If you haven’t watched The Ultimate Bucket List guy, Ninh Ly, doing his stadium tours last week at Celtic Park and Ibrox – wearing the opposition fan’s colours – then you really have to. It’s one of the best YouTube football videos I’ve seen in a while.
It’s a the bottom of the piece.
There’s a lot to learn from it.
I wasn’t even remotely surprised by some of what I found out, and one thing is glaring when you’re finished.
I’ll get to that in a minute.
For those who’ve not seen this, let me give you the broad strokes.
An English fan – a Manchester Utd supporter – does stadium tours all over Europe, he videos them and puts them on YouTube. He decided to combine his tours here with checking out the truth about the Glasgow rivalry … by going to both Celtic Park and Ibrox dressed in the other club’s shirt.
An amazing idea.
Ballsy, and inventive.
The video starts with him standing outside Ibrox, laying out the idea and talking about approaching both from a neutral point of view. Like most other English football fans, he’s not overly enamoured with Scottish football; he said he’d only ever watched a Glasgow derby twice.
Yet it’s clear listening to him that he has a pre-conceived idea about the fixture.
I’ll get to that later, as it factors into this piece.
The guy clearly enjoyed himself at both grounds, except that at Ibrox only the tour guides would actually talk to him.
The rest of those attending avoided him as if he’d stood on something and dragged it in with him.
At Celtic Park the mood was entirely different; there was repartee, a lot of laughter, people smiling … he even got to “lead the team” down the tunnel … a world of difference in mood and atmosphere. He was especially impressed by the staff.
One of the things I noticed is that when you do the Ibrox tour you have to go in through that tiny little door which, to me, is famous for Craig Whyte’s press statement outside of it.
It’s a shabby looking little entrance which brings up memories of Harvey Keitel watching “his girls” from a grubby doorway in Taxi Driver.
The Celtic Park entrance is much grander, by far, of course, although he was routed around to a smaller one at the side.
That did surprise me a little; we ought to use that big main entrance for stuff like this.
It sets the right tone.
The whole Celtic Park tour just came across as a much more professional job. This is reflected in the respective positions he gave both at the end of the video; he actually rates the Parkhead experience as the second best he’s ever had, just behind the one at Paris St Germain.
The Ibrox tour isn’t in his top five.
When asked to choose between the two he took Parkhead, of course, and said that it’s “not even close.”
There were clearly several factors to this, top of which was the general atmosphere on the Celtic tour.
I think the surroundings impressed him more as well.
The inside of the ground certainly did, but I would think he’d have been equally blown away by the outside, and The Celtic Way.
Ibrox certainly has nothing remotely comparable to it.
At the end of the tours, when he’s back home, he talks to the camera about the experiences … and then about the aftermath.
I found that fascinating.
First he knocks on the head the idea that “both sides hate each other”; his experience of being ignored at Ibrox in no way compares to his worst fears. Then is his total surprise at finding himself at the centre of news stories … and I found that extremely interesting.
What he may have realised is that much of the hysteria that surrounds all the “hate” is whipped up by the media. Now, as regular readers know there is an ugly – and sizeable – element of the Sevco support which wallows in hate and paranoia, but it’s not the whole support.
Nowhere near it.
Most of those who go to Ibrox are just ordinary people who love football.
But it’s the media perception of this fixture as being completely engulfed in hatred which gives people who live south of the border or further afield this ridiculous impression.
The guy himself says he goes to other club’s grounds in his Manchester United top all the time and it never creates a flap … do it here and the press wants to make it into a story.
The media loves to sensationalise. They love to stir the soup.
Overall, I thought his video was excellent, offering a fair and honest appraisal of the tours and the respective staffs.
Ross is going to do a separate piece on the social media response the guy got; that needs to be tackled, again.
I will wrap it up by saying that the video is well worth a watch and that I was glad to see that our club and our fans came out of it so well. The guy obviously loved Celtic Park, and his recommendation that any neutral who has the chance to do one or the other visits us is welcome.
It is always good to see the club reflected in such a positive light, and in particular those who work at Celtic Park.
These fine folk don’t get nearly enough credit, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them, personally, for all the excellent service they provide.
You are second to none, folks, just like the team.
You can watch the video here.
I suggest you do.
Well done to Ninh Ly for his production, and I am glad he enjoyed the tour.
Please share these articles widely, and join our Facebook Group for discussions about the pieces and other issues.
If you have trouble finding the articles you can subscribe, follow us on Twitter and get every piece on Celtic News Now. And you can, of course, bookmark the site itself and check it for updates throughout the day.