Monday, January 24, 2005

Day Trip To Paradise

On Saturday afternoon I was kindly offered a last minute ticket to watch Celtic football club play against Motherwell FC, in the Scottish Football League.

I stopped going to live Celtic games in 2001, after witnessing some of the most ugliest exchanges I had ever seen between opposing fans at any sporting event. That last match was between Celtic (the emerald green & whites), and their bitter archrivals, Rangers (the royal blues).

But Celtic have been my favourite team since well before I was even born (I even used their moniker for my user-name in this Blog).

That's the funny thing about football supporters in Scotland and the UK; it must be one of the few countries (exception being parts of South America) where you are actually born into supporting a particular team. No effort or choice is really made by the mandatory new recruit. Born into a Protestant family, then Rangers will most likely be your team for life. Born into a Catholic family, then Celtic is your default choice. It’s a celebrated, pointless tradition that has lead to countless strife, broken bones, and even to murder, in every weekend, in every year. But it’s the mechanical Scottish way; bigotry and football go together like bread and jam.

So I arrived at Celtic Park, also known to the supporting faithful, as Paradise. I have to admit I forgot how beautiful it looks; I climbed the stairs from the underbelly of the stadium, and gasped as my eyes attempted to take in a sea of sixty thousand green and white waves, contouring seamlessly in and out of each other. It’s hard not to smile at this awesome sight. I nearly forgot why I stopped going to watch Celtic play.

So, I was seated in the season ticket section, within the legendary stand formerly known as the ‘Jungle’ (historically a standing-only section for the die-hard fans, also known traditionally as the Bhoys, that even police have refused to patrol and enter at some games)

Seated beside me was Jimmy from Wishaw, and Paul from Gallogate. They were curious as to who I was, as they were looking for my friend whose seat I had borrowed for the afternoon. They were decent lads, and Jimmy bought me a Bovril before the kick off.

The game went very well for Celtic. Stilian Petrov, the lightning fast young Romanian scored the only goal in the first-half of the game. Chris Sutton, the big Englishman, scored an absolute blinder in the second half. Easy sailing. Things were looking good for the Parkhead Bhoys who to be fair were never going to lose to a lowly Motherwell side.

Near the end of the game, a young Motherwell defender hastily brought down John Hartson, the huge Welsh centre forward. The Motherwell player looked more frustrated then anything to be honest. An immediate torrent of spittle was thrown to the touchline, accompanied by hails of white-hot venom. ‘Jesus’ I thought, ‘here we go…..’

‘F*CK YOU , Motherwell Hun Scum’ – Jimmy from Wishaw directed this verbal bullet towards the young defender. Not that the young player would have heard it, as it was drowned out by sixty thousand other aggravated voices, and watched by 120 thousand glaring eyes.

I had to smile a little, things are still the same.

Still the same old friendly, acceptable hatred, which is seen as a good thing in. After all, the theory goes that if the faithful unleash all that anger on the terraces, then they are not going to be carrying it around with them when they go home, or when they go to the pub after the match. So it’s acceptable by the majority of supporters to verbally abuse opposing fans, and visiting team’s players alike; sort of akin to releasing the pressure on a boiler, to use a terribly bad analogy.

But anyone who pays attention to the fact that human beings have been kicking the living shit out of each other for time immemorial, will immediately see this for what it actually is; a poor excuse to vilify and hate other human beings, just for a little while, and just for the pure sake of it, just because they are not ‘one of us’.

Does the pressure-release theory really work? Do the fans go home tension free and content, after aiming and directing all that built up negativity towards someone else for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon?

Hell No!!!

This is got to be why the human species is in such dire straights. We are automatically adjusted to despise each other, and when it’s not immediately natural, our peers encourage it to happen.

I don’t think I was still smiling when I saw, and heard, a very young lad shouting ‘F*ck the Huns’, in a squeaky, girly voice towards the Motherwell fans. It reminded me too much of myself when I was a y
oung kid……….


Anonymous ugliest said...

Hi Celtic99, I recently started a new blog called Ugly Blog so I've been searching around for ugly related blogs to check out and possibly trade links with. I found this entry (Day Trip To Paradise) in my search so I thought I'd drop a line to let you know. Anyway nice blog and have a good day!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:46 PM  

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