The Battle to Save Celtic – Jock Brown talks to The Celtic Exchange

The Celtic Exchange’s outstanding series on The Battle to Save Celtic continues this week with another remarkable interview with Jock Brown that is yet again a real eye opener…

The series deals with the demise of the old Board and the Fergus McCann takeover in 1994 and covers this story from some many different angles, with many of the key players being interviewed. Brian Dempsey’s interview was perhaps the highlight of the previous eight episodes, which if you haven’t yet watched then make sure that you do.

This week The Celtic Exchange’s main man Tino has jumped forward a few years to interview Jock Brown who it’s fair to say isn’t well remembered by the vast majority of the Celtic support who recall his time at the club. Yet after listening to what Jock has to say you may well agree with me in that we actually owe Jock Brown an apology. The Celtic Supporters Association certainly does.

Jock in his own words says that he was done in by the mainstream media. These were the days before Celtic fan media – you know podcasts like The Celtic Exchange and sites like the one you are currently reading – and Celtic was very much at the mercy of the hacks who were able to influence the support’s views when presented with whatever version of a story that the hacks wanted to present. Jock explains the huddle – not the Celtic Huddle – the one the hacks would do after a news conference to decide on the angles they’d take and often it was compete fabrication, yet if they all pushed the same story, their editors would think that it represented the actual facts of what had transpired. This still happens to this day.

And at a time when Rangers were going for 10IAR, the more they could destabilise Celtic the better.

Wim Jansen time at Celtic remains highly regarded by the Celtic support, yet Brown paints a very different picture and talks about the Dutchman only ever wanting to spend one year at Celtic. Brown reckons that Jansen underestimated the size of Celtic and the scale of the job he had taken on and was never that comfortable in the job.

Brown talks about trying to bring Tommy Burns back alongside Billy Stark not long after they were sacked and he tells the stories about signing Henrik and Lubo, explains why he has such a high regard for Jorge Cadete but dislikes Paolo Di Canio and had done a deal to bring Gianluca Vialli to Celtic but couldn’t get Fergus McCann to agree to the deal.

2 Apr 1998: GianLuca Vialli of Chelsea during the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final between Vicenza and Chelsea. Photo Ben Radford /Allsport

But for the here and now it’s worth listening to this podcast to get a reminder or a better understanding of why it was that a large percentage of the Celtic support at Celtic Park on flag day in 1998 booed Fergus McCann when the flag that stopped the ten was unfurled.

The reason is simple. The support was misled by the mainstream media which certainly was not on Celtic’s side at any stage, far from it.

So for all its faults, the Celtic fan media that has emerged in recent times is actually incredibly valuable to wellbeing of Celtic FC. It may not be perfect, it’s actually far from it, but this series on The Celtic Exchange proves a point. The story is told not be the BBC or the mainstream media, but by a small group of Celtic supporters operating under their own steam.

Its quality and its honesty puts the Scottish mainstream media to shame. There are clickbait polls that declare the best this and the best that for fan media outlets across the UK. All you need to do is get as many clicks on the organisers voting forms – to provide them with their database – to pick up some frivolous trophy. If anyone was handing out an award for the Podcast of the Year then on merit it should be given to The Celtic Exchange for this brilliant series The Battle to Save Celtic.

Here’s the Jock Brown interview. If you haven’t listened to this series yet, do yourself a favour…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email


  1. Thanks for the excellent write up.

    Was great to speak with Jock and to hear a completely different side to the story.

    All the guests on The Battle To Save Celtic so far have been brilliant and have brought their own unique angle from an important time ion our history.

    Cheers, Tino 🍀

  2. RPM Celticfan on

    I listened to it this morning , its a brilliant insight but we should remember its his truth/point of view , as are the other viewpoints in this brilliant series , what would be really great ,but probably impossible is to have all the contributors together in a round table discussion and challenge and debate the others point of view and memory of some events , for example i find it hard to believe it was Jock who had to persuade Dr Joe to follow through with his wish to sign Lubo , I’m betting it was the other way round , highly recommended listening/watching for all Celts well done Tino / Celtic Exchange , Hail hail .