Photo: Green Brigade Mark 40th Anniversary Of Bobby Sands Standing For Election

Celtic supporters have long held the club’s and their own Irish heritage very dear. In the early years, the club was very publicly supportive of Irish Home Rule and invited revolutionaries such as Michael Davitt to be Patron of Celtic.

Over time the political landscape in Ireland changed, partition followed the War of Independence and several decades later the pogroms that followed the civil rights marches in the North lead to the most recent period of conflict known as the Troubles. The political expression of the Celtic support and the club’s hierarchy changed over that period too. Indeed, the club disassociates itself from such political matters these days.

The Green Brigade are unapologetically supportive of the Irish Republican struggle for unity and freedom. Whether one agrees with politics and football intermingling is something that is debated constantly, but the reality is that it does happen through a considerable section of supporters.

The Green Brigade have now displayed those political sympathies again, as they unveiled a banner recreating the election posters that were displayed 40 years ago, when Bobby Sands stood for election as an ‘Anti H Block candidate’ in Fermanagh and South Tyrone during his hunger strike in Long Kesh.

The event was a defining moment in Irish history as Sands’ ultimate success paved the way for a political route to securing Republican objectives, which are currently being carried out through the peace process.

The hunger strike as a whole was also an essential period in the conflict; something which the Green Brigade acknowledged on 1 March, when marking the anniversary of its commencement.

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were/are sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are available on Amazon.

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