Stephen McGowan reveals the extent of Dermot Desmond's hands-on role at Celtic this summer
Celtic have had an interesting nine months.
From the Neil Lennon and Peter Lawwell exits, the Nick Hammond departure through to the Eddie Howe debacle, Ange Postecoglou arrival and busy transfer window, it certainly hasn’t been quiet.
And it appears at the centre of it all has been prominent shareholder Dermot Desmond.
We’ve heard reports of Desmond’s hands-on role at the club already this summer. The Daily Record reported as much.
Ange Postecoglou would later play that down, insisting he takes responsibility for the work done this summer, but the narrative has taken hold amongst some supporters.
Now, journalist and Clyde 1 pundit Stephen McGowan has shed more light on Desmond’s involvement in a column for The Scottish Daily Mail today. [04/09 print edition, page 114]
McGowan writes: “This season’s Premiership champions will rake in £30million from automatic qualification for the group stage of the Champions League. And that might explain why a billionaire with multiple interests elsewhere was forced to get his hands dirty having a rummage under the Parkhead bonnet this summer.
“Celtic’s Mister Big was full-on with the signing of players like Joe Hart. He oversaw the change of chief executive from Peter Lawwell to the modernising agenda of McKay.
“He conducted the meetings with Eddie Howe until the Englishman took cold feet. He gave the green light to the appointment of Postecoglou and persuaded Gordon Strachan to pitch up as a consultant and look at the club’s academy operations.
“Fans shelling out £600 for a season book are entitled to feel it’s the least he could do. Especially when his apparent determination to stand by Neil Lennon at all costs last November contributed to a disastrous tilt at ‘the ten’. Yet no-one really believes Desmond stepped in and grabbed the wheel because he wanted to. He did it because he had to.”
In this context, it’s crucially important that Celtic now embark on the next stage of the rebuild.
The players are in the door, now it’s time to add the staff and support mechanisms for Postecoglou to truly succeed at Celtic.
We need a fully-fledged recruitment team, we need sports science staff and anyone else Postecoglou wants in the door.
Ideally, we’ll have a sporting director as well, allowing for the club to transition from era to era without ripping everything up and starting again.
It remains to be seen whether Desmond’s interventions at Celtic will pay off for us this summer, but it seems he certainly was involved in a big way.
Let’s get the staff in place to avoid that scenario in future.
In other news, New Bhoy Ciaran Dickson scores immediately for Celtic B after signing from rivals.