Internet bampots unite!

gw500h633-500x336It must be really shite being a sports journalist in the Scottish media these days. No really, I mean that sincerely.

I spent a lot of my adolescent/early adult years devouring everything I possibly could about Celtic on a daily basis. Newspapers, Teletext/Ceefax or even calling ClubCall using my mate’s BT Account (sorry, Joseph).

Nowadays, I couldn’t find myself further from reading the media garbage that is handed down to football supporters. I’ve distanced myself so much from it, it is literally a gold nugget when you hear about a credible piece in a newspaper.

I’m a long way from picking up the Evening Times or any other Scottish paper to check out the latest on Celtic and not just because I now live 400 miles from Glasgow. The truth is I stopped trusting the bastards a long time ago and even longer before I started writing for myself.

Writing about Celtic was never a goal for me, but I was driven towards it. I used to vent my spleen on a fan’s forum though generally to the wrong type of audience.

A close friend made the suggestion that I should redirect my passions elsewhere. I never really gave much thought to what I was doing, I just needed to say what was on my mind.

I don’t have particularly radical views or groundbreaking material to offer, but I do speak from the heart and I guess that has always been my motivation. It’s one thing to do a match report the way you see it, but reading the other gumpf in the media was really getting under my skin.

The constant story telling to sell papers. The underpinning of our old rivals (and new ones today!).

It was sickening. Now we live in different times though.

There is another voice out there. The voice of the supporters and bloggers.

You’ve all heard about the ‘keyboard hard men’ or ‘internet bampots’ – well that’s the bloggers. The SMSM’s damning of the true voice of football supporters only adds weight to how threatened they feel by our presence.

There are some damn fine bloggers out there not just with proficient writing skills, but with formulated opinions and a very good insight. When it comes to the media it is sold as gospel, not opinion.

People buy into what is being printed and it is a dangerous game for which nobody dares to challenge. It is one thing to keep the media on side – or control them – but I despise the fact that Celtic don’t even challenge the press more.

Over the years the club have been thrown to the dogs by the Scottish media. The sort of thing that the English press do to their national side on a permanent basis.

It is appalling behaviour. So it is of comfort to know that out there on the internet you can find a growing source of material that reports more truth or honest opinion than you will find in any Scottish newspaper.

The simple reason for that is that they are not on the payroll for anyone else. I don’t always agree with what I read in other blogs, but I read it knowing that it is their opinion, not necessarily how everyone sees it and not always factual unless stated otherwise.

I’ve had the opportunity to write on other websites or blogs in the past which was a real pleasure. I enjoy the work of others and welcome the differing views even if they aren’t my own.

I think this dispels the theory that in the world of the blogger, we fans hear what we want to. What we do hear is the open and varied views of the fans and then we make our own judgement.

The guys that get paid to sensationalise content in the media are making fake news, to coin a topical phrase. I’m glad to be part of a growing community of people who write about their passions for Celtic and sport in general.

I’m approaching my tenth year doing this and still loving it. There have been highs and lows, beginning with the end of the Gordon Strachan era through to this current era for the club under Brendan Rodgers.

It is a very good time to be a Celtic fan, despite all the misinformation you might read in the media. Stick with the bloggers, they’ll keep you right.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

Up in the air…

The transfer window is now shut thankfully! And with it, any player speculation for the remainder of the current season.

Nothing major or unexpected has occurred in January. With Eboue Kouassi the only player drafted in by Celtic, I was more pleased to see some players heading out.

Eoghan O’Connell (Walsall), Jamie McCart (Inverness), Theo Archibald (Albion Rovers), Joe Thomson (Queen of the South), Ryan Christie (Aberdeen), Aidan McIlduf (Queens Park), Kristofer Ajer (Kilmarnock) and Leonardo Fasan (Port Vale) have all gone out on loan until the end of the season. Aidan Nesbitt (Morton) has extended his loan spell, whilst Saidy Janko (Barnsley), Paul McMullan (Dunfermline) Colin McCabe (Stenhousemuir) and Jamie Lindsay (Morton) continue their season long loans.

Moving on is Irish youngster, Michael Duffy who has returned to Ireland to play for Dundalk. For those with Celtic contracts ending in the summer, it is almost certainly the end of their careers at the club as well.

Not going out on loan spells are Kris Commons, Nadir Ciftci or Efe Ambrose…or is he? Commons will leave in the summer when his contract expires and Ciftci still has two-and-a-half years left to run on his deal but he is almost certain to have that cancelled if he fails to find a suitor.

For Efe it looked as though the transfer window had slammed shut on his fingers. Apparently the deal is not yet dead though so we may be bidding farewell to him before the summer.

Even then, I’m sure the club will be sweeping up Efe’s debris long after he’s gone. He’ll be haunting people in the corridors of Celtic Park for years to come!

Slowly, but surely the squad size will be coming down because. This needed to happen, but in turn the quality needs to remain high.

With Moussa Dembele and Craig Gordon linked with Chelsea in the window, it was reassuring to hear they were both staying put. There’s nothing to say that, that might change in the summer, but for now they are both still Celtic players.

The lure of London, the Premier League, Antonio Conte’s aftershave and a lot of Sky Sports money must be hard to ignore. On planet Celtic though there is a treble at stake and dare I say it a chance to go the whole season unbeaten?

Something special is happening at Celtic right now. We’ve seen that in almost every game this season so far.

You’d be a fool not to want to be part of it if you are being given the chance. There are some who don’t feature in the long-term plans though.

For many of the squad, the season is just beginning as they earn their first minutes on the park under Rodgers. The pack will become tighter as the squad downsizes.

We’re not losing quality, just quantity. Some guys will come back and have another crack, some will remain gone forever.

The key thing here is that Rodgers has run the rule over this squad. He’s been patient, given many a chance and remained even-handed with his fitness policy.

He made it clear that Leigh Griffiths, although a talented player, isn’t doing it right in other areas to be considered his first choice striker. I get Brendan’s stance on this and we saw something similar with Ronny Deila, though it failed to obtain respect and support from some of the dressing room and supporters.

Deila imposed a similar regime of health, fitness and lifestyle but his tactics and squad selection would be his undoing. Most of the current squad endured that but it ironically has paved the way for Brendan Rodgers.

Griffiths was one of those players, Commons was another. Only one of them still has a shot at a Celtic career.

I feel for both guys having both served the club so well. It is obvious though that under modern management at a club like Celtic it is becoming a club standard to shape up or be shipped out.

Leigh has a chance and he did seem to take Deila’s advice, eventually earning his place after being out of the picture. Under Rodgers the bar has gone up again though.

Whatever Leigh isn’t doing right he needs to change. He is a fine player who has already shown what he can do on a Tunnock’s diet.

I hope he continues to work hard and demonstrates his willingness to comply. If he does he’ll be unstoppable and Rodgers will have a pleasant headache.

Right now though it seems to be Dembele all the way. Until the summer at least.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac