Football Without Fans – Bournemouth Shamrock CSC

Bournemouth Shamrock CSC

Founded by Tyrone Cuthill, Nicky Quinn, Billy Morrison, and Gordon Pittendray in 1998. As the notion of televised matches was becoming slightly more frequent at that time, it made sense for local Celts to congregate, enjoy an atmosphere, and watch matches together.

With that in mind, a first meeting was held at The Bell pub in Pokesdown, which was to become the CSCs initial base. In time, the club relocated to the nearby White Horse Pub before moving to a somewhat hidden home, the Carriage Club, situated within Pokesdown train station.

That secret venue was the place for which the CSC perhaps became best known, being visited by several guests and former players when they eventually managed to find the correct door to the bar. It was during the Carriage Club years that the atmosphere at the CSC was probably at its best, coinciding with the Road to Seville.

When the sounds of half-time rebel tunes, platform-shaking songs, and traffic-blocking parties on the road outside were not heard, the supporters club was probably undertaking one of its many trips to matches or events. Bus trips had already been organised to Cwmbran Town and to a Shebeen gig in Northampton shortly after.

Following those messy excursions, expeditions were arranged to away matches against Portsmouth and Stuttgart, while a 60-seater bus took members from Bournemouth to Celtic Park against Aberdeen at a similar time.

Further trips would follow, linking up with other CSCs in Manchester, Luton, and Liverpool, but eventually the Carriage Club years ended. It took time for the club to rise from the ashes, but the good people of the committee and wider membership did exactly that, reconvening at Bournemouth Electric Sports and Social Club in the mid-2000s.

This new home did not prove as popular as previous establishments, and after a brief stint at the Broadway Pub, the CSC found itself moving five miles south-west to the Branksome Railway Hotel, which technically fell within the boundary of Poole. Once again, Branksome Railway was a place that did not prove to be as successful as previous locations, despite a minibus being put on for the famously chaotic pre-season friendly at Brentford during this time. However, the persistence of those involved in the CSC ensured that a lasting headquarters was secured a mere mile up the road, at the Westbourne Pub, in 2015.

Back within the confines of Bournemouth, the Westbourne has restored the CSC to its former glory. Straddling the towns of Bournemouth and Poole, Westbourne has turned out to be an ideal spot for fans to reach on match day. The numbers grew in a short space of time, and just as in the days of old, crowds of well over one hundred Celtic fans now turn up for big matches, while a core of 30–40 regulars are present for every televised game.

In recent years, thousands of pounds have been raised for worthy causes such as Marie Curie Cancer Support and the purchase of a defibrillator for the local community. In every year since 1998, the club has raised money to help the less fortunate.

Examples of these efforts include a parachute jump by former member Angie O’Donnell, which raised a few thousand pounds that were split between local charities and charities in Scotland; a £500 donation to the New Orleans CSC after Hurricane Katrina; and a collection for Bobby Murdoch’s wife following his passing.

Bobby Murdoch (Celtic) in Lisbon, 25th May 1967.

One of the great days in CSC’s history occurred in early 2022. An article on that experience was published in The Celtic Star by CSC member Liam Kelly. It captured what the CSC was all about. The ball had barely left Reo Hatate’s boot in the fifth minute when an ear-splitting roar reverberated off the walls as dozens embraced in an ebullience of green and white delight. But this raucous scene was not at Celtic Park; it was 367 miles south of Paradise in the seaside town of Bournemouth.

READ THIS…Ryan Christie Celebrates Glasgow Derby Win With Bournemouth Celtic Supporters Club

The local CSC had gathered, as they always do, at the Westbourne pub on Poole Road. The regional newspaper took photographs of fans beside one of the many flags that bedecked the room. An image was taken for the Bournemouth Daily Echo because this was a night of celebration. Bournemouth Shamrock CSC had followed in Brother Walfrid and his fellow founding fathers’ charitable footsteps by raising sufficient funds to purchase a defibrillator for the community in the coastal village of Westbourne.

Former Manchester United, Preston North End and then Bournemouth midfielder Ben Pearson donned a Celtic shirt as he joined Christie and other teammates for the match

The club regularly raises money throughout each season, primarily by selling scotch pies at half time. These are served by the Westbourne’s accommodating staff and sourced by the CSCs organiser, James Tierney. It was the latter who decided upon using the garnered funds to purchase a defibrillator when he and friends were watching Denmark vs. Finland in June 2021 at the pub.

During that game, Christian Eriksen received CPR after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch. Fortunately, the player survived, and, along with a surge in global Google searches about how to perform the lifesaving medical procedure, inquiries were made about the number of defibrillators available in Westbourne Parish. To their dismay, there wasn’t one. In rectifying matters, with a charitable proclivity that has permeated Celtic and its support for over 130 years, the 10,000+ population and visitors to the area will now be given a lifeline by this essential piece of equipment.

The Westbourne Pub. The defibrillator will be positioned on the outside wall of the pub and will be available for emergency services, residents and visitors to use in the community

With photos taken and scotch pies positioned in the kitchen, thoughts returned to the Glasgow Derby. Over one hundred Celtic fans strapped themselves in for what was a must-win fixture. Moments after kick-off, Ryan Christie walked in. He and his Bournemouth teammates scarcely had time to find a table before Reo Hatate put the Hoops ahead.

Glen Daly’s immortal Celtic Song rang out, and other popular chants swept through the building. ‘Watching Glasgow Celtic put on a show’ was one of the battle cries. Many supporters took the opportunity to get a picture with Ryan Christie, who chatted to fans about his time at Celtic and was well-received, much to the amusement of his AFC Bournemouth colleagues in attendance.

The hospitable management of the Westbourne pub allowed punters to control the jukebox after the game, so CSC members were bequeathed with Irish ballads and Celtic anthems being belted out for some time and only adjourning for a swig of each beverage. It was a cracking night of charity, culture, and derby soccer with a brilliant atmosphere and a visit from former Celtic players.

David McIntyre – CelticBars.com

An extract from Football Without Fans – The History of Celtic Supporters Clubs by David McIntyre ( Celtic Bars).

Football Without Fans – The History of Celtic Supporters Clubs is out now and available in print and kindle versions HERE. Watch the video in the Celtic World tweet below for some amazing facts on the Celtic support around the world.

Just before Christmas, David McIntyre from Celtic Bars was interviewed by Celtic TV about his Football Without Fans book. Here’s the video on Celtic TV’s You Tube channel . You can order a copy in print or kindle from Amazon regardless of where you are in the world. Order your copy HERE.

THE CELTIC STAR’S WINTER SALE IS NOW ON! GET A MASSIVE 50% OFF ALL BOOKS AT CELTICSTARBOOKS.COM/SHOP…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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