It was a question that was raised on twitter that begged an answer; “Will you walk from Celtic FC if they (Celtic FC) vote YES to a NewClub being voted back into the SPL?”
Think about it. Now on the face of it, there is a simple reactionary answer. One which, as a bit of a reactionary myself, would usually be, “Aye, defo. No probs. They sleep in Satans Bed, they deserve all they get”.
I ask this: Can you really turn Celtic off and on like a switch?
Many of you will be in the exact same position as me. Celtic Football Club is not just a plaything. It isn’t a team that I chose. I don’t follow Celtic because I am a glory hunter, or that I like the strip. (I read someone on KDS saying that btw.)
I was handed Celtic in my early years via my Grandfather via the medium of the match reports in the “Late” Saturday Evening Times of that day’s match. Then afterward the match highlights on Sportscene at 10:30, and then, once a few halves had been drank, the stories of Willie Fernie, Bert Peacock, Jimmy McMenamy, and, his favourite, Charlie Tully would roll off the tongue. This was my Celtic apprenticeship and oh, how I learned. So much so that in my early twenties I actually undertook a 10 minute presentation on Charlie Tully that formed part of my HNC. Thankfully the lecturer was a Celtic fan, although most of the class were not!
The only reason I mention my Grandfather is he was the oldest living relative that I had as a kid who was a Celtic fan. It could have easily have been my Dad or my uncles, but his passion for our Club really stood out. It knew no boundaries. He was “a true Celt” in every sense of the word. From an early age I knew that when I wore my hoops out playing football or my scarf to the games, that I was not only representing myself, but my whole family and the club as a whole. I was told in no uncertain terms to behave myself as I was representing our community. This is a message that I will pass onto my sons.
So, where did he get is passion from? Born in the early 20th Century, He was the Great-Grandson of Irish Immigrants who arrived in Ayrshire in 1848-49 at the height of An Gorta Mor, the Great Hunger. His Grandfather was the first baby born in Scotland in 1849. I would say he was the first Scotsman, but even 6 generations later, I still do not feel fully “Scottish” or what it means to be “Scottish”.
From Ayrshire in 1849 we as a family worked our way from the Ayrshire iron mines, to Lanarkshire/ Monklands and by the time Celtic was born in November 6th 1887, we were fully fledged members of the Rutherglen Mining Community.
From the records I have it would appeart they lived not exactly a million miles from Celtic Park. I know that they would have been fully aware of what was happening over in the Calton, and although they were part of another Parish (St Collumkille) I would imagine that they would have been attending at the early games had they the time to do so. Thanks to my friends at the Celtic Graves Society, (@CelticGraves), I have now found the resting places of these very same people buried in St Peter the Good Shepherd Cemetery with some of the earliest Celts from that era. This again, just adds to my sense of belonging to this great Club.
So, knowing all this, can I honestly and truly turn my back on Celtic?
Can you, after looking at your family history, turn Celtic off like a tap? As I said in my tweet, “Celtic is like a major organ in your body. It’s the biggest addiction known to man and it’s genetic in most cases”.
Celtic Football Club is part of my DNA. I know Celtic is part of who I am. I know it is also part of my kids. I just hope they will embrace it the way that previous generations have. I am in no doubt you may be the same.
So, can I turn off Celtic? The answer is NO!
However, given the fact that Celtic would be voting “yes” to a club who were the once the main driving force behind injustice, institutional bigotry, and also tried to force my forefathers into the gutter and keep them on their knees, then I would see it as going into bed with Satan. That to me would be unforgivable.
What the current directors seem to forget is this: We are NOT customers. They are only in this role to do a job for the shareholders, and more than that, the people who hold an emotional bond to Celtic. I would say to them, “You represent us, as much as we represent you.” Even those who could not afford shares or season tickets have a bond to Celtic that runs for over one hundred years like my own.
That is what makes us special. That is what makes us CELTIC.
Personally I cannot see the Celtic Board selling us down the river. They know all too well who we are and what we are. I feel as if they understand, and understand us, with regard to this subject. Although they are successful businessmen, when all is said and done, they are also from our community. It doesn’t leave you.
So, bearing this in mind, I really hope they take this chance to “stick the boot” into Rangers* Football Club, founded in 1872. I know my fore-fathers would be revelling in this, and when Rangers go, I will raise a glass. Not to the removal of Rangers, but to those who suffered indirectly from their apartheid employment policies that were and are mimicked in many companies throughout Scotland to this day.
So on that day, lets raise a glass to the generations gone. Slánte! Celtic is in our blood.
It’s in our DNA. We don’t even have the choice of “walking away”.