The Year We Won Nothing

Im saddened to end that great series but life moves on .

I believe it was my partner in crime Majoc who mentioned a very special year on here earlier in the week . A year that we won eff all as a matter of fact . But what a year that was .


2003 would have been special anyway for me as it was to be my last year living  “ at home “ back in Belfast . Thus I was also lucky enough to attend a few games that season also and witness that great side , and they were I’ll tell ya . Some managers suffer from 3rd season syndrome but not Martin , his teams were better in their third year , presumably having had more time to garner knowledge of his style of play , which was not for everyone admittedly .


Looking back now it was a hell of a long slog that year and at the end of it I was exhausted myself from merely supporting . There was a buzz in the air that year , three in a row was within grasp and we had more than a few good players and one in particular who was great , and getting better . Lenny had arrived to shore up the midfield and Stan was producing his best form for the club ever .

The entire community seemed to live and breathe those games when I think back . Was hard to get a ticket to attend , the local bars were more packed than normal , and the strips were displayed proudly everywhere you looked . I would hear people singing Celtic songs just going about their daily business. Its easy to say but its so very true , we marched with O’ Neill !

The team really had lifted the spirits of the people and gave us pride in our hearts .

It was the first time I could remember that I didnt care who or where you played , if my team played yours we were going into it confident of not only doing okay but winning the match , and winning well .


Ecks Ebt all stars did the treble that year , and now we all know they werent registered properly or paying tax so it really does stick in my craw writing we won nothing at all .

The League Cup Final stands out for me as a cousin had booked her wedding well in advance and it was only when we reached the final myself and dad realised we werent gonna be watching it due to the ceremony . Wasnt the brides fault , she hadnt a clue , but you could see the signals and nods all afternoon  from certain patrons and family members who just had to know .

Hartson missed a pen to take it to extra time but I will never ever hold that against him as just to step up took a big pair , and remember Henrik was on self imposed pen exile at that time .

As for Seville , never watched it again and never will .  But as I mentioned earlier I was mentally drained by that stage myself so what must the squad have been like ?

Every 3 or 4 days for months seemed to be a huge must win game that they gave their all for , and time after time we walked out with not only our heads held high but victorious usually due to a certain King of Kings . Henke was almost divine that season , I couldnt ask for more from a man than what he gave . The pressure on him was probably immense but if he felt it he never showed it .

I dont like writing about that final , and their tactics , but I must admit I fancied our chances against everyone we came up against , until we drew Porto . Of course they would be in for a hard game but with the markets they can access , and the heat , I just didnt see it coming off and it didnt .  


But that season , that marvelous year , was everything and more a fan could want of their team.

We didnt win one single thing except the things that really count ,,, admiration , hearts and minds  , adoration , more fans , and my eternal respect . That was “ the “ year !

I will never forget it .

Notify of

Well said mahe,

Because it was all about getting there and shutting up a few faces, I never saw so many Celtic supporters coming together, happy, happy people, our first European final since 1970 and result aside bhoy did we enjoy it. So here’s to blessed Martin and a group of players who gave their all, what more could you ask of them?

In these currant times it looks like it might be a long, long time before we achieve a European final again, but Seville gave us hope, a hope that perhaps we just could, achieve it again, to never say never. With the right team and manager, somehow a blend of players once again we could achieve the impossible. With hope in our heart, we can take on the World,

So here’s to the Celtic a club without peer, a club with a generous heart, made up of many, many good, generous and wonderful supporters.
Hail Hail the Celts are here….

saltires en sevilla


So many memories of 2003.

Many positive, as you say there was a feelgood buzzzzz

For part of that year I worked in Dublin and missed a few home games.

All the teams with V in their name…except Porto…hmmmm

Remember watching the game at Celta Vigo in a bar fulll of Liverpool fans in Blanchardstown on a tiny wee telly as they hogged all the big screens for their game. Telling us few Celts how they were going to lift the trophy. Arrogant bassas

As planned, ar half-time I drove alone to meet my best buddy who was watching the game in the Herp Bar in the City Centre. Full of Celts and Big Bad John ragdolling them to score a vital away goal…that was one looooong second half.

