As sure as night follows day, when former Celtic Boys Club chief Jim Torbett was found guilty for a second time of several counts of sexual abuse of children, a certain section of the Celtic support took to Twitter in rage, but not at Torbett, or their own club for their conduct at the time and right now, but at those calling out Celtic on their conduct.
As Mark Daly reported, the club has a long history with the Boys Club spanning 55 years, with the boys club acting as a feeder club being a recipient of significant sums of money from the club, support and assistance from key club figures including Jock Stein, Billy McNeil and David Hay.
There is documentary evidence of this, including numerous reports in Official Celtic publication the Celtic View, and transactions between Celtic FC and Torbett himself to the tune of £1M AFTER he was first found guilty of abusing boys at Celtic. Note that during this time, Torbett employed not one but two Celtic FC Directors (Jack McGinn and Kevin Kelly). McGinn, of course, also served on the board of the SFA for many years.
There has been muted coverage in the print media, with front pages yesterday largely running reports as 2nd or 3rd story, with no coverage whatsoever today.
You get the feeling that the print media in particular wish to move on as quickly as possible, and most certainly are not interested in anything beyond Torbett’s abuse.
To put this in to context, the Penn State scandal in the US, resulted in global headlines with major fines and sanctions for the club, on a far smaller scale than what has happened at Celtic, which involves many more children and several abusers working at the one boys club at the same period, with the chief being an employer of two Celtic Directors (with one also being an SFA Director), being in receipt of significant sums of cash, and being re-employed by the club after being kicked out of the club by Jock Stein.
The media in Scotland wish to bury this scandal as quick as possible, as do Celtic and the SFA.
It’s immoral, and is a scandal in itself.
To give credit where it’s due, a handful of Celtic supporters, along with Daly and The Herald Celtic supporting journalist Neil Cameron, have challenged Celtic to make some sort of response to what is their issue, however, this is sadly outweighed by many Celtic supporters indulging in the most reprehensible denial and deflection.
You’d think any football fan would be more disgusted at their club failing to take action to prevent children being abused, or trying to imply that it’s not their responsibility, but no, there are several high profile Celtic supporters who are apparently more angry at those challenging this vile behaviour.
In this circle of shame, apparently if you are disgusted at Celtic and express this, you are point scoring.
Our old friend Andy Muirhead, who once joined VB under the username MauriceEdu8 and was banned within hours for posting disgusting racist hatred, apparently thinks that Rangers fans are “using child abuse to get back at your city rivals for laughing at you getting liquidated”. Yes, really. He’s even written a blog attacking Rangers fans for having the temerity to express an opinion on Celtic abusing children.
Graham Spiers, who has previous for defending child sex offenders, has accused Rangers fans of point scoring, while not attacking Torbett, the numerous Celtic officials who turned a blind eye, or the current Celtic board for their complete and utter silence. Make no mistake that Celtic’s conduct right now is still disgusting. Daly confirmed last night on television that Celtic Boys Club have changed their name to St Patricks in exchange for a five figure payment from Celtic as the parent football club distances itself from the boys club.
Both Celtic and the SFA just want this story to go away. They want to pretend it didn’t happen, and that it either wasn’t their responsibility that it happened, or it isn’t their responsibility to make things right.
As I write, Celtic have released a statement that is astonishing in that it juxtaposes an apology to the victims with a defence of their own conduct, a very questionable assertion that they first knew in the 1990s, and a repeat of the myth that the boys club was distinct from the parent football club.
It is Celtic’s responsibility to make this right, and it’s not Rangers fans they need to be concerned about, but the victims and victims’ families, who have some level of justice but now need comfort and closure that they will be treated with some humanity by Celtic. I should be clear that this present board cannot be trusted on this. Their statement released today makes that clear
The contempt that the victims are being shown by Spiers and Muirhead should be called out, and their reaction bears all the hallmarks of those club custodians who thought it more appropriate to cover it up than call the police.
