CELTIC have announced plans to honour former owner Fergus McCann as the club marks the 20th anniversary of the Canada-based businessman’s Parkhead takeover.
Celtic were on the brink of a financial meltdown when McCann rescued the club back in 1994. Within five years he had sold-up, leaving them with a redeveloped 60,000-seater home and a league championship crown to prevent arch rivals Rangers winning ten-in-a-row.
However, he proved to be a divisive figure amongst the Celtic support with his cautionary spending at a time when the Ibrox side were splashing millions on players.
Now, the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell has announced McCann will be welcomed back to Celtic Park for the first home league match of next season as the club’s guest of honour. Lawwell said: “2014 is a very special year for Celtic as it marks the 20th anniversary of Fergus’s takeover of Celtic and it is absolutely right that the special contribution he made to Celtic is marked in this way.
“Fergus’s intervention in 1994 delivered the current Celtic Park, at the time the largest club stadium in Britain and, ultimately, he re-established Celtic as a footballing force by winning the Scottish Premier League in season 1997/98. He enabled supporters to take a stake in the club they loved, to be part of something and once again have pride in their team. He energised and motivated our support and our supporters responded brilliantly by backing his vision.
“A true Celtic supporter, Fergus delivered huge personal investment, sound leadership and tremendous vision during his tenure at Celtic. He showed unwavering determination and resilience to ensure his club could once again flourish and his contribution has led directly to the position of health which our club is in today.”
McCann said: “It is very kind of the club and supporters to think of me and to offer this gesture. It is incredible to think that 20 years have passed since the takeover. It gives me great pleasure to see Celtic as such a successful and well-run club as it is today.”