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To What Extent Has Sectarianism Clouded Scottish Football And What Factors Have Proven Most Pivotal In Its Development?

982 words - 4 pages

To what extent has Sectarianism clouded Scottish football and what factors have proven most pivotal in its development?
Sectarianism can broadly be understood as a 'narrow-minded following of a particular belief by members of a denomination that leads to prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, malice and ill-will towards members, or presumed members, of another denomination. Sectarianism can occur in different ways, either at an individual, group, cultural or institutional level' (Scottish Executive, 2006). From this, it can be determined that sectarianism refers to negative, aggressive or inappropriate conduct from one individual or group towards another from a different religious background. ...view middle of the document...

The religious affiliations football clubs have become aligned with derives from Irish immigration to Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century to the First World War. This began with the Irish famine acting as a catalyst but persisted for so long due to other social, economic and historical factors that will be examined in detail later. This is supported by Mitchell (2008) who claims a large proportion of Scottish Catholics, especially in the West of Scotland, have their origins in Irish immigration to Scotland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Glasgow Celtic football club, rich with an Irish heritage and fanbase, was established in response to the Irish influx to Glasgow in 1888; especially due to its geographic location near the city's shipyards, home to many Irish workers. Surveys indicate that 90 per cent of the Celtic support is Catholic and, like most Catholics in Scotland, they are mainly of Irish descent (Boyle 1994; Bradley 1995). It is also important to note that Roman Catholics in Scotland have historically been principally working-class (Boyle and Lynch, 1998; Devine, 1999); as communities they would not receive the same privileges their Protestant counterparts were entitled to and, therefore, adopted a minority role and the attributes carried with that (labouring for much less pay, for example). This was met with Protestant hostility and ignited a sectarian battle that still envelopes the city today.
Considering such social factors, Glasgow's sectarian roots can further be understood when we examine how the respective religious orders became entangled. In 1923, the Church of Scotland was attempting to survive social, moral and spiritual crises in the reverberation of the First World War; led by charismatic and devout preacher John White, the Church developed and presented a report to the General Assembly entitled ' The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality' (Kelly, E. 2003) as not an overtly religious, but rather a scathing social attack on the race as a corrupt people. With such institutionalised bigotry influencing followers on both sides, it is not difficult to accept how sectarianism arrived in Scotland.
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