And so I write, with weary resignation, once again of the coming storm.
The Resolution 12 race is just about run, at least as far as hoping the club itself moves it forward goes.
This is as gross an abrogation of a company’s duty towards it shareholders as one could hope to find; our club was conned. There is just about nobody who I have spoken to who does not know that the 2011 license should never have been awarded to the Ibrox club. This is no longer really up for debate. Someone lied. It was either the SFA, who knew the license should not have been granted but who waived it through, or it was someone at Ibrox.
The SFA which believed Dave King was fit and proper has never allowed Alastair Johnson to take his much trailed seat in the director’s box; many believe that points to the Ibrox board of Craig Whyte having very deliberately deceived the governing body.
It hardly matters now. I don’t believe we’ll ever seen financial restitution and there’s nobody left to punish at Ibrox, with the old club long gone and the new one covered by the scandalous provisions in the Five Way Agreement, where this is considered one of Whyte’s acts from which the new club has been largely indemnified.
This is one of the reason we call it the Survival Lie; it only applies when it suits them.
A lot of the sites have published the lengthy charge sheet against the SFA; it is there for anyone who wants to read it on E-Tims, the Celtic Star, VideoCelts and elsewhere. We all know what their sins are here. I’ve always suspected this wasn’t just Rangers being deceitful, I’ve always believed the SFA were discreet and careful with what they didn’t want to know because the consequences of having had to announce they were taking the license from the club would have been enormous.
They bottled out, and in doing so they robbed our club.
It was the responsibility of our board of directors to deal with that, to do something about it, and for five years now this matter has dragged on. I believe they’ve wasted a lot of people’s time. I believe they never really thought anything more would come of it, that these guys were raising an issue on a one off basis and would go away.
But these guys are made of stronger stuff than that, and this support owes them a debt of gratitude for not giving up here, for not quitting, for not walking away from it all even when the club has plainly wanted them to for a good while.
Today is the board’s last chance to do it right, to treat this matter – and these people – with the respect they deserve and to treat this issue with the seriousness it warrants. Do I hold out much hope that they will?
I hold out no hope that they will, and so all that’s left to do is warn them that this likely to inflame a large and vocal section of our fan-base.
They have no idea how ugly this could get. The only thing holding the lid on the pot at the moment is that the team is winning, but a lot of residual anger remains from the cack-handed, amateurish, way they went about finding us a manager.
If Sevco pull off a football shock and win the League Cup things are going to get very uncomfortable for our directors, especially as the current Ibrox operation are running in the same deplorable, financially doped manner as Rangers was allowed to.
Furthermore, they get no alibi from me or a lot of others even if Lennon succeeds on all fronts. I’ve maintained this from the beginning. They took a colossal gamble with our future with the appointment and they deserve no credit just because they’ve lucked out so far. All Hell will be paid if he fails, with that failure ultimately hung around their necks, having presided over the pissing away of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be far in front of the field.
Into the mix, too, comes this Green Brigade crisis.
There are some who believe the board has thrown this up as a smoke-screen; they are seeing things in the shadows and overthinking this to a fare-thee-well, and that’s my generous interpretation. The board didn’t do this to distract from Resolution 12, as anyone who looks at this with a modicum of level-headedness will realise immediately.
The support is already pissed at them over the way they’ve handled the Requisitioners … to do this now doesn’t distract from that failure but highlights it. It doesn’t buy them breathing room but throws fuel on the fire. It makes their lives harder, not easier, and that would have been plain to those who took the decision.
They took it anyway, because they had to.
But, I repeat, it has not helped them. Their position is even more precarious because of the Green Brigade ban. Celtic fans were already frustrated over our club’s abject failure to push for reform in the game. They see Sevco spending money it doesn’t have and being allowed to subvert sporting integrity, and all the while there is silence from Parkhead. Resolution 12 is a major issue, but it’s become one symbol of a much deeper set of grievances and concerns.
Those who notice that Celtic’s demand for the rules to be followed doesn’t appear to translate to the wider governance of the game here are correct; it is an appalling double standard, and whilst I am very uncomfortable drawing the Green Brigade issue – which has damn all to do with this – into the mix here, I am not half as discomfited as the board itself should be.
Today is their last opportunity to present something more to us than this soulless corporate veneer, obsessed with the balance sheet above all things.
There are major issues all around us and they don’t seem terribly engaged with any of them.
If it was only Resolution 12, even then the pressure would be on them. But it’s not.
They need to understand that these matters are all intertwined in the minds of many of our supporters, right or wrong.
If these grievances coalesce – and they very well might, it will only take a couple of setbacks on the pitch for residual anger over these issues to bubble up into something genuinely threatening to them – then hell mend every one of them.
Today they can do our supporters the respect of not treating us like Ibrox’s idiot children.
I have actually heard Peter Lawwell express open regret that we are not simpletons like they are over there; I’m not joking. He thinks a lot of us are ungrateful and should be happier about what we’ve got. But he’s colossally misjudged us and what we’re about.
It’s because of what we’ve got that we’re going to fight like Hell to keep it.
Nobody is going to put it in jeopardy, and that includes him.
He and the rest of them better be well aware of what’s at stake here, not just one issue but their own personal reputations and the legacies they will be remembered for, and right now, whether we’re winning or not, those are largely in the grubber.
I’ve said this before; these guys can rise above all their predecessors and stand as one of the great reforming, ambitious, boards in the history of our club or they can depart like the Kelly’s and White’s with the sound of booing ringing in their ears, and that has only the most fleeting connection to what happens out on the park.
Frankly, if they get it right that takes care of itself. If they get it wrong, the corruption at the heart of Scottish football will only spread and grow and not only will our club be caught up in the stench of it, we’ll deserve to be as co-conspirators, fully implicated in all of it.
By their silence, by their inactions, so shall they be judged, and today’s the day.
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