So the news broke today that Dermot Desmond backs the manager and is happy for him to continue in his role after the “January review” – which clearly was every bit as much a piece of window dressing as we all thought it would be when we heard about it.
Well, let’s be honest, it’s not much of a surprise is it?
As long as it’s mathematically possible or completely and unmistakably untenable – which means such an unacceptable state of affairs that it unifies the fan-base and leaves them nowhere to go – they will stand by their man.
Decide for yourself what the reasons for that are. I think it’s a mixture of misplaced loyalty, lack of imagination and a total failure of strategic vision, but you may have theories of your own. What matters tonight isn’t the decision itself – which in my view is clearly wrong, and even dangerous to the club – but the way that it’s apparently been made.
The press has said it’s Dermot Desmond’s call. Which kind of makes me wonder why his opinion is the only one that seems to matter at Celtic Park.
Let’s do a quick refresher on everything Dermot Desmond is not.
Dermot Desmond is not a sugar-daddy owner who bankrolls Celtic with his own money.
Dermot Desmond is Celtic’s largest shareholder, not the majority shareholder.
Dermot Desmond is not the chairman of Celtic.
Dermot Desmond is not the head of the football department at Celtic.
On the surface of it, Dermot Desmond lacks the statutory authority to make that call. He doesn’t have a majority of votes on the board for it nor the shareholding to make his writ run. If he was chairman or CEO you could understand how the rest might be inclined to allow him the leeway to take unchecked decisions on some issues … but surely not this?
Where does he get the idea that Celtic is his to run as he sees fit?
What do the rest of the directors do all day?
What influence do they have?
What authority do they hold?
Do they have opinions on the big issues, or are they just mutes who accept what Desmond wants? Are they serious individuals, as we’re always told, or are they empty shirts and placemen?
Celtic is not a dictatorship, but to all appearances it seems to be run like one, with Lawwell and Desmond riding roughshod over everyone else. The rest of the board might hide behind “collective responsibility” but I have always believed that was a philosophy that allows cowards to keep their heads down and the ruthless to do what they want.
I want to know from time to time what other people on our board think. I want to know that they are independent, with opinions, which makes retaining them worthwhile.
Look at our chairman and ask yourself; when did this guy make an effective contribution? When has he ever? What is his purpose? Listen to Lennon himself for an idea of what I’m talking about; how many times have you heard him say “I speak to Ian regularly”? He talks to Lawwell every day. He talks to Desmond at least twice a week.
So why those two?
What’s his relationship like with the chairman of Celtic Football Club?
It’s just not actually clear if he talks to Bankier or the rest of the board at all.
But it’s the whole board that should be making the call on his future, not his two pals.
Dermot Desmond is not Celtic.
Without the votes to dominate the boardroom, why is he allowed to? He doesn’t finance the club, so nobody ought to be worried about his taking his ball home; if he walked tomorrow, what would the impact on Celtic actually be?
I would reckon somewhere close to zero.
So what is going on here?
He gets to leak it to the press that the review is over and that Lennon stays?
Are you telling me that nobody on our board – nobody at all – thinks that maybe this season is gone and that we should be working to put ourselves in the best possible place for the next one? We hear how Desmond “chose” Rodgers, how he protects Lennon, how he “won’t give in” to the protests … but since when is his The Final Word?
The Ibrox board under David Murray is damned by history for allowing him to run up debts, introducing EBT’s and finally for not opposing the sale to Craig Whyte. Their excuse was that Murray was the big chief because he owned the club and that he would take decisions which they were in no position to oppose.
What’s our board’s excuse?
When do these people crawl out from under the bed and start exerting their own influence on events? Do they even care to? Or are they just utter chancers, who’ve got used to the soft seats and the people who smile and shake their hands on the good days whilst being perfectly happy for others to take the flak when things aren’t quite so great?
Do they think that their low profiles will insulate them from a share of the blame?
Well it’s not going to.
Every one of Celtic’s directors is under the same microscope here; I’ve already done a lengthy piece on why we should consider the position of Brian Wilson. Something on our absentee chairman might be appropriate for the next one.
See, in a sense I understand this; Lawwell is never shy about strutting around like a peacock when things are good, and Desmond himself preens for the media when all’s well in the world whilst the rest of our board never gets either spotlight or credit.
If their view on this is that those two are good at hogging the limelight and thus can be saddled with the blame, I’d say think again because that’s the kind of utter selfishness which will be remembered.
It’s time for the rest of them to start speaking up and fighting for what they believe in, if that is they believe in anything at all.