Football: Kerr refuses to buy shares in Celtic

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The Independent Online
JIM KERR, the lead singer of the Simple Minds, claimed yesterday that nothing will persuade him to buy any shares in Celtic as long as the former managing director, Fergus McCann, is the man selling.

Part of the Kenny Dalglish-led consortium which attempted to takeover the Parkhead club last year, Kerr said he was frustrated by McCann's reluctance to meet with the group and listen to their proposals.

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

Kerr and company were told by McCann before his departure that they would be welcome to join these investors, but this offer has now been rejected out of hand. When asked if he would be buying, Kerr 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."

Kerr also attacks the club's failings on the playing side this term with Rangers having regained the Scottish Premier League title. "I'm sitting here today and I'm not a happy man as a Celtic man," he said. "We're also- rans in Scotland in this tin-pot league."

Hugh Dallas, struck by a missile during the recent Old Firm title decider, has been confirmed as referee of tomorrow night's Uefa Cup final between Marseilles and Parma at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Because of travel arrangements, Dallas gave his evidence this morning to the Scottish Football Association committee of inquiry into the violent scenes at Parkhead on 2 May which formally convenes in Glasgow today.

Chris Robinson, the Hearts chief executive, will chair proceedings but the SFA have stressed no findings will be released until Celtic and Rangers, as well as the police, have been informed of any proposals.

The intention of the inquiry, which has no disciplinary powers, is to suggest any action which may avert further trouble at the Scottish Cup final between the Glasgow rivals at Hampden Park later this month.

Jack McGinn, the SFA president, warned Old Firm players and supporters that the country's worldwide footballing reputation rests with their behaviour on 29 May.

Speaking after the SFA AGM in Glasgow, McGinn spoke of his fears that the showpiece reopening of the national stadium might be ruined, but at the same time expressed confidence the match can pass without incident. "It would be very silly of me to say I'm not a little bit apprehensive deep down in my veins," he said.

"But having said that I've been involved in football for 35 years and probably in that time there has never been an Old Firm game I haven't had some concern about beforehand.

"I'm more relaxed after the game has been played and I would like to think that on the 29th of May when the game is finished I will be relaxed again.

"I would urge the supporters of both Celtic and Rangers to consider the reputation of Scottish football, but I would also go as far to say that in my experience the fans have a kind of self-discipline about them.

"I have a feeling the supporters will go to Hampden Park and want to show they can go to a final anywhere and not put a foot wrong.

"I'd like to think that will be their attitude and I hope it is - and I hope it will be a great final.