So, the Rangers supporters have been at it again, singing the Famine Song during last weekend’s Old Firm game. I didn’t tune in to the match until during the last 15 minutes and, when I heard that it was 0-0, I tuned out again more-or-less straight away as a full-time draw sounded inevitable (as it turned out to be). Therefore I didn’t hear the blue chorus in full flow. However, it was played back in technicolor shame, with sing-along on-screen karaoke lyrics, on Reporting Scotland last night.
This sectarianism has, for far too long, been part of the dark side of the Old Firm rivalry with both sides guilty at times. There is an ongoing attempt to stamp out this behaviour but for some reason it seems to be taking longer to get through to Rangers’ fans that they have to stop. Up until now the football authorities have been pretty lenient with the club, giving them a chance to sort the matter out themselves. But that approach is not working – the chant was heard during August’s Old Firm game and again when Rangers played Hamilton Accies in October.
There’s talk of imposing a fine on clubs whose supporters continue to offend in this manner but I don’t think that this will solve the problem. Something needs to be done to identify those reponsible and prevent them from attending future games but that’s very tricky and involves lots of police time that could be better spent. So why not go for the jugular and deduct league points from teams whose supporters indulge themselves in sectarianism, bigotry, racism, etc. If that happened the fans would get the message very quickly – offend and your team will not win the league. The fans who are smart enough will very quickly respond and stop chanting. Those who are too stupid to learn will probably be sorted out by the smarter ones when they feel the pain of seeing points deducted. A similar approach could be applied on occasions when travelling supporters cause trouble by rioting, fighting, etc., at away games – especially such as those where Rangers’ fans rioted in Manchester last year.
You can find the words to the Famine Song by googling but be warned, they are extremely bigotted, racist and offensive. Having read them I hope that the Scottish Football Associtation do take decisive action and dock a few points from Rangers league tally. And they should do the same to all teams whose supporters are guilty of such persistently shameful behaviour.