A Short Tribute
Yesterday evening, Bill Boland, the man who was the oldest surviving ex-Celtic player, died at the age of 93.
In all honesty, I could easily sit here and pen thousands upon thousands of words about Bill and his life, but for the sake of brevity on a sad day I shall keep this short.
A couple of years ago now, whilst my notions of writing a book about Celtic were just that – notions – it was Bill’s willingness to talk to me which really sparked my project into life. Not only did he give an aspiring author a chance, he gave me his time – and a fair amount of it. Visits which were meant to last an hour turned into entire afternoons with some regularity, as Bill happily recalled memories of days long gone by.
Throughout all of my contact with Mr Boland I found him to be the perfect gentleman. As a member of the older generation, he was not only polite and courteous, but also quick-witted (if a little deaf at points) and funny.
And now, with its publication scheduled for approximately two months from now, I feel I can say that, without Bill Boland, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” may never have become a reality. In all likelihood, it would still be nothing more than a notion in my head.
I am pleased to say that Mr Boland did read his chapter in the book and he was very happy with it. This meant a lot to me and it continues to do so. Bill’s love for Celtic Football Club was simply infectious and to sit and listen to him discuss the Club was just incredible – after all, not many people could compare the likes of Jimmy McGrory and Henrik Larsson having seen both of them in the flesh!
On a personal level, I will never forget the kindness which he showed to me and I cannot thank his family enough for accommodating me with regards visiting Bill. My thoughts and prayers are with them at what must be a very difficult time.
Finally, I feel there is no better way to conclude than with the words of the man himself. Rest in peace, Bill.
“Playing for Celtic Football Club has always filled me with tremendous pride, and it will continue to do so as long as I live…I wouldn’t change it for the world.”