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A CELT, GROWING UP ENGLISH

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Dan McCormack, a long time lurker on Celtic Quick News steps forward to explain his love for Celtic….

My first Celtic game was in 1994, I was 11 years old, I saw us give up a 2 goal lead at Celtic Park after Rudi Vata and John Collins put the ball in the net. I’d been hooked, hood-winked, mesmerised and sucked in to the Celtic life for many years prior, but it was a magical day, my first at Paradise.

My next visit to Celtic Park, was another unforgettable experience, as Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt scored to send me into dreamland. 7th November, 2013. Seven thousand and forty eight days separate those two matches at Parkhead, but I remember both as vividly as I do my wedding day, or the birth of my daughter.

Born to a Scottish Catholic father and an English Protestant mother in the South of England and taking all my sporting cues from the aforementioned father, meant that I was the only one at school who supported Celtic. Religion was certainly never an issue growing up, we were so far removed from the West of Scotland, that element never surfaced in my childhood. I was different though. I always knew I was different. I always knew that I belonged to this special club, that Celtic Football Club ran in my blood, through my family and would always be part of my life. r1CLJ9PT254d27davG4W1MzNCAkyKPXa-IhHNtk2Gf4

My friends, almost without exception all supported London-based Premier League clubs, with a few obligatory Manchester United fans thrown in for good measure. Arsenal and Spurs were the two favourites, so opportunities to talk about “the ‘tic” were few and far between. There were some truly special moments however, when I could walk into school head held high as Celtic came across the radar of my peer group. When that happened, I wasn’t shy in letting anyone know about the Famous Glasgow Celtic. Usually it was in pre-season friendlies when we would play an English team, or a couple of times in European competitions when a result would go our way. Those were special nights, and I would go to bed knowing that it would be a great morning and my Celtic scarf would be around my neck whatever the weather.

I certainly took my fair share of stick over the years, almost all of it in good humour, but it was deflected by knowing that Celtic Football Club is special. There’s an extra bit in all of us, as our Club is better. And it’s better, because of us. I still feel the same way today. When I try and talk to my friends about the atmosphere at Celtic Park, they nod along and say that things are the same down at White Hart Lane or The Emirates. They don’t know about anything. Our club is special, and we make it special.

How can an English born boy, feel so connected to a football club 600 miles away in a country and city he’s never lived in? Admittedly my family connections to Glasgow and to Celtic are strong, and to be frank, there was hardly a chance that my father would have allowed any other team posters on my bedroom wall. However, I spent hours and hours watching VHS videos of the centenary year that my uncle had recorded and sent to us. I watched and re-watched a documentary on Jinky, and then spent the following day dribbling a tennis ball around my bedroom just like he did. These experiences ensured that my most impressionable years were soaked with Celtic influences. r0SajiQes5g-0r_t0xav0xVso9odPSwPnMAmD-XsH-U

At family gatherings; weddings, birthdays and funerals it doesn’t take long before talk turns to Celtic. It binds us together, all on an equal footing. Family members from Glasgow, New York, London, Budapest and elsewhere all are given their chance to discuss our beloved team. Jokes, stories and trivia abound as we all jockey for airtime at these precious and all too rare moments.

I’m sure this story isn’t unfamiliar to many of you as the Celtic family is truly a global phenomenon. Celtic bars, the internet and increased television coverage allow anyone to follow The Hoops from wherever they are in the world.

Perhaps the single biggest indicator of the special nature of our club, is when I walk about with a Celtic shirt on, or I talk to a stranger about Celtic, to a man they know about us. They know that the Celtic fans are a little “different”, they know the famous green and white hoops, they respect us and at times you can detect more than a hint of jealousy in their voices. They know things are different at Paradise.

I don’t know when my next visit to Parkhead will be, I hope its less than seven thousand and forty eight days away, but I know that wherever I am in the world, whatever the time of day, I am a Celtic fan and it won’t take long for my thoughts to turn to the inexplicable joy of being born into this truly wonderful and special family.

 
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