Crum­bling dream of a Cam­bus­lang Par­adise

Rutherglen Reformer - - Flashback - Mur­ray Spooner

Former Celtic di­rec­tor Michael Kelly in­sists the club’s pro­posed move to Cam­bus­lang was the cor­rect one and would have greatly ben­e­fit­ted the town.

This week marks the 25th an­niver­sary of the then Celtic board un­veil­ing plans to move across the River Clyde.

On April 15, 1992, the club’s of­fi­cial mag­a­zine, the Celtic View, ran a front page declar­ing “Par­adise found”.

The club pro­posed to move to an area of va­cant land be­side the Cam­bus­lang In­vest­ment Park which was set to house a new 52,000-seater sta­dium.

With the Tay­lor Re­port about to come into force, the Park­head board had de­cided that the re­de­vel­op­ment of Celtic Park was not an op­tion and turned their sights to Cam­bus­lang.

As well as the sta­dium, the £ 100 mil­lion blue­print in­cluded plans for two rail­way sta­tions, re­tail space, a Celtic mu­seum, a ho­tel and even a cin­ema and bowl­ing al­ley.

Mr Kelly, an ex-provost of Glas­gow and cousin of former club chair­man Kevin Kelly, said: “At the time it was def­i­nitely the best op­tion to move to a new site to make room for all the fa­cil­i­ties around the sta­dium.

“If you look at clubs like Arse­nal and Manch­ester City they have moved away from 19th cen­tury grounds sit­u­ated amongst hous­ing in­fras­truc­ture to much greater sites to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­thing that comes with new sta­di­ums like ho­tels and shops, etc.

“You can see, with towns and cities with big foot­ball clubs, they boast a tremen­dous amount of jobs.

“And if you look at what Celtic are do­ing just now, they are train­ing a lot of young peo­ple in a va­ri­ety of jobs to gain skills which can be trans­ferred so that is one of the big ben­e­fits it would have brought.

“You would also have had the flow of 50,000 peo­ple com­ing in, which would have been good for the pubs and fast food restau­rants.”

At the time Celtic said the move could cre­ate around 2000 jobs in Cam­bus­lang and would bring ma­jor eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the town.

But the re­al­ity was some­what dif­fer­ent, with the pro­posed move be­com­ing a sym­bol of a fail­ing board.

Con­cerns were also raised by lo­cals who were ques­tion­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of dis­or­der and traf­fic prob­lems, while some crit­i­cised the lack of de­tail in the plans.

The pro­posal was also widely un­pop­u­lar within the Celtic sup­port, who did not want to leave their spir­i­tual home.

For two years the project limped along un­til the ar­rival of Cana­di­an­based ty­coon Fer­gus McCann, who wanted to take over the club.

With Celtic just a few min­utes from bank­ruptcy in March 1994, McCann swept into power and out went the pre­vi­ous regime – as well as the Cam­bus­lang pro­posal.

Un­re­pen­tant Michael Kelly

Plans The then Celtic chair­man Kevin Kelly, right, and Gwynn Kennedy, chair­man of Su­per­sta­dia group, at the Cam­bus­lang site

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