Celtic supporters absurdly accused of bullying on same day as launching charity appeal

By Euan Davidson

November 4, 2021

Every time Celtic comes up an example of how safe standing can work in stadia, it’s hard not to think of the Green Brigade and the North Curve.

After all, since the introduction of safe standing in 2016, the Green Brigade have added noise, colour and – in some cases – controversy to Celtic Park. Off the pitch, they’re regularly involved in charity appeals, including the annual foodbank drive.

Still, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. They’d admit that themselves, and it depends what you want from the match day experience.

But Football Policing Chief Mark Roberts, speaking to TalkSPORT believes there’s another issue when it comes to the Green Brigade; in-stadium bullying.

Roberts said [TalkSPORT]:

“Let me just address Celtic, because I think it’s an oft-used example. Having been and looked at it, from the outset, can I just say, you cannot fault Celtic’s approach to [safe standing].

“They have not done it for money. There is no suggestion that they’ve done for anything other than trying to give the fans what they want. Not an issue with that.

Celtic fans to be locked out from crucial clash | Ferencvaros Preview with Kevin McCluskie

Celtic fans to be locked out from crucial clash | Ferencvaros Preview with Kevin McCluskie
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“The issue though, that they can’t control, is then how is some of the fans will try and behave in that circumstance. So it’s coincided with the growth of the Green Brigade, who could’ve been counted as exuberant, boisterous fans.

“But with it comes bad behaviour, comes bullying of their own supporters.

“It will lead, unless we really carefully manage this properly, areas that aren’t policed. Because if you look at certain grounds where you continually have people continually standing in large numbers. That makes it so much harder for stewards and police to intervene, and actually take out the trouble-makers.”

Police chief’s blistering attack on Celtic supporters’ group the Green Brigade lacks ample evidence or examples

Is this bait? Or does Roberts have a point here?

The Green Brigade are many things. Outspoken, controversial, colourful, critical. However, it’s hard to believe they’ve been out bullying supporters at matches.

How would this bullying manifest? Are people getting touchy about being pointed at when the Green Brigade strike up the “Come on you Bhoys in Green” chant? That seems farcical.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Are supporters getting bullied at the annual foodbank collection? Are paper aeroplanes with scrawled insults being flown to other stands at Celtic Park? How does this “bullying” manifest?

It’s an utter nonsense. Of course there are going to be people in large groups that “misbehave” at matches, however you quantify that.

But it’s another needless attack on Celtic fans with only quasi-anecdotal evidence backing it up. And that’s being extremely charitable.

Just utter nonsense from a nationally-broadcasted outlet.

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