I am 40, next year.
I have no idea what day I started being a Celtic fan/supporter because it so ingrained in my life. It’s just me.
Do I have a season ticket right now? No.
My work commitments make it financially questionable.
Now there may be some who would say “pay your money anyway” but I know Celtic and the majority of our fans would say, “No, don’t do that.”
There are other ways to be a fan/supporter.
I have had season tickets, more than once.
I remember my dad talking to me about Celtic, sober..and not sober, teaching me about the club.
My uncles, aunts and other friends and family all did the same.
We are products of our environment. My environment was Celtic.
And all those people shared with me their experiences and stories about the club.
There was one characteristic of those people, of those stories; they were from a time when “being Celtic” sometimes meant not showing it.
Prejudice was everywhere.
Some people think times have changed. Not that much they haven’t.
Still “society” tells us we shouldn’t wave our flags. We shouldn’t shout about who we are.
A lot of people were happy with us in the back of the bus.
They wish we’d stayed there.
When Neil Lennon was manager of Celtic, the abuse he received verbally, digitally and physically was despicable, vile, horrendous.
Many in our society said he “brought it upon himself.”
How? By being openly, boldly, unashamedly Celtic.
And incredibly, the people who taught me about Celtic, while they felt that that it was horrible, were so set in their ways and the mindset of days gone by that some of them actually questioned Neil Lennon for being so open about Celtic and his background.
I hated this and I felt it was a symptomatic of being brought up in a time and world were being anything but a Protestant fan of the club from Ibrox was to be hidden, if you admitted you were Catholic and/or Celtic (we accept they are not mutually exclusive) then you were restricted in jobs, where you lived … any number of doors were closed to you.
This is part of the issue we have at the moment with our domestic dominance; if you take my age group as the median – 40 – on the younger side are a generations that revels in our current glory, in the success, and they are spoiled cos they haven’t seen the bad days.
On the other side are those who lived with every moment of them, but come from a generation where you took the good and the bad the same way; largely in silence, if you wanted to “fit in”. They grew up in a country that hated us, in a culture that suffocated us, in a world that thought of us as second class.
And some of them can’t shake it.
The younger generation treats every defeat like a disaster. Those from the older group sometimes feel they need to find a way of criticising Celtic, and cal well remember the names they were called whenever they stood tall and spoke of their love for the club.
I am all of them and neither of them.
I am Celtic and I am goddamned proud of it. I will not sit at the back of the bus, but nor will I forget where we come from.
The football history, the social history.
We have fought and earned everything we have.
David Campbell is from a generation of Celtic fans who fought the good fight … and is enjoying our success.