Giorgos Giakoumakis, the Greek Roma and Structural Inequality


Giakoumakis the Great

The big Greek fella, as known by some, is one of Celtic’s most underused players of recent times and, if not for the circumstance of the modern era, he would, by rights, be scoring even more than he already has as part of the old school ‘two upfront’ approach.

Still, in this age of one up front with clever interplay between all attackers, the expectation of wide runs and dropping deep tactics, Giorgos Giakoumakis – a powerhouse of a forward – has still been able to pounce prolifically so as to net 25 goals in 45 appearances for Celtic. And that’s 25 goals in only 21 starts incidentally, at the time of writing.

Such a goalscoring record is no fluke either, this is the man who scored 29 times in 33 appearances for the perennial Dutch Eredivisie strugglers VVV Venlo only two seasons ago. He’s as muscular as he is menacing in front of the net and is the only one in a Celtic top who can be relied upon to dominate the air when an aerial attack beckons. Add to this his excellent work rate, mature attitude to the game and an easy ability to outmuscle his marker most of the time, and it becomes clear that Celtic are very fortunate to have a player of his calibre in their squad, particularly as he approaches his prime.

Still, however, he is not considered an automatic start as yet and it is not the place of this article to question coach and tactics. Leave that to the pernicious mainstream media here in Scotland and the multitude of bar room tacticians which exist.

There is perhaps more to the Giakoumakis narrative than simply the football angle however. 

The Greek Roma – A Marginalised People 

Giakoumakis, from Heraklion in Crete, is also one of the few well known footballers who comes from a Roma background. Former Greek footballer Christos Patsatzoglou was also of the same descent as was the lightning fast Romanian winger Bañel Nicolita, both having since retired.

I have no idea in what way – if any at all – Giorgos Giakoumakis celebrates his Roma heritage. Personally, I sincerely hope he does however, as they are, like in every other part of Europe, an unfairly discriminated against and negatively labeled ethnic minority grouping. Typically a vulnerable group of people who exist, for the most part, on the edges of their host nations cultural acceptance. Othered, forgotten about or just plain discriminated against whether in the UK, Greece or elsewhere. 

As is typically the case, a lot of the discrimination and associated issues of structural inequality faced by such groups is on account of ignorance and unconsciousness from the public at large. Thus, the more high profile a name is attached to the ethnic minority group the better, as this can often generate an awareness of their very presence and perhaps even their plight, amongst the wider population.

The bigotry directed at those from a Roma…

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Thank you, Sean.

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