Are we really one Family, one Celtic family with so many different memories, views, motivations and dreams of where our future lies and how to get there? Come to think of it are we really that much different from any normal (whatever ‘normal’ is) family?
Mine is/was/ and ever more shall be as diverse as most with the fledglings eventually leaving nest and branch and flying to wherever took our fancy. Canada, Oz, USA, Peru, Argentina, France and even the extremes of Wishaw, Hamilton and Scotstoun couldn’t withstand our pioneering spirit. All points of the compass found the Estadio clan building homesteads and making wee nieces and nephews for Big Uncle black-sheep Estadio. Two generations down the line now, the principles, the culture the virtues (and in my cases the vices) still flourish as they did two or three generations previously.
The Celtic family, its propagation, its strength and its success is no different. With our roots firmly planted in a soil rich in myth and legends of the past, but with a present like a hundred thinly walled partition holes focusing on ‘destroying Rangers’, ‘leaving Scotland’, ‘staying in Scotland’, ‘joining some Atlantic league’, or even in some quiet little half forgotten niche not caring “if we win lose or draw” (of course we care – but not at the loss of our soul), we still treasure most of all the ethos that binds the roots of our past with the flower of our future, and you can see that no better than in the far flung time-zones of this wee planet.
We have a remarkable common heartbeat that makes us more than a club. One built on an ideal. An ideal that is ready to be mirrored across the world as those who have settled throughout the latitudes and longitudes nurture the same seed that was planted in St Mary’s hall all those years ago. This in today’s parlance is our unique selling point and yet it costs nothing to buy into. We live at a special junction in time as a new plant with the DNA of the Calton takes root and grows. And it will grow just as it did in the past; just as it succeeded in the past; and be in no doubt that it succeeded.
As the email hit my inbox just over a week ago I realised that everything was in place again for success as a rich, variegated family and idea (not a stunted supremacy of clones), to not only take root as ex-pats but to encompass in common weal, peoples throughout the world. The email itself in words was nothing special; but one thing stood out. Celtic (the PLC) were now getting involved with the support across the globe not as some commercial money sucking venture but one where bhoys and ghirls who didn’t even know they were bhoys and ghirls yet would live, breathe, dream and model themselves on this intangible concept that is Celtic. One that in so many places matched the environment and challenges that Brother Walfrid had founded Celtic to counter.
It was only one seed. It was in Rio and it came from the Rio Fergus McCann Supporters club. (Emails are at the end but get Rioskorrie to send you the full details and the RFMCSC news letter. Always a great read and absolutely no Simply Red! J )
Imagine little Celtic teams everywhere, listening to the stories and legends of the past. Imagine them raised as you have been, learning about the History, playing in the Hoops and because of that simple tie that binds back to Parkhead, like all of us dreaming of walking out at Celtic park, Paradise, The Holy Ground as 60,000 voices reach a crescendo of ‘You’ll never walk alone’. For all those weans, for all that future …heroes will be created again. This concerted action by the RFMCSC support with Celtic park provides the first of the arteries back to the beating heart of our heritage and also forms the first silver thread stretching back to 1887.
I could feel the blood pumping through that artery and the tug on that thread. I felt inspired to think that this was the opportunity for the club and most importantly the support to weld once more a common cause and in doing so to restore the greatest loss in the history of football to its rightful place – the bond between supporter, board and players. Players who wanted to play for Celtic in the same way that they wanted to breathe.
I pulled together the books, the blogs, the songs and the pictures; I recalled the promptings of tales, memories and personalities from days gone by; I became more immersed and saturated in this thing called ‘Celtic’ than I had ever been in my life. My eyes shone, I neglected to eat (apart from Tunnock’s caramel wafers and chocolate cream snowballs). This must have been what it had felt like for all those involved 124 years ago….but oh how much more clever, astute and far-seeing they were. They didn’t have a model to base anything on.
This was where we had come from AND where we could go. This is what defined us; built on a long ago lie that was the great famine; nurtured by a simple act of a humble man who had wanted to ‘feed the poor weans’ in the East end of Glasgow, a simple act that created a football club and a focus so many to fashion an identity around. I doubt if Andrew Kerrins realised just what he had created in his ‘Keltic’ that he called our club till his dying day. And yet go down to St Josephs College cemetery in Dumfries. There he is buried in a shared grave with Brother Luquerpe. No mention of Celtic, no mention of his achievements; Just Brother Walfrid, Andrew Kerrins, Stability.
Humility and faith beyond the ken of most modern grasping minds! But though he may not have conceived the reach of the club as it is today, he had that greatest of gifts, commonsense and an understanding of nature in its most basic form. He knew that for the poor to be fed the Club had to thrive. He knew even while those around him jockeyed for position on this new cash cow that the strongest of plants are those that thrive in the harshest of environments, understood that hostility and set down roots to flower with an identity that said ‘this is who we are; this is who we all are. Bring it on”. We were all in the same sinking boat, but Brother Walfrid rechristened it Celtic, got us rowing together in one direction and said ‘Do your worst’!
