New Celtic CEO Dominic McKay is a popular figure in Scottish Rugby.
Taking the game to new heights, he was in charge of commercial operations for Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby. He helped to build the stature of the national team over the last decade. Also, he’s chairman of the Guinness PRO14, the biggest rugby union league.
He knows his stuff. He’s said all the right things so far, talking about developing the team on and off the pitch. Most crucially, for me, he talked about the charity ethos and the foundation. These things matter.
McKay is also a passionate supporter of Celtic, and a season ticket holder [Celtic FC].
There was one thing, however. In a profile with the Scotsman in 2017, the paper mentioned the changing of Murrayfield Stadium. In 2014, McKay inked a four-year, multi-million pound deal to rename Scotland’s national rugby stadium to BT Murrayfield.
If he has any similar thoughts as CEO of Celtic, he’s going to face fierce opposition.
Celtic CEO cannot toy with history
Now, you might say I’m getting ahead of myself. Undoubtedly, I am to a degree; McKay isn’t even in the job yet. But one of his much-heralded corporate partnerships was between BT and the Scottish Rugby team. Scotland Rugby still have a lucrative deal with British Telecom, which seems to benefit both parties.
Renaming Murrayfield isn’t that big of a deal. I’m sorry, Rugby fans, but it just isn’t. Especially when Scottish Rugby were actively seeking to raise funds through naming rights from 2012 [Scotsman]. McKay is the one credited for getting that over the line, and it may have saved Scotland’s governing Rugby body.
It doesn’t matter what happens though, renaming Celtic Park just isn’t an option.
Even supporters sometimes disagree over what to call it. I’ve been told not to call the stadium Parkhead before, for reasons that weren’t obvious. Colloquial names like “Parkers” can make supporters of a certain vintage apoplectic with rage.
Celtic Park’s future was in doubt as recently as the 90s. Brian Dempsey proposed a plan to move the club to Robroyston, a site which is now houses [Herald]. Michael Kelly wanted to move Celtic to Cambuslang, a baffling view he still maintains [Daily Record].
Still, Paradise stands. While it sits empty just now, it is a beautiful, modern stadium. The only changes in recent years have been positive; the safe standing section has been a success, and the disco lights are inoffensive at worst.
McKay is seen as an innovator and has been successful. He may well prove to be the breath of fresh air the club needs, going forward. But in terms of tricks to repeat, a word to the wise: the stadium name is out of bounds.