Tonight’s announcement that a brand new Celtic shop has opened in Livingston is another clear-cut example of how we continue to move forward on and off the field, and largely without external fanfare. We just get on with it, working hard, doing our homework, identifying opportunities and making the best of them that we can.
We act. Others talk. And talk. And talk.
The media, of course, is happy to reproduce whatever it is that they say, often without any real scrutiny of it, no matter how far-fetched it might be. Tonight, even as Celtic publicises details of its own latest infrastructure project, the papers are slobbering all over another Ibrox moonbeam, the purported “redevelopment” of the area around the ground, in time for their 10th anniversary celebrations in 2022.
And how realistic are those plans?
Well apart from the fact that no details have emerged as to what they might involve, someone with a good claim to knowing what’s happening here told me today that the club and the local authorities have had preliminary discussions about certain proposals that date back to the Murray era, and that they’ve got no further than a “feasibility inquiry”. Not a feasibility study, please note, which is a technical term which indicates seriousness, which involves someone actually commissioning a report and doing a proper evaluation of this idea.
No, a feasibility inquiry.
And when I asked what that meant he told me, amidst many LOL’s, that basically the club wanted to know how feasible it was for the city itself to put up most of the money. Oh yes, you read that right. They want the Glasgow taxpayer to foot the bill.
Don’t think for a minute, either, that the polite refusal they got about such an idea has dissuaded them or focussed them on finding proper sources of funding either; the fact Chris Jack had such a nice story in his hands today reeks of a PR campaign in the very early stages. You watch; this is the start of not-so-subtle pressure on the local authorities to “do something for them” even as the Celtic hotel project starts to gear up.
The media will be encouraged to write that nonsense without sparing a second’s thought to the fact Celtic’s own proposal will be costed and funded from our own pockets and several private sources, and not one penny of it will come from the public purse. But they will equate the fact we got planning permission with some form of state aid and the pressure on the council will be ramped up and up and up in the hope that they crack.
And when the project finally collapses, with no visible means of financing, as is certain, they will fan the old flames and blame Scottish society’s “hatred of Rangers” for the fact that no politician of note is willing to die in this particular ditch for them.
It is all deeply cynical and morally abhorrent, but sometimes you have to simply stand back and admire the gamesmanship, and this is stellar. They will spin a whole new conspiracy theory and stab-in-the-back myth out of this and for a section of their support it will sell season tickets better than the winning team on the park they haven’t got.
In the meantime, we’ll keep on doing what we’re doing; building something that lasts. Something self-sustaining. Something that will keep on growing that gap.
A brand new shop might not seem much, but it’s progress of the tangible sort, bricks and mortar, a sign of confidence and an investment in the future.
It is massive, because it all adds up.
In that regard, it’s a game-changer.