The path has been long, but finally there is real light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve been through a lot during the lockdown year, but finally we can see the end in sight. For the whole of this season we were hoping to see fans back in grounds, but it never looked likely. Now, with the vaccines doing their job, the doors of the stadiums are going to open back up.
I think I might have been the first blogger to suggest that football in this country might be about to grind to a shuddering halt because of the bug. As a result of that, I sometimes feel as if I jinxed the rest of us.
I knew we would be out of business for a while.
I had no idea that a year later we’d not have seen a single fan in a football ground. It was unthinkable.
I didn’t think we’d get this far without losing a club. There were even a couple of SPL teams I thought might not make it through this in one piece. For a while I thought the one at Ibrox might be one of them but £30 million in equity confetti has kept on the lights and maintained the wage bill, which is utter lunacy of the purest kind.
Still and all, it’s a miracle that we didn’t lose any teams to this, as seemed certain at the start. A government aid package helped. But more than anything else it was the commitment of ordinary fans who bought season tickets not knowing if they’d see games.
The loyalty of fans has gone largely without reward, or even thanks.
Especially from Celtic, where we’re still waiting for “added value” as if there’s any way to make up for this disaster of a season.
The forms for the next campaign will be out soon; the news that fans will be back in grounds (although we don’t know in what numbers just yet) for the start of the next campaign is clearly a boost for all the clubs … still, Celtic will have to do better by fans than that.
It can’t be denied though that having fans back will have a huge impact on the team.
For a long time in the campaign I was determined to quash any suggestion that we had suffered without the fans in the ground; it’s now obvious that we did. It doesn’t give anyone a Get Out Of Jail Free card to say so.
There are games in the past where the Celtic fans have practically willed the team to goals and wins, and the news that they will be back lending their support will have gone nowhere better than in the dressing room.
They’ve missed us, and no doubt about it.
So light then, at last, at the end of this long dark spell. Before next season reaches the halfway point we should be up to full capacity again if the vaccines continue to hold the bug at bay.
There will be bumps in the road, but we’re getting back to normal.