The Reasoning Behind My Difficult Decision
Please See The Amendment Requested By The Seller
A few months ago, we began an effort to bring the Celtic banner which hung above one end of the stadium in Seville back to Celtic Park. The gentleman selling the banner, a supporter living in England, had listed the item for £400 (plus an understandably significant postage fee due to the massive size and weight of the object) on eBay. When I contacted him initially, no bids had been made on the item and he agreed to take it down from the auction site in order to give us a chance to consult the support to see whether it would be possible to raise the required money to “bring the banner home”.
As the pledges began to fly in from all corners of the globe, I agreed a price of £500 (£450 + £50 for a courier etc) with the seller. Having then proceeded to speak to Celtic Supporters’ Clubs down south, I found a few willing to divert their usual route up to matches in Scotland in order to, potentially, pick up the banner and bring it up on a bus. These offers were hugely appreciated and, importantly, it allowed me to increase our offer from £450 + £50 to £500 for the seller, giving him a small profit on what he initially paid for the item after the final.
At this point, signs were encouraging. I contacted the Football Club who agreed that they would be happy for us to both display the banner at Celtic Park on match days, and store it inside the stadium between home games. We also contacted a few fans local to the banner’s location, who told us they would be willing to take time out of their own lives to go and view the banner (and verify it’s condition etc) before we began to gather any money in from the support. Once again, these offers, both from the Football Club and it’s fans, were much appreciated.
However, at this point the seller “began to have second thoughts” about the idea of letting the banner go. For around a fortnight, I did not hear from the gentleman, until this evening. He has now said that he would be willing to sell the banner, but only for £1000. He plans to repost the item on eBay for £1000 (+£100 P&P). This is, of course, entirely up to the seller. The item is his property, and I have absolutely no right to tell him what to do with it.
Regrettably though, due to the increase in price, I now feel that I must end “Maley’s Bhoys” attempt to “bring the banner home”. I have not taken in a single penny from supporters for this, although I know that a large number of you told me you would have been willing to donate money towards our goal. However, I am not willing to accept monetary donations from hard working people only to be told that the price is to increase. Taking into account what has already happened behind the scenes, I am simply not willing to set a target for our supporters, only to find out that it has been put up, time and time again.
At this stage, I must make a minor amendment to this article on request of the gentleman selling the item.
Initially, I had written the following line “According to the seller, the Football Club have declined the opportunity to buy the banner in the past.”
I must now change this slightly, and I apologise for this error on my part. The seller says he offered the banner to the Club, for free, in exchange for the Club making ticket offers to himself for particular Celtic matches in the future.
Once again, I cannot verify this one way or the other, I am simply stating it before people begin to suggest it as an alternative. I must also thank somebody in particular, who shall remain anonymous, who offered to make a significant investment towards our initial £500 total.
I have no doubts in my mind that, as a fan base, we could raise £1000. However, I am simply not willing to take money from people, having agreed a price, especially around the Christmas period, only to have to ask you all for more. Setting an asking price is, of course, the seller’s prerogative but, to use a rather clichéd term, “I’m out”.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to you all for my failure in this regard. Nothing would have made me happier than seeing that banner at Celtic Park, waving in the Glaswegian wind, knowing I played a role in all of this. However, I feel that to continue our efforts, as things stand, would be taking advantage of you as individuals and, more importantly, as members of the Celtic support. Therefore, I can only offer you my apologies. Sad face.