FOREWORD by Scott Osprey
As a Scotsman living in Verona, Celtic was/is one of the few ways I can still feel connected to home, I think my bond with the club has grown stronger since I have been here (16 years now) but although forums, CTV etc helped me keep in touch with Celtic and home it was lonely being the only Celtic fan out here. That is until the day Boretim got in touch with me through the KDS forum, he guessed by my username that I was living in Verona and told me that he was a supporter of Hellas Verona but more so a huge fan of Celtic. We arranged to meet a a Verona game and from there slowly but surely our friendship began.
Unfortunately due to circumstances the first few meetings that Bore invited me to I was unable to go, but then in 2015 I eventually met other members of the CSC at a British CSC football tournament in Milan, it was here that I met guys from all over the north of Italy (and not only I have even met guys from Napoli and as far afield as Messina) who supported Celtic and I was in awe of the love they hold for our club. Guys from all ages and walks of life, guys who could spit out team line ups from the 80’s, name dates, scoreline, scorers of important games in the past and guys who knew word for word the latest terracing chants, part of me felt very small in front of these guys who buy right should have no affinity with our club, but then again we do say we are a club like no other and that we are open to all, and these guys helped me realise how true that is.
The founder, Alessandro Boretti, has followed us since the early 80’s along with a friend from Switzerland, now this was a time before internet, so all of the conversations about Celtic had to be by letter or expensive long distance phone calls, there were no low cost airlines in those days to visits to Celtic Park cost these guys a re fortune, but still they came and still they spread the word.
Alessandro (Bore) has a vast collection of VHS, Celtic Views, memorabilia of varying shapes and sizes that would put any Celtic fan to shame and his knowledge of our club has certainly put me to shame on more than one occasion. Visiting his house you get the impression of a normal family home, but walk down the stairs to his “taverna” and you have both walls lined with various match day programmes, tickets, photos etc from his Celtic experiences, go upstairs into his loft and it is like visiting a Celtic musuem, this is a guy who a couple of years ago donated a large portion of his Celtic View collection to the town library in Barga!!! Of course in keeping with the spirit of Celtic any money raised through the various meetings is donated to a charity in Thailand ran by another Italian Celtic fan and the profits raised from the book written by Bore (The Legend of St. Albert, currently available only in Italian) have gone to this same charity.
Of course there are other great characters in the CSC, mad mental guys who make you laugh non stop, guys who travelled from the most southern point of Italy to Milan for a mere football tournament, guys who in minutes will get all the info needed for travel plans for games and be able to tell you if Gary Og or Charlie and the Bhoys are playing that weekend, a few guys have even written books about our great club, and our number is over 200 now, none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for our President Bore. HH
THE ITALIAN CELTS C.S.C – Est. 2007
It is strange to think that all around the world there exists many many Celtic supporters who have no direct link whatsoever with Scotland or Ireland; The Italian Celts CSC however is concrete proof of this “strange” fact. In the last few years we have also seen other “foreign” Celtic CSC’s emerge, some of which have been created merely due to the fact that one of their countrymen happen to play in the Hoops (e.g. Polska CSC created in honour of the Holy Goalie). However, the roots of the Italian Celts go a lot further back than this! As far back as the late 70’s early 80’s there were already football enthusiasts who followed the exploits of British teams, breathing in the atmosphere from the TV of the few games that were broadcast in those times; the crowds, seeing the fans so close to the pitch and a magnificent type of attacking football without the impenetrable tactics that surrounded all Italian football; defend to the bitter end!
The beginning of my own story following Celtic, and those of my friends from those times, was basically due to the “colours”! Seeing those Hoops without numbers was without doubt something that made Celtic seem different and brought me closer to them. Then in 1981 the European Cup brought Celtic and Juventus together and for a lot of us it was only natural to support Celtic since Juve in Italy represents everything that the new team playing out of Ibrox represents in Scottish football.
We liked Celtic’s style of play and knew nothing, at this point, of their history, we admired Danny McGrain, David Provan for his dribbling skills and Charlie Nicholas.
I still didn’t know anyone outside of my own town (Verona) who supported Celtic, but as I found out in later years there were others like me (crazy?) who followed the Bhoys. In the 80’s it began to become easier to follow Celtic games thanks to thanks to more coverage in the newspapers, magazines and the beginning of satellite TV which began to occasionally show highlights of the games. For many of us this enhanced our passion…it was something we could see but not touch, and this ensured that we became even more passionate about the Celts.
The first Hoops I ever bought was in 1983 (which I still have) and I always wore it when going to see Hellas Verona play (in these days it was the fashion to wear the strips of “British” teams even though they were very difficult to find in Italy) and one day I found myself sitting near to a guy who was wearing the lime green away top (you know the ones the Bhoys wore when they destroyed Sporting Lisbon!) he noticed me and astonished asked me “Why are you wearing the Hoops?”, I replied “Why are YOU wearing a Celtic top?”. This Scotsman seemed dumbfounded a said “Well, I’m a Celtic fan obviously”, “Anch’io (also me), of course” was my response to him. This was the 10th June 1984 and from this day I grew ever closer to Celtic, always alone in my support of them as my other friends in Verona didn’t develop the same passion as I did. I began following every result and also began learning about the history that surrounds the Parkhead club. Thanks to this chance meeting with the Scotsman, a resident of Parkhead nonetheless (how could he have come from anywhere else!), I was soon in contact with another Celtic supporter that he knew who lived in ….Switzerland! And from here my dreams began to come true!
In April 1988, we spent a weekend together watching the Celtic reserves taking part in a tournament in Lugano and it was here that we truly entered into the world of Celtic…sitting next to Bobby Lennox at dinner. This was the moment that the next big step was decided, we were going to go to Glasgow to see our heroes.
