HAIL CAESAR! We asked for your verdict in CQN’s exclusive poll on Celtic legend Billy McNeill’s nickname and by a staggering landslide you voted for Caesar and not Cesar.
An overwhelming 87 per cent of the votes went for the name of the Roman General while 13 per cent preferred that of the Hollywood actor.
An amazing total of 258 fans backed Caesar and 38 fancied Cesar.
CQN interviewed Billy McNeill’s long-time friend and team-mate John ‘Yogi’ Hughes yesterday and asked him for his thoughts – BEFORE the voting started. He came down heavily on Caesar and asked: “So, what do you think? Caesar after a famous figure in history? Or a Grade B actor whose main claim to fame was appearing as ‘The Joker’ in the Batman TV series in the sixties?
“I think you can understand why anyone who knows Big Billy will refer to him as ‘Caesar’.”
CQN today contacted the Hoops’ legendary attacker, the seventh-highest goalscorer in the club’s history with 189 goals, to reveal the fans agreed with the Julius Caesar moniker and not that of actor Cesar Romero.
THE GREAT DEBATE: Caesar in the book titles? Or Cesar in the newspaper headlines? Celtic fans gave their answer in CQN’s exclusive poll.
Yogi smiled: “They’ve got it 100 per cent spot on. As I said yesterday, Billy was originally named after Cesar Romero, a tag picked up in 1960 when a lot of the young Celtic players went to see the movie ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and gave themselves nicknames after characters in the Frank Sinatra film.
“Romero was the driver of the getaway car for Sinatra and his gang of thieves who planned to rob a Las Vegas casino.
“Billy did all the driving for his team-mates back then, so he was called ‘Cesar’. But that changed in 1967 when Billy collected that European Cup. ‘Cesar’ definitely morphed into ‘Caesar’ that day in Lisbon.”
Author Alex Gordon, whose latest Celtic book, ‘Billy McNeill: In Praise of Caesar’, was published on Thursday, said: “Naturally, I am delighted with those figures and the outcome.
“I’ve known Big Billy for about forty years and I’ve always thought of him as ‘Caesar’. Yes, like his team-mates, I was aware of the original handle, but, for me, the Roman General reference was always more apt for such a stately and impressive captain of Celtic.
“By the looks of it, the majority of the Celtic support think along the same lines.”
CQN would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote. Take a bow, folks. Every single vote counted and your efforts were well appreciated.
We can only leave you with this salute: