Bob Marley – Celtic fan? Surely not.
It would be too good to be true for the world-famous reggae star and football fanatic to be a follower of Glasgow’s famed Green and White Hoops. Wouldn’t it? Yet, it was a rumour that just wouldn’t go away.
The legend of Marley the Tim became reality in 2011 when the former Celtic striker of the ‘70s, Dixie Deans, revealed in his autobiography that he met the Jamaican when playing out his career in Australia with Adelaide City and the other famous front man introduced himself with the question: ‘Are you the Dixie Deans who used to play for Celtic?’
Deans did not know who Marley was at the time. Bob and his band were on tour and it had been arranged for him to join the Adelaide City squad for a training session: “I didn’t know him from Adam. Our manager said he was a musician and a keen footballer but the name didn’t register. I remember he was quiet-spoken, almost shy.” Deans wasn’t expecting the dreadlocked rock star to know who he was – or that he not only knew about Celtic and their most celebrated manager, but that both he and one of his sons supported the bhoys in green. Marley told the former Celt:
“Oh, you know I’m a big Celtic fan. I would love to go to Scotland to see Celtic Park and maybe even kick a few balls there. I know all about Jock Stein. I love reading about British football teams and Celtic has always been my team. And now it is my son Rohan’s team. He’s only six but he loves Celtic. I can’t tell you how much I envy you having played at Celtic Park.”
Dixie further recalled: “We had a chat about all things Celtic and I was greatly impressed by the great man’s football knowledge. And when we got down to training, I was just as impressed by his football ability.”
Still too good to be true?
In 2018, Ronan Marley shared a photo online of him on his father’s shoulders standing next to his grandmother Cedella – with Marley junior sporting green-and-white hoops. Ronan, born in 1972, was the fourth eldest of Bob’s sons. Of the Dixie Deans comments about his Dad he commented on Twitter: “Love some of this story lol my favorite team at 6 yrs old , also my Father.” Ronan went on to play soccer professionally in Canada with the Ottawa Rough Riders. He has five children with rapper/ singer Lauryn Hill.
In 2020 Ronan gave an interview to the Celtic View in which he confirmed that both he and his father had been long-standing Celtic fans:
I’ve always loved Celtic, they were one of my father’s favourite teams. He would talk about Celtic and that’s how I came to know them. My father loved football. He knew everything about football, he watched it all the time and he loved European football.
He played all the time as well, I can remember playing with him when we were young. My granny actually had a tape of me and two of my brothers, Ziggy and Steve, playing keepy-up with him. We used to stand in a circle and try to juggle the ball with him.
When he was in Europe, he was able to see a lot of the big football games on TV. He watched a lot of English football and Scottish football. He would record all the games and I watched them years later at my grandmother’s house.
That’s how I came across all these Celtic players from the late 1970s and early ‘80s because I’d watch these tapes of Celtic versus Rangers games over and over again.
To celebrate the Marley’s family’s enduring connection with Celtic we have re-issued our Bob Marley CSC badge in a new, bigger size (3cm diameter). The design incorporates the classic image of Bob playing his favourite game as well as the colours of Jamaica and Celtic and the common legend linking both Bob and Celtic: ‘For If You Know Your History.’
*** 6.12.22 – NEW BATCH OF BADGES NOW ARRIVED ***
Buy the badge here:
Bob Marley CSC badge
Badge celebrating Bob Marley’s Celtic connection – Rastaman, Celtic fan £6 Price includes postage to UK and North of Ireland
* For postage outwith the UK and North of Ireland please ask for a quote – send an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org