Valencia St Patrick’s CSC
When Sean McGuigan moved to Valencia in 2004, watching Celtic was not guaranteed in a pub environment. In those days, St Patrick’s Bar in Valencia only had two feeds, and generally, EPL games were given preference over Celtic. Even if it was on, it was on in the corner.
This was the reality, and even the presence of Roy Keane for a game against Rangers didn’t get Celtic on the big screen. More and more ex-pats seemed to arrive who were Celtic fans. The GAA was a good focal point for bringing more people into the pub where they met, and the idea of the CSC was born over lager.
It is a group of Celtic-loving, left-wing boozebags. The pub has also been very pro-active and flexible in helping them out with drink promotions and fund-raisers. Paul Donnelly moved to Valencia in September 2015, which turned out to be Ronny Deila’s last season in charge of Celtic. Towards the end of the season, he’d gotten to know some of the Celtic fans, and there were drunken mentions of getting a club together. Any memory of these maiden discussions soon faded during the hangovers the following day.
Ronny’s departure and the huge buzz around the football club at the start of the new season were enough to push them to call a meeting and agree on a club structure and ethos. They voted John Devine to take the reins for the first two years of the club.
They took the name of their home pub, St Patrick’s, and set about deciding what they would be all about. Like Celtic, they wanted to base the CSC on a charitable ethos and committed to supporting one local charity and one international one. In those early days, they also made a commitment to always stay true to their Irish Republican and left-wing political beliefs and to use the club as a vehicle to exercise those views when the opportunity arose.
The club started off with about 5 or 6 members, and this grew slowly over the first season up to about 10. Their Celtic social media presence really helped them get the word out quickly, and their Twitter and Facebook presence grew. This helped them get the word out to travelling Celts passing through Valencia to come and join the CSC and enjoy the games with a bit of craic, and they usually trap them in St Pat’s until the wee hours of the morning.
The pub is on Gran Via, a stone’s throw from the City Centre but secluded enough. On a normal matchday, they have anything from one lad who’s left the missus to go shopping, to a group of 9 or 10 plus. They always have a presence of members in the bar for every game, and for the bigger games, they would have close to 20 members plus the pre-match tunes going.
They have created good connections with other Spanish CSCs, especially Celtic Submari and Madrid Emerald CSC. The latter gifted them a dedicated Glaswegian who made the short trip from Madrid to Valencia to escape the metropolis of the capital. However, Kevin Kane’s move to Valencia wasn’t his first time in the city. His opening ‘performance’ in St Pats came during a visit along with some ‘companeros’ of the Emeralds back in 2018.
The excitement of a game against theRangers was just too much for Kev to handle. He was well oiled before kick-off, and by the time Dembele put the Panenka penalty into theRangers net, Kev had found a cosy spot in the corner to catch 40 winks. The token long-suffering Rangers local was only too willing to lend her blue jersey to the peaceful Kevin, and he lay there wearing a Rangers top while the bar went nuts with a 4-0 win. ‘Més que un club.’
They are proud of the charity work that they have managed to carry out. They decided to support the local homeless charity, Amigos de la Calle (Friends of the Street,) and they have worked closely with them now for four years. Every winter, they run a clothes drive for the homeless, which has grown massively year on year. They also send volunteers to help the charity on their weekly runs, providing clothes and food to the homeless in the city. It is something the club is immensely proud of, and they are glad to have found a charity that carries out such great work.
— Valencia St Pats CSC (@ValenciaPatsCSC) December 28, 2023
Looking further afield for causes, they were unfortunately struck by a disaster, as often happens in charitable work, when, in April 2018, the Great March of Return in Gaza was met with extreme Israeli violence overwhelming their health service. Credit goes to a great friend of the CSC from Colchester, Oli Jennings, who, during a trip around Andalusia, suggested doing a night in aid of Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP). A month later, they organised a traditional Irish music session after collaborating with the group Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions Pais València. The night was a huge success, raising 800 euros for MAP and raising awareness of the plight of the people of Gaza.
For the members of their CSC, like John McBride, the club is a taste of home. They have been lucky to gather a like-minded group to share their love of Celtic. They also get their fair share of tourists passing through the doors after hearing about the club from the last guy who joined them and got slightly carried away with the drink.
One Thursday night, they were watching Celtic play Zenit St Petersburg. It was a tense affair, and they had a couple of visitors watching. The lads were chatting away about the game at half-time when a couple of their sharp-eyed female members realised one of the guys was Paolo Nutini. When McGregor volleyed in the winner after 78 minutes, he went straight to the bar for a round of shots for every Celt in the bar. He was recording an album in Valencia at the time and came in for three or four more games. Top guy, and welcome back to St Pat’s any time.
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. 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.