No fan or group is bigger than Celtic FC that includes the Green Brigade

July 23, 2017
Celtic fans

Months after Celtic won an ‘invincible treble’ and progressed into the next round of the Champions League qualifiers, Celtic fans should be united behind the Celtic standard being flown by Brendan Rodgers and his squad. But instead the support is split after the Green Brigade’s egotistical beliefs cost the club once again.

The Green Brigade’s pre-meditated decision to target Linfield fans with an inflammatory paramilitary banner and another disrespecting the Celtic manager based on the IRA ‘Sniper at Work’ road sign, has seen UEFA charge the club for the 13th time in the space of six years.

That punishment led to the club making the decision to close section 111 – referred to as the ‘Green Brigade section’ – for the next two matches.

Green Brigade statement

Predictably the self-styled Ultras group hit back in a statement. They accepted full responsibility for the pyros during the Hearts match in May and the paramilitary display at the match against Linfield on Wednesday evening – which the club based their decision on.

But rather than apologising for damaging the club once again, the group went on the offensive attacking UEFA and the Celtic board in a pathetic attempt to deflect and to rile support for themselves rather than Celtic Football Club.

They claimed that they will “refuse to allow a discredited and corrupt organisation like UEFA or a board which has welcomed Tory Lords to dictate our moral compass”.

But there was no mention of Brendan Rodgers criticism of the group after they used his image on their ‘Ira sniper at work’ inspired banner. In fact, they blanked Rodgers’ comments entirely.

The group’s statement, in full, read:

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. While we are disappointed to hear of the impending two match ban that we face, we know that in the sanitised world of Scottish football the actions of an Ultra group like ours may have consequences for our members. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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 or a board which has welcomed war criminals and Tory Lords to dictate our moral compass.

Our decision to mark the achievements of 1967 by using pyrotechnics was not taken lightly. We took the required steps to ensure that this was carried out as safely as possible and in the knowledge that we as a group may face potential consequences as a result of it. We believe the scenes that day and the response from the Celtic support proved it to be worthwhile. 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 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 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. As the evidence below proves, 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; 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.

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.

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.

The Green Brigade claim that this row is ‘unnecessary and avoidable’. I agree with them on this, if they actually listened and learned from their continued misconduct then we would not be taking the emphasis away from the football on the pitch at Celtic Park – which for the majority of fans that support the Scottish champions is what matters. It is why they pay their season ticket money and buy merchandise for. They want glory on the football pitch.

Where does singing about the IRA or unfurling banners inspire the players or management to glory?

Where does its say in the ethos of Celtic Football Club that the club was founded to support republicanism and the IRA?

In fact Celtic was formed, at a meeting in St.Mary’s Church Hall in the Calton by Irish Maris Brother Walfrid on 6th November 1887, with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow through the Poor Children’s Dinner Table charity.

Walfrid was inspired to establish the club by the example of Edinbugh club Hibernian, which was formed out of the immigrant population of the city in 1875.

Neither Celtic nor Hibs were formed to support Irish Republicanism or the IRA. Their founders may have supported the Irish Republican cause but the clubs were formed to help the poor not celebrate violence and the killing of innocent men, women and children.

The Green Brigade also claimed that ‘events outside of our control on Wednesday’ had ‘impacted upon the decision’ by the club to ban them for two games. What events were outside of their control?

  • The security around their section? That has been put in place to stop their hangers-on from entering the area as they had been doing for years. Which the Green Brigade refused to self-police despite demanding the right to do so.
  • The Hearts pyro display? They admitted they knew that they would get in trouble for it – or should I say the club would. Yet took the decision to ignore all warnings and past experiences to do it anyway. Out of interest – how does holding a pyro in the air among flammable material celebrate the Lisbon Lions?
  • After punishments over their previous IRA banner which depicted Bobby Sands, the club was fined by UEFA, yet they went ahead with their paramilitary style banner on Wednesday night. Knowing full well the club would be hit with another charge. But they didn’t care as long as they ‘got it up’ the loyalists in the away end.

I refer back to my previous article, would the Green Brigade be so ‘political’ in their views if they had to stump up the cash for fines which for Celtic has now totalled at over £140,000 before this latest charge has been decided. It’s easier for them to peddle their politics when someone else is paying the fines, how long would they last if they had to dig into their own pockets?

Not very long I suspect.

