SO much attention is being focused on Celtic Park these days that it

is practically impossible for anyone there, especially a director, to

make a move without rumours which quickly grow arms and legs leaping up

and following closely behind.

Over the weekend the club were in danger of buckling under the weight

of hearsay and suspicion that secret negotiations were being conducted

with directors who were preparing to sell their shares and abandon the

ailing concern.

Naturally, directors, or at least those who were willing to take

calls, denied involvement in talks to sell their interests, but the

feeling that something was going on somewhere grew stronger, and while

it is unlikely changes to the board's make-up will be made shortly,

there is little doubt that people other than the Fergus McCann-Brian

Dempsey group are at work.

The distrust which exists within Celtic Park's boardroom is such that

a director or directors may have been speaking to interested parties

without the knowledge of other board members, or even those directors

who are part of Celtic Nominees Limited. This pact was born out of a

fear that certain of the major shareholders could be picked off by

outsiders pushing for change, but there is little doubt that the

strength of this group has been undermined by contacts made recently.

One director, who feels the club can't drag itself out of debt until

at least one change at boardroom level is achieved, might be unwilling

to take further part in or responsibility for what appears to be the

slow demise of a once mighty football organisation. However, it just

might be that there could be more than one departure.

Simply because not all of the pact members -- Kevin Kelly, Chris

White, Tom Grant, David Smith, and Michael Kelly (Jack McGinn and Jimmy

Farrell were excluded) -- are always kept informed of what is happening,

especially on the Dreamscape (Cambuslang to you), it is difficult to

keep track of what each director is about, but something fired the

rumour machine into action. Could it be that the powers behind the

Celtic throne finally have had enough?

Although Kevin Kelly is chairman, it is widely accepted that his

vice-chairman, Smith, who is thought to have bought approximately 950

shares, has been running the show. Frequently his fellow directors have

spoken of his business acumen and they have invested much belief in his

ability to turn the club's finances around.

So what would happen and how would shareholders feel if Smith, the

Messiah and closest ally of White, were to sell out?

It is said Smith has been in contact with the Glasgow businessman,

Willie Haughey, who offered #300 a share at the club's extraordinary

general meeting at the end of last year and it is believed something in

the region of #400 a share would have to be paid before Haughey or

anyone else could succeed in buying what would be a substantial interest

in Celtic.

Apart from that, Haughey and whoever else may be waiting in the

background -- in the past year or so the wealthy Gerald Weisfeld has

been mentioned -- may have been told that an offer of #400 a share must

be made to all members of the Kelly and White families, who account for

approximately 10 to 11,000 of the 20,000 shares.

Is this what has been going on recently? If so, many other

shareholders would be entitled to feel a sense of betrayal and

injustice. After all, the directors did enjoy the support of smaller

shareholders in the struggle to repel the McCann-Dempsey faction. Are

they not entitled to consideration in return?

It would not be outrageous to believe that someone like Smith, who is

based in London and has wider business interests, is concerned and

unhappy about the degree of unrest and uncertainty which currently

surround Celtic. He is not steeped in football's traditions and the

sound of so many baying for change every time he appears at a match must

jar on his senses.

No-one could blame a person for wanting out of such a difficult

situation, although if Smith were to leave along with White, the club's

major shareholder with around 3000 shares, the power base which denied

McCann and Dempsey would no longer exist. It has been said that, because

of the pact, no-one can sell out without first offering his shares to

fellow board members, but most legal documents have their loopholes.

Was Smith -- who, it is said, missed the start of Celtic's last board

meeting -- travelling through from Edinburgh and the office of the

solicitors who drew up the pact? Perhaps this, too, is merely another


If Haughey or anyone else is willing to pay a figure in the region of

#4m, according to Celtic's abacus, for the majority shareholding of a

club ridden with debt -- the accumulative debt is thought to be around

#6m -- and suffering from falling attendances, the directors really

should be anxious about all of the shareholders and not just themselves.

They have said often enough that they are only custodians of the club

and that they are in place to look after everyone's interests.

It would be wrong of a single director to seek a lucrative way out now

that problems have been allowed to become so severe. Besides, what have

any of them done to deserve some kind of pay-off? Are they to be

rewarded for what the supporters, people willing to put money into the

club, regard as gross negligence?

Any director thinking of gaining a handsome sum of money for his

shares should think again and if an offer eventually does come to

relieve the family dynasties of their obligations, one man will

certainly oppose it. Dempsey has given up hope of his group winning

control of Celtic, but he surely would not allow those at the top to

benefit while the small shareholders are offered nothing.

He might be prepared to tie up interminably any buy-out by taking the

matter to court, believing that support given to him in the past could

not be forgotten, even if some directors might be of a mind to leave

their backers out in the cold. Then again, perhaps this is all only