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An astonishing verdict

Posted by talfanzine on September 1, 2011 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

“An astonishing verdict…”

Those were the words used by a BBC reporter who relayed the news to Radio 5 Live’s primetime 'Drive' programme after a jury returned the ‘not proven’ verdicts on two of the three charges against John Wilson, a Hearts fan, who millions around the world witnessed attacking the Celtic manager Neil Lennon in a match between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle at the end of last season’

Such is the malaise in Scottish society that some of its most backward neanderthal elements believe it is acceptable to physically attack a 'taig', in the street or at a football match. Sure, don't they bring it on themselves?

He's got ginger hair as well, for God's sake, he was asking for it!

But never mind all that, let's reserve our sympathy for poor Mr Wilson, who must surely now be regarded as a victim of a grave miscarriage of justice that he was convicted on the charge of 'breach of the peace' for running on to the trackside at Tynecastle. Sure wasn't he only stretching his legs due to the cramped conditions that night?!?

Yes, I am joking.

In fact, didn't Neil Lennon attack himself and we are all the victims of mass hallucination brought on by our upbringing in an 'apartheid education system' (yes, this is what they believe) and all those years that we've spent oppressing the Protestant majority by means of 'Kafflik Labour Councils'?

It is the opinion of many who followed the case closely that the Procurator Fiscal botched the charges in the Tynecastle case. I believe that the pressure that was brought to bear on his office by the statements of the Scottish First Minister about 'dealing with the sectarian problem once and for all' which had a bearing on the charges that were brought against Wilson.

The jury's bizarre verdict may have even have been more politically motivated than 'sectarian', but they were still WRONG. Wilson should have been charged with assault aggravated by racism rather than the sectarianism charge, which was always going to be highly contestable. The jury could and should have been properly directed by the judge in terms of what they could do to alter the charges. They could also have been directed, given the admissions made by Wilson on the witness stand and the statements of his defence counsel, that they really had no choice other than to find him guilty at least on the charges of breach of the peace and assault, if not on the ‘aggravated by sectarianism’ count.

For what it's worth, I think that the odious Wilson will now probably get off with 'time served' and a community service order and/or medical treatment, which is probably appropriate. He should count himself very lucky with that, but how long will it be before he is feted as a hero by the racists and have an unofficial hearts or rangers supporters club name itself after him - the John Wilson Loyal?

The ‘astonishing outcome’ of the trial means that Scotland's largest ethnic minority, the Irish community, will view this verdict as further evidence of institutionalised discrimination against them and that their civil rights as citizens and indeed their personal safety on the streets and in public places in Scotland cannot be guaranteed, nor can their attackers expect to be dealt with harshly.

There was, however, a quite bizarre and disturbing statement made on Newsnight Scotland by Paul McBride QC who is feted as a hero by many Celtic fans. Towards the end of an interview where he stated that the outcomeof the trial was 'deplorable' and in which he restated his full support for the ill-advised 'anti-sectarian' legislation, he remarked that a jury system that allows 'people who cannot read, write or count'  to become jurors would have to be seriously looked at. I have no idea how many of the jurors at the trial in Edinburgh may have been illiterate, semi-literate or holding doctorates, but the class nature of his comments was apparent and should serve as a reminder that some people even in our own 'Celtic Family' apparently believe themselves to be more equal than others.

The fear now is that the proposed ‘anti-sectarian’ legislation going through committee stage in the Scottish Parliament is a double-edge sword that aims to 'equalise' the misery, painting the victims of racism as the architects of their own misfortune.

As Joe O’Rourke of the Celtic Supporters Association put it:

What we need to do is look at the wider picture; there has in the last year been a number of instances where we in the Celtic Family have been treated as less than equal; and right throughout Scottish Society; from the Government to the Police and the SFA….  We have to stand up to this kind of treatment. Last Sunday at New St Mirren Park once again every Celtic Supporter was subjected to a body search; we are continually being criminalised for wearing a green and white scarf; well it’s not on; and it must stop.

The new legislation for offensive behaviour at regulated football matches in Scotland will be law in the New Year; the Celtic Supporters Association will give full unconditional support to any of our supporters who are unfairly arrested and charged; we will not stand idly by and let our supporters be demonised by the bigots in Scotland.

This is an honourable and commendable position that the CelticSupporters Association have adopted. They stand head and shoulders above those so-called legal heroes and self-obsessed ‘rebel journalists’ who would have us comply with the legislation.

