Tarnishing The Club’s Reputation

The Green Brigade are not the only ‘ultras’ in European football. In a former life I attended a Roma v Barcelona CL tie at The Olympico Stadium in which my seat had been commandeered by ‘ultras.’ I had no intention of asking for its return in broken Italian. For amusement, some in their group had smuggled in a Lambretta scooter and threw it over the barb wired fence separating the Roma fans from the Barcelona contingent. They lit flares with impunity. I did not feel threatened but I cannot speak for the Barcelona fans and how they felt about the ‘incoming.’ Even though the term ‘ultras’ may have been coined in Italy, it’s not a uniquely Italian construct as can be seen in the following photograph:


Ultras are largely tolerated in Italy. In the home of Catenaccio (door-bolt) where defensive interplay is applauded, they add colour and passion to the most lukewarm of encounters

There is nothing unusual about The Green Brigade. You will find their ilk in most major European clubs. However UEFA take a dim view of the use of flares and the display of political banners. The Euro ‘beaks’ have sanctioned Celtic on ten occasions in the past six seasons for the misdemeanours of their hard-line support.

When the Linfield fans rather ludicrously chose to chant the supremacist mantra – We are the People – The Green Brigade led the raucous laughter of 55,000 who pointed at ‘the Huns without the ferry fare’ in ridicule. Linfield’s part-time team were being taken apart at Celtic Park. If the Linfield chant was intended to provoke the Celtic support, it backfired. However the  ‘illicit banner’ of a terrorist hit the mark and did not escape the attention of the UEFA match delegate. Celtic, who as I asserted earlier have previous, will be lucky to escape with a punitive fine.

The Green Brigade were banned from the friendly against Lyons but returned nine hundred strong for the game against Linfield. CFC issued the following statement:

‘The safe standing area of the stadium had been working very well until the final game of last season against Hearts, when large numbers of flares were smuggled into and set off under banners within the Green Brigade section. It was an incredibly irresponsible and co-ordinated action which could have had tragic consequences. Safety of all supporters at Celtic Park is of paramount importance to the club. The safe operation of the safe standing area at Celtic Park requires effective communication and engagement with the supporters in that area. Unfortunately, due to the events at the Hearts and Linfield matches, the club is not satisfied that the Green Brigade section can be operated safely at this time.”

Celtic have bent over backwards to accommodate The Green Brigade. They even went to the expense of providing them with their own safe standing area. They store their drums for them and have shared the techniques required to create huge banners. However the terrorist banner and the effigies at a game against Rangers Lite were beyond the pale.

The Green Brigade can be a force for good. I was quick to endorse their support of the Palestinians. They raised the quantum of the fine imposed on the club by UEFA. They have also contributed to many charities. They add colour and spectacle, yet some in their milieu are from an unhinged minority whom seem to believe that they should celebrate Ireland’s paramilitary past. This banner was an affront to the victims and relatives of those who have been murdered and maimed in Guildford, Birmingham and Brighton; to name but a few of the outrages. It was an affront to the majority of Celtic supporters who are growing tired of The Green Brigade’s antics.

In the final analysis if they cannot behave this section of Celtic Park will be closed down and their nine hundred season ticket holders will be banned from Celtic Park. Missing out on next Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg and against Hearts on the opening day of the Premiership season on 5 August will be a heavy price to pay for the Celtic Ultras. The price to be paid for more misdemeanours could be of a terminal nature.


25 thoughts on “Tarnishing The Club’s Reputation”

  1. Absolutely spot on JJ. The GB have totally overstepped the mark here. As a CFC fan of non Catholic/non NI heritage, over the years I have found many of their banners and messages to be out with my ken or outright bewildering and I’ve seen the GB mainly as a small bunch of somewhat extremist fans who do admittedly add to the atmosphere (most of the time).

    However they have now handed many of the club’s detractors and the Lite leaning SMSM an open goal. Their choice is now simple, either grow up and leave the Republican nonsense behind or be banned – I am easy either way.

  2. The Green Brigade have often provided thoughtful, positive banners and without a doubt add to the atmosphere at Celtic Park.

    The most recent banners aimed low and failed to meet their target, they did not represent contemporary radical politics in Ireland or Scotland. They were regressive and pandered to provoking the Linfield / Rangers support living in the past.

    No banners about the SFA on the opening day of the season then ?

    I hope they realise this mistake and work together with the club as there are more good times ahead to be shared amongst the Celtic support of which they play a vital role.

  3. Agree totally with the article and comments above. The Bhoys of the green brigade need to move on – Ireland has. Just when the opportunity to review the EBT years approaches, the GB have allowed the authorities to switch targets. The ‘whataboutery’ will be long and loud.

  4. I don’t proscribe to ANYBODY planning and killing INNOCENT people no matter the skewed thought process their minds are going through to try and justify it, BUT it seems to me Celtic FANS are to be held to different level of accountability, as to say like another newly formed Club that has the overwhelming majority of racist sectarian “Followers”that are allowed in Bonny Auld Alba to act unchallenged and as unhinged as it wishes. With NO reply from our ‘Mentally Unstable’ MEDIA. Anybody but Celtic. 🙂

    1. Let’s concentrate on cleaning our own age an stables before talking about anyone else.The dimwits on the terracing are an acute embarrassment.

