Football Without Fans – Carfin CSC (1948)

Carfin CSC (1948)…

Previous Presidents: Benny Leonard, Arthur McNally, Tommy Connell, John McCall, Ian Henderson, Patrick Kerr, Robert Bogan, Phil Agnew.

After the 2nd World War, the first Celtic Supporters Club was founded in Glasgow in 1945 under the auspices of the newly formed Celtic Supporters Association. At this time, various groups of Carfin people frequently travelled to Parkhead by bus (No.44) or train, the only available modes of transport available at that time.

Three principal groups were based around Carfin Cross, The Wattfield Bar and the Scree Bridge. Under the direction of Eddie Shannon, the groups amalgamated within the Billiard Hall of the old Lourdes Hall to discuss the possibility of the formation of an official Celtic Supporters Club in the village.

Prime movers in the groups were Sam O’Brien, Johnny Quigley, Benny Leonard, Jock Gibb, John McFarlane, Arthur McNally, Andrew Harvey, Jack Reilly and Willie Damarodis. Ideas were discussed, rules established and the following were elected as the first Executive Committee of the CSC :- President – Benny Leonard ;Vice-President – Arthur McNally ; Secretary – Peter McQuade ; Treasurer – Wille McLaughlin ; Minute Secretary – ‘Snowball’ Boyle.

The year was 1948 and the love affair was about to begin.

The Committee nominated Duncan’s from Motherwell as the first coach contractor, with buses conveyed to every match, home and away, departing from the Church in Cleland Road near Carfin Cross. After Duncan’s developed excessive air conditioning (holes in the floor) and heating problems (the bus caught fire), the CSC booked subsequent coaches with Millers of Calderbank and Scott MacPhail of Newarthill, the main contractor for many years.

The original subscription charge was set at sixpence (2.5p) with fares additionally charged depending on the match venue. Several years later, S. Ahearn proposed that subscriptions be increased and match day fares lowered to benefit regular travelling members.

Early Carfin meetings were convened in Reid’s Hall above the Volunteer Arms in The Bell, the old Welfare Hall and the Little Flower Hall. In the years that followed, members of the C.S.C. would travel far and wide in support of the Bhoys.

The first great adventure came in 1967 when five members made the pilgrimage to Lisbon. The five lucky men were Lawrence Mitchell, John McCall, Alex Hattie, Ian Henderson and Jack Harvey, the latter winning his flight ticket from a prize draw held by the Club. As fate would have it, the plane was delayed and landed in Lisbon shortly before kick-off. In blind panic, the crazed Carfin men jumped off the plane before the steps were put in place, ignored customs and passport control and missed only the first 20 minutes of the match!

Around ten members made the trip to Milan for the second European Final in 1970, including Messrs John McCall and James O’Brien who managed to sneak into the players hotel before the match. It goes without saying that O’Brien’s tactical talk-in did not do the trick.

There have been many characters on the Committee too, none more so than the Club’s no nonsense Singing Bus Convenor, Barney Cullen. Barney would set a deadline for departure after every match and there would be no deviation or exceptions to the rule.

He once left 20 lost souls at East End Park and even left himself after a big match at Hampden. Previous Presidents since 1948 include Benny Leonard, Arthur McNally, Tommy Connell, John McCall, Ian Henderson, Patrick Kerr, Robert Bogan and Phil Agnew.

On 12 December 1984, the bus returned from Old Trafford after the game against Rapid Vienna. The driver contrived to take numerous wrong turnings and found himself deep in the Yorkshire Moors at 3 o’clock in the morning. A fuel shortage and a slow puncture followed before a police road block mistakenly took them for a coach load of flying pickets – the match was played during the height of the miners’ strike. The bus eventually crawled back into Carfin at 8 a.m., 11 hours after the match had ended. Some members travelled directly to work on arrival, hiring taxis to do so.

Whilst the main objective of the Supporters Club is to follow Celtic, the Club’s constitution also stresses the promotion of social functions for members, players and officials of Celtic F.C.. The Club has not failed in this respect over the years.