Vested interests in our own community who present themselves as 'rebels' but who are in fact ultra-conservatives are backing the legislation and telling us that we must limit our cultural and political aspirations, It’s ironic that the man who has claimed to be a champion of the civil rights of the Irish in Scotland should be advancing the argument for what is clearly bad legislation that shouldn’t just be tinkered around with and adapted to, but which should be opposed and derailed. Sure, didn’t he himself argue that this generation of confident well-educated young Irish Scots (or Scots Irish) would not be content to do as their parents and grandparents might have done and  'keep the heid doon' and ‘sit at the back of the bus’?

What has happened to make someone who claimed to be a ‘rebel’ acquiesce so easily without so much as a fight? For Phil’s information, we will continue to do as we have been, we will not be returning to the back seats of the bus, nor will we be doffing the cap and tugging the forelock to our so-called 'betters' in our own community.

Finally, I think it’s important to state where we stand in relation to that team on the other side of the city. As football supporters it is perfectly natural to take pleasure at the misfortunes of our greatest rivals. They did it to us when we hit the financial rocks a few years ago and currently Celtic supporters are enjoying the financial shenanigans and revelations about the tax difficulties of the Ibrox club. That’s football and that’s football supporters. Live with it.

I don’t care that much about what happens over there; it’s their business not ours. Let them sink or swim on their own. The danger in constantly chipping away at them and calling for more and more legislation to control their supporters is that the same legislation can then be turned on us and used as a means to define as 'sectarian' songs which clearly are not, further gentrify the game and cleanse it of its working class character and traditional rivalries. It is a double-edge sword and it will be enforced as harshly against our supporters as it is against the fans of any other club.  

They can celebrate their British identity as they see fit, but they must celebrate their own identity without the hate and vitriol of racial abuse and physical attacks on the Irish Catholic minority community. Those from that tradition must also accept that the Irish community in Scotland has a civil right to celebrate its culture and identity in its own way, again without racism or violence.

I believe that militant loyalism and unionism in Scotland will be increasingly marginalised as the country moves forward politically, perhaps even towards independence, and that we are seeing a disgruntled, alienated, anti-social section of working class loyalism punching itself out. We should, however, remain vigilant. Just because they are on their last legs, it doesn’t make them any less dangerous. We should always remember that some of our youngest supporters have paid for supporting Celtic with their lives.

The truth is though that this fascist element are as much a scourge on their own community as they are on ours.

The bigger picture is that the institutionalised nature of anti-Catholicism and anti-Irish racism must be exposed and politically fought. It is this that the SNP government must confront 'once and for all'. Their misnamed 'anti-sectarian' legislation is incapable of addressing the issue because the legislation that they are determined to push through the parliament is not about controlling THEM, as in the perpetrators of racism', it is about controlling US, the victims of racism.



Make it short, make it snappy?. and make it up!

Posted by talfanzine on August 28, 2011 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Answering the lies of 'G40' on The Celtic Network.


I suppose the first thing I should do is to thank G40 of The Celtic Network (TCN) for writing such an ill-informed and inaccurate piece that masquerades as a ‘review’ of TAL’s latest Ezine edition.

The blog (see link) is little more than a deliberate misrepresentation of what was written in the TAL Ezine edition, but I welcome the opportunity to answer it. I would also encourage other supporters to go to our website and download the Ezine and read it for yourselves, because TCN’s ‘review’ is nothing more than a hatchet job, full of lies and deliberate falsehoods. Indeed one wonders whether the author of the blog actually bothered to read the Ezine, because his estimation of its contents are not based on reality.

Some people have little in the way of political answers, so they try to personalise the argument and the above blog is a perfect example of the personalisation of the political.

Our criticism of both Phil MacGiollabhain and Paul McBride is political not personal, but G40 and TCN prefer to interpret it differently and by his own admission G40 makes ‘assumptions’ based on his own prejudice against TAL and/or the prejudice and lies of others. Put simply, TAL Fanzine does not agree with the interpretation of the new anti-sectarian legislation by the ‘Two Macs’ – MacGiollabhain and McBride. Our view of the legislation was well-presented in the Ezine by Rebel Bhoy’s article entitled OURSELVES ALONE. (download from www.talfanzine.com)

The writer talks about TAL going into ‘the realms of fantasy’ and then goes on to claim that we specifically criticised Phil MacG because he wrote a piece on the Famine Memorial for the Celtic match programme. This is a lie, a complete fiction. There is no mention of such an article by MacGiollabhain anywhere in the Ezine. Did the author of this blog actually read the Ezine or did he base his comments on hearsay? The ‘realms of fantasy’ appear to be where the blog author was writing from.

