Football Without Fans – Pittsburgh CSC

Pittsburgh CSC

Founded in 2020 after the pandemic stagnant isolation of the autumn of 2020 forced people to look inward and reach outward. It was a time of self-reflection and redefinition. People who had so much stripped from them sought to fill their hearts with new and rewarding pursuits.

Clinton Clegg, a local musician and resident of Pittsburgh’s North Side, grasped the opportunity to delve into an interest that had, for him, gone unexplored: global football. Not knowing where to start, he reached out to his friend and fellow musician, Sean Finn, a passionate Celtic fan with decades of support under his belt.

Sean’s advice to Clinton was simple: pick a club and immerse yourself. Clinton, seeing the convergence of his own Scottish ancestry and Sean’s experience as a sign, knew Celtic was the club for him.

Educating himself on the club’s history and values sealed the deal. He shared all of this in a conversation with his friend and neighbour, Jason Bernard, who eagerly joined in. The three of them set out to enjoy the game together, as the conventions of the day suggested: outdoors and with six feet of distance between them.

The 2020–21 season was a difficult one for Celtic supporters the world over, as the team’s form imperilled their pursuit of ten in a row. Despite setbacks on the pitch, Clegg, Finn, and Bernard (eventually joined by Finn’s old bandmate, Jay Leon,) watched each week’s games in Clegg’s backyard.

The coldest moments of the year were spent in the elements, huddled around an industrial space heater named Raiden, wondering when the Bhoys form would return.

As the campaign wore on, more friends were brought into the fold, and frigid early weekend mornings became events. Although the season ended in disappointing fashion, the collective enthusiasm for what was building injected the burgeoning club with a sense of optimism for what was possible.

The 2021–22 season presented an opportunity in the form of a new home away from home: Leo, a public house. With barman Bryan Muha slinging classic drinks and inventing new ones in a space full of football fans of all stripes, the Pittsburgh CSC truly began to take shape.

Then, as now, the club grew through word of mouth. The CSC took its first official road trip to visit Cleveland. To everyone’s delight, the Bhoys regained their form and reclaimed the Scottish Premiership title. 2022–2023 brought new regulars into the club and attracted Celtic supporters from as far away as Belgium and Glasgow, as well as the club establishing a new home in the recently opened Cork Harbour Pub.

The club looks to take the next steps towards fulfilling its goals by not only supporting Celtic and its members but engaging with the Pittsburgh community at large as well.

Celtic finds its supporters, and those supporters find each other. What started as the smallest definition of a group now grows season by season. In its roots, the Pittsburgh CSC is a collection of men and women who banded together to re-enter the world with a shared passion for world-class football.

As the club grows, it does so with a commitment to its values and the community it has created.

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 this week on The Celtic Star, the Celtic supporters website. Will it be your CSC that’s featured?

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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 editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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