Frank McAvennie expects fundraiser Billy McNeill to unite fans of Celtic and Rangers


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In the battle against dementia, Frank McAvennie hopes the Billy McNeill Fund would merge the two halves of the Old Company.

At the launch of the McNeill family-founded charity in Parkhead yesterday, former Celtic striker McAvennie met former Rangers executive Walter Smith.

And the man whose goals helped Celtic win the Double in 1988 is sure people would get behind the cause for both Glasgow clubs.

He said, “This means more to me than I thought it would,” It was a huge deal for all of us when Billy’s family decided they were going to be involved, since they have not been involved in anything since he died.

“You can imagine how many times during that time Liz and Martin were asked to be involved in various things. But this is the first time ‘yes’ has been said, so I am all for it.

“This awful epidemic is a positive thing for the city in certain ways, because it at least helps bring the two sides of the divide together. When it comes to anything like this, there are no colors.

“We all saw what happened with Fernando (Ricksen) and with the gaffer, and when something like this happens, it brings us all together. Hopefully we can find a cure for this horrible disease, because I’ve heard they’re on their way.

“When I went to the gaffer, he was getting worse. It’s such a terrible, terrible disease and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“I just hope the government doesn’t get involved and it’s all about money. It’s a terrible disease and we just have to let the experts get on with finding a cure.”

Meanwhile, McAvennie has welcomed the return of the head-to-head race for the Scottish title, which he was involved in during his own playing days at Celtic.

“It’s great that there’s a challenge – because it will make it that much sweeter if Celtic win the league! ” he said.

“You saw what happened at the weekend when Rangers lost at Hearts. They were completely shocked by that defeat. But that’s how it’s going to be for both of them from now until the end of the season, and that’s great.

“When I played, the first thing you did in the dressing room when you dropped points on Saturdays was to ask how Rangers had done.

“It’s like that again now and that can only be good for Scottish soccer, no matter who you support. As I said, I support Celtic and as long as they’re winning, I’m happy for the challenge.”


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