Football: Kerr warns of Celtic pull-out

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JIM KERR, lead singer with the pop group Simple Minds, yesterday warned that his consortium could look elsewhere if they fail to gain a controlling interest in Celtic. Kerr, who has teamed up with the former Celtic and Scotland striker Kenny Dalglish, said that the consortium would turn its attention to another club if the Celtic owner, Fergus McCann, is unwilling to do business.

"Dalglish, [businessman Jim] McAvoy and myself are committed to trying to play a part for Celtic," Kerr said. "If it is not to be, I am sure with the investment and ideas and hunger for football at the top level, we will be involved somewhere else. I am sure there will be a few interested parties.

"Obviously, we want to be at Celtic but we have a project we are committed to and our own ideas and our own vision of the game at the top level on and off the park. We have really, really strong ideas and we would like to see them on display at the club we all have a tremendous affection for."

Kerr said he was frustrated that his consortium was unable to present detailed plans once the initial interest became known. He was also critical of the McCann regime's obsession with business-related matters rather than football affairs.

"I never ever heard any of his plans for football," said Kerr, who described the Celtic plc general meetings as "a charade" adding: "You don't need to be a shareholder to be a fan. People already invest so much in the club, emotionally and financially."

Kerr reiterated that the infrastructure at Celtic was now sound under McCann's leadership, but the Scottish champions need a new team to take the club into the next millennium.

"We see Celtic as being in a fantastic position to go to the next stage," Kerr told Radio 5 Live. "They are primed and ready with massive support, no debts and a fantastic new stadium, all of which is a result of Fergus McCann. But now, if we are to get to the next stage, we really have to invest."

Hibernian have beat off competition from across Europe to seal the capture of the veteran French international midfielder Franck Sauzee from Montpellier. Sauzee, a Champions' League winner with Marseilles in 1993 - who were later hit by a match-fixing scandal - has agreed to join the Scottish First Division leaders on an 18-month contract.

Alec McLeish, the Hibernian manager for whom virtually everything has gone right in the league this season, secured the services of the 39-times capped Frenchman on a free transfer. Montpellier have agreed to let the 33-year-old join the Easter Road club without a fee, although it is still unclear exactly when Sauzee will make his debut as he has now flown back to France.

A delighted McLeish revealed that Sauzee has turned down a host of well- known European clubs including the former Uefa Cup finalists Rapid Vienna to join Hibs.

"As a manager you are always getting faxes and phone calls about available players," McLeish said. "As soon as I saw Franck's name, I was immediately interested as I knew what a quality player he was."