  5. Totally backing the clubs stance on this . The GB are getting out of hand and should get back to doing what they do best in creating a great atmosphere and making Paradise an arena great players want to play in.
    For the love of God. Grow up !!!

  6. Now if only the Ibrox board could learn from this and close their ground to home fans when the racist songbook comes out.

    1. So much better. Then if we end up with a pinch from SPFL/SFA we could really have our day with them when we are asked to explain the banners and go to town on their arses.
      Either that or silence from them would admit their guilt and collusion without question.

    2. This is exactly what the GB need to be focusing their displays on. They should be looking to nail those two corrupt bastards at every given opportunity. Embarrass, mock and humiliate them at every home match and Celtic’s boatd should turn a blind eye to the banners just as Regan and that gurning fuckwit Doncaster have turned a blind eye to systematic cheating.

  7. If the minorities in Celtic park do not take the advice of Celtic FC and abide by the house rules then they wil have to go somewhere else on a Saturday/Sunday/midweek and its not just the green brigade this applies to.
    I am a firm believer football is not the place for political banners as they are merely nothing to do with the sport and is to be honest an intrusion on other people and the hosts whom home you are in, Celtic Park.
    The stadium is a theatre for football as in a cinema is a home to movies, you would not go to the cinema and pull out a massive banner, you would be thrown out or arrested if offencive.
    This is the thing if others do things that infuraite the message is not do the same back, in doing so you become the same.One mans support for an organisation is not everyones support of the organisation if you feel strongly about an organisation go join it, read about it, watch and study and learn about it, but do not force it on people because its your thing.
    Statements if need to be made should be kept to things you know that all or the majority will be signing from the same hymm sheet, like Res 12 and the strip the titles campaign, at the very least you are sure that you are not offending you are merely expressing an opion and at least it an opinion with merit and something that must be brought up even if some dont share the view of the message.
    I have watched parades in public and have listened to the politics and share some of the ideas and agree with most but i would not dream of taking the views to a football game or any gathering and enforce them on others and i certainly would not do it without first asking or gathering opinion on if it is seen as acceptable or would it be offensive and importantly consider if my host would be fine with it, or would it bring punishments to my host, there would be nothing more offensive than someone taking a dump in your garden and then you are billed to clean it up.

    1. What you say of the orange order display ,every other week in July then. Displaying banners on the street’s are these for your eyes only

  8. I have a great respect for past GB displays. Witty, hard-hitting but not this time. The banners displayed could (and maybe have) been seen by the club to link the manager with paramilitary activity ( however tenuous it may appear to some).
    This has been a major own goal by the GB and has only succeeded in giving their enemies ( and the club’s ) more ammunition to use against them both.

  9. “We like to think that whoever we play, we are a football team, nothing more. We are a football team who will play anyone from anywhere, from any walk of life, from any religion, from any creed. That is Celtic Football Club.” the words of Jock Stein. We are not a political organisation.

  10. A terrific article and an eye opener for those of us who do not associated with nonsense like this.

    Your article was enhanced by some terrific comments from TS, Ianbhoy, Peter and, yesterday, Porto Bhoy.

    This Green Brigade lot are doing a massive disservice to their club whom they profess to support. Personally, I find their political views repugnant and massively disrespectful. Furthermore, what relevance do these views have to a game of football. This lot seem to be a mindless set of thugs with an agenda. Celtic, it would appear, is the convenient outlet.

    This is meant to be sport, and, as Peter commented, most decent people want sport, ANY SPORT, to be politics free. What an appalling bunch who are dragging the good name and reputation of Celtic fans into the gutter.

    I am well aware that Celtic fans have a terrific reputation for warm hospitality (thank you) and for having a raucous and boisterous support, particularly for European games. Those CL matches at Parkhead really are quite magical.

    BUT, this sort of GB behaviour is, frankly, unacceptable. It doesn’t tarnish the club so much as trash the club’s fine reputation for sporting integrity and fair play. But it does tarnish the reputations of the vast majority of terrific Celtic fans who deplore their actions and chants.

    I am pleased to see that this lot have been banned for a couple of games. In my view, that is a lenient sentence and should have covered the rest of the season.

    PL has bent over backwards to accommodate this lot and they have let him down in a big way. If there is much more of their odious behaviour, Celtic will end up receiving a wake up call from UEFA which, indeed, may well include a playing ban coupled with a massive fine.

    And it’s a pity because ON THE FIELD, Celtic have a terrific squad and a fine manager who is a great ambassador for the club. OFF THE PITCH, the board runs a tight ship and the club is an excellent model for corporate governance. BUT, the GB gang (I won’t call them fans) are doing a massive disservice to Celtic.

    Admirable comments here today from season ticket holders condemning their behaviour.

