Our very own Setting Free The Bears has kindly written a review of Seville – The Celtic Movement, which I hear has already sold out in some WH Smith stores. SFTBs contributed a chapter to the book, which he didn’t cover in his submitted review, but which has been added in context below. Here it is:
How do you solve a problem like Sevilla? The question which Oscar Hammerstein originally posed in regard to describing the will o’ the wisp qualities of a flighty and frolicsome postulant nun, is no easier answered when the object of the question is replaced by the event, precedents and aftermath of the UEFA Cup Final played in Seville on the 21st May 2003.
That is the task set in the book Seville: The Celtic Movement, published by CQN books, a development arising from the Celtic Quick News fan website, a site which itself started in 2004 by Paul Brennan who was exasperated by the fictions commonly held by the old media and its fan adherents over “what happened to the Seville money?”.
Though Mr. Brennan appears and contributes to the book, it is largely the work of Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan who wrote 50% of the chapters, and Winingcaptains, who organised, edited and designed, with credited assistance, the format for bringing this mammoth task to the table in the shape of a readable and enjoyable book.
Though these two provide the base structure of the book, there are additional individual chapters provided by a credited journalist, some enthusiastic amateur writers, an academic and, even the old media is represented in the form of BBC extracts in one chapter. However, what rounds out this book and what gives it its unique flavour are the contributed memories of myriad fans gathered in Chapters 22 and 23, and credited to their blogging names.
It is a tough task to make the collective memories, reminiscences and reviews of the Seville experience coherent and readable, but the editors and publishers have done a very good job of ordering and editing under the various themes. Inevitably, there is some repetition and occasionally, there are some factual mistakes but these do not spoil the flow and readability.
This may be a new style of journalism and sports book but it pays decent heed to the traditional virtues of storytelling by providing laughs, tears, drama and in one memorable incident, that staple of modern literature, a skitter of scatology.
In addition to the quality of the writing and the comedy, drama and tear-jerking quality of the tales, the book has far surpassed the normal publishing standards of both the Sports Book industry and any niche publishing sector.
There are 64 pages of colour photography included with the book, many photographs provided by the contributors themselves, which provide tremendous visual garnish to the narrative descriptions within the book. This is more than double what you would find in most Sports books from “quality” publishing houses and four times what you normally get from hurried and ill-considered publishing ventures. All of this and the book is available at a price of only £18.99.
There are also several cartoons, by Bill Houston, which illustrate aspects of the tales told and provide even more comic input. The publishers and designers have gone to considerable expense to set a high standard for this new-ish area of book marketing.
It is fitting that such well told tales are given a setting which is fitting to their worth. This is a high quality and well-presented piece of work and CQN publishing have set a high industry standard which will be difficult to match.
This is the definitive source book for anyone seeking to understand what the Seville experience, which is more than the football match, means to Celtic fans. As Celts descended on Andalusia from all over the world, there is no single person who has an overall perspective on what occurred back then.
The real Celtic story requires the gathered perspectives of Celts of all hues, proud, defiant, exasperated, angry, sad, vindictive, proud again and, often all shades of emotion were experienced as the event unfolded and was reviewed.
The opening three chapters set the scene with an overview of Celtic’s history and standing in Europe, a description of the goal that saw Celtic qualify for the final and a depiction of the city and the impact of the visiting fans.
Setting Free the Bears wrote one of the most captivating sections of the book; 5000 words about the 10 seconds leading up to Henrik Larsson’s epically important goal in the semi-final second leg against Boavista. It is not so much the story of a goal but the story of an awakening. All the drama contained within one man’s Celtic supporting life poured out in the story of this goal. You have to know the value of Celtic to understand but the very essence of what the club is all about reaches from this chapter.
There was more involved in the goal that it’s likely your memory will recall. Our leaders were represented, the
The first hint of mysticism comes here as Celtic’s re-appearance in a European final takes on the overtones of a late-life romance with a lost and rediscovered former teenage sweetheart.
Then it is over to 12 chapters by Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan. In his own unique style, BRTH describes his Seville experience and the companions with whom he shared this experience. All the elements of suspense are there in a “Will He or Won’t He Make It to the Game” stylee. If they ever re-make “The Perils of Pauline” then BRTH is just the man to give a modern day Pearl White a set of obstacles to overcome. However, it would not be a silent film as Jim has plenty to say about the cast of characters involved.
