Since their first game in European competition in 1962, against Spanish side Valencia, to the present date Glasgow Celtic Football Club have enjoyed a love affair with European football unsurpassed by most and not even closely rivalled by many.
My own memories are founded on dreich nights in the 70’s when walking hand in hand with my Grandfather from Westmuir Street to Springield Road and onto London Road we seemed, along with countless others, to be drawn almost mystically towards the floodlights rising above Celtic Park. The lights choreographed a fascinating dance between the evening drizzle and the mist acting like a magical magnet to the fans flocking to the stadium.
The love affair with Europe was without doubt cemented on that glorious day in May 1967 when Jock and his Lisbon Lions became the first British side to win the European Cup. The significance of that victory continues to fuel the positive energy within our club and in no small way contributed to the death of our famous rivals in the past few years.
The glorious victories and defeats, some defeats dragged from the jaws of victory, the slaying of the greatest clubs on the planet under the Parkhead lights all contribute to a tapestry which is so uniquely Celtic that there really is validity in the claim that we are a club like no other. Players, managers and custodians many of them genuinely legendary have come and gone with their reputations enhanced on the back of European triumphs and adventures.
There is however a band of legends who really make the European games unique both at home and away. I do of course refer to the incredible supporters whose global reputation has seen them recognised by UEFA and many of the worlds superstars as perhaps the greatest fans in the world. The fans tales and recollections of European nights are and always have been of great interest and of great entertainment value to me and it’s with that in mind that I’ve decided to try and coordinate a collection of memories from fans from that first game in 1962 to the recent tie with Internazionale.
We are looking for fans recollections of home games, trips away and it’s our goal to have fans recant their tales of every tie Celtic have ever played. On a non-commercial site, contributed to by fans for the sole entertainment of the same fans.
CelticinEurope.com will be launched later this year, all being well, and there will be no barrier to submission of tales. No great literary requirements other than the emotional bond that exists within a Celtic heart displayed online. Anyone who has a story to tell can claim a game for themselves and tell their tale for others enjoyment. Over time we may have multiple accounts fo the same events, as many would justify, but the initial aim is to cover every game. No mean feat but we are no ordinary support. So if you were in Lisbon, Seville or Madrid. Or perhaps Amsterdam, Prague or Barcelona. Or any of the other European destinations the hoops have graced you can claim a game and tell your story.
Similarly you can claim a game at Celtic Park from the night we slaughtered arguably the best there’s ever been in Barca to the controversial double header with Partizan Belgrade. From the disgraceful visit of Atletico Madrid to the humbling of Manchester United. Every game has a story to be told from a fans perspective.
The idea is embryonic and will no doubt shoot off in many directions over the coming months with a dedicated forum already being discussed but for now this is just a heads up that soon every fan who has a story to tell will have a platform to share it with the Celtic family across the world.
In the meantime enjoy the Party on Sunday and stay on board the Deila Bus…Hail Hail