Goodnight loose affiliation of Blue Knights


Paul Simon wrote about ‘a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires’ but if you want to raise money to rescue a company you need more than a loose affiliation.  ‘The rebels’ at Celtic managed this in 1994 (somehow), but Paul Murray’s Blue Knights affiliation unravelled over a few days.

While Duff and Phelps were casting aspersions on the SPL for spiking their plans to announce a preferred bidder last week, the Blue Knights were already struggling to pull £0.5m together as a covenant to secure a period of exclusive rights to buy the club.

18 years ago a Celtic supporter walked into a branch of Bank of Scotland and paid £1m into Celtic’s bank account to bring it back under agreed limits and prevent the club going into administration – without any security or negotiating rights.  A discrete but hugely important act by a man still on our board.  No one from the Rangers consortium was prepared to gamble half as much last week, they even asked Ticketus, finance provider for Craig Whyte’s doomed venture, to stump up the non-refundable cash!  The ticket agency declined.

The Celtic consortium soon fell apart with a modest degree of acrimony but personal issues were put to the side until the job of securing the club was complete.  Paul Murray’s group was less fortunate.  As a chartered accountant Murray would have been fully aware of the Employee Benefit Trusts which brought the club to its knees.  What he knew and whether he benefited are likely to be some of the questions other consortium members were asking.  He was not best placed to lead the recovery.

Murray also tried to keep a broad church together, from wealthy but detached Rangers fans to various elements of the support.  This sounded ambitious from the off.

The most important comment from the Blue Knights yesterday was “The consortium believes that the whole deal process has become incredibly complex and it is critical that a preferred bidder is appointed this week.”

If it’s possible for the words “incredibly complex” and “critical” to be an understatement this is the occasion.  The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League announce their fixtures in the middle of June.  If Rangers are to phoenix before then they better hurry up and die.  The liquidation process will take weeks (if it goes smoothly) and can be open to legal challenge.  Stadium ownership has also to be secured and the claims of Ticketus and Andrew Ellis have to be satisfied.

Add to the mix creditors, the big tax case, punishments from the SFA for their on-going inquiry into the last takeover, potential punishments from the SPL inquiry into improperly registered players, increasingly widespread opposition from within the SPL and the rest of Scottish football to a place being created for a phoenix and you get the picture.

The last few years reads like a lesson in how to destroy a huge football club.  Chances of SPL football at Ibrox next season?  No more than 50%.

Bids for the original canvass painting of Neil Lennon by US based artist, Joseph Gormley, have hit an incredible £500. Keep an eye on the auction, which ends on Thursday, here.

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  1. Hey Torontony,



    not 100% yet Oakville/Burlington/Milton/West Mississauga…that area got a fair few rentals to view? Are you downtown? I usually goto Bramalea club when im over but i’m going to give all the clubs a shot when i get over….treat it like an away game ;-)






  2. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    “It would almost be a benevolent act to bring two warring factions together for the good of Scottish football”


    SFA source



    Why almost ?



    Mhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sumday lying again !!!!

  3. I fancy the huns to muddle along for some time. It was the undercover agent’s plan all along: run the weakening animal into the ground, before it collapses in a steaming, exhausted heap. Then you go for the throat and dismantle the corpse, while walking away with the choice morsels. His lackeys in charge have executed the strategy according to his plan all the while. The chief knight in charge was just glad to wash his hands of the entire mess. His recent interview would be evidence of this, nothing more of a pensioner in a cardi (apologies to my dad).



    The only difference now is that he will do so now with a chortle after all the vilification and insults that have rained down on him.

  4. RL



    i find it quite amusing the way the huns continue to demonise Whyte



    what will he have to lose in holding out for his full entitlement

  5. The last sentence might explain why Ng is interested in Scotland. I also beleive Ally got a Tinky Tonk e-mail declaring her undying love if he would send her some money…



    Singapore’s commercial crimes rose last year as victims fell prey to lottery and Internet love scams, more counterfeit products were sold and failures to deliver on goods and services increased.



    Commercial crimes climbed 2 percent to 3,879, the Singapore police force said in a statement today. The overall number of crimes declined 5.3 percent to 31,404, the police said.



