Being brought up in a Celtic loving family meant that I was continually being told bed-time tales of injustice and prejudice against my beloved club. The root of these feelings was often the perceived bias against Celtic which existed within the written press. Through the 90’s I certainly internalised this belief and would often turn to the club’s official publication ‘The Celtic View’ for my dose of news. I enjoyed Celtic taking on the media via this publication and in particular Jock Brown’s ongoing spat with Hugh Keevins particularly following the Artur Jorge affair. After my student days, however, I realised that ‘The Celtic View’ was actually at the opposite end of the spectrum and could see no wrong in Celtic reporting in a manner similar to ‘Pravda’. So where are we as fans now in our relationship with the media…..
The written press still continue to report in a manner which I believe to be “weighted against” Celtic. This allegation I should stress is levied particularly against those newspapers referred to as ‘The Red Tops’. I currently refuse to purchase either the ‘Daily Record’ or ‘The Sun’ primarily due to a ridiculous headline and irresponsible reporting (not to do with Celtic) respectively:
The treatment of certain Celtic managers by the media has been nothing short of disgusting especially when you consider what they have done in the game e.g. Kenny Dalglish, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon. Whilst employed by Celtic headlines regarding these individuals have been (and remain to be) subtly undermining. Gordon Strachan, for example, whilst Celtic manager received a particularly bad press which I believe went some way to feeding into the fans limited acceptance of him despite his success. This press was possibly due to Strachan’s neutral character and his dismissive tone of the journalists during interviews. Only recently, however, Strachan’s word was being proclaimed as Gospel by the self same media and he was treated as their darling as he informed us “There is no conspiracy against Celtic” – what has changed you ask? Well he is no longer manager of Celtic.
The current squad is also receiving negatively slanted reports which I believe is no coincidence given our current rich vein of form. Recent stories of note have included sensational headlines proclaiming ‘Celtic’s debt has trebled!!!’, ‘Kayal and Izaguirre are off to the Premiership’, ‘Lennon is not being offered a Contract’. We were also (again!) subjected to Hugh Keevins reporting loudly that he had a ‘source’ who told him Scott Brown had been booked for elbowing ‘Spit The Dug’ in the 2-2 match. When presented with the facts Keevins quietly apologised and insisted Celtic fans move on.
The most absurd part of it all is that this goes on in a time when the ongoing saga of the £75m fantasy takeover/HMRC Investigation of our ‘friends’ on the other side of the city remains the elephant in the room. There has been no mention of the obvious state this club is in by the mass media nor is there ever any challenging questioning or criticism of Walter by the ‘Laptop Loyal’ (or am I just paranoid!). In addition to all of this and the one thing which angers me most is that there are now a number of ex-Celtic players within the media whom it would have been hoped would have stood up for the club. Unfortunately the likes of Andy Walker, Davie Provan and Craig Burley have chosen to be some of the harshest critics of the club possibly due to their own angst with the club. I do not deny these individuals the right to their opinion but often their criticism sounds bitter and unsubstantiated.
How then have we responded? Well Celtic fans across the world have moved from printed fanzines such as ‘Not The View’ and are now turning to more modern mediums of information sharing and gathering. The Internet is being used as a vehicle to combat the above media streams and offer a more balanced critique of Celtic through the likes of Fans Forums, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs. If the power of these mediums needed any demonstration then turn on the news and look at the reporting of the uprisings in the Middle East. People within Egypt and Libya are currently using these forms of communicating with the world in order to share their experiences and ensure that the atrocities they are suffering are being broadcast – would such uprisings be possible without the Internet? Celtic fans are in no way on a par with the people of these countries but through the internet are ensuring that fans do not need to rely upon the irresponsible reports of the written press and the nasal ramblings of washed-up journalists on the radio. I personally enjoy reading these blogs, follow many fans on Twitter and have signed up to the forums – I do not always agree with the points of view offered but I accept and respect them as they are from people with the best interests of Celtic at heart as opposed to looking to undermine or misrepresent.
I hope that the use of the Internet in achieving the above continues to grow and nothing would give me any greater pleasure than seeing the influence of the media and the need for Celtic fans to use them diminishes further. Maybe then they will realise that they cannot get away with reporting in the manner in which they have done.
Let me recommend the following to start you off:
The Celtic Underground – http://www.celticunderground.net/ (@celticrumours on Twitter)
Over and Over – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/over-and-over tune in every Friday evening between 7pm & 10pm for Celtic related chat and music (@oaocelticnews on Twitter)
The Celtic Wiki – http://www.thecelticwiki.com/ which is a valuable resource for all things Celtic (the Scottish media should probably use it as a reference) (@TheCelticWiki on Twitter)
Celtic Quick News – http://celticquicknews.co.uk/ (@CQN on Twitter)
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain – http://www.philmacgiollabhain.com/ – the man who exposed Hugh Dallas (not that you would have read about him in the Scottish media though!) (@pmacgiollabhain on Twitter)
Rhebel Rhebel – http://rhebelrhebel.blog.com/ – a popular blogger who has his own fashion range (@RhebelRhebel on Twitter)
Kerrydale Street – http://kerrydalestreet.co.uk/ – a forum for Celtic fans (@kerrydalestreet on Twitter)
The Huddleboard – http://www.huddleboard.net/ – another forum for Celtic fans (@huddleboard on Twitter)
iCeltic – http://iceltic.net/ – website which has a handy Celtic iPhone app (@iCeltic on Twitter)
The Celtic Blog – http://thecelticblog.com/ – an informative blogger with interesting views (@_thecelticblog on Twitter)
Brian McNally – http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/brian-mcnally/ – a rare commodity these days in that he is a journalist who is not afraid to speak out in favour of Celtic (@McNallyMirror on Twitter)
TicTacTic – http://tictacticuk.wordpress.com/author/tictacticuk/ – another Celtic blogger who likes to write about everything and anything tactical relating to the bhoys (@Tic_Tac_Tic on Twitter)
This list is by no means exhaustive but simply highlights how many alternative options there are out there over and above the (un)popular media. If you want to find more then follow me on Twitter (@theglascelway) and check out who I follow. Remember there are alternatives to the ‘Daily Record’ and ‘The Sun’ out there!!!!