Words are being twisted and not very cleverly. The real ‘conformists’ – those who would comply with this bad legislation – are the so-called ‘rebels’ who have INSTRUCTED the Celtic support to refrain from singing certain songs. Those who attempt to use their republican credentials to browbeat others into submission. We reserve the right to criticise that type of political hypocrisy.

Incidentally, TAL was never happy to simply go along with MacGiollabhain’s egotistal brand of ‘journalism’, as G40′s article claims. Indeed, my own contribution to the latest Ezine questioned where Phil might be leading us and made the point that we have a history to be proud of that MacGiollabhain wants to edit and rewrite, leaving us as little more than ‘the other side of the sectarian coin’ to the Scotland’s Shame FC support. It is our view that Phil’s personal obsession with Scotland’s Shame FC is an unhealthy one for a grown man who claims to be both a ‘rebel’ and a ‘journalist’ . That he has led a section of our support with him in this obsession is shamefully self-indulgent.


On the issue of the songs, I would urge readers to go to the Over and Over Radio show site on Spreaker.com and listen to the first hour of the show, where the songs issue and TAL’s criticisms of Mac Giolla Bhain and McBride are discussed. Rather than us living in the past, we are offering ways around and through the legislation. I made the point that mine is only one point of view and that I was certainly NOT telling people how they should behave or think, merely offering an ‘alternative view’ on the matter. It’s called democratic debate. Those who are issuing diktats on the matter are not from our fanzine.

For TCN to question our credentials as Celtic supporters is downright insulting. It is a dirty argument that really is beneath contempt. How dare TCN – a network that has been in existence for a matter of weeks – question our commitment to the club.

Incidentally, it is a complete fantasy – A LIE – that we have ever claimed that TCN is in the pay of the club. The blog is not just bad writing, it is utter tripe based on no evidence whatsoever from the Ezine or our website. It is a deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of our views.

Looking through it again, the blog really is quite nasty in its intent and some specific points need to be addressed:

“…petty personal attacks against Paul McBride QC and especially Phil Mac Giolla Bhain.”


“So because Paul McBride declared that the word Hun could be considered as offensive under these new laws when he was being interview on Celtic Underground TAL now consider him as a traitor. This is a guy who the same people where championing only months before for standing up for Celtic.”


“However that is nothing compared to the personal attack they carry out against Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. Again a guy they were happy to support when he was getting tore into the Scotland’s Shame FC support. This whole thing stems from the fact that Phil in his blog criticised some of the pro IRA songs at the Hibs game and then raised the issue of whether there is any need for these songs to be sung in Scottish football grounds considering the people in Ireland were trying to move on from the troubles.”


“Now this is where things move into the realms of fantasy. They then go on to slag Phil off for writing a piece for the Celtic match program about the need for a Famine memorial in Glasgow (Wolves friendly). Now I would have thought that these so called republicans would have welcomed this but they did not. Instead they seem to claim that he’s writing for the enemy which is strange considering it was a Celtic FC publication.”


“To top it all off they have a go at the fact that Phil Mac Tee shirts are being sold on Rhebel Rhebel so in effect they are also having a dig at that site. Anyone who is familiar with Rhebel Rhebel knows that they only produce products that the Celtic support are interested in buying. As a side note their T Shirts are brilliant so have a look on the site.”


“So the questions are. What is TAL’s agenda? Are they a pro Celtic site or are they an organisation who wants to live in the past while the rest of the world move on? Is it their belief that your only a real Celtic fan if you support the now disbanded PIRA or you need to have pro republican views?”


“TAL claim to be anti fascist which is strange considering they seem to want every Celtic fan to conform to their view.”


“By the way I’m happy to publish any responses from TAL and it’s supporters. I don’t believe in censorship. However I won’t publish personal abuse.”


“Foot note Contrary to what TAL believes TCN has nothing to do with Celtic fc if the club were paying me to work for them I think I might have noticed by now”


I have no problem with G40 expressing a point of view that is different to TAL’s, but I do have a problem with someone who ascribes to TAL words that none of the contributors to the Ezine have ever uttered or written. That is deliberate, calculated and malicious defamation.






The fight for Independence heats up

Posted by talfanzine on June 8, 2011 at 3:47 PM Comments comments (0)

The fight for Independence heats up


The elections to the Scottish Parliament on 5th May 2011 proved to be truly historic and were of great joy to many at this fanzine who have long defended the Scottish people's right to run their own affairs and to quote John Maclean "bring the British empire crashing to its knees". We're not there yet but who can deny the significance of these results?


