23 Jan 2014

Overdue apologies: of Huddleboard and Celtic blogging

Some time back I wrote a blog which was an opinion piece designed to do three things. First to highlight the way too much criminal, abusive and threatening material is tolerated on some football websites. And second, in the wake of the Limond conviction at Ayr Sheriff Court, that these sites should consider their internal monitoring procedures or the police may end up doing it for them.

It is apparent that the site in question – The Huddleboard, a messageboard for Celtic fans – says they have taken action against such material appearing and they are to be commended for that. Hopefully all other sites are taking note. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the blog I wrote but it certainly shows the issue is concerning people as it should post-Limond.

What’s depressing is that the site moderators have not yet apologised to Angela Haggerty for the revolting abuse of her they allowed on their site. They should do so. When you make a mistake you man up, say sorry and move on – see below.

23_celtic_g_wThe second point of the blog was to gently suggest there has been a tendency to sweep this kind of thing under the carpet and for the MSM (mainstream media) in Scotland to ignore therefore the Limond case as unworthy of comment. I note that at least one Scottish tabloid ran the Limond story front-page. Once again that is to be commended and rather underlines the point that the blog was making. This is the way things should be moving.

The third point was that a club which has suffered reputational damage – because of seat-vandalism episodes at other grounds, the fireworks at home, the UEFA sanctions and the Green Brigade issues and section closures – is a club with a problem.

Some might add Holland to all the above but the question of the police action there arises and the jury’s out, so to speak.

Apologies due

Leaving Holland aside the overwhelming majority of decent fans need to discuss these issues. And I know they are. Yes, a small minority of troublemakers, and so on – but yes, it is being noticed outside the west of Scotland and outside Scotland altogether. Noticed by UEFA and denial and what-aboutery in response to unpalatable facts is pointless.

But to galvanize that important debate I went well over the top and I apologise. No ifs, no buts. The Millwall analogy and comments about the level of violence were crass and wrong, taken literally. And clearly the way I wrote them it certainly looked as if I meant it to be taken that way, rather than a metaphor for how easily a reputation is acquired because of a tiny minority and how hard it is to shake off.

But life isn’t fair. As a life-long Newcastle United fan I have yet to hit a horse in anger. Really. Even a nag. Even a Sunderland-supporting Shetland pony (more common than many suppose). But because of the actions of one, the many are tarred. You just have to take it. And yes, I fully realise whilst we are at it that the team I support topped the league for football arrests the last time I looked.

Cue banter about it being the only league we’ll ever top…

Anyhow – my apology was due. And duly delivered. Now, Huddleboard moderators, do the gentlemanly thing and make yours please.

Follow @alextomo on Twitter

Tweets by @alextomo