Hypocrisy of the IRA luvvies

The same Celtic fans who love and celebrate everything about the IRA and force it on other Celtic fans, who just want to celebrate Celtic and watch the team play football, are the same Celtic fans who criticise and condemn Rangers fans and others for their 1690 mindset and their Armed Forces Days at Ibrox.

I have been very critical of the Rangers aspects, but the hypocrisy among some elements of the Celtic support is unreal. Even more so given the widespread comments over the marching season of the Orange Order.

Despite the Good Friday Agreement being signed in April 1998 and effective from December 1999, which brought a much welcome peace to years of violence in Northern Ireland, wee Declan from Coatbridge wants to continue the struggle – from the comfort of his one bedroom flat videoing himself singing the rebs on youtube or when he dresses up in a khaki jacket and donning an Ultras beanie for matchdays at Celtic Park.

Most in Northern Ireland want to move on from ‘the troubles’ but it seems that some elements there and for the most part in the west of Scotland love the era of paramilitaries blowing up innocent men, women and children. Dragging innocent Catholics and Protestants from their homes in front of their family/children never to be seen again.

How is that glorious? How is celebrating an organisation – whatever the side of the divide it was – glorious when they blew up people or put a bullet in the back of their head? Or kneecapped them because they didn’t like what they were doing on their patch?

If they wanted to laud and celebrate the Irish Republican Army, why didn’t these hardcore ultras make the trip to Windsor Park? Celtic may have decided against taking up an allocation, but plenty of Celtic fans secured tickets other ways – if the Green Brigade wanted to celebrate their Irish Republicanism or penchant for the IRA and the paramilitaries, why didn’t they travel to Belfast?

Would it have been far too inflammatory to do it over there? Did their pocket money not stretch to a ferry ride to Belfast? Or was it more to do with the comfort of Celtic Park? Where they had thousands of Celtic fans, who had no part in their banners, between them and the Linfield fans they targeted that night.

Not only are the Green Brigade happy to cost the club money when they don’t have to shell out for it, it seems that they are happy to hide behind Celtic fans while shouting over their shoulders from a distance.

Brave lads indeed.

Signing off their statement with ‘Until the last rebel’ is akin to Club 1872 and previous Rangers groups peddling the ‘We are the People’ line that many in Scottish football mock. The Green Brigade are not rebels, they are not fighting the crown, they are nothing more than a jumped up street gang that stands on the corner drinking buckie and acting like spoilt wee brats thinking they can do what they like when they like and screw anyone who disagrees.

They use buzzwords like the ‘Celtic family’ in the same way as the Soviets used the phrase ‘comrade’ when peddling their propaganda. The Soviets were quick to turn on their ‘comrades’ when it suited them and the Green Brigade are no different. Labelling fellow Celtic fans as Green Huns, Quislings, soup takers and apologists for the board and even the British military and their crimes.

That is the mentality of the Green Brigade and it is no different to a teenager having a strop because he isn’t getting it his own way.

Celtic are an after thought to the Green Brigade & Supporters

Wednesday’s game against Rosenborg should have been about Celtic Football Club looking to progress to the next stage of the Champions League, but the Green Brigade’s self importance and pathetic antics have made it all about them once again.

The club took the correct decision to ban them from two matches over their misconduct. They have had enough warnings and their latest statement proves that the mindset of this rabble of neds will never change and they will continue to hurt the club’s reputation both at home and abroad.

Despite how many reach-arounds the Green Brigade get from their hangers-on in a show of solidarity, as long as they continue to allow their politics and style harm Celtic Football Club then they should not be allowed back into Celtic Park – even if the atmosphere disappears.

The Green Brigade don’t speak for me and they don’t speak for Celtic supporters. No fan or group is bigger than Celtic Football Club.

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  • Reply Davie T July 23, 2017 at 10:45 am

    All well and good but who holds Uefa to account . There selling a lie Champions League false advertising gets worse next year 12 non champions in league format, the Swiss courts seem to like to slap uefa down sue them there no protection in belfast man assaulted and booked couldn’t make it up Cfc fight Uefa there crooks

    • Reply Andy Muirhead July 23, 2017 at 11:52 am

      UEFA has issues no one is saying otherwise, but Celtic enter their competition and must abide by their rules. Likewise fans have to abide by rules of stadium and competition also.

