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Glasgow Celtic, A club like no other
Not many clubs around the world could attract a full house of 60,000 to a charity match with ex-players involved - but then again theres not many clubs like Celtic Football Club.
Founded in 1888 in the East End of Glasgow by Brother Walfrid to raise funds for the poor and deprived. Brother Walfrid, originally from Co.Sligo, Ireland is quoted saying: ''A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables, for the children and the unemployed.'' Glasgow Celtic, with undeniable Irish roots - have become one of the most recognisable teams in world football.
Their proudest feat came in 1967, when they became he first British team to win the European Cup - beating Inter Milan in the final. What made the feat even more impressive was that the entire Celtic squad was born within 30 mile of their home pitch, Celtic Park, Glasgow. With the final in Portugeese capital Lisbon, the heroe's of 67' became affectionately known as the ''Lisbon Lions.''
46 years on from their sole Champions League win, Celtic still are mixing it with Europes elite, beating Barcelona en-route to the Champions League last-16 last season. In the 2013-14 season they have qualified for the group-stages once again. The need for more memorable Champions League nights grows, as domestically Celtic are a shoe-in every year to lift the league table, due to the death of their bitter city rivals Rangers Football Club.
Sunday past saw a charity match for leukemia stricken former player Stiliyan Petrov. Former Celtic greats, including Henrik Larsson and current manager Neil Lennon donned the famous green and white hoops to take on a Petrov XI, included some of the Bulgarians Aston Villa team mates, Chelseas John Terry and even popstar Louis Tomlinson.
To the cheers of joy from grown men, to the screams of anger from One Direction stars hoards of female admirer's Tomlinson felt the effects of a crunching tackle from Gabriel Agbonlahor. The game itself finished 5-3 to Petrov's XI.
Celtic Park was a sellout for the game.
A fitting tribute for a Celtic legend, what a reception the Bulgarian recieved before the game, a rousing rendition of ''You'll Never Walk Alone'' below.
Spinetingling, goosebump-giving, even tear-jerking.
Now I have a bias, being a supporter of Celtic, but have a look at what the Worlds top player Lionel Messi has to say about the club: ''I've been fortunate to play in some great stadiums in Europe with Barcelona but none compare to Celtic.'' Footballing legends Paulo Maldini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even Sir Alex Ferguson are among a host of names that have given similar glowing tributes to the famous football team.
Employee's whether its players, managers or coaching staff, past and present, always keep Celtic close to the heart. Stiliyan Petrov, and Sunday being the prime example.
Supporters of English Premier League Clubs revel in glory as their football clubs billionaire owning owners pull of multi million pound deals for players - something with epitomizes modern football.
But in the East End of Glasgow, Celtic in Scotland, deprived of the multi-millions in TV revenue English clubs recieve, continue to win the hearts of football fans all over the world. For the raw passion boss Neil Lennon and his players show. And for the electric atmosphere the fans generate, whether its in a charity match, a friendly, or a European night.
I will end with a quote from Jock Stein, Celtics European Cup winning manager, that still speaks volumes on this day: ''Football is nothing without fans''
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