Apparently, time for Rangers fans to step forward to save their club has passed. For the want of £500k any one or collection of them could have bought an exclusive period as preferred bidder and worked on a rescue but no one stepped forward.
It is perhaps worthwhile reflecting on our hour of need 18 years ago. Celtic had exceeded their agreed overdraft limit and the Bank of Scotland informed the club that unless the account was brought back into agreed limits that day, it would go to court to appoint an administrator.
Back then there were no transfer windows, so players could, and would, have been sold by the administrator the next day. Celtic would have been left with an unwanted shell of a squad.
Word of the impending doom spread around the Celtic business community and John Keane decided to act. He withdrew £1m from his account and paid it straight into Celtic’s account at the Bank of Scotland.
John did this in the hope that he could buy time for the Celtic Movement to pull a rescue together. The bank could still have withdrawn the overdraft the same day, which would have made him an unsecured creditor with no chance of a return. There was also no agreement signed to secure the transfer of the club from the old board, each member of whom would later be dealt with on an individual basis, as shares were sold, or in the case of Kevin Kelly, pledged behind Fergus McCann’s consortium.
John kept his money in Celtic and received a seat on the new board, which he retains. He declined to appear in the publicity photos on the steps of Celtic Park when the club was rescued and although he attends the AGM every year, he remains a quiet and largely unknown figure. He has since invested more in Celtic, money he will never see back, but which has ensured his family can block a Glazier-style takeover of Celtic.
I have spoken to him once or twice, although he doesn’t know who I am, but I have often thought he deserves a standing ovation at the AGM for what he did all those years ago. Maybe this year.
We can only wonder why there was not a John Keane across the city.
Very well done to the Daily Record for their excellent story about CQN’er Tony Conway today. Tony, who now lives in the United States, suffers from motor neuron disease and made the trip back to Celtic Park last year with his Dad, John, and brother, Martin. They spent time with Jinky’s son James and met a host of people at the club, including Neil Lennon and Billy McNeill.
Read it, it’s a great story.
Remember to keep an eye on the signed Celtic shirt being auctioned for Wellburn Care Home, it ends Monday.