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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old January 10th, 2006, 22:32 Thread Starter
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Celtic Players and The Fields of Athenry

Its been well documented over the last 4 or 5 days about the antics of Stephen Pearson and John Hartson of Celtic at an official Celtic Supporters function recently.

They were caught on camera arm and arm with Celtic fans singing the above captioned song. Chants were clearly heard going along the lines of "IRA" and "Sinn Fein"

There was a thread in the Scottish forum posted about it but due to the nature of it and the possible consequences of it, I recommended to The Green One it was closed.

I dont have any coverage of the clip unfortunately.

I've heard a number of opinions from football phone ins on this and its split.

One say it is inconclusive that any chants were heard coming from the players and the other believes its a scandal that they shout these things.

Personally from the limited clips I've seen of it I couldnt point my finger at Hartsons mouth and hear him say anything other than sing the words of the songs but I am not declaring him innocent and the clip I seen had Pearson at the far end slightly cut out of the scene.

Other rumours are circulating that the clip has been bastardised by Rangers fans.

We all know the seriousness of bigotry in Scotland and if Hartson or any Celtic player were caught red handed (pardon the pun) doing this it would be a disgrace.

I know the Rangers fans in the forum are dying to talk about this so I'll drop them a PM informing them

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old January 12th, 2006, 01:28
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As this is a video captured by a 3g mobile phone the quality is not great throughout and near as the audio. It leaves all the points raised open to debate depending where your loyalties lie. The biggest problem is that there are so many rumours surrounding this video that is becomes difficult to seperate fact from fiction.

There have been rumours that Celtic's PR department contacted the media and threatened them with league action if they ran with the story. Also Rangers fans were "alledged" to have tampered with the video adding their own sound. All sorts of rumours flew around but I suppose in cases like this it is best to stick to the facts as we know them.

It's been well documented that due to the quality of the video it would not stand up as evidence in a court of law. for that reason none of the media in Scotland wanted to break the story and face possible legal action. However the "Press and Journal" in Aberdeen did break the story when no one else would and all of a sudden the big papers and radio stations all ran with it off the back of the P&J.

The strange thing is that video evidence of this nature has been used before in the written press. Not so long ago Hibs' Derek Riordan was caught on 3g singing a "refugee" song about Hearts' Rudi Skacel. In that video you didn't even see Riordan face on but the big difference was he held his hands up and apologised.

Initially it was said that the players had never attended a function together but that quickly changed. The official line fron Celtic was:

"The club and both players are considering their legal options. Anyone who knows Stephen and John will be clear that suggestions of sectarian behaviour on their part are utterly laughable and completely without foundation.

"Both players freely admit they joined in the singing of the Fields Of Athenry, a well-known and popular Irish folk song, at a supporters' event in Ireland. But they absolutely did not join in any sectarian chanting.

"Indeed, both players utterly condemn sectarianism in any form, a view shared and fully endorsed by the club as a whole."


There is no problem with "The Fields Of Athenry", it's an Irish folk song. There is also doubt as to whether any of the players shouted IRA" or "Sinn Fein" as they joined in the singing. There is though in my view still a case to answer.

The problem with songs that get into the hands of some sections of the old firm support is that the words are changed or additionals shouts are added. I don't think that would be up for debate. So if you don't sing the offensive part does that make you less guilty than if you are just party to it? If a song is altered to add racism, which is not what I am suggesting in this case, are you any less culpable for joining in the singing but leaving out the racist bits while other people fill those bits in?

That's my take on it. I don't think it matters whether the players joined in the shouts or not. In the case of Hartson, having viewed the video, I don't think he does but in Pearson's case I'm not so sure. Again it's not clearcut enough to be 100% certain.

Nil By Mouth have apparently asked Celtic to look into the claims so it will be interesting to see what their findings are.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old January 12th, 2006, 23:50 Thread Starter
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The facts will never come out in my opinion.

Whos video was it, who did he pass it to or what it editted?

No-one will ever know.

I will admit I have been in the company (mostly on my supporters bus) where most folk songs or Celtic songs are quite freely amended, Rangers are the same (I assume ) but I've never sang Irish rebel songs let alone amend the words to your own needs so every Celtic fan is different. Whether Hartson or Pearson actually spoke the words IRA or Sinn Fein is anyone's guess. Bitter Rangers fans will say off course they did and Celtic fans will likely deny it but the truth is none of us know what happened and who sung what.

From what I saw Hartson didnt say much, at least on the clip we saw anyway, Pearson is completely inconclusive, I couldnt see much of him at all.

