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Monday, 12 February, 2001, 17:12 GMT
Fans fume over new Celtic kit
Alan Thompson celebrates Celtic's winner against Rangers
Many Celtic fans believe the hoops are symbolic
Celtic fans have been left hooping mad by what they see as the desecration of their traditional green and white strip.

St Patrick's Day will see the launch of a new kit with white panels down the sides that prevent the hoops from completing a full circle.

The club say that they have already received unprecedented numbers of advance orders.

But three supporters associations have launched a five-week campaign designed at forcing a U-turn.

The row flared on the same day that it was revealed that blue Celtic strips bootlegged in the Far East were to be imported into Scotland.

'Beloved symbol'

The Celtic Supporters Association, the Affiliation of Registered Celtic Supporters Clubs and the Association of Irish Celtic Supporters Clubs issued a statement on Monday deploring the new official design from Umbro.

Ninety-eight years of unbroken tradition has been ditched by those unaware and uncaring to the feelings of what the green and white hoops represents to Celtic supporters everywhere
  Fans spokesman Mick Dinning
They say that they had become frustrated that no action was taken following a series of meetings with the club.

Supporters' spokesman Mick Dinning said: "The club has recognised and accepted that they have made a serious mistake in agreeing to the production of the strip in its current format.

"On the grounds of financial, legal and production process commitments with their supplier and sponsor Umbro, the PLC Board have advised that - despite the fact they have made a grave mistake in the redesign of the club colours - the launch will proceed as planned.

"The new home strip is totally unacceptable to us.

"The most beloved symbol of the club, the world famous and universally recognised green and white hoops, have been sacrificed at the altar of commercial greed.

"We cherish and uphold the heritage and traditions of this great club.

"We will never accept dilutions of the heritage and traditions."

Boycott call

The group has called for all Celtic fans to protest and not to buy the new strip.

A Celtic spokesman said that there had been more than 1000 orders in advance of the March launch.

"Celtic Football Club regrets the activities of certain supporters' groups in attempting to mount a negative campaign and we are sorry not to have their support at this point in the season," he said.

"Celtic Football Club is delighted with the uprecedented number of advance orders placed for the strip more than a month before it becomes available for sale."

The Sun reported on Monday that blue and white hooped Celtic strips were being imported by an Alloa businessman who had found them on sale in Thailand.

He realised that some fans might be offended by the alternative strips - but still expected a big demand.

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See also:

12 Feb 01 |  Blackburn Rovers
Berkovic eyes British passport
12 Feb 01 |  Scot Prem
Rangers resigned to title loss
11 Feb 01 |  Scot Prem
Thompson seals fate for Rangers
11 Feb 01 |  Photo Galleries
Celtic v Rangers - in pictures
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