David and Rosemary Potter were married for 52 years, or as David would say 52 seasons ago. In the early summer of 2021 I met David at the service area at the Kincardine Bridge and we talked about the season just finished and Celtic’s failure to reach 10IAR (for a second time). He wasn’t at all downbeat and talked about us being third time lucky. He then did some calculations on his own life expectancy and reckoned he could just about make it if he looked after himself.
He wasn’t looking for ten more years, but ten seasons and there was no doubt in his mind that Celtic – at that time no-one had really heard of Ange Postecoglou and Eddie Howe was playing extremely hard to get – would get back to winning ways. David put the loss of that title down to one thing and one thing only and that was the fact that the Celtic supporters weren’t there.
He was a remarkable man, so humble, so willing to help anyone and everyone. On hundreds of occasions we’d receive emails from readers, many who had distant relatives who played for Celtic of whom they knew very little. Each and every time my solution was to introduce them to David who would inform, advise and go to great lengths to assist. It happened so often that on reflection I took it for granted, he just loved doing it and he really did get as much out of it as the Celtic families and supporters he helped.
The Celtic Star would not be the success that it is without David Potter. Writers like Matt Corr, Liam Kelly, Matthew Marr and many others have all been attracted to this site because of the presence of David Potter, who has been there since we started and has almost certainly had an article published every single day. David would write his articles and email them to me to post on his behalf. What turned out to be his final project was to write a Celtic Player of the Day after he concluded an entire season of Celtic on this Day, which started on 1 August last year and we will now repeat from tomorrow for the new season.
David would supply his Player of the Day in batches of ten and I have many more ready to be published that should see us through the next few months. Then other writers on the site will be asked to take over and help finish the job David started.
David’s early books from the mid-1990s were all until recently self funded. He once told me that he doesn’t play golf and folk his age had membership fees to pay at their golf courses. His hobby was Celtic and that’s what he spent his money on. He would pay to have his books self published and would never make a profit. That was never his plan, or his wish, it was never a business, it was a calling for David Potter.
I have the manuscript for his last book which covers Celtic in the 1980s (Charlie Nicholas, look away now!). We’ll speak to Rosemary about that but it will be out on Celtic Star Books at some point down the line, once family approval is given.
His last book, The Celtic Rising covered the time in David’s life when Celtic’s fortunes changed for the better and accordingly 1965 was a year very close to his heart. It was also the year I was born.
The book arrived in early November 2022 and on the night Celtic played Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the Champions League, David came over to my house to sign the copies of his latest book for supporters who had pre-ordered. He was expecting to sign 50 books, then get his dinner and watch the game. However such was the demand for The Celtic Rising that he had over 500 to sign.
David fully expected a Celtic victory that night. He always expected that and he talked about being robbed there in 1980 and winning in 1967 as justification for his confidence. As the evening wore on he became more interested in signing the books rather than watch Celtic exit European football for another season!
Before arriving at my place that evening he went to visit a friend who lived nearby who was struggling after losing his wife a few years ago. David knew that a widow who lived nearby was being very kind to his pal and regularly brought over home-made baking, including on that day, some delicious homemade apple pie. Impressed by the cuisine David duly encouraged his friend to consider a romance with the lady in question, believing that they would both be better off together than living alone and that the food would be brilliant!
The Celtic Rising sold out very quickly and we had to re-order another print run, which is also close to selling out, there are under 20 copies remaining. As the author David was quite astonished and delighted at the success of The Celtic Rising and when Matt Corr accounted for the expenditure and shared the profit with the author, David was in receipt of his biggest ever payment for writing a Celtic book. Both myself and Matt at the time were especially thrilled at this outcome for David Potter, and that was long before his health concerns started in the spring.
We published a story on The Celtic Star a while back, either last summer of the summer before. It was about a chap who attended Glenrothes High School who had David Potter as his Latin teacher and despite having no background in languages he went on to be appointed as the Dean at Oxford University in Classics. On his appointment, he credited David Potter with setting him on the road to an astonishing career. That wee story sums up David Potter perfectly.
David attended St Andrews University and studied Latin and Greek. He had important exams in May 1967 so was heartbroken to have missed the European Cup Final in Lisbon. He knew that Celtic would win.
David inherited his love of football and Celtic from his dad, as is often the case. His love of Celtic comes from a non-Catholic background and he understood and disowned sectarianism and religious intolerance but he was always clear where the problem stemmed from and it was not from the Celtic support.
