Friday, August 31, 2012

Celtic Director in rebel song confession

A FORMER Labour minister has admitted singing Irish rebel songs and says he even sang one in the Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland.
Brian Wilson said that the Scottish Government’s attempt to rid football grounds of sectarian behaviour by more legislation was a “nonsense” and that existing laws were adequate.
Mr Wilson, MP for Cunninghame North from 1987 until 2005 and a Celtic director for six years, said he had belted out a rebel song in Hillsborough Castle.
Mr Wilson said that he and others had sung Kevin Barry, written in honour of an IRA gunman hanged after the First World War.
He admitted: “Let me be open with a voluntary confession for Scotland’s Song Police.
“I know all the words to Kevin Barry and I have been heard to sing them.
“Indeed, I think the last time was in the drawing room of Hillsborough Castle, when the portrait of Lord Brookeborough glaring down at us made the temptation irresistible.”
Lord Brookeborough was an Ulster Unionist politician, seen as particularly hardline in his attitude to Catholics.
Mr Wilson said he was not from a Catholic background, but was a supporter of republicanism over monarchism, he believed in a united Ireland and his support for Celtic was in his “DNA”.
He said: “The reason I know the words is that I am the product of youthful conditioning, just as all of us are. We are brought up with traditions, values and our parents’ beliefs.
“As a rational adult, I quickly worked out that there was nothing romantic about violence, and grew wary of songs that glorified it, even at a distance in time.
“The poor sods on the receiving end of flashing bayonets and Thomson guns were no more deserving of their fates than the later victims of Semtex and AK47s,” said Mr Wilson.
Even so, he said it was wrong to try to erase a sense of personal identity or the “expressions that go with it” by passing legislation.
“Bigoted, sectarian attitudes are buried deep in Scottish society,” he said.
“That is a problem worthy of the Scottish Government’s attention.”
Celtic made no comment.
David McLetchie, the Conservatives’ justice spokesman, said: “I am not in the least bit surprised that Brian Wilson knows the words to Kevin Barry. However, such songs have no place at football matches, because they have nothing to do with supporting a football team.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Police and prosecutors have made it clear they need extra tools to tackle such hate by filling clear gaps in the current law.”

Sectarian 'Hun' banned by Celtic (2001)

CELTIC have banned a popular term for their Ibrox rivals Rangers, warning fans they can no longer call them 'Huns'.

And while the move has been praised by many organisations, Celtic fans themselves say it is an example of political correctness gone too far.

The first fans knew of the ban was when some were thrown off the club's Internet site for using it.

The club has since revealed that any member of staff saying 'Hun' can face disciplinary action or sacked and fans may be asked to leave the ground if they use the word.

'Hun' has been used for years as a general insult for Rangers fans, but some groups have voiced concerns that it could be taken the wrong way, leading to Celtic's actions.

Celtic administrator John Cole said: "It's a word that can cause offence and at Celtic we don't want to be offending anyone, so we are asking that people who have a problem with this look at our social charter and other movements we are involved with."

A spokesman for the Church of Scotland said: "Anything that helps to combat bigotry is more than welcome and Celtic should be praised for it."

And Catholic Church spokesman Peter Cairney commented: "Celtic should be applauded for this move as it helps to remove barriers which cause offence."

A Celtic spokeswoman said: "We support the rights of the individual but will not tolerate behaviour or motivation that alienates others.

"All we ask is that people observe certain rules and ways of behaviour when associating themselves with Celtic."

But Celtic fans themselves see it as a political correct step too far.

Editor of the popular E-Tims fanzine Steve Clarke said: "Celtic, by their action, have managed to label practically every supporter a sectarian bigot."

Rangers' staff details put online by Celtic yob

RANGERS chief Charles Green and manager Ally McCoist were bombarded with hundreds of vile calls — after their mobile numbers were posted online by a Celtic troll.

Hoops yob Stuart Kennedy, 35, tweeted the private details — then used his Twitter account to urge others to hound the pair.

Photographer Kennedy, 35, targeted his club’s Old Firm rivals as he watched Celts beat Helsingborgs in a Champions League clash at a packed Parkhead on Wednesday.

He claimed the numbers were being passed among tens of thousands of fellow fans in the crowd of 50,000.

In his first tweet he posted an 11-digit mobile number and wrote: “No joke, the belfast bhoys have been giving them it tight all day! haha.”

Soon after he posted a second message, adding: “Someone sent that as a text to me haha dont know if it is s**t. Let me know lol.”

A Rangers source said: “It’s shocking. Ally and Charles were given dogs abuse all day. Some of it was seriously abusive.”

Last night, Kennedy was facing a police probe.

At his semi-detached home in a quiet suburb of Carfin, Lanarkshire, the dad desperately tried to play down his actions.

He told The Scottish Sun he had no idea that the numbers he posted belonged to McCoist and Green. Visibly shaking, Kennedy, explained: “It was just a retweet. I didn’t think anything of it.

“Someone sent me it as a text and, like you would with a joke, I just thought that I would post it on.

“Honestly, I thought they were fake numbers — if I could say sorry to Ally I would.”

