Fergus returns to the debate


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. I have already said that I think the board are not too far off in how they run the business side of things (what do I know!).


    My issue is they still expect top dollar on prices, be that tickets, food or merchandise and their salaries never seem affected either.


    Celtic have effectively priced me out of going to watch my team, if I come across somewhat bitter about that then I suppose I am. I do not have the luxury of spending whatever it costs to see my team, I need to budget both financially and time to make it work for my family.


    Over the past few years Celtic’s policy and pricing has made it more and more difficult to justify the money and time away from my family. The price reduction was a step in the right direction but nowhere near enough.


    I took my daughter (5) to the Aberdeen game at the end of last season, between tickets, food and travel I came home £70 down, I stay less than 10 miles from the stadium and never even got a pint!


    When it costs so much to see a game the enjoyment can often be diluted, it’s a difficult balance, I accept that, but I drink with many bhoys in the same situation, it just ain’t worth the money.










    14:52 on 9 June, 2014






    Fergus buys four tickets every year,bud.’






    I wonder who uses them on the old occasion that Fergus can’t make it?

  3. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    I wonder how many season tix for the ole death star Sir David has purchased?

  4. i think Andy Murray is in the No camp and his morning alarm plays god save the queen to which he stands to attantion and salutes



    on the other hand, maybe he is a fervent undercover scottish nationalist and doesnt want to blow his cover by showing support for the saltire



    we might never know and im certainly not one for wild speculation



    in other unrelated non-speculative news, the sly fox hiring Mauresmo, anyone can feel free to come back to me in a year or 2 time so i can say to you ‘i told you so’ – though im not actually going to tell you what it was i told you so about




  5. Dontbrattbakkinanger on




    Snoop Dogg.



    Gerald Butler






    Dermot Desmond.

  6. I would think that the club would want to avoid any ‘pick and choose your games’ type offer. They want supporters to commit to the season.



    And if the ticket prices were reduced for single seats on a home game-by-game basis then what’s the attraction in buying a season ticket averaging out £20-£30 per game when somebody on the day gets there’s for £10-£15 just because they want a seat filled?



    I’ve not heard any mention of potential half season tickets this year either but wouldn’t be surprised if they did that 3 game package thing they did for games over the festive period if fixtures allow. I don’t remember the price but pretty sure it was at least £20 per game.

  7. mickbhoy1888 on




    Would you consider giving up your drink with the boys to follow your club

  8. ernie lynch


    14:53 on


    9 June, 2014



    Maybe, I don’t know. Other media outlets are not necessarily unbiased. I want to see the full article before making a judgement – I’m not paying Rupert Murdoch to do so. However I think it’s inconsequential really.



    What I will say is that I think Andy Murray has now put himself in a slightly difficult place. If the context is correct he’s suggesting he didn’t like AS making a political act out of his victory (and like you I wouldn’t dare to suggest that AS wasn’t doing that). The problem is the No side are now doing the same. If he doesn’t come out and plead neutrality or otherwise or at least state he’s unhappy with them doing the same he appears hypocritical.

  9. OUTRAGE as Scottish politican waves Scottish flag as Scot wins major sporting tournament.


    I think some of you should go and have a wee lie down

  10. weeminger



    15:00 on 9 June, 2014



    My own view id that the SNP’s own strategists would not have been consulted before Salmond pulled that stunt.



    He’s now a liability for the yes lobby.

  11. Clink\o/



    15:00 on 9 June, 2014



    It’s not an outrage. But it shows Salmond’s lack of class.



    I think it was probably counter-productive too.

  12. celtictom


    I know this won`t be popular but if buying a ticket was a financial hardship for me, I would not be spending as much as you have obviously spent on food going to see Celtic. Indeed, if I only had to travel ten miles, I would not be spending any money on food at, before or after the game.








    14:36 on 9 June, 2014


    Andrew Murray objected to the waving of the Saltire. He doesn’t seem to have any problem with supporters who wave the Butcher’s Apron. His wealth is estimated at nearly 20 million. People with that kind of money usually favour the status quo.






    The lad clearly didnae want to be involved in politics at any stage. He was hammered for his-rather witty-aside about wearing a Paraguay top eight years ago,and has learned from it.



    I personally think it showed Salmond in a bad light. Murray has done nothing to be criticised for.



    That he is being micro-analysed is wrong.



    He is a tennis player. And a bloody good one.



    I’m very proud that he is a successful Scot,and I expect he is too.



    His opinions on politics are irrelevant.

