Today’s decision by the SFA not to suspend Allan McGregor for his shocking kick-out at Kristofer Ajer is another in a long line of them which asks serious questions about just who it is who runs football in this country. Was that decision taken with the long term benefit of the sport foremost in the minds of those who made it? Or was it taken on a narrow, partisan, and thus biased, basis to the advantage of one club at the expense of the rest?
That decision brings the game into disrepute.
The SFA’s “new system” is already a farce. To require the unanimous agreement of three Grade One officials before TV evidence can be used in such a case is to open the door wide for all manner of disgraces; it makes it easy to corrupt the sport. It means one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.
Alone of Europe’s association countries, only Scottish football would have come up with this, and only with Celtic rolling towards ten in a row would it have been proposed and passed. The problems with it are all too obvious.
Do not wait for Celtic to offer a comment on this decision. I very much doubt that they will. I have reservations as to whether or not they even should. It doesn’t involve us, although the victim was our player. I can tell you right now that Celtic has little interest in raking over the coals of this and previous outrages. Our club has reached the end of the line as far as trying to get genuine reform in the governing bodies goes.
Some will lambast the club for that; I prefer to acknowledge the work that they have done behind the scenes and that which they have tried to do and to accept that they have reached the end of their influence. People tend to forget that even with the greatest will in the world, Celtic is one club in a country with forty-two of them in the professional ranks.
What we want doesn’t matter. To get genuine reform, real change, you need to take people with you. You need votes from others. You need their support.
To put this bluntly, we’re on our own. We may have friends, but these are the sort who will hold our jackets whilst we jump into a fight. As anyone who’s ever been in close combat knows though, a real friend isn’t watching your stuff whilst you’re in the deep end. A true mate is steaming right in there with you, and the truth is, we have no friends of that sort.
Too much of Scottish football still sees this as a “Celtic-Rangers” issue and not as something being undertaken for the good of the game. Too much of Scottish football wants to sit on the side-lines and pretend the last six years, and the ten before that, didn’t really happen, all the better to avoid having to do something about it.
They will literally put up with any corruption, any distortion of the rules and regulations, as long as they are kept out of the line of fire, and who can blame them? Honestly, if they see this – and they do – as a power struggle between two clubs, why should they care which one wins?
The Glasgow axis has never done anything for them, and that won’t change depending on which of the teams there is on top.
It’s easy to see why they think this. But it’s also dead wrong, and pig ignorance to boot. Reform is as important to them as it is to us, but they have no incentive to seek it because it doesn’t benefit them in any way that they can see right now.
In short, I no longer believe that Celtic will be able to influence things enough to get us the things that we want. There will be no inquiry. There will be no justice on EBT’s. There will be no retrospective stripping of titles. Even Resolution 12 will sink like a stone, because our club does not have the muscle to force these things to the fore.
Call that what you like; some will take a reasoned view of it and say that the club itself has tried everything it can and that we’ve simply run out of options; having spoken to Celtic officials I can tell you that’s exactly what I do believe. Others will say that the club did not do enough to press these matters when they had the chance. There’s an element of truth in that too, and I would not argue with anyone who made that particular case.
I think, though, that whichever of these views you take – indeed, if you don’t accept either and believe that Celtic is “in this up to its neck” as someone said to me recently – it is important for us all to come to some understanding, and agreement, about where we currently are. Before we can move forward it is important to be aware of our present position.
Am I saying that we’ve lost? No, I’m not. Far from it. We have run out of road but there are other roads, and some of them may well offer us their own opportunities for progress. Just because going through the club will not work it does not mean it’s over.
As one of my favourite writers once wrote; “I do not counsel prudence. I said victory could not be achieved by arms. I still hope for victory, but not by arms.”
So how, then, do we win? Well first we organise, and that’s why I’m writing this today. As you will all know the site has been promoting a brand new forum these past few days, it’s called The Celtic Noise. Some might have their own ideas about what that forum should be for, but this site, which is one of three which has supported setting it up, believes it should be a place where we can all come together and discuss the issues that are important to us.
It is important for us to find ways to join our strength; this is why I am happy to be working with the team at The Celtic Star and with the guys at VideoCelts; they are our co-partners on the forum but that does not mean that others are locked out of it. Indeed, we will all need to work together if we are going to give ourselves the best chance to win.
There are ways to win, believe that if you believe in nothing else. The important thing is that we keep these issues current, and this site has always been committed to doing that. I believe the others are too. We have to keep these matters in the public eye, we have to keep on pressing for reform of the game, we must lead and then our club will follow; I can assure you that they will. They simply need us open the door for them just a crack.
The Celtic Noise is an important project because it unites three different sites; to the best of my knowledge it is the first such scheme ever proposed in Celtic cyberspace. The combined weight of our readerships and our contributors can make it one of the loudest voices in this debate. The club already knows who we all are; this can only give us greater reach and weight.
Please join the discussion. Please sign up for The Celtic Noise. The site is still in its infancy; it will be refined over time and that will allow it to grow. You guys built The CelticBlog; the onus is on you to make The Celtic Voice all it can be.
Ultimately, I want it to be your voice.
It’s time to be heard.
Sign up by clicking on the link below.