Celtic FC Foundation has a membership scheme Walfrid’s Wish, which costs £3 per month. Selected from the winning categories listed below, six lucky supporters will be chosen to accompany
Jim Craig is eager to share the stories and the importance of the base on the Ayrshire coast.
His talent would now be calculated in multiples of millions. But more than 50 years ago, the future Lisbon Lion was poised for a challenge that held only £2 as its reward. The scene was the swimming pool at Seamill Hydro in Largs and Jim Craig was ready. “Bobby Murdoch bet me that I would not dive off the railing outside the ladies changing room. It was only four feet of water. But I took the £2 bet on and stepped up onto the railing and dived but in mid-air I heard a roar,” says the Lisbon Lion.
“When I came to the surface, the boss was standing looking down on me. His verdict was that I was an idiot. I got fined, and it was more than the £2 I won.”
The wrath of Jock Stein was ignited but Jim and the other Lions remember Seamill as a place of contentment and relaxation. They are now set to share that experience with Celtic fans.
The prize includes travel with the Lions, lunch and a tour of the facilities. It is the sort of prize that has no price. To enter text the word CHAMPION to 70020 to give £3 per month, or sign up online at www.celticfcfoundation.com/champion.
“The team had been going there for a long time. It was always the home from home,” he says. “We could let our hair down. In other hotels we had to be more formal, but at Seamill we could walk about in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and nobody batted an eyelid.”
The Lions also revelled in the facilities and the location. The trip to Seamill was relatively short but it took the players from the pressure cooker of Glasgow before big matches.
“It had a swimming pool and baths that were wonderful for relaxation…as long as you did not have a bet with Bobby while the boss was about,” he says with a smile.
”It also has a lawn in front of it that goes down to the sea and was used for light training. We started every morning with a walk. We went along the main road towards Largs and then cut across the far end of West Kilbride Golf course on to the beach and back to the hotel.
“At night we would play cards or go to the Viking cinema in Largs. There would be 17 of us in one row passing ice creams along to each other while in the row behind Jock and Neilly Mochan were keeping an eye on us. Put it this way, if you nipped out to the toilet you had to be back sharpish.”
The importance of the trips to Seamill lay just under the contentment of walks to the beach or nights in front of the big screen.
“It was a very relaxed place to go and it was good for team morale. We had been together for some time and we were all good pals. We all got on. But there was a deeper purpose.
“We went before an important game. In fact, you could tell it was an important game if we went to Seamill before it.”
He tells what seems at first like an insignificant anecdote but one that reinforces the importance of Seamill to the Celtic squad.
“I once pointed out on the bus to Bobby Lennox that on the way up from Seamill there was a gate in a middle of a field that was supported by posts. But it wasn’t opening out to anywhere. It was daft. But after I pointed that out to him he would invariably shout coming up from Seamill: “Cairney! The gate!”
“Strangely that would make us feel better because it was something we had seen before. We were going to play a team we almost certainly had not met before if it was a European tie, we were going into new territory so it was handy to hold on to the things you knew so well.”