The Clumpany hopes that it finds you well.
Anyway, about that Green Brigade statement… 😉
Following the club statement on Friday, we take this opportunity to accept full responsibility for both the pyrotechnics display to celebrate the achievements of the Lisbon Lions at the Hearts match in May, and our ‘Brendan’s Undefeated Army’ tifo during the match against Linfield on Wednesday evening. Except that we aren’t quite. We won’t pay any fine levied by UEFA or apologise to the club or fans for any consequences resulting from our actions. The important thing is to be ultra-tastic at all times. After all, even if Celtic end up playing in a closed stadium, we will… err… be there.
While we are kind-of-disappointed at the martyrdom offered by the impending two match ban, we know that in the sanitised world of Scottish and European football there are (bizarrely) rules and punishments, as well as expectations of good behaviour and basic regard for our fellow fans. As a result, the actions of an Ultra group like ours may have consequences for our members. [NB “May”! We actually just said “may have consequences!”, as though we are genuinely surprised that pushing the envelope so far actually results in repercussions!]. We do, however, completely oppose collective punishment, and a blanket ban on all fans in our block is disproportionate and unjust. Therefore we call on the board to revise this decision. Because we are all heart, and we are confident that the board wants to listen to us, even though we maybe didn’t stop to think about the consequences for others before acting rashly.
As a group, we are defined by our style of support and our politics, both of which the club are happy to benefit from when it suits their agenda. Although we won’t specify what that “agenda” actually is at this time. Almost a year ago, after much immediate criticism, we brought worldwide adulation on the club for our show of solidarity with the people of Palestine and the subsequent charity fundraising which was endorsed by the Celtic support, but not by UEFA, who make the rules and who imposed yet another fine on the club. What isn’t common knowledge is if it had not been for this incredible response, we would have faced the same punishment as we currently face. And we are confident in this big assertion.
In light of this, and of the condemnation of banners and songs from Wednesday, we refuse to allow a discredited and corrupt organisation like UEFA (who unfortunately have the temerity to impose rules which must be followed if you want to play in their competitions and win the substantial prize and TV money…) or a board which has welcomed Tory Lords to dictate our moral compass. Because the background of Celtic board members clearly negates the rules of UEFA, health and safety regulations, and the responsibility of a publicly-listed football club to protect the interests and image of its footballing and commercial operations and to look after its shareholders and fans as a whole.
Our decision to mark the achievements of 1967 by using pyrotechnics was not taken lightly. In fact it was very light. And smoky. Because that is what pyro is like. We took the required steps to ensure that this was carried out as safely as possible. Because we are skilled pyrotechnic engineers with the necessary qualifications and permissions, and we knew – following extensive surveys – that the authorities and our fellow fans were happy for us to do so. We also did it in the knowledge that we as a group may face potential consequences as a result of it. But hey! Why not? It’s only the authorities and their rules and regulations. Everyone else can conform on our behalf. We believe the scenes that day and the response from the Celtic support proved it to be worthwhile. And that’s probably the most important thing.
We have engaged in regular dialogue with the club over this matter throughout the summer and believed to be reaching an amicable outcome. However it seems as if events outside of our control on Wednesday (and NOT those within our control, oh no) have impacted upon the decision which has now been reached.
The Green Brigade exists to support Celtic in a positive manner and we believe that this current confrontation is unnecessary and avoidable. We reject any suggestion that “it WAS avoidable, and we are therefore now inevitably residing in Confrontationville which is a suburb of Consequence City”. We welcome Peter Lawwell’s call for dialogue as we have been waiting on his availability for some time. One of our first talking points will be the unnecessary and unsafe policing operation carried out during Wednesday night’s match, which we believe must be the source of one of UEFA’s charges (blocked stairwells) and could only have been designed to antagonise fans in the area. Other possibilities are clearly unthinkable. It MUST have been about antagonising folk. As the evidence below proves [NB yes we did say “proves” rather than “suggests”], it is bizarre and shameful that the club have not only blamed the fans for this charge but have cited it as a reason for the ban.
Other pertinent issues to be addressed are the club’s response to the biggest cheating scandal to shame Scottish sport; the insulting of the Celtic support over the Linfield away debacle and negligence of the safety of those they knew would travel (because it is highly unlikley that the club would had looked at an awkward fixture at a tense time of year and made a reasoned-if-reluctant decision on the basis of the available information and advice from the authorities); and the silence over the racial and sectarian hatred directed at our player of the year and manager. Typically, the club are quick* to bite the hand that feeds them yet reluctant to unite against common detractions. [* NB Our definition of “quick”]
We have built a positive relationship with the Celtic SLO. However we are concerned that his position is nearly untenable due to the manner in which he is continually undermined by Celtic security staff. The SLO is required to “collaborate with the security officer on safety and security-related matters” however has been deliberately excluded from discussions of this nature which is in breach of the UEFA SLO Guidelines, as per article 35. His exclusion is a deliberate tactic adopted by the police and Celtic security to facilitate the targeting of our members. And yes that is a big assertion to make. A big one! We hope you are impressed by it.
For over 10 years now the Green Brigade has withstood attacks from Police Scotland and sadly this will always continue. This also will not be our first ban or forced absence from Celtic Park. The Green Brigade has not only survived through the years but we have thrived – we are currently as large and strong as we have ever been. We can assure all that we will be back in Celtic Park soon enough and that we will never allow our style nor our politics to ever be diluted.
So can we have all the rules and regulations waived immediately please? And can the Celtic board and everyone else respect our Ultra-ness?
Until the last assertion.
That’s probably it from me.
Remember folks, satire doesn’t only work on Sevco-related matters. It also works for those who – in the main – offer amazing support to Scotlands No.1 team and who do a lot of good work away from football.