Dec 122012

Thoughts On The Pyrotechnic Debate



Earlier tonight, Celtic defeated Arbroath thanks to a single goal from Welshman Adam Matthews. During what was, in truth, a fairly flat affair on the coast of the North Sea, the debate on the use of pyrotechnics, particularly smoke bombs, was reignited (no pun intended) as the devices made an appearance on the away terracing. Due to the stale nature of the match itself in large parts, several supporters took to Twitter in order to voice their views regarding the use of the “pyro”.

Many of you will know that the Celtic Disabled Supporters’ Association recently published a statement on the use of smoke bombs at matches, requesting that the devices be consigned to the history books due to the ill effects they can have on individuals with respiratory problems. This statement, for anyone who missed it, is available here.

So I suppose it’s left to me to sum up my feelings on the issue, having retweeted the opinions of several supporters during half time and the match itself (both the pro and anti-pyro lobbies).

Firstly, looking at the “positives”, I must admit that personally, I think smoke bombs (and pyrotechnics in general) can add a lot to the colour and atmosphere at a football match. They can be particularly impressive when used as part of a display, such as the example at Ibrox pictured below. On the few occasions I’ve been near one when it has been set off, the atmosphere has taken a noticeable step up in response to the event.



There is also a certain notoriety attached to them; they are illegal after all, and a lot of people do enjoy pushing the boundaries with regards to the law (rightly or wrongly), whether it is by trying to be served a pint at the age of seventeen, or, in this case, by setting off a smoke bomb at a football match. However, as season tickets can be withdrawn for such an offence, it is perhaps no surprise that these devices are never set off at home matches.

Secondly, a look at the negatives. Celtic Football Club is, of course, a Club open to all. Anyone who has attended a Celtic match will have seen disabled supporters in and around the stadium itself. In recent decades, accessibility has improved for many of these supporters, and this must be applauded.

Whilst at an under seventeen’s match at Ibrox last season, I came closer to the use of smoke bombs than ever before. Previously, I had never found myself particularly close to them, so this was a new experience for me. Whilst, as I have previously highlighted, they added greatly to the atmosphere, I must also highlight the fact that I noticed an immediate, negative effect with regards to taking a simple breath.

Rather naively, I presumed that pulling my scarf over my face would make a difference, but it had little or no effect. One of my friends, who is in his early twenties and fairly fit, found himself struggling to breath to such an extent that he actually left that area of the stand for about ten minutes until the smoke had cleared.

It is also worthy of note that not all of those who may be negatively affected by a smoke bomb are individuals who are visibly disabled (for example those in a wheelchair). Countless supporters suffer from conditions such as asthma, as well as more serious conditions, and, in my opinion, the well being of these fans must be taken into account by their fellow supporters.

All in all, whilst these devices do have their benefits (at least in my eyes), these benefits are vastly outweighed by the potential problems they can create for other individuals within the stadium, regardless of who they support. The illegality of pyrotechnics also brings with it the chance of punishments for the Football Club itself.

Even as a young man, I’m afraid I just can’t agree with the “no pyro, no party” mentality. They do add to the atmosphere, but nobody should ever be put off attending a Celtic match because of the potential for negative affects towards their health (nail biting finishes and Celtic’s occasional dodgy defending aside). For this reason, I feel it’s time we made a concious decision, as a support, that their time has been and gone.

Please feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below.


  8 Responses to “No Smoke Without Fire?”

  1. No pyro, no party!

  2. Excellent article. Please support the team without fireworks.

  3. Why are we getting searched at every away game? Bloody obvious methinks.

    Stupid is as stupid does

  4. Stupid, dangerous things that leave people fighting for breath. Get rid of them or get rid of the idiots who bring them……Celtic dont need them.

  5. I’m not allowed a fag at a match for the simple reason that it’s not fair on those around me to expect them to inhale my secondhand smoke. These smoke bombs/fireworks are many times more noxious than my fag and should not be tolerated for the same reason. I’m pretty sure that if I sparked up a tab at a match, someone would object. We need to do the same with these misguided people. Burning smoke bombs/flares etc does not enhance the experience for most supporters, it ruins it.

  6. no smoking please,my mate is only 3 1/2 feet tall …………he says its bad for his elf………ony kiddn……..ony kiddn

  7. those who think pyros are an effective way of supporting the team are totally ignorant & selfish ..
    peoples HEALTH is far more important than our club …FACT !!!
    I know its ‘exciting ” so is lighting big fires … but we dont do it bcos it has health issues

    look at the displays .[the pic above is a fine example]..they offer FAR MORE IMPACT !!!
    than smoke ever could
    none of us will ever forget the SCOTLANDS SHAME —————->
    banner against the gers
    now THAT HAD IMPACT !!! …
    the displays are far more important as we can say what we feel [to an extent ]..+ the players can see them and understand what we are saying to them ..or for them [ Lenny 16 banner was a good way to support Lenny in his more difficult periods as a player.. which he openly appreciated ]
    .The PYROS need to go BHOYS ,,but you need not feel aggrieved about it
    ,as the job your doing with the displays are far more important to the club ..if you were jailed over the smoke thing . who would be there to do the displays??
    we dont want to lose you or your
    great banner drops & displays .
    just the smoke
    far more easier than smoke [signals ]

  8. […] the support (including myself) recently, and my more detailed views on the matter can be found here. With regards to this match, I’ve had several people tell me they make them leap out of their […]

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