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Sensitive topics

Brian Taylor | 14:14 UK time, Thursday, 15 May 2008

Quite frequently, politics can appear remote, separated from the issues that concern or intrigue the public.

Today, at Holyrood, matters were notably different. The talk was of football.

Firstly, political leaders paid tribute to Tommy Burns, the Celtic legend who has died at the age of 51. Quite right too. He made a great contribution to football and to Scotland.

Then they turned to the UEFA Cup in Manchester - or, more precisely, the shocking scenes of violence involving a tiny minority of Rangers fans in clashes with the police.

This is a notably sensitive topic. A word out of order can provoke resentment.
Credit where it is due. The first minister and the Labour leader handled their exchanges deftly and with dignity.

It is right, in my view, that Scotland's parliament contrived to comment on an issue that is dominant in Scottish discourse today. However, they had to avoid sounding like gratuitous onlookers.

No justification

They did. Wendy Alexander focused, properly, on the inquiry which has been launched by Manchester City Council. Would the Scottish Government participate? Should the remit be widened? Should the report be published?

Alex Salmond, who was at the game and travelled back to Edinburgh overnight, assented to all these propositions. But he went further.

He listed potential issues to be examined: the organisation on the ground, the technical breakdown, the late change in the message to Rangers fans as to whether they were welcome in Manchester without tickets.

He indicated he wants to co-operate with the Home Office to ensure that football banning orders in England can be extended to Scotland.

He stressed, repeatedly, that the "vast majority" of fans had created a "carnival atmosphere" in Manchester.

Then the verdict. Mr Salmond said, bluntly and simply, that there could be no excuse for the scenes of violence. No justification whatsoever.

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:39pm on 15 May 2008, BillBeattie56 wrote:

    Common ground from Holyrood at last !!!

    The minority of Rangers fans that got involved in the violence not only let themselves down but also their club and Scotland.

    Shame on them.

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  • 2. At 2:57pm on 15 May 2008, GrandfatherFlump wrote:

    Why on earth do people bother travelling to the city where the game is being played when they don't have tickets for the match?

    The most sensible solution for the future is that only fans with tickets are encouraged to go and the message is put out loud and clear that local bars will not even show the game, never mind set up beer tents and big screens and relax the drinking laws.

    No city deserves to be invaded by thousands of drunken football supporters, regardless of nationality or which team they support.

    Having said all that I bet Wendy was absolutely delighted to have something serious to talk about so that the FM couldn't spend FMQs laughing at Labour's referendum policy. And for once it was the FM who looked to be struggling to answer clever questions from Annabel and Nicol.

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  • 3. At 3:00pm on 15 May 2008, eckandtrumpupatree wrote:

    Manchester Police should be ashamed of themselves. Their public order training is clearly pump. If they can't stand their ground fully equipped and sober against a few neds from Larkhall with 12 hours of drink in them they need to have a look at themselves. The chief constable should seriously consider resigning in shame at his mens' cowardice.

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  • 4. At 3:03pm on 15 May 2008, minuend wrote:

    Brian Taylor the Mike McCurry of political punditry.

    Old Firm fans causing trouble is not new in Scotland, but it has shocked the authorities in Manchester. It may be a minority as claimed, but isn't that always the excuse, and that is the problem. We can't stick our heads in the sand over this as the SFA, Rangers and Celtic always do. It is far better to be upfront and deal with it. Alex Salmond is right on this there can be no excuse for such scenes of violence.

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  • 5. At 3:16pm on 15 May 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 3:42pm on 15 May 2008, justthefactsmam wrote:

    So just to be clear; this is the fault of the council who provided facilities without any obligation to do so, it's the fault of the police for not understanding the WATP brigade; and finally it's all the fault of the technology for breaking down.

    It's NOT the fault of the looting, rioting, drunken bampots at all, they're just misunderstood - again.

    Remember this has happened in just about every city the mighty Rangers have visited, but it's never their fault.

    Just so we're clear about that.

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  • 7. At 3:44pm on 15 May 2008, william1957 wrote:

    I hope I am not the only one who finds the comments of posters #3, and #5 offensive. There is no excuse for the behaviour of these fans: it only blackened and brought shame on Scotland.

    Blaming the police and the city of manchester misses the point. What could have been a great showcase for Scotland and Scottish football, win or lose, will be remember in Manchester and further afield for different reasons.

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  • 8. At 3:50pm on 15 May 2008, GK1982 wrote:

    I think it's amazing that people are blaming the police. The police are not to blame, they had to control large numbers of angry fans and they did well. The CCTV of the fans chasing the policemen down the street then getting one to the ground and pouncing on him were awful.

