Season 2011-2012 was my most enjoyable in amateur football. It was also a fine one for our club and on an emotional level a fantastic one for a certain family member who kicks a ball for the Hoops. Enough about the big team for now though. That season I had played for Celtic Amateurs in the Saturday afternoon league. Having been involved at amateur level since I was 18 it surprised me to find the best dressing room, team mates and general atmosphere I had been a part of thus far in my time in the ammies. There were lads from all over, as far as Dunoon, coming to train and play for us. Having the chance to pull on the Celtic home and away kits of that time in an official capacity was an absolute privilege. I won’t throw any falsehoods out there that we were an amazing side, we had some great individuals but found it difficult to have any consistency. It was baffling as the training and commitment to the team were second to none. Indeed it had taken a final fixture victory over Greenock to ensure we stayed up in the top division.
Due to reasons out with the players control the team folded that summer. I hadn’t even enjoyed a full season with my teammates but I swear I was heartbroken. The whole occasion of putting on the club tie or tracksuit and wearing those famous Hoops made me feel amazing. The abuse we suffered against certain teams had to be seen to be believed. Our away fixture at Campbeltown Pupils was unreal. We arrived at the park to be greeted with huge union jacks and Rangers scarves in the dozens. Undeterred we fought out a 1-1 draw with a defender in goal against the league leaders. Auldhouse at home was a game that changed me as a person. I knew there was bigotry and hatred in this country and I also knew why. To see it in such a collective form however, really had an impact on me. The centre mid I was up against that day took less than two minutes to inform me I was a fenian bastard. Fair enough. Used to that one. To see the referee chuckle to himself was the real kick in the balls. The venom spat from their sideline also went unnoticed. After a game which we lost 1-0 to a blatantly offside goal I approached the referee to ask why nothing had been done about the day’s events only to be shown a straight red card!!! I actually pitied the excuse for a grown man.
All in though it was a great experience and one I feel shouldn’t be denied players of the amateur game. This led me to start a new team, not another Celtic team but Glasgow Irish Football Club. Using the ethos of a club we love as a driving force behind us, we aim to be unique to any other amateur club. Far too many people in Glasgow/Scotland are afraid to openly embrace their Irish identity. I feel we should be proud of where we originated from and this team intends to celebrate that background. Any race or religion will be welcomed to our club and charity will be at the forefront of our goals. Whatever funds left over from running costs, bills etc will go straight to charities. The playing side will take care of itself. We have covered so much ground in the last 6 weeks of setting up. There has been a fantastic response on social media and our advertising streams continue to grow. The abuse on Twitter has also been very heartening. You see Irish is a bad word in Glasgow. Put the two together and we’ve got a lot of people who don’t like it. We need to be united and push on with our plans though, which are so big it’s almost overwhelming to me.
We are on Twitter @glasgowirishfc. If anyone wishes to play for the club or contribute in any way please get in touch. We would love support at our games also. Merchandise will be available shortly to fund strips etc so any help is welcome. We’ll be representing a certain group of people at amateur level and that can be an amazing thing. We genuinely hope to make people proud of what we are doing.
Hail Hail. C’mon the Glairish.