Opinion: What Does Celtic Mean To You?


Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Opinion


“What does Celtic mean to you?”

I was asked this question the other night. It took me by surprise that despite covering it in a blog that I couldn’t articulate it in a better way than blurting out: “Brother Walfrid”, “The Lisbon Lions”, “The Celtic Way”, “Tommy Burns” and then a bumbling monologue whose basic point was that we were more than a club and we’ve never celebrated season ticket sales or balance sheets but only Celtic.

Over the next few days I found myself being disappointed that I didn’t do myself justice with what the club meant to me. This feeling was compounded when listening to the Celtic Underground Podcast Number 264 with Brendan Sweeney. Brendan said when talking about his new book The Early Years:

“You’re not just writing a football book about a football club; it’s much more than that”.

Then Celtic Fan Kevin McKenna wrote in The Observer:

“Celtic, for those unfamiliar with them, were the first British club to win the European Champions cup. It is also the only club ever to have achieved this gargantuan feat with players solely from the districts that surround its ground. The club was founded exclusively to help the poor Irish peasantry who fled their homeland in the 19th century following the ravages of an Gorta Mór, the Great Famine, which ravaged the land.”

Both nail Celtic without shouting random words like some Celtic themed game of Charades.

But our own sons sum it up best. They capture the social responsibility that is ingrained in the fabric of the club, the style that the club is renowned for and the comradeship and connection that the fans feel with the club and the players with the following quotes:

“A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and unemployed”

Brother Walfrid

“We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football.”

Jock Stein

“When you pull on that jersey you’re not just playing for a football club, you’re playing for a people and a cause”

Tommy Burns


For me if the club manages to tick all those boxes then they are not going to go far wrong. Though I’m not an expert I don’t think there is any other club in world football that has such a set of clear principals. Other clubs spend thousands on PR companies to create an image and we have one on our lap. It’s so simple I no longer feel embarrassed by my simple answers. I knew what I meant.

I leave the last word to Tommy himself on a day that sums up the romantic nature of Celtic and the club like no other mantra.




  1. Tony Carr
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Celtic are goal machine

  2. Gerry
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I support Celtic because,up to recent times,they set out to play attacking football with flair.The support can romanticise themselves all they like and by and largely they are good,decent,charitable people.The custodians of the club can proclaim achievements of former glories etc etc.All I want from Celtic is to see a team on the field thrilling and exciting me with assaults on the oppositions goal from the first minute to the final whistle.Romance,politics,bigotry and cheap point-scoring from whoever mean nothing to me.First and foremost Celtic are a FOOTBALL club.

    • John Kane
      Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Well said Gerry. I started knowing about Celtic when I could first walk and talk. I would say “Lisbon Lions, ” since my first visit to Celtic Park was May 26th 1967 to see the Big Cup being paraded around in a coal lorry. Since then I’ve been hooked because we try to play the right way, our fans are good, honest, decent people and most important, we are an inclusive Club for all regardless of race, gender, religion. Yes, we have Irish foundations but we are a truly global brand. I also think “Seville” and 80,000 hooped supporters, UEFA and FIFA fair play award. I think Hampden in the sun, CL evenings vs Barca, Man U, AC Milan. WE are a FOOTBAL club who entertain and try to develop our own – remember “Quality Street Kids?” HH

  3. jd meatyard
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Celtic, for me, is pretty much the constant ‘background’ to everything else. From my parents parents from Dungannon, my ma n da and now me and through to my kids – there’s education, there’s work, there’s pals, there’s music and always there’s Celtic.
    I know this winds people up, tough, Celtic ARE (despite the current board) more than just a club because of the history. Celtic have supporters clubs all over the world not because we are a club in a crap wee league in northern europe but because of the history – a history that includes its Irish – ness. Go to NYC, Sydney and Boston see what it is they celebrate about Celtic – its a history wrapped up in Irish song, Irish stories, Irish history and that includes the politics. Like it or not, that.s what makes us special. Not a good bank balance, not fancy walkways, not tory politicians on the board… Celtic are more than a club – its family.

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