All three Unionist leaders in Scotland have now resigned throwing their parties into periods of soul-searching and navel-gazing. Early signs are that they have learned nothing. Labour, especially, ran a negative campaign against the SNP wheeling in their so-called "big-hitters" from London to tell the recalcitrant Scots that the world would end on May 6th. The people of Scotland and particularly the working class are heartily sick of being patronised by London politicians telling us we're the only country in the world too stupid and too small to govern ourselves. So who is to conduct Labour's review? Not Henry McLeish who sees the winds of change and called for a much more independent Labour party in Scotland, but no the same tired methods of wheeling in Jim Murphy from London to get the jocks in line. Truly, this party have been dumped by the working class and rightfully so.


A parliament designed by Labour's Donald Dewar to prevent an SNP majority has fallen inside 12 years to that very party. 69 seats and a working majority of 4. Whole swathes of Labour heartlands in the Central Belt have switched over to the SNP. LibDem votes in the north came to Alex Salmond as well due to the treacherous Coalition deal done last year in Westminster.


So what of the left? Well the Trotskyist left, split in two, were annihilated by both the BNP and Arthur Scargill's SLP. However classes not parties make revolutions and the vast majority of the working class rejected the ultra-leftists for the broad church that is the SNP. Republican Socialists have been vindicated in calling for an SNP vote as a tactic in which to break the imperialist UK state.


So what next? Alex Salmond has wisely parked the referendum til at least 2014. No doubt he will continue to govern in a populist social-democratic manner like before and try to carry the majority with him. Republican Socialists however should not simply just sit back and tail the SNP. The opening shots for the Union have already been fired with attempts to persuade Cameron to amend the Scotland Bill (a small increase in powers for the devolved government) by forcing an early referendum on the Scots, in the hope that the people will reject Independence. Such a move would possibly get the desired result for the unionists but surely such a move would be seen for what it is and reap a whirlwind of anger later on? The Orange Order have already been out banging the drum for the Union. The Irish community should organise an Irish community for Independence in response and Irish republicans must surely not stand back from this anti-Union movement either. Celtic fans in particular should ignore attempts by the unionist tabloids to patronise them with former Lisbon Lions being wheeled out to bang the same unionist drum! And readers of this fanzine will need no reminding of the roles likely to be played byarch-unionists like Lord Reid and Brian Wilson.


For the next 3 years or so, the SNP will haggle with London over more fiscal autonomy and look at a multi-option referendum. This presents a danger for Alex Salmond though. If, though I doubt it, London does concede powers of Corporation Tax etc. then pursuing the failed Celtic Tiger model tried by Ireland risks losing him large sections of the working class that he has just won over. He must govern as before, to the left of Labour. That's why they were elected. The next five years will be the most crucial inthe SNP's history and possibly in Scotland's 304-year Union with England.


The task for the republican left and communists who have long correctly taken a stageist approach to this question is now to build a United Front and be at the forefront of the Yes campaign. We must remain independent of the main nationalist party. Our goals don't stop with fiscal autonomy or a free state under the Crown. Those are but bus stops along the road to the Socialist Republic.


Suas an Poblachd Shoisealach na h-Alba!  

By Fidelista




The Bombs, The Bigots and The Law...

Posted by talfanzine on April 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM Comments comments (0)

The recent 'viable' nail bomb devices discovered in transit to the Celtic manager Neil Lennon and 'high profile Celtic supporters' marks a new departure in the conflict that is lovingly referred to in Scottish sports media circles as the 'Old Firm Divide'. However, this represents only a new departure in terms of tactics rather than overall strategy, because Celtic fans have for years been the victims of a low level terrorist campaign of racist and sectarian attacks against them by an extreme loyalist element that attaches itself to the Rangers Football Club and for which the term 'zero tolerance' applies only to the  'taigs' and tims for whom they hold such irrational hatred.

This latest 'crackdown' on the peddlers ofinternet hate campaigns will be a mostly superficial, public relations driven non-event that will hardly scratch the surface of the real underlying problem of loyalist-inspired 'sectarianism' and anti-Irish/anti-Catholic hatred.


As a lawyer Paul McBride QC has a somewhat blind faith in the ability of the law to provide a solution to this problem. In his interview with the BBC it is interesting that he named everyone - (the clubs, the managers, the players, thepolice, the courts, the politicians) - that is everyone, except those with the power to make the necessary changes - THE FANS. As one of the intended recipients of the nail bombs, Mr McBride is more than most entitled to his opinion, but it is a predictable call for action from someone who makes a living from the law, entirely understandable, but in the opinion of this blogger, also entirely incorrect as long as the proposed solution does not include the source of the problem - the rangers support.


