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Divisions in Glasgow go well beyond football

Two Old Firm games in a week have tested Scotland's biggest city to the limit - but is the violence that follows them worth tolerating any longer?

- guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 March 2011 00.53 GMT

Celtic and Rangers fans taunt one another at an Old Firm game this year. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images
Celtic and Rangers fans taunt one another at an Old Firm game this year. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images
 

All the police cells were full across the city, with some of those arrested having to be ferried to police stations up to 50 miles away. A wild west-style brawl enveloped one Glasgow southside pub, leaving 10 officers injured. There were other outbursts of aggression too, not just in bars and on streets but in homes. In the hours after the final whistle was blown, domestic violence reportedly rose by 81%.

The disorder, which broke out in mid-February after one of the city's famous Old Firm matches - between arch rivals Rangers and Celtic - led to Les Gray, head of the Scottish Police Federation, calling for the derbies between the two clubs to be banned. The football, he said, was not worth the " murder and mayhem" the games unleashed.

Last Wednesday, trouble erupted again, at the third match between the two clubs in less than a month, on and off the pitch once more. Players shared a total of 13 yellow cards, most shown to Rangers players, with three sent off - one of a record seven between the rivals this season.

There were 34 fans arrested inside the Parkhead grounds after extraordinary scenes between Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist, when both men had to be restrained. There is still furious speculation among fans about what words were exchanged between the two who have since shaken and made up according to Lennon who said only: "It's a passionate game and both of us want our teams to win." But now, after it was revealed this weekend that Lennon had been given 24-hour security protection, after a second hoax bomb package in as many months was intercepted on the way to his home, Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, has called an emergency summit this week in Edinburgh to discuss the problems. The great fear is that the sectarian violence of the past could once again rear its head in a city that is riven by religious prejudice. (...)

Many fans on both sides insist the divides are misunderstood and that often the banter that flares during the match is forgotten afterwards. "I hate them for those 90 minutes, and it's reciprocated," said Paul Cassidy, a 44-year-old Glaswegian Celtic supporter. "But all that aside, it's the drinking, the blokes tanking it in pubs all day and fuelled up and going home and beating up their wives - that is something we should be looking at."

Many experts agree that social issues are important. Dr Susan Wiltshire, of Glasgow University, has just published a research paper commissioned by the Scottish parliament that looks at apparent prejudice in the justice system against Catholics. Some 17% of Scotland's population are Catholic, yet Catholics make up 26% of those in Scottish jails.

Wiltshire adds: "The Catholic-Protestant divide which often ignites at matches is so structurally entrenched that it is something that has to be addressed at various levels, and consistently and systematically. "

Wiltshire says that a drop in political commitment to tackling sectarianism is also apparent. One charity, Nil by Mouth, set up to tackle religious bigotry in schools, is facing closure because of cuts in its funding.

Bob Doris, the Scottish National party MSP for Glasgow, has written to Celtic and Rangers urging them to support the charity financially. He says: "Off-field trouble related to Old Firm games is a reflection of wider problems in society, male violence and alcohol abuse that would exist even if the Old Firm did not.

"That said, both clubs are well aware that their players are role models to many. The clubs don't share the blame for that disorder - people are responsible for their own actions - but they do shoulder a responsibility for helping to find a solution."

Alcohol, football, religion and discrimination all no doubt play a part in the sectarian issues facing Glasgow.

Pub Landlord Robert Marshall keeps his colour scheme true blue. Blue walls are hung with portraits of Rangers' great and good.

"Its a Catholic lassie that does them," says Marshall, who took over what had been a loyalist pub in 1994. "I don't hold with any of that, I've never been to Ireland and I'm not interested. None of this sectarian stuff has anything to do with religion. That's just what the morons on both sides say. I hate Celtic but I don't hate Celtic supporters."

Several of the banners he has hung outside his pub over the years have had to be taken down because of the "lack of sense of humour" of Celtic fans who complained to police. "They were looking for an insult when there wasn't one. The thing about Glaswegians is, because of [the city's] working-class roots and its poverty through the years, there's a sense of humour that people can find heavy going, they think we're having this terrible fight.

"Look at those figures, 60,000 supporters in a city and there's only 50 odd extra arrests? The Rangers-Celtic thing is a lot of people's whole lives and we are a city who is passionate about football. Its just a normal city, a great city ... until there's an Old Firm game."

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
 

General comprehension

1) Identify the type of document and its source.

2) In which city does the scene take place?

3) What are the two football clubs mentioned in the text?

4) Identify the people mentioned in the text. Tell briefly what their occupation is.

5) What does the expression "The Old Firm" refer to?

6) What is "Nil By Mouth"?

Detailed comprehension

Part 1 (Paragraphs 1 - 4)

1) Match the words from the text with their synonyms

a) Words from the text: ferried; brawl; mayhem; unleashed; pitch; restrained; riven; prejudice

b) Synonyms: quarrel; chaos; transported; football ground; divided; generated; held back; intolerance

2) Focus on paragraphs 1 & 2:

a) What event is it referred to?
b) When did it happen?
c) What do the following figures refer to: 50, 10, 81?

3) Focus on paragraphs 3 & 4:

a) What event is it referred to?
b) When did it happen? Give a precise date.
c) What do the following figures refer to: 13, 3, 7, 34?

