Club Profile: Martin O’Neill Reading CSC

31
Mar
2014

Posted By CSC Affiliation Media

Posted in Articles, Club Profile

 

Fiona Wheatley talks us through the club that is Martin O’Neill Reading CSC.

 

There has been a Celtic Supporter Club in Reading for over 30 years, having moved from pub to pub in the area as landlords and club members changed.  The Martin O’Neill CSC was formed in season 2005/06 and has found a home since then in the Gateway Irish Bar in Reading town centre, conveniently only a few minutes walk from the rail station.  This location means we host visitors in town for work or family visits or from other CSCs who want to try the Gateway experience!

 

Liam Power has led the Club through all its iterations, and was appointed Honorary President in 2011 in recognition of this longevity and for his sheer tenacity in holding the club together throughout the years.  Fiona Wheatley has been Chairman since 2011 and we’re grateful to Mick Richford, Charlie Docherty, Elaine Lingard and now Alisdair Ferguson for providing secretarial support over the years.

 

Age, improved affluence, and a female chairman have put a halt to the days of squeezing a dozen guys into a minibus after pub closing time with a bucket for a loo and enough bevvy to keep them singing all the way to Glasgow. But it hasn’t diminished our enthusiasm for visits to Parkhead!  In 2013 we ran a bus with support from Swindon Shamrock CSC, Maidenhead CSC, Hayes Bhoys CSC and Black Country Che Guevara CSC.

 

 

Some of the highlights were Andy Hindmarsh missing the bus and bribing his wife to chase it until he caught up on the M40 where the driver kindly did a stop on the hard shoulder so Andy could hop on, start singing and not stop until half way home the next day when his battery died and he crashed out for a much deserved 40 winks. Or running from the bus to the Kerrydale Bar, where Anne of the Affiliation had been sweet-talking the bouncers to keep the door open and where Davy Allison was suitably embarrassed by 20 of us singing happy birthday with a candle-lit cake handed over by his sister at the door.

 

Unfortunately the game was a dour last minute draw against Dundee Utd, but everyone appreciated just being there and we’re hoping to run another bus next season.

 

Being so distant from Celtic Park does bring its challenges.  Running a bus is a major logistical operation and we depend on the support of other clubs in similar situations to make this economically viable.  Like many clubs, we have to fight for TV priority over the EPL, GAA, Rugby and Hurling games.  Maintaining our membership at about 20 continues to be difficult with members often only staying in the area for a year or two.

 

We’re extremely grateful to the Central, South West and Wales Celtic Supporters Association (CSWWCSA) and the Affiliation for their help in raising the voice of long-distance fans with the Club. Last summer Fiona joined Dave Bradshaw and George Deans, Chairman and Secretary of the CSWWCSA respectively, to have a conversation with Peter Lawwell about how Club and Association could work together to further the Celtic cause and particularly what the Club can do to support the ongoing existence of our CSCs.  Ongoing discussions with John Paul Taylor will hopefully lead to some concrete moves to further this aim.

 

If you wish to get in contact with the Martin O’Neill Reading CSC or any other club, please click here for a list of Affiliated Clubs.

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2 Comments

  1. Derek McKay
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    if you guys are interested in a stop on route to paradise The Big Tree Bar Coatbridge is 5 minutes off the m74 and 20 mins to Celtic Park,
    we are a traditional pub that would welcome any traveling supporters ,
    a bit of grub laid on for you and a break and feed for your driver ,
    let me know if you are interested in linking up
    hail hail Del Big Tree CSC

    • Fiona Wheatley
      Posted August 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Derek, thanks for the offer, appreciate it. Unfortunately with us being so far south, just getting to games for ko means a ridiculously early start, so we only stop for toilet breaks. But your offer is noted and if we get a chance we’ll certainly get in touch! If you’re on Facebook suggest you follow the club page and if we’re running a bus you can remind us…. Fiona.

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