Neil Lennon: he’s not hated just because he’s a Catholic

Neil Lennon, Glasgow Celtic manager

Note: this post was put up two days ago and deleted at some point over the past twenty-four hours. Who by? Pass.

 Neil Lennon says he’s been targeted by the hate-mongers in Scotland and in the North here because he’s a Catholic. He’s wrong. Well no, that’s a bit harsh. He’s half-wrong. Or half-right, if you like. It’s true that Glasgow Rangers for years operated a policy of No Catholics Need Apply, just as Linfield did. But over the past decade and more, both those teams have employed Catholics, on  and off the field.  Being a Catholic on its own is not enough to get the bile boiling. Hatred in Scotland and here in the north of Ireland is, like football itself, a unit of two halves. In the Glasgow Celtic manager’s case, the second half that releases the rage against him is that he’s Irish. 
Not Northern irish, which is how the British papers, even broadsheets like The Guardian describe him. Being Irish and Catholic = Irish nationalist  = for some people unacceptable, to the point where they’d like to kill you, especially if, like Lennon, you’re high-profile. You don’t have to say you believe in Irish reunification by violent means, you don’t have to say you hate all unionists.  You just need to believe  that Irish reunification makes sense.  More accurately, you just need some canary-brain to believe that you believe in Irish reunification. Lennon, to the best of my knowledge, has never spoken a public word on Irish politics but sure luk, isn’t he a fuggin’ taig from Lurgan,   and you know what they’re like, IRA every wan.
The excuse that’s sometimes put forward for activities like those of the shaved chimp who made Wednesday night’s attack is that Lennon is a ‘combative figure’.  Right. A combative figure who played soccer for Northern Ireland, a team followed by bigots who chanted their contempt of him every time he appeared on the field. A combative figure ready to captain Northern Ireland until death-threats drove him out, whereupon some ‘respectable’ unionists expressed disappointment that he should let a mere death-threat push him away.
One last thing on this and then I’ll shut up on this, because I’ve a feeling I might start screaming:  the one-side/ other-side talk is an insult to the listener’s intelligence.  You like to say it’s on both sides really, you like to compare Celtic and Rangers in terms of bigotry?  Walk off the nearest high building, would you?  That or check which team for decades didn’t just shut the door but nailed it closed against Catholics. Check which team manager has had bombs, bullets, physical attack on at least two occasions launched against him.  Then come back and try your stupid-arse one-side/other-side argument and be prepared to be laughed to scorn on every side.
The Lennon case shows there’s a cancer in Scottish and Northern Irish football, it’s there’s because   there’s a wider cancer in Scottish and Northern Irish society. It’s called hatred of Irish nationalism. 

8 Responses to Neil Lennon: he’s not hated just because he’s a Catholic

  1. Nicomachan May 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    well said m8

  2. Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Spot on

  3. Jim Lynch May 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Yes Jude you are correct. Freud put it right when he described 'projection'
    Pointing the finger and blaming the other side of what you are guilty of yourself.
    There is only one side to this nonsense and that is the bigotry of anti- Catholicism.

  4. Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Strong words…softly spoken…Nice to see a truth in type Jude..

  5. Anonymous May 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I am completely in disgust of the whole sectarian nonsense, however it amazes me that someone like Jude, an intelligent erudite person can, because he is plainly catholic and nationalist, can see no further than his bigoted nose, (we are right and they are wrong.their nastier than us!!) Shame on you Jude, open your eyes and use your intelligence and see the idiocy and futility on both sides.

  6. Jude Collins May 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Thank you, Anon, for the contribution. As I've said before, I really appreciate all opinions, including and maybe especially those that disagree. But I must add that I feel no shame at all at all and I think the facts are most definitely on my side in this one. Really.

  7. Anonymous May 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Anon seems to be suggesting that if you are a Catholic and a nationalist you are, therefore, also a bigot! Just trying to figure that out. Does he/she really mean that? And, if so, what does that say about Anon?
    Keep up the good work, Jude. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

  8. Anonymous May 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Article is spot on. The attempt to simplfy the matter as simply religious sectarianism that is 'as bad on both sides' is agenda-driven nonsense; accepted only by the ruling class and those incapable of critical analysis.

    Labelling it a purely religious matter casually removes the British state from their central role in the centuries of national and class oppression. It paints them as bystanders in an uniquely Irish issue, which seems irreperable without their presence. Bullshit.

    By saying both sides are as bad as one another, they skillfully criminalise legitimate resistance to oppression and equate it with religious bigotry – the only tool THEY have to wield in order to divide the working people and maintain their occupation.

    Resisting imperialism is not a crime. Neither is being an active member of a diaspora and maintaining your cultural heritage. And, shockingly enough, neither is speaking with a north of Ireland accent and being a public figure in Glasgow.

    Well done to the writer for his courage in writing this…as the Scottish media is playing the 'old firm' (i.e. both sides…) card to distance their own portion of blame.