    People saying the police were too heavy handed! Unbelievable! Should they have let the fans run riot? Should they have put down their batons, brought out the guitars, gathered round a fire and sung "Koombaya" with the rioting fans? I feel they should have done more and they should have been more heavy handed with the violent fans, perhaps they should have asked for some members of Strathclyde police to help them and for their advice with old firm violence.

    The rioting fans were a complete disgrace to Scotland.

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  • 9. At 3:53pm on 15 May 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    As a Rangers fan, I am ashamed if ONE supporter lets us down. We have gone 18 European matches with no arrests home or away, and it's awful that this should happen, particularly in England. It will be interesting to see the names and addresses of the culprits. Most of those shown in the police CCTV footage were not the same blue-topped people shown earlier in the day. They were in "ned" gear, bomber jackets, hoodies and jeans. I wonder if they were the rent-a-mob BNP-type thugs who attach themselves to every event, be it G8 summit or animal rights protest, or anti-nuclear march. It was good to hear a senior Manchester councillor praise the overwhelming majority as fine anmbassadors for their city and club. About 200 neds out of an estimated 120-150,000 may not sound bad. But every true Rangers fan is still hurt by this.

    Tommy Burns' death saddens me deeply. I have followed Rangers for well over 50 years, seen the Lisbon Lions and other great teams, but Tommy's team was the only one that really frightened me in a football sense. As a man he was totally respected by the Rangers crowd (despite some nasty chants) and he knew this. Much was made of his faith. As an atheist, I have great admiration for his lifestyle and the religious motivation for his goodness. He never abused religion, certainly not for anything as trivial as football. I wish his family, friends and the club every comfort at this time.

    There is one terrible, tragic irony in all this: If Celtic had had their way on the fixture list, they would have been playing on Saturday. Would the season have been extended, I wonder.

    As for po-faced political comments on sensitive issues, there is always a feeling of "well, we have to say something...." about them. Insincerity is so hard to disguise. But I admit it is tough to get these things right.

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  • 10. At 4:27pm on 15 May 2008, Sapienter wrote:

    What possible need can there be for people to travel in large crowds to football matches anywhere? There is none. It is time for this to be brought to an end on public-order grounds.

    Those who feel that they need to watch football are more than adequately catered for by television coverage beamed to home-cinema wide-screen viewing facilities in their own homes, where the Neanderthal element of society can drink itself insensible and smash up its own furniture if it must without troubling peaceful citizens who couldn't care less about football or the morons whose idiot obsession should not be pandered to by sane and civilized journalists and politicians who should know better than to associate themselves with such infantile nonsense.

    It's only a game. Grow up.

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  • 11. At 4:51pm on 15 May 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    "As a Rangers fan"

    Why, after the past few days of debate about the Union, am I not surprised...

    :D

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  • 12. At 4:52pm on 15 May 2008, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    I think you have very badly misjudged this one in making a decent comment about the sad loss of Tommy Burns in the same post as you add in the sad story (but not the first) of Rangers fans again disgracing this country.

    I am neither a Rangers or Celtic follower and, indeed you have to be neither, to understand that these events overnight must be kept apart and the rightful sympathy of real fans the land over are directed to the Burns family, while utter disgust must be directed at the entire Rangers FC organisation for their continuing failure to deal with those fans (albeit a minority) who would in their hundreds chase police down a city centre street in Manchester while some have apparently gone there carry knives even before they left home!!

    The Scottish football public should expect nothing to resolve this from Messrs Murray and Smith, so let's just hope that the UEFA organisers ban the culprits (and that's the club) for maybe 5 years at least!!

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  • 13. At 5:01pm on 15 May 2008, WebPendragon wrote:

    Of course the FM is perfectly correct.However I find myself almost as concerned by events inside the Stadium and their impact on Our National reputation.

    As a Scot I doubt if I am alone in finding little little to be proud of in the complete lack of any manifestation of Scottish Identity among the Fans.

    Polls suggest that most Scots regard themselves as Scottish first and British a poor second ,if at all.However the World was last night treated to a forrest of Union Flags that suggested a huge BNP Rally rather than anything else.Many of these banners bore offensive slogans.

    It is appaling to note too,that around half a Billion people round the World now associate Scotland with the singing of Sectarian songs which were well to the fore.

    Surely there must now be a much more substanitial debate on the Sectarian Hate that despoils our Game and Our reputation around the Globe than has hitherto been the case.

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  • 14. At 5:11pm on 15 May 2008, minuend wrote:

    It now transpires that the Scottish Conservatives as claiming that the Manchester police over-reacted. This reveals a political, cultural and historical fault-line that has no place in modern Scotland.

    There can be no excuses for this sort of violence, none, and Scottish Tories should not be finding common cause with WATP faction of the Rangers support.

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  • 15. At 5:28pm on 15 May 2008, sanatogen wrote:

    Little is said about the vast majority of people who travelled to Manchester who behaved themselves.

