Today I read Davie Provan’s abysmal “report” on our AGM.
He wasn’t there, of course, but he decided to have a good old rant about it in his column for The Sun.
Before I go on, a confession; I’ve never liked Provan, not since his Radio Clyde days when he cheerfully admitted to not joining the PFA because he’s a Tory and didn’t want to pay the Labour Party levy.
Above and beyond that, I think he’s very English-centric in the way he views the game up here.
I find his comments often to be controversial just for the sake of it.
He talks nonsense, and the column in question was no exception.
In it he compared the Celtic AGM to a “North Korean rally.”
Stage managed. Fake.
His article is almost too contemptible to engage with except to say this; if he really believes that I look forward to reading his report on the one just finished at Ibrox. Because that was quite simply a total put-up job. It was, in short, quite pathetic.
For openers, King spoke about Sports Direct only briefly.
There was absolutely no detail whatsoever.
He blamed Sports Direct entirely and accused them of “bullying.”
Unbelievably – for this is King, the man who perfected the courtroom arts of time-wasting, with-holding, and raising nonsense – he even accused Sports Direct of trying to drown the court in paperwork to drag the issue out.
This is the man who’s solely responsible for that stand-off.
When I heard that the “shareholder organisation” Club 1872 was getting to ask the first three questions I knew they would be pitiful.
Because what is Club 1872 except a King mouthpiece?
The board inspired amalgamation of their supporter organisations into one that he and it could control was one of the most fundamentally dishonest and retrograde steps ever taken by a club in order to silence dissent and avoid questions from its own support, and it has worked brilliantly.
This time last year, King went in front of them and blatantly and unequivocally lied about having severed the connection with Sports Direct. Everyone knows it was a lie. The evidence of that is there in court transcripts, in the club accounts, in the signed documents which prove that in fact they gave Sports Direct a veto on their retailing contracts.
Did Club 1872 – did any of their fans – have questions about that dishonesty?
Of course not.
Club 1872 asked how much the litigation was costing.
They asked about the Ibrox footprint and a paranoids conspiracy question about whether or not the council was trying to block their plans.
And they asked about the BBC, a long-standing bugbear of the Sevco support, only this time they are wailing about the broadcaster not covering their games.
Where were the hard questions for King about his own conduct?
About the Takeover Panel?
The shambles of the Caixinha campaign?
£14 million in debts from last season?
Surely the other shareholders would have questions about those things, right?
Well, actually no …
The two most pressing questions were about Celtic; first, could King give an assurance that the current ticketing policy would be continued?
He did give that assurance.
“The board has no intention of reversing that decision,” he said. So all those folk in the media moaning and suggesting the two club’s get around the table and sort it out, there’s your answer. They aren’t interested in resolving this and I imagine Celtic feels the same way.
The other question involving us was asked by a disabled fan who made the spurious claim that he was injured by “the thug-like behaviour” of Celtic’s players during the famous lap of honour at Parkhead earlier in the season.
What an absolutely barking statement that is.
I must have missed that, the moment when Scott Brown and others amongst our playing squad charged into their fans with raised batons and started the beat down. What did actually happen that day is pretty un-nuanced; thug-like Sevco fans charged the front and injured their own supporters in their rabid effort to attack our footballers.
I understand why that confuses some of them.
And of course, this wouldn’t be a Sevco AGM without a member of their board actually playing that card – the victim card – again, for all its worth; this time it was Robertson who leapt in and started the wailing for sympathy, at our expense.
“Having seen the effects of what happened in September, players have a responsibility to be very careful about their reaction during and after games because every action can have a reaction,” he said, making it clear that he and his club do blame our players for the neddish behaviour of their own fans.
It was ever thus, and it gets no less embarrassing.
And aside from a question on Lee Wallace, one on safe standing and one on refereeing standards (more wailing, more conspiracy theory nonsense, more appeals from victimhood) that was it. Not a question about the club’s financial state after the worst returns since Enron last made a market announcement. Not a word about King’s looming court dates. Not even some probing on the transfer window and Gerrard’s threat to the board over Morelos.
(I’ll get to that shortly; I have not forgotten about it.)
For fans who have a marked tendency towards madness, towards aggression, towards fury at the slightest slight, they don’t half give the glib and shameless chairman and his board an easy time of it. That was pathetic today.
That was their chance to hold the people running their club to account, to get to the bottom of some serious issues … and they flubbed it.
No wonder their last club went down with barely a whimper.
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