Any 'solution' that does not involve the supporters as its main component is not a solution, it's a smokescreen for a more authoritarian approach by those who run football, government and the law. In other words, the long-awaited 'solution' will be administered by those who refused to acknowledge that the problem existed in the first place. Remember also that this demand for a 'crackdown' by the forces of law and order is an appeal to those very same forces of law and order who 'advised' a media blackout of the nail bomb story. Were it not for the endeavours of Irish journalist Phil MacGiollaBhain we might still be none the wiser.




Had the institutions of football acted years ago to face down the loyalist-fascist bigots that attach themselves to rangers, and called sectarian attacks and racist murders for what they really were, we may not have reached the current situation of bullets and bombs in the post. Indeed lives may well have been saved and the situation defused by such a proactive campaign against bigotry rather than encouraged by a combination of the deliberate misrepresentation of racism as 'sectarianism', political and legal inaction and the deafening silence of the Scottish press. These issues were pointed out by us some years ago when TAL Fanzine initiated Celtic Fans Against Fascism and the Campaign Against Sectarian Attacks. We opined at the time that unless institutionalised anti-Irish racism (aka 'sectarianism') was seriously confronted from the bottom-up the problem would inevitably get bigger... Well, it can't get much bigger than this, can it?

No matter how any of us, as Celtic supporters and the intended victims of the hatred and abuse, feel about the fans of rangers, ultimately this issue can only be addressed and solved by a sea-change within their support. It is finding those in their own fanbase who are prepared to stand up publicly and consistently against racism, fascism and loyalism that will be the hardest task of all, but if we are to be politically consistent we must continue to call for and hope that the 'silent minority' among them will become a vocal and proactive majority.

I am not in favour of the draconian solution of simply locking people up for what they write or what they think...That road leads to the gradual eradication of the civil liberties and human rights of all, including the rights of those who would stand against racism and fascism. Moreover, it allows those in positions of power to continue to peddle the myth - the OSABATO line - that 'One Side's As Bad As The Other', depicting the victims of racism and 'sectarianism' as being in some way the architects of their own misfortune.


A democratic society has to utilise all means at its disposal in an effort to re-educate and rehabilitate those whose societal alienation produces only hate, violence and anti-social behaviour. The present approach of censorship (silence) followed by the lock and key (crackdown) is a short term fix rather than a long term solution. In regard to actual attacks and incitement, obviously there are exceptions, and where someone is actively involved in turning internet fantasies into reality they should be dealt with by the full force of the law.


However, legal solutions have little effect on cultural, religious and political perceptions, which are deep-rooted and ingrained. The real solution lies in finding ways to reach out and/or isolate this alienated section of the rangers support, without pandering to their odious fascistic views.


By Talman






Celtic Fans Against Fascism

Posted by talfanzine on March 4, 2011 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Anti-Fascist Campaign Launched


Fascist ULTRAS Not Welcome At Celtic


It was brought to the attention of Celtic Fans Against Fascism that there have been increasing numbers of Dinamo Zagreb's hooligan gang - the Bad Blue Boys - making visits to Glasgow and following Celtic in Europe in recent seasons. Much of the information available about the Bad Blue Boys suggests that they are predominantly right-wing in political outlook and have an extreme nationalist and Nazi element among their support.


On at least two separate occasions over the years the BBB have attacked our anti-fascist friends from St Pauli at Celtic's European matches (in Zagreb and Budapest). The attacks were politically motivated. The BBB know St Pauli's anti-fascist reputation and attacked them because of it.


Unfortunately, some misguided Celtic fans have indulged right-wing members of this group and made them welcome at our ground and in our pubs. This season saw a banner raised inside Celtic Park in solidarity with Dinamo fans who are in dispute with their obnoxious right-wing chairman. While we can identify with any fan of any club who is dissatisfied with the way that their club is run, we do not believe that it is in the interests of Celtic fans or Celtic FC for our fans to make any kind of public solidarity with the Bad Blue Boys as long as the BBB is embarrassed by this extreme nationalist and Nazi element. We do not want friendships or anything to do with fascist elements within the BBB, that is any BBB who still have anything to do with fascism, Nazism and extreme nationalism. BBB who have nothing to do with fascism and extreme nationalism are welcome, as are the individual anti-fascist supporters of any club.