    All focus on the negative.

    It makes headlines, and it's a good stick to bash people and organisations with.

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  • 16. At 5:29pm on 15 May 2008, blueyes444 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 5:35pm on 15 May 2008, Clamjamfrie wrote:

    Post number 13. We should be grateful given the sectarian singing and chanting during the game that there was no flying of the Saltire, by these morons.

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  • 18. At 5:43pm on 15 May 2008, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    Why do all the points Mr Salmond wants to be addressed sound like they are aimed at putting the blame on Manchester?

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  • 19. At 5:51pm on 15 May 2008, Saltire100 wrote:

    I'm actually surprised that people thought that Rangers Fans would behave themselves. Fuelled by drink for most of the day, it would only need an 'incident' to trigger an event.
    If Rangers lost (as they did), then they sould take it on someone, or something. Even if they had won, they would have lorded it up over everyone, until push comes to shove and trouble would erupt.
    And don't think I'm just blaming Rangers - I place Celtic very much in this category too. Too many times, I've seen Old Firm Fans turn up at other Towns and cause problems. When they do turn up, the vast majority of people stay away from their town centers because of sectarian singing and groups of men fuelled on alcohol.
    At the same time, Manchester City Council have to look at themselves. They must have known that 100'000 would turn up, but at the same time, could n't refuse the money that the Rangers Fans were bringing with them.

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  • 20. At 5:51pm on 15 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    Sanatogen:

    Exactly.

    If the world thought 200 Rouge Fans were bad enough have they any idea that there was a chance for 100,000 to join in during the night?

    Scottish Fans have a reputation for being well behaved and to be honest this proves it.

    Thousands had the opportunity to cause trouble but where were they? Did they want to? I am guessing that they did not want to.

    During the last World Cup you witnessed REAL rioting between teams and police.

    Now that is something to be ashamed and disgusted with.

    What we witnessed. Well that was just a minority who can not handle their drink and out to make a name for themselves.





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  • 21. At 5:58pm on 15 May 2008, swimdmj wrote:

    As an Arab its always easy to have a go at Rangers for whatever reason (and wonder when they will be given enough funds to build a new stand using fair play awards issued to fans from UEFA!) and like most non-old firm fans I find a lot of the bigoted stuff pretty abhorrent, however to coin a phrase for which no offence is meant 'Rome wasnt built in a day'.
    Rangers have come a long way since the 'no papes' policy prior to Mo Johnstone and they have been taking steps to stamp it out whilst not alienating their core support and whilst I would rather that they just ditched it all immediately I can understand the gradualist process so long as it gets there in the end. I have notdoubt that the Old Firm matches are much less heated now and there are less problems afterwards. Rangers still have to work in the Glasgow they find themselves in and if, shall we say, those arrested are from Bearsden I will be pretty surprised. The deprivation in parts of the city has many manifestations, but I do think that this kind of thing is one of them.
    The only way of improving things I think is that Rangers should in my view be punished as I think that this is the incentive that many Rangers mad fans will understand as a reason for keeping the head.

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  • 22. At 6:06pm on 15 May 2008, NConway wrote:

    I have no interest in football but i do have an interest in how my country is protrayed round the world . I hope the law comes down hard on whoever took part in the disgusting behaviour lastnight and that GRFC is heavily fined.

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  • 23. At 7:37pm on 15 May 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Some of the comments are disgraceful. Verbal thuggery, if you like.
    Rev S Campbell: Not a football fan then? I'm sure many Rangers fans are SNP supporters. The union flag connection with Rangers is not about British nationalism, but a response to the Irish tricolour. It's a Northern Ireland thing, and complicated. Sad, sick, but nothing to concern the SNP, or indeed unionists. It's also the team colours.
    Are you really a Rev? The most disgusting thing in these blogs recently was your phrase "waving my ta****."

    I will not defend sectarianism or bigotry in any form. Nor will I defend thuggery. But 200 football fans forming a mob is not a Scottish thing. You might get half a dozen yobs battling with rivals, but even that is dying out. Big groups are not spontaneous, but need organisation. That's why I suggested earlier that there might be a rent-a-mob connection, like the "England fans" who travel everywhere looking for a fight. Although I can't exclude the likelihood that some stupid Rangers "fans" would join in.

    Sanatogen: Thank you. More than 120,000 Rangers fans travelled to Manchester and behaved impeccably. That is actually a quite astonishing fact. The biggest movement of people to any event in British sporting history, and more than 119,000 were a credit to themselves, their team and their country.
    That's what really condemns the thuggish few.



