Resolution 12 and the way that matter has closed out has thrown up as much anger and frustration as I expected.
The question people have to ask themselves is “what do we do next?” I have read a lot of bluster and a lot of nonsense about what this means … what I have not read, anywhere, is any coherent plan for what should be done in response to it.
Let’s be straight on a couple of things; the SFA is not running Celtic.
Our club has not been “handed over” to anybody. That is over the top for me.
So is the assertion that part of, or all of, our club has “died.”
Celtic is bigger than these people, it is more than just those making the decisions in the here and now.
The idea that they have permanently damaged our club is just wrong. You are giving these people more back-handed credit than they deserve; they are a small part of the history of Celtic. It is their own egotistical mistake to believe they are more than just temporary office bearers … it is not a trap we should be falling into with them.
They cannot transform the ideals of this club any more than humans can destroy the Earth.
We may destroy ourselves, but that’s not the same thing .. just as these men have wrecked their own reputations and tarnished their own legacies.
But they can never change the soul of Celtic.
So that sort of emotive language and hyerbole about what we’ve “lost” is unhelpful.
It creates a lot of noise, but no solutions.
To be frank, I wonder if there are solutions here.
Bloggers ranting and raving is not going to shift this.
The board has made a decision. The only two ways that is reversed are if they change their minds or something happens which does it for them. Banners in the stands and pitchforks in the car-park aren’t going to do it.
I want to be realistic about this, so let’s be.
There are people who want to overthrow the board over this.
They have no plan for doing so; in their anger they simply want to charge the guns.
Even if I believed that this issue merited regime change – I am on the fence over that, and only because I see Resolution 12 as part of a wider set of concerns – I would be wholly unwilling to put my name forward for a suicidal dash across No Man’s Land. Uh-uh.
Without even the slimmest prospect of success it’s just stupid.
I was in politics a long time. I think about the visual here … a bunch of supporters standing protesting and demanding the resignations of the entire board at a time when we’ve got eight titles in a row and are going for nine. It would look, to the outside world, and most of the people in the orbit of our club, as if we had gone completely insane.
Imagine the first press conference where they ask Lennon about it.
The second he expresses his disbelief and says that the board is the best he’s ever worked with, that they care about Celtic, the second he makes it clear he doesn’t support even the idea of it … the campaign is dead. Where does it go from there? What is the next move?
Venting is fine, but let’s deal in reality and the reality is this; our board of directors is going nowhere.
There is no way to remove them that doesn’t involve the unified action of the support and you aren’t going to get anything like it whilst this team is winning everything. Lawwell will be here until he decides to retire. Desmond will be here as long as he’s interested, and the idea that he will hand over his shares to his son as if this is an antique tea set and not a major institution absolutely appals me … but it’s the way it’s going to be until something fundamental shifts.
So yes, they have chosen a direction of travel and it is not the one that many of us would have liked.
They have made a decision on Resolution 12 and the matter has been set aside.
The club’s official policy is not to pursue this.
They said they have taken it as far as they can and they want to move past it and get on with other things.
We can spit the dummies out of the pram or we can accept that.
There will be a price to pay regardless. Lawwell believes that he’s entitled to a statue at the very least for his “administration” of the club thus far, but he too often strays outside of his official remit and when he does the results are occasionally disastrous. Whatever game he was playing with Rodgers blew up in his face; he only got away with that because the manager left such bitterness behind him that many set aside Lawwell’s contribution to the affair.
I had a front row seat to Lawwell’s own egotism. I know that both men were equally to blame, that neither put the club first during that appalling period in the summer of last season, when we fumbled about like idiots and let John McGinn and others slip through our fingers.
Lawwell’s brinksmanship was pathetically bad. He misjudged things at every stage.
The truth is that Lawwell is very, very good at what he does within certain parameters and I have long wondered whether or not we’re getting full value for money there. For all his alleged skill at politicking he has been unable to set out an agenda and have others back it up. He has been weak. Our club has been weak as a result of that.
He has propped up the corrupt regime at the SFA. He is the only reason Neil Doncaster still has a job. There are people in our game who would have been hunted out of it had Celtic shown leadership and balls at the time of the Ibrox implosion … we never did.
The chance for genuine root and branch reform probably went by the boards because of our failure.
An historical opportunity was not only lost, it was squandered.