This anti-fascist principle applies equally to any ultras group at any other club with a fascist element still prominent in its stands and terraces. Right wingers and fascists are not welcome at Celtic Park.


Celtic Fans Against Fascism want to see a change in the situation at Dinamo Zagreb and other clubs with a problematic fascist element. We offer our support and solidarity to anti-fascists among the BBB. We would welcome dialogue with anti-Nazis at Dinamo. All who oppose racism and fascism are welcome at Celtic Park.


We have decided to launch a campaign among Celtic supporters aimed at educating them as to the political nature of various ultras (the BBB being one example only) and mobilising Celtic fans against fascists and extreme nationalists who may try to attach themselves to our club.


Many groups on the extreme right in Europe will identify themselves as our ‘friends’ with Papal flags and friendly talk about the Irish struggle, don’t be fooled by it. Make sure that you know the politics of any group who would attach themselves to our club.

In each issue of TAL we will present articles that educate and inform our supporters about the politics of extreme right-wing ultras groups and hooligan mobs.

ALL racists and fascists should be booted out of Celtic Park.









That's Capitalism!

Posted by talfanzine on April 13, 2009 at 11:12 AM Comments comments (0)

TAL Forum knocked out by 'suspect device'

It may have come to the notice of our members and supporters that the TAL Forum, as it was, has mysteriously and overnight disappeared (last Thursday in the early hours of the morning). The first reaction, as always, is one of extreme paranoia... have we been hit by a new virus; have some enterprising (but malicious) Scotland's Shame fans managed to hack into our forums to destroy  the database and put us offline forever?

The answer of course is something much simpler although the implications are much more complex. Our forums were housed on a separate server by a company based in Singapore. It appears that the company, unknown to us at TAL, has been undergoing both financial and manpower problems in the last few months, due to the pressures placed upon them by the economic collapse and financial meltdown in many countries, including the once thriving economies of the Far East.

That it is only our forums that have been affected by the meltdown is perhaps a lucky break for us rather than a disaster...  In Britland and Ireland, despite the obvious disadvantages caused by the world economic crisis, we are, in a relative sense, better prepared to absorb such hardships. One thing that was learned by working class people during the Thatcher years was survival in the most oppressive and economically difficult times.

Looking around the internet and seeing the hardships endured by working class people in other countries - especially in those countries of the former Soviet bloc, whose economies have been pilaged and robbed by a combination of laissez-faire western capitalists and their own home-produced corrupt 'oligarchs' - we can truly be thankful that the worst that we have had to endure at TAL is the loss of our forums.

In the meantime, we have set up a new forum, which is integrated into our website.

Click on FORUMS at the top of this page and join us in debate and discussion.




Posted by talfanzine on November 3, 2008 at 5:59 PM Comments comments (0)

By Bre Abu - Tal Fanzine

When my grandmother passed away in the early 1990s I was going through some old photographs and found a card with the photo of a young soldier with a black ribbon attached. It was addressed to my Great-great grandfather and family from the War Department announcing the death of their son at the Battle of Loos in September 1915. He was aged 19 and conscripted into the Highland Light Infantry.

One year while travelling through France curiosity got the better of me and I visited the Commonweath War Cemetery at Loos and saw his name inscribed on a granite wall. No grave simply buried in a mass pit along with thousands of others.

When i got back to Glasgow I decided to try and find out what actually happened to him and his company in the battle. I visited the regiment's archives, stored in the museum on Sauchiehall Street.

I was given the officer in charge of the 10th Batallion HLI?s diary to read. On the day my great uncle was killed he was sent to attack a train line being held by the Germans. The officers ordered mustard gas to be fired in advance at the German positions. According to the diary, prevailing wind conditions hadn?t been considered and the mustard gas blew back into the faces of the Scottish troops. So there you have it. Chemical weapons and death by friendly fire...in 1915.

Do I feel like contributing to the Earl Haig Fund (to give the organisation behind Poppy Day its real name) because of this tragedy? Certainly not.

These lions led by donkeys deserve our thoughts and remembrance along with the many tens of thousands of conscripts slaughtered in Gallipoli and other places the Celt died for Anglo-imperialism. However, I won?t be contributing because nowadays the funds go to VOLUNTEER soldiers who have in my opinion collaborated with the ruling class in the name of imperialism in Korea, Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recruitment in Scotland for the Crown forces is at an all time low and jingoism is the order of the day to reverse that trend for the overstretched British military. So now it?s mandatory poppies, minute silences and aggressive recruitment in our schools, colleges and shopping centres.