    Robbery, housebreaking and murder cases dropped, helping Singapore cut its overall crime rate to the lowest in 20 years even as commercial scams rose, according to the police. The nation has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, according to a 2010 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes.



    People who received phone calls of false lottery wins were cheated of S$6.4 million ($5.1 million), a 68 percent increase from 2010, according to the statement. Those who were befriended on the Internet were conned out of S$2.3 million, more than doubling from S$824,000 a year earlier.



    Crimes within the city’s two casino resorts, opened in the first half of 2010, rose 12 percent to 520 cases last year, Hoong Wee Teck, senior assistant police commissioner, said at a briefing in Singapore today.



    Convictions for money-laundering climbed to 25 last year from 18 in 2010, Ng Guat Ting, director of public affairs, said at the briefing.



    Singapore will consider a “tougher penalty regime” and boost enforcement against money-laundering and terrorist financing, the central bank said in October. The city-state will also tighten laws on tax evasion, it said.

  6. Kano Foundation End of Season Bash


    Guys , I’m afraid it’s that time again – chasing cash time . We are due to pay Celtic next week for this event on 28th April.



    Below is a list of those who indicated their desire to attend.If you haven’t paid for your tickets , could you please do so asap.



    Payment details :



    S/C 30-13-01 Acc 00989961 , Acc Name The Kano Foundation or by cheque to PO Box 2656 , Glasgow , G69 1BB or by paypal (from our website – although this is the least preferred option due to fees). If you pay by bank transfer , please put your name/blogname and EOS on the transaction so we know you’ve paid.



    Thanks and looking forward to seeing you there.










    Stephen Black










    Greenlion2 – Paid


    MWD – Paid










    Bjmac – Paid




    Jobo Baldie





  7. Serge – How ya doing young fella???? I trust the scouser is eagerly awaiting your return to the promised land of Brora:0) I assume she’s caddying for us at the Carneighie club when i eventually make my pilgrimage???



    It’s a bit cold here today but hopes are high for a midweek hack and i’m sorted for a game on sunday. When are you heading back hame?





  8. RL



    sense of entitlement



    it`s the same as that drivel from the supporters trust that was posted this morning



    i`m not sure they quite get it ….

  9. WoNgA


    The credit worthiness of the Murray shuffle, back steppers.


    The Walkaway any payday, once the Singapore SLiNg big shots have


    worn off and the interest depth charges are primed..Liquidation will be a solace.


    Stupid Huns.



  10. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Rangers should already be kicked out of Scottish football.



    The outstanding list of current outstanding charges against them that are being completely ignored and conveniently ignored by us presently even by corrupt Scottish football standards is breath taking.



    For that reason alone I am convinced that Newco will be given EVERY CHANCE



    I mean what has changed meantime ?



    Hail Hail

  11. ernie


    I am basing my guess on this phrase used by Paul67


    ………”still on our board”

  12. neillybhoy – I’m treasurer of the Toronto #1 which is located in the leafy hamlet of Scarborough:0) I live downtown but don’t go to the downtown club which is located in McVeigh’s bar.



    Give me a shout when you’re over and i’ll take you out to our club. Are you bringing family or are you on yer todd??? Job???





  13. PFayr – they clearly don’t get it. Nor do they seem capable of getting it. Bear in mind these are the guys ole Silver Quiff got onboard to help with his “bid”.



    Cadre of Cretins.



    I wish they had won…..

  14. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    I would hope that by now we would all expect to her what we would like to hear during the CELTIC ST renewal period.



    HAil Hail

  15. Let’s Cut tae the Chase..



    How Much diz Whytey want fur HIS Club?



    Ten, Fifteen.. Twenty.. Thoity.. Million?



    If Ah wur He.. Ah wid want ,at least…


    Ten Million, plus… Another .. Ten..


    Fur Pain and Sufferin’.. plus.. another Ten..


    Jist fur the Hell o’ it.. and that wid mak.. let’s see..



    Thoity Million Pounds.






    Whytey, Hauds awe the Cards..



    Ah canny wait tae see if…


    Whytey’s Demands meet Ma Expectations..





