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Monday, December 21, 1998 Published at 13:13 GMT

Business: The Company File

Celtic 'disrespectful' to Dalglish

Celtic said the consortium's proposals did not reflect club values

The star-studded consortium trying to take over Celtic FC has accused the club of disrespect and insisted it has funds to make the plan become reality.

Chick Young: The consortium were unhappy about the way they have been treated
The group is headed by former Celtic hero Kenny Dalglish, who refused to be drawn on whether he would become the Celtic manager if the venture proves successful.

But his comments have begun a war of words with the club, who have challenged the consortium to free both parties from the present constraints which they feel are obstructing the truth being known.

Kenny Dalglish is asked if he'd be involved on the playing side
Dalglish was speaking publicly for the first time with consortium members, Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr and Glasgow businessman Jim McAvoy. U2 frontman Bono is also involved in the take-over bid.

A news conference was called by the consortium to respond to Celtic Managing Director Fergus McCann's rejection of its proposals ahead of the offer being formally submitted.

The consortium expressed anger that they have been denied the opportunity to meet McCann in person to explain their five-year plan in detail and stress its seriousness.

Not in 'best interests'

Celtic Vice-Chairman Brian Quinn said on Friday: "We have considered the consortiums proposals and, after discussions with our advisers, are unanimous in our view that this approach is not in the best interests of Celtic, it's supporters and shareholders."

McCann said the proposals "failed to reflect Celtic's values and aspirations".

[ image: McAvoy:
McAvoy: "Deep pockets"
McAvoy said: "We believe this club needs investment now and though it is difficult to be specific in the next week we would wish to continue a dialogue because Mr McCann has a 50.3% stake that we want to make an offer for.

"We expected we would be granted a meeting but nothing was forthcoming."

McAvoy said he had reacted with "disbelief" when informed of Celtic's rejection a mere half an hour before stance public.

Jim McAvoy: "Club needs investment"
He added that the Banker's Trust working alongside the consortium was investing rather than supplying money in the form of lending.

"There has been a misconception about the money we have available but I can say that we do have deep pockets."

[ image: Kerr:
Kerr: "Dalglish shown disrespect"
Jim Kerr attacked McCann's decision to speak to the consortium only through his advisers and complained: "We did not get the chance to talk to Mr McCann. They were not man enough to meet us.

"I am here as a fan who is speaking from the heart and who feels this club has been in disarray for too long. Amid all the financial talk there has not been enough mention of football which to me always comes first.

Jim Kerr: Talks of "disrespect"
"The main thing is centred around football. That's encapsulated and symbolised by a football great, a Celtic great, who has been shown short shrift, sheer disrespect.

Kerr spoke passionately when he declared: "His name is Kenny Dalglish, a winner. That's what we need at Celtic. Money can't buy this."

[ image: Dalglish:
Dalglish: "Pin-stripe strip"
The trio stressed their emphasis would be on a football-minded Celtic but with the business sense to invest without incurring debt as they focused on overdue European success on the field.

Dalglish stressed the decision to go public with their objectives was not intended to be "hostile".

Kenny Dalglish: "Let's put records on table"
"Fergus McCann said he had given five years' service to the club but that is only half the service I gave the club as a player."

He refused to discuss who might manage the club, saying it was not an issue for the consortium at present.

But his mask slipped slightly when he was asked if he wanted to be involved in the playing side and answered: "I would hope so, maybe play with a pin-stripe suit on."

Celtic demand freedom of speech

The club have rejected the criticism in a brief statement, which said: "If the consortium released Celtic from confidentiality then the shareholders, supporters, media and general public would be in a clear position to evaluate the consortium's approach.

"If the consortium is genuinely interested it should make a bid for Celtic in the proper manner which to date it has failed to do so.

"If it did, all information in respect of any bid would have to be fully disclosed which would be in everyone's best interests."

Craig Brown: Players not affected
Scotland coach Craig Brown was asked, during a match commentary for Radio 5 Live, whether the controversy off the field would affect the players.

"I think too much is made of this," he said. "The press make a big deal of various things off the pitch but my experience over 30 or 40 years has been in the dressing room and it's very uncommon for things off the field to influence what happens on the playing pitch.

"It's sometimes used as an excuse, I think."

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