Another day, another article in this long line of them, ignorant people writing ignorant trash about the Boys Club abuse scandal.
Today it’s the turn of Keith Jackson, a guy who barely understands the sport he’s supposed to cover.
Today, he thinks he can pontificate on subject’s way bigger and more complex than anything his brain has tried to handle before. He is not the first person at his newspaper to dip a toe into these murky waters. When Celtic starts banning people for it he might well be the last though.
The club seems reluctant. I really do not understand why.
If you’re sitting thinking “what does this have to do with ten in a row?” you are not alone. But as I said, these people can’t stop their actual agenda from seeping through their faux concern about victims and justice and everything else. This is about Celtic.
If you were wondering how low the media and others were prepared to go to degrade our steady march towards a new Scottish record, then this is it. This is the new way of trying to taint our getting this far. “Celtic must confront the past before they can contemplate the future,” the sub-headline reads. How the media and our rivals would love that, if our club locked itself into destruct mode and spent the summer self-flagellating.
Let’s be clear; there is nothing whatsoever in Jackson’s article which hasn’t been said a hundred times by a hundred different people. If you’re looking for an original thought, you won’t find it here.
“There comes a point when sound legal advice and solid business practice must give way to a sense of duty and moral obligation,” he says, which is the same old garbage that’s been trotted out over and over and over again.
And I repeat what I have before; there are legal processes going on here that take precedence.
It’s all very well and good for snipers on the side-lines and idiots who don’t understand this issue to talk about the law not being important here, but Celtic is obliged to follow it nonetheless. It is all well and good for him and others to demand that Celtic make moral amends, but I’m afraid Lawwell couldn’t do it even if he wanted to.
Whether Jackson likes it or not, “sound legal advice and solid business practice” are not just words; they are the club’s legal responsibility towards its shareholders. All this hollering about our moral responsibility is hilarious coming from people who have never cared about such things within the sport itself.
This is reeking hypocrisy and Celtic are right to resist it.
But most of all, we are right to resist the contention that our club is not a moral institution. They are right to resist the contention that Celtic is somehow behaving reprehensibly in that it is following the law exactly and done more behind the scenes than the media either knows or would like to admit. It is frankly offensive for people who don’t have the first clue how far Celtic has gone here to take shots at us like this, content in their ignorance and pursuing their agendas.
Here’s the part of the article that should see Jackson’s paper banned from Celtic Park forevermore; you could be forgiven for wondering if this had come from a dredge of the sewers at Follow Follow or the other more notorious Ibrox fan-sites.
“(Ever) since the recent spate of criminal convictions began totting up – a list of predators with links either to Celtic FC or to the Boys’ Club which, on the surface at least, points to something a great deal more sinister than just one rotten apple getting in through the door …”
Read that again. This is Jackson pushing the darkest of all conspiracy theories; that a paedophile ring operated from inside Celtic Park itself.
There is exactly zero evidence to support such a fantastical, and libellous, contention. It is a disgusting, and even dangerous, thing to be promoting in a national newspaper, an attempt to toxify the club with innuendo.
He then suggests that we should be “apologising to the victims and their families and accepting retrospective responsibility for their collective pain.”
Oh really? I can tell you right now that there is no way that this Celtic board will, or should, accept any “retrospective responsibility” for any of this. Why should they? Not a single member of the current board was involved in the club during the timeframe covered by these dark events. It’s almost as if he doesn’t fully comprehend the gravity of what he’s writing and so blithely suggesting that we do; that is a monumental admission of guilt where there is none.
“Anything less – any attempt to legally dance around the issue – would be a scandal in itself and completely unbecoming of an institution of such pride and national importance,” he writers. Which is the closest anyone will come to saying what is surely on a lot of their minds; it does not matter if Celtic was involved in this or not, they have to pay regardless.
There is no legal “dancing around the issue”, there is either responsibility or there is not. I love the way so many people on the other side of this are so cavalier about throwing the law aside here. Their disregard for the legal position of the club is staggering, it really is.
There are two mentions of money in the article, and I’m going to get to the second of them in a moment, but first Jackson attempts to deputise Neil Lennon into his assault on our club, by dredging up events at Crewe whilst our manager was there. I mean, it is absolutely and utterly shameless.
This is the crucial line, and one that should have Lennon fuming.
“Having personally witnessed this level of distress, Lennon will be keen for Celtic to act swiftly and correctly where their own victims are concerned.”
Apart from the disgraceful suggestion that these are “our victims” it is deplorable to suggest that Lennon is on his side of this without any evidence to match that view.
But it’s here, having warmed up, that Jackson gets to the real point, and the real point of all this pressure, and again, in ignorance of the legal facts.
“If (Lennon’s) spending power or wage budget is to be affected by the cost of cleaning up Celtic’s historic mess, then so-be-it. But he needs to be given a clear view of it in advance in order to put his own plans in place.”
It makes you despair, it really does, when you read a national journalist so concerned with the victims of historic abuse cases that he is positively salivating over the prospect of it costing Neil Lennon transfer funds. The agenda is right here on full display.
For the record, and I’m sorry to once again bring the law into this, Celtic publishes accounts every single year and those accounts are fully audited and signed off by a legal team and a top firm of bean counters, and every single year the club has a legal responsibility to publish in those accounts any “contingent liabilities.”
Contingent liabilities are legally defined as “possible obligations whose existence will be confirmed by uncertain future events that are not wholly within the control of the entity … Disclose the existence of a contingent liability in the notes accompanying the financial statements if the liability is reasonably possible but not probable, or if the liability is probable, but you cannot estimate the amount.”
Celtic has never once included such a thing in the annual accounts, and so Neil Lennon already has “a clear view of it in advance” and so does everyone else at the club. Whatever else the money we have sitting in the bank is for, it’s not for this.
Do you notice that nowhere in Jackson’s article is there any reference to the club conducting its own two-year investigation into all this? Of course you don’t, because that would ruin the point of the article, which is that we’ve tried to duck this issue when, in fact, that could not be further from the truth.
It’s clear we’re not going to get it.
Celtic’s inquiry into all this has pulled the rug from under them but still our enemies carry on.
Before it’s even reported back, some in the media have already dismissed it as a cover-up. As I keep on saying, nothing we do will satisfy some folk because the only thing they do care about is seeing Celtic Park shuttered and closed for good.
Jackson wants a “full independent inquiry” into all this, and if you’re laughing at his utter brass neck then you’re not alone. When our club wanted an inquiry into things more relevant to Jackson’s actual job title, he was talking about how such things are a waste of time and money.
But of course, that wasn’t Celtic’s time. That wasn’t Celtic’s money.
This particular avenue of attack is juicy because they can use it to distract us, to put us on the back foot, to devalue our current status as the biggest club in the country and, of course, in their idealised scenario, to get as much money out of us as they can.
There is no low they won’t stoop to, and no weapon they won’t use.
It’s going to be a long summer.