What gets me is Ewan Cameron of Real Radio was on the other night going on about how he asked Strachan about the video in last weeks press conference prior to the Clyde game and Strachan replied in a humorous manner. Cameron was going nuts on the phone in rambling on about how its a scandal that he never asked the question and how he is obliged to it, he obviously thinks that its hard evidence that Hartson and Pearson are convicted Bigots.

It will be forgotten about in a week.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2006, 00:58
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You hit the nail on the head about generalising. I wouldn't for a minute assume because some Celtic fans change the words to songs that all Celtic fans do it. You are also quite right to point it that Rangers fans do it because they do. Like yourself though I don't want to be asssoicated with that as I am not one of these people who sing along to these "altered" songs.

I've not heard any of the phone ins but did hear Strachan made light of the situation- which is his way. That could be a problem to some though as the allegations were that shouts for a terrorist group were made so someone on the other side of the fence might not see the funny side. I can't comment on that becuase I don't know what he said. Ewen Cameron is a front bottom though so I wouldn't worry about him.

As for it going away in a week's time. I'm not too sure. There is a new Hartson video doing the rounds and this one is alot clearer. I haven't seen it for myself so again I can't comment on it.

One thing I would say though is that if the original video, or this new video, has been faked then it shouldn't be too difficult to get someone to check it. That should be the first starting point for all involved. If it's fake then that's an end to it but if not then I fear that could be another Findlaygate.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2006, 20:50
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Celtic FC release a statement re: Videogate.


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Celtic FC statement
Newsroom Staff

RECENT reports concerning two of Celtic’s first-team players, John Hartson and Stephen Pearson and their attendance at a function in Ireland last year, were brought to the attention of the Club.

Celtic Football Club took the allegations made against its players extremely seriously. As a result, Celtic instigated an immediate, thorough and wide-ranging investigation.

The investigation has included Club representatives travelling to Ireland and taking a number of witness statements, interviewing those in attendance and also employing the use of expert independent forensic audio and video analysis.

The Club feels it is important that these findings are made public.

The Celtic players featured in the film were attending an event in Ireland which was not organised by Celtic Football Club.

Following a wide range of interviews, there is no evidence of either Celtic player shouting anything which promotes a political/paramilitary organisation.

The independent audio and video specialist engaged to analyse the footage has stated in his report to the Club that the words ‘Sinn Fein’ and ‘IRA’ feature during this clip. The specialist has determined, however, that these words are shouted by person(s) near to and around the camera/mobile phone - and not from the stage area where the Celtic players can be seen.

These results come from analysis carried out by one of the UK’s leading forensic experts in this area.

Celtic’s Chief Executive Peter Lawwell commented: "Serious allegations were made against Celtic players last week. We are pleased that the investigation, including independent analysis, supports the strong denials which were previously issued by our players.

"Clearly, the Club has learned lessons following recent events with regards to the position which Club representatives are placed in at non-Club events. We will be carefully reviewing the attendance of our players at such external events.

"As a Club open to all since its formation in 1888, Celtic has no place for the promotion of any political agenda or particular faith. With around 10 million fans worldwide, Celtic is a football club supported by people of all faiths and all political persuasions, from all corners of the globe.

"For many years now we are proud to have carried out excellent work in promoting social inclusion, tolerance and the benefits of cultural diversity – work which has rightly received high praise.

"We will continue to promote the values set out within the Club’s Social Charter. We will not allow this work to be undone by a small minority who seek to use the Club to promote their own agenda. Celtic will do all it can to ensure that the Club and its representatives are not placed in such invidious positions.

"All Celtic staff, including players, will once again be reminded of the need to uphold the highest standards of the Club and to ensure that their behaviour reflects this at all times.

"Celtic Football Club stands firmly against bigotry in all its forms and will continue to be a Club for all. People who indulge in sectarian behaviour, or in the promotion of paramilitary organisations, have no place within the Celtic family."

----------------------------------------------------------------------



This is a complex situation. Firstly, I believe the chants of "Sinn Fein and the IRA" are not sectarian by the textbook definition of the word. Sinn Fein are a political party with a view that opposes British rule in Ireland. The IRA in it's original form is most definately not a sectarian organisation. To me, a sectarian remark is one in which a predjudiced view of anothers faith, creed or race is questioned without valid reasoning. Many Scots for example view William Wallace (and friends) as a national hero, yet those same Scots feel that is a disgrace to show any admiration of the IRA. Yet what these people have done is essentially exactly the same - they opposed British rule of their countries by campaigns of terror. Neither group had the resources to face a battle with the Britsh on a level playing field, yet both felt their fight worthy of pursuing, so they did what it took. I find it nigh on impossible to seperate one from the other.

As far as Celtic players/employees being caught up in such matters, however, that is a different story. I would not like my clubs players to become involved in anything like this. That said, it would seem that Celtic have proven that Hartson and Pearson were not involved, so I feel this matter is now over.