Remembrance this November should be for the great Scottish Republican Socialist John Maclean who stood in front of huge crowds during the imperialist slaughter of 1914-1918 and called for mutiny amongst the troops and class war. He was jailed several times for sedition and force-fed while on hunger strike. He died an early death in 1923. So on November 30th, the 85th anniversary of his death, remember one man who would never have worn a poppy no matter how much pressure he was under...

John Maclean, the fighting dominie.


Posted by talfanzine on May 21, 2008 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (2)
The title 'legend' is often conferred too lightly in the world of football, but in the case of Tommy Burns, you could not apply a more apt term to describe the man. From Bhoyhood to youth player to first team regular to manager and coach, Tommy epitomised everything that it is to be a Celt. The man would literally have walked those million miles that we used to sing about for a Celtic goal.

I am not often moved to tears but I have found it extremely to difficult to watch any of the news coverage and tributes in the last couple of days without shedding a few tears each time for TB. A basic goodness shone out of every pore of that man and it almost seems like an injustice that such a good person who spread so much joy and happiness around him should be taken from us at such a relatively early age. I will always cherish the memories I have of Tommy as a player; there were few more committed battlers for the Celtic cause, but also he was a fine footballer with a beautiful left pin that scored many a crucial goal from his attacking midfield position. He quite literally lived and breathed this great club of ours.

I was brought up in my early years in the Calton (my first primary school was, like Tommy's, St Mary's Primary) before our tenement was demolished and my family moved out of the area. By the time I started secondary school at St Mungo's Academy, Tommy was already breaking through the ranks at Celtic. He was well-known among all the lads at school, especially the bhoys that were still living in the Calton area.

During the summer holidays, cos my ma and da worked full-time, I used to go and stay with my auntie who lived in the high flats at Helenvale Street between Celtic Park and the Training Ground behind the CSA Club on London Road. The players used to turn up early in the morning at Celtic Park, get changed and then jog along London Road to the training ground. There would always be a posse of wee bhoys from the high flats waiting for them passing by... this was when there was Lisbon Lions still in the squad, plus guys like Kenny Dalglish and later on, the young Tommy Burns. I always remember that the players would always stop if a kid asked them something about the next match, or for an autograph. My memory of guys like Jinky, King Kenny and TB was standing watching as they passed, being completely in awe of them. They'd come by with their studs clicking on the concrete pavement and always say "Awright Wee Man..." as they passed.

Anyway, years later, before TB came back as manager of Celtic, I was standing selling T?L at Hampden (pretty sure it was a cup final match) and Tommy Burns and other members of his family came by, he stopped to buy a fanzine and I said "It's ok Tommy, you don't have to pay..." and gave him one. He said. "Thanks very much Wee Man..." As he walked away, I shouted, "You've been calling me Wee Man for 25 years..." and he shouts back, "Aye, but you've been wee for more than 25 years!"

When he took over as manager he was always available to the fans, just as he was when he was a player. I remember him sitting down with me and my mate when we were following Celtic on a pre-season tour of Germany in 1995 while he was manager. We'd asked him and the players to sign a 'Celtic Fans Against Fascism' T-shirt and Tommy said that he didn't see the point as he didn't think the club had any real problem with racism or fascism. We agreed with him, but pointed out that was because folk like us had been vigilant about it by reinforcing the traditions of the club and its own immigrant roots. Next thing he's sitting having a political discussion with us and then he turns round and says, "Ok lads, you've convinced me to sign it - give me the T-shirt and I'll get a few of the players to sign it as well."

That's the kind of guy he was, never dismissive, never aloof, always prepared to sit down with the supporters.... and that is why he is universally loved by the whole Celtic family around the world. Guys like Tommy Burns are few and far between these days at Celtic Park, but he more than anyone else has left us his legacy in the youth academy and the young players that he personally nurtured over the last few years who have now, like him in his time, broken through the ranks and into the first team squad. Those players bear a heavy burden of responsibility if they intend to emulate and become true Celtic Legends like Tommy Burns. The dignity shown so far by the players and the manager Gordon Strachan who I thought spoke with tremendous emotion about the man who had become a great friend to him in the last 3 years at Celtic shows just how much of the real spirit of Celtic Tommy Burns had passed on to them.

Mention must also be made with regard to the way that the rangers' coaching staff have reacted with and sincere grief and sorrow at the news of Tommy's passing. It must be hoped that the outpouring of genuine emotion shown by Tommy's former coaching colleagues, Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Ally McDowall will have an effect on those rangers fans who still live their lives based on centuries old hatred. Tommy Burns transcended the antagonisms of the so-called 'Old Firm'. His life; the attitudes and brotherhood that he promoted are an example to us all.

