Thursday, September 22, 2016

To G or not to G is the question

I know a little bit about intimidation. Over my 42 years, I've seen lots of it in different countries. I remember an occasion when I lived in New York where I was unwittingly part of it. I was seeing a girl and one night she tensed up all of a sudden as we walked home on a balmy summer evening in Queens. When I queried what the problem was she said that a guy she used to date had just walked past us and she felt scared as he had been a total dick to her. I reassured her there was no problem and there was nothing he could do but around 4am that night he had called her three times and left abusive messages.

Now there was a problem.

In Scotland this would be sorted out with what is affectionately known as a "scheme booting" but this was New York and I had to go and speak to someone who knew their rules a lot better than I did. The ex-boyfriend worked at a really prominent place in New York and so when I told my guy the story he immediately grabbed his coat and said "Ok, let's go downtown" We pulled up at the building and I was instructed to sit outside whilst he went in. I watched him walk away, go into the building, talk to the security guard at reception and then after a couple of minutes the ex-boyfriend appeared. I watched as my guy talked to him in what seemed like a jovial manner right until the ex looked at me and his face drained of colour. After that, my guy walked back out and said to me "Let's go" We got back in the car and as soon as we were out of sight of the building I asked him what had happened? He said "I told him that if he ever as much as thought about her again, yours would be the last face he would ever see in his life"

That's how problems are dealt with by certain people in New York.

When my front door went on Tuesday and two suits stood in front of me as I opened it, I kindae knew it wasn't the Jehovah's Witnesses.  They informed me that they had intelligence that there was a serious threat to my life.

Then they left.

That last part shocks people, they didn't do anything? They didn't tell you who? They didn't advise on safety? No. This is exactly what happened to Neil Lennon five years ago as well, a knock at the door, told of the threat and goodbye. It was Celtic who had to beef up his security, not the police.

Over the last few years I've faced a lot of abuse and the odd threat here and there. My front door was caved in, whilst I was out, the Friday after The Asterisk Years premiere and about a week after that someone tried to run me over on my way to college. Then there have been the bizarre incidents like when I walked into the big Wetherspoons in George St in Edinburgh and was asked to leave by the manager as I tried to order a drink or the time I had my invitation to a friend's wedding withdrawn as things were getting a little hot in the kitchen for me.

Increasingly, I don't go out in Scotland and if I do, it's with people I've known for years and can trust. I never say in public where I am going, only where I have been and find myself more and more unable to do things in Scotland. Even when I had my youngest son out in Edinburgh in July, I was abused by some nutcase on a bus.

This week though, things got more sinister with this threat. It is now the third time I've had the police at the door in this guise and each time I am never quite sure if they are enjoying it.

So what do I do? Well, being Scotland, the support has been incredible and the offers of payback have came from people who know how to pay back. On Tuesday evening I thought long and hard about that. However much I would like that, that is no victory.

The victory for me, and all of us quite frankly, is to keep going, keep moving forward and keep shining a light on the injustices that we and our club suffer. That is what they hate most.

So for those who think they can intimidate me and many others? Our faces are staying right here.

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