Twitter was meant to connect Celtic fans and legends; it's done the opposite
Celtic Twitter can be a really fun place sometimes.
Do you remember when Boli Bolingoli played well and everyone changed their names? Or when Fenerbache “hooligans” threatened Celtic supporters? For all it can get argumentative on there, the Celtic corner of Twitter is a good laugh much of the time.
However, when the club’s legends take to social media, it gets a little tetchy. Look, for example, at this screeching U-turn:
I see they’re all out tonight in full bloom!! Amazing after nine seasons of silence!! Goodnight 👍
— Alan Thompson (@Alantommo8) November 22, 2020
I think a change is needed @CelticFC
— Alan Thompson (@Alantommo8) December 6, 2020
Celtic’s other English legend from the Martin O’Neill era was up to his usual, as well. We’ve covered Chris Sutton’s antics extensively, but just look at this reversal. Sutton’s twitter page should be loaded with the audio of a lorry backing up.
Some of the Green Brigade and Celtic fans who thinks that is acceptable to treat a club legend and brilliant servant like Neil Lennon with this amount of disrespect need to have a good look at themselves…
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) November 25, 2020
This can’t go on any longer…
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) December 6, 2020
Consistency is all we ask
I’m a huge Alan Thompson fan, but his recent comments are particularly misguided. By no means have Celtic fans had 9 years of silence. Celtic fans, myself very much included, can’t go quiet for 9 minutes.
When the Ronny Deila era was coming to a close, Celtic fans and the media were as loud as they’d been since John Barnes was manager. Many who’d worn the Green and White were clamouring for the Norwegian to get his P45, despite boasting better form than Lennon is going through.
When Brendan Rodgers left, Celtic fans were in uproar. We were in full injustice mode. We were loud. The current Leicester City boss screwed us over, and we made one hell of a fuss.
So 9 years of quiet? I don’t think so, pal.
Similarly, Sutton’s screeching change of opinion staggered even his most ardent supporters. Like Thompson, I really like Chris Sutton. I have both of their autographs, still in pride of place in my living room (Why yes, I am nearly 30 years old). Our legendary ex-striker though, like his Geordie ex-teammate, refuse to concede to Celtic supporters on any basis.
Why can’t folk just admit they were wrong, and apologise for winding up the fans who sang their praises week-in, week-out? Is it too hard to simply say “Yeah, I made a mistake there, I’m sorry”? Why is there so much pride attached to observations made by ex-players on Twitter?
I get it; they’re defending their mate. I’m sure any of us would do the same, and on that level, it’s commendable. However, being consistent and honest with Celtic fans is surely as important.
John Hartson excepted, who I reckon is a fantastic representative of Celtic FC on television, there are a number of former Celtic greats who have sullied their reputation.
Celtic fans are forgiving, and it would probably take more to truly corrupt the esteem enjoyed by the likes of Thommo and Sutton.
But when you have a soapbox on social media and you get it wrong, you have to read your replies every now and then. Have some humility.
Ex-Celts continue to confound
It’s not just Twitter, either. Frank McAvennie’s comments last week were frustrating. Andy Walker’s co-commentary on Sky is depressing. Kris Commons is… well, Kris Commons.
Almost every other big club in the UK has someone in the media who’s in tune with the fans. Liverpool have Jamie Carragher, Manchester United have either Gary Neville or Roy Keane depending on your resting heart rate. Jermaine Jenas and Micah Richards represent Tottenham and Manchester City with distinction on the BBC.
Celtic, however, have a litany of ex-stars who practice muddled narratives, take bizarre pot-shots at the wrong players and confuse on social media. And Charlie Nicholas.
From all corners, the reputation of Celtic Football Club is suffering, and this stuff doesn’t help.
It’s not that we’re asking all ex-Celts in the media or on Twitter to constantly be in agreement with the fans. That’d be boring. It’s more the shocking disrespect that’s the problem.
It’s in calling the supporters “idiots”. Their displays of discontent “shameful”. There’s a difference between condemning an action that goes too far, and the attitudes of a large group in general.
Most of the football greats…
Celtic greats like Bertie Auld and the much-missed Billy McNeill were in tune with the fans. Auld can still be seen on match days, chatting with the fans and taking pictures; he’s an outstanding representative of the club.
He’s in person, shaking hands and singing songs. Auld’s not on Twitter or in the press, sniping at supporters who hold a different opinion. Perhaps that’s why, over 50 years after Lisbon, he’s still one of our most popular players ever.
The Celtic legends of the modern era could learn a thing or two from Auld’s grace and common touch. If you truly want a lasting relationship with the supporters, copy Bertie. That’s how you do it.