Group G is for Green | @AlexHTheMax

It's the green, green grass of home (to quote Tom Jones) and the green, green kits too in this season's Europa League draw made on August 27, 2021. @AlexHTheMAX explores a bit of history that ties Celtic to opponents Real Betis and also to a team at the other end of the football pyramid.

There’s a special green and white connection regarding Celtic’s UEFA Europa League Group G with both Real Betis and Ferencvaros of Hungary sporting the same colours as the Bhoys.

However, the Celtic connection for the Spanish side goes a bit deeper than just having the same colour of strips – and Betis even changed to the hoops a few years back to mark a very special occasion.

The green and white hoops is a famous kit throughout the world, synonymous with Celtic Football Club. There are a few other clubs who also wear the distinctive kit, and in February 2017 Real Betis joined this select group for a very special occasion.

The Spanish side switched from their traditional green and white stripes to the hoops when they played Malaga on Tuesday, February 28 to celebrate Andalusia Day - a day of celebration marking the region voting to become an autonomous community of Spain in 1980.

Real Betis adopted green and white as their club colours thanks to one of the club’s founders, Manuel Asensio Ramos, who had studied in Scotland in his youth. Manuel had supported Celtic during his time in Scotland, and from 1911, Real Betis wore green and white stripes – the Celtic strip before the club changed to the Hoops in 1903.

Betis in their Celtic tribute kit for a game v Malaga in 2017

So, to mark Andalusia Day, and in acknowledgement of their Celtic connection, Real Betis wore a special green and white-hooped kit.

Celtic, of course, already have strong connections with the city of Seville, where Real Betis are based, thanks to the club’s participation in the 2003 UEFA Cup final there, when over 80,000 Hoops fans travelled to Andalusia to cheer the Glasgow giants on.

Sadly, Jose Mourinho and Porto took the trophy in a 3-2 win but it was a brave effort from the hoops in their battle with the blue and white stripes of the Portuguese on the night.

At the other end of the football scale Highland League club Buckie Thistle also wear the Celtic hoops and this is due to the visit of the Parkhead men to Buckie for a friendly, we think in the 1920s.

Celtic gifted their Highland hosts hooped shirts as a thank you for their hospitality and from that moment on Buckie became a northern outpost of the green and white hoops, deciding to adopt the colours and design for all seasons since the Bhoys visit pre-WW2.

Buckie Thistle in their green & white kit

Buckie fans were actually mistaken for Celtic ones once when they ventured to Edinburgh circa early-1980s to watch their team play then Scottish Division 2 Meadowbank Thistle (now Livingston FC) in a Scottish Cup tie.

Buckie fans were jeered as they passed a broken down coach of Rangers fans on their way back to Glasgow after a league fixture in the east, with the disgruntled Gers supporters unaware it was infact the green and white of the Highlands who were their target! The Buckie bus was heading back up the road after a 2-2 draw for their team at the Commonwealth Stadium.

There were to be more knowing smiles from Buckie fans in the replay which their team won 3-2 seven days later. 

An honourable mention also to another green and white hooped shirt with Ronaldo in the news currently. He, ofcourse, made his name in the hoops of Sporting Lisbon before his (first) transfer to Manchester United.

Ferencvaros (Hungary) sport a similar kit to Celtic too

By Alex Horsburgh, written for @TFHBs

©The Football History Boys, 2021
(All pictures borrowed and not owned in any form by TFHB)


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