Tommy - you will never be forgotten by us.

Your spirit lives on in the heart of every Celtic supporter.

Rest In Peace.

Countdown to Big Showdown

Posted by talfanzine on March 26, 2008 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

It could be argued that Saturdays clash at The Reichstag is a game Celtic don't necessarily have to win if they are to complete three in a row for the first time in more than thirty years, but it is undoubtedly one that they can't afford to lose.

Despite being three points off the summit and having played a game more, with two clashes against the Huns still to come at Celtic Park, a draw at the Reichstag wouldn't be the worst result in the world but a win has to be the clear objective. Needless to say a maximum return would be a huge pshycological boost for all in Green and White.

Much will depend on who plays and in what formation, but it would be nice to think that the Ginger one has both a game plan as well as knowing in his own mind what his starting eleven will be for the lunchtime fixture. However it is unlikely he will show his hand between now and then which will keep us all guessing right up until the 12.30pm kick off time.

What isn't open to debate is that Celtic will need to produce the sort of performance and passion that has been missing for much of the season thus far if they are to come away with anything. Only in the three home Champions league victories as well as the final qualifier against Spartak Moscow did Celtic compete at the level which they are expected to do so and which we know they are capable of. The fact that they haven't done so since is a poor reflection on Strachans motivational qualities but thankfully for him (and us) he has an opportunity to redeem himself.

Only time will tell if he does and whether the Championship will remain a realistic aspiration after this weekend.

This entry to the TAL Blog by Holloway Gael.


Posted by talfanzine on March 26, 2008 at 11:42 AM Comments comments (0)
The Editorial Group of TAL Fanzine (Tiocfaidh ?r L? ? For Celtic & Ireland) have been discussing for some time an ambitious project - Let The People Sing - which we intend to launch at the beginning of next season.

The initial launch of the LTPS campaign will involve a Limited Edition CD to be distributed free with every copy of TAL purchased at the first home game of next season. The CD will be a rebel folk music collection with all the best rebel bands involved. It will also feature a couple of new ?terrace medley? tracks that will be specially recorded and exclusive to TAL.

Bands and musicians already supporting the project and committing a track to the CD include; Shebeen, Gary Og, Seanchai, Damien Quinn (Justice), The Wakes, Declan McLaughlin, Celtic Storm, The Bog Savages, Tullamore Tree, Padraig Mor (Saoirse), Podgie (Shebeen) and more to be announced. More artists will be added to this list in the near future.

The philosophy behind the campaign is to reclaim some of the political and cultural ground that has been lost by our supporters in the PLC's drive to eradicate a part of the Irish identity of Celtic and its supporters. Local newspaper reports from the 1920's and 1930's often referred to the arrival of Celtic Brake Clubs (early supporters clubs) at matches being accompanied with a chorus of 'God Save Ireland'. In the 1960's and 1970's songs like Sean Sabhat, and The Holy Ground were popular among those who frequented The Jungle. It is this tradition that we aim to celebrate with the CD, we see no reason to hide from it, or to apologise for what is an essential part of what makes us Celtic supporters, members of the Irish community in Scotland ? and for a significant section, supporters of the Irish republican cause. It is, to all intents and purposes, the essence of what it is to be a Celtic supporter.

In order to finance the free CD project we estimate that we need to raise ?2000.

We need your help. Through our internet forum (http://talfanzine.galacforums.com/) inside 7 days of announcing our intentions, our members have already raised 50% of the target in donations and pledges.

All funds raised will go into the LTPS project. No money will be squandered or go into the pockets of individuals. All records of what we raise will be published on our online internet forum as the donations come in.

We are appealing to you as a fellow Celtic supporter who may have some sympathy with the objectives of Let The People Sing to consider making a donation towards the LTPS project which seeks to promote the cultural and political identity of our club and its supporters.

We feel that, at this time, a project such as this is sorely needed in the face of the increasing commercialism of the PLC and their ongoing campaign to depoliticise the Celtic support, as could be witnessed by the hysterical overreaction of the club and press to the recent comments made by the chair of The Celtic Trust regarding the popularity, historical legacy and tradition of Irish ballads among our supporters.

It's high time that the rebels fought back.

Please make a donation to the fund via Paypal to:


Or by cheque/postal order (payable to CSC) to:

BM BOX 266