Celtic’s board of directors did not have their finest year in 2019. They will decry that notion, and they are free to do so. But I have my reasons for believing otherwise.
First, it was the year when Rodgers up and left without us having a backup plan. We were lucky Lennon was available.
Everyone knows how I feel about the amateurish way we went about finding a permanent successor to Rodgers. Perhaps I should rephrase that to more accurately reflect reality; I was pissed about the way they didn’t even bother to try. Lennon was offered the job in a shower-room at Hampden, after we’d won a cup final. The board expects us to believe he’d have been offered it regardless of the score that day. They treat us like absolute mugs at times.
What I’ve inferred since from that is that Lennon might not have been offered it at all had that game ended in defeat. Would we have embarked on a scramble to find a new candidate? How much of the close-season would we have pissed away on that endeavour?
How much time was wasted in retaining the services of the hapless Rodgers appointee Lee Congerton? How much time was squandered in not giving the gig, full time, to Nick Hammond when he came in? What was the reason for that delay?
The results have gone in our favour. Lennon has worked the miracle. We’re set to go further ahead of Sevco than we were this time last year … success? Yes, but not the board’s success. This one belongs to the manager and his coaching team and the players.
The board did nothing to reform the SFA in 2019. Indeed, Rod Petrie rose to become the President in the face of our opposition which proved toothless. For someone who’s supposed to run Scottish football, Lawwell doesn’t get us what we want very often, does he?
There is progress being made on a number of fronts; the Celtic Park triangle has never looked so good and there is talk of major improvements to come. The hotel project seems to have stalled but there are other plans afoot. A redevelopment of our facility at Barrowfield is underway … that will cost a pretty penny but will no doubt pay off down the line.
But all those looks scattershot. What’s the long term goal of this club? Where does the board see us being in five or ten years? Obviously a lot of focus in the stands rests on nine and ten in a row, but after that, where do the directors see us?
It can’t all be about lording it over one football club.
There has to be a strategy beyond that, to make this club everything it can be going into the next decade. That means deciding whether or not our ultimate future is in Scottish football, and making the game here as good – and as clean – as it can be in the here and now, whilst it still has us.
On the park, there is a glorious opportunity here not only to win ten but to go on and smash all the records that Sevco claims for its own; that’s something we should be aiming for, for its own sake and not for bragging rights. We should be the most successful club on this island and Sevco should not get to make such brazenly dishonest claims for itself. Sevco’s “ownership” of them is a lie, and the sweetest thing that could happen on the pitch is that we beat the lie itself.
It is important to do that, to render the lie worthless to them, but I cannot help but think that if the Celtic board was interested in doing so that we could smash the lie entirely. Why won’t they? Why won’t this club publicly call out the Survival and Victim lies for what they are?
Put it on the record and say we’re not prepared to live with them.
Open this debate for real. Get our side of the story out there. See who joins us in condemning these falsehoods … and at the same time we’ll see who’s prepared to accept them.
That would be a greater accomplishment than presiding over the winning of trebles and titles ad infinitum … this board could be the one that restores sanity to the game, and which finally puts the truth before all the bullshit that has been clogging up our nostrils for the past eight years.
Why would any board which could do it chose not to?
Our club has a choice about how it is defined. Is Celtic a moral organisation or is it not?
Is it one which fights for what is right or one that accepts what is expedient? Is it one that looks after its own interests, limiting even those to what causes the least amount of friction, or does it take seriously the awesome responsibilities of leadership circumstances have bestowed?
For this club is in a unique position wherein it can reform the game here even whilst it builds the ultimate monument to this decade of near total supremacy. We can, actually, literally, have it all, if this board has the vision for it.
Our club owes us this. One of the defining characteristics of the last 12 months is how little the club cares about communicating with the fans. On Resolution 12 they screwed us but good, and showed not the slightest remorse over it. They put the whole issue in the hands of the Association which has lied to us and let us down at every turn.
Their PR stinks to high heaven and too many times it is left to the blogs or the manager to defend our position when we are under attack.
This board is great at celebrating our victories, but takes no ownership at all when we fail.
It is great at putting on a show, whether that’s festivals or utilising fancy lights, but it has not yet secured us the place at the top table of European football. It is great at making its views on the SFA privately known but it fails to articulate any kind of vision in public.
It’s nearly 2020. That sounds like a good year for demonstrating that we can see both clearly and far. It sounds like a perfect time to lay out a blueprint for the future not just of Celtic but for the game as a whole.
Will they do it?
Do they have the strategic outlook for it?
I’m not so sure.
I haven’t been convinced or impressed with it up until now.
The CelticBlog Christmas Quiz is available below … take it, share it and compare scores with your mates!