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  • 24. At 7:44pm on 15 May 2008, WebPendragon wrote:

    Clamjamfrie.The lack of Saltires is exactly my point,if Old Firm Fans would unite behind Scottish Identity rather than parading their ancient hate-filled ones,we would not have this problem.
    As for progress having been made swimdmj ,would we accept a similar snails pace in dealing with Racism ? . Neither our Government nor FIFA would accepet that and rightly so.

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  • 25. At 7:47pm on 15 May 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    NConway: I share your disgust. But why fine Rangers? The game was trouble-free. Would you fine the Scottish Government if a daytripper to Carlisle caused a rammy? Or if an SNP outing to a Rod Stewart concert ended with poor behaviour in Birmingham city centre afterwards?
    It's a straightforward public order policing matter. And the police have dealt with it.

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  • 26. At 8:23pm on 15 May 2008, Bellabaloni wrote:

    Such numbers without tickets should never have been allowed to travel. As for letting them drink from 10 in the morning, who's idea was that then? Are they mad? That was THe mistake in the whole episode. Why couldn't they have watched the game in Glasgow?

    Blaming the police is outrageous given the scenes already witnessed via CCTV footage. The mob that surrounded the officer who went down were monstrous. It is not acceptable no matter what the provocation and no one should be excusing any of it.

    I do however think its a bit much for Gordon Brown to be saying the behaviour of Rangers supporters could threaten England's chances of hosting a future world cup. With the violent behaviour of English supporters much of the time well documented I think he was out of order there.

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  • 27. At 8:25pm on 15 May 2008, LordTruth wrote:

    Oh dear !Oh dear! Now this has upset the applecart ! Who would have thought it--Scotsmen waving the Union Jack?

    Its probably a good salutary warning that if the independence nonsense ever really got going Scotland would rapidly retreat into a bloody and tribal past
    Its not quite as simple as Mr Slickem likes to make out

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  • 28. At 8:49pm on 15 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    Bellabaloni:

    And who would police the numbers to ensure that they were not drinking?

    But you fail to take in that it was a minority who were causing trouble.

    A few hundred out over tens of thousands.

    Even if they restricted who could travel those same hundred or so could of still of made it to Manchester.

    Who knows maybe they all live there? Maybe they came from other parts of the country? Maybe they all had tickets for the match to?

    There is no solution that can ensure that there are no trouble whatsoever.

    The best you can do is hope the police can pick out the ring leaders early and put trust in the people who are going to these type of games and hope they are responsible enough to stay out of trouble.



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  • 29. At 9:20pm on 15 May 2008, U11769947 wrote:

    Brigadoom,i,ve no wish to lock horns with you,your clearly all over the place on a litany of issue that you negate too confront without any pragmatism:look! it,s as simple as this,"BAD NIGHT FOR RANGERS ON AND OFF THE FEILD"now! can i share with those who have registered their sorrow at the untimely death of a legend in football TOMMY BURNS.

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  • 30. At 9:34pm on 15 May 2008, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    Scotland has always had such a great reputation it seems a shame that a minority of fans and maybe not even fans can ruin this. The great name Scotland has had in football abroad says it all.

    Good on the Rangers fans who turned up to pay there respects to Tommy Burns, they did a lot to repair the damage.

    The remarks above about tribalism etc from LordTruth above is typical of the ignorance that abounds today from the English. I suppose he believes we all run about in kilts and shoot haggis.

    I repeat and will every time I hear such crass stupidity if we are that bad why put up obstacles to our independence. Could it be something to do with which way the money really flows such as North to South.

    It is ok to let the Scots support you but please do not credit them with any intelligence or sensibilities.

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  • 31. At 10:11pm on 15 May 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    brigadierjohn #23

    I object to your assertion that all Rangers fans must be members of the SNP, just goes to show how you think that all ills are the fault of the SNP. Rubbish.

    I think there were faults by the local authority, the (politicised) police and more importantly a minority of so called Rangers fans who disgraced themselves and our country.

    The fallout from this debacle will be yet more legislation by government by restricting the majority of law abiding citizens.

    Condolences to Tommy Burns family and friends

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  • 32. At 11:24pm on 15 May 2008, inmykip wrote:

    Those who 'rioted' in Manchester chose to do so, they are ultimately responsible for their own behaviour, not the big screen breaking down, not the police, not Rangers FC, not the SNP or Labour or Tory or Liberal and not Scotland. Those who rioted represented themselves, they did not represent Rangers FC or the other Rangers supporters or Scotland or you or me. I am not ashamed of them and neither should any other innocent person be, but I am absolutely disgusted by them and their behaviour. If they can be identified from CCTV footage then the police should do so and prosecute them with the severest penalties, the laws already exist to punish these thugs so use them.

    Tommy rest in peace and may your family find comfort and strength.

