OPEN LETTER FROM A CELTIC SUPPORTER

I was very priveleged to have been among the many thousands of Celtic supporters, who attended our recent Champions League game in the San Siro Stadium. I was in Milan, from Monday (3/12/07) until Friday(7/12/07). Throughout the total duration of our stay, our fans, were welcomed with a kind warmness, and open arms, not only by the people of milan in general, but also by the fans of both the Inter and A.C. Milan clubs. Throughout the full duration of the game, our fans, sang their hearts out, willing our team into the last 16 of the Champions League. At the end of game, the Celtic fans were requested by the home club, to remain within our allocated area within the stadium, in order to alleviate any crowd congestion outside the San Siro. Throughout, this 30 minutes or so, that we were requested to remain within the stadium, we sang our hearts out to a stadium, which was completely deserted, apart from the Police, Club stewards, and the Italian Press, who had gathered in a friendly manner on the running track, directly in front of a jubiliant Celtic support. Suddenly, the home clubs tannoy system, blasted out “Walk on”, much to the delight of our fans, who of course felt duly obliged to join in. Every Celtic fan, to a man, joined in, in what can only be described, as one of the most resounding renditions European football has ever heard from an away support, while the Italian Press, stewards, and even the Police stood in total awe. This effort, by our fans, was met with a warm and very meaningful applause, from all the bodies who had gathered on the running track, directly in front of us. Eventually, our cold, but very jubiliant support, were permitted to descend from the high heavens of the magnificent San Siro Stadium, and were met with a very much organised “guard of honour” and applause, from a swelling crowd of Italians, which incorporated A.C. Milan fans, Police, and Club Stewards, who all wanted to display their gratitude to a magnificent visiting support. Even the Police wanted a “part” of our famous support, with many openly wanting a piece of Celtic memoribilia. Each and every one of our fans, were applauded as we exited the stadium, and the International hand of friendship, was extended between all groups, in what, i can only describe as a memory that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Too often, the British press, are all too ready to vilify the fans of our Club, as bigots and sectarian dinosaurs, ……..where were these journalists ? Did we see these reports in our daily tabloids, or televisions ? I have followed my team, with great pride for over 40 years now, and apart from my own “Seville experience”, I have never witnessed such a warm and touching amalgamation of opposing fans, Police, and club stewards, as i did on my Milan trip, and I hope, in all sincerity,this can be the springboard to the world of football, that opposing fans, can mingle together, in a warm, safe, and sporting friendship. Without doubt, I take great pride, in being part of that great “Celtic family”, who invaded Milan in support of our Club. Once again,thank you, to our magnificent fans, who in my humble opinion, have extended, the sporting and friendly hand of Celtic Football Club to the rest of the footballing world. Hail Hail the Celts are here !

Willaim Doolan

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