Joe Ledley wants to bring back special Paradise memories

“Unlike many other Celts, I cannot claim that Celtic was my first love… but I can say that it will be my last love,” Jock Stein told Celtic supporters back in 1955 during his playing days.

Jock Stein heading ball upfield December 1955

Joe Hart

That rings true for many former Celtic players, and indeed we have another upcoming example with Celtic having touched the heart of retiring goalkeeper Joe Hart who last week said that he will always support Celtic after his memorable and highly successful three year stint at the club comes to an end next month.

Celtic v Livingston – Scottish Cup – Kyogo and Joe Hart. Photo Andrew Milligan

They headed towards extinction

Another example of this remarkable Celtic phenomenon – and there are so many to choose from – is the former Wales international midfielder Joe Ledley. Joe joined Celtic from Cardiff City in 2010, and over the next four years he would make 157 appearances, scoring 30 goals, including a memorable winner in one of the last Old Firm games. Ledley’s header that December evening knocked Rangers FC off the top of the league. They never again reached the top of table as they headed towards extinction.

 Joe Ledley of Celtic celebrates scoring at Hampden Park on April 17, 2011. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

One of the many memories

That will be one of the many memories that Joe Ledley will be thinking about as he gets set for return to Paradise on Sunday 26 May when he will be part of the Celtic legends team that will face Borussia Dortmund at Celtic Park.

Speaking to the official Celtic FC website, Joe Ledley explained what it will mean to him and his family to be back in Paradise. “I can’t wait,” Joe Ledley admitted. “I’ve actually been once or twice to watch a game and I took my kids on a tour there as well, but to finally come back and play will be an absolute honour.

Best stadium and the best crowd I’ve ever witnessed

“I’ve always said since I came back down south and told people the memories I have – it’s the best stadium and the best crowd I’ve ever witnessed and I’ve ever played for. I’m sure there will be plenty of memories which will come flooding back to me and it’ll be quite emotional as well, going back and putting the jersey on again.

Joe Ledley of Celtic celebrates scoring the opening goal with his team-mates during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and St Johnstone on May 11, 2013. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

It’s been such a long time

“It’s been such a long time but we’ve had some great memories in the past and it’s a fantastic honour to represent Celtic again and play in the stadium, see the fans and see, not just former players and team-mates, but also people inside the stadium behind the scenes – to see them again will be great.

“My boy is seven and he’s a Celtic fan. I’ve bred him into supporting Celtic. He’s never seen me play football, so for him to come up and see me play and hopefully put in a performance will be a fantastic honour.

“My eldest one was born in Glasgow, so for her to come back up and see where she was born is special. We have fantastic memories and I’m looking forward to it.”

Celtic FC Foundation’s Legends Charity Match

The Celtic FC Foundation’s Legends Charity Match is guaranteed to be a very special afternoon at Paradise for all the family and tickets are on general sale now, priced at: £15 for adults and just £7 for concessions. They are selling fast so get yours HERE.

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