It’s been a challenging weekend to be a fan who writes about Celtic. Despite two promising results in a row, there is still much uncertainty about the future of our manager, some of our players and in general we don’t know how this season is going to pan out.
As we have seen in recent political events such as the rise and fall of Trumpism in the US and the ongoing sh*tshow that is Brexit in the UK, in times of turmoil, it’s easy to find yourself boiling it down to a binary choice. Either you’re an ally or an enemy. In reality, it’s much more complicated than that. Unfortunately, I feel a large section of the online Celtic support in recent days has fallen into this same, destructive mindset.
On one hand you have people who say back the team, back the manager, support, don’t criticize.
Blind loyalty is an admirable trait in human beings, but it’s also one that has led to a great many preventable catastrophes in history. Some amongst this faction, not all but some, seem to think that any criticism of the club at all means you are a “hater” or a disruptive influence. Say something they don’t like and you’ll soon find yourself on the receiving end of various four letter words and ridicule.
At the other extreme you have those who have lost all semblance of perspective. I had one particularly moronic individual tell me last week that Celtic’s loss of form this season was “a bigger disaster than Covid”.
Sorry, but as much as I love Celtic, I think us not winning the league for one year out of ten doesn’t even come close to one and half million people losing their lives prematurely.
Some people need a serious reality check and they need to learn to think before they type.
Zealots among the Lennon out, sack the board crowd can be equally as threatening and abusive when you challenge their views too.
Honestly, I’m somewhere in the middle. I support the idea of protests, because the board’s response to recent events has been pathetic, but I do not support violence, threats or targeted abuse against individuals. We should be better than that.
Trying to tread this middle ground whilst being honest about my own distain for how the business side of Celtic is run has led to me getting it in the neck from both extremes. But then again, as someone employed to give an opinion on Celtic, one could argue that is an occupational hazard.
We seem to have lost any appreciation of nuance. I don’t want to see Neil Lennon hounded out of Celtic Park, but I also think a change in leadership may be needed.
I’m not going to shout for the removal of board members, but I think protests were necessary. The Celtic Board have, in a variety of ways, taken our support and our money for granted for far too long.
What many don’t seem to appreciate is that there is a significant group among the Celtic support, and I include myself in this, who love the team unquestioningly but have grown increasingly alienated from the corporate side of the club over a number of years. For me, the teams recent run of poor form was merely a catalyst, but the reasons to protest against the board run far deeper than that.
We should be able to discuss this intelligently without insulting each other. We shouldn’t need to call each other “w*nkers” or “f*cking idiots” in order to get our point across.
Our ability to move beyond that, and find common ground with each other, is what, historically made our support among the best in the world. It was that ability of different minds to work together through their mutual love of Celtic that saved our club in 1994. It was the lack of such comradeship, and an inability to constructively critique the management, that killed Rangers in 2012.
We need to get back to reasonable debate, and I believe we will.
This has been a rough year for everyone, both on and off the park. As infuriating as it can be, I try not to judge too harshly anyone who has snapped at me on Facebook and Twitter this week. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives right now. All I know is we both love Celtic, and it hurts like hell when the team isn’t winning. But hopefully maybe, just maybe, the team have now turned a corner. Let’s hope the support can soon follow suit.