summer of 1990 was the scene of yet another Scottish World Cup
debacle. Having been drawn in a relatively easy group Scotland
prceeded to lose to Costa Rica before gubbing Sweden. All we needed
was a draw against a poor Brazil team... so of course Scotland
conceded a goal with the second last kick of the game.
very last kick of the game saw Judas Johnston sky the ball over
the bar from a yard out. For Celtic fans who took an interest
in the national team this was misery piled uopn an already miserable
be told the Italy World Cup was a pretty turgid affair, memorable
only for diving, spitting and fat wife-beaters crying their selfish
wee eyes out instead of trying to help their team mates into a
World Cup final.
to home, Chief Jemmed Fart Wallace Mercer tried to merge Hearts
and Hibs. Bad idea. Not popular with anyone outside the Mercer
household, the move saw the beginning of the end for Wallace.
at Paradise the old board had performed their last great altruistic
gesture. Celtic Park became the venue for the Special Olympics.
the new signings were lining up with big plastic grins plastered
all over their faces. There were three of them: John Collins finally
put pen to paper (he had apparently been approached in 1988 but
chose to stay with Hibs); Charlie Nicholas signed again (officially
the worst kept secret ever) with his last kick as an Aberdeen
player having been a successful penalty in the shoot-out against
Celtic in the previous season's Cup Final; and the last signing
was the now legendary Martin Hayes. He arrived for a reported
fee of £650,000 from Arsenal, who had reputedly been on
the verge of accepting an offer for the player from a lower division
English side. The amount they were going to accept? £65,000.
Only one zero of a difference but I'm sure you'll agree that "seen
us coming" was never better applied than in this case. hayes
would be transfer listed by the following March.
wasn't just players who arrived that summer. Two new directors
came aboard as well. They were Dr. Michael Kelly, the former Lord
Provost of Glasgow who had overseen the "Glasgow's Miles
Better" campaign, and Brian Dempsey, a property developer.
Having had demosntrations against them the previous season the
board were seemingly anxious to show that they were making moves
in trying to take the club forward. These two men were the proof
of that - so we were told.
pre-season had gone well. Celtic had cheerfully stuffed a huge
number of Dutch pup teams, but things started to go downhill rapidly
once the ball was being kicked in anger.
opened at Motherwell. It wasn't enough that Wdowczyck was sent
off for two fairly innocuous challenges while O'Neill of Motherwell
elbowed Grant full in the chops. Nor even that we lost 2:0. No.
On top of all this Fir Park was engulfed in a swarm of wasps,
which just wrapped the day up nicely in a delightful package of
next game was at home to an Aberdeen team destined to throw away
the league on the final day of the season at Ibrox. This was possibly
the last really effective Aberdeen team and they duly gubbed Celtic
finally got a victory the following week against Hibs. Joe Miller
scored probably the best goal of his Celtic career, a fine scooped
volley which rattled off the top of the goal frame. Not to be
outdone, Dziekanowski sealed the points with a spot of keepy uppy
followed by a scissors kick into the net.
the time this win had come along the only one of the club's three
new signings still featuring in the first team was John Colins
- and to be truthful, even he was fairly anonymous during his
first season. Both Hayes and Nicholas were were injured. Add to
that the fact that Tommy Coyne was transfer listed and Anton Rogan
had actually had his wages stopped for refusing to sign a new
deal and you can see that harmony wasn't one of the buzz words
around the dressing room at Celtic Park.
to think of it, harmony wasn't much in evidence in the boardroom
either. One of the most pressing issues of the time was what to
do about the stadium in the wake of the Taylor Report; redevelop
Celtic Park or move to a green or brown field site. Brian Dempsey
wanted to relocate to Robroyston, the other board members didn't.
But Dempsey had plans for a stadium there. No permission to do
it, no funding, but a firm idea nonetheless. The rest of the board
wanted to sit tight.
fairly safe to conjecture that this issue appears to have cropped
up almost as soon as Dempsey was elected on to the board. The
Celtic View of August 29th 1990 carried an article which explained
"exactly where the club stands with regard to plans for a
new stadium, either at Celtic Park or another site." Accompanying
the article are some very rough drawings of how the stadium would
look. Oddly enough, it's not a million miles away from our present
stadium, except of course one needs little reminding that this
board in question didn't have two ha'pennies to rub together,
even if there was a huge section of the plan marked "Commercial
Area". They simply could't pay for any of it.