The re-sell value of a Celtic top isn’t particularly high. However, add the bona-fide signature to the shirt of a Celtic first team star and you can expect the asking price to sky-rocket.
Is that perhaps why Celtic have popped up a sign advising those who hang around outside the Lennoxtown training ground that their wait to meet their heroes will be in vain? The sign states:
“Please note, unfortunately players or management are not able to stop for photographs or autographs at this site. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”
For Celtic daft kids – the future support for the club – the chance to grab a quick word or secure an autograph from the likes of Callum McGregor and Jota must be like all their Christmases coming at once. It’s the sort of experience that makes you feel close to your heroes and enough to ensure a supporter of the club for a lifetime. As such it’s a dreadful shame that it appears to have been stopped.
Yet can you really blame the club, or does the real blame lie with the professional collectors who know the purchase of a £60 shirt can turn into a return on investment of eight or nine times that amount once a player has initialled it with a marker pen – and push their way past the parents and their kids who are there for a quick word with their heroes rather than to turn a quick buck?
Perhaps there’s less to this than ensuring supporters aren’t ripped off by such E-Bay merchants. Perhaps there are health and safety issues and the club have been warned to try and address people hanging around on public roads when there is traffic around. Or is Celtic protecting their own income here? After all a signed top in the Superstore will set you back in excess of £400 – unless it’s Giakoumakis’ shirt your after of course, after all Celtic will knock a score off for the tops of those who have departed the club.
Whatever the reasons for it, it seems a sad state of affairs when an age old tradition of kids hanging around for a scribble on a scrap of paper, that they’ll hold dear for years to come, has to be stopped in this way.
We’ll leave the final comment on this one to John Paul Conners who commented on the Celtic Collectables social media account:
‘Probably because it’s not a handful of kids wanting shirts signed, but grown men demanding loads of strips and merch gets signed so they can flog them on eBay. Embarrassing stuff’
Nail hit firmly on the head.