I don’t believe that there is a “wrong time” for writing a “what if?” article except for after the fact.
At a time like this doubts should not be “parked” but put on grand display. They should be given their full expression, lest people later say they never realised how precarious the position was or how high the stakes were. This is exactly the right time for this article.
There’s no need for this to be a lengthy piece; the point it makes is simple enough and clear.
Every Celtic fan is now fully aware that this will be a tougher title race than we thought at the start of the campaign and coming out of the summer window. Failure to properly strengthen this squad in this window, with the need clear in a number of areas, will be viewed as a staggering and unpardonable dereliction of duty by this board.
If this campaign ends in a Sevco captain lifting the Premiership trophy heads have to roll.
Naturally that will start with the head of the manager, who simply cannot survive such an outcome.
It may well be that we finish the campaign with more than 90 points and still don’t make it … even then, the case for his dismissal would be ironclad. The end of the title running sequence will be a Year Zero event at Celtic Park, resetting the dial, necessitating a complete rethink.
But it cannot – it must not – stop with the manager.
The changes have to be deeper, have to be more substantial, have to be more sweeping. Season ticket sales are riding high at the moment because this run is still ongoing, and fans want to be part of it … if that run is brought to an abrupt halt before the ten has been secured then all bets are off.
Lawwell has been at the club too long already; he ought to have announced his intention to retire at the end of the next campaign, come what may, so that he can depart in a note of triumph should the ten be secured. If we fail in that task, the matter ought to be taken out of his hands entirely and if his fellow directors won’t do it then the fans have to.
Many will hold him personally responsible for failure.
I cannot, in all honesty, argue with them.
He is the most powerful figure in Scottish football, even if he does not “run it” as some in the media have alleged.
This blog and others have been screaming about the need for financial fair play in Scottish football for nearly the whole of this decade; with nothing having been done on that front, if a second financially doped club from Ibrox finds itself sitting atop the game here it will be a scandal which many will have no problem laying at the doors of Celtic Park just as easily and readily as it can be laid at the doors of Hampden.
The Celtic support, as a whole, is not going to be fobbed off with excuses or appeals or even the promise of jam to come if this Sevco side takes the SPL crown, and especially if the January window becomes another Peter Lawwell poker game. He is gambling, this time, with our stability and with his own reputation and job. He should be in no doubt about the consequences should he “sleep at the wheel” as the Green Brigade banner warned earlier in the season.
Those who do that risk hitting the wall. Lawwell and the rest of them will be damned with the White’s and Kelly’s if they fail here … no club in the history of the game will ever have squandered such an historical opportunity to put itself beyond the reach of its domestic rivals.
This counts too for our absentee shareholder, who is under the mistaken belief that he can simply hand over control of the boardroom to his son when he steps back as if Celtic was his personal fiefdom to do with as he pleases. That’s simply not going to fly.
Serious questions already need to be asked about that proposed scam, regardless of the outcomes here. That has been put off only temporarily whilst this campaign is still underway; it will become a matter of the gravest consequence should this end badly.
They still have a chance – all of them – to get this right, of course, and that includes Neil Lennon.
The over-reliance on certain players has exhausted them physically and mentally and created complacency where there shouldn’t be any. Some of them walk into the team every week, and that shouldn’t happen at a club like Celtic.
There are clear areas where we need to strengthen, and we have to be ruthless.
If it means shipping guys out, even guys who’ve not been here long – Maryan Shved should be challenging Forrest for that place on the right and if he’s not going to then we should punt him now, no more time wasting, and be done with it – then so be it. The club comes first.
This is not a time to balk at the sight of blood, or at the notion of getting the cheque book out.
Having failed to get FFP regulations passed, having failed to do a proper search for a manager in the summer, having scandalously failed to defend our fans and the club itself from the snipers all around us and having completely sold out over Resolution 12, I don’t believe even betting big in January will save them if Lennon and the team come up short.
And if trying and failing won’t salvage their reputations and jobs then imagine the reaction if they fail to even try.
Hell hath no fury like a Celtic support roused to anger.
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