Little did I know how Big Bad John was saving his best moment for the night I watched Celtic from the Kop…canny tell you how much I enjoyed that night…. part of me wishing I was sitting in a bar in Blanchardstown…


If I sounded a little bit bitter when I used those words,it’s because I am! We lost the league to the huns and their cheating lying down brethren in Dunfermline,we lost the UEFA final to cheating lying down conmen Porto,and we got blatantly robbed in the LC final-Clark was itching to send off Neil,and Big Bad John was two bloody yards onside when he “equalised” for us!

Don’t get me wrong,I was no more bitter then than I’ve been on many occasions before and since. Cheating basturts.


Porto beat Lazio in the semi. Or to give them their Sunday name,

Società Sportiva Lazio


The Gombeen Man

My ticket for the game in Seville is displayed on my Bhoy’s bedroom wall. It nests among dozens of other tickets which are like reminders of his childhood all the way to the present moment. Some of those memories are painful but most are warm, contented and joyful. A bit like a reflection on life’s ups and downs I suppose.

My own Dad had passed away a couple of years before 2003 .Mam in typical fashion decided that my brother and I were going, she paid for the tickets. Tickets were like ‘hen’s teeth’ bizarrely my other half heard of a guy from Cork who ‘had connections’. I called him and he was going out early to ‘source’ tickets and would call me.A few days later the phone rang and tickets were promised. The only problem was getting there.

All flights out of Dublin were full but luck was on my side. There was a seat available on a flight from Cork, The day before the match I drove from work in Tallaght and spent the night in a B&B in Cork. The landlady got up early to put on a Full Irish Breakfast for me and told me she’d say a prayer for the team.

Somehow in Seville we met up with the ‘Cork man with connections’ and the tickets were secured. I’ve never guarded a ticket for a game so much. The buzz in Seville was unforgettable and the reaction of the locals was very special too. I’ll always remember old folk being helped across the street whether they wanted help or not and a deep feeling of pride in all the good things that are associated with Celtic.

The long sweltering walk to the stadium, the highs and the lows and Henrik’s goals are the stand out points for me.
It was unbearable sitting in the airport. The Irish Departure Lounge are was like a Who’s Who of Irish personalities. Everyone was there, sports people, politicians, business men.. the lot.

The drive back from Cork was a long rambling road. A few coffee stops were necessary to keep me awake. The radio phone in shows were all chattering about the game. Folk had stopped whatever they were doing to watch. People had gathered in the foyer of cinemas to watch.

When eventually I got home the wife and kids had the Tricolour and scarves hanging from the windows and another Full Irish Breakfast was had.

That afternoon I sat in the local and toasted my good fortune to be a Tim, my parents, family and Martin O’Neill.

As I look at the ticket on the wall it’s like a reminder of all the folk that contributed to the Seville trip. My Dad, Mam, Wife, kids, my boss, the B&B, the ‘Cork man with connections’ and of course the team and the Celtic family.

A short time later I was on holiday when Rangers* won the League. It was a starkly different day. Karma, a financial crisis and ultimately HMRC would later fill in the gaps and illustrate exactly why I felt so down that day.

Scottish football has never recovered from the Cheating Years.


saltires en sevilla




Fuxake,oh how I envy you! I’d been largely out of work-and in a strange town,that ain’t easy!-for about eight months,got a start mid-April in the company that I’m still with. No way I could go.

And no way my Dad was going either. My Mum put her foot down,he’s nearly 65!

Aye,well. My sisters and I put ours down too. He’s gaun,ticket or nae ticket. Flights and hotel are booked,he missed the first two and he,like nearly all of us,thought he’d never see Celtic in a Euro final again.

He’s gaun. And he went. I’m fairly confident he’ll share some of his experiences on here later-he’s got to be careful,his daughters read this!-but he had a bloody great time,like everyone did. The experience,from what many have told me,was such that you couldn’t actually get too down about the result-fuck it,what an occasion,we’ll never see this again!

And they’re probably right too,but bloody hell,I wish we had won!!!

saltires en sevilla



The Gombeen Man

Maybe Jose is getting a lash of the Karma the noo :). I’ll look forward to reading your Dad’s story later. Rare treasured memories.
Good to have a place to record them.

The Gombeen Man


Thanks…Up Dublin 15 😉

I’d my last pint as a single man in Blanch 1993 (I think). A big pub in the Main Street…The rest is history 🙂

Awe Naw

The most amazing thing about Seville was the decision not to back Martin O´Neil anymore.

The problem with backing Martin would have prevented three things.

1) Peter Lawwell being employed for a lifetime. He´s just a cost cutter

2) Brian Quinn from getting his consultancy role with the Qatari government via his utterly ineffectual UEFA FFP role. I bet that was lucrative .. well done on helping to deliver on that Brian Quinn .., was the consultancy lucrative for you ? was everything above board ?

3) Dermot Desmond from being an even more absentee landlord.

Parasites CSC


In any business,there are two ways of going forward. One is to reduce costs and investment-with an inevitable downturn in quality-and hope that the customers either don’t notice,or cannot find a superior alternative.

The other is to invest in the product,and plan for the future with,ohfuckwehiredPL

So there ye are. Enjoy.

Awe Naw

Yes but it is the timing of that decision from so called Celtic supporters. It betrays their self interest and lack of ambition for Celtic and there opinions of the support in general (for clarity they think we are peasant scum)


Awe Naw

dumb ass peasant scum and … generally they are right. as 49 Quid kev can attestify too.

Make no mistake any talk of Celtic supporters happily taking it up the ass is this PLC´s biggest fear.
BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT IS TRUE. Catholicism and homosexuality has always been a toxic mix.

If you financially support Celtic you are taking it up the ass figuratively speaking and no amount of semantics will convince anyone but yourself … which …. the act of doing that …. is really an excercise in convincing yourself



The Celtic support who aren’t happy with the board over the last few years deserve more than vicious diatribes like that,or ridicule. It isn’t easy when you want change but can’t find a way out of that. We support Celtic. We had posters on our walls of the players,not the board.

Sack the board,back the team. That’s a sound mantra. Telling a Celtic supporter that he’s taking it up the arse by attending,frankly that’s not on,AWENAW,and you know it.

Try saying that to the guys in most Celtic pubs before a game,even to those who agree with your general point. The response won’t be pretty.

Using language like that to attack those who are being ineffectual in their attempts to see some change in approach is unfair,mate. We are trying,some more than others.

It could equally be said that you have no interest any longer in trying to change the current status quo,and because you have given up,anyone who didn’t give up at the same time is guilty of your charges.

I’d say,we fight on.


saltires en sevilla


To be fair the lads in the Blanch’ pub ( huge sports type bar adjacent to shopping centre) were fine, nae hassles and it was all genuinely good natured. Certainly they were 99%Liverpool fans . No half measures there, and the place was packed, was a wee bit surprised. Were 5 of us Scots supporting Celts and a wee local couple who watched it with us on the tiny wee tele in a corner. I’m sure the guy was expecting a quiet nite out with his girlfriend… nae chance!

Over for 2nd half to Dublin town centre – Fraser’s Bar (not Harp Bar as I originally thought) upstairs at top of O’Connel Street was 100% local Celtic Bhoys and ( me and my mate as 2 token Scottish Tims) what a celebration. They knew how to crank it up on a skool nite. Unfortunately, I was parked in Cathal Brugha, as driving. Nevermind, soaked up the fantastic atmosphere.

That was the first time I thought we might have a chance if going all the way…after feeling scunnered by that awful night in Switzerland earlier in the season.


Awe Naw


No I disagree. It´s crunch time. Make your mind up time. It has now went on too long.

You are either taking it up the ass and supporting the Old Firm or you are not.

Yes I agree most violent terrorists come from the rigid belief systems and would strike out at not accepting their limited view point.