And by God did they try to do their worst! But we flourished because we had our family, our myth, our legend, our club, our unity and our dreams
Brother Walfrid knew something else, something immersed in even more commonsense, something that nature, Faith or God had taught him. If you plant an acorn in the right soil an oak will grow. And from that oak the branches would stretch, more acorns would fall and more oaks would grow.
And the email told me that at least one acorns had taken root now and as in Scotland it had had been tended carefully. One that would see the community develop as a unique culture with Celtic at its heart. Here surely lay the model for New ‘Celtics’ in Africa, America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and a hundred other places. Not just a Celtic with a Scottish or Irish accent but one with a hundred languages, a hundred colours and producing an overflowing pipeline of talent at home and hopefully Glasgow.
After all it was on the wings of a prayer Celtic took shape in Glasgow and those same wings and perhaps the same prayers have seen the establishment of a vast far flung Diaspora. Sailing or flying from Glasgow across the seas on the sails of the four winds, settling and thriving in a world that didn’t always welcome us but grew at first to respect us as we talked of our history, grew to smile with us and finally identified with us and more importantly, us with them. Now it is almost impossible to go anywhere in the world and not meet a Tim, whether by blood, inclination or culture.
Think about those new Brother Walfrid’s (OK perhaps their souls in some cases need a wee bit of a scrub): Rioskorrie, Kitalba, John Mullaney, Bill MacIntosh, Jimmy Campbell, Ramie and Martin Kane and so many others
Think about them again. Think about what they are saying and doing on Celtic’s behalf on all our behalfs and loving every minute of it.
In every action they show what makes us unique, that what makes everyone unique is not the similarities it is the differences. Not what makes us better just uniquely different. In every trale they tell they demonstrate that recount of where we came from and where we want to go; where we want to go with anyone who wants to get on that one road. That’s the difference, that’s the uniqueness. No one else can have that history and no one else can build upon it. Only us!
Let the others chase stock exchange quotations, huge TV money, eternal supremacy and domination of a brand that delivers more and more of the same till they all disappear up their own jacksies as they forget that it is about people, about sport, about identity and about caring and emotion. Let them they go down that road of good intentions and failed excuses.
They are chasing their own unique selling point…their bank accounts….. by buying wealth and power. We can’t compete; I don’t want to compete; I don’t think we should compete. What I believe we have is far more valuable than a debit or credit entry.
Let us chase nothing! Let us be what we are, what we were taught and let others hear and be part of that story. Be that! Build that! And believe me the ledgers will follow.
It is in our hands, the boards hands and most of all it is the hands of quite honestly the greatest bunch of missionaries for a cause that the world has ever seen.
Conquistadores eat yer hearts out …here comes the Green International Brigade
The wee boy looked up from his game of egg boxes that he was carefully playing on top of the inset bed in the living room. This was his world for a while now, well at least until his sisters returned from St Bartholomew’s school. They would want their time to talk in hushed tones about whatever girls talked about. He always lost control of the weans’ communal bed when they came back. Mind you he’d get a pair of their shoes and go to the outside lavvy instead of using the chanty po. He picked a little at the hard skin on his heel.
“What use is that to anyone?” he thought.
The front door leading directly out on the row opened and his Father came in gently closing the door behind him, gave the wee man a sweet wae sticky bits of boiler suit on it and with a sideways movement of his eyes beckoned his wife into their own bedroom, or kitchen as it would be called nowadays.
They came out and simply started packing. Everything had to be packed. They were being thrown out. Thrown out of their half a bedroom tied house. The father had gone on strike. No one else had, just him, and no work meant no house.
“Back to my Cornhill drive or Albion Street wae wan o’ yer grannies son” the father smiled at the boy. The boy smiled too.
“Great” the wee man thought wondering which one would it be. Granny McMahon or Granny Murphy? It didn’t matter really because they were both adventure playgrounds full of secret places. His Granny Murphy even had an inside coal-bunker and an uncle who only ever came out of his room at dark.
Suddenly the door rattled to the beat of the sash as someone without an ear for decent music chapped urgently. The mother opened it, the wee fella hangin on to her skirt.
Four big bowler hatted, be-suited Dandy row residents stood there. Even at his age the lad knew that The Dandy Row was where the bosses who were allowed in the bowing club wae their bowler hats and bowly wives and rickety kids lived. No Catholic, Irish or anyone who had a lilt in their voice were allowed in there. The boy stared at them whispering a Hail Mary and a de profundis under his breath.
They didn’t look happy at the best of times but it was obvious that they were in great pain. Something was seriously wrong with their wallets and they couldn’t disguise it.
“Aye we’ll be out soon enough sure. I suppose one of your brethren need a house. ” his mother liltingly refrained, causing the brithers to swallow hard.