I ask myself now, if Spiers or Muirhead were Celtic Officials, what option would they choose? Call the police or cover it up?
The conduct of Celtic, as they distance themselves from the boys club, is reprehensible. Given that the club had the audacity to commemorate the birth of their club this week with the oft repeated myth that their club was founded to help the poor (including children), rather than to stop Catholic families going to Soup Kitchens run by the (Protestant) Church of Scotland this is not a surprise.
The truth is something Celtic Football Club are alien to, but they will need to face it soon.
While the priority should indeed be that the abusers find themselves imprisoned, all of those who enabled the abuse should also be punished. The victims deserve better.
Yesterday, Kenny Campbell, a victim of twice-convicted Celtic Paedophile James Torbett criticised the disgraced football club for their continued denial and lack of empathy:
Mr. Campbell stated he is angry at the way Celtic FC has tried to disassociate itself from Celtic Boys’ Club since the sexual abuse became public. He said: “Now you hear this attempted disassociation between Celtic Boys’ Club and Celtic Football Club. When I was there Celtic Boys’ Club was the feeder club to Celtic Football Club. Any functions we were at, there were Celtic players there, Celtic management there, there were Celtic directors there, you trained at Barrowfield which was Celtic’s training ground. You were always in contact with Celtic players, on bank holidays, playing friendlies. Then there was this attempt to disassociate”.
And he spoke of the return of Torbett to the boys’ club after allegations had been made and he had left, initially. He said: “Torbett should never have been allowed back in there. He walked around Parkhead as if he owned it. He was treated like a God, with people opening doors for him and allowing him access to any part of the building or grounds.”
Janine Rennie, chief executive of Incare Survivors Service Scotland was also very critical of No Response Fc’s attempted cover-up:
She said it was “very disappointing” that Celtic had not issued a statement following Torbett’s conviction. She also told BBC Scotland the club should not be viewed as a “separate legal entity” and should therefore compensate victims of abuse. Ms Rennie said: “We are aware that Mr Torbett was a previous offender and had come back into Celtic so we really feel Celtic has a responsibility to say why that happened.”Patrick McGuire, a senior partner at Thompsons Solicitors who are dealing with compensation claims on behalf of victims of convicted Celtic paedophile Torbett also criticised the Cromwell Street Club for their attempted cover-up:
On @BBCRadioScot now @ThompsonsPat saying Celtic FC’s position on abuse victims is “abhorrent” and that it’s “laughable” to suggest the Boys Club totally separate from Celtic FC. Still no comment from Celtic.
It can surely only be a matter of time before some crackpot made-up group formed by unemployed bloggers describe Mr. Thompson, Ms. Rennie and Mr. McGuire as “anti-Catholic, anti-Irish racists”.
Below, twice-convicted Celtic paedophile James Torbett sits in the Cromwell Street Director’s Box behind Celtic Chairman Kevin Kelly
Official court papers lodged last month state that former Celtic coach and kitman Jim McCafferty molested children in the Celtic Park dressing room.
Documents filed at Livingston Sheriff Court allege young boys aged between just 12 and 15 years old were victims of indecent assault and lewd, indecent and libidinous practices at the hands of the Celtic official.
He is also charged with sexually abusing children during football tours in Germany and Austria whilst he was at Celtic.
McCafferty is accused of molesting 18 children whilst employed at Cromwell Street between the 1970’s and 1990’s.
In April this year Celtic official Francis Cairney – a senior figure at the Parkhead club in the 1970s and known as the Godfather of Celtic youth – was charged at Hamilton Sherriff Court with gross indecency and indecent assault of children in his care whilst he was at the Parkhead club.
Another former Celtic youth supremo James Torbett was this week sentenced to six years imprisonment at Glasgow High Court. The court heard he abused Celtic youth players between August 1986 and August 1994. A 34 year-old man told of being sexually abused on numerous occasions as a five-year-old when he visited the Torbett-owned Trophy Centre at Shawbridge Street in the city. His Trophy Centre business partners at the time were former Celtic Directors Jack McGinn and Kevin Kelly. Kelly was also a director at two of Torbett’s other businesses.
