21st of May, 2003 was a momentous day for the football community as the world watched in wonder the blazing support of Celtic FC fans in Seville.
Nearly 80,000 supporters gathered at the city to support their team as they went up against Portuguese club, FC Porto at the UEFA CUP Final.
The fans were the highlight of the day with their impeccable conduct & enthusiastic support. Both UEFA & FIFA honored them with their Fair Play Awards.
The impact of their support was global & eventually it went onto be documented in many books & tv programs.
Celtic defeated another Portuguese club, Boavista with an aggregate score of 2 – 1 to reach the finals. In doing so they acquired the status of 1st Scottish club to reach a European final in 16 years. This very fact roused their supporters to throng on the day they went up against FC Porto.
As the clock ticked towards the final, thousands of Celtic supporters poured into Seville procuring whatever means of transportation they could afford. The ambience they painted in the Spanish town was comparable to the carnivals of Rio.
The Day 80,000 Celtic Fans Swarmed Seville
On the day of 21st May, thousands of them assembled at Estadio Olimpico in the humid weather of Seville. What they brought to life was an electric atmosphere that even the weather couldn’t dampen.
“I’ve seen a few of these finals, European finals, I think something over 25 now. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen support like this, provided by the supporters of Celtic.. It’s magnificent.”Comment made by Barry Davies during his live commentary of the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.
Unfortunately Celtic lost the match against Mourinho – led Porto in a 2 – 3 scoreline. The match was thrilling beyond doubt as each side kept on equalizing the other. Porto player, Derlei settled the score in the 115th minute of the game.
The result however doesn’t define that event. It was the fans who stirred the atmosphere & stole everyone’s heart. Since then Celtic & their supporters are fondly called “The Bhoys from Seville”.
This is the power of football. It moulds history in ways even we can’t fathom. 16 years ago that night, the scoresheet read something but the day is fondly remembered as something else.
It is in these fleeting moments that we realise that love & support transcend the laws of time & space.