A POWERFUL alliance of Celtic ''rebels'' is poised to make an offer to

inject nearly #20m into the club in what it says will represent the

showdown to wrest control from the ruling Parkhead dynasty.

The fine details are to be worked out at a meeting at a secret venue

within the next 10 days and the plan is to call an emergency general

meeting of the club when the details of the offer will be put to


The men behind the plan to pump the much needed capital into the club

have all previously expressed interest but they say they have now

resolved hitherto insurmountable differences of opinion and are now

working to a common purpose which is to have the affair resolved by

Christmas at the latest.

They have said that if this latest initiative proves unsuccessful then

they will formally renounce any further interest in acquisition.

The Herald understands that the new financial coalition will see

expatriate Scot and North American businessman Fergus McCann putting up

the sum of #12.5m and the ''What Everyone Wants'' multi-millionaire

Gerald Wiesfeld, who sold his store chain for #46.7m three years ago,

providing a further #3m.

Former Celtic director, Glasgow property developer Brian Dempsey, will

put up #1m as will Edinburgh businessman John Keane and Bermudan

tax-exile Eddie Keane.

Lawyers and accountants representing the five men are meeting this

week to put the finishing touches to the package and next week, at an

overseas venue, the ''rebels'' will sign a binding agreement.

They believe that Celtic's financial condition continues in a parlous

state and that the accounts due out in October will reveal debts of more

than #10m and an operating loss of almost #2m last season.

A financial review by accountants Price Waterhouse for the financial

year ended 1992 showed that the Parkhead club had incurred a pre-tax

loss of #3.2m and the bank overdraft was said at the time to be some

#4.6m. Celtic's financial deficit was well in excess of all other

premier division clubs combined.

Mr McCann and his colleagues are hoping that the Bank of Scotland,

which carries the Parkhead overdraft, will bring its influence to bear

once the promise of fresh cash is turned into a legally-binding


Yesterday, a Bank of Scotland spokesman said that it was not possible

to discuss the situation because of client confidentiality rules.

The cash injection planned by the rebels would mean a fresh share

issue and requires approval from existing club shareholders. Such a

strategy would require a two-thirds majority.

The ruling Kelly-White family dynasty and its supporters hold in

excess of 53% of the existing share issue.

The Herald understands that this approach particularly angers the

current directors because it would, to all intents and purposes, mean

that their existing shareholding was worthless.

Mr McCann is thought to favour the formation of a ''new'' Celtic

company backed by their fresh money. It would run in parallel with the

existing Parkhead set-up.

Another strategy, favoured by Mr Dempsey, is to commission an

emergency general meeting of all shareholders at which the new proposals

could be given a wide airing.

In both cases there would be a requirment to hold an egm and the

Dempsey strategy would short-circuit the need to set up the parallel


The rebels, who claim to have the support of around 50% of

shareholders, are banking on splits appearing in the Celtic board or the

ruling dynasty being put under pressure to accept the offer of new

capital by the Bank of Scotland.

The members of the board -- chairman Kevin Kelly, Dr Michael Kelly,

Chris White, Tom Grant, Jack McGinn, David Smith and James Farrell --

have signed a legal document which has the effect of binding them

together in a pact.

The rebels plan a Parkhead board headed by Fergus McCann, who would

also be chief executive. He would also be free to nominate two

directors. The other board members would be Mr Dempsey and Mr Michael

McDonald, Mr Weisfeld's stepson.

Next week's meeting of the five rebels will also discuss a plan to

place a five-year limit on their individual shareholdings after which

the shares would be offered for sale to Celtic supporters. The thinking

behind this is an attempt to ensure that no one individual keeps control

in perpetuity.

Mr Dempsey told The Herald: ''The present directors have had ample

opportunity over the last three years to put the club back on track.

They have failed dismally at every turn.

''We must have this thing resolved. I would hope that the position

will be resolved by Christmas. If we do not have a resolution by then it

is my intention to walk away from the entire affair.''

Last night the alliance's latest proposals were summarily dismissed by

Celtic chairman Kevin Kelly.

He said: ''We've heard it all before. Until a written, detailed

proposal is received we cannot take yet another deadline seriously. Both

Fergus and Brian Dempsey have 'gone away' many times before. Now,

despite promises to the contrary, they are reheating this cold kale at a

time that can only be disruptive for the team.

''This current proposal is #2.5m less than Fergus proposed in June.

And what has happenened to the heavy response claimed from fans willing

to put in #600 each?''