Racism at Ibrox

Yesterday a man was in court, and he admitted to racially abusing Celtic player Scott Sinclair at Ibrox Stadium on Saturday 29th April 2017.

These are live proceedings, and the man will be sentenced later.

However, he has admitted his guilt, and that is not now at issue.

There is no need for me to editorialise on this behaviour and the perpetrator did not seek to deny it in court.

This was racism.

There is no debate about that.

Even the usual suspects among the Sevco illiterati did not attempt to defend this ‘Bear’.

The home crowd at Ibrox have previous for this kind of behaviour, and it doesn’t have to be an opposition player.

Of course, the dominant form of racism on show most match days at Ibrox is of the anti-Irish variety.

The Famine Song was ruled to be racist when that question was considered in the highest court in Scotland in June 2009.

This ditty is aimed at a specific ethnic group; the Irish in Scotland.

Therefore, to deem it ‘sectarian’ is incorrect.

That is why the ruling, in this case, was so valuable in the fight against Scotland’s oldest racism.

I recall at the time that one particular NGO active in the field seemed to have a rabbit in the headlights stare about anti-Irish racism in Scottish football.

Perhaps they baulked at taking on The People.

That was 2008.

For the avoidance of doubt, your humble correspondent got stuck in.

On one occasion I travelled to Scotland to doorstep a chap on the turf at Tynecastle.

My question to him was why his charity had not condemned the Famine Song as racist.

He was at the home of Hearts to take part in a charity football match to, wait for it, kick racism out of football.

I then stood in the technical area and said to Lex Gold, then the top boy at the SPL, that if racism was not tackled head on then, an ethnic minority person could suffer real violence.

He agreed with me.

We were standing on the spot where Irishman Neil Lennon would be attacked years later by John Wilson.

I need irony in my life.

Also during the weekend, a video emerged showing the Unsurpassed Dignity of The People.

When a football club collapses and dies, it is natural to feel for the supporters.

They are usually working class people with an inherited emotional attachment to their club.

Uncomprehendingly loyal they often trudge through awful weather to watch awful football.

Whatever the situation, on or off the park, they’re always there.

Consequently, when a club implodes the natural sentiment is to feel sorry for the ordinary supporters.

However, at Ibrox, I think it is rather different.

I believe that the case can be made that the Ibrox match day experience has been a gathering point for a toxic subculture for over a century.

Charles of Normandy quickly picked up this vibe and played to that racist gallery.

The worldview that socialised the Ibrox clientele is rooted in the crisis over the Third Home Rule bill at the turn of the 20th century.

This was in the historical period before the Irish Republic existed and Britain was a world power.

Of course, this archipelago is a very different place now.

Any notions of Britannia ruling the waves in the 21st century is risible.

The shipbuilding labour aristocracy that gave the Rangers support of old their sense of economic superiority is also gone, just like Rangers itself.

The political economy that created the Rangers of the Bill Struth’s era is gone, over, a thing of the past.

Now in the 21st century, The People have to rely on Sevco.

Moreover, the basket of assets plays in a city that in 2014 voted to leave Britain.

Within that context, The People are stranded on the wrong shore of history as the political tide goes out on this Britishness thing.

Clearly, they cannot cling to any sporting success on the field.

That’s because there isn’t any.

Sevco find themselves sharing a city with a genuinely big football club.

One that can swat them aside with ease.

The nature of the Parkhead club means that it is more accessible and inclusive by its very nature.

Celtic is open to all; inclusivity was built into the DNA of the football club from day one.

Even the choice of the name, chosen so as to be welcoming to the native Scots, was the obverse of the Herrenvolk exceptionalism of Ibrox.

Over the last week or so two young lads from Argentina have been in Fair Caledonia to see their beloved Hoops batters Sevco and take in Alba’s stunning scenery.

They too are part of Celtic.

Bienvenidos hermanos!

You can follow these two brothers (Geronimo and Seba Ongarelli ) on Twitter @Argentinaceltic

Ibrox had another interested visitor on Saturday.

Arlene Foster (nee Kelly) from Contae Fear Manach was recently filmed speaking Irish at a Gaelscoil in the “Pravince”.

She claims that she was uplifted by the experience.

The former First Minister of the Six County statelet was then at Ibrox to watch the demolition derby.

I’m not sure how uplifting THAT experience was for her.

It certainly was for this Fenian in another part of Ulster.

I think it is worth noting that there was a time when Arlene Foster’s British Unionist worldview was mainstream on Clydeside.

It isn’t anymore.

However, it clings on at Ibrox and racism is central to that subculture.

Anyone who doesn’t face up to that fact is in denial.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion