Over and over, Celtic fans are missing out this season

By Euan Davidson

December 30, 2020

Let’s be real for a second: not everyone has the means to purchase Celtic season tickets.

I know! I’m as shocked as you are. Turns out “disposable income” isn’t a thing for everybody, especially in a year like this (Herald).

Yes, the support has been split down the middle in recent months, what with protests, claims of entitlement, and so on. What’s true, broadly speaking, is that the Celtic supporter base is largely working-class. Also, they want what’s best for the club.

However “what’s best for the club” manifests as a subject of debate. What isn’t, though, is that Celtic fans are fiercely loyal, don’t suffer mediocrity and, by in large, know the history and roots of the club.

For my money, Celtic supporters are the best in the world. How you measure that is arbitrary; it just happens to be my point of view.

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So why are so many of us accepting the Celtic board’s “let them eat illegal streams” attitude, to misquote a mistranslation of Marie Antoinette?

TV cameras at Celtic Park / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic and TV, the way it used to be

Today, like so many others this season, Season Ticket holders with ‘Pass to Paradise’ will be able to watch Celtic v Dundee United.

That’s fine; it’s a fair return on the investment that ST holders made this season. They’ll have known that they wouldn’t be able to physically go and watch Celtic in 20-21. A little “added value” is their right. I get that.

But once again, I’m confused as to why the board aren’t keen to offer some kind of PPV deal for supporters who have either been priced out or late to the party in terms of season books.

Hibs are outdoing us. Stenhousemuir even offer a PPV route. Across the SPFL, pay-per-view is encouraged as a form of generating revenue (BBC).

The reality, as I see it, is that most fans could afford to splash the odd tenner on watching the Bhoys. Instead, a great number of fans will have to rely on – let’s say – other means to watch their team.

And I would stick my neck out here by saying that fans don’t want to do that. Despite everything, they’d rather give their money to the club, getting access to Celtic TV on a one-use basis rather than subjecting their laptops and phones to malware.

Maybe there are fans out there who love identity theft. Maybe they click on every spam email they receive, too – I can’t speak for everyone.

Celtic came out on top against Dundee United earlier this season / (Photo by Steve Welsh/Pool via Getty Images)

The solution is obvious

Season ticket holders may disagree with this, and they have every reason to. However, I’m not suggesting that the service ST holder get should be diluted. In fact, I’d argue the opposite.

The club needs to figure out some kind of bonus for those who have shelled out on season books and it can’t just be basic access to matches. Whether that’s an improved Celtic TV package, some kind of discount on the 21-22 season or something else.

Currently, huge swathes of Celtic supporters are priced out of watching their club. That seems wrong.

In a year like this, Season Tickets have been a much tougher choice. Disposable incomes in a pandemic-raged year are less of a guarantee than ever before. If Celtic wanted to split the support in terms of have and have-nots, they’re doing it successfully. That shouldn’t be the way, and it’s not a situation befitting a club like ours.

Other clubs around the league have offered their supporters, as well as opposition fans and neutrals, the chance to watch games on a one-off basis. Yes, it gets expensive, but it’s better than having to rely on some dodgy streaming service. It’s also a good source of revenue for clubs who are missing out on vast match-day income.

If Covid is here to stay well into 2021, Celtic need to adapt or they’re going to continue to alienate supporters. Stuff like this as well as not allowing press access for opposition, looks small-time and greedy.

We want to support the Bhoys in a proper manner. Again; not everyone was able to afford a season ticket this year. The Celtic board need to be better than this, and better about this.