His teaching career was spent at Glenrothes High School where he taught Classics and Spanish. He had a lifelong love of cricket and drama, both of which he learned at school and in the case of drama at his BB group. He acted with the Auld Kirk Players of Kirkcaldy since 1974, and after a long career in umpiring, he became the Scorer of Falkland Cricket Club in 2005. He was also an enthusiastic member of the Joseph Rafferty Celtic Supporters Club. One summer a few years back he supplied a series of amusing articles on The Celtic Star on cricket relating to the Falkland club and provided a great Celtic slant each time!
David and Rosemary married in 1972 and had three children Alison, Susan and Andrew, and six grandchildren – Hannah, Euan, Katie, Michael, Anna and the late Callum who died tragically of Bone Cancer in 2011.
His first book, on Celtic’s Scottish Cup win in 1995, was published in 1996 and he’s never stopped since. Indeed he still hasn’t stopped because he has so many Celtic Player of the Day features and his as yet unpublished Celtic in the 1980s book is still to come out. We will of course do him proud on that.
David was good enough to keep me informed about his illness and as before he was scheduling things around Celtic matches. The good thing about when he was getting his operation, he told me, was that it gave him a chance to be back for Trophy Day after reluctantly admitting he’d have to miss the trip to Easter Road. And if that didn’t happen, he’d be at the Scottish Cup final.
Honestly I didn’t think that was going to happen and sure enough he had to admit defeat for trophy day at Celtic Park. A week later on Scottish Cup Final Day we parked the car miles away from Hampden and were making our way to the ground. Just as we were passing the police station, my attention was drawn by a wooden stick hitting my leg and I turned around to see David Potter standing there on that incredibly warm afternoon, wearing what looked like a French Foreign Legion cap, as protection for the wound he had from his operation. He joked about the hat and chatted excitedly about the game and the chance to win another Treble.
He was standing with some of his friends from his Kirkcaldy supporters bus and he introduced me as The Celtic Star Editor as if I was the one with the status. His friends were put right on that straight away, but of course they all already knew.
That was the last time I saw my great friend, David Potter. He may not have seen Celtic win 10IAR but in his final game, he saw Celtic win a world record eighth treble and he had seen every single one of them. What a record that is!
Over the last 24 hours I’ve come to realise something about David Potter – he never really gave up teaching. When he retired he simply started teaching the Celtic support and in doing so he has enriched the lives of so many people, most of whom never had the privilege to meet him. For him The Celtic Star was his classroom and every morning he would deliver his latest, entertaining lesson to thousands of readers.
Without David Potter you would not be reading The Celtic Star and because of David Potter you are reading a site that stands out for its quality and its historical coverage of Celtic which many believe is unmatched anywhere, so no wonder the Celtic family mourns the loss of the one and only David Potter.
David, you were a wonderful Celtic man, a great family man and a wonderful friend. Yours was a life lived brilliantly and you will remain an inspiration for a very long time to come. Requiescat in pace.
YNWA and will never be forgotten.
David Faulds – Celtic Star Editor
A few messages from two of our other writers Niall J and Paul Gillespie below….
Hi David, Hope you are doing okay today.
Incredibly sad news to hear about David’s passing. Celtic and TCS have lost a great writer and historian but you I’m sure have lost someone you got to know very well over the years too. He leaves an incredible body of work behind for future generations but as a pal and a great supporter of the site you must be feeling it quite acutely today.
Chin up mate, his work reached so many more people by way of The Celtic Star – and Walfrid and the Bould Bhoys in particular will stand the test of time for sure – you played a massive part in that and I’m certain DP would have appreciated just that alongside your friendship and support.
I am so sorry for the loss of Mr Potter to The Celtic Star Family.
It’s been made even more palpable for me with the loss of my uncle George recently.
We laid him to rest today.
My heart is even more broken hearing about another great man passing…
I want you to know that I am forever grateful that I was able to consider myself a colleague of his – if only remotely and for a brief period.
The work you and people like David do reaffirm my love for the cultural phenomenon we call Celtic.
Chin up and all the best,
💚 Everyone at the Club is saddened to hear of the passing of #CelticFC historian and author, David Potter.
Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family at this extremely sad time 🍀 pic.twitter.com/7SjnqhQuoD
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) July 31, 2023