Tag Archives: Irish

Martin McGuinness R.I.P.

“The terrorist is always the one with the smaller bomb.”

– Brendan Behan

Today is not the day for long obituaries or to debate the pros and cons of the peace process, nor is it the time (as the British media have done all day long) to wheel out opponents of the IRA to dance on the memory of the leader of Irish nationalism.

TAL Fanzine has its views on all of the  political twists and turns that have taken place as a result of the eternal peace process. However, on this day, we send our sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Martin McGuinness.

May he rest in peace.

Supporting Celtic: Class Consciousness & Political Identity

StMarysCelticBrakeClub1

Frank Devine is a graduate in Economic and Social History with Politics from the University of Strathclyde and a contributor to the ‘Celtic Minded’ books.  This blog is a transcript of Frank’s contribution to the series of History Talks organised by the Irish Heritage Foundation in Scotland.

Social Consciousness, Class and Political Identity

By Frank Devine

Introduction

This presentation is not about Celtic players, managers, directors or coaches. The focus of this paper will be on the Celtic supporter, on ‘Celtic Fandom’; specifically, I want to examine the Celtic phenomenon in the West of Scotland, particularly within the clubs key supporting heartlands of Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire.

Social Consciousness, Class and Political Identity will examine the local and global dimensions of the Celtic support and, despite the long-standing hostility and antipathy towards the club from many within Scottish football; this stands in contradistinction to how Celtic and their fans are viewed externally out-with Scotland.

Part Two will examine “Celtic Culture and the West of Scotland” and the Celtic supporting fanbase in the clubs historic heartlands while also highlighting the clubs historical and contemporary relevance within the world wide Irish Diaspora.

Part Three will focus on the centrality of the “Match Day” experience to the Celtic support and will highlight why Celtic is more than 90 minutes on the field of play to their huge army of supporters.

Part Four will examine the “Social and Political Consciousness” of the support and what makes the Celtic fan base unique in Scottish and British football, arguing that the supporters unique political, cultural, religious and social dimensions are made unintelligible without a proper and appropriate acknowledgement of the ethnic and cultural roots of the clubs core supporting fan base in Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire.

The Celtic support, however, does not exist in a vacuum, and profound changes in the Scottish political dispensation have been fully reflected among the Celtic support; indeed, it might be convincingly argued that the support has been a key driver of some of these changes within the Scottish body politic at a popular cultural level.

Social Consciousness, Class and Political Identity

Since 1887/1888 Celtic Football Club has been the sporting champions of the Irish Catholic working class community in the West of Scotland. Beyond being a ‘typical’ or ‘standard’ football club Celtic has an intrinsic political character which is evident in the social and cultural basis of its support in its historic heartland – which is the Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire areas of the West of Scotland. By the time of Europe’s second biggest football final held in 2003 in the Spanish city of Seville, Celtic’s support demonstrated its magnificence in the shape of a reported 80,000 (45,000 without tickets), travelling from all over the globe to Spain receiving the ‘Fair Play’ of the year awards from UEFA and FIFA for its outstanding behaviour as well as for creating a carnival around the event itself. In the words of FIFA, “For their exemplary fair and cordial conduct at the UEFA Cup Final in Seville”.

“Celtic Culture” and the West of Scotland

Celtic has a huge fan base throughout the Irish diaspora. However, the core of the support continues to reside in the West of Scotland, particularly in the Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire areas. Bradley in 1995 in his ground-breaking study “Religious and Ethnic Identity in Modern Scotland: Politics, Culture and Football”, highlighted that while there are hundreds of Celtic supporters clubs scattered throughout the Irish diaspora, as well as in Ireland itself, that there are 250 Celtic supporters clubs in Glasgow and another 125 Celtic supporters clubs in Lanarkshire comprised of between 20 and 100 members.

This is not surprising in that the club was formed specifically for this community. Glasgow Hibernian, Duntocher Hibernian, Mossend Celtic, Carfin Shamrock, Garngad Hibernian, Possilpark Celtic, Govan Harp, Whifflet Shamrock, Coatbridge Hibernian, Columba, Dumbarton Harp, Coatbridge Hibernian, Blantyre Celtic and many other clubs are likely to have been the original team of choice of many of the forefathers of the tens of thousands that today fill the various stands at Celtic Park in Glasgow. However, by the end of the nineteenth century the vast majority of the supporters of these clubs, and of the other Irish clubs that had been formed throughout the Irish immigrant communities in Scotland at that time, had begun to coalesce around ‘Glasgow’ Celtic, the most sturdy and successful of all of the clubs formed at that time.

Although it is now well over 100 years since the formation of Celtic the popular culture surrounding the club remains a primary manifestation of communal solidarity and identity among working class Irish descended Scots. Moreover, it is this culture that makes Celtic unique as a football club and as a social institution. It is a particular manifestation of Irishness among the world wide Irish diaspora and, as might be expected from a people deriving its heritage and origins from Irish history the support is marked by an anti-establishment ethos which is often viewed with hostility in Scotland.

StAndrewsCelticBrakeClubMatch Days

On the morning of ‘The Game’ supporters congregate in thousands of houses throughout Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire. Bank employees, the unemployed, social workers, bricklayers, teachers, production workers, insurance salespeople, shop workers, office workers, as well as a range of other occupations, come together under the one banner: a community is constituted. The vast majority of Celtic supporters, including those that sit in the expensive seats and the corporate boxes at Celtic Park, are working class or no more than one generation removed from a working class lifestyle. Indeed, given the reality of the Irish diasporic experience it would be fair to assert that the vast majority of Celtic supporters have never been to a Celtic match but connect with an emotional pull towards the ethnic dimension of the club.

Before and after matches Celtic supporters crowd into premises popularly viewed as Catholic, Irish or Celtic pubs throughout the West of Scotland. In fact one internet website – celticbars.com – suggests that there are over 1700 of these establishments world-wide in over 70 different countries which is an astonishing number of bars supporting one Scottish football club; however we all know that Celtic is much more, than simply a football club. In Glasgow licensed premises over the years that have attracted Celtic supporters include, Bairds Bar, Traders Tavern, Waxy’s Dargle, The WeeMans, Rosie O’Kane’s, The Sqirrel Bar, The Emerald Isle, The Hoops Bar, The Foggy Dew, Lynch’s/The Old Barns, Mulvey’s, The Tolbooth Bar, The Empire Bar/Costelloes, The Braemar Bar, The Caltonian, Mulvey’s and the Tolbooth Bar, most situated in and around the historic Celtic heartlands of Glasgow Cross, The Calton and The Gallowgate are packed with thousands of Celtic supporters, many of whom have made the pilgrimage from Ireland and further afield as well as from other parts of Scotland. These bars are instantly recognisable to anyone who walks through the Gallowgate district of Glasgow’s East End as well as a number of other places. Some have the Irish tricolour flying from the premises and some are pained in the green of Celtic and Ireland.