    Still Laughin’

  16. jock steins celtic on

    I’d have thought DD was the only one wealthy enough, certainly in 1994, to put in a cool million. The others all worked for companies which is no way to get mega rich !!

  17. I have a dream. That dream is that hun are liquidated ( I’d prefer if the were liquidised) and sent as newco to Division 3. I would be salivating at the thought that if they won the league that year would they play”We are the Champions” over the sound system at ibroke. Oh how I’d love that.




  18. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    THE original people’s club, Celtic, once a mighty force in European football, have been allowed to fall over a period of years to a level of mediocrity which has riven this once-great institution. The masses are in open revolt and at a meeting this week, an acrimonious struggle for control of the club will come to a head.


    Many see this gathering as marking either a new beginning or a miserable ending. A group of shareholders will attempt to convince the majority of the 170 shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting at Celtic Park on Friday night that if the club, Britain’s first winners of the European Cup, are to have a future, the present directors must be removed from office.



    While the power brokers, who have been arguing for almost three years, conduct their final act in the warmth of one of the stadium’s hospitality suites, the fans, who have formed themselves into pressure groups, will mill around outside. The latest of these, CFC, Celts for Change, intend setting up a soup kitchen in the car park to help insulate against the cold.



    The fans, bemused, watch a depressing saga between the dynasties (the White and Kelly families), who are determined to keep Celtic within their grasp, and wealthy outsiders. In recent times, the club’s raison d’etre has been forgotten by those clinging desperately to power and the others trying to shoulder down the front door.



    Formed in 1888 to raise money for the needy in Glasgow’s East End, Celtic is now dominated by games being played in court rooms and the offices of bank managers between teams of lawyers and financial advisers.



    The main players are five of the present board of directors, Kevin Kelly, the chairman, and his cousin Michael Kelly, Chris White (the largest individual shareholder), Tom Grant, and the newcomer from the world of business buy-outs, David Smith. It is believed Smith, with the backing of White, is the dominant force and the one keeping the banks at bay. The two other directors are Jack McGinn and Jimmy Farrell.



    The board have placed faith in solving the club’s financial problems by moving to a new all-events stadium in the Cambuslang area of Glasgow. Superstadia, a London-based company, say they can pull together enough money to finance the project. Patrick Nally, a mover and shaker in the world of sport, is at the centre of negotiations to provide funding for the stadium, which Celtic would then rent.



    Numerous problems must be overcome before the Cambuslang site would be fit for building but Nally and his allies on Celtic’s board insist the stadium will rise. Sceptics abound, however, and the rebels believe the multi-million pound Cambuslang project to be no more than a diversion from the root cause of Celtic’s malaise.



    The group trying to wrest control away from the directors appear to be reading the signs more astutely. These people, led by a wealthy Glasgow businessman, Brian Dempsey, and an even richer Scottish-born Canadian, Fergus McCann, are prepared to address the club’s immediate problems. Like the fans, they worry about a bank overdraft nudging pounds 5m and the work which must still be done within Celtic Park to square the old place with the Taylor Report.



    Also, this faction are aware there must be a fund from which the new manager, Lou Macari, can draw as he tries to rebuild the team, at present sixth in the Premier Division. McCann has already deposited pounds 12m with the club’s bankers, the Bank of Scotland, and his package, which will be offered to the shareholders on Friday night will take the money available to the club to pounds 18m.



    Regarded by the majority of the fans as the only man who can save the club, Dempsey says that if the Celtic Executive Club’s 300 members – fans with money and faith – withdrew their financial backing, Celtic could lose up to pounds 600,000.



    It would be naive to ignore the fact that bad blood courses between Dempsey and Michael Kelly who, along with White, plotted almost three years ago to have Dempsey removed from the board. At that time, Dempsey had a plan to give Celtic a plot of his own land in the Robroyston area of the city on which a new stadium could have been built, but a whispering campaign suggested his only angle was to line his own pockets. Indignation made him walk away from the club, but he returned to the fight because he fears there can be no future with the present regime.



