Monday, May 12, 2014

Green Brigade Anti Discrimination Tournament-Seize the opportunity

As the dust settles on another season, and fans gasp in horror when they realise the World Cup is still a month away, you may be aware of the now annual anti-discrimination tournament organised by The Green Brigade, this year in Royston on June 14th.

I've been a bit out the loop in recent weeks spending most of my time in exam halls, study rooms and Doctor's surgeries as old age catches up with me and just getting to grips with the latest toing and froing about the banner that the GB had at the Inverness Caley game.

Let me say now, let's not get carried away with the sentiment of it (except positively) and for Christ sake can we remember two things, what Ultras do and that Leigh Griffiths is not David Duke.

What often happens any time the GB are mentioned is that folk dig in further and positions get entrenched to the point where the whole of McAlpine's would be needed to dig folk out.

Now, this tournament is a noble idea by the GB and should be supported by as many as possible in the main anyway but this is a huge opportunity for a lot of people to meet face to face, meet minds and start digging themselves out the trenches.

Firstly, I think this is exactly the sort of event that fans who want Leigh Griffiths educated on the origins of Celtic and evil of racism, that could be attended by Griffiths. I saw him last year attend a similar type of event, of his own accord, at Saughton Enclosure in Edinburgh so it's not like he's someone who couldn't care less about these type of events. The message coming out of an event like this is exactly the sort of message we supporters want imprinted in Griffiths mind.

Secondly, I do think this is a chance for Celtic to get people along and get mingling with people away from the stadium and in a more relaxed environment so common ground can be found. Whilst Social Media has many benefits, one of its flaws is it is not a medium for the type of discussion needed to get a proper resolution in a situation like this. Similarly, a number of issues always seem to arise out of behind closed doors meetings at Celtic Park and so a neutral venue would be helpful. Apart from anything else, it would do Celtic good to show support from a fans initiative that didn't come from something at their own behest.

Thirdly, there are clearly some people out there who are what I would describe as serial critics of The Green Brigade. I accept that some do this for their own selfish reasons and that even the promise of a limo to the ground, rub down whilst there and enough blog copy to feed them for a year won't change their minds but if you're someone who has been critical of the GB then surely this tournament offers a chance for you to give a first hand account of what the GB are actually like and help publicise a noble cause?

Which brings me onto the main problem I find with the GB. The message is being drowned out. Asking most people about the GB and most will point to Fir Park, broken seats and plenty other negative untruths that blanket all the great stuff done, the tremendous food bank drive at Christmas being one of them. Similarly, most Celtic fans dealings with the GB come with a visit to Celtic Park and assumptions are built upon this. I've no right to dictate anything to the GB but I know that the only resolution to this is a dedicated section that brings the atmosphere you created back to Celtic Park week in, week out. I also know that I will get criticism for this article from those who have no time for the GB and never have. My answer to that is to be part of a solution that works for all. Inform your opinion by going to the tournament and remembering that we are all Celtic supporters and far more unites us than divides us.

That goes for Leigh Griffiths, Peter Lawwell and all with the power of the pen as well.

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