Dermot Desmond responds to 'contemptible suggestion' of selling Celtic shares and has say on fan ownership

Celtic’s principal shareholder Dermot Desmond has shot down any speculation regarding the selling of his shares.
Dermot Desmond has responded to suggestions he should sell his shares in Celtic. Picture: SNSDermot Desmond has responded to suggestions he should sell his shares in Celtic. Picture: SNS
Dermot Desmond has responded to suggestions he should sell his shares in Celtic. Picture: SNS

There have been suggestions that the club should be fan owned, but in an interview with the Celtic website, Desmond refuted those claims in strong terms.

“This is a contemptible suggestion,” Desmond said. “I am as passionate about Celtic as any other supporter. My shares are not for sale. Brian Dempsey, in an article in The Times, is reported to be floating the idea that fans should own the club and that we have reverted back to where we were in 1994.

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“When I think about the strength of this club today and the playing success that we have enjoyed to date, these are entirely attributable to being financially strong and being professionally managed under stable ownership.

“When I look back at the record of the club since 2001, we have achieved remarkable success and encountered only a few set-backs along the way. This season has been one of them, but it does not re-create the conditions of the early 1990s, as Mr Dempsey would like to have us believe.”

‘Meritocratic basis’

A number of Celtic fans have expressed the view that the board is not fit for purpose after a disastrous season where the club lost its domestic stranglehold on Scottish football.

Ross County knocked the team out of the Betfred Cup, while the team trail Rangers by 20 points in the Scottish Premiership with the Ibrox side ending the ten in a row ambition. They still have the Scottish Cup to salvage some positivity.

Desmond, who recognised that the team “under-performed both on and off the pitch and must do better”, sees no reason to change the club’s policy of running on a “meritocratic basis”.

He said: “One of Fergus McCann’s tenets was that the club would be run professionally and that we should never return to the position he inherited where the entire existence of Celtic could be jeopardised by mis-management and unacceptable levels of indebtedness. Celtic is and will continue to be run on a meritocratic basis by the best executives available at the time.

“There is no member of the Celtic board that I personally knew before they were appointed. We have maintained this policy and it has endured the test of time. In a professional manner we conduct our business behind closed doors, we don’t seek public acclaim for everything we do. Critics are in no position to judge what they cannot see.

“We are very fortunate to have Ian Bankier as our chairman and he leads a diverse and extremely talented Board. We could not have had a better CEO, nor a more committed Celtic supporter than Peter Lawwell. He has built a solid platform upon which our new CEO, Dominic McKay, can build.

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"With every board appointment we make, we undertake a thorough recruitment process of researching, investigating, interviewing and negotiating, unknown to all except the Celtic board members. That will be the same process that is being implemented in recruiting our next manager.”