      Otherwise they get punished – as we have seen around 13 times now in six years.

      Issue of the GB is separate to UEFAs own failings.

  • Reply Butter July 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Great article! Thanks for this. They’re bairns, so don’t yet understand in this self serving age and demands for instant gratification that they will NEVER BE BIGGER THAN THE CLUB

    • Reply Ross July 23, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Correct never bigger than the club

  • Reply JAMES July 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

    What about when the celtic view had a front page with a paddy mc court genius at work.just like the Brendan Rogers one.I am no way saying what is right and wrong.but Surely celtic and the green brigade should take a long look at themselves in the mirror,and get on the same song sheet and fight the injustices in Scottish football.and not be fighting each other.hail hail .

    • Reply Tenaka Khan July 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Fight injustices? Do it like the Aberdeen fans with banners that are relevant to the issues, not plastic Paddy nonsense.

  • Reply Andra July 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I´ve said it before and I´ll say it again – kick them out for good! As a true Celtic supporter I can only hope that the board take this decision and let it be a warning that politics has no place whatsoever at Paradise. As for the atmosphere the GB generate with the singing and chanting, yes, it´s great and makes for a brilliant game experience but, keep the politics out of the stadium! I´m sure that not all members of the GB were party to what went on with the banners so if that´s the case why not make your voices heard within your group and demand changes!
    For the good of our team I think it´s way past the time of little slaps on the wrist and put an end to the unacceptable behaviour of the clowns who think that they are much bigger than the club and all other governing bodies – be they corrupt to the core or not!
    Hopefully, the board will ban GB for good and give the section to decent supporters!

    • Reply Jolly July 24, 2017 at 8:01 am

      No need to ‘kick them out for good’ just yet. As you go on to say about their contribution, ‘it´s great and makes for a brilliant game experience’. And again you hit the nail on the head when you say, ‘keep the politics out of the stadium!’.
      It’s a simple solution to the problem if they really are supporters of the club. The fact that the club have been fined 13 times in 6 years is ridiculous (£140,000 and counting!), add to that the feedback from many fans who clearly want no truck with the paramilitary/political agenda, and the board itself who have finally been forced to act to protect the name of the club and it’s image. It is arrogant and intolerant of the GB to think that everyone who supports the club have the same political and religious beliefs and agendas. We are supposed to be the tolerant club in the community open to all people of all backgrounds and cultures, and not just the antithesis of all things Rangers! Regarding UEFA, yes they have their own issues with corruption but it’s their competition and we are happy to take the money and kudos on offer for competing in it, so we cannot have it both ways.
      Surely it’s time for the GB to wake up and smell the coffee. We want the colour and the singing and the pageantry. There is absolutely no one in football better at it than them and so many of the previous displays have been magnificent. So please stick to football related matters and lets all get on with the job of supporting the famous Glasgow Celtic FOOTBALL Club HH

  • Reply Big Dave July 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    The BG may bring colour & song and sometimes improve the atmosphere at Celtic Park but I guarantee none of them were alive 1916-20 when the Irish rebellion started and Ireland was torn apart by the English government.

    Most of them wouldn’t have been alive in the 1960’s and 1970’s when the IRA and the other paramilitary groups were killing each other and innocent civilians. I can still remember as an 18 year old being evacuated from the office where I worked due to bomb threats. We had no idea if they were real or not, we all just had to get out safely and as quickly as possible.

    I also remember the trepidation I felt every morning when I had to take the post down to the garage of my office building and, with my boss, sift through it all to ensure there were no letter bombs from the IRA or an other paramilitary group. That was in the 1970’s and I haven’t forgotten it.

    For these idiots to glorify murderers & cowards and try to drag the true Celtic fans into the mire of their misguided “loyalties” and attach it to OUR wonderful club’s name is a disgrace.

    Your article rightly questions how brave are these lads who hide amongst true Celtic supporters? If we are talking true courage then these lads’ should wear a kit that identifies them to us all easily – one with a broad yellow streak down the back.

    In my humble opinion, this club that I love and have supported for all my life, needs to stand up these mindless, bullying, cowardly thugs and ban every single one of them from home and away games for life. No exceptions, no reprieve. Their season tickets should be rescinded with no refund and the money gained from re-selling those tickets (to genuine supporters) should be used to pay the fines imposed by FIFA.