  14. I wonder if Fergus pays for those 4 season books?



    funny how the facetious 1 liner from me gets the hits but yet ignored are the real issues as to why myself and many other fans are not renewing?



    aye – the feckin pies and that other stuff I muntioned.



    but anyways I’ve given yeez the one liner to hold onto in myseld sentence and yeez can keep ignoring the rest.



    bla de bla dee blaaa.



    MWD says AYE

  15. i think politicians should just steer clear of sport altogether



    it’s not that they aren’t entitled to their opinions on it



    it’s just that it usually ends up in some sort of cringeworthy attempt to look cool by trying to do keepy-uppies or the McStay pivot


    ERNIE LYNCH. 1454



    Hardly the point.



    Few fans go to every game.



    Other commitments intrude.

  17. mickbhoy1888 on

    Season tickets now are just money up front for meaningless games in what has become a one horse race


    It’s the same with the money up front for the 3 match Champions League package. The club have your money in the bank for a game 3 which may have no meaning whatsoever

  18. ernie lynch


    15:02 on


    9 June, 2014



    I’d love to be able to think that he just got caught up in the moment but he’s far too calculating for that.



    He’s not the main face of the Yes campaign, that’s not an accident (as I’m sure you’re aware).





    That’s a really nice gesture from yer m-i-l.



    I reckon there’s a few on here would fancy a swap for someone like that.








    It isnae an accident.



    He has no desire to be involved in politics.

  21. fanadpatriot on

    A match day experience would come £40/50,at present day prices,travelling on a supporters bus within 30/40 miles a couple pints and a cold pie.


    As a senior citizen,on a pension,I couldn’t justify that expenditure on an afternoon out,but I think it is more important to price tickets for under 16s at £5,look after your future supporters.

  22. When Rangers were in the top division, were there any seasons when we were far enough ahead to render the remaining games as ` meaningless`? If so, were those games continually referred to as such and were the crowds much lower than they had been before the title was won?




  23. i would love a north stand steak pie with loads of brown sauce and pepper right now

  24. BMCUWP



    She’s not a bad old dear!



    Really looking forward to it!



    Gotta go!

  25. I’m getting ready to go away again. The first thing I put in my bag was my Scotland flag. It’s not a big flag, but it is my flag and I don’t wear a wedding ring to tell the world I’m married, and I don’t wear a crucifix to tell the world I’m Catholic, and I don’t wear a Celtic strip to tell the world I’m a Celtic Supporter, but I will fly the Scottish flag with a dear pride.


    Really agree with Mickbhoy1888. There really is no point supporting Celtic, either in person or financially.



    Does anyone else feel like that?



    We should all chuck it and concentrate on the a Championship.

  27. Clink\o/


    15:15 on


    9 June, 2014






    what was your opinion on Mandela wearing that Springbok jersey






    Your question sounds like you reckon i have already given an opinion on salmond waving the saltire, which i havent (if you ignore the tongue in cheek comment about politicians being cringeworthy when they try to get all sporty)


    Yeah we should all chuck paying for SB’s and pay at the gates like the zombies. Cracking idea, let’s hamstring the club.

  29. I can’t afford a season ticket, but I’d like the chance to attend more often.


    CelticTom is correct ; do I queue for forty minutes, part with £30, join the turnstile queue, find my seat and miss the first 25 minutes ? ( this has happened way too often ).



    Or do I watch the game in a pub? And I really hate doing that, mixed company, loud-mouths, arguments, distractions….


    There must be a way for an entire section for us pay-as-you-go punters to access. We aren’t a lesser sub species, just more skint.

  30. mickbhoy1888,



    Short answer is no, reason being is I can see Celtic as well as my mates in the pub.



    jungle jim



    The food I’m talking about was a burger and tea for me with my daughter having a hotdog, pack of crisps and a juice, windfall ticket and the wee yin got a Celtic scarf (pink!!!),


    Hardly over indulgence, it’s the prices that are the problem.



    It’s meant to be a day out, I want to encourage my daughter to follow Celtic and the match alone would not entice her to go with me, you must know what kids are like these days, going to the match is just an enabler for her to get the good stuff!.




  31. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    Most of the folk I know who aren’t renewing are doing so as a result of the action/inaction of the bored in relation to their treatment, or lack of backing, of the support.



    That’s the reality, certainly that I’ve discovered and maybe some posters need to consider that although they perceive the club to be well run and financially prudent, others look beyond the balance sheet.



    That’s not a criticism just an observation.

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