The same is true of licensed premises in other parts of Glasgow, for example in The Gorbals, Govan, Govanhill, Blackhill and ‘The Garngad’ as well as in other parts of the greater Glasgow area including Clydebank, Paisley, Greenock, Dumbarton and Port Glasgow and indeed, any number of other areas. In Lanarkshire Celtic supporters have in the past, or continue to congregate in, a huge number of clubs, pubs and bars long viewed as Celtic bars. These include – or included in previous years – such premises as the Commercial Bar – now the Priory Bar – and Finbars – now John Carrigans – and Mick Flynn’s in Blantyre, The Clock Bar and The Big Tree in Coatbridge, Franklyn’s Bar, McCormick’s Bar and Saints and Sinners in Bellshill, Tully’s Bar and the Railway Tavern in Motherwell. Other Celtic supporters will meet up in – or used to meet up in – Kelly’s Bar in Cleland, The Big Shop in Glenboig, the Era Bar and the King Lud in Craignuek, Doherty’s, the Auld Hoose and Hemingways Bar in Hamilton. Carrigan’s, The Hibernian Club, Carfin Vaults and McAuley’s bar in the Celtic stronghold of Carfin, as well as dozens of other pubs and clubs throughout the ‘heartlands’ are packed with supporters. Therefore and this is the important part, the ‘Celtic Culture’ goes well beyond the confines of Celtic Park and into the homes and communities of its historic support. Indeed, one can imagine this community also coming together in bars in Sydney, Hong Kong, New York and Toronto and a hundred other places dotted throughout the world. Celtic lives beyond the ‘Fever Pitch’ atmosphere of a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or a Wednesday evening.

Some of the bars frequented by supporters often have a Glasgow/West of Scotland based Irish ‘ballad’ band playing before supporters depart for the match – while other bars will have bands booked for after the match. Bands such as ‘The Blarney Pilgrims’, ‘Foggy Dew’, ‘Celtic Connection’, ‘Athenrye’, ‘The Shamrock Rebels’, ‘Galtimore’, Charlie and the Bhoys’, ‘The Wakes’, and ‘Shebeen’, as well as solo artistes like Patricia Ferns, Gary Og, Paddy Bonnar and Gerry McGregor are all well known in this culture that makes Celtic absolutely unique in Scottish and British football. Ballad Bands from Ireland, such as the ‘Wolfe Tones’, the ‘Young Wolfe Tones’ – sometimes referred to as the ‘Continuity Wolfe Tones’ – Spirit of Freedom, The Irish Brigade and Tuam are regular visitors to Glasgow and the West of Scotland and these bands are hugely popular amongst the support and they are regular fixtures at Celtic supporters social events, annual dances and ‘player of the year’ events.

These bands perform songs and ballads that have been sung by Celtic supporters for generations; songs such as ‘The Celtic Song’, ‘The Coronation Cup Song’, ‘The Ballad of Johnny Thompson’ and ‘The Willie Maley Song’. The bands also perform a wide range of tunes and ballads relating to the historical and contemporary political situation in Ireland. ‘The Boys of the Old Brigade’, ‘Kevin Barry’, ‘Let The People Sing’, ‘The Foggy Dew’, ‘The Merry Ploughboy’, ‘The Broad Black Brimmer of the IRA’ and ‘Sean South of Garryowen’. These are all hugely popular ballads that are synonymous with the Celtic support. Songs such as Sean South of Garryowen has been popular amongst the Celtic support since the 1960’s while the Boys of the Old Brigade has been sung at Celtic Park since the 1970’s.

StAugustinesLangloanCoatbridgeJimmyQuinnBannerBut this rich tradition of folk song goes back much further than the 1960’s. In fact this community singing of Irish songs and ballads has always been a defining characteristic of the Celtic support. The Man In The Know, a highly sympathetic and 100% partisan commentator for the Irish Catholic community newspaper of that time in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, The Glasgow Observer – which had 26 local editions in Scotland – commented in the 1920’s of the Celtic support assembled for a match at Ibrox Stadium that:

“The Celtic brake-clubs (supporters’ clubs) members are reasonable sentient human beings, are models of decorum and possess official testimonials to their blameless behaviour…The Celtic supporters are fond of singing and to this no one could reasonably object. On Saturday the boys sang to their hearts content. They gave us so many rousing choruses; Hail Glorious Saint Patrick, God save Ireland, Slievenamon, the Dear Little Shamrock, and the Soldiers Song. “…. When Cassidy’s goal made victory sure, it was fine to hear the massed thousands at the western end of the Ibrox oval chanting thunderously “On Erin’s Green Valleys’..”

The Man in the Know was far less complimentary about a now defunct football clubs’ supporters from the south side of Glasgow.

“On the Dalmarnock terracing on Saturday there was congregated a gang, thousands strong, including the dregs and scourings of filthy slumdom, unwashed yahoos, jailbirds nighthawks, won’t works, burro-barnacles and pavement pirates, all, or nearly all, in the scarecrow stage of verminous trampdom. This ragged army of insanitary pests was lavishly provided with orange and blue remnants…. Practically without cessation, the vagabond scum kept up a strident howl of the “Boyne Water” chorus. Nothing so bestially ignorant has ever been witnessed, even in the wildest exhibitions of Glasgow Orange bigotry……”

Before games much of the support board coaches organised by hundreds of Celtic supporters clubs. Originally known as ‘Brake Clubs’, they were previously organised throughout the catholic parishes of the West of Scotland. The Catholic parish has traditionally provided the basis for the evolution of many Celtic supporters clubs in the West of Scotland and further afield. The “Garthamlock Emerald”, “Mossend Emerald”, “Commercial Bar No 1 Blantyre”, “Claddagh Blantyre”, “Bothwell Emerald”, “Bellshill and District”, “Bellshill Brigada”, “Starry Plough”, “Son of Donegal”, “East Kilbride Athenry”, “Tom Williams Port Glasgow”, “St Brendan’s Linwood”, “Easterhouse Emerald”, “Garngad Celtic”, “Linnvale Shamrock”, “Notre Dame Motherwell”, “Nine In A Row Motherwell”, “Che Guevara Kirkmichael”, “Whifflet Saint Mary’s”, “Phil Cole Coatbridge”, “Chapelhall Shamrock”, and “Saint Mungo’s Shamrock” amongst them (although supporters clubs coaches have come under considerable pressure in recent years with increasing numbers of supporters opting for private transport to matches).