Torbett could regularly be spotted in the Celtic Directors Box as a guest of the Celtic Board. Accounts show that Celtic Football Club spent in excess of £1 million on Trophy Centre merchandise.
He was jailed for three years in 1998 on conviction of abusing three Celtic youth players, including former Scotland international Alan Brazil, between 1967-74.
During the trial, another Celtic Official, Mr. Hugh Birt told how Torbett was allowed to return to Celtic despite previously being sacked by Jock Stein for child abuse. The police were not informed of the reason for Torbett’s dismissal.
Celtics youth wing was founded by Torbett in 1966 with the permission of Stein – who became honorary president of the Boys’ Club – and former Celtic chairman Sir Robert Kelly. It acted as a feeder, producing a string of Celtic players including Roy Aitken, Paul McStay and Tommy Burns.
Celtic View archives revealed that in 1977, three years after he allegedly threw Torbett out of the Boys’ Club, Jock Stein was pictured presenting Torbett with an award recognising his services to Celtic.
Jock Stein with paedophile James Torbett and Hugh Birt. Birt claimed in court that Big Jock Knew.
In 2004 Celtic official photographer John Cullen admitted taking pictures of nude and semi-naked children as young as ten after cleaners had found in excess of 250 images in his store room at Celtic Park. The perverts’ photographs had been there for more than 20 years. He admitted inviting the children to a house in Glasgow between January and December 1982 before getting them to pose for the camera. He pled guilty to a charge of lewd and libidinous behaviour. He had been employed Celtic for 30 years.
In April 2017 Gerry King, former Chairman and coach with the Celtic youth set-up was charged by Police Scotland, the fifth Celtic official to face court in relation to paedophilia. King was an employee of Torbett, Kelly and McGinn’s Trophy Centre business.
Many more of Torbett’s victims are now considering coming forward. This latest conviction is only the beginning of the story of Celtic’s Shame.
Since 2012, American football club Penn State has paid more than $109 million to more than 30 men who have come forward as victims of very similar paedophilia and it’s cover-up. Penn State’s total abuse-related costs have exceeded $250 million.
Jordan’s Solicitors are currently advertising their services to those who wish to make claims for compensation against football clubs they feel covered up the sick crimes of their employees and officials.
Their advert states:
“Jordans are experienced in dealing with compensation claims against sports clubs including football, sporting organisations and coaches in relation to sexual abuse in a sporting environment. if you have been the victim of abuse in football or in a sporting environment and wish to obtain guidance on your legal position and your entitlement to seek compensation then call our highly skilled Legal team on 0330 300 1103.”
…….and failed to call the police.
SIX first team managers of the eternally shamed Club Like No Other were made aware of the sexual abuse of children who played in the clubs’ youth set up.
None called the police.
JOCK STEIN, was by far the worst offender. In November 1998, under the banner headline “JOCK STEIN AND THE CELTIC BOARD COVERED UP CHILD ABUSE” THE Daily Record told how Stein was informed that convicted Celtic paedophile James Torbett was molesting children at The Theatre Of Shame. Not only did Stein fail to call the police, he instructed other Celtic staff to cover up Torbett’s stomach-churning crimes.
When Hugh Birt raised concerns regards allegations that both convicted Celtic paedophile James Torbett and Frank Cairney (currently awaiting trial) were molesting children he was referred to former Celtic Manager DAVID HAY.
In the Evening Times November 1998, following Celtic paedophile James Torbett’s first conviction for molesting children former Celtic Manager BILLY McNEIL stated in reference to Torbett’s vile crimes “It was an open secret at Parkhead”.
Celtic Managers Jock Stein and Billy McNeil laugh and clap along as convicted Celtic paedophile James Torbet makes a speech
Following a trip to America a young boy claimed he had been sexually molested by Celtic’s Frank Cairney. Scotland on Sunday 18th August 1996 stated “The boy’s father took him to Celtic Park to have it out with LIAM BRADY who was then only months in the job as team manager. The club’s chief scout John Kelman was also present. It was agreed, by Brady, the boy and his parents and the then Celtic board, that the police would not be informed. The young player was assured that the alleged incident would have no effect on his future career at the club. However, signed statements were taken by Celtic’s lawyers from the four adults who had been on the New Jersey trip. All were sworn to silence”.
In his autobiography, former Celtic Manager LOU MACARI stated:
“Within a month of my arrival one of the young players asked to see me in my office. He sat down and told me that he had had problems on a trip to North America with the youth team. One of the fellas in charge had made advances towards him. Clearly the kid was distressed about what had happened……My gut feeling was that the kid was speaking the truth……but there was no mechanism within the club or within my experience to deal with it. It emerged that years earlier Jock Stein knew all about Torbett and kicked him out of the club. The wish to maintain the good name of Celtic, if that were ever a good enough reason, was the only thing that kept the issue from coming to light at that point”.
There was of course a “mechanism” to deal with it at London Road police station, just a few hundred yards away from Macari’s Celtic Park office.
During the first trial of convicted Celtic paedophile James Torbett when Frank Cairney was also charged, Celtic Manager TOMMY BURNS rushed to Cairney’s home and told waiting reporters “He has the whole of my backing and that of Celtic Football Club to a man. He has trained some of the great names of Celtic, including Roy Aitken, Paul McStay, George McCluskey, Alan Brazil, Pat Nevin, Peter Grant, Andy Ritchie and myself’’
Celtic Manager Tommy Burns with Frank Cairney. Cairney is currently awaiting trial
It’s time the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Government ordered a full independent enquiry into the litany of filth covered up by Celtic officials over a 40-year period, with a view to sanctions against the disgraced organisation.
Celtic is not a football club. It’s a disease.
It was telling to see supporters of The Club Like No Other go into full faux-denial mode on social media on Monday night, following the sentencing of Celtic paedophile James Torbett. Not some of them. All of them.
You can add to that the media outlets – like Scottish Television and Radio Clyde – who were frantically carrying out the wishes of the grubby CEO of the utterly disgraced football club in emphasising the absolute lie that Celtic FC and their Boys Club were in no way linked.
Let’s make one thing crystal clear here; No Response FC, from Chairman to directors to manager to captain and players, knew they had a paedophile working in their midst. Not only did they fail to inform the police, they conspired to cover up the Torbett’s sick crimes. By their actions, or more to the point inactions, numerous children – including one 5 year-old boy – had their lives ruined.
Celtic has been proven to be the sporting world’s shame. And this is only the beginning.
Celtic manager Jock Stein and captain Billy McNeil laugh and clap along as convicted. Celtic paedophile James Torbett makes a speech. Of course the Bheast in your life – and STV – will tell you The Club Like No Other and Celtic Boys Club were not linked.
James Molloy, Lincolnshire.
44 years after previous allegations of child molestation, James Torbett, founder of Celtic Boys Club, was found guilty at Glasgow High Court yesterday on 5 charges of historical child abuse ranging from 1986 to 1994. 2 of his victims were members of his under-14 team and one other a 5-year-old boy.
Owner of the Trophy Centre business based in Pollokshaws, he committed many of these sordid crimes as an employee of Celtic Football Club
Credit must be given to reporter Mark Daly for his extensive research resulting in a 6 year prison sentence being handed to Torbett. One of his reports is detailed in this video and is horrific viewing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imhxZbRWqDU
Throughout the two week trial the court heard disturbing and sordid details of Torbett’s nefarious life.
