance, then the country is in a bad way.

  14. john young says:

    RJB Celtic fans very very rarely if at all sing songs that are against religion or religious bodies,there are an element that sing pro-IRA songs with little understanding of that convoluted sphere,it is offensive to most people and would best be left at home.Rangers fans and not a small minority as was heard v Hibs openly sing sectarian songs,in all honesty they are pitiable and surely are not representative of the majority of Protestant people.There are people and a lot of people that have to hate for whatever reason Rangers unfortunately due to the NI influence have far too many of these with far too much influence,NI is a sore on the landscape,I could regale you of my many incidents in my travels where the bigotry manifested itself,from people that were friendly and to me kind until the demon drink came in.There is no way on Gods earth that you will change these people no way,the searing memory of pure and utter hatred was the “mature” men on the night after the indy result in George Square,pure/utter blind hatred,how do you ever overcome that?.

  15. SJI says:

    42 clubs in Scotland’s senior leagues- 40 of them have a majority of fans who simply want to never hear sectarian abuse again.

    If it takes legislation like the OBFA to start excluding the idiots who want to promote tedious political and racial views at games then the vast vast majority of fans are all in favour.

    You say that politics and football are linked- no they are not. That assertion, and the vocal numpties who try and find an intellectual context for sectarianism, are a significant component of the problem.

    Zero tolerance for sectarianism at football is the only way forward. The OBFA needs stregthened instead of scrapped.

  16. john young says:

    Wee addy oany can anyone explain to me the relevance of someones religion/faith/beliefs,if you are a good person then you are a good person regardless end of for me anyway.

    1. Delparks says:

      It’s basically the way most successful political movements tend to work. You tell people that your group (Protestants, Catholics, Rangers fans, Celtic fans, Scots, Brits, whoever) is being victimised by a different group of people and argue that you all have to band together to see off this threat – usually by voting for a politician who has managed to position themselves as the saviour of the group in question.

      That basic style of identity politics has always been used by politicians to win support and it’s usually fairly destructive because it ends up with people thinking those outside their own particular group shouldn’t be trusted or are working against their interests. Virtually every mainstream party has a narrative along those lines – UKIP say foreigners are working against our interests in Europe, the Tories have traditionally said something similar, Old Labour made the argument on class terms and acted as the supposed vehicle for protecting the working class, the SNP make a similar argument about the UK establishment working against Scotland’s interests.

      That’s why the future in my view is post-identity politics: the Greens, RISE, maybe even some kind of liberal second coming if the Lib Dems could go back to being the party they used to be. Only then will we start talking about policies and stop framing everything as a clash of identities.

  17. Doubting Thomas says:

    Sorry but I cannot take this article or many of the comments seriously.
    It is utter tosh and merely an attempt to pass responsibility for the embarrassment football fans have caused over the years.
    People need to take responsibility for or be held to account for their actions especially if they deliberately set out to provoke or harm others.
    The establishment as you call it ( and I can only presume you mean the authorities ) cannot possibly prevent mindless sectarian spouting, terrorist supporting behaviour or even mindless violence which emanates from historical tribal hatred promulgated by crass individuals who call themselves football supporters.
    And don’t kid yourself that this is only a West of Scotland thing.
    Sure this is the largest specimen area and is home to the two clubs most associated with this type of behaviour however it should also be recognised that large sections of their fan bases travel from other parts of the country which supposedly do not harbour such leanings.
    Look a bit deeper and look at the malevolent hatred spouted by Aberdeen fans towards the Glasgow clubs and the behaviour of a section of their fans.
    And you could identify the same in just about every club to a different degree maybe and possibly with different causes but it is there.
    The establishment never has and never will be responsible for this type of behaviour but they whoever they are easy to blame.
    And in the East End of Glasgow that seems to be the way of things.
    Who did this writer support again?

  18. Jamie D says:

    What a load of utter, utter nonsense. The most amazing thing here is that the argument of those in power using divide & conquer in football (just like they do elsewhere) is completely accurate, yet this article somehow manages to lose that argument in among an onslaught of cringe-worthy bleating, whinging, conspiracy theories & victim mentality.

  19. Clive Scott says:

    Total bollocks of an article.

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      Actually I thought Clive’s article was both concise and very accurate.

  20. Seumas says:

    One of the things which I noted was that the large scale disturbances are not longer taking place. I wonder why? Might it be that the team now playing at Ibrox is in the lower leagues, and therefore the times when the Ugly sisters get together are limited?
    Football is a sport. Jim Murphy learnt when he went in for the football analogy that actually the majority of people don’t give a damn about football, and won’t until they have something to cheer about at a national level.
    The songs which Celtic sing can be about killing people the songs which Rangers sing are about killing people. Now depending where you are you coming from, you may approve of one sort of killing, but not another, in one case you are good, but in anther case you might be bad, unless you are like most people and call a curse on all your houses and if you get locked up on a Saturday afternoon, well hell mend you. We have enough real problems in Scotland without the artificial ones produced by vested interests.

  21. Andrew wilson says:

    I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the article. You describe the motive and loyalty of us fans who love their local team very well; mixture of civic pride, belonging, camaraderie. There is nothing as exciting as watching a real corker of a game where your favourite boys win (2008 Queens 4:3 semi final triumph, for eg) Not sure about some of your conspiracy theory, but would certainly not dismiss it. Others have been unbelievably rude and ignorant, about your article…so my advice: never heed them! There is much that is rotten in the state of Scottish football, cleaning it up would benefit all wee clubs, fans, Scotland’s national side, society at large.
    Again anything that reduces the malign influence of the poisonous press, will never forget that scum bag Kelvin MacKenzie, the Sun and the lies they perpetuated about Liverpool fans.
    Thanks pal, good article.

Keep our Journalism Independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address to subscribe for free here and receive Bella direct to your inbox.

 
Bella Caledonia