The communal singing and playing of recorded songs in licensed premises, the coaches of supporters clubs – the Celtic supporters club coach was often the vehicle – pun intended – whereby many young Celtic supporters became socialised into the ‘Celtic culture’ and educated into the songs and ballads of Celtic and Ireland – and in private transport, comes to a crescendo as thousands of supporters from Scotland, and from Ireland, England and beyond fill the stands of Celtic Park. It’s my central argument that supporting Celtic Football Club generates an enormous wave of communal solidarity among the fans, and indeed, that it is this ‘feeling’ of community that assures Celtic FC of the ‘passion of a people’.

Social and Political Consciousness

Given the cultivated evolution of a social conscience within Catholic education in Scotland, the Irish national origins of most of the Celtic support as well as their history of economic, social, religious and political marginalisation that has characterised much of the experience of the Irish in Scotland up until very recently, it is unsurprising that Celtic fans have long identified with Irish nationalism as well as working class and radical issues and causes.

The Celtic support (as well as many of the club’s officials and playing staff), were vocal, not only in their opposition to the detention of Irish political prisoners in the 1890’s but also to Britain’s involvement in the Boer War in the 1900’s. Celtic supporters, officials and playing staff also actively supported the Catholic petition for Catholic schools in the early twentieth century. In 1926 Celtic supporters barracked an opposing player who reputedly ‘scabbed’ on striking railway workers during the General Strike of that year. It is consistent with a Christian and Catholic ethos, as well as a left wing and socialist ethos, a view shaped by a concern for others, that the flags of the Basque Country and Palestine (people also perceived as being ‘oppressed’, are occasionally seen being flown by Celtic supporters on match days. The political and social consciousness of this support has been characteristic of the club since its very foundation. “Rebellion’, arguably, is part of the DNA of the Celtic support.

FRONT - TAL 36-mediumThe politics of the Celtic support is one of the things that make Celtic supporters distinctive in Scotland. In a wide ranging study into the attitudes of football supporters in Scotland in the early 1990’s one writer recorded an eighty-five per cent approval rating for the Labour Party among Celtic supporters. We can address the contemporary transformation in Celtic supporters voting attitudes in a moment. In 2001 up to 10,000 people – in the biggest pro-Irish demonstration in Scotland since the 1930’s – most, if not all of them Celtic supporters – attended a demonstration in Glasgow to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strikes of 1980-1981. Similar huge numbers were brought on to the streets of Glasgow for the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Strikes in 2011. To this very day the environs of Celtic Park on match day are a definite no go area for right wing, racist and fascist groups and Celtic supporters have been to the forefront of numerous attempts to combat the street presence of these groups in Glasgow and Lanarkshire in particular over the past 20-30 years. The anti- fascist and pro Irish republican TAL Fanzine has been distributed among Celtic supporters for decades and remains popular among a militant left wing cohort among the Celtic fan base. Of course, on the negative side there remain Celtic supporters who are ‘sectarian’ just as there are black people who are ‘racist’ whether in Africa, the USA or indeed, any of the countries that make up the UK or in Ireland itself. Racist and sectarian Celtic supporters would find no tolerance from this platform. Just witness those Celtic supporters who corrupt the meaning of Celtic and Irish songs by interjecting abusive or swear words or throwing in rhyming chants that completely distorts what the song or ballad is attempting to convey. It’s my view that the vast majority, as well as the core Celtic support, has always rejected such views.

Even apart from their national origins and cultural and religious make up, it might be appropriate to consider Celtic supporters as constituting an ethnic bloc considering their largely similar views on a range of pertinent political, social, cultural and religious views. This ‘culture of Celtic’ brings together many different people who share in the Irish and working class nature of the club and its traditions.

Contemporary Considerations

republicans-for-indyScotland, particularly Glasgow and the West of Scotland, which is the primary focus of this presentation, has underwent fundamental political, social, cultural and generational change over the past 12 months. Constituencies where the vote for the Labour Party could have been weighed rather than counted have fallen to a re-invigorated Scottish National Party (SNP), which was decisively defeated by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 percent in the Scottish Independence Referendum last year. However, in that vote in September, many of the strongholds of the Labour Party, where the ‘hard core’ Irish descended Catholic, Celtic supporting vote decisively opted for the Independence option, was followed in May by every single Labour Party seat in Glasgow and the West of Scotland being wiped off the face of the political map in the biggest transformation in Scottish politics in decades. This transformation is also fully reflected throughout ‘Celtic/Irish in Scotland’ cyberspace in a huge shift away from the Labour Party and a huge shift towards the SNP and Scottish independence (this despite many of those who opted for the independence option and the SNP vehemently denying that they are nationalists). I spoke to a Scottish Catholic educationalist about this, a man who holds a senior position within one of the biggest Catholic high schools in Glasgow. He claimed – rather vigorously, it must be said – that he no longer supported Celtic and that the Celtic support, particularly the younger element organised around the Green Brigade and other left wing elements of the support, had been ‘indoctrinated by university educated 40 and 50 year old Trotskyist entryists’ who were writing Green Brigade and other ‘Ultra’ Celtic supporters groups statements for them and who were hell bent on destroying the Celtic fan base in the same way that the Militant Tendency had attempted to take over the Labour Party in the early 1980’s. He also claimed that 30 and 40 year old drug taking, alcohol swigging, working class and unemployed ‘don’t give a fuck’ especially male, ‘rebel inclined’ and ‘cultural Catholics’ were the backbone of the SNP vote. It was one of the most disparaging and patronising attacks on working class Catholics that I have ever been exposed to. In reply I expressed the view that I felt his analysis of the Scottish-Irish working class was grossly simplistic and that there was no labelling of an entire working class community in such a manner when they were still supporting the Scottish Labour Party. I said we would need to agree to differ and offered my hand in friendship which was refused because, “You said my analysis was simplistic.”  The conversation was left there.

