Martin Donaldson with A Celtic State of Mind – Celtic and Adidas: A match made in Paradise

For anyone who sat pressing F5 on their computer or pulled the screen down on their mobile device to refresh the page every couple of minutes on Friday morning, the wait was almost over. In scenes similar to Cup final tickets being released, Celtic fans across the globe bombarded the club shop website to snap up the latest design in club training wear, produced by our new kit supplier Adidas. Even with the connection issues and timeout problems, the pre-order release gave Celtic fans an initial glimpse into what will no doubt be an expensive summer for supporters, and a lucrative deal for the club and Adidas.

While Jock Stein sat in the shoe-shine box in Lisbon, his legendary team were already the polished article. The Lions soaked up the Lisbon sunshine in the days leading up to the club’s greatest footballing achievement. Pictures of the players relaxing in Estoril enjoying an ice cream, shopping, and strolling around the Lisbon coast show a confident squad with one aim – to bring back the greatest prize in that season of seasons. A closer inspection of the photographs show the players sporting trainers, I am sure you know which ones… The brand with the 3 stripes. From a wonder on the esplanade to controlling every blade of grass on the pitch at the Estádio Nacional those famous 3 white stripes (admittedly some crudely drawn on) are in unison with the iconic green and white hoops of Celtic.

Over time, football has changed from its working class roots into a multi-million pound industry. Commercialism, sponsorship and corporate goals are crucial in the survival of elite footballing institutions around the world. However, that does not mean ‘ordinary’ fans on the terraces or stands were left behind. The days of supporters dressed in a shirt and tie have been replaced with fans donning the casual insignia designer names and leading sports brands. None more recognised than that of our kit partner Adidas.

Listen to DAVID ELLIOT with A Celtic State of Mind here:

Some of the greatest moments in the beautiful game, captured in wonderful technicolor are sponsored by Adidas. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Adidas, supplying the ball for the FIFA World Cup and, no matter what age you are, we all have a World Cup moment etched in our minds forever. That 4th Brazil goal in the 1970 World Cup final, Mario Kempes scoring amongst the ticker-tape in Argentina, ‘the hand of god’ in Mexico ’86 all created by footballing genius, but all sponsored by Adidas.

Celtic are not short of truly symbolic moments captured in time. There is no match for that image of Billy McNeill lifting the European Cup in Lisbon… it will never be surpassed. However, over the years we’ve already dabbled in some iconic Celtic and Adidas imagery.

There are the drawn-on stripes on Billy McNeill’s boots for the European Cup final in 1967 – I am sure Adidas will forgive us for that now. In the 1985 Scottish Cup final when Davie Provan curled his free-kick over the Dundee United wall into the top corner of the net and moments later when Frank McGarvey miraculously curled a header beyond Hamish McAlpine to win the cup, the Adidas Tango ball span majestically into my heart and the history books. John Collins silenced the stands at Ibrox scoring the first free-kick in the all-new Adidas Predator football boots, a moment the Celtic fans were robbed of by the Ibrox club when they weren’t permitted to enter the stadium.

Nobody knows what on-field success will be achieved during the lifetime of our contract with Adidas, but early indications suggest both Celtic and the sportswear giants will profit from a long-awaited collaboration of two iconic global brands. This match made in Paradise is more than a decade in the making for some fans, perhaps more of a lifetime wish.

Martin Donaldson

Watch SAUL DAVIES with A Celtic State of Mind here:

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