THERE could only be one choice for a Bhoy raised in the tradition of Celtic and immersed in the history of a remarkable club.
When Pat Quinn was reflecting on a name for the supporters’ club in a city on Sakhalin Island, in the far east of Russia, he decided it could only be: If Yuzhno the History.
Yuzhno, the administrative centre of a vast and lucrative oil and gas industry, is where Pat plies his trade as a quality manager in the energy business. The lad from Kilwinning has worked all over the world but his heart and mind is never far from Paradise.
“We meet on a Sunday afternoon in a local bar,” he says of the Yuzhno crew. “We call it the The Four O’Clock Gang. Sunday is our only day off and it is a regular event to meet and talk about Celtic.
“The 11-hour time difference can make it awkward to watch matches but I, like some of the other guys, are Celtic TV subscribers and watch them all, though the timing of the League Cup final left us bleary-eyed at work on the Monday.”
He added: “There is a relaxed air about the club. It is not really about formality. If you join the club, then you join it for life. We sell merchandise to club members and that makes money for charity.”
The club offers everything from a gallus tie to a stylish carriage clock, badges, polo shirts and tea mugs. The money helps charities on Sakhalin Island, particularly those with an emphasis on supporting children. Now the If Yuzhno the History Celtic Supporters’ Club is linking itself to the very core of the club’s tradition.
Celtic, of course, was set up to provide food to the hungry and the supporters’ club has enthusiastically signed up for the 67 Kitchens initiative, run by Celtic FC Foundation in conjunction with Mary’s Meals, that feeds more than 40,000 children every day. The name of If Yuzhno the History CSC will now be proudly displayed on the façade of a school kitchen in Zambia.
The legacy of 1967 has special meaning for Pat. “My Dad ran buses from Kilwinning and I joined him on them and on other supporters’ buses down the years. I am 59 so I’m spoiled as a Celtic fan as I was brought up watching great players.
“I was only a boy but I remember Lisbon vividly. I remember sitting in my parents’ house in Kilwinning on a beautiful summer’s night and, as a collector of memorabilia, it holds a special place for me. I have all the programmes – with pride of place for the final one.”
The extended Quinn family shares Pat’s devotion and there is a poignant aftermath to a moment of genuine tragedy. “I am the founder member of a supporters’ club in Irvine,” he says. “My cousin was killed in a car crash and my uncle gave me his Lisbon rug that so brilliantly captures that momentous moment in our club’s history. The rug is now framed and hangs on a wall in the supporters’ club.”
He is honoured to be associated with the Foundation. “We are built on charity,” he says of the club he loves. “We enjoy the success on the park certainly but it is all about supporting the needy off it. In Russia, you see people down and struggling and you wonder how they have been battered by life. You don’t know what has happened to these people. But we can make a difference on Sakhalin and in Zambia. This is the Celtic way. It always has been.”
The Yuzhno Bhoys know their history.
Alongside the If Yuzhno the History CSC, Celtic FC Foundation are honoured to work with many supporters’ clubs around the world in supporting the 67 Kitchens initiative across the regions of Malawi and Zambia.
A very limited number of school kitchens remain available for sponsorship. For more information on the project, please contact [email protected] / 0141 551 4321 or tweet us @FoundationCSC.