Conclusion:

The core Celtic support has an attachment to the club that has political, cultural, ethnic and religious dimensions. In a popular study of the Irish in Scotland in 2003 Burrowes describes what Celtic means to tens of thousands of people and provides a perceptive insight into the culture and ethos of the community that has built and sustained Celtic:

Celtic FC is their greatest triumph and is about showing what a deprived and impoverished community in a new country could, with determination accomplish..

Celtic is a special football club and their supporters constitute a unique, atypical and relatively cohesive component of West of Scotland society. The club is the sporting champion of the Scottish-born Irish descended working class. Since its formation in 1887/1888, Celtic has functioned as repository of cultural, political and ethnic identity for the Irish in Scotland.

NoSheepAtHampden

Flutes & Drums: The Marching Tradition In Scotland

The Glasgow-based Rory O’More Band who played for the Ancient Order of the Hibernians (AOH)
The Glasgow-based Rory O’More Band who played for the Ancient Order of the Hibernians (AOH)

A short history of Irish marching bands in Scotland

by FRANK DEVINE

Thanks to the author for permission to reproduce this piece which was first published by the Irish Voice in September 2014

HUNDREDS of thousands of people from Ireland have made their homes in Scotland over the past 150 or so years, with the migration of such a huge number of Irish people completely transforming the ethnic and religious character of lowland Scottish society. The Irish and their descendants are a multi-generational community in Scotland in that they can be second, third, fourth and fifth generation Irish in an ethnic context. The Irish-Scots have characteristics that are shared by Irish communities in North America in terms of a continuing attachment and identification with Ireland and aspects of Irish culture, music, sport, literature, history and politics as well as, of course, religious faith.


A vibrant community network became established over time usually organised around the Catholic parishes which had been built in the wake of An Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger) in Ireland. For example, Holy Family Parish, Mossend (1868) provided a range of activities for parish members, including reading rooms and a ‘penny library,’ recreational facilities such as sports and games rooms, football rooms and other facilities including rooms where marching bands were able to practice. At different stages in the development of the parish operating from the large parochial hall, there was an amateur operatic society, debating clubs, reading clubs, literary societies, marching bands, football teams, penny banks, Legion of Mary, Catholic Young Men’s Society and various other Catholic and ethnic groups and associations introducing a new ethnic and religious dynamic to west of Scotland society. The formations of Dundee Hibernian FC, Edinburgh Hibernian FC and Celtic FC were further manifestations of the presence of a new dynamic in urban Scottish society.

Marching tradition in Scottish society

Working class organisations and associations have traditionally sought to use public demonstrations as a vehicle for protest, to celebrate and to commemorate any number of issues and causes felt important to their membership and wider supporting community. Over the years this has included organisations as diverse as the Labour Party, Scottish National Party, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Salvation Army, Band of Hope, Boys Brigade, Independent Labour Party, Orange Order, various trade unions and civic campaigns groups on a huge number of issues.

Indeed this also the case within the Irish Catholic community of the West of Scotland as well as other areas of Irish settlement including in the east of the country in Edinburgh and Dundee and other areas. The Irish community wanted to express themselves in the same manner as other parts of the community and marching and parades were central to working class identity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in particular.

Marching organisations

Just some of the organisations who have organised public processions among the Irish-Scottish community have included—in earlier years—the O’Connell Association, Irish National Foresters (INF), Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), the League of the Cross, The Boys Guild, and the Knights of St Columba.

In relation to the contemporary period, various Irish republican supporting organisations including the Republican Band Alliance, Irish Scottish Bands Association, the West of Scotland Bands Association, Cairde na hÉireann and the Celtic Commemoration Committee, as well as a number of Hunger Strike Committees and commemoration committees formed specifically to organise support for or to commemorations the hunger strikes in Ireland in 1980 and 1981.

Flute bands

Marching bands can be a significant cultural factor for many people in Scotland with the Scottish Pipe Band movement being one example with hundreds of pipe bands in existence in many parts of Scotland.
The Loyal Orange Institution of Scotland, an organisation of Irish Protestant migrants to Scotland —often arriving at the same time as their Irish Catholic counterparts—and sometimes coming from the same areas of Ulster, have a semi- autonomous relationship with about 60-70 flute bands throughout West Central Scotland.

The organisation of young working class males from the Irish Catholic community into marching flute bands has been an established feature of social life in some working class areas as well. While there have been over 80 Irish Nationalist or Republican flute bands formed in Scotland over the last 50 or so years, the period when a ‘flute band culture’ could have been said to have flourished amongst the Irish Scottish community was in the last part of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century.

Research in the Glasgow Observer—the most important Irish Catholic community newspaper in Scotland in the period under review—suggests that many Catholic parishes in the west of Scotland and further afield had marching bands and that these were often flute bands, and they were organised by such as the INF and the AOH as well as a number of other ethnic and Catholic associations.

Elaine McFarland in her Protestants First: Orangeism in 19th Century Scotland suggested that the typical flute band had a base drummer, four side drummers and 12-16 ‘fluters’ and while her research focused on Orangeism, the same structure and format was almost certainly the case for the Hibernian bands that were being formed among the youth of the Irish diaspora in Scotland.

The Hibernian marching bands were typically named after individuals or symbols viewed as culturally, politically or religiously significant to the Irish Catholic community; for example Langloan Sarsfields (Coatbridge), Wolfe Tone (Townhead), Robert Emmet (Gorbals), John F Kennedy (Paisley), John F Kennedy (Perth), Saint Patrick’s (Hamilton), Mossend Emmet, Rawyards Shamrock (Airdrie), Saint Brigid’s (Hamilton), Coatbridge Shamrock and Govan Shamrock among others.

Irish marching songs and ballads, such as The West’s Awake, The Wearing of the Green, Marching to Drogheda, The Cavan Buck, The Minstrel Boy, The Rising of the Moon, Kelly the Boy from Killane, God Save Ireland and A Nation Once Again would be performed and the bands would attract admiring crowds of supporters from among the local Irish Catholic population who would accompany the Irish processions.

Public processions

The Foresters and Hibernians were able to attract tens of thousands of members and supporters to their public processions up until the late 1930’s. The INF was estimated to have had over 100,000 members in Scotland before the First World War and still had 5000 Juvenile members in 1939. In 1913 thousands of members of the INF and dozens of flute, pipe and brass bands marched through Whifflet in Coatbridge.