 25.05.1967. Photo: imago/Kicker/Metelmann Jimmy Johnstone (Celtic Glasgow) 

Although there have been many memorable Cup Final and Championship parties, the highlight of the social calendar is always the Annual Dinner Dance. These have attracted many Celtic celebrities over the years including Jimmy Jinky Johnstone, Danny McGrain, Paul McStay, Roy Aitken, Willie McStay ,the late Johnny Doyle, Peter Grant, Mick McCarthy, Tommy Burns, Peter Latchford, Ronnie Glavin, Malky Mackay, Brian McLaughlan, Pat McGinley Mark McNally, Tommy Boyd, Alan Stubbs , Joe McBride, John Fallon, John Keane,  Michael McDonald, Lubomir Moravcik and Martin O’Neill. A veritable collection from the Parkhead Hall of Fame.

May 21st 2017, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland; SPL Premier league football, Celtic FC vs Heart of Midlothian; Tom Boyd, Jim Craig and Willie Wallace stand behind the trophy Vagelis Georgariou 

There have been hundreds of supporters affiliated to Carfin in the last half century and many outstanding characters have emerged in that time. One of the most infamous was a man called Eddie McGinnis. No matter the result, when Eddie arrived back on the bus after the match Celtic were always ‘the greatest team in the world, bar none.’

On overnight stays in Aberdeen, Eddie would awaken every member in the accommodation with a banana rum alarm call – guaranteed to knock you out. One of his associates at that time was a devout Christian named Willie Damarodis. Willie would travel to every match home and away but always maintained the ritual of visiting the nearest chapels to any away grounds. Is it any wonder we did so well in the 60’s & 70’s.

There have been many characters on the Committee too, none more so than the Club’s no nonsense Singing Bus Convenor, Barney Cullen. Barney would set a deadline for departure after every match and there would be no deviation or exceptions to the rule .He once left 20 lost souls at East End Park and even left ‘himself’ after a big match at Hampden.

There have been many fine singers in the Club and many outstanding performances were given in Dundee’s Star & Garter on long journeys home from Aberdeen. One of the greatest was Packy O’Neill who was later made an Honorary Member of the Club. Other great chanters were Benny O’Neill, Bobby Lees and Jim Briody but none of these could compare with the Club’s two professional artistes in both James McGaghey and Raymond Tullips.

Another man to be awarded Honorary Membership was Jock Gibb, one of the founder members who sadly passed away a number of years ago.

Honorary Members of Carfin CSC include Johnny ‘Dusty’ Carr, a regular at all matches and club events and Pat McGinn a founder member of Carfin CSC (1948), now based in Chicago USA, who only received his honour in The Wattfield Bar Carfin at the end of 2002 whilst home on holiday visiting family, who included his brother and Club Social Convener Charlie McGinn, and of course to see his beloved Celtic play at Paradise again.

The Committee of the mid-60’s hit on an idea to involve the membership more in the administration and social side of Club business through the introduction of a monthly Newsletter. This was an excellent publication though somewhat moderate in comparison to the tabloid type versions of the 80’s and 90’s which took a light-hearted and often libellous view of Club affairs and Members at that time. Typical features were ‘Spotlight On A Member,; ‘The Rumours Page,’ and ‘Committee Darts.’

Carfin CSC (1948) has a wide spectrum of members, young and old male and female, from many areas outside the village and indeed from many countries all over the world. It is a great compliment to the organisation and reputation of the Carfin CSC (1948) that they have chosen, and indeed continue to choose, to join their CSC.

However, there is no question that the Club would not be in existence today were it not for their two greatest ever members, Lawrence Mitchell and Ian Henderson. It is right and fitting that they, and all deceased members and friends are remembered in Carfin’s Holy Mass each year.

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.

More from Football Without Fans tomorrow on The Celtic Star, the Celtic supporters website. Will it be your CSC that’s featured?

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

1 Comment

  1. My Parents were founder members of Carfin CSC and I travelled as a14 year old to the 1951 Cup Final when John McPhail scored to beat Motherwell.Great memories HH🍀