The campaign for ten in a row was never going to end with upheaval.
It was widely recognised as an endpoint, as something that would complete one journey before we launched into a new one.
It was the point at which our club was always going to change.
The global pandemic, and Brexit, made that change inevitable whether we won this title or not, but even without them we’d have been ripping certain things up and starting again. The appointment of Lennon as manager, whether you agreed with it or disagreed, always felt like a temporary measure to get us to the magic number.
The future was always going to be about another version of Celtic. It had to be. Ten in a row was a nice target, and it would have been a glorious achievement, but it should never have been the sole focus of our club. Indeed, had we looked to greater horizons then ten in a row would not even have been up for dispute. We’d be almost there.
The global health emergency means we’re making cuts.
The Brexit transfer changes mean that our entire scouting and development system has to be retooled.
The certain change of a manager is an opportunity for a new era to begin … and only if the board can sell that idea to the fans.
Even in the best case scenario, I imagine a lot of folk won’t renew.
I’m sure that the club is perfectly aware of the dreadful position it finds itself in; indeed, all clubs find themselves in the same dark place. When they were asking for season tickets last year the fullest effects of the global health emergency hadn’t yet come to bear. People might have been worried about their jobs, but the initial government schemes came online.
We’re nearly a year into this, and the economic impacts are now being experienced.
How many fans will be able to afford the outlay for season tickets?
How many will feel secure spending that kind of money?
Many won’t know if their jobs are coming back, if their mortgages are being paid, if their families are entirely secure.
Even if the fans were not furious with the club at the present time, it would have been a hard sell, especially with the magic number already achieved or not. It stands to reason that selling the ten campaign was easy.
It was never going to be quite so straightforward to sell eleven in a row. It will be one Hell of a task to try to sell one in a row, especially if Lennon remains in post.
It is now widely accepted amongst most fans that the board of directors has run out of ideas.
The one thing they were universally praised for was how well the club is run; this was the year where they actually dispensed with sensible policies and embraced big transfer spending without bringing in any fees for players.
I was surprised at that and still am.
But it’s easy to sell tickets and tops and merchandise when the club is riding high. Even without the benefit of Champions League income, we’ve been posting profits because the fans are fully onboard with what they believed to be a grand strategy. We now realise that said strategy doesn’t exist and that there are real flaws in the way we’re run.
The job which our club faces to right the ship is enormous.
I have little confidence that we are even remotely ready to tackle it, because to be blunt I do not trust the people who currently run things at Celtic Park.
I wouldn’t have Lawwell near a project like this; he is a short-term thinker with no strategic nous whatsoever.
I don’t trust the board that lets a single shareholder run things.
I don’t trust said shareholder, as we are just an afterthought for him.
Our club badly needs new leadership and a long term plan.
The capturing of ten in a row would have allowed a lot of people to leave on a note of triumph; my concern is that rather than take lessons from the failure, that some of them might stay longer in an effort to rebuild their own reputations with another series of short-term decisions.
The risk of that – of more wasted time, of more squandered resources – is very, very real.
We are about to enter a period of profound change … except, I fear, where it matters most.
The next couple of months will tell us a lot about our club and it’s future.
Change is coming, that’s certain … but who manages it, and how far it extends is what remains to be seen.