It was thanks to that Scotsman from Parkhead that we were able to be present for the very first time in the jungle for the last league game of the season against Dunfermline, but above all it was thanks to him that we were also in attendance when we played Dundee Utd in the Scottish Cup Final. And we all know how that game finished….
In August 1990, I managed to convince other friends that Celtic merited a trip to Scotland, we drove all the way from Verona because I just could not miss seeing Charlie Nick who had returned “home”. In order to see him (and get my photo taken with him) we had to drive again, this time to Dublin, for the game against Bohemians, mission accomplished we were on our way again to Glasgow this time to take in the game against Everton before the long journey home to Verona. However, before our departure we had a meeting with Mr. Delaney where we were able to create the first official CSC in Italy. Once we had returned to Verona lots of my friends decided to join and contributed to the formation of The Packie Bonner CSC n°1.
Celtic then, by chance, done a job for us in gathering a wider audience for our CSC, as 3 years after our formation, the Bhoys now managed by Brady and Jordan (who also played for Verona) set up a summer base in Carisolo, Trentino. So, with my wife and some friends we made our way to the base camp where we met other Italians who were as passionate as myself about Celtic but above all else “The Celtic Way”. After speaking to the other Italian Celtic fans there it was decided that we should hold a meeting in Milan and the date 20/11/1993 is a milestone in the history of the Italian Celtic supporters, because at the “Pogues Mahone” pub in Milan the very first meeting of the Italian Celts was held. It was here that the decision was taken to change the name of the CSC to The Italian Bhoys CSC. Although a milestone for us Italian Celtic supporters from this day the group remained low in numbers even though the numbers grew a bit thanks to some friends who lived in Roma but were present at that meeting. Of course, the low numbers could well have been due to the fact that Celtic at that time weren’t in a great way as we all know the 90’s were our dark years.
However, thanks to the arrival of Fergus McCann, the stopping of the 10, and above all else the increasing use of the internet, 2007 saw the reformation of our CSC with far more members and with a final name change to The Italian Celts CSC. Our club is dedicated to the memory of Johnny Doyle, and my function in the group is to make sure that the younger supporters are made well aware of the history of Celtic, because only by knowing our past can they understand the present.
Thanks to social media we’re are better organised now as communication among our numbers is far easier than the early days and has allowed us to arrange more days watching live games together. Every year there is a general CSC meeting which in recent years has been held in Barga, near Lucca, the most Scottish town in Italy. The advent of low coat airlines has also made travelling to Glasgow for games far more easier and many of our members get themselves over for the games. At least once a year the CSC will organise a trip to see the Bhoys and this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions together with the 10th anniversary of The Italian Celts CSC we will be in Glasgow on 29th and 30th September to watch the game against Hibs. We will celebrate these anniversaries as Italians but with green & white hearts!
President The Italian Celts CSC
SEDE: c/o Boretti Alessandro – via Santuario della Salute, 33 – 37137 – Madonna di Dossobuono – (Verona)
Contatti:– EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org – FORUM: http://celticfc.forumfree.net/
BLOG: www.Memocelts.wordpress.com – FACEBOOK: The Italian Celts –
YOUTUBE: The Italian Celts
Met some of the Italian bhoys many years ago on a ferry from Ireland to scotland, top lads
Cheers for putting that up guys you have just made us all feel even more part of the Celtic family HH.
Great read Scott. Thanks for sharing. We’ll do the follow up after next months visit to Glasgow 🙂
I have been in Barga Tuscany, in Paolo Gases bar which is home to Barga CSC. Was made more than welcome. HH.
Wonderful stuff. I love hearing about the devotion of far-flung Celtic supporters clubs, especially ones who are not exclusively run by expats.
This is what is like to be Celtic…………..
Hail Hail to our Italian bhoys, my two favourites, the city of Firenze and Glasgow Celtic, a match made in heaven.
HH Alassandro I totally understand your love for the CELTIC I’m a Scotsman living in Ireland although Ireland as we all know is our spiritual home! It’s really important to meet fellow hoops fans to travel or just watch games on tv kkep up the good work ma chara Hail! Hail! MG Dublin Eire
Just come back from Italy 2 weeks ago visiting relatives in village near Cassino and they’ve still got Celtic European cup and trophies rug after 50 years when my father left it as a gift.
FORZA CELTIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We Are Celtic,A Club like No Other….Known the World Over.HH to the Bhoys for Following Our Beautiful Club.CFC HWG10IAR!!!!!
Excellent. Many of us are born into Celtic because of Ireland or being Catholic so it is a real pleasure to know so many without those ties have chosen to support our ‘more than just a football club’. Many thanks! An excellent article.Learned a lot. This is why Brexit is such a narrow-minded mistake.
When I worked in Milan years ago I used to drink in pogue mahones with the Irish bhoys I worked with.
My only regret was not meeting Marvellous Marvin Hagler, I was on my trip home and the Irish bhoys met him in there, apparently that was his local. This would have been late 90s/2000.
Superb read that god bless yer man Bore.
Dio ti benedica Allesandro
Great great story people who love football and fell in love with Celtic, we may have been born into it but they chose Celtic. makes the rest of us seem like the receipiemts of an arranged marriage!
Anyway live Italy, Milan, Venice , Rome, Sicily , Sorrdnto and every where in. Ethernet. I was at the match in Milan where Vurgilwas sent off and while we were waiting to get on the buses st the airport to go out to the plane a young security guy was very friendly, told him how much I liked Italy and where I had been on holiday. He said have you ever been to where I am from, Sicily ? I said no, so he said you should go there , so the next year so did.