It´s not my problem and I´ll keep telling it like it is.

UP the ass and enjoying it if you are giving them the money SUCH IS THE SIZE OF THE BETRAYAL

That you and the anal protruders cant handle it isn´t my problem.

Any threats of violence or acts of violence from Celtic supporters will be dealt with succesfully as always in the past.

Hey not only are Celtic supporters taking it up the ass they are paving the way for their sons and daughters to take it up the ass also.

I’m not here for popularity or to make friends. I dont need a Celtic blog to do so.



You and I have brandished swords,witticisms,pedantry-and humour,I hope-for a decade now. We much agree,but you throw a bomb while I cast about for the legitimacy of a vote.

If you know what I mean.

But then,aye,I get effed off wi pragmatism,only fight the fights you can win,etc. I’ve fought a few fights at work I couldn’t win in my time,and won those wi flying colours. But when you want people to stand behind your Standard,telling them that they matter not because they’ve been taking it up the arse for years is not a good move.

If there is a move against the board,you should be encouraging it. Not telling everyone that they are all,well,see above.

Fight your fights,AWENAW. Gain your allies. For you to post such as you have done today-and previously-doesn’t mean that you are the uber-Rebel.

It means that you have given up fighting.


No if 5% followed my example this Saturday it would get addressed. Sorry you are playing tbe plcs game. If you are giving them money then you have given up


I’m not giving them money. I’m 400 miles away,and missing it. My family do,three tickets between them.

Not one of the four of us has given up,mate. We support the team. I don’t think anyone including you and your bros could despise the board more than me,but none of us have given up.


PS -night shift,mate. Need ma cot. Manana?


Good Morning bhoys and ghirls,,
Dont ya just love Fridays !
Some great comments today to digest about that year , “ the “ year . Im just glad I was there to go through it , and I would chose to go through it all again . Me and the oul fella ( God bless your soul da ) had a ball . Was proud of my team thats for sure . Ultra proud to be a Celt during those great times . TGM that shoulda been an article by the way , great stuff.

Anyway Awe Naw I am in total agreement with you that the last thing we shoulda done after SEville was stand still . Who can we sign to improve us was the biggest question . That we did nothing after scaling those heights was and still is unbelievable . It still hurts . I think we got Juninho and Guppy very late in the day on loan if my memory is correct , and they didnt do much at all . So yep we effed up and although we won jack that year I think its fair to say we were in a position of strength .

On getting shafted 😉 we are in agreement though I would point out that it is much easier to disconnect when youre not living there anymore . Its such a huge part of our communities that it would very almost impossible to completely blank it . In such case it is a tad unfair to blanket blame everyone I feel . I think older folk just want to be left alone to their comforts in the twilight of their days and hassle like boycotts and Res12 are not for them.
But for those of us unhappy with what we see there must be a way to try and force some change,,,any suggestions ?
Although I personally do not use the terms you do please know youre welcome here and your input is valued , honestly . Youre a big boy though and should our bloggers “ start swinging “ well you started it ! 🙂
Hail Hail


Not you specifically generally speaking you plural.


Yes I agree with all of that. My wee Brar I’ve had this conversation often with him.

I am not interested in being a rebel.

I am only interested in gaining fairness and transparency which we will never achieve with this PLC.

I can live easily with being demonised as I live at a distance but the folks I love don’t.

When you’re wee Brar gets man handled out the door by the PLCs lickspittles it’s not forgotten.

Anyway apologies to all but it rips my knitten.