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  • 33. At 00:06am on 16 May 2008, ________-RJ-________ wrote:

    Getting back to the politics (which is completely separate from the reality of much less than 1% of the fans being hooligans), what was all over the TV today was Rangers fans rioting in England and nearly kicking the crap out of an English copper.

    Those whose most prominent item of clothing was a Union Flag have created a perception in England that can only increase the enthusiasm among the English for Scottish independence.

    I would imagine it would increase their enthusiasm for a Korean-style border as well.

    So bookmark the BBC News pages that cover this story, in preparation for the next time a 3 year-old asks you for the definition of stupid.

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  • 34. At 00:49am on 16 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    RJ:

    I really do not like your comment.

    If there was a Korean-Style border it would be to make sure that the English football hooligans do not leave the country.

    England has one of the worst reputations for football and there has been enough riots that has involved English Fans about the length of my arm.

    England should not forget that.

    And should not act as if they are all perfect when it comes to football.

    And I hope there are are some here who can understand and agree with me.

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  • 35. At 08:17am on 16 May 2008, Simon_Brooke wrote:

    This was an incident waiting to happen, and the nonsense about 'a tiny minority' needs to be stomped on. I'm not a football fan of any stripe or colour...

    I was driving north up the M74 on Wednesday morning as the hooligans were driving south. And, to be fair, I did see saltires: I saw three. Amidst thousands of union jacks and hundreds of red hands of ulster. There were more Russian flags than Scottish ones.

    It looked like what it was: a crowd of bigots on their way to a sectarian rally.

    Someone upthread claims that there must be Rangers fans who are also patriotic Scots. You'd think so; but looking at them en masse it's hard to believe it.

    If Rangers are so keen to identify with the union jack, so keen to go south to England and sully the reputation of Scotland, there's a great solution. We've heard for years that they want to play in the English league, because Scotland isn't good enough for them.

    Well, on ye go, boys. If ye can fin an English town at will hae ye. Dinnae let the door skelp ye on yir way oot.

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  • 36. At 09:40am on 16 May 2008, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    Thomas_Porter

    I agree, it is right and proper that Scots should be ashamed of the mindless thugs that have ruined the great name Scottish football has abroad.

    We can only lay the blame o the people who it is obvious caused the riots.

    We should also keep in mind it was a few compared to the hundreds of thousands of fans in Manchester.

    English football fans should hang their heads in shame when discussing the actions of there football fans.

    They certainly should not be posting insulting posts about the Scots fans.

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  • 37. At 10:04am on 16 May 2008, tammienorrielass1 wrote:

    It was certainly disturbing to see the Union Flag being misused by rather too many from Scotland. I do not mean in the 'political' sense, but in the sense that a flag should command a certain respect in its use, regardless of opinion.

    The behaviour of the vast majority of the folk who travelled to Manchester, could not be faulted, but some, as too often is the case, let themselves and others down. On the other hand, what is unknown, is what provocation was there? I've met the utmost unexpected rudeness from English police when asking a simple question(on directions) - I walked away in disgust. As well as the screen break down which must have been very disappointing, did some 'bobby' pass some sort of remark, which in their heightened emotional state, trigger a reaction?

    I am making no excuses for behaviour like that, but the truth needs to be established. What triggered the reaction? Only when, that is established, can anything be done about it. If that needs a wide inquiry, so be it.

    Also it would do no harm whatsoever, for the Rangers fans to apologise for the behaviour of a few, very few mindless idiots.


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  • 38. At 10:06am on 16 May 2008, tammienorrielass1 wrote:

    I could not post on the same thread re Tommy Burns.

    A thoroughly honourable sportsman. What a loss.

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  • 39. At 11:07am on 16 May 2008, eckandtrumpupatree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 40. At 11:10am on 16 May 2008, Sheneval wrote:

    brigadierjohn,
    "I can't dispute the fact that some Rangers fans would join in"

    Come off it - Anyone with any interest in Scottish football knows that some Rangers fans are not only connected with all the other 'Rent a Mob' hooligans in Scotland and England but also with the BNP and this has been going on for years so don't lets have any nonsense that it was an outside organisation that started this trouble.

    Alex Salmond should issue a public apology to the people of Manchester, whilst saying clearly that we, the people of Scotland, are disgusted and totally deplore the actions of those involved.

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  • 41. At 11:41am on 16 May 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Perhaps it should be made compulsory for all football fans to view the Heysel disaster of 1985.
    There are other events too ,not quite of that magnitude ,which would give a salutary lesson to all involved.
    It is supposed to be a game not a war.

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  • 42. At 12:32pm on 16 May 2008, karljasonbedson wrote:

    The disgusting behavior of some rangers fans is only a tip of a much larger scottish problem.

    I am talking about the general racism, deep-rooted within our culture, two years ago in two horrid incedents, people in england football shirts were attacked (a child and a disabled man), every week there is reported incedents of anti-english behavior, our reputation within the uk as petty racists is well known and is not reducing.

