Special One Football Club Athletic Club has decided to honour Celtic FC captain and legend Billy McNeill with the 2019 One Club Man Award. A member of the Lisbon Lions, Billy McNeill was the skipper of the legendary Lisbon Lions who conquered Europe with Celtic FC for the first time in 1967 beating Helenio Herrera’s Internazionale in the European Cup final.
Consequently, Billy McNeill’s election as the fifth One Club Man Award is conditioned by that extraordinary line-up for Celtic FC to lift the most important trophy in Europe with eleven Scottish players who were born within 50 kilometres around Glasgow, an element that corresponds to Athletic Club’s philosophy.
Lisbon Lion Billy McNeill was a brilliant and smooth centre-back who played 822 matches in 18 seasons so that McNeill holds the club record for most appearances with The Hoops.
Along with Celtic FC historical triumph in the European Cup, Billy McNeill won 9 straight leagues and another 13 Scottish competitions, despite the most important victory was the 1967 European Cup that signified a great achievement in football history becoming the first British side to win the competition. McNeill was also part of the glorious Celtic FC squad during the 60s and 70s.
Billy McNeill represented Scotland as well 29 times and won nine Scottish leagues as Celtic FC manager from 1978 to 1983 and 1987 to 1991 including the one achived in the Celtic FC centenary. He also coached Clyde, Aberdeen, Manchester City and Aston Villa.
As Billy McNeill is struggling with dementia in recent times he will not be able to attend the 2019 One Club Man Award ceremony, just as the previous honoured special one players -Matt Le Tissier, Paolo Maldini, Sepp Maier and Carles Puyol- did visiting San Mames personally.
In 2009, Billy McNeill became Celtic FC ambassador, just in a similar way Athletic Club legend Jose Angel Iribar features nowadays. Celtic FC decided that McNeill should enter eternity and built a statue next to Celtic Park with Billy McNeill lifting the European Cup trophy wearing the distinctive green and white stripes.
Billy McNeill speaking at time up in the 1989 Scottish Cup Final.
A calm measured interview but he still has a swipe at Rangers.
Love the man. pic.twitter.com/KkxujBBb9j
— Highland__Paddy (@Highland__paddy) April 15, 2019