Football Without Fans – Brother Walfrid CSC, Edinburgh

Brother Walfrid CSC, Edinburgh…

Brother Walfrid CSC, Edinburgh was founded in 1988 on the back of Celtic’s double-winning centenary season. Most Saturdays, a group of pals, many of them exiled Glaswegians, would meet up in the Halfway House pub in Edinburgh’s Old Town and then take the train, or some would drive, through to Celtic Park.

One New Year’s Day, they crammed about 20 of them into someone’s work van and the rest into a couple of cars. One day, a bright spark pointed out that collectively, they were spending more on public transport than they would on hiring a bus.

And often, they struggled to get tickets for away games. They decided they would form a CSC so a self-selected ‘Gang of Four’ (Ronnie Smith, Stuart Mullen, Eleanor Smith, and the club’s first president, John Nichols) organised a meeting with George Delaney of the CSA to progress the matter.

George Delaney’s response to them was somewhat ambivalent and unsupportive. Ignoring his ‘who gave you permission to form a CSC?’ they merrily ploughed on regardless and duly constituted the club and were welcomed into the CSA despite Mr. Delaney’s odd misgivings. After weeks of debate as to the name of the club, they settled on the straightforward BWCSC rather than more cumbersome, elongated names such as the Brother Walfrid Centenary CSC or the Brother Walfrid Halfway to Paradise CSC. The one thing the original membership unanimously agreed on was that they should always remain true to the foundational aims of the club.

Over the years, they have made many charitable donations to worthy causes and, indeed, have also supported members in their times of need. Of course, what they didn’t know back then was that, as Celtic supporters, they were on the cusp of entering perhaps the most miserable and tumultuous period in Celtic’s modern history.

As diehard Celtic fans, they were ready to play their part, like so many did. In conjunction with their friends at Heriot Watt and Edinburgh Universities CSC, they organised a huge public meeting in the university students union to discuss the ongoing debacle at Celtic and put their voice forward in the CSA for change.

And change came; the Rebels won. During the ‘Sack the Board’ era, the club almost went under a number of times. At one stage, they had to run joint buses with the HWEU CSC for them both to survive, but they did.

There is lots of daftness and madness that could be told about their activities, trips, and so on, such as destroying the ceiling in their host pub, the Halfway House, not just once but twice, due to overexuberant celebrations. Thankfully, the club’s funds were healthy enough to pay for the repair, and surprisingly, they were not barred.

They also inadvertently ended up in the Motherwell Times after beating Rangers at Hampden in 1989. Their bus was dropping a couple of guys off in Motherwell, but it broke down outside Motherwell Town Hall. They were then set upon by Motherwell casuals but survived unscathed. It transpired that the bus had overheated, so they escaped after an hour. The matter was reported as ‘English Celtic supporters attacked,’ as their Dalkeith bus company had provided them with a bus they had bought from a Yorkshire bus company but had not yet changed the livery.

Despite many alcohol-fuelled trips across Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, and Europe, they managed to avoid any serious involvement with the police, despite the bus being searched many times for onboard drink. However, a new member who had moved from England managed to win a bottle of whisky in the Tall Cranes in Govan prior to a game against Rangers.

The bottle was duly dispatched pre-game, as was the nameless and now seriously blitzed bottle winner, who was huckled by the police at the turnstiles. Fortunately, he was released without charge after the game, but by the time he made it back to Edinburgh, his fiancé was waiting (raging) for him in the pub, and they repeatedly played ‘Lifted’ by The Lighthouse Family on the pub juke box the whole night.

The greatest event in the CSCs history was the trip to Seville. Remarkably, most members of the club managed to get a match ticket, and they all met up in Benalmadena two nights before the game for an amazing night. On a personal note, Ronnie Smith travelled overland, taking a ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao, where they were entertained for two nights by the famous ceilidh band The Vatersay Boys. On arriving in Bilbao, all the Celtic fans on board (around 100) were asked to gather at the front of the ship so the captain could take a photo from the bridge.

4-2 delight for Danny McGrain and Andy Lynch in May 1979

They have been blessed over the years by having great guests at their functions, many of them repeat attendees: Chris Morris, Billy McNeill, Bobby Murdoch, Martin O’Neill, Pat Bonner, Danny McGrain, Gordon Marshall, Jackie McNamara, and Tommy Burns, to name just a few. Over the years, they have developed valuable relationships with many other CSCs and have been hosted by many great pubs as they made a quick pint (or five) stop on their travels.

A shout out to Downcraig CSC (Jim Kearney and Jim Quigg in particular) on whose bus they travelled to Mostar, Dortmund, Ekeren, Neuchatel, Berne, Cologne, and Lisbon, where the bus was broken into and everything stolen except one solitary video to watch on the tortuous journey home: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Holytown CSC, the Whitehouse Bar, and in particular Kenny Moore, Pat Bradley, JB, and all the Holytown Bhoys and Ghirls are friends of the club.

They ran a joint bus to Packie Bonner’s testimonial in Dublin, where on check-in at their hotel (after a very lubricated journey,) a guest at a wedding asked them if we were the entertainment. In fact, the exact words were ‘Are you the disco?’ JB now has the Whitehouse, a great Celtic boozer. They would like to thank HWEU CSC for bailing them out back in the day and for allocating them tickets to the legendary Tommy Burns Supper.

They would also like to thank Edinburgh No.1 CSC for memorable trips to Blackburn, Hamburg, Lyon, and Paris when the bus broke down on the ferry and they parked themselves in the Calais ferry terminal bar while the bus went back and forth across the channel because of frozen brakes. Other thanks go to McCormick’s Bar, which is sadly no more, which became a home away from home. RIP Tam Smith the owner. The Saints and Sinners in Bellshill, now Mooney’s, remains their current pre-Celtic Park stop.

Like all CSCs, a good, hard-working committee is required. So, a tip of the hat to current committee members Michelle Fitzsimmons, Stevie Thomson, Scott McGregor, and previous committee members Mick Clark, Alan Williamson, Keith Copeland, Mags Ross, Mick Smith, Colin Brown, and Glynis Boyle, as well as the original Gang of Four.

A special mention goes to the club treasurer who, back in the day, burst into a hotel bedroom in a still drunken panic because he thought he had lost over £4000 of the club’s money in Dublin. It turned out he had put the cash in the inside pocket of his denim jacket and then slung that over the back of a stool in their hotel bar and staggered off to his room at 4 a.m., leaving said jacket behind. Thankfully, the barman rescued it, and it was returned, money intact, that very morning. You can trust Dubliners, but not treasurers, it seems.

Currently, for home games only, the bus runs from Musselburgh, Kings Manor Hotel, Malones in Edinburgh, then the Silver Wing, stopping at Mooney’s in Bellshill for a pie and a pint, returning from the Black Bull in the Gallowgate, where a post-match pint is enjoyed.

David McIntyre –

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.


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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

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