Why Leigh Griffiths Should Never Play For Celtic Ever Again
‘A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and the unemployed.’
Eighteen words, simple and powerful, they were the foundation upon which a football club was built. The club was Glasgow Celtic, and the ‘children and the unemployed’ that most needed their dinner tables maintaining were more often than not members of the Irish immigrant community who resided in the cities east end.
‘Rudi Skacel is a f***ing refugee’.
Six words, bigoted and vile. They were sung (to the tune of yellow submarine) by Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths as he led a pub full of Hibs supporters (of which Griffiths is one, as well as having played for them) in their favourite song about their least favourite ex-Hearts player (Skacel is from the Czech Republic).
Now, as a particularly cynical Celtic fan I don’t really buy into a lot of the ‘more than a club’ thing Celtic try to sell to the world, I’m not entirely sure we are different than other clubs, are we special? All fans believe their club to be special, it is the very nature of support. But even I, with all my cynicism, with my distaste at what football has become, still feel a sense of genuine pride when I read those eighteen words, when I think of my club being born of a desire to extend a hand those who were falling, or pick up those who had fallen.
And then there’s those six words, so offensive, so full of hate, so diametrically opposed to everything my club is meant to stand for.
That Leigh Griffiths is still free to pull on that famous shirt, and represent the club founded by Brother Walfrid all those years ago is nothing short of a disgrace, It makes a mockery of all that Celtic purport to have at their core. It shames all involved, or at least it should.
In October 2012 Celtic manager Neil Lennon said “any form of racist behaviour against colour, religion, background will be an instant sackable offence” he also said he has a “zero tolerance policy” and noted that Celtic are “open club” and have been since they were formed.
In early April 2014 Leigh Griffiths sang ‘Rudi Skacel is a f***ing refugee’.
In late April 2014 Celtic manager Neil Lennon confirmed that Leigh Griffiths had a future at Celtic, claiming he “has a few issues”.
Griffiths may very well have issues, and he would not be alone in that, there are no angels here, but goodness me that is not the point, his “issues” are just not relevant in this situation. Let’s get this clear, he committed an act that is at best fuelled by hate and prejudice, and at worst outright racist. The difference between Lennon’s words of October 2012 and his actions of April 2014 should embarrass the man. Are the 25+ Scottish Premiership goals that Griffiths will contribute next season worth discarding your principles for? In the mind of Lennon and his superiors at Celtic Park, evidently they are.
How utterly pathetic.
Whether or not Celtic ever were ‘better’ than other clubs is open to debate, but one thing’s for sure, they’re down in the dirt with everyone else now.
Leigh Griffiths should not have been allowed to remain in the employ of Glasgow Celtic, that much should be clear to any right minded individual looking at this with open eyes and a clear head, he committed what was a sackable offence (in his managers own words), one that stains the name of the club and is an insult to all those who forged that name through not just words, but deeds. If the moral high ground was ever Celtic’s then it is no more. Any attempt to take it from now on in would be hypocritical in the extreme.
If Neil Lennon had stood by his words, if Celtic really were a club different than all the others then Griffiths would be looking for a new club. Lennon didn’t, and Celtic aren’t, because Griffiths isn’t.
Some will think that it was merely a moment of idiocy on behalf of Griffiths and that for a young man to lose his job for such a thing is harsh in the extreme, and if it were an isolated incident then that argument would possibly carry more weight, but it is not an isolated incident, Griffiths has previous (he sent a tweet to a person of colour telling them to “go back to their own country”). Yes he needs educated, but that is not the responsibility of the current Celtic administration, what is their responsibility is the maintenance of the name and reputation of Celtic Football Club, and in that they are proving grossly incompetent.
More than a club? Not now, and they never will be again.