Never meet your heroes, they’ll always disappoint you. We all hear that a lot, right? They’ll be an egomaniac, they’ll have no time for you, they’re too big time to speak to the likes of you. Sure, sometimes that’s true, but now and again, you meet someone who is exactly like you thought that they would be. Humble, kind, willing to give you as much of their time as they can. They realise that you’re a fan, that you respect them and for that, they immediately respect you back. It’s not a common occurence, it’s rare, you learn to appreciate those moments and people as you get older.
The heroes in our lives don’t wear capes. They don’t have x-ray vision, they don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are ordinary, yet extraordinary people whose commitment, compassion and service to you and others serve as an exemplary idea of humanity at it’s absolute best. They’re people who you look up to, who you admire and when you’re in their presence, you’re like a little kid. You’re never too old to be starstruck. Never underestimate the impact that kindness has on another human being. He captained the club to a European Cup, nine successive league titles, seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups as a player, four titles and four cups as the main man in charge. He’s Billy McNeill, he’s Cesar, the first British man to lift the European Cup.
Unfortunately, our heroes are not indestructible and today we lost him to thousands, probably millions of people around the world who cherished him.
Today is a struggle for me and all of those other people, it’s tough to imagine the much larger heartbreak that the family are feeling right now. It’s not a stretch to say that all of our hearts go out to you all.
We met once, he signed and personalised his autobiography for me and asked me about my family, about my daughter, about my love for Celtic. He couldn’t have been kinder and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been crying ever since the news broke, much as I’m sure that other people have. He was Mr Celtic and he’ll be missed. The word legend is often overused but not in his case. A giant of a man, yet compassionate to the core. In time, we’ll reflect on everything he did for this magnificient club, this institution but for now, it’s okay to hurt and remember one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. Tributes have been flooding in from across the globe and that is testament to the man who took time to sign my book, put his hand on my shoulder and smile at me, wishing me all the best and asking to pass on his love to my daughter. Easily the most humbling moment of my life. Most of us will have memories of the great man. It hurts that we won’t get to make any more, but cherish the ones you have.
You’ll never walk alone Cesar.