4) Right or wrong. Justify your answer by quoting from the text:

a) After an Old Firm match in February 2011, there was violence in pubs only.
b) The head of the Scottish Police Federation is in favour of forbidding matches between Celtic and Rangers.
c) Another match between Celtic and Rangers was played in a peaceful atmosphere at the beginning of March 2011.
d) There was a violent clash between the managers of the teams after the match.
e) Neil Lennon's life has been repeatedly threatened.
f) The Scottish government believes that violence during Old Firm matches is a minor issue.
g) Sectarian violence in Glasgow belongs to the past.

5) Propose a translation of the following expressions in their context:

a) Outbursts of aggression (§ 1)
b) The final whistle was blown (§ 1)
c) The football was not worth the murder and mayhem (§ 2)
d) Players share a total of 13 yellow cards (§ 3)
e) A hoax bomb package (§ 4)
f) The sectarian violence could rear its head (§ 4) 

Part 2 (Paragraphs 5 - 10)

A) Focus on paragraph 5:

1) What does the first sentence of the paragraph mean: "Many fans on both sides insist the divides are misunderstood and that often the banter that flares during the match is forgotten afterwards"? Choose the correct meaning.

a) Most fans claim that the verbal violence between Catholics and Protestants at Old Firm matches is a very serious characteristic of the Scottish society that goes far beyond football.

b) Most fans claim that the verbal violence between Catholics and Protestants at Old Firm matches is just entertainment and that everything goes back to normal when the match is over.

2) In the sentence "I hate them for those 90 minutes, and it's reciprocated", who do the pronouns "I" and "them" refer to? Explain in your own words what Paul Cassidy means. 

3) According to Paul Cassidy, what are the two major issues which should be addressed?

4) Explain the expression "the blokes tanking it in pubs all day and fuelled up".

 

B) Focus on paragraphs 6, 7 & 8:

1) Identify the three main social issues that Dr Wiltshire puts forward to explain the sectarian outbursts at Old Firm matches.

2) How should the authorities tackle sectarianism according to Dr Wiltshire? Pick out three elements.

 

C) Focus on paragraphs 9 & 10:

1) According to Bob Doris, what two main issues plague the Scottish society?

2) What role should the two Glaswegian clubs play?

 

D) Vocabulary. Match the following words from the text with their definition.

Words from the text: flare (§ 5); beat up (§5); ignite (§ 7); entrenched (§ 7); consistently (§ 7); drop (§ 8); commitment (§ 8); charity (§ 8); tackle (§ 8); urge (§ 9); off-field (§ 9); shoulder (§ 10)

Definitions:
- to become angry and violent
- to hit, to punch
- to start a dangerous situation, angry argument
- strongly established
- in a coherent manner
- decrease
- dedication, determination
- a non-profit organization whose goal is to address social issues or help people
- to deal with a difficult problem
- to strongly suggest that someone does something
- outside the stadium or football ground
- accept a difficult or unpleasant responsibility or duty

Part 3 (Paragraphs 11 - 15)

1) What team does Robert Marshall support? Pick out elements to justify your answer.

2) Using the answer and elements from question 1, explain the expression "a loyalist pub".

3) What does the following sentence mean: "None of this sectarian stuff has anything to do with religion. That's just what the morons on both sides" say? (2 answers)

According to Robert Marshall,

a) The sectarian violence between Rangers and Celtic fans is caused by religious differences.
b) The sectarian violence between Rangers and Celtic fans has nothing to do with religion.
c) Rangers and Celtic fans are stupid and they use religious differences as a pretext for their violent conduct.
d) Rangers and Celtic fans are happy to talk to each other.

4) Focus on § 14 & 15:

a) Make a list of the characteristics of Glasgow as seen by Robert Marshall.
b) What does the expression "this terrible fight" refer to?
c) What are the two consequences of the city's poverty and working class culture?
d) Explain why Robert Marshall opinion about football and religion in Glasgow is ambiguous or contradictory (see also § 13).

5) Vocabulary. Cross out the wrong option:

a) The pub "landlord" is the owner/ the customer
b) A "lassie" is a girl/a boy
c) A "moron" is a genius/ an idiot
d) "Odd" means regular/ occasional

Grammar - THE PASSIVE FORM

1) Underline the verbal forms in the following extracts from the text and explain how they are formed. 

a) [...] some of those arrested having to be ferried to police stations up to 50 miles away. (§ 1)

b) [...] the final whistle was blown [...]. (§ 1)

c) [...] calling for the derbies between the two clubs to be banned. (§ 2)

d) Players shared a total of 13 yellow cards, most shown to Rangers players, with three sent off [...]. (§ 3)

e) [...] when both men had to be restrained. (§ 4)

f) [...] after it was revealed this weekend that Lennon had been given 24-hour security protection after a second hoax bomb package was intercepted on the way to his home [...]. (§ 4)

g) [...] in a city that is riven by religious prejudice. (§ 4)

h) [...] the divides are misunderstood and the banter that flares during the match is forgotten afterwards. (§ 5)

i) [...] the blokes [...] fuelled up [...]. (§ 5)

j) Several of the banners [...] have had to be taken down [...]. (§ 14)

2) Complete all the sentences (except sentence -g-) with the agent.

3) Why was the agent missed out?

4) Draw your conclusion about the use of the passive form.


Précis de Grammaire : la voix passive

 

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Mise à jour le 26 mai 2012
Créé le 1 juillet 2011
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues