Locked out of Paradise: with TV options limited, Celtic and St. Johnstone fans miss out

By Euan Davidson

December 5, 2020

Celtic fans without season tickets and St. Johnstone supporters will not be able to legally watch tomorrow’s Premiership clash at Parkhead.

Additionally, there are claims that Perth-based media outlets will not be given access to cover the match. It’s in a decision that has baffled supporters of both clubs, and observers from all corners.

 

Following protests outside Celtic Park and consecutive weeks of Green Brigade demonstrations against the board, the PLC have once again failed the fans.

While money obviously needs to be made in lieu of actual attendance, measures for tomorrow’s match seem draconian. Other clubs around the SPFL have offered Pay-Per-View services to supporters, but Celtic seem loathe to do the same.

Ahead of an important match in a ring-fenced Paradise, it feels like supporters are locked out in numerous ways.

 

Peter Lawwell / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

 

Why the Celtic board are doing this

Like all football clubs, Celtic have made significant financial losses in 2020 (The Scotsman). Without 60,000 fans to attend matches, buy food, drinks, programmes and everything else every other week, times have been tough.

Of course, Celtic are still comparatively wealthy. However, it’s important to remember that the club, like all others, need to make tough financial decisions in a year hammered by COVID-19.

From Celtic’s view, they’re continuing to offer a service to their most loyal supporters; the ones who dish out £600+ on season books every year. Especially this season, when getting to games has been by no means a guarantee.

But loyalty is not measured in finances. Like most everyone, many Celtic supporters simply don’t have the disposable income to drop the meaty end of a grand on football. Folk who have come through the turnstiles for decades will have had to make difficult choices this year. To punish them is beyond unreasonable.

An affordable Pay-Per-View option would have made the difference here, as well as providing valuable income for the club. The fact they haven’t illustrates the disconnect between the board and fans so artfully described by the Green Brigade.

 

“Excuse me mate, that’d better not be a notepad” / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Inexplicable press decision by Celtic board

Not letting in Perth-based media is an absolutely baffling decision from the board, which makes no sense whatsoever. If it’s COVID precautions they’re worried about, then it hasn’t stopped other news outlets covering Celtic matches. If it’s some kind of personal vendetta, that’s all the more confusing.

The likes of The Courier have no reason to be barred from Sunday’s match. If it’s the case that journalists from Perth and the surrounding area aren’t allowed to report on the match for their readers, and have to rely on BBC Sportsound and highlights, then that’s a disgrace.

For a board so obsessed with PR, this decision in particular reeks of paranoia and pettiness. It’s the kind of thing we might have laughed at our rivals for doing in the past.

 

Rather than trying to win the Public Relations war, the Celtic board are actively giving people – Celtic supporters or not – legitimate reasons to dislike the club.

We doubt you’d find anyone who frequents Celtic Park or watches from afar who would agree with this decision. It’s not as if the Perthshire press have gone out of their way to offend Celtic sensibilities in the past.

You know what it is, frankly? It’s tin-pot. Celtic fans deserve decision makers with more sense than this.