LIAM BRADY was named as Billy McNeill’s successor as Celtic manager in June 1991.

The charismatic Irishman arrived with a dream for the club, but his vision had become blurred by the time he departed in early October 1993.

In another CQN EXCLUSIVE series, author Alex Gordon opens his book files to look back at an intriguing and compelling chapter in the club’s history.

Here is another edited extract from Alex’s tribute book, ‘The Winds of Change‘, published by CQN in 2015.

Please enjoy.

JOE MILLER would soon be on his way back to Aberdeen. Celtic’s 1989 Scottish Cup goalscoring hero had been hindered by injury in his last year at the club.

Miller also believed he was being played out of position on the right wing during his fleeting first team appearances. I was in Liam Brady’s office when he was involved in a cat-and-mouse phone call with an individual – he was never identified – and it was clear the manager would not part with Miller to the Pittodrie club for anything less than £400,000.

That was the fee and there was no room for manoeuvre. At one stage, Brady smiled and winked. I knew the £400,000 was in the bag. Now, with the club in funds, it was just a question of getting McGinlay on board and leaving it to the tribunal to determine a fee.

As anticipated, they eventually settled on £400,000 and that cash was transferred in an instant to Hibs. The Edinburgh club weren’t happy, of course. They were demanding half-a-million pounds for a player who hadn’t cost a penny to sign, had given six years’ service, had never been a top earner and was a stranger to international squads.

Eventually, after the usual posturing, the furore passed and McGinlay could get on with his new career at Celtic. By the way, an agent got the full percentage for the player’s transfer. I neither received nor wanted a penny. I got the story and, as a newspaperman, that was all I was looking for.

I emphasise the tale as an indication of how dramatically things had changed at the club. In the previous two years, Liam Brady was allowed to break the Celtic transfer record twice in twelve months.

WELCOME TO CELTIC…club record signing Tony Cascarino poses with Liam Brady after signing from Aston Villa.

He paid out £1.1million for Tony Cascarino from Aston Villa and, at the start of the following season, spent £1.5million in bringing Stuart Slater to the club from West Ham.

Both, it must be admitted, were resounding flops. Tony Mowbray, a name that would make its presence felt later in Celtic history, cost £1million when he joined from Middlesbrough and, through unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances on and off the pitch, he never quite made into the club’s Hall of Fame, either.

Right at the start, though, it had to be admitted Celtic were taking a risk with Liam Brady, an individual blessed with awesome vision with the ball at his feet, who had never managed a football club before at any level.

Also, Brady was the first manager who had never played for the club.

The fans were assured by the board Celtic were moving into a new era, this was the way forward. When Billy McNeill took his leave, the board, remarkably, had no-one in mind to take his place.

For the first time in the club’s history, the powerbrokers awaited applications for the prestigious post. Many doubted the wisdom of this procedure, but, as ever, were willing to give it a chance.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the next riveting instalment of the Liam Brady story – only in your champion CQN.

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