    Is it any wonder 1000 drunk thugs took the chance to assault the english and cause £'s in damage with our Old Enemy.

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  • 43. At 1:10pm on 16 May 2008, Wyrdtimes wrote:

    Truly the Rangers fans demonstrated the ugly face of British nationalism.

    Don't. Come. Back.

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  • 44. At 1:17pm on 16 May 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #31: Do me the courtesy of re-reading my point. At no time did I suggest all Rangers fans voted SNP. In making a point about the relevance of the union flag to Rangers fans, I pointed out that some fans almost certainly were SNP voters, as well as Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem, Solidarity, Monster Raving Looney, etc., etc. all waving the team colours and making sad, sick points about Northern Irish politics. How they vote doesn't come into it.

    #40: I cannot possibly dispute with you the fact that some Rangers fans are vile. I used to sit behind a sicko in the Govan Front Stand and the stuff he read was politically extreme right wing and disgusting. So, yes, there is an association there. My point was that TV showed tens of thousands of well-behaved fans in blue tops. But in the CCTV pictures of the PC being brutally attacked, not a blue top in sight. Look again - it will be shown repeatedly because it's Rangers.
    There was a degree of organisation in the violence not typical of any Scottish fans, but typical of BNP-type hi-jacks of other peaceful protests and public events.

    Judging from the posts here, the violence was a godsend to a section of the population who just didn't want Rangers to be there, and who have jumped on the opportunity to vent their spleens.

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  • 45. At 1:54pm on 16 May 2008, londonRJT wrote:

    there have been seceral comments talking about tiny minorities both on here and by the media and politicians, earlier today the BBC site attributed the following comment to PC Mick Regan, the officer who was stamped on "I know they will say it's a minority but a few thousand is a big minority." Does any one know why this has now been removed?

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  • 46. At 1:58pm on 16 May 2008, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    The game was emphatically not "trouble free". The singing of sectarian songs did more damage to the club (and by extension Glasgow and Scotland's reputations) than the act of a couple hundred mindless thugs far from the park.

    I will defend brigadierjohn on one point however: many, many Rangers fans vote SNP, many believe in independence. Football and politics can be kept distinct by some. Equally, there are Celtic fans who cling to Labour to maintain the union while singing songs every saturday in support of a United Ireland.

    That said, the comment by karljasonbedson is absurd - these rioters were not "racially motivated" to "get the english". They were waving union flags at the time: they had had too much to drink, one of the big screens had failed and they were being clumsily restricted to a compact area of the city centre by overstretched police who had no idea they would be dealing with and influx of so many thousands. That does not excuse the actions of the minority that have brought shame to their club! Although, it does explain some of the reasons as to why violence occured and contains lessons that must be learned by the authorities both in Manchester and at Rangers Football Club for future events.

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  • 47. At 3:24pm on 16 May 2008, freedomblue wrote:

    200,000 fans should have been stopped from travelling to Manchester, forgetting civil liberties can someone suggest how this would have been achieved.
    Yes, the Manchester authorities made mistakes, however the blame lies with the neds who decided to act in the way they did.
    Don't blame anyone else including the police, Manchesters authorities or Rangers.
    This country has an underclass who enjoy creating mayhem, if you need any other evidence check Youtube over the next few days, these morons will post photographs and video's of themselves enjoying their day out. I don't care what colours they wore, use CCTV and punish the guilty.
    This is not a football problem it is another indication of the problems inherent in British society.

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  • 48. At 4:53pm on 16 May 2008, KilliefaninAyr wrote:

    I saw a good number of cars leaving Glasgow at teatime on Tuesday night and I must admit I was disappointed that most were flying the Union flag, in much the same way I felt when Celtic were in Seville and the Irish tricolour was predominant.

    Most of the Rangers team were Scots and as both the Old Firm claim to be Scottish clubs, why can't they fly the St Andrew's Cross which is after all out national flag?

    The BNP has hijacked both the Union Flag and the flag of St George, and the scenes in Manchester were reminsicent of the BNP thugs terrorising the citizens of other towns in North West England.

    A thug is a thug is a thug whatever their cause, and this mindless minority, however small in relation to the tens of thousands of fans who did enjoy a carival atmosphere, will be the lasting memory of what should have been an epic sporting occasion.

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  • 49. At 6:01pm on 16 May 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Im not sure who to trust the least, Wendy Alexander or a Mancunian T.V. technician.

    Wansanshoo.

