Just days after copping a fine from UEFA for crowd trouble and setting off flares during their recent Europa League group game against Dinamo Zagreb, Celtic have been hit with ANOTHER charge by Europe’s football governing body.
The travelling Celtic fans had already been warned by Celtic, Ronny Deila and John Collins about their behaviour as they made their way to Milan, but their comments fell on deaf ears as some elements within the Celtic support believe they are above the law and think that they are more important than the club they profess to support.
You may argue that it was just one or two fans who set off the flares, but look at those supporters surrounding the individual(s) in question. Are they criticising the perpetrators? Are they telling them to put the flare out? Are they telling them that they are f**king idiots?
No those surrounding the perpetrators are celebrating, laughing and joking, and seemingly in awe of the big shiny light coming from the stick.
Supporters of these ‘pyro nuts’ peddle the line ‘no pyro no party’ but if it takes what is in effect a marine flare to celebrate at the football, to create an atmosphere and to get a song going then these individuals and so-called supporters are in the wrong game.
If they want to play for flares send them all out into the North Sea on one big lifeboat where they can set them all off to their heart’s content, letting football supporters get on with supporting their team and watching the football rather than getting a lungful of chemical smoke and near blinded by the flame it emits.
Celtic will once again face a UEFA disciplinary hearing, this time on March 19th, to answer for their fans yet again and it is time that Celtic say enough is enough. Ditch the softly softly approach and use a sledgehammer to crack this ‘nut’.
Celtic have already asked those supporters in attendance at the game for help in weeding out this element, but they have no hope in hell of singling the perpetrators out – especially when they have a tendency to be protected by the group they are within, as well as covering up their faces with scarves or Ultra-style hooded jackets.
In a statement released via the official website, Celtic said: “Over 3,000 fans travelled to Milan and once again supported the club brilliantly. Everyone at Celtic thanks these fans sincerely for the magnificent support they gave the team on another European occasion.
“It is important to note that Inter Milan and the local Italian authorities have also applauded our fans for their excellent conduct and positive support.
“Unfortunately, one or two individuals have again damaged the club they claim to support, resulting in a further UEFA charge for the use of flares.
“Today we have been inundated with support from Celtic fans who want an end to this activity and, like the club, do not want those responsible associated with Celtic in any way.
“We would urge anyone with information on who these people are to get in touch with the club so that we can deal with this matter and get back to celebrating all that is great about our club.”
As Celtic stated, those perpetrators have once again damaged the club they profess to support and if the away support cannot behave themselves and follow the rules set in stone when attending games, then maybe it is time to wield the axe on those at the game.
I don’t mean one or two individuals – unless the perpetrators are identified – I mean the full Celtic away support at the San Siro on Thursday night.
If Celtic do not sort this ongoing problem element out, UEFA will eventually decide to impose a total ban on Celtic fans travelling to away games, as they did with Rangers fans over sectarian singing during their games against PSV Eindhoven a number of years back.
Will that finally wake up those supporters who love to party round a bloody big sparkler or will it take someone getting seriously hurt or even killed?
Certainly the club warning them about their antics and UEFA charging the club for the seventh time in just over three years isn’t getting through to these halfwits. The fines that Celtic are accruing could be used for better endeavours rather than paying UEFA for the idiotic antics of what is in effect a group of neds who would not look out-of-place on a corner street drinking buckfast in their pish stained trackies.
Self-policing hasn’t worked within the away support at Celtic, so maybe it is time that the club and specifically chief executive Peter Lawwell grow a pair and make a tough but strong decision.
They can start with, in my opinion, banning those 3,000 Celtic supporters who travelled to Milan on Thursday night. Yes it is overkill, but the support will get the message that without these perpetrators being brought to justice and banned then the Celtic support will suffer.
I would rather see Celtic wielding the axe on the supporters, than the club copping another substantial fine from UEFA along with a ban on supporters.
Those 2,998 fans in attendance in the San Siro would have their noses knocked out of joint with the ban, with many complaining that they are held accountable for the actions of one or two guys – but at the end of the day Celtic are charged and punished for the actions of their fans whether it is a minority or a majority and enough is enough in my opinion.
The ban on these supporters may also force those who actually support their club to identify these eejits so that Celtic can ban them from games for good. Only then should these same supporters be allowed back to away games both domestically and in Europe.
As I said before it is a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach, but the softly softly self-policing approach has not worked.
What would you rather see? Celtic banning those 3000 fans until the perpetrators are found and kicked out or a Celtic fan being burnt or god forbid being killed by these halfwits and pyro nuts?
They claim to be Celtic fans, but at the end of the day these pyro nuts don’t care for anyone else bar themselves. Do you think they would care about the individual Celtic supporter who goes to the game and behaves? Do you think that they care about those supporters who have breathing problems who inhale the toxic fumes from their pyros? Do you think they care about those supporters in the vicinity who could be burnt by the flares being set off or when they throw them away when stewards and coppers get too close to them?
They hide behind masks, scarfs and banners to prevent being identified. These are the actions of cowards, they care not for the ordinary decent football support, all they care about is getting a name for themselves both within their wee group and also in Europe with the more hardcore Ultras groups.
Time that Celtic, time the ordinary decent Celtic fans weed out this element of so-called supporters. They may bring noise, colour and atmosphere to the games, but they also bring negative headlines, charges and fines on Celtic Football Club.
If they actually cared about the club they would have done as Ronny Deila and John Collins had asked before travelling to Milan. They would have cared what Neil Lennon said over the past few seasons and other managers before the Northern Irishman.
Their antics last night prove that this element care not for Celtic, not for their fellow Celtic supporters, only for themselves and their persona among the true Ultras of European football.