About

When creating a Celtic Supporters Club in far off countries the motives are usually to arrange a get-together of fans to watch the games, enjoy a beer and talk about the Celtic. Starting the Rio Fergus McCann Celtic Supporters Club in 2006 was no different. A handful of Celtic fans as well as supporters of other clubs got together in a Rio pub to discuss the possibilities.

A couple of months later and with a formal constitution the Rio Fergus McCann Celtic Supporters’ Club was born. The CSC didn’t forget Celtic’s roots and fifty percent of the annual club funds are donated to worthy causes. Money has been raised by membership fess, club tee shirts and raffle draws at games. Donations of toys and powdered milk have been made on an annual basis to an orphanage in Rio. But the CSC were keen to sponsor something else and ideas included sponsoring a local children’s football team.

Toys and powdered milk donated to a local orphanage

Toys and powdered milk donated to a local orphanage

In June 2008, through a series of intermediaries, Paul Barnes, made contact with the RFMCSC regarding the donation of the Celtic Boys 2007-2008 football kit to any children’s teams looking for kit. After a series of transatlantic exchanges, the kit was secured by the RFMCSC on the understanding that the kit would be donated to a team to be further sponsored by the CSC.

Through family connections of one of the RFMCSC members, a qualified football coach, Gerson, was contacted and an invite extended for him to attend a meeting of the RFMCSC at The Irish Pub in Ipanema. Gerson arrived with assistant, Luis “Tavinao” Otavio, complete with coaching certificates, scrapbooks of a professional career that included signed photos of the Flamengo league winning side of 1987 in which Gerson was a fringe player. Gerson played for several clubs in Brasil, Bolivia and Ecuador before taking up coaching, including a stint working with Zico at a Botafogo boys team.

CSC members with the Santa Margarida Celtic Boys teams

CSC members with the Santa Margarida Celtic Boys teams

Gerson was already running two boys’ teams, an 11-year old and a 15-year old, in Santa Margarida, west Rio. Gerson impressed the CSC members with his background and passion for football and working with kids in the poor neighbourhood where he grew up. In turn Gerson was also impressed with Celtic and the club’s charitable beginnings.

“I used the internet to find out more about Celtic. I was happy to know that Celtic were created to provide food and support for the poor people in Glasgow. I have passed this message onto the children in the team so that they can understand all about Celtic. They have watched Celtic play in the Champions League on TV. So they know who Celtic are.” said Gerson.

In November 2008 a band of RFMCSC members and families drove to Santa Margarida to handover the Celtic Boys’ kit and several hundred pounds worth of training equipment and a second strip donated by the CSC. After the donation a magic show was put on by RFMCSC member Brian Gray. Around fifty local kids and adults were entertained by Brian’s beginners level Portuguese and magic tricks.

RFMCSC members with coach Gerson (in blue) and Tavinao

RFMCSC members with coach Gerson (in blue) and Tavinao

Since the handover the teams have won their respective championships. Exhibition games took place in 2009 between Celtic Boys and Botafogo and Fluminense at the professional club’s training grounds. The RFMCSC will continue to follow and support the Celtic Boys as they take on the professional teams and into the new season.

Fundraising will continue with sales of Tee shirts and badges, club organized events and match day raffles. The RFMCSC appreciated the support of Padraig and Armando at The Irish Pub and all the members and visitors that have contributed to club funds with donations and by purchasing club merchandise and buying raffle tickets.

Fast forward a couple or three years and we’ve now moved yet again and have settled, since 2011, in The Blue Agave in Ipanema, hosted by Richard and Alex and their marvellous team.  Compact and bijou, the Agave is ideally placed only a block or so from Gen Osorio station and the Hippy Market and is only two blocks from the beach near to Posto 9.  Mexican grub aside, this is a top spot for people watching and we’ve continued to meet up with travelling Celtic fans most match days, to enjoy the game and the banter.

2014 saw a revolutionary idea of setting up a second venue, based in Barra, or Miami as it is known fondly by the Zona Sul lot, and the inaugural match day took place on February 8 when Celtic took on Aberdeen in the William Hill Cup, in Rosa Chopp bar which is just behind Barra Square Shopping Centre off Avenida das Americas (Av Marechal Henrique Lott, 120).  A spamtastic raffle at half time saw two lucky punters leaving with Celtic FC Domino sets and more funds were raised for the club.

So Rio Fergus McCann goes from strength to strength in 2014 – why not take the opportunity to come and join us!