The Road to Ignominy,,,
“We are the people” proclaim of the Ibrox hordes – a term of triumphalism, or, just an accepted statement of fact used to underline their established place in Scottish society? Probably a mixture of both – ‘rubbing our noses in it’ when things are going well for them, and, keeping us in ‘our place’, when not.
The Ibrox fans packed their stadium and others the length and breadth of the country, during their four years in the lower divisions of the Scottish game. “The big hoose must stay open” was the mantra, and a fairy-tale was constructed that the liquidated club lived on. They are “going for 55”, and if that indeed happens before Celtic get to that number, their shameful past will be air-brushed from history – much like the century of sectarian employment policy was, apparently expunged by the signing of Maurice Johnston. Season ticket sales are at an all-time high and the Gerrard re-branding sees a buoyant support expecting great things.
What would have been the Celtic supporters response if, by our own hand, we had perpetrated the wrongdoings of Rangers, been found out, and suffered the same consequences? If our club had been shown to be a disgrace, cheated the football system, the taxman, charities and welched on £100m plus to a miscellany of creditors, where would we be right now?
I submit that we would have had by now a permanent dissolution of 60% of our support. The shame would have eaten deep into the psyche of the Celtic fan – “we deserved all we got” would have been the reaction of many when the full horror was known, I am also sure that there would have been some kind of movement to start up a new club totally divorced from the deeds of the old. We would have lamented that our glorious European Cup win had been thrown away by the officers of the club for short-term gain and the Celtic name would have become a source of embarrassment for many.
Now, some eight years later, assuming the club had survived where would we be? God knows if we would ever have found a Duff & Phelps to keep the myth alive. We would be living ‘hand to mouth’, probably sitting at the wrong end of the table. Those supporters who did stick with us would number only around the twenty thousand mark, many of the older ones too ashamed and disgusted to return. It is not that we do not love our club with the intensity that is now seen at Ibrox; rather we have a different value system. It would be a long time before the club would be forgiven….if ever.
We must be grateful that we did not succumb to temptation and follow the Ibrox lead – there are many, at the time, who would have wanted that to happen – even now in the midst of the second most successful football period in our history and when we are the most financially successful club ever in the Scottish game, there are still some who lambast our club for not gambling with its future in what is a crazy football world.
Yes, by all means, let us lobby for the best we can get, and be the best that we can be, but always remember – we have a glorious past, present and hopefully future – over at Ibrox it is an ignominious past, a debt-ridden present and an uncertain future.
Guest article by Gold .
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