Email From America

Email From America

From the  other side of the pond. American Bhoy offers us an insight on the global appeal of Celtic, and what its like to have to get up early to see a game. Without the nominal six or seven hours drinking in between, that is. 

I’m a 22 year old American living in Richmond, Virginia that has a deep love for Celtic. I’ve been a supporter since I was a young child. It started when I saw clips of King Henrik Larsson scoring wonderful goals for the Bhoys and since then my love for the club has only grown. The history of the club and the immense support I saw when I watched clips on youtube of highlights and moments from over the years only increased my deep love for the club. As football, or soccer as we call it here in the United States grew, my friends and family started following clubs like Barcelona, Bayern, Manchester United and other clubs from the top leagues across Europe. I was always isolated in my love for Celtic as its not a club that many recent fans of the sport are aware of here in America. None of this deterred me from my passion for the club though, and in fact it only increased it.
As the rise of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook came, access to more news and information about what was going on in the world of Celtic and I have come to learn much more than I previously did. Whether it was reading historical facts from the Lisbon Lions era, or more recent events such as the UEFA Cup run of 2003, every time I watched clips or learned more information, I fell deeper and deeper in love with the culture and history of the club and its supporters. As an American who’s passion has always been soccer as opposed to the popular sports of America like American Football, Baseball, and Basketball, I have been forced to use social media to talk to people about soccer instead of how others can simply talk with their mates about other sports.
Starting when I was about 16 I began to follow every move of the club and am now a subscriber to Celtic TV and watch as many matches as I can given the fact that the games are sometimes played at 7:00 AM local time here in Virginia. I have fond memories of waking up early, pulling out my computer and watching to Bhoys go to work. The support I have seen in the stands from the fans and the passion with which the players go about playing the game amazes me every time. I support sports teams here in the USA, but the passion I see from Celtic supporters and players is 100x as intense as anything I have ever seen from an American sports team. I often try to express to my friends how much the supporters of Celtic care about the club, but it is really quite difficult as the only way to get them to understand is to make them watch a match with me. The first time I got a group of friends to watch a match with me turned out to be the most incredible match I have witnessed in my young life. It was the 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League group stage of the 2012. The moment that Tony Watt scored the seconds goal had me jumping through the roof and when I turned to look at my friends, I finally could see that they understood for the first time how much the club meant to me and how much it meant to every supporter of Celtic across the world, and I think from then on, it changed their view of the sport and the club forever.
I have seen Celtic play in person on two occasions. The first was in Boston, Massachusetts at Fenway Park where Celtic won the match 2-1 with Georgios Samaras scoring the winning penalty kick. The second time was while I was on a trip to Scotland in 2013. I took a tour of the stadium and saw the dressing rooms, walked out of the tunnel, and got to sit on the benches in the same spot as the players, which was a sublime experience for me. Later that day I went to see the Bhoys take on Elfsborg in a Champions League qualifier where we won 1-0 on a Kris Commons header late in the second half. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life and I hope to be able to experience it again as many times as possible over the course of my life.
It has been quite the season with the bhoys going 27 games in a row unbeaten.
Quite the accomplishment as they march on the road to another title. Not only are they securing another title but they are doing it in some style. Going into the game against Hearts on Sunday, confidence was certainly high which was important, but the play on the field was what I had hoped to see from the players given the circumstances surrounding the game. Finally securing the record was a big step for these players and for fans, as it shows a huge improvement from last year. Whether it be the record, the prospect of winning the domestic treble this year, or the development of some of the squad members under Rodgers this season, there has been a lot to be excited about.
A lot of the players have had resurgent seasons this year, from Stuart Armstrong to Jozo Simunovic, many players in the squad have shown their importance. Today I thought the two players that looked the most sharp were Gamboa and Bitton. Gamboa looked lively up the ride side of the field all game and really showed that he has advanced as a player. He had great runs all game and really showed that he can play the right back spot very efficiently. Nir Bitton also played one of his best games in a Celtic kit in my opinion. He ran the midfield well, looked like he was up for every challenge, and slowed the movement of the opposition so that they found it hard to get to our defense, much less all the way to the keeper. The third player I was excited about was Tierney. With him having been injured for a fair portion of the season, it was nice to see him swinging in crosses with the accuracy that he used to, and his timing on his tackles was perfect. I was impressed with the whole squad’s performance, but particularly impressed with the performance of these three specifically.
Obviously a lot goes in to breaking a record of this magnitude, and you must know a certain amount of history to fully understand it. To break a record set by the side that went on to win the European championship is incredibly impressive. There is not much to talk about in terms of how big of an achievement that is, but it is important for me to note that even though I am not in Scotland and have been exposed to Celtic in different situations then most of you overseas, the importance and history of this accomplishment is not lost on me.
When I think of the difficulties of being a supporter overseas, I think about waking up at early hours to watch matches, or having to search harder for news and information than those of you across the pond, but once you are in the moment and watching the game, you remember why you do it. I also understand that in order for some fans in certain parts of Scotland and England to get to the games they must wake up at early hours to get prepared, so I want to thank all the fans that were at Celtic Park for making it such a welcoming and fun atmosphere as you watched the win today.
Safe travels to everyone going home and hope you all enjoyed the game,