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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK

Kerr's Ceaucescu jibe at McCann

The acrimony over Celtic Football Club's future continues

Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr has reopened the bitter war of words with former Celtic Managing Director Fergus McCann, likening his stadium-building achievements to those of former dictators Nicolae Ceaucescu and Mussolini.

Kerr, part of the Kenny Dalglish-led consortium snubbed whose takeover was snubbed by McCann, said that while the former chief may have built a fine stadium at Parkhead, the club had become soccer "also- rans".

And he vowed he would never buy McCann's shares in the club to gain influence because to to do so would mean paying for the Scots-Canadian's retirement.

[ image: Jim Kerr says Celtic are still a team of
Jim Kerr says Celtic are still a team of "also-rans"
Kerr, who was interviewed on the Lesley Riddoch show on BBC Radio Scotland, savaged McCann and said the club was in the same parlous state on the pitch as when he arrived, evidenced by its failure to stop Rangers lifting the Scottish Premier League title last week.

He said: "Celtic are also-rans. I was in the middle of however many Rangers fans on their way to see their team win the Scottish league for the 10th time in 11 years.

"McCann built a stadium, oh what a great, great thing. Ceacescu built pretty amazing stadiums, so did Mussolini."

Kerr, however, then sought to deny he was making a "comparison" between the Romanian and Italian dictators.

"I'm in it for the team. It's like building La Scala and having a run-of-the mill pub singer perform."

Kerr said nothing would persuade him to buy any shares in Celtic as long as McCann was the man selling.

Existing shareholders

McCann has now left the country but the sale of his 51% holding is set to take place this summer, with his advisers told to make shares available to a broad base of existing shareholders and supporters.

Kerr and others were told by McCann before his departure they would be welcome to join these investors, but this offer was flatly rejected.

He said: "Absolutely not - not a thin dime. I'm not paying for his retirement. It's not bitter, it's a reaction. We were treated like the great unwashed."

'Strong opinions'

Celtic spokesman Peter MacLean said: "Obviously Jim's got some strong opinions about Celtic. He's supported the club for a long time but it's not for me to judge."

MacLean said no-one could deny the club had "progressed" during McCann's five-year reign.

"When you consider that the club was on the verge of bankruptcy five years ago, it has now moved on and is on a firm financial footing. It has invested heavily in players and is Britain's largest and arguably best stadium.

"Matters have progressed greatly and there is a foundation there to build upon."

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