The Truth About The Old Firm And Why Stan Collymore Isn’t The right Man To Preach



I’m Glaswegian born and bred. As was my father before me. In fact my grandfather grew up in a flat on Buchanan Street, you can’t get much more Glaswegian than that.

So I feel that I know more about the Old Firm than Stan Collymore, after seeing him discuss Rangers on BT Sport I think Stan knows about as much as he could fit on a stamp. Yet the former English international wants huge publicity and picks on a topic that will get him all the coverage he wants; the Old Firm.

It has worked and also slightly backfired as BT Sport have now dropped him, at least for now.

Basically Stan wants to ban the ‘Billy Boys’ song which contains lyrics ‘up to our knees in Fenian blood!’. Now I find that song offensive, yet as a teenager I sang it. I didn’t fully understand it at the time and just sang with the rest of the crowd. I am extremely ashamed of that now and I stopped very early on, once it was explained to me what the words meant. Before my teens I would only go to football with my dad and he isn’t a fan, so we never sang the songs. Unfortunately he didn’t explain them to me either.

So I am all for this song to be banned, and actually it is banned! But certain fans will still sing it, a minority or a majority depending on who you speak to.

Now the heart of the problem is this. Stan, as he has in the past, has concentrated on one side. If you want to tackle issues in football relating to the west of Scotland, then you have to be unbiased and take both sets of fans to task.

The game that Collymore is relating to is the Old Firm League Cup semi-final.

Was there bigoted songs? Yes. Should the SPFL picked up on that? Yes, I have said that on here and twitter.

But was there also trouble with flares in the Celtic end? Yes. Did they have a banner with the word ‘Hun’ on it? Yes. In the papers we had pictures of two people attacked after the game, both were Rangers fans and one was ten years old. Yet Stan and Celtic minded media personnel turn a blind eye or sweep it under the carpet. In the reverse, Rangers like journos or press would have ignored it too. Maybe in Stan’s case physical abuse brings back too many unwanted memories from previous relationships!

That, to me, is why a lot of the Old Firm arguments and debates fall flat on their arse. Because as a society too many pick and choose our loyalties, thus meaning we soon become bias and don’t recognised that actually both sets of fans are as bad as each other.

Let me pick up on the ‘Hun’ word. The connotations with that word ‘German soldiers from either world war’ or ‘Attila the Hun’ aren’t a kind or true reflection of the vast majority of Rangers fans. Those groups are regarded in history as being pretty horrific and killed/raped mercilessly. So when I got called a Hun, I’m offended. For the same reason, I’d never refer to a Celtic supporter as a ‘Fenian’, it’s used to vilify that person and treat them with contempt just because of their race.

Also let me give you a little rundown of how much ‘Glasgow’ is affected by bigotry and football rivalry, even if its just casually. If you meet a fellow Glaswegian, then a few questions usually crop up after five or so minutes like ‘Where abouts are you fae? (from) and ‘wit/what school are you fae/from?’

These questions are simply designed to see what religion you most probably are and which football team you ‘should’ support. That kind of sums up our culture when it comes to football and religion in this dear green place.

Before I was five I was asked by a child of the same age what religion I was? I went inside and asked my mum, she said ‘Christian’ and when I gave her reply to the kid, he asked yeah ‘but what kind of Christian?’. When I relayed this back to my mother she shouted ‘just Christian!’. She knew fine well what was happening and never entertained it!

At school I found out that if you were Stephen and not Steven then you had to be catholic. If you were Michael then chances are you were catholic, it could have nothing to do with the 80s icon Michael Jackson that you parents might have adored. If you were ginger and had freckles then you didn’t really get asked about your school or football team preference as it was assumed you were catholic and a Celtic fan! A lot of this is complete bollocks by the way, but bigotry, even if its just in casual form, is ingrained into our society!

That’s why we need to educate from a young age. We need to show our children that we can show tolerance and in the twenty-first century that there should be no room for these stupid differences in our lives.

But when outsiders like Stan Collymore come running in and don’t observe the whole situation, and just vilify one group they push a wedge further between the rival supporters. His opinions cause greater conflict and he spouts his tirades just to gain that bit more attention onto himself.

I will not accept utter tripe from a man who can start an argument and then block anyone on twitter who disagrees with him. I don’t mean the vile bigots and racists, but the people with common sense who pick him up on a few points. He hides behind his block button, probably because he is talking about a topic he clearly knows nothing about.

Does Glasgow have a problem with bigotry and football related problems? Yes! Yes! Yes!

But it isn’t a black and white or green and blue issue. Both of these teams have extremely bad elements in their fan-bases and until we all admit that and work together to rid ourselves of it, then we will always have these same issues infect our society.


9 Responses to “The Truth About The Old Firm And Why Stan Collymore Isn’t The right Man To Preach”

  1. totally agree

  2. I agree kids have to be educated from a young age but it’s not easy when the older generation are still singing these songs in front of the kids I have a 8 year old son who choose to support his team and was delighted to get a strip for a birthday. However when a neighbouring boy was out playing in a different strip he gave my son some abuse so my 8 year old came in and changed and said it wasn’t worth the hassle which is shocking kids should be able to wear what they want and support what team they like without abuse from other kids

  3. Kirsty – I totally agree & I am in no way supporting the singing of vile songs. Just that we need to realise that the problem isn’t one sided.

  4. couldn’t agree more both teams need to take responsibility for the so called songs that they are passing on to the youngster of Scotland

  5. I couldn’t disagree more,the sectarian problem is one sided, Celtic fans sing no songs denigrating protestants, so there is one reason for Stan Collymore to say what he wants about the unacceptable chants heard during Rangers games, as heard tonight(20/12/15) away to Raith Rovers. If a viewer from outside the Glasgow divide knows the songs they sing are sectarian then he has every right to open up about it and no Glaswegian or anyone else for that matter should be saying he has no right to take up the task. Your analogy is akin to telling everyone outside South Africa to mind there own business about the old Apartheid system as they don’t live there.
    P..s As far as I’m aware no-one has been imprisoned for using the term “hun”

  6. Gary – If you think there is no anti-social problems amongst Celtic’s support then you must have missed the incidents of violence after League Cup semi-final, the flares they constantly use, problems from away support at Motherwell/Hearts and the constant fines they get from UEFA.

    Collymore is constantly looking for next topical incident. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but himself. He won’t listen to anyone who disagrees and just blocks.

    I have heard ‘up the ra’ plenty of times by the way, some by friends of mine.

    PS… I didn’t say it was a court offence, I said I took offence to it.

    PPS… I agree chants tonight are unacceptable! I have always said that.

  7. Oh & I am trying to get a viable solution & give you the right to air your views. Stan does neither!

  8. Collymore supported Rangers in the 90s, now he claims to follow Celtic, he is a rent a gob.

    that said this blog is whattaboutery, designed to sooth your soul to the fact the team you grew up supporting are actually the baddies and have been bringing down others with them

    one club in Scotland has had fans banned for trips outside Scotland, one has been given an award.

    One Club in 1972 created history by being the only team to win a European trophy and not be allowed to defend it due to hooliganism. one team is Scotlands shame not both

  9. Anon – Sooth my soul? What guff. My soul is fine when it comes to football and religion.

    How long can you live off an award? Will we forget the UEFA fines? The complaints from Motherwell & Hearts? The Up the Ra chants?

    Maybe one has a better reputation in European but both have a similar reputation in Scotland.

Leave a Reply