Today The Celtic Star remembers the renowned Celtic historian David Potter. Strangely – and for one very specific issue – when I think of David, the image of former Celtic physio Brian Scott comes to mind. The reason for this is something that makes Celtic so special.
David Potter’s writing legacy – particularly to do with Celtic – is phenomenal, surely unparalleled in its range. He wrote or co-wrote at least 31 Celtic books, as well as on many other topics. This includes Scottish football and cricket.
His Celtic tales span the club’s entire existence: from tomes which describe the early years through to more modern achievements, such as the 2016-17 Invincibles season.
In particular, he authored multiple biographies of famous Celts, including Willie Maley, Patsy Gallacher, Bobby Murdoch, Alec McNair and – most recently – Willie Fernie.
One of the motives that many people have for writing a book is that it is something to leave behind, even after you are gone. In David’s case, that is much, much more than just one text. And this brings me back to the Brian Scott link.
As any Celt over 40 will remember, Brian Scott was Celtic’s physio from the 1970s until the early 2000s. As a child watching Celtic, it always amazed me that even though he wasn’t a player, he still made it into squad pictures.
Being someone who loves football and Celtic – but was never good enough to play – this gave me hope that I could maybe make it into a Celtic picture, or at least be another part of the club. David Potter achieved something similar. The sheer volume of David’s writings – books, articles and online – will mean that his is a name well known to Celtic fans, even though he never pulled a green-and-white jersey.
This is part of what makes Celtic the institution that it is. Most people who love the club will never be adored or score a winner for the team. But collectively we are all what is essential to Celtic’s reputation and record. In fact, even moreso than players who will be here for only a short time before moving on.
In recording the events which shaped Celtic, David Potter helped ensure that generations from now, fans will still know the story of previous Celtic heroes. But in himself becoming known through this work, David (like other renowned Celtic historians) also provides a focal point for recognising and celebrating the contribution of the club’s fans.
One of David Potter’s books was called ‘Charlie Gallagher: what a player!’ It would be fair to title any obituary for him: ‘David Potter: what a supporter! Or writer! Or historian!’. Or any other contribution he made, including to his family.
The only way that we can ever “know the history” is because the work of people like David Potter. Requiescat in pace.
Author – The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name.
The answer is that each was the subject of a biography by Celtic historian David Potter.
Yesterday, David sadly died but he leaves behind a phenomenal legacy of Celtic research.
— Hail Hail History 🍀 (@hailhailhistory) July 31, 2023
Sad day tgat we hear of David Potters passing.
Requiescat In Pace David…
— Peter Marshall (@pmarsh226) July 31, 2023
Sad to hear of the passing of David Potter, one of Celtic’s great historians & author of many books on the Hoops. Condolences to his family & all who knew him, an intelligent, articulate & good man. #RIP pic.twitter.com/zVg7WLT9K4
— Lisbon Lion (@tirnaog_09) July 31, 2023
Rest in Peace David, going to miss our meetings and phone calls all about Celtic games our thoughts past and now, HAIL HAIL
— Sligotim (@JohnFallon8) July 31, 2023