Davie Hay Calls Protest Banners “A Personal Attack.” He’s Right. They Were.

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At the end of last week, David Hay turned in his column for The Evening Times.

I agreed with much in it, but not all.

Part of the article was a rousing defence of the Celtic board, and in particular Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond.

It contained not one piece of evidence in support of the job these two have done. Not one. Those of us who are critical have laid our reasons for it out there. All we ever get in opposition is this assertion that these guys are doing “a fantastic job.”

And why?

It appears to come down to the fact that Celtic is still operating at all.

That’s the logic of the case right there; we didn’t end up like Rangers, as though what happened to them happens to football clubs every single day, and wasn’t a decade at least in the making and something you couldn’t have seen – and they couldn’t have prevented – a hundred miles down the road.

Hubris, ego, greed … it all played a part in the demise of that club.

Even when we landed in trouble in 1994 it wasn’t because of factors like that. We had people in charge who had no idea how to take us forward as a business; that was their crime. We were also being squeezed over a minor league level of debt, when the same bank was bankrolling Murray.

One of the lines that stood out for me in the article was when Hay said “I like to think that I can call it as I see it and my honest belief is that Lawwell is the best chief executive the club has had.” Which is nice, as far as it goes. But then there’s not much competition, is there?

Three people have sat in that office before Peter Lawwell; Terry Cassidy, who was there, it seemed to me, to wind up the media; Jock Brown, who was there, it seemed to me, to wind up the fans and Wim Jansen, and Allan McDonald who was a steady hand on the tiller and didn’t rock the boat. He knew what the job involved and got on with it.

Lawwell is certainly better than the first two. Was he necessarily better than McDonald? I’m going to say yes, because in his early years at Celtic Lawwell was very, very good indeed. But that’s part of the problem; he’s stayed too long for his good or ours.

David Hay says the criticism has become personal; how could it not? We’re talking a named person here, not a phantom. He is the Chief Executive of Celtic and questioning his job performance is not a personal attack.

Besides, I find it all a bit rich as Hay himself went “personal” when talking about those of us who want to see change in more than just the manager’s office.

“Criticism is always justified when the team are not playing well,” he said, allowing us that much. “But to me there has been a small band orchestrating some very personal criticism and to me that crosses the line.”

A small band. Could he mean us, dear friends? He and others are grossly underestimating the depth and breadth of the anger out there.

Dermot Desmond has largely escaped a lot of flak up until now.

We’ve focussed our attention on Lawwell as he’s the point man, the front of the house guy, the one who’s around Celtic Park every single day, and that’s where the harshest criticism belongs, but Desmond himself doesn’t walk away hands clean either. He might leave Lawwell to it, but that’s no defence in itself. People can see for miles that things aren’t working, and if he’s not taking robust action he’s doing us as much harm.

The papers today say he wants Roy Keane as manager.

Five years without a club, a disaster at Ipswich, no major achievements of note as a boss … I hope that’s a joke.

If this is the best he can do, if this is the result of his “personally taking charge” then we really do need some kind of Celts For Change 2 movement to get shot of this guy once and for all.

We’re three weeks into the search for a boss, something a lot of people knew was needed as far back as Christmas.

Honestly, if we end up with an appointment like that every season ticket letter should be sent back to the club immediately.

If this is what they call “moving forward” there are going to be a lot more banners, a lot more protests, and when they name certain individuals that won’t be a “personal attack”; it’ll be an acknowledgement of the people who, even at the end of a hugely divisive and disappointing season, still can’t bring themselves to admit they got it wrong.

Ronny has taken the flak because he has to.

He faces the media every single week.

Other people at Celtic Park hide from that scrutiny, and when we see the honourable, courageous and open way Ronny has handled himself since the news that he’d be leaving it makes them look all the more cynical and gutless.

None of us should apologise for trying to hold those people to account.

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