Today sees a guest article by MIKE,about a great unsung hero to whom we all owe a great deal. Thanks,MIKE. It’s greatly appreciated,as is the reminder!
My partner “Jimmy Cricket” was out enjoying himself at his Scottish Women’s Rural meeting, judging hand-crafts, sewing, knitting, baking, repousse needlepoint whatever that is. I had completed my daily chores and sat down for a coffee. One of the great things about hoovering is that it activates your imagination, mostly about Celtic. Recent lurid headlines about paedophiles snaking their way into the club, possible new signings, grating my teeth at the sounds of silence, inferring but not inspiring. “Here we go again”, the end of another record breaking season, with great expectations for the next one, but reading about what new players might be coming to our club, leading to the usual sense of disappointment. My mind wandered back to the near demise of that great Institution that is Celtic Football Club.
“What If” in 1994 there was no John Keane, “What If” he was not at home in Edinburgh to take the call from Kevin Kelly the then Celtic chairman, asking for his immediate help, telling him that the news was catastrophic, that the Bank Of Scotland was going to foreclose immediately on the club we all hold dear. Administration, that dreaded word was inevitable, unless an immediate one million pounds was found now, today. Over 100 years of proud history was under threat, could John,a Celtic supporter and shareholder,help? The very next morning the story tells of him waiting at the front door of the BOS after calling his friend and bank manager at the Bank Of Ireland to transfer the funds, Administration was averted and Celtic was saved.
John Keane had answered the call when he was needed most, the lights stayed on, the wages were paid, our proud history continued unbroken. John Keane the Mayo bhoy, his mother from Crown Street in the Gorbals had met and married his father,an agricultural worker. They moved to the Mayo coast to begin their new life. His mother with Celtic in her blood had transferred her DNA into her son John. John moved to Scotland when he was seventeen,working as an agricultural contractor. Let me say that as a farmer, I know how hard that John would have had to work. He eventually started his own agricultural contracting business and by working hard this modest Mayo bhoy made his fortune.
Question, how did a lass from Crown street in the Gorbals meet an agricultural worker, if someone knows, pray tell…
When you read his story, one or two things strike you immediately, the historical DNA that threads its way through the history of Celtic. Ireland, Scotland, Celtic,all co-joined, wrapped around each other like vine around a tree. So, “What If” there was no John Keane, no Fergus McCann, no Dermot Desmond. “What If” the press stories and pictures of coffins, broken crests and hearses alluded to Celtic. The noise from Govan celebrating our demise, they might even have had a special walk or march commissioned to celebrate it. “What If” we were the club seeking a secret 5-way agreement, the SFA guiding our Lord Nimmo Smith enquiry, Doncaster talking up our continuity myth, the MSSM bending over backwards to deflect and avoid the truth. “Oh look, is that a flying pig”, Aye Right, not Aye Ready.
“I love the club, I have supported it all my life”.
Thank you John Keane, you answered the call, when you were needed the most.
Hello Jimmy, you’re back…. ?.
Terrific stuff again from MIKE. “What If” you fancy a go yourself,you’ve got an article crying out to be written and seen. Mail it to Mahe