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5 Celtic candidates for Dom McKay's replacement as former player and key Brendan Rodgers chief offer potential way forward

Daily Record logo Daily Record 14/09/2021 Gavin Berry

The role of Celtic chief executive was for so long a poisoned chalice until Peter Lawwell’s overwhelming success.

Lawwell managed to change the perception of a position where so many of his predecessors had failed.

There was a long list of those who the job had proved to be too big stretching back to the dark days of the 1990s when, to be fair, it was a bit of an impossible task with the Hoops up against a dominant Rangers.

Ian McLeod, Allan MacDonald, Jock Brown and Terry Cassidy are just some of those names who held the position, albeit some assumed different titles.

Lawwell, though, helped the club win a staggering 29 honours following his arrival at Parkhead in September in 2003.

And he did it while running a profitable business as the got the balance right between balance sheet and trophy cabinet.

So it was suddenly a position that wouldn’t have people struggling to make it work like so many before him- or so we thought.

That was until Dom McKay lasted just 72 days in the job and suddenly the pre-Lawwell issues came up again.

a man wearing a blue shirt: Dom McKay is pictured as Celtic leave after training © SNS Group Dom McKay is pictured as Celtic leave after training

Majority shareholder Dermot Desmond and chairman Ian Bankier must now decide what road to go down next as Ange Postecoglou is left without a link between dug-out and boardroom.

Here, Record Sport Online looks around at a varied mix of candidates who could possibly fit the bill for the position.

Paul Barber

Made his name in football as commercial chief at The FA where he helped secure a series of multi-million pound sponsorship deals.

Joined Tottenham Hotspur as executive director in 2005 and spent five years there, playing an integral role in bringing in Harry Redknapp as boss, before moving to Vancouver Whitecaps in a similar role.

After returning to Britain he was linked with various Premier League clubs but took on the chief executive job at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2012.

With 25 years experience of English football he is regarded as one of the most experienced executives in the game south of the border.

Ramon Vega

Edwin van der Sar is one of the best current examples of a player who has transferred his success on the pitch to the boardroom.

The Dutchman is CEO at Ajax, where he won the Champions League, and was touted for the role at Manchester United that Ed Woodward left vacant.

If Celtic wanted to go down a similar road of appointing a former player then ex-Parkhead stopper Vega could be an option.

The 50-year-old had a loan spell during Martin O’Neill’s treble-winning maiden season and moved into the business world since hanging up his boots.

Having already studied for a business degree in the early days of his football career, Vega moved into the finance world upon retiring and joined an asset management company as a partner before setting up on his own.

Vega has still maintained a vested interest in the football world and has worked in an advisory capacity for a number of football associations and clubs across the world.

He also planned to run for the FIFA presidency role but failed to secure the required backing of at least five national football associations.

Susan Whelan

Billionaire majority shareholder Dermot Desmond hasn’t been slow to use his Irish connections during his time at Celtic.

Mostly, that has been on the park with the signing of players or even the hiring of managers but how about for the boardroom?

Dublin-born Whelan is currently the chief executive at FA Cup winners Leicester City after first being appointed onto the board at the King Power Stadium in 2010.

Whelan’s influence off the field was huge as the Foxes pulled off their miracle English Premier League win under Claudio Ranieri.

And former Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers, who at times had a reportedly strained relationship with the Parkhead hierarchy prior to his departure from Celtic, has praised her.

As he spoke of the structure and Whelan’s role within it, he said: “From Top (chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha) to Susan, in her role in terms of balancing everything between the financial side and the running of the actual business, to Jon on the football element, it’s been excellent.”

Ross Desmond

a man wearing a suit and tie holding a glass of wine © SNS Group

The son of Celtic powerbroker Dermot was heavily linked with a key role at Parkhead last year and Dom McKay’s departure could open the door.

Has played a part in goings-on at Celtic and was pictured at last year's AGM and could benefit from a boardroom reshuffle.

This might not go down so well with the fans, though, who might complain of nepotism.

Along with brothers Brett and Dery, Desmond Jr brought the US fast food chain Five Guys franchise to Ireland in 2016.

Adrian Bevington

a man wearing a suit and tie: England manager Fabio Capello (right) chats with FA Director of Communications Adrian Bevington © PA England manager Fabio Capello (right) chats with FA Director of Communications Adrian Bevington

The Middlesbrough fan has a huge experience in football having held various roles and is looking for a route back into the game.

He spent almost two decades with the English FA where he worked his way up to managing director of Club England.

Bevington, 50, has since had roles at club level including an advisory position at Premier League outfit Aston Villa and head of recruitment at the Riverside.


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