McCann poised for guest return to Paradise

CELTIC today announced that Fergus McCann is to be welcomed back to Celtic Park for the first home league match of next season as the club's guest of honour.

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McCann and Lennon first met each other at a Celtic friendly in Boston in 2010
McCann and Lennon first met each other at a Celtic friendly in Boston in 2010

This year, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of Scottish-born Canadian's takeover of Celtic, the beginning of a period where he revitalised the club.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "We are delighted that Fergus has agreed to be our guest of honour at our first home match of next season.

"The year 2014 is a very special year for Celtic, with a great deal happening for the club, but not least it is a year of real significance, as it marks the 20th anniversary of Fergus' takeover of Celtic and it is absolutely right that the special contribution he made to Celtic is marked in this way.

"Fergus' intervention in 1994 delivered the current Celtic Park, at the time the largest club stadium in Britain and ultimately, he re-established Celtic as a footballing force by winning the Scottish Premier League in season 1997/98.

"He enabled supporters to take a stake in the Club they loved, to be part of something and once again have pride in their team. He energised and motivated our support and our supporters responded brilliantly by backing his vision.

"Fergus was also instrumental in revitalising Celtic's charitable traditions, establishing a Charity Foundation which has now become one of the most successful in world football as well as personally delivering financial assistance to causes close to the club's heart.

"A true Celtic supporter, Fergus delivered huge personal investment, sound leadership and tremendous vision during his tenure at Celtic. He showed unwavering determination and resilience to ensure his club could once again flourish and his contribution has led directly to the position of health which our club is in today.

"I know I speak for thousands of Celtic supporters when I thank Fergus sincerely for all he achieved at Celtic and I am sure we will join together in August to remember and celebrate his magnificent achievements."

Celtic Manager Neil Lennon said: "It is absolutely right that we show our respect and gratitude to Fergus McCann, someone for whom I have enormous respect. Fergus showed tremendous foresight and, indeed, courage to tackle the situation the club was in at the time in 1994.

"No-one can deny that Fergus absolutely delivered. He did what he believed in and achieved all that he said he would.

"The first time I met Fergus was at Fenway Park in Boston. It was a pleasure to meet him and I felt it was very important that the players met him too on that occasion. He was very humble about all his achievements, something which says a lot about him as a man.

"There are many great figures in Celtic's proud history and for me, Fergus McCann is right up there as one of our most important."

The Hoops are already planning to mark his contribution to Celtic at the home match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on March 1, 2014.

This date is the nearest home match to the date of the 20th anniversary of Fergus' takeover which took place on March 4, 1994.

McCann added said: "It is very kind of the club and supporters to think of me and to offer this gesture.

"I am sorry I can't be with you at the match on March 1 due to unavoidable commitments in America but I will be pleased and honoured to attend a match at the start of next season. It is incredible to think that 20 years have passed since the takeover.

"It gives me great pleasure to see Celtic as such a successful and well-run club as it is today. That is credit to the faithful backing of the supporters, also the investors, and, since I left, the vision and management of the board, Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon and their staff and players."

A Celtic statement said: "We are delighted that he has agreed to be our Guest of Honour in August and we are sure this will be a day when we can celebrate the wonderful 20th anniversary of his achievements and herald a man who is undoubtedly such an important and influential figure in Celtic's history."

Football

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