Not all Celtic heroes wear hoops


In 1994, when the Bank of Scotland told Celtic they would not pay wages the next day as the club was overdrawn, the old board had finally run out of road.  That evening, chairman, Kevin Kelly, informed John Keane of the situation.  Keane asked his manager at Bank of Ireland to deposit £1m in Celtic’s account at Bank of Scotland as soon as the branch opened the next morning.

Keane had been one of those working to open Celtic up and break the stranglehold of the three families who had largely controlled the club for decades.  He became a director when the old board was replaced and retired from that position today.

That £1m payment was made without control or agreements, there was no guarantee it would save the club or that the old regime would actually move on.  Keane later said, “Administration was unthinkable. It would have been a slur upon the name of the Club.”

Had the wages not been paid, Celtic would have entered administration, and this would not have been like the Craig Whyte-appointed Rangers administration. High earners would have been released, anything sellable would have been sold.  Celtic would have been left with the lowest cost squad able to fulfil fixtures.

The most striking aspect about John Keane is his contentment for others to take the limelight.  He tells no one what he did.  It has never been about him, always Celtic.

Not all Celtic heroes wear hoops.

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  1. Thanks for a great article Paul67.



    John is a real Celtic Hero.



    John signed a cheque for £1m to keep Celtic alive and kicking until wee Fergus arrived to take the reigns, If he hadn’t done so the consequences would have been disastrous.



    John did this unconditionally, without any guarantee of having his money refunded – an act borne out of love and trust.



    I’ve met John a few times over the years – he’s a pal of my Dad’s and they were both on the Committee of the Irish Club in Edinburgh in the 70s. (The Tara Club in Leith Walk).



    A great Celtic man, a great Mayo Irishman, and a more humble man you would struggle to meet.



    More power to ye John! – and thank you once again.

  2. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    The man who put the money up


    Enjoy your retirement ☘️☘️☘️☘️

  3. Hrvatski Jim on

    Great article and great statement on the official club site.


    We will be eternally grateful to John Keane for this act alone never mind his lifetime of support and service to Celtic.

  4. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    See you and anyone else who cares to be I. the BV after 4

  5. The legend was that he walked into the bank with £1mil. in a briefcase the next morning, I like the legend story better :) por cierto.

  6. Well said Paul67,



    Legend is a word oft banded about (but to be fair, not where Celtic Directors are concerned) yet John Keane will certainly go down in Celtic history.



    Best Wishes to you and your family on your retirement Mr Keane.



    FAIRHILL BHOY @ 12:00 PM,



    Well, yes in away, but next years the one, that’s their 9iar;)



    Hail Hail




    I’ll be in the BV an hour before you, I gave Richie a call and he’s coming in also, glad that Lennybhoy is also coming in, we maybe get any info he has on any signings he has info on ,hope some others appears too, your all welcome.

  8. JOHN KEANE thank you. The worldwide Celtic family will always be in your debt for what you did in 1994.


    May you have a long and happy retirement.


    Thank You

  9. GreeninbingleyinOslo on

    Well said Paul 67.



    If John Keane hadn’t saved us, the consequences would have been unthinkable.



    Enjoy your retirement, Mr Keane, with eternal gratitude.

  10. It’s a great thing that John Keane did for our club thank you for keeping Celtic alive and kicking.



    It’s a great pity that bhoys on here think we have a bad CEO, we will never be in that situation again while he’s in charge,he is Celtic at heart he loves Celtic as much as everybody on here, we are very lucky that we have supporters who love the club.



    Mouthing off about heated driveways make me sick,there would be a reason for heating his driveway,maybe one of his kids slipped on ice and hurt himself,so he solved the problem with putting in a bit of heating under his driveway, give up the slanging him off,he deserves praise for the job he is doing for Celtic, we are now the richest club in Scotland and elsewhere, so give up on the slagging and more of a bit of praise for the job he’s doing.

  11. What is the Stars on

    God Bless John Keane





    The man who truly kept the green flag flying despite the malcontents,naysayers,begrudgers and huns with fountain pens

  12. John Keane a true Celtic hero!



    Enjoy your well earned retirement!



    Your contribution to our club will never be forgotten. 🍀🍀🍀

  13. Old Tim


    I agree with you. Unfortunately, I feel , for the main part, your praise of our CEO`s achievements will fall on stoney ground


    .Have a fine time in the BV. I WILL have a drink with you in there one day !



  14. Go tell the Spartim on

    John Keane is indeed a Celtic hero who has allowed further heroes to do many wonderous things in the name of Celtic and its supporters.

  15. OLDTIM67 on 5TH JULY 2019 1:18 PM



    The thing about the driveway is funny.



    PL payed a home builder a significant amount of money to build him a house. They designed a very steep driveway that was unsafe when frosty.



    He complained and this was the solution they came up with. I’m pretty sure he feels embarrassed about the whole thing now.

  16. A Celtic fan on twitter posted a picture of him in Glasgow Airport with Neil Lennon.



    Claims it was taken today and NL was flying to Sweden. Which is funny, we haven’t been linked with anybody from Sweden as far as I can tell.

  17. excathedra44 on

    Great article Paul,well remembered,a proper Celtic fan and supporter.



    P.S. Oldtim 67


    Spot on,most commentators are wide of the mark, and for those so called fans who constantly criticise the Club word fail me.

  18. Just like to add my gratitude & best wishes to the true Legend, John Keane, without him where would we be.

  19. glendalystonsils on

    Cap doffed to Mr Keane , he would not contemplate letting the club he loved , die.



    Unlike the club which claims to be Scotland’s foremost.

  20. 5th July and we still don’t have any new loan deals from City or PSG for any of their squad fillers that will never get a game for them . . . I sense a welcome change of strategy. Net been cast a bit wider and with a bit more imagination than of recent years.



    Hail Hail to John Keane, a fan’s fan.

  21. Hrvatski Jim on

    Extract of a report on a “Rangers” closed door friendly with The New Saints:



    “Scott Ruscoe’s Welsh minnows got a glimpse of football’s fast lane at Rangers – even if they protest an offside goal pipped them at the line.





    TNS made their way past flash Lamborghinis and Range Rovers in the Hummel Training Centre car park to face a host of Steven Gerrard ’s signings in a closed-doors friendly on Tuesday.





    Rangers needed veteran talisman Jermain Defoe to clinch a 1-0 win although Ruscoe believes his underdogs suffered from what he suspects to be some friendly local officials.”



    “Friendly local officials” – remember the phrase.

  22. Paul 67,



    Excellent article and a bit of recognition for our real life unsung hero.




  23. glendalystonsils on




    Somebody should explain to the New Saints boss that it has nothing to do with Geography.

  24. John Keane – a real Celt who quietly helped the club in their hour of need


    to the tune of one million pounds!


    Did I not read somewhere that he never asked for the money back?


    Wishing John and his family a long and happy retirement!


    Hail! Hail!



  25. Hrvatski Jim on




    My take from the report was that a team of Lamborghinis and Range Rovers needed unfair help to beat a team pedal cyclists.

  26. Hi Paul67,



    I hadn’t been to Celtic Park before 1994 even though I began supporting the Hoops soon after Bloody Sunday in January 1972.



    John Keane isn’t a name that easily comes to mind as a hero, but a hero and legend he is.



    There are many John Keanes in many walks of life so thank you for reminding us of one of our unsung heroes.



    Hail Hail John Keane.

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