Helmer Aslaksen's Glasgow Celtic Page

Henrik Larsson and mason in black

I'm not really that interested in soccer and I don't drink beer, but given my love for Irish music and Irish culture, there's only one team that I could possibly care about! :-) And how can anybody dislike a team whose supporters sing The Fields of Athenry? The lyrics are available at the home page of Pete St. John who wrote the song in 1979. So it's not an old folk song, like most people seem to think. You can read about the story of the song at the Grateful Dead Lyric And Song Finder. Some years ago there was a posting in a newsgroup claiming to have found a broadsheet from 1888 with the “original” version of the song, suggesting that Pete St. John's version was a copy. However, this seems to be a hoax. For more details, see the page Origin: Fields of Athenry.

Tore André Flo, Thomas Myhre, Ståle Stensaas, Dan Eggen, Henning Berg and Egil Østenstad (the Norwegians who have played for Rangers) and their supporters prefer The Billy Boys about being “up to our knees in Fenian blood”. This song has been Ranger's unofficial battle hymn for generations. It commemorates the exploits of the inter-war Glasgow gang of that name, founded by Billy Fullerton. Fullerton was one of Mosely's Blackshirts, a member of the British Union of Fascists and a founder member of the Ku Klux Klan in Scotland.


One of the best discussions I've seen on the web of sectarianism in Scottish football is the series Football and Sectarianism: A Background Picture by Andrew Sanders. It used to be available on a Hearts site, but the link is bad now. Fortunately, he has sent me a copy.

Another great article is Soldiers, sashes and shamrocks: Football and social identity in Scotland and Northern Ireland by Daniel Burdsey and Robert Chappell Brunel University, UK.

Helmer Aslaksen
Department of Mathematics
National University of Singapore

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