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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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775 Comments

  1. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    BMCUWP

     

     

    You’ve got mail bud (always wanted to type that, although I’m not sure of the point :-)

  2. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Apricale- -Amazon [ that’s the tax dodgin’ online megastore, not very large river in Brazil]

     

     

    I recently purchased the ole frere Gregg tribute album[ sadly Cher does not feature, but everyone else does]

     

     

    ‘Whipping Post’ was only 12 minutes long.

     

     

    Is that even legal?

  3. Sipsini well done to your lass,as you say ‘brammer'(hidnae heard that fur yonks:-)

     

    HH

  4. tomtheleedstim on

    Ernie Lynch – I take it adblocker is different from a pop-up blocker? This is my work pc and I need to allow some pop-ups access. Don’t ever access bookies from this pc either. Strange one.

  5. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar

     

    10:29 on

     

    10 June, 2014

     

     

    Nearly missed your question.

     

    That particular aspect was simply a minor part of my concerns about what I consider to be

     

    an unarguably divisive Celtic supporters organisation who have an agenda which promotes their own particular political preference without regard to the best interests of Celtic or as to how other Celtic supporters who do not share their politics feel about their

     

    agitation.

     

    Anyone who sees the ridiculous notion of a “living wage” as anything other than a political dog whistle with which to rally the naive against the evil Celtic Board really has my sympathy.

     

    Living wage for whom?

     

    One size fits all.

     

    Whether you are a single mum of 5 or a youth of 18 with no dependants.

     

    Ludicrous concept dreamed up by professional agitators.

     

    Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in that assumption.

     

    Seriously.

     

    Incidentally,the 42,000 quid which the G.B.cost us might well have been better spent than as a donation to our “friends” at EUFA.No?

     

    I`ll catch your reply ramorra.

  6. From VIdeo Celts site.

     

     

    UEFA are poised to investigate the Serbian FA after they wrongly licensed Red Star Belgrade for next season’s Champions League.

     

     

    Red Star have been thrown out of the draw for the competition with the ruling shows that UEFA are prepared to investigate and punish compliant associations, it is often said that Serbian football needs a strong Red Star.

     

     

    A complaint was made directly to UEFA about delays over player wages which effectively meant that Red Star were using players that they couldn’t afford.

     

     

    Rather than deal with the issue internally the Serbian FA took the view that reaching the group stages of the Champions League would go a long way towards solving the cash crisis at Red Star who are in debt of around €50m.

     

     

    The website sportbusiness quotes a Serbian football official saying: “Red Star’s position was barely acceptable, but we also assessed that playing in Europe’s top-tier competition was the fast track to the club’s recovery.

     

     

    “We are surprised by Uefa’s course of action against the FSS and we maintain that kicking Red Star out of Europe is a bitter blow to Serbian football as a whole.

     

     

    The case has a number of parallels with Rangers 2011/12 licence when the SFA granted a European licence to the club despite an unpaid tax bill of £6m, known as the wee tax case. Had the SFA insisted that that bill was settled then Walter Smith is unlikely to have gone on the spending spree that brought James Beattie and Nikica Jelavic to Ibrox.

     

     

    A group of concerned Celtic shareholders have raised the issue with the club in a bid to discover why the SFA licensed Rangers despite a £6m unpaid tax bill.

     

     

    Announcing the sanctions the UEFA website said: “The CFCB ( Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body) determined that the club were in breach of a number of provisions of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. Accordingly, Crvena zvezda (Red StarBelgrade) are excluded from participating in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League for which they had qualified on sporting merit.

     

     

    “The club have ten days to appeal this decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

     

     

    “An investigation against the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) might be opened within the coming days by the chief investigator for alleged breaches of the club licensing regulations in relation to the granting of the licence to the same club.”

     

     

    Partizan Belgrade will replace Red Star Belgrade in the second round draw of the Champions League. Campbell Ogilvie is the president of the SFA, Gordon Smith was the chief executive of the SFA when Rangers were given their 2011/12 license.

  7. If Tony Donnelly was at that meeting he’d be saying keep up the good work graham you’re playing a stormer we’re right behind you

  8. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy

     

     

     

    12:37 on 10 June, 2014

     

     

     

    Natknow

     

     

    It’s the same everywhere. I am mystified, however, at the number of police officers who are deployed at Celtic games and of the reports we hear and read of telling that 4 policemen arrested a guy coming off a plane because there was a picture of him holding a banner depicting a zombie being shot. We also hear of young ghuys being arrested in dawn raids because they were in the Green Brigade and as for the number of vehicles used and officers deployed in the kettling incident – well you have to wonder about priorities.

     

    ——————————————————————-

     

    Priorities? Hmmm….I think their priority is themsleves.

  9. My oldest brother was serving in the army in Hereford in 1985 and was at the game in Cardiff when the legend passed from us. Believe it or not, it was Rod Stewart who told him that Jock had lost his life and my brother swears that Rod Stewart was deeply saddened by the news (as we all were).. I still have the ticket stub for the match he gave me nearly 30 years ago.. Just something I don’t think I want to part with.

     

     

    It was refreshing to see the human side of Souness last night and apt that Strachan’s last contribution was to complain about JS’s last decision was to hook him off.. little did Strachan know then that one day he would follow the big man into the celtic and Scotland roles.