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  • 50. At 6:49pm on 16 May 2008, freedomblue wrote:

    Re Gordon-Ayr
    Yes the Union Flag has been hi-jacked by organisations who's policies are abhorent to all decent people.
    What does it matter which flags the fans displayed on their cars. Scots have right to wave the Union flag, the Saltire, the St Andrew Cross or a Donald Duck tie if thats what they want.
    We have to remind such organisations as the BNP that this is the flag of all the people of the UK, so all British people including Scots have the right to wave this flag if they choose to do so.
    Don't allow a minority of criminals wearing whichever flag or colours taint the majority of decent Scots who went to Manchester to enjoy themselves displaying the flags of their choice.
    Punish the guilty from Manchester, the flags had nothing to do with it. The BNP discriminate don't join in, live and let live.

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  • 51. At 7:50pm on 16 May 2008, plas1757sey wrote:

    My wife and I got on a train coming from Manchester the day after the match. We had reserved seats. The carriage was full of Rangers supporters. Our seats were occupied. The reservation cards had been discarded from the backs of the seats. We asked for our seats. We were met stony glares. I am 64 years of age and my wife is disabled. We showed them our seat reservations and my wife's disabled card, but all we got was a ' we are nae moving' and an angry stare.
    After the events at Manchester and our experience on the train, I can only say 'If you cannot behave when you visit other countries, stay in your own country. We don't want you'

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  • 52. At 8:35pm on 16 May 2008, smartwestisbest wrote:

    I really think until we get this thug and bigot thing sorted out, we should ban all Rangers and Celtic fans from going to matches outside Scotland.
    They bring shame to our nation. These pictures have gone round the world.

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  • 53. At 10:00pm on 16 May 2008, ________-RJ-________ wrote:

    In response to comments 34 and 36.....

    Firstly, I am not an England fan and I did not insult Scottish fans.

    Secondly, if there is a rascist attack in Edinburgh, should all Liverpudlains refrain from criticizing it because their deep involvement in the slave trade leaves them in no place to comment?

    Don't be ridiculous. English football has done a great job in ridding itself of the hooliganism that was its hallmark a few years ago, and the fact we haven't seen this sort of behaviour on British soil in so long makes the actions of the Rangers fans all the more worthy of a bit of media over-hype.

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  • 54. At 10:19pm on 16 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    smartwestisbest:

    Calm down.

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  • 55. At 10:28pm on 16 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    RJ:

    I did find what you said insulting.

    And England does have a far greater reputation for fighting after football matches at home and abroad.

    But the way you made it sound like is if English fans are as good as gold and perfect wee angels.

    Get real.

    I know, you know and everyone else knows that English fans have been involved in far more trouble then their Scottish counter parts.

    Hey, I am not defending those Rangers fans who did cause trouble at the event and I am not suggesting that because English fans have a reputation for these type of after football trouble that they should be quite about it.

    All I am asking for is a bit of understanding that this was not an isolated matter and for England to speak of the disgrace of it all and Gordon Brown suggesting that England may not be allowed to host the next World Cup is complete rubbish considering the last World Cup in Germany you had English fans causing mayhem and making remarks about Germany's past which we all know about and no need to bring it up here (It was not shown on the News but a TV show on Football hooligans showed what happened at the World Cup)

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  • 56. At 01:41am on 17 May 2008, incandescere wrote:

    I thought the Manchester episode was a put up job to deflect unrest in the Scottish parliament away from the matter of the independence referendum. Weren't your words ".... Scotland's parliament contrived to comment ....." meant as a give-away, Brian?

    It will be no surprise if the football thing attracts more blogs than the bigger issue.

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  • 57. At 12:19pm on 17 May 2008, Peter_Fife wrote:

    There can be no excuse for any Rangers' 'supporter' who struck the first blow, threw the first bottle or any other missile for that matter.

    Rangers' supporters which included children were in the council designated fan zones where there was little or no public toilet facilities, no food provision only alcohol on sale indicates clearly that these areas were set up with little thought or reasonable planning; this left supporters drinking on an empty stomach for ten hours, many of who were also drinking on an empty head.

    Proof of such a depleted planning mindset can be found in the original response from Manchester Council and Manchester police when they said that fans without tickets were not welcome.

    What was shocking was the violence perpetrated by those who were identified as Rangers' supporters; there is no way that any rational thinker could represent the acts shown on television other than as abhorrent however there are always two sides to every story.

    While we waited at least six hours for the promised video to be transmitted we were subjected to the opinion of a female police officer whose on screen behaviour in my opinion was less than professional.

    We eventually witnessed the video of the 'downed' police officer:

    Clearly he was tripped by a 'Rangers' fan'.
    Clearly the mob was 'upon' him.

    In the first video two individuals clearly could be seen pushing those at the front away from the police officer who was tripped to the ground; in later videos this was edited out.
    Within a matter of four seconds the officer was on his feet and ran away from the mob without restriction or assault.

