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Fergus returns to the debate

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On many fronts I’m delighted Fergus McCann feels confident enough to get back involved with Celtic, some 15 years after departing the scene.  It wasn’t always this way.  We reached our first European final in 33 years largely as a result of the groundwork he put in place, but he didn’t feel comfortable making the trip to Seville.

He was first tempted back at the unveiling of the Br. Walfrid statue, using the occasion to put the club’s charitable heritage to the fore.  He has since been back to speak at Celtic Charity, now called Celtic FC Foundation, events.

His intervention today, saying “It is important for people to stand up and show their support by buying season tickets. That is my simple message” echoes a letter he sent to season ticket holders in 1995.  Celtic had endured a difficult season at Hampden, if memory serves, we finished below Hibernian in the league, sentiment was low and as season 94-95 drew to a close I remember thinking the rebuilding project was in jeopardy.

Only 31,025 souls turned up to watch an end of season victory against Rangers with many unsold tickets in the Celtic areas of Hampden.   Fergus was also unpopular among a sizable portion of the support, with prominent Celtic supporters only too happy to undermine his reputation.

The season ticket renewal packs arrived with a letter from Fergus which invoked memories of his trip to Kilmarnock in 1963 to see Celtic ship six goals during Jimmy Johnstone’s debut.  Fergus knew what the years ahead would hold for Celtic but he needed faith from you and me or the project would have been in real jeopardy.

To everyone’s pleasant surprise Celtic fans rallied in great numbers as the new stadium opened.  So much so I was scrambling around trying to get a season ticket as the ‘sold out’ sign went up before I got myself sorted.  It took another couple of years before we recorded one of the most momentous league wins in our history but the strategy was sound.  It was always going to get there while others played casino football.

This week, Fergus wrote, “The league is important going forward. Filling the seats makes a huge difference to the club’s chances of getting the players it wants, paying the salaries and getting into Europe.

“The rebuilt Celtic Park has 60,000 seats for a purpose. It was built on my belief that 60,000 at every home game would give the club a key advantage.  And it has.

“Season ticket cash is essential for Celtic to buy players while TV income is a small fraction of that of the bottom club in the English Premier League.  But not all-important.  Personal attendance at every game – through and through – is a key part of our culture.  It shows how important Celtic is in our lives.

“We both know that you don’t stop being a committed supporter of Celtic because the league doesn’t include Rangers, or because you feel you could pick the few big games you want to attend. For years I went to ‘unimportant games’. In fact, I was at every Celtic game, home and away, in the year before I emigrated to Canada.”

Ticket sales is one of those things which bends more with sentiment than we often consider, but we are at a new beginning this summer, one which many feel hopeful for.  I reckon there is a good chance we’ll see an up-click as the Ronny Deila Days start.

Tune in on Friday.  After the CQN Lions night at the Greenock Celtic Supporters’ Club on Friday, we will have Bertie Auld on the blog this Friday, 13th.  More details later in the week.

And just in case you’ve been living on the moon this past week, watch BBC Alba at 21:00 tonight for the Jock Stein film.

Visit the CQN Bookstore to get Tommy Gemmell to sign your personal copy of his tome, All the Best.

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  1. Twittersphere saying Butcher was sacked by Hibs 2 weeks ago. Apparently, it was one of the 1st things that the new MD did on her appointment. Meeting later this week for “official” announcement, and new man appointed within a week!

     

    Onwards and upwards for the Hibees?

     

     

    HH

     

     

    End London rule. YES

  2. Quincy Adams Wagstaff on

    voguepunter

     

    12:44 on

     

    9 June, 2014

     

    Behaving as you say like catholics !”

     

     

    ———————————————

     

    Here was me believing all these years I went to a Catholic school must have been a non

     

    non-demon inational :O(

     

    ——————————————-

     

     

    Voguepunter

     

     

    I tell everybody I went to that well known Catholic school in Rutherglen – ST.ONELAW high : )

  3. Steinreignedsupreme on

    I’ll be there with the rest of the Ronettes.

     

     

    Looking forward to the new season more than the World Cup.

  4. ***LUNCHTIME QUIZ***

     

     

    A European theme again for today’s instalment of the only Qhuizshow in town.

     

     

    Name the three teams that Celtic have played competitively against in European competition four or more times, without the Hoops recording a victory.

     

     

    ***The rules of the game are always the same.

     

    No search engines please, you’re only cheating yourself***

  5. !!Bada Bing!! on

    We need pay at the gate turnstiles,not everyone can afford a ST. Should be easy enough to pay with a debit card at the gate,nothing worse than watching folk,queue for 40 minutes,then queue again to get in the stadium.

  6. Quincy Adams Wagstaff

     

     

    A couple of my ‘black sheep’brothers went there :O)fu of Tims.

  7. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Folly Folly-I was encouraged to see RD tried to get Tony Watt on loan last season,TW was quoted yesterday as being back at his parents house now,eating the right food and going to the gym every day.Seems like he has woken up a bit,there’s a very good player in there.

  8. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    theoriginalsadiesbhoy

     

     

    13:00 on 9 June, 2014

     

    Voguepunter

     

     

    There’s been a lot of spivs at the fiddle over at Ipox in recent years. Maybe it was too painful for him to mention :-))

  9. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    A plea for the lost revenue. You reep what you sow.

  10. Fergus talks about buying season tickets AND filling seats

     

     

    There were many times last season when there was a major discrepancy between the number of season tickets sold and the number of seats filled – i.e. loads of season ticket holders didn’t go to lots of the games

     

     

    Yes, the most important one of those is the money coming into the club – so the season tickets getting bought in the first place is paramount

     

     

    But hopefuly RD will play a brand of football that encourages fans who have bought season tickets to attend most or all of the games (yes, i know the issues with changed kick off times etc)

     

     

    It has been mentioned that our average attendance last year was about 46,000. Thats clearly nonsense. We may have shifted an average of 46,000 tickets for each home game, but thats different from an attendance, which is a measure of those actually in, err, attendance!

  11. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘Fergus was also unpopular among a sizable portion of the support, with prominent Celtic supporters only too happy to undermine his reputation.’

     

     

    -plus ca change…

     

     

    At times the Celtic support make the MSM look like happyclappers.

  12. Quincy Adams Wagstaff on

    Vouguepunter

     

     

    Aye,there wasn’t many of us – enough to rile the majority of Rangers(RIP) fans!!

  13. I love multi-millionaires telling me how important my money is to my club.

     

    I will not renew until the CEO gets on board with the downsizing and takes a 50% cut in wages and bonuses.

     

    The PLC have had a small fortune from me, they won’t get another “thin dime” preaching prudence whilst adding hundreds of thousands of pounds to their bank accounts on a seasonal basis.

     

     

    HailHail

  14. !!Bada Bing!!

     

    12:59 on

     

    9 June, 2014

     

     

    We need pay at the gate turnstiles,not everyone can afford a ST. Should be easy enough to pay with a debit card at the gate,nothing worse than watching folk,queue for 40 minutes,then queue again to get in the stadium.

     

    ——————————-

     

     

    Yip, and it not cost something like £28 to watch a game against Kilmarnock for example.

     

     

    There’s hardly a great incentive to non-st holders who are swithering on a saturday morning about whether to go and watch a game like that and then remembering it will cost over 25 bangers just for entry

     

     

    Scottish football is so ridiculously over-priced its scary

  15. prestonpans bhoys dam justice for the 5 on

    at least no one was daft enough to say Inter Milan………………..

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