He is every bit of a silent majority shareholder, Dermot Desmond keeps a low profile when it comes to Celtic and what he allows out in the public eye.

This week he sat down for a rare long form interview with The Athletic and it was quite the eye opener in many ways.

We will bring you the most important quotes from Celtic’s main man throughout the weekend. He spoke about everything from the state of Scottish football, European failure and the changing landscape of football in the UK.

He was asked about the manager upheaval which saw Brendan Rodgers leave under a cloud and Neil Lennon return to the hot seat after giving up the job five years prior.

The majority shareholder speaks fondly of Brendan but does confirm the hearsay that the Irishman was nearly exiting Celtic Park not long after the double treble when a club in China offered him a lucrative deal.

As the story goes, Moussa Dembele warned supporters shortly after the event because Rodgers sounded out the striker to go to China with him.

Desmond can’t speak highly enough of Rodgers and states the manager’s wage outstripped anything any other Celtic manager has received – including the current one:

“What the fans saw was a Celtic man coming to Parkhead. Brendan brought in his team, a system of playing and the players responded to him. As an ex-Liverpool manager he had gravitas, status. He also had the detail – ‘This is how we want to play’ – which the players took on board. He did a fantastic job and was highly professional in his approach to everything.

“He was approached the previous summer with an unbelievable offer from China. I mean, financially transformational for him. He told me about it. We talked it through and it didn’t come to pass for various reasons. But I knew then that it was always likely he was going to go, because he was undoubtedly going to be offered a more lucrative contract in the future.

“It should be stated that no Celtic player or manager ever earned as much as Brendan Rodgers. He was a quality individual who did a quality job.

“So we had prepared ourselves. We knew it was only a matter of time before clubs would make an offer because he is the commodity every club needs — a first-class manager.

“Lenny was always on our radar. Lenny has been a work in progress for us. He’s been that person we have kind-of tutored and he’s learned along the way. The advice we gave him he’s now realised was good advice, and he’s matured and everybody’s allowed to make mistakes. None of them were fatal.

“So we took him back in even though some of the fans thought it was a retrograde step. But you learn more from mistakes, it can change your personality, your modus operandi. We saw that with Lenny and he has repaid our belief in him.”


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