Some 30,000 AOH members participated in a large demonstration in Hamilton in 1912, which was led by the famous O’Neill War Pipe Band from Armagh in Ireland. In 1914, 50,000 Hibernians marched through Kilmarnock in North Ayrshire while in 1919 29 male divisions and 14 female divisions (branches of members), marched through the Lanarkshire village of Glenboig. A huge Hibernian demonstration from Garngad to Queens Park in 1921 was attended by thousands of marchers and accompanied by dozens of flute, pipe and accordion bands from all over the areas of Irish settlement in Scotland.  Led by AOH President and MP for West Belfast, Joseph Devlin, in a horse and carriage, the huge demonstration halted to allow Devlin to lay a wreath at the cenotaph in memory of the thousands of Hibernians who had fought and died in the First World War.

While they were strongest in Ireland and Scotland before the ‘Great Slaughter’ of 1914-1918, the Hibernians continued to put impressive numbers on the streets throughout the 1920s and 1930s, including large demonstrations in Dumbarton, Hamilton, Garngad and Blantyre. Indeed, as late as 1939 it was estimated that a crowd of 40,000 participated in the Annual AOH Demonstration in the strongly Hibernian village of Carfin in Lanarkshire.

Nevertheless, rising sectarian and racist tensions in Scottish society overwhelmingly directed at the Irish-Scottish community by far right elements and loyalists encouraged the AOH leadership in Scotland to call a halt to public demonstrations, leading to the disbandment of dozens of flute bands throughout Glasgow and other areas of Irish settlement in Scotland.

Some of the bands regrouped under the banner of the National Unemployed Workers Movement, a militant left-wing body, which was organised under the auspices of the Communist Party of Great Britain. In some instances, for example in Coatbridge and Parkhead, local Hibernian flute bands appear to have joined the NUWM en masse. In other areas, former members of Hibernian bands were instrumental in forming and providing musical tuition to the new NUWM flute bands that were springing up in some working class areas and which were to the fore in providing the musical accompaniment to the ‘hunger marches’ against unemployment that were a feature of the 1930s period.

In the post-1945 period the AOH continued to function—claiming 46 divisions in 1952 and 15 to 20 divisions by the 1960s—and although there were examples of Hibernians marching in places like Bargeddie and Langloan in Coatbridge during the late 1950s, it was not until 1962 that the AOH regrouped for public processions in Blantyre in Lanarkshire in the first national demonstration since Carfin in 1939. Hibernian divisions and flute and accordion bands began to reappear in Paisley, Port Glasgow, Hurlford (Kilmarnock), Calderbank, Carfin, Hamilton, Garngad, Calton, Gorbals and Govan and in the east of the country in Dundee, Perth and Edinburgh.

Nonetheless, while the AOH failed to mobilise the sort of numbers attracted to their demonstrations in the inter-war period and earlier, by the mid to late 1970s crowds of two or three thousand were not uncommon at Hibernian processions in Newarthill and Carfin, Coatbridge, Wishaw and Hamilton.

Support for Republicanism

Describing themselves as pro-Irish Republican, non-sectarian and anti-fascist from the start, the James Connolly Republican Flute Band was formed in the Govan area of Glasgow in the mid-1970s and had been refused permission to parade at the annual AOH demonstration in Coatbridge in 1976 on account of their alleged Republican sympathies.

‘The Connolly defection’ was soon followed by that of the Kevin Barry (Gorbals/Calton) and the John Ogilvie (Wishaw). Anger at the AOH for holding to the constitutional nationalist position they had held to consistently since their formation in the 19th century led to others being attracted to the developing Republican movement as more defections of bands and personnel before, during and after the hunger strikes which was leaving a profound impression among some young Scots of Irish descent.

However, the actual catalyst for the bands becoming organised was undoubtedly the attacks on the bands by Loyalist paramilitary supporters, fascists and members of the Orange Order who prevented a 500 strong march of Republican supporters, bandsmen and left-wing groups from Queen’s Park reaching the city centre in June 1979. This was repeated in November 1980, when 1000 supporters of the hunger strikers were attacked by thousands of Loyalists as they marched from the Garngad to the City Halls in Candleriggs.

Confrontations with loyalists, determined to ‘drive the ‘troops out’ supporters off the streets,’ was an occasional feature of Republican flute band mobilisation throughout the period examined, but the vast majority of marches tended to pass off peacefully. Organised under the banner of the Republican Band Alliance (Scotland), by the middle of the 1980s bands had been formed in many different areas.

Mobilisation

The Republican bands consciously identified with the contemporary Republican campaign against the British presence in the North of Ireland and it is little wonder that they adopted names that reflected those allegiances.

This was particularly evident in the case of, for example, the Billy Reid (Parkhead) the Twinbrook Martyrs (Blackhill/Garngad), Rising Phoenix (Edinburgh), Patrick Pearse (Lochee), Wolfe Tone (Craigneuk), Brendan Hughes (Craigneuk), Cambuslang Republican, Garngad Republican, United Irishmen (Coatbridge), Plains Republican, Port Glasgow Republican, H-Block Martyrs (Possil), Carntyne Emerald, Tom Williams (Calton), Ronnie Bunting/Noel Lyttle (New Stevenston), Bridgeton Republican, Bryson/Mulvenna (Blackhill), Sean McIlvenna (Calton), Sean Treacy (Nitshill) and Coatbridge Republican.

Although the bands began to organise processions through areas of Irish settlement in the south side and east end of Glasgow, as well as the neighbouring town and villages of Lanarkshire, it would be fair to assert that, for many, marching in Ireland was a highlight of the year for many of the young band members. As such, commemorations and
demonstrations were attended throughout every corner of Ireland at particular times by Scottish Irish flute bands, including events in Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Tipperary, Antrim, Tyrone, Donegal, Kildare, Wexford and other areas of Republican support in Ireland.

As well as marches taking place in cities like Liverpool, pickets and protests have been held outside English prisons, which incarcerated Irish Republican prisoners. Pickets were placed by the bands on the factory in Sanquar in the Scottish Borders, which made plastic bullets used by the British Army in Ireland and which caused many fatalities and injuries. The bands participated in marches in support of Scottish independence at Bannockburn and particular bands had an association with Scottish Republicanism through the auspices of the Scottish Republican Socialist Party. Flute bands participated in Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demonstrations through the centre of Glasgow as well in the early 1980s.

