The summer is not even over and British football has once again revealed its not so hidden face of permeating bigotry and racism, this time Rangers FC, but there is little wonder why it exists when it is so entrenched.
Celtic FC’s new star from Japan, Kyogo Furuhashi, has been subjected to disgusting racism, unsurprisingly from supporters of bitter rivals Rangers, who have a long history of racism and bigotry.
On an away trip to Ross County on Sunday, Rangers supporters filmed themselves targeting Kyogo in two separate chants.
Once aimed at former Celtic great Nakamura, also from Japan, Rangers fans first sang “Furuhashi ate my dog.”
The Rangers fans then sang “Let’s all do Kyogo” while slanting their eyes.
The racist scum at their very finest. Marc Newton from Bellshill in case the police want to visit him pic.twitter.com/sL8ajL9hFo
— Son of Ange (@SonofAnge1) August 22, 2021
Such vile racism is nothing new to Rangers Football Club. In fact, for much of the club’s existence, it has been a hub for the most vile anti-Catholic and anti-Irish Loyalists to the British Crown.
Of course, the normality that such a club enjoys immense popularity is unsurprising when considering modern Scotland is built on the legacy of John Knox, an anti-Catholic mob-inciting misogynist and founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
Celtic FC were formed in 1887 by Marist Brother Walfrid as a means to unite and raise charity for Irish immigrants in Glasgow, just as Sydney Olympic FC and South Melbourne Hellas were formed by Greek immigrants to Australia in the 1950’s to serve the new diaspora community.
Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou himself reflects how clubs like South Melbourne Hellas were formed so that hardworking Greek immigrants had a safe haven to express their identity and culture. Those from that generation of Southern European migrants know Ange means that these clubs were also an escape from the intense racism faced from the dominant Protestant Australia in the post-World War II period.
Ange was among the first wave of immigrants to arrive in Australia after the abolishment of the “White Australia Policy”, a policy that severely restricted the migration of non-Anglos and Celts to Australia.
Because of this, he experienced immense racism as the legacy of the White Australia Policy was still extremely fresh in society’s memory. One has to remember that only years before arriving in Australia, he was considered non-White for being Greek in origin and Eastern Orthodox Christian in faith.
This of course does not equate to the racism experienced by the first Mediterranean and Slavic European migrants to Australia in the post-war period to that of Irish Catholics to Britain during and following the potato famine.
All this is another fact that makes Ange appear at these early stages to be the perfect fit for Celtic FC.
Now that he’s manager of Celtic FC, Ange is also being subject to bigotry, being continually mocked by talkSPORT host Alan Brazil and Rangers legend Ally McCoist, with the pair behaviour like schoolyard children because of Postecoglou’s foreign sounding surname.
Of course Ange would not give one flying hoot about the pair mocking his surname, even if only days ago Brazil mockingly made a non-sensical ‘attempt’ at Postecoglou’s four syllable surname by saying “Cadgegoogoo.”
However, what it does demonstrate is how widely acceptable it is to mock the “other” or the “different” in 21st Century Britain.
With young Rangers fans listening to Brazil mocking a foreign-sounding surname to the Scottish or English ear, why would they not bring that back to the schoolyard – perhaps even the very same schoolyard that Ange’s children will be going to in Glasgow.
Of course, the children might experience a form of bullying if Celtic have a bad run of games. But to be bullied for their surname is a more sinister type of viciousness, and the 62-year-old should at least take half a consideration before opening his mouth.
Yet again, can better be expected by someone who believes that Asian immigrants caused a rat infestation?
When there are football pundits spewing out such rhetoric against Asians to millions of people on talkSPORT, it is little wonder that Rangers fans feel confident enough to film themselves mocking the Japanese player.
Thankfully the overt racism against Kyogo has been condemned by Celtic FC, Rangers FC, Scottish media and the wider public.
However, the mocking of the Greek-Australian manager’s surname by Brazil attempts to humourise the “other” or the “foreign”, which only normalises racism, just as we saw Rangers fan brazenly do by filming themselves mocking the shape of Kyogo’s eyes.
It is also why Rangers fans can continually escape condemnation despite chanting anti-Catholic and anti-Irish songs, such as singing for Celtic FC fans to “go home” because the British-engineered potato famine in Ireland has ended.
There is clearly a deep normalisation and entrenchment of racism in Britain, or else millions of listeners would not be subject to a “humouring” of the “foreign” which has the potential to descend into what we saw the Rangers fans doing against Kyogo.
BY Alexandros Marchetos, a sports journalist usually writing in Greek.