aka: Celtic Park Fazone
Opening: May 2018
First set up in May 2018, this endeavour was a welcome adoption of a common scheme used across a number of clubs in Europe, especially in international club games.
The first Celtic fanzone (strictly the first in Scotland) was tested in May 2018, on the day of the Scott Brown testimonial with Celtic v Rep of Ireland XI kicking off proceedings. Early reports were very positive, and came after calls for such a setup for many years. In fairness to the club, such a set up has only recently been made possible following the complete renovation around the stadium but it was welcome once complete.
Fanzones are club administered or sanctioned specific zones at or near the stadium where fans of the home club and/or away club can congregate for a friendly gathering for drink, food and music (live or recorded). The benefit is that it’s better than having fans scattered around places and hanging around the streets waiting for the games to begin, and helps authorities for monitoring (can reduce costs). So it’s mostly a win win situation.
Perfect examples of the scheme have been for example in Lisbon, where Benfica have long established such schemes with some high quality food stalls which adds to the experience. Many other clubs used it for a way to pen fans (usually away fans) into a certain area from the locals. So it can be a cynical tool, but after the behaviour of some away fans abroad of various clubs it’s understandable. That’s also why many seem to do anything they can to avoid these zones.
Regardless, they more often just provide a convenient, accessible and accommodating meet up spot for all fans making it easy for travelling fans to know where to go.
Finally underway, and lets hope it builds up and becomes an established part of the Celtic fan experience.