a brief blog of Celtic Pools the Early Years
Way back in the day, before modern technology, there were very few ways for football clubs to generate extra revenue. Match days, of course, was the main income source, TV income was very very poor (this is long before satellite & cable TV) & merchandise was not properly marketed. An unlikely source of income that grew up around the 1960s was the Club's Celtic Pools.
Celtic Pools is a form of gambling, whereby for a nominal sum (then £1-2 per line bet) supporters were to pick around ten matches with 3 pts for a score draw and 1pt for a win, with those who tallied the most points winning the jackpot.
Rangers Pools, at that time, were more organised and successful. Celtic were playing catch up, and at one time even tried to place Jock Stein to overlook the operation as part of the Celtic board at the end of his time as Celtic manager, but he declined the offer. From outside it may sound surprising, but it was a potential massive revenue generator and therefore a high responsibility.
Jock Stein is said to have remarked that the board wished to turn him into a salesman but he wouldn't and couldn't see himself in that role.
The results and updates of the Celtic Pools were printed in the local Glasgow papers, and was reasonably followed by some.
The Pools, initially, were to generate revenue to add to funding the development of the Celtic Park, the lack of work at Celtic Park over the next generation is an indication of how little finance it produced (as against high expectations) or, more to the point probably, how poorly any funds generated were deployed.
The decline in Celtic Pools came hand in hand with the start of the national lottery in the late 1990s, along with Littlewoods and Vernons etc, just couldn’t compete.
The Celtic Pools retained more in a diminished form as a novelty factor in later years, but what it generated helped to support Celtic's youth schemes.
Another sad reflection on how football has changed over time, maybe not for the better either!
In March 1st 1964 : "Chairman, Bob Kelly, announced that Celtic intended to start a weekly pools so as to raise money for the development and improvement of Celtic Park. Celtic were following the lead set by Dundee United’s “Taypools” in 1956, and by Rangers (IL) in the early 1960’s.”
A fan recalls:
For some unknown reason Rangers Pools blew us and everybody else put together out the water when it came to the prize money on offer. They were paying a top prize of a £100K when we were paying out less than £10K. It did surprise though at the number of Celtic faithful who were members of it. I think the first big winner, of the Rangers Pools, declined picking up the cheque on the centre spot at Ibrox because they were away watching the hoops
If you were an agent for the Celtic Pools you got a free ST with a certain amount of members.
Play the Celtic Pools and help Youth Development
THE Celtic Weekly Pool Lottery is the official lottery for the club and continues to support our Youth Academy Development by investing all net proceeds.
Over £11,000 is paid out to supporters EVERY week – for only £1 per week you can get involved and play your part in the future of Celtic.