The Lisbon Lions have been invited to and attended many events on a global scale in celebration of their remarkable victory exactly 53 years ago today. I would be surprised if indeed any of the Lions have had to pay for a drink when socialising among the Celtic family at these events in recognition of their iconic status in life.
Whether it is dinners, functions, golf days, fundraisers, supporters’ conventions etc. the Lions are a big attraction! It is often a way for the group to catch up on old times and reminisce of stories of yesteryear when in their prime.
However, where I noticed a huge difference in the Lions becoming even more at the forefront of club’s history, was in 1992. Indeed, the silver anniversary of winning the European Cup. Willie Haughey (ex-Club Director, businessman and lifelong fan) had the vision to form a committee in which Peter Rafferty (Head of the Affiliation of Celtic Supporters Clubs) also joined to call on other key figures with the associations to arrange several events as a tour per se to commemorate this landmark.
A special crest of a leaping lion was designed (see photos 1 & 2), and that crest remains the recognised logo of the Lions. The crest is proudly on each blazer and supported with a unique issued tie. The Lisbon Lions as an impeccably uniformed group of men show great pride when wearing their blazers and ties.
In 2001, we sadly lost Bobby Murdoch, the first Lion to pass away. Then Ronnie Simpson (2004), Jimmy Johnstone (2006), Willie O’Neill (2011), Joe McBride (2012), Tommy Gemmell (2017), Stevie Chalmers and Billy McNeill (2019) were also laid to rest. Therefore, the workload of the Lions representing the famous squad has increased with regards to booking their time. In saying that, try asking Bertie Auld or Bobby Lennox for one of their blazers as a souvenir, the chances will be zero as that is how proud the Lions are.
For today, I have chosen to focus on key milestone events from the 25th , 40th and 50th anniversaries.Listen to CHRIS TOAL with A Celtic State of Mind here:
25th Anniversary Banquet Invitation
The Banquet was held at the Thistle Hotel (Glasgow) on 24th May 1992. This was the flagship event of the celebrations. It shows the newly designed crest on the front, and inside it is written in gold text. I remember Billy McNeill telling me that it was his favourite event as going beyond midnight from 24 to 25 May was very special and meant so much to him. It is a very nice item.
25th Anniversary Banquet Crystal Whisky Glass
Specifically manufactured for the banquet by Glencairn Crystal in East Kilbride, the glass is made of full lead crystal and engraved with the Lisbon Lions 25th Anniversary crest and words: ‘BANQUET – 24TH MAY – 1992’. This is such a special item. It is held in high regard and is very rare.
40th Anniversary Banquet Invitation & Souvenir Print
The Banquet was held in a marquee on the pitch at Celtic Park on 25th May 2007. Here we have a lovely invitation card. It shows the 40th anniversary crest which was commissioned by Celtic FC. The inside refers to Silver Package for the event. Indeed, the same crest was on the team’s football kit and merchandise during 2007/08 season. The other item in this photo is a special promotion print given to attendees to support futures sales of the Lisbon Lions Opus Book. The photo is unique and was taken by Walter Looss Jr. I attended the event as a guest of Celtic for lending items from my collection to be used in a marketing campaign in the lead up to the launch of the new team kit. Headlining the night for entertainment was Simple Minds. I will share photos of the night on Twitter as a separate post.
40th Anniversary Banquet Table Number Card
The table number is 1 and made of double-sided hard card. It was slotted into a metal stand on top of table where I sat for the night. It has been signed by Jim Craig, Sean Fallon, Willie Wallace and Billy McNeill.
50th Anniversary Commemorative Programme
This item was included in a spectacular goody bag for guests attending the Lisbon Lions Dinner at the Grosvenor Hotel (Park Lane) in London on 31st May 2017. It was a celebration dinner and a fundraiser arranged by Tony Hamilton and a committee representing Celtic FC Foundation. The construction of the programme is magnificent and is the size of an LP Record. The quality is of a truly high standard, as expected and its design is stylised as an item of age from fifty years ago. A nice touch in my opinion. Inside it has been signed with a dedication from Pat Woods to me, in the page which focuses on his book with David Frier ‘We’ll always have Lisbon’. The Lion on the front is a reference to David Yarrow (famous photographer) in African wildlife.
50th Anniversary Dinner Tribute Book & Invitation
The small tribute book is full of best wishes and memories from people far and wide representing showbusiness, football and fans. It also has rather nice photos from Lisbon. Like the commemorative brochure, all the same attributes.
The invitation is very nice as it represents the match ticket. It was based on painted tribute of the ticket by a well-known artist commissioned by the committee. It specifies the event, has a number on the back and is kind of laminated. The invitation was kindly sent to me by Angela Dowdalls at the Foundation a couple of days after the event was held. It was her actual ticket for the dinner.
50th Anniversary Dinner Banquet Card & Rolex Promotional Card
The banquet card is in effect the menu for the dinner. It is a four-page item and has the same look and feel of the programme and tribute book. The Watches of Switzerland promotional card was part of the goody bag as a special Rolex Watch was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Not sure how many orders were placed that night based on a cool £5,000 retail.
50th Anniversary Dinner Limited Edition Print
The print was designed based on an original drawing by Paul Trevillion (famous sports artist in capturing ease of motion). Again, another special commissioned item by the committee and is approximately A5 in size. It shows a nice colour montage of drawings featuring Tommy Gemmell, Jimmy Johnstone, Stevie Chalmers (scoring the winning goal) and Jock Stein with the European Cup. The standard of the card it has been printed on, is of a high grade. This is something different and very appealing on the eye.
50th Anniversary Dinner Commemorative Mug
The mug is a fabulous item. It was used to eat the soup from, which was served as a starter. It is manufactured using quality stoneware and has the match ticket design on going around it. The design is in effect the exact same graphic as the invitation I discussed above. I am led to believe this is a very rare item purely based on the majority of guests returning the mugs to waiters / waitresses before receiving their main course.
That now brings us to the close on remembering Lisbon ‘67. Here’s hoping you have enjoyed the content and watch this space for more articles on key dates and memorabilia in the future!
Eddy GradyWatch A Celtic State of Mind at the Stevie Chalmers Auction here: