Sunday, March 31, 2013

Never fear to speak of Easter week

Identity is something that is often debated and dissected to death. It can be suppressed, oppressed and some can even be scared to promote their own.

Easter is about a lot of things to a lot of people but, for me, its about remembering the men and women who gave their lives for the cause of Irish freedom.

When the likes of James Connolly and Patrick Pearse took on an empire, they weren't scared. Connolly was, in fact, realistic. He knew they could not win but hoped to inspire future generations to claim their identity and deliver freedom for Ireland.

Connolly was a visionary amongst many other things.

As we get closer to the 100th anniversary of their sacrifice, Ireland is in a poor place just now. Run by gutless cowards who preach about then people but then happily rob the people. They couldn't spell leadership.

Two men that could not only spell it, but provide it day in, day out, are Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who have outlasted all their rivals, and speak of an Ireland free of poverty, greed and of an Irish, socialist republic.

This was Connolly's dream also.

Men who knew who knew popular opinion wasn't with them, but didn't flip flop just to be popular.

Like these men before us, we should never deny who we are, ever.

And we should never forget them either.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't believe the hype

Everyone has a dog in this fight. As news breaks of yet more SNP snobbery, curbing drinking around football matches, I'm pleased that fans of other clubs are starting to realise that they could be affected too. In fact, it has to be said, that some of the fans I've read on this are actually more supportive of stopping this than some of our own fans.

After the scenes of Saturday, and the disgraceful treatment of Celtic supporters on the Gallowgate, the campaign to dehumanise the Celtic support goes on. A lot of the crap spouted comes from people who take the light wind of second hand information and try to turn it into a tornado. There's a lot of "Listen to me, I know everything, I am important!!!" going on just now from some. None more so than with Dens Park on Boxing Day which has got to the point where people who were 50 miles from the stadium that night are now giving eyewitness accounts.

Your efforts to join the SMSM are noted.

After the events of Saturday, and the revelations from the former Affiliation of CSC's Vice President, this all got a little more sinister.

If all revelations are true, and I have no reason to disbelieve an actual eyewitness account, the big picture question for me is this: Why?

Why would people within Celtic actively target their own supporters? It's a question I've been asked by lots of fans of other teams and whilst I can give plenty theories, I can't say anything for 100% certain as I simply don't know.

What I do know is that there is a fracturing of the Celtic support going right now. For every person standing up saying "We are all The Green Bridgade" you get one who can't wait to rid Paradise of them.

Cards on the table, I despise any attempt to split the support. I grew up in an era where your fellow Tim got a little more leeway than others. You saw the colour of a person's shirt and you knew they were "One of us". I have helped and been helped thousands of times on that premise.

Spreading lies to fit an agenda will only work to a point, it will be seen through eventually.

The overiding factor in this, in my opinion, is we need to work to a point where we get all Celtic supporters united again. The internet makes it hard as too many act like a different person when they have the cloak of a smartphone.

If we all step back, it's easy to see the common ground between the vast majority of us.

It will also be easier to spot the hype.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why Scotland needs The Green Brigade

Are you, like me, sick and tired of the amount of bullshit that surrounds Scottish football?

If you put a microscope on the last few days in Scotland and Scottish football, you'll get a great insight into how it works.

First of,  let's look at some of the stuff on Radio Scotland on Saturday. The phone-in had Graham Spiers and Michael Stewart on it. Frank McAvennie was on as well but he was funny and talked sense. The topic of the Aberdeen job came up and a caller mentioned John Collins. Silence. There is a reason for this, Michael Stewart doesn't like him and Graham Spiers had just spent twenty minutes trying to get his mate, Derek McInnes the job. It got so ridiculous that Stewart even suggested his mate, Eoin Jess, for the job.

Reality? Very little.

Of course, there was also the incredible, but not surprising, revelation from Jimmy Calderwood on Off The Ball that it was David Murray who got him the Dunfermline job. After a cosy wee chat with Gavin Masterton of course. My jaw dropped when I heard it and Stuart Cosgrove made comment that journalists would be typing up stories as they spoke. Stuart, you forgot the golden rule, David Murray can't be talked about unless he looks good. So no one in the SMSM is writing or investigating that huge story.

Reality? Some but it will peeter out.

Then there was wee Pat Nevin. A man so unpopular in the Everton dressing room, he was called "Dampness". He went on his high-horse(which would need to be a Shetland Pony) about the fact that young players always do better when they leave Celtic at 18 and used one Simon Donnelly as an example of someone who could have had a far better career had he left Celtic at 18. That's Simon Donnelly who played 160 games for Celtic, won a League, Scottish Cup and League Cup, and played a huge part in the most high pressure season Celtic have had since 1948.

