Bill Boland Receives His Surprise Gift
On Friday afternoon, as many of you will no doubt know from Twitter, I was proud to present the oldest living Celtic player, William “Bill” Boland, with a signed Celtic shirt, donated by the Football Club, which was then framed using money raised by members of the support. The small card below the shirt reads:
“William Boland – Once A Player, Always A Supporter – 4 Appearances, 2 Goals – 1944-45″
Mr Boland, who was born in 1919, first saw Celtic play in the 1930’s, before featuring for the Club as a player during World War Two. Having spent his entire working life as a coal miner, he continues to watch every Celtic match to this day on television.
I have been fortunate enough to get to know him through the research and writing I have been doing for my first book, which will feature a lengthy chapter devoted to Mr Boland’s life so far. He is the living definition of the word “gentleman”, and I cannot thank him enough for the time he has spent speaking to me.
He was absolutely delighted with the shirt, which was kept as a surprise by both myself and his family members until I carried it into the room a little over forty eight hours ago. He was tremendously appreciative, saying he “could not thank both the Football Club and the support enough” for what they had done for him.
Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank Celtic Football Club for donating the shirt, Hutton Fine Arts (of Glasgow’s East End) for their superb work framing the shirt, and all of those supporters who donated a few pounds to pay for the framing itself.
You all made one elderly gentleman very, very happy.