“the last thing we shoulda done after SEville was stand still . Who can we sign to improve us was the biggest question . That we did nothing after scaling those heights was and still is unbelievable . ”

Proven policy …5 year cycle …this summers was just a power play

Margaret McGill

Celtic supporters are being exploited by a greedy OF/SFA complicit PLC, who have no morals and who do not identify with Celtic supporters except to stiff them for cash.
Any Celtic supporter who denies this is an idiot. period.
It has been the biggest betrayal in my life.
I agree with Awe Naw of course.
Most Celtic supporters will pay and play along under the auspices of traditional catholic victimization.
I am not saying that it is not true I am saying it is being used for money.
Its one of the worst examples of hypocrisy I have ever witnessed.
The metaphoric imagery may be the problem here as it is absolutely figuratively accurate and abhorrent to the rigid catholic belief system. However, I despise the sanctimonious Catholic “arse protruders” as much as the vile repugnant huns.
Can anyone say Cardinal Keith O’Briien?
As for the year Celtic won nothing.
Can anyone say “Arteta’s penalty”? or “Deco being carted off at Seville on a stretcher….4 times!!”? I know these things as I was there with Awe Naw and Morrissey.

Apologies lads for not participating in your “Greatest Ever” series.
I’ve had it with Celtic nostalgia.

,big packy

awenaw and mags, love the passion you have for our team, and canamalar and morrisey. really wish I knew the answer, if enough supporters got together we would be able to get rid of this feckin board, alas methinks the bigot pound is too strong. luv ya bruvs.hh.

Garry Duncan

It sounds like you have had it with Celtic period. Loved meeting you and H in Lisbon last May, and the quality time spent in your respective company. You had more hope and faith in your soul then, than you seem to have now, going by your posts. Break on Through (to the other side) J. See you there.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all these articles during the International Break.

The Gombeen Man

At the end of the day we need identify the target to go after it.

Is it the PLC?
Is it the Old Firm?
Is it the SFA?
Is it the SPFL?
Is it Celtic Supporters?
Is it Celtic Nostalgia?
Is it the Media?
Is it the Catholic Church?
Is it homosexuals?
Is it homophobia?
Is it the intellectually challenged?
Is it Free Speech?
Is it the Huns?

And so on.

Pick a goal. One goal and stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things that have nothing to do with what the objective is…


Margaret McGill

None of the above. As Big Packy says its all about the bigot buck.
Thats the goal. Get rid of it or dont. If you dont you can add more to this list.
However, the horse has bolted. Watching Scotland from afar is like watching a train wreck.

The Gombeen Man

Yep, same as it ever was.

“The Old Firm, Bigot Buck is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.



Tomorrow could be the turning-point of the season for us and a platform for another tilt st the treble.

I love the look of the defence with Craig, Mik, Keiran, Dedryk & Filip in place – wish we could keep them together for the next three seasons.

Broony, Ollie & Calmac in front of them will do nicely.

Then Jamesie & a rejuvenated Scotty in behind Eddie.

Now that’s a strong team and with Bain, Hendry,
Sumunovic, Malumbu, Johnston, Christie & Morgan in the dugout, our strength in depth and quality in abundance, is now becoming apparent through the (mostly) self-inflicted problems we have had so far this season.

An unloading of the dead wood and 2/3 quality signings in January will do see us through.


And to think I woke up in a good mood. 🙂 Band practice later with the guys usually restores me to be fair.
AweNaw,,”,When you’re wee Brar gets man handled out the door by the PLCs lickspittles it’s not forgotten” i
If the brar were to let people know that story and what this shower are like it might help a wee bit , if it even sways one person thats better than nothing . Ill post it if he will write it ?

Mags, Jasus who isnt on the hit list ? 😉
And whats up with the defeatist attitude , we havent even got started yet ? Id be back in Belfast getting patted down to “ spread em Paddy “ still if we all thought like that . Any thoughts on how to foist them out ?
I reckon they are gone in 3 years anyway or sooner if 10 is derailed and lets face it , it probably will be as everyone and everything non Celtic is aligning against it . PLus if Peter just got reprimanded and ordered to open the purse strings he wont like it which might help somehow.

Who and what buys the club then is what we should be worried about . If you asked me to come up with some type of plan it would be start organising some type of either fan buyout when this mob are ready to go, or start organising buying a big chunk that will get a seat and voice which is probably more achievable .
Failing that challenge all the fans groups to step up and do something . They dont we form our own and go on a recruitment drive.
A banner flyover would be a bit of a statement and might make some squirm no ?
Mass leaflet hand out outside a stadium ?
Celts for Change 2 ? Bhoys against Bigotry ? Old Firm , Old Farce ?
And besides , if one branch is broke it doesnt mean the whole thing topples. Belfast Celtic were as big as their brother at one stage , theres food for thought .

