When some Aberdeen fans sound sectarian what you are hearing is simply a pathetic affectation of sectarianism, which has been facilitated by Scotland’s long-time tolerance and dismissal of real sectarianism as just “banter”. Whether affected or real, sectarianism is inexcusable.
Here’s the thing, though. Aberdeen fans are not sectarian. Nor is Aberdeen a city remotely interested in such nonsense. Moreover, while working up there in the 1980s, the North East, a predominately protestant area, was unusually understanding of Irish Nationalism and while not supporting the IRA, for example, it empathised to quite a degree such an organisation’s motives if not it’s actions.
So, why do we hear, emanating from the Aberdeen end at Celtic Park, on the last two visits especially, songs one would normally expect sung by the worst elements of The Rangers support?
There are the Jimmy Savile chants. Clearly there is a desire to insult sporting rivals and, these chants are an obvious – and odious – choice. Knowing that an element of fans of Celtic’s greatest rivals, The Rangers/Sevco, have constructed (for their own nefarious reasons) a fictitious narrative regarding Celtic and paedophilia, rival fans know that parroting this nonsense will insult Celtic fans. And so it is sung by some Aberdeen fans as a rather pathetic imitation of The Rangers sub-culture. The irony of some Aberdeen fans seeking to emulate the worst of The Rangers fans would no doubt be lost on the idiots singing this.
Do Aberdeen fans singing this crap believe it at all? It’s remarkable that, when fans are castigated for singing something inappropriate in “jest”, they often then attempt to justify these chants. In doing so they haul out instances of paedophilia, and cover up of it, in the Catholic Church, as if that organisation was the only structure in society where such abuse every occurred (and it certainly occurred there). For instance, they could just as easily sing chants about systematic abuse of children in non-denominational state care homes, or paedophilia rings in political circles, or wherever it may exist. Surely if anyone had a genuine concern regarding the abuse of children in care (which all right-minded people share) they would sing just as loudly about all these instances rather than focus on just one area. Such selectivity of condemnation reduces the complaint from a moral one to a convenient one. And to reduce such a serious subject to nothing more than a stick to beat an opponent with exposes an immoral cynicism.
Paedophilia is the result of people with power over other people abusing that power. It has nothing to do with what religion, what nationality, what political affiliations or what race the abusers are. Chanting about cynically selected examples of paedophilia is, in the case of The Rangers chanters, an attempt to justify their hatreds, and their feelings of superiority over their Celtic rivals and over Catholics in general. These hatreds and feelings of sectarian or racial superiority are alien concepts in Aberdeen.
Those Aberdeen fans who, in an attempt to wind up Celtic supporters by singing about Jimmy Savile and paedophilia, need to decide if they’re happier singing songs affecting the real hatreds, bitterness and sectarianism of Scotland’s least loved sub-culture, than singing about Barry Robson, Peter Pawlette, Willo Flood et al going to Glasgow and dominating and defeating the Scottish Champions on their home ground. `