27 JUL 2021
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It’s green for go as site found for Maley statue

21 July 2021

A campaign group for a statue in Newry in honour of Celtic’s longest-serving manager say there is major fundraising push now that a site has been found.

The Willie Maley Memorial Group was formed last year to raise money and identify a location for a statue tribute to Maley.

He was born in Newry in 1868 and went on to become one of the Glasgow club’s most successful managers.

Last month, the council agreed to provide a plot at its Monaghan Row Corner land at the foot of the Camlough Road to erect the statue. 

The progress has been welcomed by group chairman Pat McLoughlin who said the statue will put Newry firmly on the Celtic family map. 

“It’ll be a major tribute to a man who gave so much to Celtic and who was born in Newry,” said Mr McLoughlin. 

“We’ve had tremendous support from so many people. This statue will put Newry firmly on the Celtic map as he was such an instrumental figure in the growth and continuing success of the club.”

The committee will meet at the site with sculptor Barry O’Neill later this week to discuss proposals for the statue.

To date, the group has raised over £17,000, but Mr McLoughlin says fundraising has been severely hit over the last 12 months due to Covid restrictions.

But he said the group is now planning a huge fundraising drive to finally get the project over the line in time before the council’s July 2023 expiry date for use of its land. 

“There is a major push on now that has spread amongst Celtic supporters throughout Ireland and Scotland as well as New York to get this through,” said Mr McLoughlin. 

“Our latest fundraiser at the end of this month is another major drive towards delivering the statue.”

The ‘Celtic Day’ on Saturday, July 31, begins at 11am with a sponsored walk/run/cycle on The Greenway starting from the entrance on William Street.

It will be followed with a family-fun event at Newry INF with a bouncy castle, face-painting, raffles, food, refreshments and music.

Celtic’s first league game of the season against Hearts at Tynecastle will also be screened. 

“There will be something for everyone,” added Mr McLoughlin. 

“It will be a great day for Celtic fans who can donate at the door when entering. It will help us in our push to deliver a statue in honour of Willie Maley.” 

William Maley was born in Newry Barracks at Linenhall Square in April 1968.

His father was from Co Clare and served as a sergeant with the Royal North British Fusiliers.

Aged just one, William and his family moved to Glasgow when his father took honourable discharge from the army.

In 1888, the 19-year-old signed for the newly formed Celtic Football Club.

He was appointed manager in 1897 at the age of 29 and went on to become one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history, leading the Hoops to an astonishing 30 trophies during his 43-year reign as manager - including 16 league championships.

In 2013, the legacy Newry and Mourne District agreed a budget of £20,000 within the 2014/15 rates for a previous Maley project that was first proposed in 2000.

However, as a result of the super council mergers and departmental restructuring, the project was never completed. 

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