Reality? Pat doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Then there is The Green Brigade. Loathed by some, used by others, loved by many, including me. What I witnessed at on Saturday, just off the Gallowgate, was reality. A reality that is sickening to me and many more. That a police force can be deployed in such numbers to stop a group of football fans walking to a game, is quite incredible. Further to that, The Green Brigade don't just support Celtic to the full and create an atmosphere at Celtic Park for every game, they are a positive force and fantastic social commentators as well. Don't agree?  Just look at their banners.

Reality? You betcha.

Incidentally, I'd like to thank Danny Lennon for bringing some reality to Radio Scotland on Sunday. As Chick Young interviewed him on the pitch, after St. Mirren won the cup, Danny said to Chick "You'll be delighted that at least one of your teams has won a cup this season, Chick"

*Agree with what I said about The Green Brigade? Think I'm talking pish? Call in the @homebhoys show tonight(Monday) from 7.30pm CPT. Add HomeBhoys on Skype and we will take your call.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Escape from The Green Brigade!

I feel like the title of this blog should be on one of those 50's style film posters.

I can honestly say in my 38 years on the planet I have never seen anything like what I saw today just off the Gallowgate.

Walking to the game today, The Green Brigade were met with a presence of police that suggested Barack Obama was heading for Celtic Park. I counted 15 police vans, another 15 or so Arnold Clark hire vans (to bus police in from other areas) at least eight mounted police and numerous police dogs.There was also around 300 uniformed officers, most with their numbers covered up and all putting out a menacing vibe.

There was no riot.

No one had broken the law.

So, what exactly were the police doing?

What the hell is going on in Scotland?

This perception that The Green Brigade are the biggest threat to society since Polio would be hilarious if it wasn't so serious.

Remember, at the risk of repeating myself, these are Celtic supporters who want to go to Celtic games to support Celtic.

That's a crime now?

In today's Scotland, it would seem so.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hit harder, run faster, play better

As the dust settles on another European campaign, I can't help be disappointed about the two Juventus games. We effectively gifted them four out of the five goals and Juventus really did not need to move up the gears to knock us out.

Now I should say here that we have no right to even compete with Juventus at this time but when you see the heights this team is capable of, you can't help wanting more.

Last night reminded me of Milan in December 2007. A team who knew they were through and were happy to pick us off through our mistakes.

That's something our players need to learn about. Anyone who thinks they have made it cause we made the last 16? There's the door.

So, what now?

Everything in our power has to be done to be better next season. It's obvious that we are going lose a few players, so you have to imagine that John Park has the replacement lists already compiled and players are already being actively sought.

And what of the manager?

He is at a crossroads in his career now. The team he built over three years is about to break up and he's shrewd enough to know that, after the goals acheved in Europe this season, first qualifying for the group stage and then qualifying from the group stage, he faces his "difficult second album" season next season and this would be the point where a lot of managers would jump ship and move on.


One look at him on the touchline last night suggests he still has the fire in his belly and he deserves the support of Desmond and Lawwell in the summer to build another team.

Celtic are both cash-rich and asset-rich just now and the club policy of buying young, developing, then selling on, will yield another ton of cash in the summer.

That said, it will be offset by low season ticket sales if prices are not lowered and fans don't see building of another team begin.

The one thing that has always held Celtic back, since Danny McGrain was clean-shaven, is not building on success.

Time to buck that trend.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sevco Spin City

I'm not one to completely ignore Sevco and all that. My own view is we should always keep half an eye on everything going on there. People say "But McDonald's don't mention Burger King, Coke doesn't mention Pepsi?" Yeah but neither Burger King or Pepsi have a complaint media ready to buy all their bullshit.

Oh the red tops have been spinning like mad in the last few days.

First up was an article by Ally McCoist, who was raging that another excuse to get out was gone on Thursday, asked the question: Why are we playing in the Third Division? Now anyone who knows how to switch a light on knows the answer to that but it didn't stop The Sun handing over a full page for this guff.

Next week I believe Peterhead will be asking why they started in the Third Division.

Fast forward to today and the news trickles through that Sevco have already lost £7m this season. Well that's a bit odd isn't it? Haven't they had a world record share issue and record breaking crowds every week?

Let's have a Scotland Tonight programme on that where Charles Green has to defend these figures and Ally McCoist is taken through a "Join The Dots" puzzle called "From death to Berwick" so we can all live in the real world once again.

Speaking of those not living in the real world, Keith Jackson is raging. His article today, lambasting Regan and Doncaster whilst warning the Sevco hordes that Celtic are making fortunes and it's all Peter Lawwell's fault, is of a worried man. I know Keith is busy trying to find a lawyer to sue John Collins like he said he would six years ago...but when that particular snake is rattling, you know things aren't going well down Sevco way.

Oh dear.