Football Without Fans – Sunderland CSC

Sunderland CSC

Founded in 1962 by John Todd, John Dorian, Bobby Cairns, and Davie Gibb. They were joined by Ian Young, Dave Stokell, and Tony Carr, who introduced Kevin Whiting and various other lads in the early days, such as Stuart Lane, Neil Rafeek, and guys who enjoyed the Celtic but didn’t travel.

The club was attached to the Sunderland Catholic Club, and this was their first base. Every Sunday, they met in the concert room running cards and Templegate double racing tickets to raise funds to subsidise trips. For Aberdeen or Dundee away, they would leave the club at 11 p.m. or kicking out time, and the designated driver would haul the hired bus up through the night. John Todd, or the ‘Ayatollah,’ as he was affectionately known, always had a contact for tickets, and as they grew as a club, they became strong members of the CSA.

They would stay in Aberdeen, or Dundee overnight on Saturday and get back on Sunday. Memorable trips to everywhere in Scotland, included invites to CSCs in various places in Glasgow, Greenock, Springburn, and Clydebank after the game, and travelling back through the night. Memorable European trips include Laurie Cunningham’s Real Madrid at Parkhead and the farce against Rapid Vienna, then Manchester. Home and away against Nottingham Forest, bus trips to Berne, Cologne, and Hamburg, where they played 15 a side in Reeperbahn before the game. The prostitutes in the windows cheered for the drunken Celtic fans.

The club, by this time, had moved to the Blandford Pub in Sunderland around 1982. Kevin Whiting took on a role that effectively ran the club along with Tony Carr, and they had a tight-knit group of friends who didn’t miss a game.

They were travelling abroad by then, meeting up with the Belvedere bus at Carlisle. They also interacted with some of the Tyneside No.1 CSC, and memories abroad with Harry Van De Velde remain strong. The Blandford became the Ivy House. At this point, the dynamic towards the mid-90s was changing. Getting older, young families, and life in general—no young lads coming through—started affecting the numbers, so they started changing to smaller buses, travelling as they could with other clubs, trains, or using cars more.

In one game outside Ibrox, they broke down and were towed from Govan to Sunderland. Rangers fans taking the mickey out of them as they crawled away was embarrassing. On another trip, Kevin Whiting hired a clapped-out minibus on the cheap.

On passing Ecclefechan, it caught fire. As flames licked the bus, they all bailed out, apart from Peter ‘Sammy’ Taylor, who was disabled, couldn’t walk and was stuck. Jamie Fleming ran back into the burning vehicle with disregard for his own life, climbed over Sammy, and rescued his carry-out, returning triumphantly but leaving him still sitting there. As another member rescued Sammy, Jamie got stick…because the cans were warm!

They later formed a very successful football team and won many trophies with some very good local footballers. The team ran for 15 years, wearing a Celtic shirt in any format. The place to watch the games has moved around a bit. People have come and gone as the old guard has left this mortal coil, and the young ones who joined the club all those years ago with all the vigour of youth are grandads now. Members over the years have included Don Cameron, Julie Fleming and Ray Carr.

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.

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.


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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