Celtic Football Club is legendary
and, as with most legends, as much myth as fact surrounds its
history and what the club stands for today. The Social Mission
Statement aims simply to define what the club stands for and
seeks to promote within society.
Celtic Football Club was founded
in 1888. Its principal founder was a Marist Brother named
Walfrid. The Club had two principal aims:
Positioning of Celtic Football Club
- The first was to raise funds
to provide food for the poor of the East End of Glasgow, an
area of the city that was greatly impoverished and had a
very high rate of infant mortality.
- Within the East End was a
large Irish community and friction was growing between
native Glaswegians and the new influx of Irish. Brother
Walfrid saw the need for social integration and his vision
was a football club that Scottish and Irish, Protestants and
Catholics alike could support. A new football club would be
a vehicle to bring the communities together and this was the
- The Marist brother sought for
the club to have both a Scottish and Irish identity and
hence the club's name, Celtic, representing a bridge of
cultures across the Irish sea.
Celtic Football Club is a
Scottish football club with proud Irish links. The primary
business of Celtic is as a football club. It is run on a
professional business basis with no political agenda. However,
the Club has a wider role and the responsibility of being a
major Scottish social institution promoting health, well-being
and social integration.
Celtic is for people who want to
support a football club that strives for excellence in Scotland
and in Europe, is proud of its history, supportive of its local
community and seeks to support the following aim:
"To maximise all
opportunities to disassociate the Club from sectarianism and
bigotry of any kind. To promote Celtic as a club for all people,
regardless of sex, age, religion, race or ability."
Celtic is a club for everyone who
believes in football as a medium for healthy pleasure,
entertainment and social integration. The Club always has been
and always will aim to be the team of the people.
Bhoys Against Bigotry
On the 10th January 1996, Celtic
Football Club launched a campaign against bigotry. The highly
publicised launch was backed by everyone at Celtic Park in
Glasgow - the Directors, the Management, players and staff.
Today the 'Bhoys Against Bigotry' campaign is still the subject
of much debate.
The campaign against bigotry is a
long term project and from the start the aim has been to clearly
distinguish between peoples rights to their own cultural
identity and bigotry.
Over the last 100 years, Celtic's
connection has often been challenged and still is today by few,
some are even prominent members of the Scottish media. Yet
Celtic's connection to Ireland is a very positive one as shown
in the club's Social Mission Statement.
The Marist Brother sought for the
club to have both a Scottish and Irish identity and hence, the
club's name, 'Celtic' came about, representing a bridge of
cultures across the Irish sea.
The following words were well
summed up by Celtic and Republic of Ireland international
goal-keeping legend Pat Bonner when he said:
"It's great to see the
people of Ireland striving for peace after so many years of
sickening violence. I believe the link Celtic forms between
Scotland and Ireland is a positive one and that it can once
again become a vehicle for bringing Scottish and Irish,
Catholics and Protestants together in harmony as was the aim of
the club's founder Brother Walfrid. Celtic provides a valuable
sense of identity for many Irish people living in Scotland.
Let's make sure that as fans of Celtic we can only make our
contribution towards the peace process by ensuring that bigotry
has no hiding place at Celtic Park."
In 1951, Celtic was threatened
with expulsion from Scottish football by the Scottish football
authorities for flying the Irish tri-colour. Only with
intervention from the club's greatest rivals, Rangers, who
supported Celtic on this issue, did the powers relent and Celtic
still flies the tri-colour today.
Celtic is proud of its joint
Scottish and Irish identity and the principles the club was
founded on. The Irish tri-colour flies as a fond reminder of the
positive influence Brother Walfrid and many other Irish people
have had on Scottish life.
Importantly, as the club has
stated on many occasions, it views the colours of the tri-colour
as standing for the white of peace between the orange and green
communities of Ireland.
Actions of course, always speak
louder than words and the club has embarked on a wide range of
initiatives to work its way along a long road against bigotry,
- Celtic has set up a Charity
Fund in keeping with the club's founding principles. One of
the projects supported to date, is the Northern Ireland
Childrens's Holiday Scheme which involves children from
deprived areas, both Protestant and Catholic, being brought
together for holidays and other leisure pursuits which now
include trips to Celtic Park in Glasgow. The aim is for
greater social integration.
- The young people of today are
an important area for Celtic to aim its campaign towards and
encouragingly many Universities, Colleges and schools have
built the subject into their study programmes and
discussions are ongoing with the education authorities to
develop this area further.
- The club has strongly stated
and supported the proud connection of the club's affinity
with Ireland and encouraged songs such as 'The
Fields of Athenry', a song intrinsically linked to the
origins of the club. But importantly, the club has come out
strongly against songs that refer to the IRA. Ferguas
McCann, Managing Director, recently stated: "The
club is well aware of the history of Ireland, however,
reference to the promotion and romantic glamorisation of
what is now a terrorist organisation will never be
- The club has also embarked
upon an in-depth programme of encouraging greater
involvement of ethnic minority groups as players and
supporters of football. In the 1800's the minority group
Celtic sought to help was the Irish. That hand of friendship
is now being extended to other groups such as Scotland's
growing Asian community, with coaching programmes, tours and
disccussions at the stadium.
Of course, bigotry is a wider
social issue than merely examples at football games, however,
minority groups do use football as a medium for promoting their
extreme political or religious views. Celtic, as a major social
institution, has a responsibility to work against individuals or
groups who seek to pollute football with behaviour that promotes
bigotry and terrorism, we aim to do our best and respect the
view of others.
The last words go to life-long
supporter, Frank Miller, who wrote to say "We should
rightly be aware and proud of our history. This, however, is no
excuse for the mindless bigotry that quite frankly embarresses
the majority of our fans", and Martin Luther King who
said "I judge people by their own principles - not my
For further information on Bhoys
Against Bigotry contact the Celtic PR Department:
Public Relations Department
Celtic Football Club
Note: the text for this page
was taken from the official
Celtic FC website and Celtic's Directory of Services. In
January 1997 Celtic received a European Commission equality
award for their work against bigotry.