I think its a fair observation to make that amongst support in recent years, there’s been some concerns about Celtic’s moral standing in relation to the founding principles of the Club in 1888: “A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for children and the unemployed.” Recent years have seen priorities shift with money arguably becoming higher on the list and the mindset of help for the vulnerable being shuffled towards the bottom.
Of course, there’s an argument to be made then that Celtic is a business on paper. It has to generate profit like any other business and its such income that allows investment into the team and the stadium.
But is that really what its all about? Raising ticket prices in order to maximise profits doesn’t seem to correlate exactly with the Club’s founding principles.
In absolute fairness though, the Club can’t be doubted entirely. Actively fundraising for the Celtic FC Foundation, Kano and making a number of donations to other charities it can’t be said thay the Club has entirely forgotten its roots. But part of me can’t help but look back to the Club years ago during that period of total romance with the likes of the Jungle and flinging weans over the turnstiles that everybody’s da tells you about and wish it was a bit more like that. A time were a few stands done the trick and there was a skelpin attendance at every fixture because that was what it was all about then – the fans.
I wholly understand that the growing influence that money has on the decisions and direction of the club are almost inevitable to an extent, its not necessarily voluntary. Football as a game (and an industry) is expensive, and in order to compete you need a high quality team and to get that you need good players and to get those players you need money. That can’t be helped. Of course we need money to ensure the stadium and the pitch is fit for purpose and accomodating for a growing support of all ages and abilities. It makes sense on paper but you can’t help but suspect a sense of greed as the ticket prices continue to rise.
Its this growing financial influence over the game that makes me wish the whole thing was a bit more understated? Less modern? I don’t know how to word it, I don’t want to sound like one of these “against modern football #casualwayoflife” sorta folk but I hope this makes at least a wee bit of sense, to want a less glamourised game that’s wholly about the people for the people?
I’ll confess that in recent years I’ve found myself thinking about how much more commercialised football would be in years to come, and how I would explain to my children what made Celtic so different from other football clubs. I didnt want it to become a tourist attraction like every other club and I never wanted it to lose the moral importance that I’m thankful to have been raised on growing up. But, any concerns about this have always been eased by the support. In times of despair when we’re not playing the best, or theres dispute about the decisions of the board or theres political/humanitarian injustice – the support always reminds me why Celtic are the “best club in the world.”
If you walk into the stadium, more often than not theres people outside gathering money for a number of causes and the acts of support and solidarity by groups like the Green Brigade are invaluable to the maintenance of the Club’s roots of grassroot community action – not just locally, but globally. Most notably, the recent #matchthefineforpalestine campaign gained Celtic global recognition for all the right reasons and seen over £100,000 gained for Palestinian Aid. This is one of the countless acts that leave with me no concern about telling my children about the Celtic I lived to know.
Champions League. Yass x