“We’ve come to ask him to come back to work. There may have been a misunderstanding!”. It was fired like a Gatling gun and carried all the sincerity of Uriah Heep on a bad day.
“Misunderstanding my ???? You won’t be doin that out of the goodness of yer heart……..they want you to come back” she shouted through to the kitchen
The father came to the door “Now why would you want me to do that?” There was a knock at the back window. The Mother went to investigate.
“Come in later and we can talk.” They said to the father
The Mother called on him. He wandered to the back of the house “Hmmmmm, I wonder what that’s all about…..”
She answered with a smile.
“Just got a message at the window. The rest of the work has gone on strike in support. Everyone…Catholic, Protestant, Jews ….everyone. The furnaces are dying. They will lose at least three weeks work if it’s not sorted out in the next day. They need you more than you need them. We can survive without them. They can’t survive without you. They need their bigotry”
The father returned to the front door.
“What about the grievance?” he asked
“We can talk about that later” came the reply.
“We can talk about it now or I won’t be coming anywhere near your foundry” he said with an obvious finality and started to shut the door.
“Haud yer horses. Haud yer horses. Gies a minute” they fired with not a little panic
They took off their bowler hats and put their bull heads together.
Grunts and sniffs echoed around the street and one was delegated to reluctantly come back.
“OK. Full reinstatement for you and all the others.”
“What about their back pay?”
“OK. We’ll be out yer way shortly”. Again he went to close the door.
“All right, all right. Full back pay.”
“I’ll be down in five minutes”
The father shut the door and washed his hands.
“St Patrick’s Alumni 1 , Gartsherrie Lodge 0. – Fair brightens up yer day.”
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 3:22 PM
Subject: Saturday 10th September Match 11am
We plan to show the Celtic Motherwell game at 11am on Saturday in The Blue Agave as usual.
There is some superb news from Celtic (Mr Peter Lawwell) in the offing so come along and find out what the Rio Celtic Bhoys have managed to secure for our boys’ football teams.
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 1:31 PM
Subject: Celtic Games Week of Sept 12
We will be showing Celtic’s Houdini-like return to European football tonight at 4pm BA time. The game against Atletico Madrid will be screened live in the Blue Agave. Let’s hope for a bit more football than we had against them in 74 (god I think it was 74 and can’t be bothered checking). Anyway, there’ll be a few of the CSC bhoys with dental appointments and like for this one.
On Sunday its maybe the last ever Rangers game at Ibrox. Craigie aye-erm Whyte seems to have mis-placed his billions and is struggling to pay Ally’s pie bill from Greggs. The game will start at 8.30am on Sunday with our hosts opening the bar early as per. Thanks to the Blue Agave as usual.
There’s a wee bit of news to pass on for those that didn’t make it on Saturday. Mr Peter Lawwell has sanctioned 17 kids strips to be given free of charge to the RFMCSC. This will go to the under 13 Rio Celtic Bhoys team. They’ve also sent a Celtic top signed by the squad for us to auction/raffle to raise funds. As if that’s not enough we have also been given two signed tops, one by Bertie Auld and the other by Joe McBride also to raise funds. A big thanks to Celtic and John (our mystery insider) for all their work in getting us these donations.
I’ve not had time to do a Nhewletter this week and Jimmy is resting up after a tough return from Hartlepool. But I just want to say what a superb performance we watched on Saturday. If we play like that on Sunday we should be comfortable winners. It was a good turnout at the BA as well and we did have a few sherbets afterwards. There were also a few Primal Scream tickets being bought by folks old enough to know better. Thanks to everyone who made it down to the pub and we hope to see you all on Sunday.
Note : As I was finalising this post my email inbox bleeped again…..
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 18.45 PM
Subject: Saturday 10th September Match 11am
Just thought I would let you know that your predictions in your post all came true, with one proviso. You see the future isn’t written yet except in our own heads. Every day is a new page and that is what creates the future.
Actions written on that page define what the reality of the future will be.
I suppose that’s now in all your hands
I leave you with this warning. If we chase a dream that is not ‘us’ it will turn into a nightmare. Celtic Park will close in 2014 and football in Glasgow will cease. You can all prevent that. Make sure you tell the world that
What the hell was he on about?
I checked the date it was sent.
8th September 2016!!
Of course no announcement had been made because there was nothing to announce unless you had a line to the future. No one had realised that one was needed except me and other exponents of transkinetocalligraphy
This post WAS/IS and WILL BE the announcement. Only I had a glimpse of the future; a future that promised so much as long as it was built on the foundations of the past.
How was I to prevent it all going wrong? How was I to save Celtic from going under in 2014. Somehow I suspected that the answer might lie with an ageing but still reviled Maurice Johnstone!
But I had some serious drinking to do and he could wait until after tomorrow’s game and Monday’s hangover.