Monday, March 07, 2011

Old Firm: Time To End The Madness

A relatively blog free weekend.

Everyone needs a break sometimes. And a week when the Old Firm, and by extension Scottish football, has been convulsed with a poisonous madness seems as good a time as any.

He said, he said, they said.

A never ending cycle of recrimination, scrambling for the moral highground, accusation and counter accusation.

Alex Salmond has summoned both clubs to Edinburgh for what you have to hope will be a constructive discussion rather than a predictable, publicity garnering dressing down.

Government and politicians getting involved in football is hardly ideal.

But neither is the abhorrent situation where the dangerously deluded can watch a football game and believe the only obvious reaction is to get drunk and beat their wife.

Or to send a hoax nail bomb to Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

That suggests something has to be done.

Something more than tit for tat, "we're better than you" gloating.

Something more than "it's the Old Firm, shit happens."

Shit might very well happen. But this is a supposedly modern country where there is a will, if not a consensus on method, to move football forward.

That's not going to happen when a lunatic fringe is revelling in the bileous atmosphere of recent days.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, Neil Lennon has done in his career is a reason for the death threats, the mail that has to be intercepted, the 24 hour guard on his house that we've seen reported this week.

That's seems to me a sickness that is leaving more and more people sickened.

And that's a tragedy for Neil Lennon and a darkness at the heart of the game.

Bridges need to be built, the lunatic fringe needs to be exposed, people need to be forced to realise that a local rivalry need not be riven with hatred.

Let's hope we can start that process this week.