    Originally he campaigned on his own while McCann was putting together his own package, but logic prevailed and these two became allies. Now they command considerable financial muscle and, through Dempsey, great support among the fans, who have come to regard the battle as one between good and evil. But will ‘good’ triumph on Friday? If Dempsey, McCann, and their backers, who include another millionaire resident in Bermuda, are to succeed much depends on a court ruling expected on Thursday.



    The legality of a pact which both Kellys, White, Grant, and Smith signed to ensure that none of their group could vote or use his shares against the others is being examined. If the courts in Edinburgh decide it is illegal then the shares they hold (about 40 per cent) would have to be re-registered and would become redundant for Friday’s meeting. Dempsey and McCann, who have call on between 35 and 40 per cent, depending on which side Farrell chooses, would then be in a powerful position to secure the two-thirds majority necessary.



    However, should the pact be deemed legal, the chances of a rebel victory become much reduced. Dempsey and McCann would then walk away from the club never to return. The fans, who will be huddled outside, hands wrapped around mugs of soup, waiting for news, will also begin dispersing into the darkness believing their club to have moved beyond redemption.

  19. Torontony



    All good mate hows yourself? Looks like we are packing up already back to Edinburgh. You would think after 17 years on the road id stay a bit longer haha. Aye i’m sure she would enjoy sitting in Skibo castle sipping Gin with the Celebs ;-) I thought i was home June 9th but realised today my 12 week stint is up June 1st so Bonus, Her Birthday is the 8th so I’m over the moon!



    Serge, HH

  20. MiNg the Merciless


    Can assure all orcs that his transparency in all actions shall be overseen


    By the board presence of fans representative….


    Dark MiNgWall



  21. Cheers Tony, much appreciated i’ll take you up on that offer!



    Myself the missus and two dogs making the move over, The missus is self employed baby guru type person so she’s seems to have got plenty work lined up. I work in I.T so i’m going to start applying as soon as we land mid May.



    Met a few from the club when i was over for the convention at Bramalea but i’d had a few shandies so struggling to remember the names…good times

  22. This isn’t the first time Wise Guys from the east have come bearing gifts for the peepel!

  23. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Ready to rival Rangers again: Celtic are under new management. Brian Wilson hopes for an upturn in the club’s fortunes





    A DYNASTY has finally tumbled. As of the weekend the Glasgow football club Celtic, founded to bring status and success to the city’s Irish community, has new names in control for the first time this century. The club that gave the football world such giants as Jock Stein and Kenny Dalglish is now effectively in the hands of a small bespectacled man with a flat cap, moustache and Scottish-Canadian accent.


    The image of boardroom supremo and people’s champion does not yet rest easily on the shoulders of Fergus McCann, saviour of Celtic. But for the time being the club’s supporters are happy to suspend their critical faculties. McCann has two essential virtues: his apparent access to large sums of money – a commodity lately in short supply at Celtic Park; and a name that is neither Kelly nor White – the two families which dominated the affairs of Celtic for three long-lived generations.



    The hereditary principle is rarely a satisfactory way to run anything, and a football club was unlikely to be an exception. Yet until the Bank of Scotland launched the final, decisive tackle on the club last Friday, these two families believed in their right to maintain a proprietorial link with the club’s earliest days: their shareholdings were easily traceable to the day in 1888 when the club was founded.



    The supporters also identify with the club and its origins, to a degree perhaps unique in football. And their loyalty has been bolstered over the years both by success and by the stimulus of rivalry – part footballing and part tribal – with Glasgow Rangers. Celtic’s achievements reached their peak in 1967, when they were the first British club to win the European Cup; a feat which brought them a far wider base of admirers.



    Not long after Celtic were founded, one of the pioneers described the club’s early success as ‘proof of the ability of Irishmen to manage any concern in which they took an interest’. Yet an incredible spiral of events, accompanied by six years without even a domestic honour, led their successors to the brink of receivership. Last Friday the Bank of Scotland warned that the plug was about to be pulled on debts that could total pounds 10m. By then, antagonism among Celtic supporters towards their club’s proprietors had descended into something dangerously close to hatred.



    With the bank issuing its ultimatum and supporters boycotting matches, a majority of directors turned to a group of hitherto reviled suitors led by McCann – whose empire is based in Montreal and Arizona – as the only means of survival.



