Following on from my last post regarding Poppy Day and the meaning of that, whoever is currently running things at Ibrox stadium obviously hasn’t a clue what it’s about at all. The following are two pieces relevant to this. The first is an emotional but thoughtful reaction, the second is a considered reaction. The strange thing for me is that this isn’t strange on this side of the pond.
Both are comments on the Scottish football monitor website.
“I am sitting on a Saturday night watching on television the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrence. A very dignified occasion well prepared and presented.
Tomorrow morning I will go to the local Cenotaph and join with many others in remembering those who gave all in the various wars. in the small town where i stay the service will be conducted by the local minister. The music will be provided by the Salvation Army and the local Orange Order. I have been attending for so many years i couldnt guess how many. Both bands will be well turned out and always play appropriate music. I must give them all enormous credit.
Everything is done properly and is very dignified.
Next year i and the remaining members of my family will travel to Italy to keep a promise to my now departed mother to visit the War Grave of her only brother who left home in 1943 to serve his country and never returned.
And why am I saying all this in a blog dedicated to monitoring Scottish football.
Let me tell you why i am doing this.
This afternoon I managed to pick up on the Internet coverage of The Rangers game being televised by Rangers TV.
i am a football fan and watch anything and everything on the box or on the internet.
During the commentary in the first half they made reference to an appearance at half time of some 400 or so military personnel.
I stayed tuned in to witness what i hoped would be a dignified parade allowing fans the opportunity to show support for our military and respect for the departed.
What did I see? A bloody rabble.
Several hundred military personnel did descend onto the park.
They ran, they jumped, they kicked a ball about. They chased and hugged rangers substitutes warming up on the park. They ran into the crowd and posed for pictures. They dived about the goalmouth, and all the time the baying crowd sang Rule Brittania.
It was a shambles, it was a disgrace and it was totally inappropriate.
This football club, born of the ashes of a similar club who failed to pay millions of pounds in taxes disgraced the memory of those who had fallen in all the wars.
I watched it, I witnessed it.
Do these morons think for a minute that it was only Rangers Supporters who died in the war.
who on earth in our services authorised the attendance at Ibrox of servicemen and allowed them to behave in such a disorderly and inappropriate way.
I am disgusted at them.
But not half as disdusted as i am at that shower in charge at ibrox who arranged such a display.”
Major-General N Eeles,
General Officer Commanding Scotland,
Edinburgh Castle,EH1 2NG.
Dear General Eeles,
You will, I imagine, share my dismay that Army, Navy and Royal Marines service personnel were participants in a travesty of a ‘Remembrance’ parade at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, during half-time in a football match being played between The Rangers FC and Alloa Athletic last week-end.
Whatever the original intention may have been, the occasion was allowed to degenerate into what I can only describe as a show of sectarian support- by the military personnel involved- for one particular section of Scottish society and one particular football club.
It was in no way respectful of the men and women ( among whom I include my own father) who suffered death or injury in the second World War, but was an absolutely undisciplined display of sectarian bias by the army unit(s) involved, who, I believe had balloted to be present because of their personal support for the aims and ideology of The Rangers FC.
In my view, the officer who authorised the use of tax-payers’ money for such a shameful partisan display, and the senior officer present on the day ( if indeed, any officer was present) should be asked to apologise to the people of Scotland for being so crassly insensitive to the feelings of many like me, who distance themselves from the poisonous ideology behind Orangeism and who do not wish their support for the Armed Forces of this country to be predicated on a false assumption that Orangeism equates to patriotism.
I am copying this letter to Rear Admiral Hockley (Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland) and to Major-General Davis, CBE RM (Commandant General Royal Marines)