Report: Dermot Desmond's son to take Celtic role

By Euan Davidson

January 14, 2021

Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond is set to hire one his sons, according to Football Insider.

The outlet claims that Ross Desmond will be part of a boardroom shuffle. Desmond Jr’s LinkedIn page states that he used to be an Equity Trader at Citi and Barclays.

The report claims that Desmond will join the board in the summer, as Celtic look to rebuild following a dismal 20-21 season. This shake-up could involve Neil Lennon and Nick Hammond losing their jobs. As recently as the 9th, Celtic assistant John Kennedy backed Nick Hammond, saying:

“In terms of our scouting, Nick’s been in for well over a year now. He put in some new processes, and he’s brought in new personnel within his team to make sure we’re covering as much as we can.”

It’s also possible that the beleaguered Peter Lawwell will be subject to review in the reported boardroom changes. The club have suffered from a financial and PR perspective over the last few weeks.

However active Dermot Desmond is at Celtic, he won’t have liked the noises coming out of the club recently. The billionaire majority shareholder’s move – if it is indeed correct – will increase his influence at Celtic Park.


Celtic saviour Fergus McCann ended the last family dynasty at Celtic Park / (Photo by Craig Williamson – SNS GroupSNS Group via Getty Images)

Nepotists beware: Celtic majority shareholder Desmond should heed history with the Kelly dynasty

If Football Insider’s sources are correct, however, Desmond would do well to read his history.

The most influential family in Celtic’s past are, of course, the Kellys (Celtic Wiki). Most notably, Robert Kelly was a controversial figure at the club, having alienated managers as heralded as Jimmy McGrory, Jock Stein and Billy McNeill. The son of influential boardroom figure James Kelly, Robert passed on the club to a board of directors including his nephew, Kevin Kelly.

It was with Kevin that the Kelly dynasty ended, ousted by the 1994 takeover of Fergus McCann and Brian Dempsey (Daily Record). With the spirit of the rebellion sweeping the supporters again, is another family dynasty a good idea?

Much of the comments floating around are similar to 1994. Fans say the board are complacent, that they’re coasting on old successes. They say that not enough money is being put into the playing squad, and communication is poor.

Adding another Desmond to the mix, then? It seems like a foolish endeavour.

Ross might know a thing or two about financial markets, and it’s reasonable to say that could help Celtic in some way. However, what fans don’t want is a boardroom full of suits who aren’t in tune with the supporters. It’s a bad sign that for many supporters that this is the first time we’ve heard Ross’ name.

He may have popped up at an AGM or two. But unless he hits the ground running with tangible results, fans won’t be pleased.

In fact, we’d be amazed if this happens, and Celtic Trust memberships don’t increase. If you know your history, it’s enough to make your heart sink.