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Originally Posted by chivoexpiatorio
There is a new Hartson video doing the rounds and this one is alot clearer.
Yep, it certainly is a lot clearer. It is possibly the poorest ever attempt at a frame-up possible. The "dubbing" of the sound on the video is like a Kung Fu 'B' movie. Pathetic.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2006, 21:35 Thread Starter
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Mince, if you have a copy of this can you send me it by PM, I dont know if its ok to post on here with the legal ongoings with it.

Secondly, you probably right in saying that shouting IRA or Sinn Fein isnt deemed sectarian however its still not allowed, I am sure you know that . Its religion and the old firm want nothing to do with it.

I am interested to see what this second video looks like so if you dont mind can you pop on PM to me. In the meantime, do Admin/CM's feel it is appropriate to post it on the public forum?

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old January 14th, 2006, 00:20
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I think it's worth reading that statement from Celtic again and analysing it a little further. Who was this "expert independent forensic audio and video analysis"? Until we know the credentials of this person or group then how can we take their word as gospel?

The same goes for the witnesses. My guess would be Celtic would not name the witnesses involved because it would implicate more people who have not been identifiable in the video. I'm sure if the Donald Finlay video had been taken on a mobile phone then using the witnesses at the event in question would not have given an unbiased opinion. That I believe is the same in this case given the nature of the event.

The main thing is that the evidence presented by Celtic does not clear the pair involved. It states that in the case of both players no evidence was found which is different from conclusively proving they didn't shout anything. It also says that the offensive remarks "are shouted by person(s) near to and around the camera/mobile phone - and not from the stage area where the Celtic players can be seen." How can someone tell how close the person is to the stage from that video? The stage in my view isn't even a stage it's a table that the players have climbed on. So if the shouts heard on the video are those closest to the phone would that not make sense anyway and does that mean they can rule out anyone else shouting those phrases in the room full of people? I have my doubts.

I don't go along with the whole "IRA" is not sectarian thing. When it involves the Old Firm then the goalposts move in my opinion. If "IRA" is not sectarian then that opens the floodgates for people to say the UDA, UVF, UFF, etc. are all political rather than sectarian. Whatever way you want to view it they are all culpible in causing the loss of life to innocent people and what that has to do with two Scottish football teams is beyond me. The sooner all this crap and baggage is removed from the blue and green half of Glasgow the better.

As I said in my previous post whether these players were involved in the shouting is irrelevant. Being party too it is bad enough for me and shows the sort of things that do go on out of the public eye, I also include Rangers in that too. If there is ever a chance of this cancer being eradicated from the old firm then videos of players young fans look up to involved in these events is not the way to go about it. I hope this is the last video of this kind we see.

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Originally Posted by maradona10
In the meantime, do Admin/CM's feel it is appropriate to post it on the public forum?
I was going to ask that too but as there doesn't seem to be anyone wanting to discuss the video who hasn't already seen it then I didn't bother.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old January 14th, 2006, 01:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivoexpiatorio
I think it's worth reading that statement from Celtic again and analysing it a little further. Who was this "expert independent forensic audio and video analysis"? Until we know the credentials of this person or group then how can we take their word as gospel?
I think only those directly involved at Celtic will know who they have employed in this capacity. Would his name mean anything to you anyway? Or his credentials? Would you check up on his record of work?

Suffice to say, I don't think it's the guy who works in Blockbusters on London Road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chivoexpiatorio
It states that in the case of both players no evidence was found which is different from conclusively proving they didn't shout anything. It also says that the offensive remarks "are shouted by person(s) near to and around the camera/mobile phone - and not from the stage area where the Celtic players can be seen." How can someone tell how close the person is to the stage from that video? The stage in my view isn't even a stage it's a table that the players have climbed on. So if the shouts heard on the video are those closest to the phone would that not make sense anyway and does that mean they can rule out anyone else shouting those phrases in the room full of people? I have my doubts.
Thats why the guy who Celtic employed is an expert in his field. Knowledge is what seperates experts from those who just comment on heresay. I'm sure if you watch many of the programmes on TV about forensics, you will be quite amazed by what experts can do.


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Originally Posted by chivoexpiatorio
I don't go along with the whole "IRA" is not sectarian thing. When it involves the Old Firm then the goalposts move in my opinion. If "IRA" is not sectarian then that opens the floodgates for people to say the UDA, UVF, UFF, etc. are all political rather than sectarian. Whatever way you want to view it they are all culpible in causing the loss of life to innocent people and what that has to do with two Scottish football teams is beyond me. The sooner all this crap and baggage is removed from the blue and green half of Glasgow the better.
Some of the IRA's most famous members were from the Protestant faith. That said, I agree that Scottish Football would be better off without mention of these groups.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old January 14th, 2006, 01:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mincecfc
I think only those directly involved at Celtic will know who they have employed in this capacity. Would his name mean anything to you anyway? Or his credentials? Would you check up on his record of work?