    BG are damaging our great club and they must be stopped. Otherwise we are on the slippery slope to gaining a reputation for fans behaviour like Linfield, Rangers International, Millwall etc etc.

  • Reply Joe July 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Unfortunately politics and football are enmeshed within our support. Always has been, always will be. It makes us who we are and gives us our identity, separating us from others that we don’t wish to associate with. Our ‘politic’ hasn’t changed since the days of the penny whistles and hats being passed around the back of the celtic end. Society and football has changed, but for many of our support we are reluctant to evolve or bow to the demands/rules of the corporate UEFA or football associations. Many suggest that it is only ‘kids’ that make up the GB but I think this is perhaps a naive or blinkered view. The GB have a massive support base within the wider support and bring many positive aspects to our club.

    We all have a duty to find a way to make the GB work for everyone because they are celtic and we are celtic. Celtic is a broad church that should be open to everyone, political or non political.

  • Reply Michael M July 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Excellent piece Andy, I totally agree with you.
    Let’s not get drawn into discussions about about what any other clubs, organisations or supporters do. Let’s concentrate on our fans and our team.
    We are a club open to everyone, let’s start acting like that, respecting all views and move into the 21st Century.

  • Reply Terry July 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    All I can say as a supporter of more than 50 years GB not in my name please

  • Reply wishybhoy July 23, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    The arrogance of the GB astounds me! Do they not know that we have been going for 129 years ! It amazes me that these morons think they are indispensable to CP please Celtic ban them for life, you know who they are Just do it!

  • Reply James barker July 23, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Ban them for life and those who back them also the club know who they are in this section so stop their season tickets for good they are not worth the trouble they cause as empty vessels make the most noise please stop them tarnishing my beautiful club I’ve supported for over seventy years any more than they have they are face covering cowards with no respect for anyone I beg you celtic ban them for life now God bless

  • Reply Tam July 24, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I sincerely hope that all TRUE Celtic fans read and subscribe to the excellent main article written above. I very rarely take part in public forums, however, the latest antics of a group of immature, ill informed pathetic buffoons had driven me to add my voice. The father of one of my friends was a died in the wool bitter Orangeman, and as such, he didn’t tolerate me in his home. Fast forward some years, and he welcomed me in and we enjoyed an honest chat, at which time he stated that only thick mindless arseholes would celebrate a battle that happened 300 years ago and has no relevance today. That same year, he took me to my first Scottish cup final (2-1 against Dundee United) despite still following his beloved Rangers. I have no idea to this day what epiphany occurred to make old Bob re-think his personal values, but it gave me hope that out dated meaningless bigotry was on the way out in Scotland. Fast forward to today, and until recently, we held the moral high ground over our city rivals. Then through the acts and words of a group of under educated thugs, our name is in danger of lying in the mud beside the Billy Boys.
    Equally frightening to me, is that through the actions of the so called GB, we risk losing the best manager and team that we’ve had in years. The feel good factor and European dream could be lost if Brendan and his team decide that they want no part in this nonsense. How do the brave boys of the GB think the decent fans will react to them if that disastrous scenario comes to fruition?
    I could quite easily ramble on for pages on the subject, but I’ll save readers the pain, and simply say GB, YOU’RE SCUM, I DON’T WANT YOU OR YOUR BIGOTED DISGRACEFUL TYPE TARNISHING THE GOOD NAME OF CELTIC SO STAY AWAY UNTIL YOU’VE EDUCATED YOURSELVES AND ACT APPROPRIATELY.

  • Reply Eddie July 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I agree with the article – good piece of writing.

    GB are not Celtic and the largest majority of Celtic fans while appreciating the colour, noise and support given by the GB, are saddened and embarrassed by their need to cling to old historical sectarian and paramilitary values. Celtic are a football team. Most supporters have over the past 2 or 3 decades risen above the sectarian bile peddled by the lower levels of Rangers Oldco and some Celtic fans.

    Celtic as a brand has no place for sectarian and paramilitary nonsense. Celtic as a club is so far ahead of Rangers Newco that we don’t need to plough the depths of decency to wind up Rangers Newco fans. Lets celebrate what’s happening on the park and make sure our own house is in order.

    GB need to follow the rules and keep the clubs best interested at the forefront of everything they do. If they can’t do that the there a thousands of Celtic fans who have the clubs best interests at heart and will take their place in paradise.
    Hail Hail

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