    As the Police representative’s expression was that the mob was on the officer like a pack of wolves; she clearly knows little of the behaviour of wolves or a drunken mob.

    We witnessed the destruction of two vehicles which was nothing but a criminal act.

    One news channel showed two fans standing on the sidelines merely watching what was going on, one of which was intentionally mowed to the ground by the riot shield of an advancing police officer, this was nothing short of a criminal act; this video to my knowledge was never shown for a second time.

    I do not try to defend the acts of those Rangers' supporters who transgressed; I do however feel we have been treated to organised propaganda which in my opinion reduces the credibility of the police.

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  • 58. At 11:27pm on 17 May 2008, Louse0001 wrote:

    Knowing what the Scottish Police Force know about Rangers 'fans', and the amount of trouble they have caused in the past - all over the world, why did the Scottish police not travel down to Manchester with them, and help to police them while they were there?

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  • 59. At 01:02am on 18 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    Louse0001:

    Because their Scottish Police Officers.

    And Rangers Fans are actually usually well behaved to a certain level.

    What we saw really shocked everyone. Including those who were Rangers Fans.

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  • 60. At 1:14pm on 19 May 2008, Peter_Fife wrote:

    Louse0001

    It was reported by Manchester police that contingents from Strathclyde Police were in attendance; I think the number was thirty but I cannot be absolutely sure.

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  • 61. At 3:58pm on 20 May 2008, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    Many posters here must be very young, or have very short memories. So many comments about the bad behaviour of England football fans - a theme in many topics discussed on this blog when comparing English and Scottish traits. Whilst it is true that for much of the 1980's and early 1990's there was a fearful problem with England "fans", particularly at away games, it was Scottish "fans" who showed them the way. The Tartan Army of travelling Scottish fans during the 1970's (before there was a serious problem in England) were a disgrace. It was they who twice trashed Wembley in a drink-fuelled orgy of violence. I know this because I was there as a police office, caught in the middle.

    Scotland football got it's house in order, England have now largely followed suit. The Rangers fans in Manchester who rioted were a disgrace, and there is no excuse for them. Those simply pleading that the English fans are worse ( no longer strictly true) should be ashamed of themselves. Violent stupidity knows no national border and must be condemned by all without reservation. There is no political capital to be made out of things like this.

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  • 62. At 4:46pm on 20 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 63. At 10:38pm on 20 May 2008, Louse0001 wrote:

    Thomas_Porter

    I have read several of your comments on this page and on others, and it is clear to me you are racist towards English people. How you keep getting away with the comments you make is beyond me.

    You always have to come back with a wee pun against them don't you. Why don't you just stick to the blog in question, and stop trying to smear their reputation. Need an exaple? in this blogg we are talking about the Rangers fans, not the entire English race.

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  • 64. At 10:41pm on 20 May 2008, Louse0001 wrote:

    Thomas Porter

    ... I forgot to mention: the Rangers fans who headed to the game in Manchester who live in England, are in fact, Scots who live and work in there.

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  • 65. At 11:07pm on 20 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    Louse0001:

    The reason I am getting away with those comments is because it is not racist.

    And explain what I am saying is racist please.

    English Fans do have a reputation for football hooligans and rioting in several countries.

    I am asking for understanding that these matters happen and is not isolated.

    I used England as an example because the game took place in England and England does have a history of football violence.

    And it is a fact that what happened at Rangers was arranged by English Fans around England.

    I am not saying that Rangers Fans did not take part in it but it is known by the police that on some websites English Fans were buying a Rangers top and going to the event and hoping trouble would start.

    Read the paper and look up the defination of racism please.

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  • 66. At 11:22pm on 20 May 2008, Tom wrote:

    Mistake:

    And it is a fact that what happened at Rangers was arranged by English Fans around England.


    Should be:

    And it is a fact that what happened at the Event with Rangers was arranged by English Fans around England.

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  • 67. At 09:04am on 21 May 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    The Tartan Army were not a disgrace in the 70's internationally. It was only against England that they misbehaved and 'trashing' Wembley is hardly the same as the mayhem still regularly caused by England supporters around Europe.

    Rangers were a disgrace last week but even so there is no comparison with this and what England supporters have been responsible for as was evidenced most recently in Germany 2006. And sorry to say this but the fact is England as a footballing nation will take a long time to live down what happened at Heysel and still happens whenever England visits a foreign country.

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  • 68. At 11:01pm on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Brian:

    [Firstly, political leaders paid tribute to Tommy Burns, the Celtic legend who has died at the age of 51. Quite right too. He made a great contribution to football and to Scotland.]

    I am sending my condolences to Mr. Burns's family and friends...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 69. At 11:02pm on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Brian:

    Sensitive topics are very much part of politics in Holyrock and other places of Parliaments....

    ~Dennis Junior~

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