Posted on Thursday, 29th November 2012 by admin
No doubt attendances will be discussed this weekend as Celtic play Arbroath. Here Kieran Caw gives his thoughts on the subject.
Much has been made of Celtic’s attendances this season for various different
reasons, and it is hard to argue against the fact that between five and ten
thousand fans seem to have disappeared since the decision to send Rangers/place
the ‘new’ Rangers into the fourth tier became reality.
I’ll start off with a positive outlook by stating that only Manchester United
have had a greater overall attendance this season than Celtic in the whole of
the UK (season tickets included), and although that is a great achievement, the
fact can’t be hidden that some our supporters are bored without ‘them’. Last
season, only a few times did our attendance drop below 50,000 even though there
was, and still is a recession. All the same excuses were available last season;
weather, prices, opposition and so on as well, but fans still turned out to
support Celtic. Why? Well, I think we all know the answer to that…
I agree attendances mean very little in terms of on-field success, and most
English Premier League clubs would be proud of an average of 45,000 fans at
league games, but if ‘they’ (Rangers, Sevco…) were in the SPL I could almost
guarantee a rise in our attendance. Obviously money is a massive issue. There is
nothing people can do if they cannot afford an admittedly overpriced ticket for
an SPL match -that is not the type of supporter I am getting at – but if fans
really wanted to turn up then they would, no matter the opposition.
Most, if not all of our supporters jumped on the ‘No to NewCo’ bandwagon during
the summer – and we thankfully got our reward. The SPL placed them in the fourth
tier, so is it not time to repay our clubs’ faith in supporters? I think it is.
We often refer to ourselves as ‘The best fans in the world’ and although I am
not disputing that fact, we should get behind our team more than we currently
are if we want to hold onto that status. As everyone knows, Jock Stein once
famously said “Football is nothing without fans.” which is very true, and
emphasises even more how important it is for fans to turn out and back our side.
Stein has also been quoted in saying, “Without fans who pay at the turnstile,
football is nothing. Sometimes we are inclined to forget that. The only chance
of bringing them into stadiums is if they are entertained by what happens on the
football field.” This, to me, is one of the greatest football quotes. I do feel
as if our supporters, as well as the team this season, lack motivation, which
could possibly be a factor in our falling attendances. I would not even like to
imagine how our great stadium would look if there was no Champions League
football this season. Maybe a message could be sent out to our board by seeing
empty seats week in, week out to lower prices of SPL tickets as I do agree that
£20-30 is quite steep, especially in the current climate – but, again, the
prices have not risen since the previous season where Celtic could attract an
average of over 50,000 people. Although attendances mean little, and it is not a
massive concern, it does slightly sadden me to see so many empty seats at run of
the mill SPL matches.
At Celtic’s recent defeat to Inverness CT, I recall fans leaving at half-time
with the scoreline a boring 0-0, something I had never witnessed before. So that
begs the question – Are our fans really faithful through and through? Do we
currently support our team through thick and thin? Champions League games
suggest we do, but who does not want to be apart of potential history? The
crowds at SPL games are slowly dwindling, not forgetting our abysmal turn outs
cup matches, so that suggests some ‘glory hunters’ do not. As I have already
stated, pricing is an issue for some, but not for all. Every fan has their own
opinion and my own is that some Celtic fans do not bother turning up to watch
their team as another team is no longer alive. There is nobody to hate now,
nobody to ‘get one over’ on, there are no bragging rights. Personally, I do not
miss them in the slightest, but it is becoming apparent that some are – wether
they choose to admit so or not.
Are we as faithful through and through as we like to believe? I am not so sure
You can follow the author on Twitter – @Kieran_Celtic