Lawwell is grossly overpaid in his role. He has chronically underachieved at using Celtic’s unassailable power and position to benefit the rest of the game, and that has implications for how well protected we are from the activities of cheats and charlatans.
It is because of that failure that there is a financially doped up Ibrox club clinging to our coat tails.
God Help Lawwell if they win something with the crooked King in the building when this site and others have telegraphed the need for FFP rules in Scotland for years now.
I know our board’s failures, and I know there is an argument in favour of removing the lot of them and filling our club with people who possess real vision. Lawwell has been over a decade in a job where the average stay is a handful of years; this is because people get stale, they run out of ideas, the whole ethos of the place changes to suit their outlook … and that causes problems, sometimes major ones. You can see signs of it at Celtic Park and the most obvious symbol of it, ironically enough, is sitting in the manager’s office right now.
Lennon has been a phenomenal success so far, but the decision to appoint him not only showed a staggering lack of imagination and vision on behalf of the board but the manner of it was abysmal, cynical, deceptive and reeked of amateurism. That he is getting it right does not mean that they did; Lawwell is often luckier than he is good. It’s a nice trait to have, but luck doesn’t last and this could have been a total disaster. It still might be.
That Neil Lennon is manager still scares the Hell out of me and not because I still worry that Lennon might prove to be a monumental mistake; I am extremely confident in his abilities now and have no doubt that he will continue to grow into the role.
It scares me because people inside our club put no thought into this. That they grabbed the first warm body they could. That some of them thought this was the best we could do, that giving a guy who failed at Bolton and Hibs the job on a permanent basis was the best of all the options. What other options were there? Lawwell said they didn’t even look. That’s his own words. That’s the “official position” of our club, that they didn’t even try.
Lennon has surpassed expectations, but that does not afford Lawwell or the board an alibi. They did not know how this would turn out; it was an incredible gamble, an act of staggering recklessness. If it goes wrong, more than the manager should pay with his job.
Worse, by far, is the complete ethical failure that lies at the heart of the Resolution 12 decision.
That failure of courage, that spineless decision not to challenge a corrupt association and a corrupt decision, that act of gross negligence, is a small part of the larger malfunction of vision. They have abrogated their responsibilities to Celtic, yes, but also to the wider game, in favour of an easy life. They can hide behind UEFA as they will, but this and other failures to act are failures of their own leadership and their own ability to drive through change.
That they have failed both to avenge past transgressions against us, as well as failing to fire-proof us against future corruption is a given. We don’t know what the long-term consequences of that will be, but even without them these failures are what they will be remembered for.
At the gravest moment in the recent history of the game here, and at the time of the greatest opportunity for change, they were nowhere. When it came to fighting tooth and nail for truth and for justice not only for ourselves but every other club who suffered in the EBT era, they backed away from the fight. The opportunity for reform came and went and we did nothing but call for a toothless inquiry and they didn’t even have the juice to get that.
This is their legacy and this is how all of them will be remembered. Revisionists will point to the trophy haul and the success on the park, but managers and player secured that, and we should have been entitled to expect success with our advantages. Their wider responsibilities have not been met, or have ended in failure. The game itself is no better off and we are still unprotected from corrupt practices and the possibility of being overhauled via them.
And that would provoke exactly the sort of crisis that would endanger their positions.
Just as there is no unified Celtic support at this time, neither is there a unified version of history. There are people who will think Lawwell and this board are the greatest in the history of the club; they are entitled to that view, but that view will not prevail.
Because the conditions are ripe for another disaster in our game, and when it comes our board is going to have as much responsibility for it as those who triggered it.
This game is no safer than it was, no more stable than it was, no more immune from scandal than it was.
The scope of their moral failure is immense.
No-one builds statues or names stands after such gutless wonders.
They have left us exposed and vulnerable, and their weakness in this case has invited further atrocities against us.
These are not leaders, whatever they might think they are, but for the moment we are stuck with them and probably for a long time to come.
That doesn’t mean they got away with it.
History judges us all, and as we know some people will never give them praise because that would be to give Celtic praise, neither can they rely on the goodwill of people like us.
Whilst our enemies will never credit them with any of what we did, the rest of us will damn them for what they didn’t do.
I wrote before of how they had an opportunity to rise above all the boards that came before them, or go down with the White’s and the Kelly’s; there were no in-betweens because of what this moment demanded of them.
They have made their choice.
Disgrace and dishonour it is.
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