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John Barnes's Twitter Debate With Celtic Fans Keeps On Going

Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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John Barnes is one of the most articulate and insightful speakers on mechanics of racism in the UK. Given the many complicated conversations spawned by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a US police officer in Minneapolis two weeks ago, it's good to be hearing more of Barnes on how race shapes football and society.

Throughout the week, Barnes has been discussing his sacking as Celtic manager on social media. Barnes was manager at Parkhead to start the 1999-2000 season, but was sacked after losing a Scottish Cup game to Inverness in February 2000. Barnes is not the only manager to fail with Celtic - the names Tony Mowbray and Ronny Delia come to mind - but Barnes's time in charge ended before those men.

This all began with an interview on with Richard Keys and Andy Gray.

While Barnes admits there a few factors at play when he was fired, his core contention is that managers of BAME descent do not enjoy the same patience as their white counterparts from supporters and the people who run football clubs.

He said:

When I went to Celtic, when I went to Tranmere, they all wanted me to do well, they all supported me.

"But if you don’t do well that’s when the question mark comes – are you cut out to do the job in the first place?”

“If they are bad, white managers lose their jobs. Lose their jobs, get another job, lose their jobs, get another job.

"Or, they’re given longer to fail.


Many Celtic fans have been tweeting to Barnes over the past 48 hours, offended that race could have played any role in his dismissal. And Barnes has been replying to many of them, trying to make his point.

Here are just two tweets that capture the discussion

Even by the standards of Twitter, the debate has proved extraordinary, with Barnes replying to fan after fan in an effort to explain his point.
Twitter is not the place for nuanced debate, and so Barnes this morning announced he'll be discussing his time at the club with the widely-respected Celtic podcast 'A Celtic State Of Mind'.



Hopefully this rarefied air of a podcast stream might settle this issue.


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