Football Without Fans – Manhattan No.1 Celtic Supporters Club

Manhattan No.1 Celtic Supporters Club 

Manhattan No.1 CSC welcomes visitors to the club’s home at Jack Demsey’s. It is the place to watch the Hoops, free of charge. The club was founded in July 1998 over a few drinks in the back room of the old Rocky Sullivan’s Bar on Lexington Avenue.

Present at that first meeting were Tony Quinn, Des Brownlie, and Kevin Browne. The current president is Stevie Wright after taking over from Robert Parker, and their members hail from near and far. In the aftermath of Celtic’s League championship win in 1998, Tony Quinn and this band of rebel Celtic fans decided that they needed somewhere to go to not only watch Celtic play live, but to be able to have a few post-game drinks and be able to sing the songs of Celtic.

Up until this time, they had watched the games with New York CSC, but problems had arisen over time with post-match celebrations, more specifically the songs they were singing after the games. Certain members of the NYCSC felt some songs were somewhat ‘radical.’ Coupled with this was the problem that the home of the NYCSC, Boomer’s, was an American sports bar, and post-match celebrations were often cut short by baseball, basketball, and ice hockey fans coming in to watch their respective teams.

To continue the celebrations, they had often gone to Rocky Sullivan’s, where they had acquired some space on the jukebox for their type of music, and a sing-song was positively encouraged.

The day Celtic won the league in 1998, they left Boomer’s after the game, never to return. Upon arriving at Rocky’s, they were handed bottles of champagne provided by the bar, most of which ended up on themselves, the walls, and the ceiling. The party went on all night.

They talked among themselves about the possibility of setting up their own club, and Rocky’s seemed like the natural choice. The formation of the new club drew curiosity from some in New York and resulted in the three original Bhoys going on Radio Free Eireann, a weekly show in New York broadcasting to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—a potential audience of tens of millions.

Their stall had now been set out, and everyone knew from the beginning what type of club this was to be. After discussions with the NAFCSC over the name, it was decided that it would be called the Manhattan No.1 CSC.

During the early weeks, Tam Donnelly in Canada gave loads of advice on starting the club, and Billy Ramsey from the Boston No.1 CSC was always encouraging. With the name in place, all that was needed was a little over $5,000 to put up a satellite dish and receiver.

Their saviour came in the shape of Chris Byrne (Seanchai,) a partner in Rocky’s and a Celtic supporter, who told them to go ahead, get the dish up. Chris was also the first person to pay for his membership in the club. Suffice to say, without this Celtic hip-hop artist, the club would probably not exist today.

One evening, an American couple just back from their honeymoon stopped in for a drink, and the husband, Dan O’Toole, became interested in the club and made several generous donations to keep them afloat. They brought in a few bits and pieces of memorabilia, put them up on the walls, and got ready for the new season. The three of them had decided that whatever the cost of the games, they would split it between them and sit on their own if need be to watch Celtic live.

However, as the new season opened, others joined the ranks of the club. Tommy McKeown was drafted in at the beginning from Kearny, New Jersey to lead the choir in song and bring in the pies for half time. The Logan Bhoys began to make the trip up from Southern New Jersey, and Pat Sweeney crossed The Hudson from Kearny CSC. Brian McCarthy, Brian Dempsey, Willie Holmes, Gerry Sullivan, and others who had watched the games in Boomers moved to Rocky’s.

In that first season, there were times when there were indeed just the three or four of them sitting in Rocky’s for games, but as word spread, the number of regulars grew. Radio Free Eireann kept plugging the club and calling live on the air for match reports. Their first big game was the 5-1 demolition of Rangers in 1998, and the place was bouncing. The party went on and on; strangers who had never been to watch a game were in awe as they sang and danced the day away.

After this, there was no looking back. Over the years, the club has continued to grow and has found a new home in Jack Demsey’s, and today they continue to welcome supporters from all over the world. They have seen members, good friends, and Celtic family come and go, but the club has endured, and it is still the same rebel enterprise it was in 1998.

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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