Demonstrations

Over the last 30 years, demonstrations by the Republican bands have brought thousands of band members, marchers and supporters on to the streets in the biggest pro-Irish demonstrations in Scotland since the 1930s. Nevertheless, the right to hold marches that support Republican positions on Ireland has had to be fought for over and over again in the face of determined Loyalist and far right opposition.

The James Connolly March in Edinburgh was a regular target for far-right activists and Loyalists. The same extremist cohorts have also focused their attentions on Bloody Sunday Commemorations and other Republican activity in Glasgow city centre. Loyalists have traditionally viewed Glasgow city centre as ‘their city centre.’   

A document written by Jimmy Wright, a member of the James Connolly Flute Band, who participated in the troops out demonstration from Queen’s Park to the City Centre—but which only got as far as the Gorbals—in 1979 provides a flavour of what those first Republican marches in Glasgow were like for the participants and the young band members.

“The march lined up in ranks in the park and the tension was unbelievable,” he said.
“There was an estimated 400 of us and somewhere in the region of 3000 loyalists. They lined both sides of the road outside Queen’s Park and had taken over every corner for about 100 yards down Victoria Road. The majority appeared to be drunk and they were singing and chanting loyalist slogans such as ‘No Surrender,’ singing The Sash My Father Wore and God Save the Queen.

“We marched out from Queen’s Park and the Loyalists and Orangemen went berserk. The police had mounted officers at the front and side of the ‘troops out’ march and they seemed quite happy at the prospect of us being beaten to a pulp—in fact they were laughing and joking between themselves that the ‘Fenians’ were going to get murdered. Ten yards out of the park and a hail of missiles rained down on us, including nuts and bolts, tins of soup, bottles of milk, eggs with acid injected into them and various other objects they could lay their hands on.”

In November 1980, more than 1000 Republican supporters, left-wing groups and band members successfully completed the route from Garngad to the City Halls in Candleriggs. Thousands of Loyalists made determined efforts to stop the march, which was famously led by Protestant Evangelical preacher Pastor Jack Glass of Glasgow carrying aloft a Union Flag.

The concerted attempts by Loyalists to prevent Republicans from marching through Glasgow encouraged the flute bands to become organised in the Republican Band Alliance. By 1983, thousands of pro-Irish marchers, Irish solidarity and left-wing groups and flute bands successfully marched through the city centre in the face of determined Loyalist opposition.

In Coatbridge, an estimated 4000 marchers and supporters participated in a ‘Free The Guildford Four’ demonstration in 1984 accompanied by flute bands from Lanarkshire and Glasgow.

By 2001 the Republican newspaper An Phoblacht claimed that more than 10,000 people had marched from Garngad to Queen’s Park to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Hunger Strikes in 1980-1981.

Political disagreements between different Republican factions over events in Ireland have led to splits in the bands movement at different junctures over the years and new organisations have emerged to replace the RBA. These have included West of Scotland Band Association, Cairde na hÉireann, Independent Republican Bands (Scotland), and Celtic Commemoration Committee.

Thousands of people have supported Hunger Strike commemoration marches through the city centre especially in 2001 and 2011 in the largest pro-Irish marches seen in Scotland for 70 or 80 years.

Bloody Sunday commemoration marches have marched through George Square in scenes unimaginable to an earlier generation of Republican supporters in Scotland.

Commemoration marches in memory of James Connolly have seen Republicans and socialists being joined by flute bands from Glasgow and Lanarkshire who have marched by Connolly’s birthplace in Edinburgh’s Little Ireland in the Cowgate district.

The new independent organisations have in their ranks such flute bands as the Glasgow Socialist, Irish Citizen Army Memorial (Tollcross), Irish Republican Martyrs, while the Sinn Fein linked Cairde na hÉireann bands include the Blood upon the Rose (Glasgow), Volunteer Martin ‘Doco’ Doherty (Govan), and Kevin Barry (Calton).

Future

The Republican marching organisations in Scotland are likely to be able to continue marching and commemorating and protesting into the future and, at particular junctures, they are likely to be able to mobilise thousands of people. This is especially the case when one considers the upcoming centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and there can be little question that the various marching organisations in Scotland will be determined to commemorate that seminal event in Irish Republican history.

Nonetheless, Republican flute bands in Scotland form part of an Irish Nationalist subculture in Scotland that, in itself, is part of a wider political and cultural world within the Irish-Scottish community that esteems expressions of ‘Irishness.’ There is little doubt that young people in certain areas of Irish settlement in Scotland are likely to continue to express their identification with Ireland and Republicanism through the medium of marching flute bands into the foreseeable future.

Frank Devine is a history and politics graduate of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. One of his main interests over the years has been the study of popular cultural forms within working class communities in West Central Scotland. He is especially interested in the working class Irish Catholic population of Glasgow and the West of Scotland. His honours dissertation was titled Working Class Culture and Irish Identity: Flute Bands, and examined the development of the republican band movement in Scotland following the hunger strikes in Ireland in 1980 and 1981. He was also a contributor to Celtic Minded: Essays on Religion, Politics, Society, Identity…. and Football, and was one of the editors of Changing Places: An Anthology of Verse in 2011

‘They think it’s all over… It is now!’

Every Picture Tells A Story

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein meets Prince Charles Battenburg Windsor, heir to the British throne
Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein meets Prince Charles Battenburg Windsor, heir to the British throne – Tuesday, 19th May 2015, Galway, Ireland

Remember the days when the highest honour for any republican leader was to shake the hand of a fellow revolutionary or to lay the wreath at the grave of a leader of his people?

Martin McGuinness  and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein meet ANC leader Nelson Mandela
Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein meet the ANC President and legendary leader of his people Nelson Mandela
AdamsLaysWreathArafatGrave
Gerry Adams lays a wreath at the tomb of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah, West Bank, Occupied Palestine
Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, IRA Funeral
Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, IRA Funeral
Gerry Adams, IRA Colour Party
Gerry Adams, IRA Colour Party
Martin McGuinness, IRA Colour Party
Martin McGuinness, IRA Colour Party

 

 

 

 

Adams & Morrison, The Ballot Box & The Armalite
Adams & Morrison, The Ballot Box & The Armalite
His Marty Meets Her Maj
His Marty Meets Her Maj
Shaking The Queen's Hand
Shaking The Queen’s Hand
Her Majesty is very 'handy'
Her Majesty is very ‘handy’

 

Latuff-sinn-fein-meet-queen

From this...
From this…
adamscharles3
… to this.
Latuff-sinn-fein-to-meet-the-queen-2
Brazilian revolutionary artist Carlos Latuff was so outraged by the decision to shake the hand of the British Monarch that he penned this epitaph for Sinn Fein in 2012

Opposing the criminalisation of Irish republicans is a principle not an option…

 

GerryBeard

TAL Fanzine opposes the criminalisation of republicanism by the British state…

The above statement means that we oppose every detention on trumped up charges, without question or favour. It doesn’t matter what you think of Sinn Fein’s attitude to other arrests and campaigns, the correct republican position is to show solidarity with all of those criminalised by the PSNI, including Gerry Adams.

