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  • Celtic: One Club, open to all

    Celtic: One Club, open to all

    By: Newsroom Staff on 07 Mar, 2018 13:33

  • WITH Celtic supporting the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) week of action, the Celtic View spoke to Peter Joyce, Chairman, Celtic Disabled Supporters’ Association (CDSA)

    How many years have you been coming to see Celtic and what is your earliest Celtic memory?
    I have been a season ticket holder for over 30 years so I have seen a few games. As for my earliest Celtic memory, being aware of my Dad and older brothers celebrating over football matches when I was a kid, from the ’67-era onwards, I understood when I was a few years older.

    When was the CDSA formed and how long have you been involved?
    The CDSA was formed in the summer of 2011. Along with my now wife, Maggie, we got a couple of friends to join us to get it off the ground. Maggie and I had been involved with Celtic for many years with regards to improving facilities and policies affecting disabled supporters. It was good to launch the CDSA and put this engagement on a more formal footing.

    Where is your own seat within Celtic Park?
    Like other wheelchair users, I bring my own!  I am now at Level 3 in the North West corner in what is known as the Tommy Burns View (TBV), a name voted for by disabled supporters after the area was created in 2014. The TBV not only provides a great view but gives cover from the elements, unlike the years spent on the red ash trackside, and the front of the North Stand.

    As you will be aware, Celtic are promoting CAFE Week of Action to celebrate disabled people and the important role they can play in both football and the wider society. This is being done through the message of Total Football-Total Access. In what ways do the CDSA promote this important message?
    Since its inception, the CDSA has had two main roles, to improve access to Celtic Park and elsewhere and in a social role to involve disabled Celtic supporters in the community with CDSA events at the stadium. Furthermore, there are 40+ Access Panels through Scotland and we promote the idea of members joining one as it can help with social inclusion. Our messageboard has fostered a good community spirit in exchanging views and ideas amongst our members. We have others involved in Amputee and Powerchair football groups, which shows there is a diverse range of ‘football’ involvement. It is well-documented that there is a large waiting list for suitable places at Celtic Park for disabled supporters. Committee members have regular meetings with Celtic and addressing the needs of those on the waiting list is always high on our agenda. Total Football Total Access means we don’t want anyone to miss out on coming to games. The CDSA now allocate all blue badge parking places at the stadium. This is done on a match-to-match basis by ballot and has allowed many people with mobility issues to park nearer the stadium, but we need more places.

    Do the CDSA work closely with other Disabled Supporters’ Associations throughout the country?
    Yes, representatives of clubs’ DSAs get together several times a year to discuss relevant issues and exchange views on making improvements to the physical environment as well as policies.

    Do the CDSA organise social events outside of football and what is involved in this?
    Yes, we have always believed that involvement socially by disabled supporters was a very important part of our set-up. We usually have five events a year held in the Kerrydale Suite - three on a non-home match weekend afternoon and a further two at night. The afternoon events are informal, free to members and include a CDSA update, often a Q&A with a first-team player or ex-player, a bite to eat as well as a quiz and raffle. We have a fundraising dinner-dance each year, with the next one coming up in April, which includes a three-course meal, a guest speaker, a live band and some fun casino tables. We keep the prices for this event very reasonable for our members, their family and friends which attracts a few hundred for what are great nights. Our more well-known patrons Jim and Elisabeth Craig, Lisa Hague and Tom Boyd are regular attendees at our events.

    What is your best Celtic memory?
    There are so many to choose from but I think it would be Tom Rogic’s goal at the Scottish Cup final to clinch an undefeated treble last season. The atmosphere was fantastic and the relief was palpable.

    In two words describe what it was like being a Celtic fan during last season’s Invincible campaign.
    Smiling. Pride.

    For more information about CAFE and the CAFE Week of Action, please visit www.cafefootball.eu or email us at [email protected]

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