Football Without Fans – James Stokes VC CSC

James Stokes VC CSC, aka Glenties CSC…

James Stokes VC

In 1976, Celtic requested that supporters clubs stop using the names of public houses, so Glenties CSC from Gorbals changed their name to James Stokes VC CSC in honour of James, who was born in Gorbals.

James Stokes won his medal in a fierce battle shortly before the war ended. He was a private in the Shropshire Light Infantry, where he took 12 prisoners and was wounded in the neck but he refused to have medical treatment. He was wounded again in another attack and captured five more Germans. James died on March 1, 1945. His VC was the first for his regiment. You can read more on James Stokes wartime heroics HERE.

A James Stokes Hero Fund was launched for his widow Janet and his son James. Harry Lauder was so touched that he played at The Metropole Theatre on Stockwell Street to help raise funds. The fund raised £1761 13s 10d which Janet received half of this. The rest was put into the maintenance and education of James, who got the balance on his 21st birthday.

At the time, Mrs. Stokes’ entire income was £2 7s 6d a week, her husband’s army allowance, which continued for thirteen weeks after his death. After that, Mrs. Stokes and James got £2 3s 6d a week. The trustees put a request out in the press, saying they would be grateful for the offer of a cottage or a two-bedroom flat to rent or purchase.

Glenties CSC was founded in the early 1950s and was named after the pub it left. Joe Gallagher and Hugh Twigg ran the club for years. The bus made its first of two pickups in Prospecthill Rd. in Toryglen, where there was a huge Celtic fanbase, and then it made its second pickup in Clelland St. in the Gorbals at a pub called Clelland Bar.

Almost all of the people who got on the bus were originally from the Gorbals but had been moved out of the brand-new houses in Toryglen. It was always busy, with a few seats going unused. It was a very respectable bus with some elderly women seated at the front, which meant next to no swearing or anyone being rough.

Glenties CSC was not an affiliated club; it was more of a gathering of Southside Celtic fans who knew Joe Gallagher and his ability to organise transport to matches. They had the Donnelly family and the Gillans, to name just a couple of Celtic clans, and Joe was a legendary Celtic supporter with influence over important people at Celtic Park.

He was one of very few people who flew to South America for the World Club Championship. It was Joe who was lent the Scottish Cup trophy the night after Celtic won it in 1965. Ian Doro was one of the lucky ones who got to hold the cup that night in the League of the Cross Hall in Gorbals.

Joe enjoyed arranging charity events in Celtic’s name and was influential in attracting some members of the club to attend. These were held in St Mungo Halls and were always well attended. Soon after Lisbon, there was a celebration concert to which the Celtic board and staff were invited.

Jock Stein, Celtic manager

Ian was assigned as usher and introduced the guests onto the stage where the Coatbridge Republican Flute Band was playing. One by one, the board members were introduced, and then, to his delight and wonderment, one was the legendary Jock Stein. As the band was by this time in full rebel flow, Jock whispered in Ian’s ear, ‘Aye ye cannae beat the old Hawaiian music, big man.’ He nearly wet himself. The legend had spoken to him, and his words are etched in his soul.

Some of the bars in Gorbals where buses left included Granite Bar, Lizzie Bar, Phoenix, Blarney Stone, Govanhill Bar, Mungo Bar, and Treanor’s. Father Cormac was a former African missionary and an honorary member of the club. James Stokes, VC, CSC, is now based in The Brazenhead.

David McIntyre  –

Footnote from a Buckie Thistle supporter Martin Stuart, who has read this article on The Celtic Star today and left this comment on our Facebook page. Here’s what Martin posted…

“Buckie histle had a player who won a VC. He survived WW1 and served again as an anti-aircraft gunner in WW2 defending all of us and our families.

“George Mackintosh as a Gordon Highlander single handedly took out two light machine-gun posts about to rake his battalion with flanking fire. He regrettably in his own words had to kill both crews with bayonet and grenades. He then carried the weapons back to his own position to avoid them being re-used.

“He played as a creative midfielder for the Jags between the wars before re-enlisting and becoming an RAF flight sergeant operating anti-aircraft gun sections and being again decorated for his sterling service in training and operating the defences during Nazi bombing and V1 offensives.”

And another update, this time from Celtic supporter Bernard McEneny who had this to say:

“Enjoyed reading your article on the Glenties/James Stokes. My father owned Benny’s Bar at Gorbals Cross. The Glenties bus left from Benny’s Bar from the 1960s to the mid 70s, until Benny’s Bar was demolished as part of the Gorbals “redevelopment”.

“I remember Joe and Hughie Twigg well. My father and I sat near Hughie in the South stand at Celtic Park until the move to Hampden. When we returned to Celtic Park, our seats were moved to the North Stand and, sadly, we never saw Hughie again after that.

“The bus was still leaving from Benny’s when the club was renamed. My recollection from the time is that my father told me that during the period of the troubles in the early 70s, Celtic had asked clubs with names associated with Ireland to change their names.

“As I understood it, Glenties was the name of the town in Ireland that Joe Gallagher’s family came from, however I may be wrong on that.

“Jim Kerr (Simple Minds) recalled going on the bus from Benny’s to the Manchester United pre-season friendly at the start of 1966-67 season.

“PS Michael Owen (ex Liverpool)’s great uncle Terry Donnelly was a member of the Glenties club. My father travelled with Terry to Liverpool for the ‘66 Cup Winners Cup semi final second leg. They stayed with Terry’s sister, who was Michael Owen’s granny. Michael Owen’s father, Terry Owen, was a professional footballer with Everton among other clubs.”

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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