Am I looking forward to Celtic v Newco at Hampden on Sunday? Yes and No is the answer.
Yes : I am looking forward to the first ever meeting of the two clubs and yes I am looking forward to a weekend in Glasgow with likeminded Celtic fans and having a few beers, listening to a few tunes and catching up with my mates.
No: What I am not looking forward to is the bigotry that the knuckle draggers from the new club will bring along. Don’t get me wrong they’re not all sectarian bigots some are nice, I know one or two who for what it’s worth find their usual sing song as embarrassing as we find it offensive and before anyone starts taking the moral high ground while sitting on the fence, do not compare being up to your knees in fenian blood with historical songs of famine, freedom, struggle and oppression. Celtic is now and always was a club of inclusion and nothing will change. Newco have a chance now to follow in our footsteps as an inclusive club from day one, they signed John Daly which was a positive step but the fans of the new club must embrace that they can no longer feel that they are the PEOPLE. It does not matter what religion you are and if you have no religion the vast majority of football fans live on dreams and custard creams and lie awake at night wondering if I get a ticket for the big game and if I do I can’t pay my rent.
NO: Also there can be flash points where innocent fans are likely to get a slap or two not so much around the ground but away from the ground in and around the outskirts of the city or around bus and train stations. This I can do without. If the organised hooligans from each side want to kick twenty shades of shit out of each other and get their designer clothes ripped away from the ground then fair play as long as it does not infringe on match going fans who just want to enjoy the atmosphere of a full Hampden Park and hopefully see Celtic pump the Newco.
On paper Celtic should pump Newco but were playing them on grass and we have been turned over at this stage in Hampden in recent years by St. Mirren and Ross County who were bigger odds in the bookies back then than Newco are now. Rookie Celtic manager, John Barnes got the sack when Inverness beat us at Celtic Park in the cup but the current rookie will not fall to the same faint, he will be judged at the end of the season and rightly so in my opinion.
I have heard many stories of Irish based fans that haven’t travelled since we graced the Champions’ League group stage a few seasons back when we were beating the likes of Barcelona but have been awoken from their football coffins and are travelling this weekend and have been hunting high and low for tickets. This however has not been my experience anyone who I know who still has not got a ticket and has been in contact are regular travellers who are still travelling from the Emerald Isle without tickets in the hope of picking up one. It saddens me to think we have had to beg standard tickets from Celtic, while some have had to pay Celtic £125 per person for a £25 ticket and a night in hotel based on two sharing a room that’s £100 ahead for a bed (£200 for a room) shame on you Celtic for milking us. You could also buy a ticket from Celtic and they will throw in 4 pints and a breakfast at Celtic Park and a coach to and from Hampden for a whopping £175 that’s £25 for the ticket £50 for the coach, let’s say £20 for a fry up and then £20 a pint. Shameful! And if you can afford it you can get your dinner and champagne and a decent seat for about £325 upwards from Hampden’s website or from various corporate event sites. Football sport of the working class! Once upon a time it was flat caps now its fat cats.
Throw in the cost of travelling from Ireland and you will see why this has left a sour taste in mine and many Celtic fans mouths that have been there through thick and thin when many fans had deserted in recent seasons.
Well folks that’s it from me enjoy the game and I will be back in a few days with another blog hopefully still celebrating but sobered up and looking forward to the final. If I bump into you in Glasgow over the weekend your welcome to buy me a pint as I make my way from the Brazenhead through the Gallowgate stopping off in Spirit and then Traders before moving onwards to McChuills before hitting the bright lights of Malone’s and I might even have a wee night cap in the Artto. It might sound a lot to cram in as well as a sportsman’s dinner ( for charity I might add) but I am on the red eye flight from Dublin on Saturday and not back till the last plane on Sunday night. So it can be done it’s more of a marathon than a sprint.
Where ever you watch the match enjoy, stay safe and respect others oh and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the latest More than 90 Minutes over the weekend.
Love, Peace and Dignity
Keep the Faith