A meeting in the church hall of St Mary’s parish in East Rose Street (now Forbes Street), Calton, Glasgow, established by Irish Marist Brother Walfrid, and while those present would have harboured well-intentioned ambitions for the new sporting organisation, none of them could ever have imagined that Celtic would go on to become one of the most famous names in world football.
Brother Walfrid of Co Sligo, with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity Walfrid had instituted, the Poor Children’s Dinner Table. Walfrid’s move to establish the club as a means of fund-raising was largely inspired by the example of Hibernian who were formed out of the immigrant Irish population a few years earlier in Edinburgh.
Celtic remains an important presence in the East End of Glasgow. The club has gone from strength to strength while remaining true to its roots. It is no idle boast to say that it is ‘more than a club’.
And in celebrating the proud and unique history of a club that has, from its inception, always been open to everyone regardless of race, creed or colour, we are reminded of the vision of those men back in 1887 and are proud of everything that has been achieved by the club down through the years.
As a football club, we celebrate our many triumphs on the field – league championships, Scottish and League Cups, one-off trophy successes and, of course, the 1967 European Cup, which firmly established Celtic as part of Europe’s elite. There have been highs and lows throughout this remarkable story, with the triumphs balanced by disappointment and, on occasion, tragedy.
But every step of the way, the Celtic support have been there, faithful through and through, enjoying the successes that began with the 1892 Scottish Cup win and most recently included last season’s title victory.
There have been many great players who have ‘walked through Parkhead’s gates’, and as supporters we have been blessed to see some of them, or hear of their exploits from our elders. Those players have worn the jersey, which has been the famous green and white Hoops since 1903, with pride.
As the late, great Tommy Burns once famously said: ‘When you pull on that jersey you’re not just playing for a football club, you’re playing for a people and a cause.’