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|Celtic Board - Past | Celtic Board | Celtic Takeover|
Farrell is probably the most difficult person to comment on from the old Biscuit Tin days. An old grandee of the board, he appears at first glance to be as culpable as anyone else from those days on the state of the club.
Yet that is not wholly correct. Farrell was a bit of an outsider and was treated as such. A trained qualified lawyer Farrell was a Partner in the Glasgow Legal Firm Shaunnessy, Quigley and McColl. He knew the nuisances of any boardroom battles but he was much on his own against the entrenched families.
On the removal of Brian Dempsey from the board, Farrell and Grant publicly criticised the move only to see their fellow directors call an EGM to have them ousted in retaliation. Having survived with much help from the "Rebels" shareholders, Farrell remained sympathetic to the Rebels. Tom Grant sold them down by entering a self-serving shareholder pact which Farrell steered well clear of, although as a minor shareholder he was likely not of importance to the pact members.
Despite the side lining following his stance, he remained on the board, likely much to the chagrin of certain fellow directors, and this was despite very a strongly worded warning from him (taken from his statement in the EGM set up to have him removed):
“All that I have done, as I have said in this statement is resisted Michael Kelly, because he is the man who in my view should be ejected from this board. He [Michael Kelly] has caused unbelievable disruption. He has been paid a handsome salary, admittedly under contract for public relations, and in my view the public relations of this football club in the past 18 months or two years have never been lower. If I am voted off today, those directors who are with him unless he changes his tune completely, will find him a most uneasy bedfellow, and they will not rest in their beds at night for imagining what he is up to.”
Problem is that Farrell could never win. Long associated with boards that mishandled management of the club, he can't shirk this responsibility, he was understandably identified as much as a problem as the rest. Another issue is that Farrell likely survived on the board due to age. Old grandees are usually treated lighter than others but the problem is that he was likely missing the energy to push for change in what was an aggressive atmosphere. Reflecting all this, the "Not the View" fanzine satirised him as a dormouse, whilst the newspapers crudely lumped him in with the others on the board.
When the denouement came in the whole takeover saga, there was little issue with Farrell from the Rebels and that must be respected. He may not have had a sizeable equity share in the club but his position throughout was important and helped to damage the board's false impressions of complete unity (an image they really tried to push).
It's been quite pathetic how others like Tom Grant and Kevin Kelly have been given more attention and undeserved plaudits for caving into the Rebels but that came once the club was collapsing in the final days. If they'd stuck by the Rebels & Farrell then much of the ensuing headaches could have been avoided.
On the other hand, Brian Dempsey (one of the Rebels) in an interview did criticise him as having acquiesced after all the help the Rebels had given him in keeping his position on the board. All a complicated issue with Farrell & the old board.
Simply Farrell deserves more attention in both the respect & criticism than has been given to him to date. For at least standing up to the cronies on the board he will be fondly regarded by those who could see through the haze in those takeover days.
(Celtic FC on announcement of his death (4th Jan 2008)
FORMER Celtic director James Farrell has died at the age of 86. He passed away in the early hours of today, Friday, January 4.
Mr Farrell was a lawyer by profession who became a Celtic director in 1965, remaining on the board until the early 1990s.
The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic Football Club are with Mr Farrell’s family at this sad time.
Quotes"Money could not buy Jimmy [Johnstone]'s talent," said Craig. "He destroyed Terry Cooper, who was England's left-back at the time, when we met Leeds United in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1970. A few years later, we went to Elland Road for a testimonial for Jack Charlton and Jimmy turned it on again. My father-in-law, James Farrell, got a tap on his shoulder during the game. It was Michael Parkinson, who asked `do you see this every weekend?' `Of course', was the reply. `God, you are so lucky,' said Parky."
Jim Craig (Lisbon Lion)
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