The newspapers today confirm what we suspected yesterday; even at the last, Regan didn’t do the right thing.
He jumped before he was pushed.
He fell on the sword because the alternative was that he was going to be sliced and diced with it.
Every report said he had lost the confidence of the board. Every one of them identifies key reason why. The lack of a sponsor for next year. The failure to appoint a national coach. The failure to qualify for a major finals during his tenure.
Regan has screwed up so often, and so badly, that if it rained heavily and the Hampden roof came in he would shoulder much of the blame.
Every article today missed three key moments that sealed Regan’s fate. I don’t expect that any piece in the next few days will highlight them, and that’s just fine even if they become the unacknowledged truths whose names we do not speak.
Sometimes it’s better that way.
Regan dug his own grave. He built his own coffin. Then he climbed into it.
He did the first when he tried to mislead Peter Lawwell and Celtic over the issues raised by the Resolution 12 guys. He did the second when he tried to stonewall us over our inquiry demand. Lastly, there came the summer friendlies fiasco and the contempt with which we were treated.
Stewart Regan has been a dead man walking since last year, when he brushed aside Celtic and the SPL board’s entirely legitimate demand for an inquiry into the events of 2012. I think that was the moment when people inside our club decided that when the next crisis arose and the assassins came that we would not offer ourselves as his human shield.
In fact, in this particular act of tyrannicide I strongly suspect we played a similar role to that of Trebonius, the onetime friend of Julius Caesar who didn’t hold a knife on the Ides of March but was charged with the vital task of keeping the dictator’s friend Marc Anthony out of the Senate House whilst the deed was being done.
I think what influence we had we used to make sure that the job was not botched.
I don’t believe we would have publicly led the plot, but it had our approval and that was enough to make sure that the assassins followed through.
Silence can sometimes speak volumes.
It does in the coverage today.
No-one in the press has even speculated that Regan might have put his head in the noose by virtue of the way he’s treated Celtic over the last 12 months, although it’s obvious that if you piss off the most powerful club in the land and then find yourself in hot water that there will be fingers there itching to wield a knife.
When the current crisis erupted over the failure to appoint a manager I thought, and wrote, on 23 January that he might survive because the clubs – including Celtic – might fail to act. But just two days later, when the story about the international friendlies broke and Celtic Park was united in fury and disgust I knew that his time had probably come.
“There is a foot on Regan’s throat,” the headline of that article read. “It’s time for Celtic to put this joker away.”
What I realised was that Celtic might have been waiting for a moment to strike, and that a confluence of events had delivered us just such a moment, at a time when relations between Hampden and Parkhead were at their lowest.
“There will never be a better chance,” I wrote, quoting The Godfather, “to settle all family business.”
Let me elaborate on that for a moment.
David Chase, the co-creator of The Sopranos, was hugely influenced by Coppola and Puzo’s classic tale of mafia power and honour. The opening episode of Season 4 is called All Debts Public And Private, a nice euphemism for this moment in time. The key segment of the episode is even more relatable; in it, Tony Soprano takes his nephew Chris Moltisanti for a drive. They stop outside a restaurant where a retirement party is being held.
Tony tells Chris that the guy being honoured is a former detective and that way back in the sands of time he was the one who shot and killed Chris’s father. When Chris asks why he’s still breathing Tony points out that a guy in that job was useful to have around.
“But he’s outlived it, as of his cute little ceremony this afternoon.”
When did Regan cease to be “useful” to Celtic?
When it became clear that he was actively hindering us.
When it became clear that he wasn’t going to deliver on anything we’d hoped from him.
When it became clear he was actively working against us.
Whatever, whenever, it doesn’t really matter.
In Italian public life, when someone is scandalised or disgraced, but long before a judgement falls on them, the people around them start to drift away, leaving them standing in a circle of empty space. Their colleagues cease to speak to them.
Officialdom radiates back coldness.
For the judges and politicians who spoke out against the mafia from the late seventies until the deaths of Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone hardened all of Italy against the gangsters, that was the moment when the assassins were most likely to come.
Regan isolated himself.
He did it on the day he made an enemy of the most powerful club in the country, and he kept on poking us with a stick long after it had become deadly.
When Celtic ceased talking to him, when we ceased to speak up for him, it was over.
It was just a matter of time.
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