Suffice to say, I don't think it's the guy who works in Blockbusters on London Road.
Unless you know the guy from Blockbusters personally then I wouldn't rule that out. If we don't know who it is then we can't make a judgement. It wouldn't mean much to me personally but in the public domain we'd get a better idea of whether the guy was a true expert or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mincecfc
Thats why the guy who Celtic employed is an expert in his field. Knowledge is what seperates experts from those who just comment on heresay. I'm sure if you watch many of the programmes on TV about forensics, you will be quite amazed by what experts can do.
Again though, how qualified is this expert. I'm not saying the guy is a charaltan but surely to clarify things it should be known. If a sound is lound enough then you'd assume it's near enough. In which case is it being implied that the camera was a distance away from the Celtic players in which case their audio would not be heard or that the camera was close to the players in which case it could be one of them? Either wat it's inconclusive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mincecfc
Some of the IRA's most famous members were from the Protestant faith. That said, I agree that Scottish Football would be better off without mention of these groups.
I don't doubt that. I'll hold up my hands and say I don't know much about the early origins of the IRA. When those Irish struggles came to Scotland and became intergrated into Scottish football society in the West of Scotland they became used for sectarian purposes. In my view anyway on both sides of the support.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old January 14th, 2006, 02:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivoexpiatorio
If a sound is lound enough then you'd assume it's near enough. In which case is it being implied that the camera was a distance away from the Celtic players in which case their audio would not be heard or that the camera was close to the players in which case it could be one of them? Either wat it's inconclusive.
Chivo, you do yourself no credit by taking this ridiculously simplistic view of the matter. One quick search on Google will show you that this is clearly a field with a depth of knowledge and techniques to be able to analyse and dissect any source of video or audio and accertain what's what in regards to the content.

Below is a partial resumé of one such expert I found on the net:

*********

Specialist areas of work

DOCUMENTARY/RECORDED EVIDENCE
sound (evidence)
audio transcription
audio restoration/enhancement
sound forensic analysis
recorded speech transcription
video analysis/enhancement
digital media analysis/enhancement

ELECTRONIC/DEVICES/APPLICATIONS
sound/audio technology
audio/recording technology

TELECOMMUNICATIONS
malicious/obscene calls

COMPUTER APPLICATIONS
sound processing (computer)


Experience of
Giving evidence in court, Legal aid

Average Number of Instructions per year: 100
Number of Court Appearances in the last 3 years: 10
Number of Reports in the last 3 years: 500


Trained
In the legal aspects of giving evidence in court


Geographical areas of work
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, worldwide


Professional qualifications and accredited experience
Senior Forensic Audio Consultant at CEDAR Audio Ltd, Director and Senior Audio Consultant at Berkeley Security Bureau (Forensic) Ltd (1997 - 2003), Employed by Metropolitan Police as Expert Witness in Forensic Audio Tape Laboratory (1984-97)


Membership of other professional bodies
Member of the Audio Engineering Society, Registered with the UK Register of Expert Witnesses, Member of the Institution of Incorporated Engineers

*********

Surely you can see that this guy has made a career out of this study and that it has to be a little more technical than "If a sound is loud enough then you'd assume it's near enough" ?

OK, so we don't know who Celtic's "expert" is. Are you seriously suggesting that they employed a ringer or some no-mark unqualified idiot? If so, I feel you are clutching at straws.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old January 14th, 2006, 17:37
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Have you missed out some of that CV? Where is the bit about having over 5 years experience in video rental and retail?

As I said I'm not suggest that they did get a charlatan. It should though be in the public domain so we know exactly how qualified this person is. Maybe I am clutching at straws, maybe you are too trusting. It also may just be my perception of things. Any time I hear about this "independant expert" I get the picture in my head of the guy with the big ears from Still Game.

If it's not a problem why not let us all know who this independant expert is? Should we all just believe Celtic at their word and would we all believe Rangers at their word if the shoe was on the other foot?

The other thing you have to ask is why not just let us see the report in it's entrirety. Celtic are obviously giving us the information they want to in their statement so lets see the rest that wasn't included in the statement. For example let's see if the report mentioned that the video was genuine. If these experts are so good then surely they can transcribe what certain indiviuals were singing at certain points in the video.

"No doubt I shall go on writing, stumbling across tundras of unmeaning, planting words like bloody flags in my wake."- Trocchi
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