Keith Jackson’s Lawwell Article Was Disgraceful. It’s Time Celtic Banned Him And His Paper.

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For a long time now, Celtic fans have argued that The Daily Record should be banned from our ground and our club.

What’s it going to take, we wondered?

How about an outright slander on our chief executive and his professionalism?

How about the oblique suggestion that we cannot be trusted to make crucial decisions as part of the SPFL without putting our self-interest first?

That’s what Keith Jackson’s article accused us of today. He coached it in careful terms, but you didn’t need an Enigma decoder to decipher what he was trying to say. Marked as an “exclusive” it was also pretty clear that the principle source used in it was from Ibrox.

That could not have been more obvious had he put a picture of that stadium with “nudge nudge wink wink” in the piece. He thinks we don’t recognise pro-Sevco propaganda, he thinks we can’t spot a Follow Follow conspiracy theory, when we read it.

This was both. It was not even an attempt at journalism.

Instead, it was an unsophisticated smear at the centre of which was Peter Lawwell’s coming election to the SPFL board and that board’s efforts to get the clubs to support a proposal that if there is another shut-down enforced by this virus that the governing body itself can take the decision about what to do, rather than put it back out to a general vote of the clubs.

I have read the SPFL regulations thoroughly, and I am convinced that the SPFL board already has that statutory authority. It is not spelled out in as crystal clear language as it could be, but it is there in black and white for anyone to see.

This is the crucial segment, right here.

“Season means the period of the year commencing on the date of the first League Match in a Season and ending on the date of the last League Match in the same Season or otherwise as determined by the Board and which excludes the Close Season.”

As determined by the board. That seems plain enough to me, and should give them the latitude to take these decisions as they see fit.

The decision to put it to a resolution of the clubs was, considering the implications, a move that was designed to confer as much legitimacy on the decision as possible, and I wholeheartedly applaud the SPFL for having done it.

Having the power is one thing, but it would have been quite untenable for them to have used it without having the clubs on board. It was a quite brilliant decision they took, and one of the reasons why I won’t hear a bad word against them for their conduct here.

It’s also why I refuse to accept all this garbage about the result being an “affront to democracy” as some of the stupider members of the commenteriat alleged. The SPFL went above and beyond in an effort to get as much consensus as they could.

They continue to. The motion they are putting forward to the members will formalise the power they already have, but because it will be putting the seal of the clubs themselves on it then nobody would be able to say, later, in the event they need to act, that they did not possess the necessary authority to do so. It is not only smart, it is inclusive. It is what we’ve long wanted to see from them; it is a true nod to democracy and accountability.

Jackson thinks the motion is doomed. It probably is. But he alleges that it is doomed because clubs do not want to give such authority to a board which has Peter Lawwell on it, and especially not in a season where Celtic is playing for ten in a row.

The implication here is obvious; he is saying that the clubs do not trust Lawwell to do the right thing if it comes to it, but to do only what is in the best interests of Celtic. It is a shameful slander and one that cannot go unanswered by our leaders.

There is not the first shred of proof that what he is saying is actually true, and it makes no sense whatsoever.

But he has been “briefed” by at least one club … and you do not have to be a genius to work out which club it was. The same one that has been alleging all manner of left-field nonsense all summer long, and which even put together a shambolic “dossier” of “evidence” that there were dark deeds afoot. The same club that tried to decapitate the SPFL leadership, and for one reason only; that leadership is already perceived as being too “pro Celtic.”

For a long time now the media has been fully active in pushing the most discredited conspiracy theory of all; that Lawwell runs Scottish football. They are obsessed with it, every bit as much as the Sevco fan sites are. It is like one of those mythic urban legends … this has tremendous power to induce waking nightmares in our rivals.

It is quite true to say that Lawwell lives rent free in their heads.

They demonstrate this over and over again.

The scandal is that the media feeds this nonsense, which belongs on the damp floor of the Sevco fan forums.

It certainly doesn’t belong in a mainstream newspaper.

Jackson’s piece today promotes a conspiracy theory which has not the slightest piece of evidence to back it up; indeed, all regular readers know full well that our board has failed to get justice for EBT’s, failed to get an investigation into the events of 2012 and let down the fans on Resolution 12. We have no financial fair play. We have no fit and proper person test. Sevco directors and their manager can make the most outrageous statements in the public and get away with it.

If we really did run the game here none of that would apply and football in Scotland would be in a far better state. Quite how anyone can sustain this fantasy with so much evidence against it takes my breath away. But then, with Jackson we’re not exactly dealing with a genius.

What we’re dealing with is another Sevco lapdog at a paper full of them.

The same writer who hailed Sevco’s summer smear job as being them “showing the leadership the game needs” is pushing the idea that Lawwell and Celtic would act in their own interests if another shutdown had to happen, and to Hell with sporting integrity, the safety of players and staff and that of the general public itself.

Does Jackson agree with that, or is he simply writing what he was told to?

What does it matter? It’s a slander too far.

If the Celtic board accepts this then more fool them. It is one thing to allege that we have too much power, but to suggest that we would use it in such a reckless and irresponsible manner is disgraceful and it should not go unanswered.

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In the 1951/52 season, SFA chairman George Graham tried to stop Celtic from flying the Irish tricolour flag over Celtic Park, leading to a bitter stand off between him and the club. Which Scottish club backed Graham over his stance?

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