If you were capable of analysing Celtic as a complete neutral, what would you see right now?
I’ve asked neutrals this because I am incapable of viewing them that way, and I’m not surprised at the answers that I keep getting back.
“Shambles” is the nice way to put it.
There is an idea being spoon-fed to us by those who would defend the manager, the CEO and the board, and the idea is that we’re showing Lennon support because he’s earned it and that this reflects well on us in the wider footballing world.
Celtic does not “rush to judgement.”
Our board does not “pander to the mob.”
They take a long-term view instead of chasing short-term headlines.
It’s all very nice and reasonable, because it makes our club sound nice and reasonable.
It’s also complete and utter bollocks.
Look around the footballing landscape and tell me what you see.
Because even as I was writing another piece, Neil Harris has been sacked by Cardiff after six defeats in a row.
This is the sport where Claudio Ranieri won a once-in-a-generation title with an unfancied club and less than a year later was fired by them for a poor start to the following campaign.
This is the world in which managers who have won Champions Leagues have been fired for not winning domestic titles.
Where domestic title winning managers have been fired for not winning Champions Leagues.
A world where some clubs take a perverse sort of pride in avoiding relegation every year because they sack any manager who looks like he might take them down.
It is a world where clubs with ambition act with ruthlessness and without delay in the face of any perceived threat, and those clubs never have any shortage of candidates willing to work for them.
We tell ourselves repeatedly that we are the most important people to the club.
But our perceptions of Celtic aren’t what will decide our immediate and long term future; the perceptions of those outside of our club will have a far greater impact on where we’re headed right now than anything that we can do as fans will.
I believe the rest of the football world is looking at us in disbelief.
When people within the game, but outside Celtic Park, look at us at the moment they do not see a club which is showing commendable loyalty to a long-term servant. They don’t see a board of directors that refuses to bow to the mob, and which shows admirable restraint in standing by their man.
We can kid ourselves on about that as much as we like.
But what those people really see is a club paralysed by indecision and ineptitude, weakness and fear.
They see a board that persists with a manager who has clearly failed, and who most of them would never have even considered employing at their own clubs. They see a board that has frozen in the face of the first genuine challenge in years.
They don’t see Celtic as a massive institution and an attractive prospect.
They see a board which is limited in its thinking and lacking the slightest ambition.
They see one that cannot communicate any sort of hopeful vision to its own supporters and instead deals with placemen in the media and amongst the bloggers to lower expectations and get us to accept the unacceptable.
And this is the view that will make it harder for us to attract any quality candidate to our club.
It has nothing to do with the environment we play in or the lure of bigger money elsewhere; this is about those outside the club seeing a lack of direction and a total lack of self-belief, which is what has come across most in the last few months, that and either an acceptance of failure or an inability to see when something is going badly, badly wrong.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; the first and most important act is to remove the manager.
To demonstrate to the world which is watching that Celtic will not accept this level of decline, this reversal in fortune, that we take ourselves more seriously than that.
We have standards and we expect, and indeed demand, a certain level of success.
Taking ourselves seriously means that others will take us seriously too.
How are you supposed to look at this ongoing farce and believe that this is a club with a vision and grand ideals for itself?
The impression we give off is precisely the opposite of that.