Police Seek Those Who Sent Bullets to Celtic Players
It seems all to often that the topic of nationalism and soccer is discussed on this blog, and sad that its often following acts of violence or intimidation. Unfortunately this same spectre has bared its ugly head in an old familiar place, Glasgow Celtic as bullets were sent through the mail to several players.
Glasgow Celtic, with is bright green hoops is many things to many people, but for a few people who just can’t let the past go, its a symbol of Irish Catholics exiles and paramilitary support. Indeed, throughout the Troubles that consumed Northern Ireland from the 1960′s to the end of the late 1990′s, the green of a Celtic jersey was more a uniform or battle standard than a team jersey. The side would only except Catholics, any Protestants who played for the Bhoys were booed off the pitch, or threatened.
The situation was much the same at Glasgow Rangers, where the blue stood as a standard for Northern Irish Unionists, with similar results. In recent times, both clubs have tried to move beyond their troubled pasts, and while there is no love lost between the supporters of both clubs, there are no longer pitched battles fought around the stadiums after derby matches. This makes is all the more sad that we have to report three packages containing bullets were sent to Niall McGinn, Niel Lennon, and Paddy McCourt through the mail sometime last week and were intercepted at the the Royal Mail sorting office in Mallusk, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This was clearly meant as an act of intimidation, and has not place in modern football.
As we learned so tragically from the involvement of soccer supporters organizations in the lead up the Balkan wars, football should never be nationalized at a club level. The fans of Red Star Belgrade, committed some of the worst war crimes on seen on the European continent since the end of World War II. They fought together in the war as a cohesive paramilitary unit called Arkan’s Tigers, brought their trophies back to display at half time during Red Star soccer matches. It was members of this group that disrupted the Serbia Italy match and one of the members of their supporters organization who sat atop the dividing glass taunting police. Oh, and by the way they brought a hand grenade to the match.
Whoever is responsible for sending these bullets in the mail to Celtic players deserves to be caught, and punished for their acts of intimidation. But most of all, they need to understand the war in Northern Ireland is over, peace has prevailed, no one wants to go back on either side save for a few extremists, and there is no place for that kind of activity in modern Scottish football.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
About the author
I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+