As far as a footie fix goes , a small idea for next season is to find a team of absolute no hopers, no ones, just ordinary men that have thrown a team together in the worst amateur league going ,,, sponsor them buying the strips with the website as logo ,,, and living the ups and downs of the season right alongside them ,, with a different one of them each week writing a match report and team report for the blog complete with mobile phone footage of the goals ( for and against ) !.
The coolest part is , both us and the team will organise our end of season hoot for the same day / weekend and we all meet up for a hell of a bash ! I think it would be fun anyway . Not sure who would be more starstruck us or them 😉
Hail Hail


Gold ,,, The next 19 days sees Celtic in action against Hearts twice, Leipzig twice, Hibs (tomorrow) and Dundee. How do you see that spell going ? How many wins draws defeats ?
Battle of the Ulsterman tomorrow , should be good . Hail Hail

The Gombeen Man


Plenty of cause for optimism after our last outing. NL is no slouch though and we’ll face a different test and different tactics.
I’m looking forward to the game. I haven’t been for a couple of years but still support the team on the park, irrespective of my misgivings about the Gombeen Men 🙂

Thankfully, over the course of a season, the competition we face in Scotland is so poor, only complacency, particularly in the Board Room will threaten us.

I admire your optimism about our activity in January.



Hi jimthetim53 and thanks for stopping by . Youre welcome anytime . Loved that series myself and learned a thing or two . Hail Hail

saltires en sevilla


Aye, nostalgia is not what it use(d) to be …?

saltires en sevilla


Does the Celtic Trust have a plan to gather enough shares to gain a seat on the board?

Are they on the right path?

,big packy

mahe how you doin pal ,looking forward to the hibs game tomorrow ,as you say battle of the Ulstermen, you just cant keep them Ulstermen

Good evening Timland, been thinking about lighting the fire for the first time but will resist for a while yet.
So we are back to the proper football.
Funny thing is international football, people in the west see it as a pain, people in the poorer nations see it as something that unites them, been to a fair few ( third world ) countries over the years, when there is a match on it’s not uncommon to see 20-50 people huddled around a portable black and white, colour if they are lucky, tv watching the game, we really don’t know how blessed we are in the so called developed world.

saltires en sevilla


This will be one of the toughest games of the season.

We have a right game on our hands.

Jamesy will not get space….Tom will be covered.

Interesting selection choices for Brendan – twa strikers – one is not 100%

These 3 points are vital

Mahe, it made me feel like an imposter as a Celtic fan. Music was always my first love, I squeezed Celtic in when I could. I went to hundreds of games but many folk on here and CQN have been to thousands. And my memory is poor. So it was great to read the memories of the real experts.

saltires en sevilla

An Dun abu!


,big packy


Margaret McGill

AweNaw,,”,When you’re wee Brar gets man handled out the door by the PLCs lickspittles it’s not forgotten”
It was how res12 got started. Its well documented.

The Gombeen Man

A good post TET, maybe it explains why so many of us are so connected to Celtic. It goes back to the generations before us who had very little.

Sadly that connection is seen as fair game to the Gombeen Men, who only take and have the audacity to say it’s too ‘complicated’ for us to understand.

It’s very simple it takes a slice off our wallets and gives it to those who always exploited the common man.


Fairhill Bhoy

Gold-me and my dad can’t wait for tomorrow’s game,and none off us will be taking it up the proverbial ?

Fairhill Bhoy

TET-had to turn my heating off today ?In hot ML3?
I probably say (there but for the grace)so many times ?
Yet I’m still a crabbit wee shite?

Fairhill Bhoy

Mahe-this game makes you realise that wow what a team we had?

Garry Duncan

Just get fired into the Leith bassas fae first whistle.