Here’s a thought to keep you awake tonight.
What if the dreadful lack of activity we see at Celtic Park isn’t a result of a board frozen in place, a board unable to act, a board unsure even of the direction it wants to go? What if it’s not a bug, but a feature? What if it’s deliberate?
There are reasons, you know, why this could be the case, and some of them are good reasons if you are looking at it in the cold blooded way that our directors tend to. Perhaps keeping Lennon in charge, not buying in this window, and then giving him the latitude to sell in the summer and rebuild the team, under their control, seems sensible.
After all, once the ten in a row was secured, or not, they would have expected a drop off in season ticket uptake. Since there are no signs that fans will be allowed back in grounds in big enough numbers for the next campaign perhaps they figured that there would be yet another reason for the fall in renewals.
The way they see it, the hardcore – who they probably overestimate – will renew no matter what … the malcontents are the people looking for any excuse not to.
I can tell you, some in Celtic Park see things exactly the way I’ve described. Is it possible that those people have decided that they can, in fact, brass neck this out?
What I’m suggesting here is that perhaps this is part of a deliberate decision to start downsizing right now. A drop in ticket income impacts on the money we have available. That impacts on how much can be invested in the squad. It makes it critical we sell players. It makes it critical we replace them cheap. Who but someone like Lennon will support that?
I’m suggesting that maybe our board believes that in order to get through the rest of the virus crisis that we need to start tempering our expectation levels and reducing the club to the point where it can more comfortably survive.
Of course, the critics of such an approach – and I’d be one of them – would say that in fact the club needs to maintain high volume in season ticket sales and that it should be aiming to. The only way to do that is to demonstrate that we have a strategy in place for moving forward, that certain people are packing their bags and that the reset is actually a fresh start.
And to me, all of that seems obvious. If you are going to rebuild this club you are going to need to do it from a position of strength, not weakness. To attract the right calibre of manager you are going to need to sell him on a strategy of growth and ambition and not scrabbling around in the bargain bin. If we chose to go the other way, towards reductions, at this point we might as well get used to being in that position for years to come.
I understand why some inside Celtic might fancy the “safe” strategy of going backwards to go forwards; the trouble is, whatever happens next needs to win over the majority of the fans. The board grossly underestimates the level of anger which exists and it underestimates the number who might be prepared not to renew.
If they gamble on this they are gambling with the short-to-medium term future of the club, and that I think some of them would be willing to anyway tells you how little confidence I have in these men to do the right thing anymore.
They are, however, perfectly capable of making matters worse.