The four-leaf clover & the Jolly Roger

This is probably the strangest thing for a blogger to say — “Hey, put down everything you’re doing right now and read this,” and then point to someone else’s work. But be forewarned: I’m doing that right now.

Hey, put down everything you’re doing right now and read this: Patrick Rodgers wrote this excellent piece on “The Shamrock: A Celtic Retrospective” regarding the relationship between fans of both clubs. Rodgers nailed it perfectly, and it’s worth your time.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

OK, glad you’re back.

Several weeks ago, someone laughably tried to discredit an argument on social media — where else? — with, “Well, you support more than one club!” After laughing myself into a change of underwear, my repsonse was, “It’s football, not marriage,” before blocking this woeful guy, who seemed to be overly protective of his sole IQ point.

Despite the fact that “following” and “supporting” clubs is different, he is right about me following more than one club, and I gladly admit to following several. There are more than a few reasons for this: I like checking in and seeing how the Yanks (and even Canadians, like Alphonso Davies at Bayern) are doing in Europe — except for Christian Pulisic, because I hate Chelsea and the rest of the Blues Brothers (Hamburger SV and Glasgow’s other Premiership club) — and I like checking in on former Celts and FC St Pauli players have transferred to and the clubs for which they now play. I even have a soft spot for clubs that care about their community, as I’ve outlined in this past blog item about Nairn County FC.

As far as supporting clubs, I have two — well, more if you count any club that is overtly antifascist and align with my politics. And, of course, there’s the club I “co-own” with hundreds of other members, Clapton CFC; after swearing to the Tons that, as a leftist Yank, I have references who will attest to the fact that I am the “anti-Glazer.”

But back to the point, those two clubs I unequivocally support are, far and away, Celtic FC and FC St. Pauli. They are closest to my heart.

Rodgers’ post on The Shamrock outlines why the terms “Glasgow’s Green and White” and “Hamburg ist Braun Weiß” are synonymous.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know why I have both a four-leaf clover and a Jolly Roger next to my name. Now the rest of you know, too.

Mon the Hoops. Forza St. Pauli

3 thoughts on “The four-leaf clover & the Jolly Roger”

  1. Brilliant Larry.
    I heartily and totally agree with you. It is logical to have more than one club and there may be various reasons for this. The reasons for Celtic FC and FC St Pauli are obvious, except to the type of gentleman you have described with the limited IQ.

    Like you, I obviously support Celtic and St Pauli, but I have a fondness for Villarreal also and have been to Spain to support them.

    I am just finishing an excellent book on St Pauli’s history which is thoroughly absorbing and traces the beginnings of German Football to the present century, as well as looking at fan groups and their relationships, women’s football etc etc.

    This, after reading about Rayo Vallecano from the outlying Madrid suburb from where they originate. Their story is similar and tied to their neighbourhood and they are also anti-fascist and left wing.

    These clubs have values are based on friendship, respect for others and support for the underprivileged and for refugees and those who are disadvantaged.

    Thank you for your blog. I always appreciate your posts.

    1. If you’re talking about the book “St. Pauli: Another Football Is Possible” by Carles Vinas and Naxto Parra, that is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it — it even has a chapter about Celtic & St. Pauli.

      I will have to look into Villarreal and Rayo. Thanks for the kind words. Hail Hail!

  2. Great piece this, I must follow about ten teams. Celtic, Albion Rovers, Man United, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Galatasaray, St Etienne and St Paulli. I collect football tops from all of these clubs and I’m interested in the history of all of them. I love reading about these great footballing institutions. My formative years were spent at the Coatbridge San Siro the ground of my home town team. Although my dad had taken me to a lot of Celtic games before I began watching the wee vers, it was at Cliftonville where my love of the game took hold. The first game I attended was Celtic vs Morton at Celtic Park 1970/71 season, the hoops pummelled the Morton goal but couldn’t score even missing a penalty, which Roy Baines saved, and subsequently got a move to Celtic on his performance that night. I was five years old at the time and I was crying because Celtic lost and my old man thought I’m not taking him again but thankfully he relented and a love affair with the game began. In 1973 when I was eight my dad was struck down with multiple sclerosis and had to give up a job he loved as crane driver in Ravenscraig. This meant money became tight which is why I switched to the San Siro and Albion Rovers and although I still supported the hoops I had an equal affection for the team from the town of my birth. I had a lot of great times watching both clubs and plenty of heartache too. The other clubs I’ve mentioned have come from places I’ve travelled to, my wife knew that family holidays would need to have a football club in close proximity. These clubs have all got a sentimental attachment and some holiday destinations were visited more than once. The old Ali Sami Yen stadium in the Mecidiyeyoy quarter of the Sisli district of Istanbul when Galatasaray played Fenerbhace is one that will test your nerve. It only held about 25,000 fans but it was mental and you could be sure your backside gave plenty of rounds of applause. The Turk Telecom stadium is twice the size so you’d think it would be more intimidating but it’s nowhere near as hostile in my opinion. A lot of people know the other sides I’ve quoted here but Istanbul on derby day is an experience you have to savour. I’ve made friends who I’ve got for life but I think I take after my old man as my health has now deteriorated to a level that I can no longer attend the football. I still love the game but unfortunately it’s from my armchair now, maybe one day I’ll write a book about the friends I’ve made visiting these grounds. I never made it to St Paulli oddly enough but I’ve only been following them for a few years now. My own son and grandsons are all died in the wool hoops fans and they got that from their grandad and myself.

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