22 May, 2007 Lisbon Lions!
It is with great excitement that we look forward to this Friday the 25th of May when we will turn up at Celtic Football Stadium in Glasgow and “busk” a few songs at a special Gala event organized in honour of the greatest ever Celtic squad – otherwise known as “ The Lisbon Lions”.
To those not interested in football (soccer that is!) our bubbling over excitement will make no sense at all. However to those who know, understand, and love the game as much as we do and have done all our lives, they will surely understand entirely why it means so much to us as lifelong Celtic fans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our club’s greatest achievement in becoming champions of Europe. The first ever British Club to do so!
Although this magnificent achievement may have occurred 40 years ago, and of course we would have been only eight year old schoolboys at the time of that glorious night when our “Hooped Heroes” ripped the heart out of the Italian champions Inter Milan, on a balmy night in the Portuguese capital. The wonder nevertheless is that both Charlie Burchill and I remember every detail of that magical game as though it was played only last weekend. It is no exaggeration in fact to consider that this most significant game to all fans of Celtic is burned into our memories and I have my doubts that it will ever disappear no matter how long we may live.
Incredibly I remember more about that European Cup final than I do the Apollo moon landings! That’s right, as a schoolboy I considered Celtic’s achievement way above the glory of witnessing a man walk on the surface of the moon. But then again considering the skill and beauty that our team displayed that night and over many years, it has me wondering still to this day if the “Lions” themselves came not from Glasgow but from another planet entirely. Yes, that is how good they were!
In sport these days many commentators talk of the need to “win ugly, just win at any cost, win no matter”. (Tennis, anyone! Chelsea Football club etc) How turgid! Instead the Celtic philosophy was to play beautiful! Play with joy! Play without a negative thought in your head! An amazing philosophy in my opinion and it shows how much of an influence the Lions philosophy influenced us as Simple Minds in our approach to music.
If any proof of that were needed at all, you would only have to look up interviews conducted around the time of our New Gold Dream/Sparkle In The Rain albums, when as young men barely able to understand the world evolving around us we also declared our desire to make music that had a positive effect on audiences worldwide. Music with an uplifting vibration played through live performances that would somehow be full of joy. And played likewise also without a negative thought in our young heads!
Long live the Lisbon Lions then and long live their legacy. In fact long live anyone and everyone who goes about their daily working lives in positive ways!