This central story sets the template against which the later blogger descriptions of how they obtained tickets, travelled to and from Spain, and experienced the build-up, the day and the outcome, can be compared. The themes of loss and redemption are presaged as tickets, travel plans and friends and family members go awry before being re-united in co-incidences that would shame the credulity of James Fennimore Cooper and indeed, there is an appearance of a Mohican, or at least a haircut style, in one of the many tales.
The challenge of doing justice to the mystical experience that was Seville has led these bloggers brings out the best in their non-professional writing. They want to represent again, in the manner described by Jim McGinlay on p.84 where he states that “in essence, the people traveling were not so much going to support Celtic and, instead, were going to be Celtic.”
The middle sections of the book, chapters 15 to 19, cover the following, largely discrete themes, two of them composed by Joe Ruddy:-
*An overview of the games and the fans reaction to each tie
*An account of the BBC coverage of the day (by an Aberdeen supporter and an ex-Rangers co-commentator let me remind you.)
* An interesting range of views expressed via Twitter and other social media
* A fascinating set of extracts from Professor Giulanotti’s academic study of the Seville experience
* And a tale of technical ingenuity and hazard that allowed New Zealand’s ex-pat and descendant community to get their Seville experience
As every day is a school day, Professor Giulanotti introduced me to the novel term, dietrologia, which is, apparently, “the science of observing or speculating upon what goes on behind the scenes in powerful groups”, or paranoia as we call it in Castlemilk. The good professor describes Celtic as a “relatively exogenous community” and, though I am not sure of a precise definition of this term, I am fairly confident it has nothing to do with temperance or teetotalism.
Chapters 20 and 21 allow two further gifted writers, Blaise Phelan and L.Monaghan to describe their ticket experiences as they were particularly dramatic and comic.
Then we are onto the heart and soul of the book, the multi-faceted descriptions by numerous Celtic fans of their Seville. In Scotland we are used to having 57 words to describe various states of rainy weather but it taxes the Celtic tongue, poetic as it is, to convey the sense of oppressive heat experienced on The Long Walk to Bessa and back.
It is in this section that you will, once again, laugh, gasp, rage and cry at the descriptions of what occurred to an extraordinary people at an extraordinary time. I guarantee you that, however hard or callous you imagine yourself to be, you will cry unashamedly at the story of The Boy Jinky on page 305 about the scattering of his son’s ashes. It was far from the only occasion on which my eyes were wet.
The book concludes with a cheeky poem and a word from CQN’s main man, Mr. Brennan, on the impetus to found CQN, based on the questions being asked about what Seville meant for Celtic finances, basically, “what happened to the Seville money?”
From that question, the intent of which so irked Paul Brennan that he started a blog, CQN has grown and developed to the extent that, at a distance of 10 years, some perspective and agreement is beginning to emerge as to what Seville meant for the club.
I would not claim that the distilled essence of all that Seville means to us is here within this book but a goodly proportion of it is well represented here. With the passage of time, there may be less resentment against Porto and more of an acknowledgement of how good a team they were technically but the justified sense of wounded resentment is still well represented too, against the play-acting of the Porto team, the weakness of the referee, and the venality of the ticket touts, fat cats and a minority of our own support in the vending of tickets. There is, even, some scapegoating of our own players as this book seeks to represent all the reactions to the match and the event.
As someone who chose not to go to Seville, because I refused to go without a ticket, I found the recollections had finally altered me in that view and I echo what HamiltonTim said in stating that the failure to go to Seville was the biggest regret of my Celtic supporting life.
For those who have struggled to watch the Seville DVD and re-live the painful memories, could I commend the words of Troon Tim in stating that these CQN recollections have been “an absolute pleasure- far better than watching the DVD.” If you buy the book, you can put that act off until the 20th anniversary at least.
The final word should go to CQNs creator as he honestly evaluates the new media approach which has led to this new style of book:-
“Citizen journalism is far from perfect, in fact, it is mostly absurd, but, it is democratic in its access and, most importantly, it is ours.”
In my translation that means, these may be the views of internet bampots but they are our internet bampots and they represent well.
Get yours here:[calameo code=0003901710a55b5798f06 lang=en page=54 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]