One visit to the grounds and club house of Cleator Moor Celtic on 14th January was enough to show the strength in depth of the club and the family spirit that keeps in going. It was just a 2nd XI match against Wigton Harriers, a team a league higher than Celtic but the pitch was lined with enthusiastic spectators and the club house was a-buzz with excitement, particularly from members of their first team whose match in Durham had been postponed because of a frozen pitch. They cheered their up and coming stars who showed their skills and stamped their superiority over their opponents. Celtic simply ran away with the game, as their nimble and fleet footed winger, Darren Little, proved unstoppable, notching up a hat trick by early in the second half.
Club President, Bobby Doyle, tore himself away from the touchline for a few minutes to give me some idea of how this is achieved. He has been a member of the club for 52 years, playing first as a winger, where his speed as a county sprinter was a greta advantage. Bobby epitomises the intense family loyalty which makes Celtic such a unifying force in the town and such a fierce competitor in the cups and leagues, now matching itself against strong clubs in the North East.
Its policy of developing youth teams is key to its success, supporting at least one team in every age group from 8 to 18,and he is particularly excited by the promise of up and coming 16 year olds, Jordan Little, Tom Mahone and Bradley Rooney. They are supported by a strong team of coaches, most of them already on a graded scale.
His attention was torn between this interview, the match, and the sale of tickets which helps to finance the cost of keeping the club going so strongly. The annnual bill comes to well over £20K, covering registration, ground maintenance and buses to take the first team for its many engagements in Durham and Northumberland. Such is the loyalty of Cleator Moor to its club that they meet this challenge.