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First Issue: 11 Aug 1965
aka: Pravda, The View
Reference: The Club's official newspaper (later magazine)
Official club newspaper the Celtic View was the idea of future Celtic director and chairman Jack McGinn. Back in 1964 McGinn was working in the circulation department of Beaverbrook Newspapers and as a Celtic fan he was somewhat frustrated by the lack of coverage given to his club in the press.
Consequently he developed the idea of the club having its own weekly paper which would be able to cover all Celtic related issues from match reports to supporters club’s functions. The hope behind the plan was that the newspaper would not only allow Celtic to present their point of view but also to allow them to foster a much relationship with a support which had become rather disenchanted with the Parkhead board and then chairman Robert Kelly.
For a while it was a plan that worked a treat. McGinn took his idea to the club and the suggestion was endorsed by the board at their meeting in March 1965. Significantly this was the first meeting of the board attended by new manager Jock Stein. Stein’s appointment had created a great sense of excitement and optimism among the followers of the Hoops and with Jock’s savvy approach to media matters McGinn could not have chosen a better time to launch the View.
With Celtic not yet in the final and having not won the Scottish Cup for more than a decade, Stein had promised McGinn that he would provide a picture of the team with the Cup for the first edition. He proved good to his word and the first edition of the new club newspaper was published on August 11th 1965 with a picture of the Bhoys’ proudly displaying the cup on the front page.
McGinn had been given a £600 loan by the club to start the paper but on the basis it had to be repaid in full by the end of the financial year. Launching at the birth of the club’s greatest era was a massive help to the early success of the View and McGinn quickly paid off the debt as early circulation figures averaged 26,000.
Although it unquestionably toes the party line on all matters Celtic, the View has covered all the club’s highs and lows since its inception. It remains a valuable source for historians of the club and is the best selling football club weekly publication in the UK. But there have unquestionably been moments when it has been so far out of touch with the feeling of the hardcore support.
Indeed for a long period it was a deservedly ridiculed publication. During the late 80s and early 90s the Celtic View was christened ‘Pravda’ by some supporters (a term coined & popularised by fanzine Not The View reflecting on the old Soviet newspaper). The board at the time – including Chairman Jack McGinn – blatantly used the paper for their own propaganda and to protect their own interests. While the fans always expected and accepted that the View would look at matters through biscuit tin green tinted spectacles the level of spin and outright untruths now appearing in the paper was outrageous at a time the club was being driven to the brink of extinction.
Unquestionably this manipulation of the View by the board was a significant factor in the success of the Celtic fanzine scene whose loathing of what the club newspaper had come to represent is best summed up by the title of the most successful of these often excellent and proudly unofficial publications – Not The View.
There’s no doubt that the abuse of the View by the pre-Fergus McCann board served to do significant damage to the reputation of the paper. The View has reinvented itself several times since those dark days and is now produced in a glossy magazine format with the contents an easy reading mix of club info, match reports, interviews with players past and present, short stories, supporters notes, picture features and historical articles. It remains uncritical of the club but when the mainstream media are always looking for excuses to put the boot into Celtic is that really such a bad thing?
For all its perceived faults throughout the years the Celtic View retains a sense of affection among many fans, particularly those in exile. It will never be the most challenging of reads, in every sense, but in a world where the internet allows every fan to voice their views and criticism of the team and club the View still has a part to play. In isolation, as an official club publication, it naturally appears a publication which is rather bland and loathed to criticize the actions of the board or the performances of players however inadequate they may be.
But when coupled with the many fanzines, websites and internet message-boards where such criticism is commonplace the View provides an often much needed – and even at times enjoyable – sense of balance.
The very first front page of The CELTIC VIEW – August 11th 1965