- How he abused children at his business factory, on return from football training and on football trips to France
- How he would strip to music in front of his victims before abusing them
- How he would subject youth players to other forms of abuse by encouraging them to sing songs in praise of the child murdering IRA
- How he groomed kids by taking them on trips to Orlando by paying for it from money out of his own pocket
- How he stuffed £100 notes in the mouths of his innocent victims
- His business partnership and friendship with Celtic FC directors
- How Celtic Boys Club and Celtic Football Club are inextricably intertwined
Celtic fans, in their own perverse way, have attempted to deflect attention away from their sectarian stained club by claiming that Torbett was sacked by Jock Stein for previous child tampering allegations in 1974. They (and Celtic FC) allege that the boys club was nothing to do with Celtic Football Club – the latter officially going to great lengths in attempt at distancing itself by changing the boys club name to St Patrick’s, with £20,000 paid to the boys club for their co-operation. It is little wonder that they are referred to by many as Sleekit FC!
If there was no official link to the boys club why did Celtic FC manager Jock Stein have the power to “kick him out” of it?
Another despicable deflection tactic they used was to claim that Torbett was a Protestant Rangers supporter – a ‘Hun’. These absurd allegations were disproved when the court was informed that he was a Roman Catholic and would often play music from Irish republican band The Wolfe Tones at his home while preying on his innocent victims.
At the time of writing Celtic FC has made no comment – which is utterly bizarre considering they were quick to comment on the recent passing of Louis Tomlinson’s Mum! You may be asking yourself what One Direction had to do with Celtic FC? Ambulance chasing is a fine art!
Their failure to apologise to the victims says all one needs to know about the level of contempt they have for anyone outside of the Celtic circle.
The Scottish Football Association, to date, has also not made comment. In the interests of “sporting integrity” – a phrase coined by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell – one would have thought they’d have something to say about the most shameful events in Scottish football history? No?
In the USA recently, football team Penn State were severly punished for failing to report child abuse crimes and warning the public of it by one of their employees. Celtic FC is not above the law of the land – The Scottish FA, by saying and doing nothing, is being complicit in the cover up of heinous child abuse.
The Cover Up
Evidence of a cover up at Celtic Park is damning.
After being “kicked out” by Stein, the club re-employed Torbett – effectively, they facilitated a known paedophile to continue his abuse. Let that sink in! Celtic Chairman Kevin Kelly, friend and business partner of Torbett, knew what he was up to! He chose to say nothing. He denies knowing – but he sanctioned the sacking in 1974! I’m sure you have heard the phrase liars from cradle to the grave!?
Convicted paedophile James McCafferty, the subject of an ongoing investigation into paedophilia, was also employed at Celtic Park, as was Frank Cairney – he too the subject of an ongoing child abuse investigation. All too much of a coincidence, is it not?
A previous VB article suggested that a paeodophile ring was operating at Celtic Park – https://www.vanguardbears.co.uk/article.php?i=136&a=vb-makes-another-donation-to-civil-rights-camp – one thing is obvious; evidence suggest the board of Celtic FC are complicit in the abuse of children by an employee(s) of theirs!
Hopefully this conviction gives closure to the victims and their families and they feel they have received justice. These innocent people have lived a life of hell caused by the actions of a disgusting sick beast.
A Full Inquiry
The judge in court summed up by telling Torbett: “You used the club as a front for child abuse”.
It is clear that an investigation into paedophila at Celtic Park is needed. There are many questions that need answered.
Celtic youth player Lawrence Haggart was murdered by a paedophile in 1996 – is it just coincidence that McCafferty, Torbett and Cairney were on the prowl at that time?
Why did Celtic FC give Torbett’s Trophy Centre commercial business AFTER he was kicked out of the club on paedophile allegations?
On 26th October 1993 a motion was tabled in parliament by George Galloway congratulating Torbett and his youth team on their successful trip to Palestine. Galloway obviously couldn’t have known of Torbett’s sordid past?
There is much more to be revealed about the “open secret” (as former Celtic player Lou Macari claimed in his book) at Celtic Park.
For the sake of the innocent victims and prevention of further abuse at Celtic Park, VB calls on the SFA to launch an investigation into on-goings at Celtic Park, and solicits a full independent inquiry into the actions of the SFA and Celtic FC employees.