In the last 24 hours the discussion around the arrest of Mr Adams has demonstrated that political sectarianism affects republicanism every bit as much as it does the left… There is no way forward without unity around basic principles such as criminalisation.

Sinn Fein must also accept that there are republicans who disagree with them for principled political reasons. They are not all militarists and they should not be dismissed as such. I believe that republican solidarity is a two-way street and that Sinn Fein can also play a positive role in its development. We have to start somewhere and the bottom line is that republicans must unite in opposition to the state’s policy of criminalisation.

We fully endorse the following statement by Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society:

“Republicans must oppose political policing and we must oppose it irrespective of which individuals, parties or communities it’s directed against. Political policing does not occur in a vacuum. It is part of the UK state’s ideological war against republicanism. The state does not just want to jail some individuals, or damage some political parties. The state wants to destroy republicanism as a revolutionary vehicle capable of challenging state power.

“Of course this is why republicans (and working class people generally) do not endorse policing or other repressive state apparatus. It is also why we must be principled and consistent. Gerry Adams, like Ivor Bell and other political prisoners should be released. Any talk of ‘truth processes’ should be put on hold until the Irish people are in control of their own destiny without outside interference or impediment. All Ireland referendum now!”

JCS-politicalpolicing (2)

 

EDL – Shameless Bastards!

 EDL leader arrested

By ‘Malatesta

On Saturday, Tommy Robinson of the EDL held what he called a charity walk but which was in fact a bout of shameless self-publicity and a media grab that fed his nasty little ego for another week but failed to give a much needed boost to his failing and splintered organisation. Tommy had applied to plod for permission for his ‘Charity Walk’ which Scotland Yard denied and told him in no uncertain terms, in a widely distributed document, that he would be arrested, if he entered the East End.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?…01075574.30539.161167380652003&type=1&theater
Here’s a tip: if plod issues a letter telling you they will arrest you if you do something, and you do it, don’t complain when they arrest you. By doing precisely this Robinson got his weekly media fix and so he could disingenuously claim to be some sort of martyr. As opposed to a serial criminal with a long police record. When Robinson contravened the order and was promptly arrested he was luckily accompanied by several TV camera crews all vulturing over him for some easy pickings.

Robinson had said he was going to walk from Marble Arch to Woolwich via the East London Mosque to ‘commemorate’ Lee Rigby the soldier who was murdered recently. Apart from the fact that it was highly unlikely he could manage more than a couple of miles, what an inflammatory trip via the mosque had to do with Lee Rigby’s ‘memory’ is anyone’s guess. The little Muppet set off with cousin Beaker and was shadowed by 3 plod vans and our intrepid reporter from EDL News. After barely 10 minutes they stopped off for a McDonald’s – which shows they had no intention of doing the full stretch: greasy fried food is not good for long distance walking. After stuffing their faces they set off again only this time losing their rather overweight cameraman who couldn’t match their bovine pace and dropped further and further behind. We eventually saw him again in Woolwich getting a parking ticket outside Wetherspoon’s. Well done. As the Muppets entered Aldgate there was a confrontation with two anti-fascists which caused Tommy to start whining ‘arrest them! arrest them!’ as the police arrested him.

This film shows that KKKev hit out first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xV-hPh-jz-4

Robinson was dragged off to the plod van where his vain delusions of martyrdom could hatch. In case you don’t know, the charity for which he was embarrassing had rejected him and the EDL’s money as toxic (Help 4 Heroes also rejected EDL money) so his march was not for a sick girl but for a sick boy desperate for column inches. The Rigby family have also publicly distanced themselves from Robinson.

Meanwhile, we headed off to Woolwich where the Armed Services Day was in full swing. After searching the area we came across a group of 20 anti-fascists but very few EDL. As we headed back into Woolwich we found the EDL unsurprisingly kettled by plod in Wetherspoon’s. They didn’t get the chance to lay flowers in memory of Rigby as the Army barracks didn’t want them hijacking the day and so their mission completely failed. Instead, they did what they do best: got pissed on cheap lager. Well done.
http://via.me/-cytiv9y

So all in all not a great day for the EDL: leaders arrested; followers denied laying flowers; poor turnout and all round recrimination from right and left for Robinson’s shameless hijacking of Armed Forces Day, Rigby’s murder and the little girl’s charity with even some halfwit bugles from the far right Casuals claiming that he is a ‘f***ing attention seeking, money grabbing parasite.’ Well said you wee arsespangle!
http://twitpic.com/czw86n

As was intended the EDL foot and mouth soldiers immediately started whinging, claiming that the police were enforcing Sharia law – which was almost as good as when they referred to David Cameron as ‘a cultural Marxist’ (whatever that means). The EDL balloons also claimed that Whitechapel is a ‘no-go area’ for non-Muslims. Sorry fellers but anyone who cares to stroll up Brick Lane for a fine salt beef bagel, stop for a pint in one of the many bars or perhaps even do a wee bit of shopping in Spitalfields will tell you that this is a blatant and absolute lie by made up by people who have obviously never even been there.
http://twitpic.com/czu0ee

Despite Robinson getting plenty of publicity this week, the EDL completely failed to mobilise any significant numbers on the day or indeed organise much beyond a round at ’Spoons. Be seeing you!

It’s only a friendly

Kellys_Eye

by Kelly’s Eye

Over the course of last week, Brentford FC made the announcement that they were suspending ticket sales to Celtic fans as they could not cope with the overwhelming demand for tickets. As the week reached its latter half, Celtic announced that no tickets will be made available on the day of the match and remaining ticket sales, only available in the Bill Axbey stand; will be sold exclusively to season ticket holders. Non season ticket holders, particularly those living down south, are now beginning to purchase tickets in the home end. It is astounding that a fixture, not exactly enthralling, in the lead up to the 2013/2014 season, is capable of attracting so many supporters. Then I remember what a special club I am talking about, one with a unique support, renowned for generating an ear splitting atmosphere in great numbers – no matter the occasion or where the location.