    Over at Ibrox, the soap opera continues both on and off the pitch. Title stripping is a live issue at a time when the Ibrox club is massively vulnerable and lacking intellectual or financial leadership.

    Well, the Green Brigade, through sheer stupidity, just handed them a lifeline by deflecting attention away from the Supreme Court’s ruling and potentially massive implications for Rangers.


  11. Ref GB statement on Politics? What exactly did that banner have to do with politics? What other teams would it have been displayed against…apart from possibly RIFC?
    It was a stupid, juvenile attempt to noise up the Linfield fans. END OF. Anyone with a triple digit IQ would have seen this problem coming a mile off. I was at the game and it hit me instantly…swept off the moral high ground in a heartbeat.
    The creators and moderators of that banner are narcissistic morons. Dilution of politics my arse…grow the fcuk up!!!

  12. Read the clumpany GB article which also raises a few strong points on the GB’s character and commitment to their political stance, coupled with board inaction on certain issues. It’s a difficult one for me as they dont reflect my opinions or beliefs though I understand theirs, however I would ultimately prefer not to see it in a progressive, secular fanbase, open to all such as the celtic way.

    Threfore, with all this talk of banners as a potential solution I think a joint act of pennace could be the remedy, involving the Board and the Green Brigade to co-fund a plane to fly over the Sevco v Marseille game, towing a banner declaring something along the lines of ‘cheats’ and ‘#stripthetitles’? What do you think?

    And if it doesn’t work keep pushing the list of corruption via banners every week at celtic park, with every club till their fans understand, rise up and demand action from their own board.

    Make up, club together, stop the fines and have a laugh with the banners, whilst also making a point.

    Lastly, Milne is a joke and a media puppet, I hope his fans take action immediately.

  13. JJ, did not see the GB or Stewart Milne statements until this morning. My initial reaction is unprintable not surprisingly! I feel as though I have fallen down a hole into some weird, parallel universe. My question to you, however, if you have the time to humour me, is in regard to Judicial Review. This seems the only possible way of the OldCos actions being looked at afresh but is it, in reality? I say this because:

    Who in their right mind would take on the pursuers case? It would be the Jules Rimet of poisoned chalices would it not? A pity Paul McBride is no longer with us.

    From your knowledge, what would likely timescale and cost be. The legal process in my experience moves at a snails pace (on a good day) and legal fees can become exorbitant.

    Who /what group would take matters forward in the unlikely event of a wealthy benefactor, who would not only provide the necessary funds but also be the focal point of the absolutely undoubted vitriolic backlash? Has there been a precedent for this in Scotland before and would the JR necessarily have to be undertaken in Scotland?

    I certainly hope it can happen because if done by the right people in the right way it seems to me the outcome is certain. If not, then that’s it for me, I’ll find another sport altogether.

    Hope this finds you well btw. Cheers, TS.

    1. Preparatory work by the instructing solicitors would be £6,000 to £12,000 plus VAT. When one adds the cost of a QC I would not anticipate much change from £20,000. There would be no shortage of legal firms prepared to take this on. One could not buy the kind of publicity that would ensue.

      1. Not sure what specifically it is that would be put to JR but whatever it is the application has to submitted within three months of the action/inaction.

  14. The Green brigade response”we will never allow our style or our politics to be diluted” is a resignation letter. No one has asked them to dilute their politics simply keep it away from Celtic Park. It’s a place for football , not politics. Their style is the problem. Choosing to punish Celtic. Choosing to risk fire and smoke inhalation . Choosing to take a socialist moral high ground and deem others to be inferior. Choosing to risk our club being fines, or expelled.
    You have a right to be a Celtic player, fan or Board member if you are good enough. All faiths are welcome , all beliefs are welcome. So what if we have a Board member who is a Conservative.Lord. Change the word ‘Tory” to ‘Jew” or ‘Black’ and you will see how totalitarian they are.
    Celtic’s response should be to extend the ban for another two games.

  15. Thanks JJ. I thought this was one situation where the old adage about publicity might not apply, but you know what the legal fraternity are like…. No offence to those in that noble Profession reading this of course!

  16. My favourite music artist is the great Roger Waters. He publicly praised the GB for their display of support for Palestine and its peoples plight. However, the song by RW titled “Too much rope” has the line in it “Give any one species too much rope And they’ll fuck it up” which perfectly demonstrates what the GB have done. They’ve taken liberties and pushed the boundaries of common decency. If they hope to re-live the days of heavy UEFA fines, playing behind closed doors and the sneers from the English Premiership stating theres no place for a bigoted Celtic in their set up, well, nice one GB, you’re well and truly on the way to achieving your own goals.

  17. ‘unhinged minority whom seem to believe that they should celebrate Ireland’s paramilitary past.’

    JJ: As no PayPal reference accompanied your comment, it was not approved. If you want your voice to be heard, do the right thing.

  18. JJ A wee question…how many UEFA fines did we have before the green brigade attached themselves to Celtic.We are a football club not a raven loonatic party like the green brigade.
    Wee snippet…the word BRIGADE in the dictionary means confrontational enough said.

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