I missed all the excitement on Saturday around the Green Brigade situation due to my vantage point.
In fact I was rather above it all-section 415 to be precise.
As I watched the match I had no idea that Section 111 was empty because of the police action until I got back from the game and switched on my laptop.
Firstly I think it would be a help to get the conspiracy theories off the table
The idea that the police would carry out an arrest operation at the behest of the club is, quite frankly, risible.
For sure there is liaison, but I would worry about anyone’s grip on reality if they think that the fuzz are at Peter Lawwell’s beck and call.
If the police want to conduct an operation inside Celtic Park, or any other stadium, then the football club, just like the rest of us, are merely bystanders.
However, if someone actually has some evidence of a club driven operation where the police merely provided obedient muscle then I sure would like to get a hold of that story!
That said any of the club’s fans are being subjected to what can only be characterised as Orwellian policing then Celtic should get involved.
That is certainly the view of large supporters organisations like the Affiliation.
The club statement is fairly clear and if it is based upon falsehoods then it will soon be exposed to be so.
I don’t see any PR crafted wriggle room if the people at Kerrydale Street were of a mind to be duplicitous.
The proposed complaints panel seems to be an excellent conduit for any incidents of alleged police harassment to be reported.
However, this will require evidence and all the “W”s (where, what, why, who and when) will have to be in play.
Subsequently hard facts rather than message board hearsay is what is required.
If the evidence is truly there then it can be collated and presented to the club and Celtic can then make appropriate representations to the police.
I know from club sources that they do have a concern about “migration” to Section 111 during matches and “lateral movement” within the Green Brigade’s allotted patch.
I don’t see how stewarding can’t prevent the former from happening in the first place.
If you don’t have a ticket for Section 111 then you shouldn’t be there.
As for the sideways movement (something I am told that could threaten the Safety Certificate from the local authority), once more that is what stewards are there for.
I have both serious admiration for and serious issues with the Green Brigade.
However, these are irrelevant to the issue at hand.
What is being reported that is happening to individual members of the Green Brigade sounds like a training exercise for policing in a totalitarian regime.
In recent weeks I have read of people being visited at their place of employment by the cops simply for a “chat” and also of an arrest of a lad at an airport for, allegedly, having placed a hand on a banner at a match.
Of course, serious accusations require serious evidence and this will now have to be gathered.
Moreover, if …err… over-zealous police officers aren’t being complained about in the first place through the existing channels then don’t be surprised if plod thinks he can act with relative impunity.
Anyone going about their lawful business and watching a football match is precisely that should not be subjected to some form of half-arsed counter-insurgency performance art by Scotland’s finest.