Kennedy suggested that he too has been the subject of sectarian abuse since he posted the numbers of the two Ibrox bigwigs. And he claimed he has had to hand his mobile over to Strathclyde Police as a result.

He said: “Since I posted the numbers I’ve taken them down.

“But I have been subjected to quite a few phone calls of a sectarian nature.”

A spokesman for Rangers described Kennedy’s actions as “grossly irresponsible” and insisted action had been taken to ensure Green and McCoist, below, were not subject to further abuse.

He added: “The numbers were made public on the internet, we believe, following the theft of a mobile phone.”

Strathclyde Police had no record of Kennedy complaining he too was subject to abuse on his phone.

A spokeswoman for the force said inquiries are continuing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Celtic fans trash American stars car

FORMER Rangers star Alejandro Bedoya last night vowed to dump Celtic out of the Champions League – as revenge for Hoops fans trashing his car.

The American midfielder has joined Helsingborgs on a short-term deal after quitting the Ibrox club.
But he’s guaranteed a swift return to Scotland after the Swedish champs drew Neil Lennon’s side in the play-off round for the Champions League. Celtic head to Sweden next week for the first leg before a return clash at Parkhead a week later.
And the 25-year-old plans to heap pain on the Hoops supporters who laid waste to his car last season.
Bedoya told a Swedish newspaper: “I was a sub in a derby at Parkhead so I can tell Helsingborgs about the atmosphere of hatred coming down from the stands.
“I had my car damaged by Celtic fans but these things happen. I will be extra ready and have promised my old pals at Rangers to do one last thing for them by knocking Celtic out.
“I got a lot of messages from Rangers friends. They told me: ‘Knock Celtic out of the Champions League.’”
Bedoya, who joined Gers from Swedish side Orebro last year, faces a fight to prove his fitness ahead of next Tuesday’s first leg.
And that game, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will be screened live on STV.

Neil Lennon tax scheme blow

NEIL Lennon is being chased for legal costs after losing more than £100,000 in a tax scheme and failing to get his cash back.
Experts say the Celtic manager and his fellow investors could face a bill of up to £20million after a judge threw out their lawsuit.
And the group going after the money include lawyers Collyer Bristow, who advised Craig Whyte on his disastrous takeover of Rangers.
Lennon put £200,000 into two investment schemes in 2003, when he was earning £30,000 a week at Celtic.
He was told they would save him almost £500,000 in income tax.
Celtic striker John Hartson, England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and English rugby stars Joe Worsley and Jason Leonard also invested cash.
But they all lost out after the Inland Revenue said the schemes were against tax rules.
Lennon only got back £80,000 of his money – and received none of the tax benefits he was promised.
The schemes’ architect, disgraced Danish entrepreneur Bjorn Stiedl, was jailed for an unrelated pension fraud in 2004.
Lennon and more than 500 other investors teamed up to sue the company behind the schemes, Innovator One. Stiedl was the driving force behind the firm.
But they all lost out after the Inland Revenue said the schemes were against tax rules.
The highly complex investment plans were designed to exploit tax breaks for investors who put their money into software and technology.
The incentives were brought in after the dotcom crash hit technology shares on global stock markets in 2000.
Lennon put a total of £200,000 into two schemes – one called Mamjam Technology Platform Partnership and another called Casedirector Technology Partnership.
Investors put in a little more than £6million.
The schemes then took out another £19million in bank loans and used the cash to buy software from another company.
The idea was that Lennon would be able to count £800,000 of the borrowed money as part of his investment, giving him a total of £1million and allowing him to reduce his income tax bill by £400,000.
But the company who sold the software to the schemes then put the borrowed money on deposit with the bank, meaning it had effectively gone round in a circle.
And the taxman ruled that, because of that, the investors could only claim tax breaks on the money they had put in themselves.
That meant Lennon would only have got back up to £80,000.
And since the investment scheme failed, the rest of his stake was wiped out, saddling him with a £120,000 loss.
Hartson invested £120,000 in the same two schemes as his former teammate. He joined Lennon and the other investors in the lawsuit against Innovator One.
They claimed at the High Court in London that the schemes were fraudulent and had been badly put together.
In all, they alleged, their investments had been mis-sold for more than a dozen different reasons.
But judge Mr Justice Hamblen rejected their case.
He ruled: “Although the claimants were understandably aggrieved to lose their cash contributions and receive back only limited tax relief, there are obvious risks in going into aggressive tax schemes which offer the prospect of almost immediately doubling your money.”
Collyer Bristow were one of the defendants in the lawsuit after acting as lawyers for Innovator One, and are now preparing to try to claim back their costs from the investors.
A costs hearing is expected later in the year. No date has been set.
If the bill does reach £20million, it will leave the 555 investors facing costs of £36,000 each. Lennon and Hartson declined to comment.
The Innovator One schemes were similar to more recent schemes involving film financing which have also proved popular among footballers because of promises to massively lower their income tax bills. But the film schemes have often proved similarly unsuccessful, with the taxman refusing to hand over rebates.

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