When I heard that Celtic FC were going to don poppies for the Motherwell match at Celtic park last Saturday, I felt literally nauseous. I actually did feel like I was going to vomit. I would liken it the feeling in my stomach I get when I’ve been told a close friend or family member has died suddenly. I didn’t want to believe it. I hoped it was just a sick joke or that someone had got their wires crossed. Seemingly Poppy Scotland contacted the SPL and asked that all the clubs wear poppies for the remembrance weekend. Of course the SPL need no prompting to glorify imperialism and help in the army’s recruitment drive. And now of course, with our current warmongering misogynist chairman in place, it’s inevitable that Celtic would go along with this farce. I would have thought that someone upstairs at Celtic would have voiced concerns though. Maybe suggested sporting white poppies for example. But no, it was not to be. Everyone at Celtic Park it seems, are spineless or are out and out pro-imperialist. What happened to leaving your politics at the door Mr Reid???

So it was left to the few decent fans left, who go to Celtic Park, to voice their disapproval by walking out after 10 mins. They had leafleted around the stadium before the match so that people would know what it was about. Considering that we only had a week to get the protest organised, I think it went extremely well. Well done to the green brigade and tál fanzine, as well as those who joined the protest.

The News of the Screws reported the incident in their usual hysterical fashion and predictably missed the point by a mile.

By James Mulholland, 08/11/2008

HARDCORE Celtic fans were jeered by their fellow supporters yesterday — after refusing to honour the nation’s war dead.

Around 60 anti-poppy protesters walked out of Parkhead 10 minutes into the clash with Motherwell.

But their views weren’t shared by the majority of the Celtic support — who honoured our fallen heroes with a minute’s APPLAUSE before kick-off and BOOED the protesters as they filed out.

The departing fans were joined outside by around 140 others to stage a noisy demo, singing rebel songs and waving the Irish flag.

Their movements were closely monitored by watching Strathclyde Police officers.

The angry fans were demonstrating at the club’s decision to play with a poppy sewn onto their hooped shirts. They claim the red flower is a symbol of British Army brutality in Northern Ireland.

But last night ordinary fans branded those who took part in the 45-minute demo as ignorant — and pointed out that ex-players and fans fought bravely in both world wars.

Celtic follower John Ballantyne said it was “a privilege” to wear his poppy when he attended the game with wheelchair-bound family friend Alexander Tavendale, 15.

John, 49, of Blantyre, Lanarkshire, said: “For goodness sake, we’ve got former players who have won medals fighting for their country. My son is serving in the Army right now. I don’t see why there should be any protest.

“These people fight for our country. It is a privilege to wear the poppy.”

Fan websites urged supporters with Republican leanings to gather at the Cairde na h’Eireann — Gaelic for ‘Friends of Ireland’ — shop in the Gallowgate at 1pm.

Applaud

At the stadium, they handed leaflets to supporters explaining their reasons behind the walkout. It said: “In recent times many of our supporters in Ireland have suffered directly at the hands of the British Army, an army whose soldiers we are expected to applaud and commemorate today.

“This is an insult to our supporters in Ireland and to all of the many thousands with Irish heritage and ancestry that follow the club. Our protest is not aimed at individuals who wear the poppy, it is against the idea Celtic as an institution should be backing British imperialism in any way.”

Shortly before kick-off, the names of Celtic players who had died in the two wars were flashed up on giant screens.

But 10 minutes after the game started, around 60 fans were seen leaving the ground to attend the demo at Parkhead’s front door.

The fans accused Celtic chairman and ex-Defence Secretary John Reid of being a war criminal and called for him to be sacked for “betraying” the Celts’ Irish heritage.

And they belted out foul-mouthed versions of pro-IRA songs.

Protest organiser Stephen McAleese said: “We don’t mean any disrespect to those who have died in the two world wars — my grandfather was in the Army during World War II.

“But the SPL and Celtic PLC have politicised this issue by making the wearing of the poppy compulsory.

“When John Reid took office, he told us to leave our politics at the front door. He would do well to follow his own advice.”

Last night, after Celtic’s 2-0 win, ordinary fans condemned the demo.

Motherwell supporter Matthew Canning, 50, hit out: “I can’t believe people are protesting about the wearing of the poppy.”

A Royal British Legion spokeswoman said: “We asked for the support of all 12 SPL clubs and we are happy that they obliged. We have nothing to say about the boycott.”

A Celtic spokesman added: “The tribute inside the stadium was impeccably observed. The demonstration isn’t worthy of comment.”

See it’s not about the 1st or 2nd world wars. It’s not about dead soldiers. it’s about being part of the army’s arsenal of weaponry. It’s about being used to help recruit for the British Army. That’s what poppy day is all about now. As evidenced by the blanket advertising they have been showing on the telly. Not in my fucking name. If it was about dead soldiers then a minutes silence or the now fashionable applause would have sufficed and that would have been that. We could then have went to the game a wee bit late and missed it so as not to offend the news of the screws or those morons who booed us. I thought we had made it clear in the leaflets, if anyone had cared to read them before making up their tiny little minds about it.

PROTEST AGAINST BRITISH IMPERIALISM

WALK OUT OF STADIUM ON 10 MINUTE MARK

CONTINUE PROTEST – MEET AT WALFRID STATUE

The SPL has decided that all Scottish Premier League clubs should support the Poppy Scotland Appeal. Celtic PLC without proper reference even to its own board, supporters groups or employees has decided to comply with the SPL’s recommendation and has produced a special strip embroidered with a red poppy to be worn by all players in today’s match against Motherwell.

For Celtic to support such an enterprise is extremely insensitive to the huge fan base that the club has in Ireland. In recent times many of our supporters in Ireland have suffered directly at the hands of the British Army, an army whose soldiers we are expected to applaud and commemorate today.

This is an insult to our supporters in Ireland and to all of the many thousands with Irish heritage and ancestry that follow the club. How can the Celtic PLC board expect our supporters to lend support to an army that has plundered and murdered many of our own people?

Bloody Sunday, The Ballymurphy Massacre, the murders of Aiden McAnespie and Peter McBride – these are just a few of the atrocities committed by British troops in Ireland.

This is not about the fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers who were conscripted to fight in two world wars. This poppy day is about the British Army in the here and now – and is being given extra impetus this year because of the falling recruitment figures as a result of its involvement in unpopular conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our protest is not aimed at individuals who wear the poppy, it is against the idea that Celtic as an institution should be backing British imperialism in any way shape or form.

We believe that the poppy appeal has long passed its original aims to commemorate the fallen conscripts of two world wars and has now become a focal point to rally support for the modern professional volunteer soldiers of the British Army and its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An honourable compromise could have been reached if the club had opted to wear the White Poppy which symbolises peace and opposition to all wars, but it seems that other political agendas are now at work in our club.

The Celtic Chairman John Reid is fond of telling us to “leave your politics at the door” yet this former minister in the British war cabinet continues to bring his own British imperialist and unionist politics into our club. Dr Reid should follow his own advice.

It is a disgraceful turnaround in the history of our club that we should even consider endorsing a celebration of the British Army. Celtic was founded by Irishmen who opposed British military involvement in Ireland and whose lives were devoted to this club, the Irish community in Scotland and the struggle to free their homeland from British rule.

It’s time to reclaim our club from those who would prefer to wrap it in the Union Jack rather than the Irish Tricolour.

Printed & Published by Celts Against Imperialism
Supported by Cairde Na hEireann, TAL Fanzine, Green Brigade

I think that says it all really. So to those neanderthals who booed, hang your heads in shame.