With Celtic making the near 1800-mile trip for our Champions League third qualifying round match against Romanian champions Cluj this week, now is a perfect time to introduce the Romania Celtic Supporters Club.
The supporters club finds its roots in 2014 shortly after Celtic’s last visit to Romania for a Europa league match against Astra Giurgiu. Buoyed by the engagement from the travelling Celtic support, Danny and Marius decided to try to set up a bigger presence in their home country for Celtic fans. Danny explained, “A few names were mooted in the early days, with Transylvanian Tims and The Romaniacs making way for the Romania CSC – making it inclusive for our entire country.”
Although the club has no official membership, Danny and Marius, who make up the supporters club, share their love of Celtic through social media and in their local bar in Cluj – The Old Shepherd. Unfortunately, the bar is closed for the match next week due to holidays, and I am sure the owners will be ruing bad timing and a missed opportunity of a bumper payday from the faithful Celtic supporters who will make their journey across Europe to watch the match and experience the local culture.
Travelling to Scotland for a match is pricey, however, Danny tries to make the pilgrimage at least once a year to watch Celtic in Scotland and in mainland Europe, with the Romanian CSC flag spotted in Milan, Prague, Munich and Dundee in recent years; so, with Celtic playing right on their doorstep, there is a real excitement building.
Marius’ first involvement with Celtic came back in the 1997/98 season watching Celtic claim their first title since 1988. It was an iconic season with huge historical significance to Celtic fans all over the world. It would be the millennium before Danny watched the Hoops and, in those days under Martin O’Neill, Celtic certainly left their mark on Europe with hard fought victories and, of course, the magnificent UEFA Cup journey to Seville. Neither Danny nor Marius have looked back since.
Through their travelling and studies, Celtic and the Celtic fans in particular have had a huge influence on the pair. With no family connection to Scotland or Ireland, the choice of Celtic is something of a surprise to some of their friends who were more fascinated by big-spending European clubs and the bright lights of the EPL. Danny, in particular, found inspiration in the link between politics and football, and the social importance Celtic has to so many people. He continued, “As much as the ‘Celtic Way’ is an attractive footballing style to see, it’s the fans and culture of the club that got us addicted. The spectacle, ethos and mythology were irresistible and we both instinctively identified with everything that Celtic represents.”
Due to work commitments and family life, it’s not always easy to watch the match together, although Danny explained, “When we do get together for a match we will advertise it on the Facebook page for more people to join us in either Cluj or Brasov so we can baffle the bar staff as we cheer on The Hoops.” Marius loves the no-nonsense approach of our leader and Captain, Scott Brown, and Danny has been impressed with the contribution made by Ryan Christie over the last 18 months.
Although only two members make up the Romanian CSC, Marius and Danny will be eager to meet many more like-minded Celtic fans over the course of the week and are hopeful that they will be celebrating as Celtic take another step towards the Champions League group stages.
Search ‘Romania CSC’ on Facebook for more information.
Martin DonaldsonListen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast