The Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers. ep2
The Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers is a 4 part series which offers alternative opinion and discourse of Celtic and Rangers from Tom Devine, Graham Spiers, Ruth Wishart and Lesley Campbell.
In the second episode of the series, award-winning sports journalist Graham Spiers examines the changing relationship between both the clubs and their fans.
I was hesitant when first asked to contribute a programme on sectarianism to Radio Scotland's Alternative Histories of Celtic and Rangers, simply because the subject tends to make people either touchy or jumpy. Having written much about sectarianism in my newspaper work, I was also aware of the overtly aggressive responses which the subject can provoke in some circles.
But having got involved in the project, I quickly came to find it both enjoyable and illuminating. I've always said that sectarianism is not to be exaggerated in Scotland - it is far less prevalent in my view than it was, say, 30 or 40 years ago - but nor is it to be ignored. And the fact is that the problem remains inextricably linked to Celtic and Rangers.
I have always happily ignored one of the traditional and cowardly rules of Scottish sports journalism - the rule which says, always apportion equal blame to Celtic and Rangers when talking of bigotry - by pointing a much bigger finger of blame at Rangers, the club I grew up supporting. To me, the evidence for this is obvious. So we explore this and other issues in the programme.
I have to say, the Rangers and Celtic fans I spoke to in my research were all incredibly helpful and generous with their time. Maybe there is hope after all.