Throughout the week, I kept an eager eye on ticket news and finally relaxed on Friday, when much to my delight, I was fortunate enough to hear the sound of tickets in the terracing section of the Brook Road Stand, fall on my doormat. Over the last few days with the excitement building, I have been reminiscing over some of the great friendlies and testimonials of the modern era. These ‘money spinners’ have often left great memories both on and off the park for me.

giggs3Perhaps the best testimonial that I can recall is from Old Trafford for Ryan Giggs’ in 2001. This was a real tempestuous, fast paced affair. United, littered with galactics ranging from Roy Keane to the then debutant Ruud Van Nistelrooy, were outplayed by the hoops and found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline. After just 70 seconds, Didier Agathe skinned Phil Neville before sliding a low driven cross into the path of the poised Chris Sutton, who got his body positioned well over the ball to duly dispatch a by no means simple chance. Just two minutes later, Neil Lennon stole possession from another newcomer Sebastian Veron, and played a slick one two with king Henrik, before slotting in a rare neat finish and doubling Celtic’s lead! The 15,000 travelling fans (officially, although with the inclusion of those in the home end, the estimated figure was as high as 23,000) were sent into delirium and milking the moment.

giggs2Even some quick feet from Roy Keane before laying on a sitter for Van Nistelrooy to net his first of many United goals, could not dampen the Celtic fans spirits; as they continued to robustly enjoy the sing song. Sutton and Neville, then Lennon and Scholes were soon eyeball to eyeball in two aggressive ‘handbag’ exchanges as temperatures begun to rise. David Beckham became the target of fishing from the Celtic support as they enjoyed dangling the rod, fully equipped with bait, in an amusing verbal lashing of Beckham. This was merited however, for moments earlier Jackie McNamara had landed a fine tackle on David but he proceeded to shove him in the chest before violently kicking out at Chris Sutton. Cue the chants of ‘Argentina’ from the away support – no doubt a jibe at his similar misdemeanour at the World Cup some years earlier. The referee was certainly generous in not administering a red card, perhaps the fixture being billed a ‘friendly’ influenced his leniency on this occasion.

giggs1

In the 29th minute Beckham put the cherry on the cake for Celtic fans after a careless pass allowed Europe’s golden boot winner, Henrik Larsson to fend off three red shirts before squaring to Paul Lambert. Paul side footed a finesse strike that found its way into Barthez’s bottom left corner.

Mid-way through the second half, Veron showed just why Sir Alex Ferguson had paid £28.1m to acquire his services, with a sweet volley into the top corner from long range. The hoop’s replied swiftly though. A free kick was awarded in Lubo territory. Need I say the outcome? In the interests of accuracy I will confirm that the magician Moravcik curled a right footed free kick from the left edge of the box, rising beyond the wall and elegantly dipping out-with the reach of the stationery Fabian Barthez! To round off the day Van Nistelrooy netted once more to gain his brace and Beckham was substituted to the sound of 20,000 jeers outweighing the 47,000 adulating voices. Full time – Manchester United 3-4 Celtic a great scoreline and a fine atmosphere to match.

norwich1

After much thought I have chosen the second friendly of the recent era to write about, just slightly better than our 2-0 victory over Spurs at Wembley in 2009, as the game on 22nd May 2012 at Carrow Road, a testimonial for Adam Drury. This decision made purely based on the carnage in the stands and the birth of ‘Don’t Sell McCourt.’

It was a day of fine Anglican sunshine and 4,000 Celtic fans made the trip to Norwich for an encounter taking place ten days after our season had ended: this all the more commendable when you consider that it was a Wednesday evening match. The Celtic team fielded was very much experimental and the game was rather dull. In reality Norwich never got out of second gear and strolled to a 2-0 victory.

juniorcapoAs usual the Celtic support managed to create a party, overshadowing the game itself. Indeed this was the case in this instance and Norwich fans seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. A sea of green white filled the pubs and areas roundabout the stadium, appearing to systematically run through our array of songs. Both sets of fans were seen singing together and the chant ‘one Paul Lambert’ seemed to connect the two supports. As kick off was approaching a large number of Celtic fans began crowding around a young lad held aloft – acting as junior capo! It was electric and something canaries’ fans’ were stunned by.

With more and more of the 4,000 tims clicking through the turnstiles, the earlier mentioned carnage seemed to reach a greater level. Under the stand, where Norwich City FC staff were accustomed to serving the odd pie and pushing the boat out a Bovril, Celtic supporters decided to belt out ‘Don’t sell McCourt, Paddy McCourt I just don’t think you understand, that if you sell McCourt, Paddy McCourt, your gonna’ have a riot on your hands’ to the tune of ‘Achy breaky heart’. Pint in hand, voice box in overdrive and feet springing such that a hurdler would be proud, the bhoys did not stop. It truly was incredible and the song was catching on a treat.

Once the action had begun, Celtic continued to sing in adoration of their underused hero. The visuals on display were equally as sublime. We indulged in some heartfelt renditions of rebellious songs and those remembering our Irish heritage, no doubt unpopular with the home support but nevertheless they did not air any complaints! At this time, confirmation of Oldco ranger’s liquidation was imminent and thus the repeated chanting of ‘Having a party when rangers die’ only added to the euphoria and raised the volume until the pinnacle of racket. Nothing new to us, but jaw dropping to the opposing fans, the right hand side of the Celtic end roared ‘Celtic’ for the left hand side to return the cry, ‘C’mon you Bhoys in Green’  – you know the drill. This was maintained for several minutes and received rapturing applause from the home section.

With 57 minutes on the clock Celtic begun to perform the huddle in tribute to the death of the now defunct rangers FC, after a bit of light hearted jeering serving as encouragement, the whole of Carrow Road was soon joining the Celtic section in the huddle. A great sight. To close with this game, the final ten minutes featured relentless singing of ‘Don’t Sell McCourt’, this consistent fantastic chant could only be met with applause by the Norwich end and possibly the finest tribute came during the 86th minute when John Hartson, commentating on the match, simply laughed and said ‘outstanding again’. At full time the tannoy aired ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, a chant that both supports indulge in; before a closing gesture of playing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ that Norwich fans to their credit joined in with. A fantastic away day and one of the very best in recent times; domestic and European matches included!