    Celtic’s precipitate decline had been exacerbated by the pressure to secure stadium improvements in order to meet the all-seat deadline, and the rise of the club’s old rivals, Rangers, to a position of absolute pre-eminence in Scottish football.



    For Celtic supporters the contrast became increasingly difficult to bear. Rangers had long since turned into a public company and used the revenue from their pools operation to achieve a fine, all-seat stadium by the mid-Eighties. At that time, Celtic were still enjoying on-field dominance. Suddenly the picture was transformed. Control over Rangers passed to a hard-headed businessman, David Murray, who acquired Graeme Souness as manager and put millions of pounds at his disposal to acquire an all- star team. By the end of the decade, Rangers had not only the best club stadium in Britain, but a team to match.



    Celtic’s ownership structure seemed the major obstacle to a similar transformation. The controlling families did not have the necessary wealth to emulate the progress at Rangers. Their approach had left the club with a stadium in the east end of Glasgow which fell far short of modern expectations and, increasingly, legal requirements.



    It was against this background that Celtic started spending the bank’s money in a big way. There was the ill- starred appointment of the club’s first chief executive, who took on a string of highly paid deputies. Liam Brady took over as manager and spent millions on unsuccessful signings. He, in turn, gave way last year to Lou Macari.



    In 1990 the ruling families took the adventurous step of bringing in an outsider, Brian Dempsey, as a director. Dempsey, son of a Labour MP, was a property developer who already paid for the biggest executive box at Celtic Park. He had ideas and was approved of by the supporters, but soon fell out with the club’s board and was ousted.



    Celtic then brought in a London-based deal-maker named David Smith, whose business reputation was founded on putting together the Gateway supermarket takeover. He assumed responsibility for the intended new stadium on a piece of contaminated waste ground at Cambuslang, on the outskirts of Glasgow.



    The Celtic board had become utterly committed to this unlikely enterprise, which was disapproved of by the vast majority of supporters. There was, however, a practical problem: the club had no money to put into it. They were seeking a package that would leave them with a 40,000-seater stadium on the basis of other peoples’ investment.



    It never looked realistic and was ultimately the rock on which traditional control of the club foundered. Dempsey, who had made common cause with McCann, knew that he had only to wait for the Cambuslang project to collapse. It finally happened last week. The crunch came when the directors’ claim that pounds 20m funding was guaranteed by a Swiss bank was flatly contradicted by the bank itself.



    At that point the Bank of Scotland took the initiative. The price of financial rescue was the instant departure of Smith and Chris White, the company secretary. The newcomers insisted that Michael Kelly, a former Lord Provost of Glasgow, who had become the club’s official spokesman, must also resign as a director.



    The new directors – McCann, who left Croy, near Glasgow, aged 22 to make his business fortune in North America – Dempsey and the banker Dominic Keane, can all easily identify with the club’s origins and have proven ability in business – something Celtic’s founders might have approved of. Bringing success back to Celtic Park, however, may prove to be an even bigger test than winning control of the club.



    The author is Labour MP for Cunninghame North and wrote Celtic’s centenary history, ‘A Century with Honour’, published by Collins.

  24. Auld Neil Lennon heid on

    Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on 17 April, 2012 at 15:49 said:




    Joe Filippis Haircut



    Why thank you kind sir



    The number of people involved in Scottish football that you simply cannot trust and who wont give you a straight and honest answer increases every day. They need watched AND ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED



    When the SPL kicks off next season and I do not see the name of Rangers FC or a NEWco is when I will believe it.




    I find it amazing that no one in the game gives trust a thought and there seems to be no one making the point that to continue to act without intergrity or ethics will signal the end of the game.



    We cannot trust the media, the SFA, the SPL, or Rangers and the jury is out by some on Celtic. If they do not step up to the plate and say wtf is going on here the game is a bogey.



    I am trusting that they will act because I have seen signs that they are fighting the integrity battle and if there is real public opprobrium against Rangers when the FTT rules they will have public opinion on their side to really make the case.



    I posted earlier on an SPL2 solution that might tick all the boxes on integrity, commercial and natural justice grounds.

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