Let me tell you what the rules of the Stopped Clock theory are.
You might think it’s obvious, but in order to qualify as a legitimate “stopped clock” moment there is criteria that must be applied.
Is it not enough that you agree with someone you would usually disagree with; to qualify as a stopped clock event, someone must unambiguously talk nonsense on a single subject to such an extent that they become known for doing so.
And then, on some occasion or other, that individual’s stupid opinion is proven to be correct in that it offers a fair assessment of the situation or circumstances.
Andy Walker has been running down Celtic for as long as I remember.
His criticisms of our club are so frequent, and often so hysterical, that he has been notorious for this for a long, long time.
It stands to reason that he will occasionally be right once in a while … this does not mean that he is possessed of an iota of wisdom or genuine insight though.
When you throw darts at a board long enough you’ll eventually hit the bullseye.
It doesn’t mean you’re improving as a player; it means that once in a while you will get lucky.
When I read his latest criticisms of the Celtic board I found myself nodding along with the words.
He is right on the money. He has been right on the money for weeks.
Yet I don’t take a word of it seriously.
Andy Walker is not a useful ally for us to have, and Neil Lennon picked the right target when he lashed Walker for his critique of Lawwell and the management team.
Because Walker says this stuff so often that you cannot take him at face value even when he’s right.
Indeed, it’s when he’s right that you should be most sceptical about his views.
It’s like the analogy of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, which I wrote about a couple of weeks back when Tom English similarly got the basics of an article right for once.
The thing with English is that he managed to be both right and wrong at the same time; he was correct in his assessment of Celtic, but his entire case was weakened by his failure to apply the same logic to events at Ibrox.
English literally knocked out his own argument, because the two contradictory treatments were obvious even to the casual reader.
Walker only ever seems to talk about Celtic, and when he does he rarely has a good word to say.
Lennon was correct to say that Walker has a serious issue with our club, and this is true even though Walker is speaking from the heart when he talks about the warm memories he has of being a Celtic player.
This might appear contradictory in and of itself, but really it isn’t.
It’s not even a particularly uncommon psychological phenomenon.
Listening to Walker at the moment reminds me of Tony talking about his mother in the outstanding early season 3 Soprano’s episode Proshai, Livushka. After two seasons in which she has haunted his steps and even tried to have him killed, she dies in her sleep and he goes to see his shrink to talk about it.
On the one hand, he’s glad she’s gone and expresses his clear emotional relief.
On the other, he is haunted by the idea that this makes him a bad son.
A lot of people have these complex thoughts about folk they care about … I have no doubts Walker is sometimes conflicted when it comes to Celtic. It doesn’t stop him endlesly putting in the boot.
Walker’s love-hate relationship with Celtic could only be explained if you were able to get inside his head, and I’ll pass, as I find it boring enough listening to him on the telly.
It’s enough to know that when he flays us he gets a certain amount of satisfaction out of it.
If he didn’t he would cease doing it because usually he’s all over the map and talking arrant nonsense.
But this time he has it right, and so it’s tempting in some ways to suggest that he’s speaking truth.
We are being insulted by the board.
The club is taking us for granted, if they are not simply taking us for a ride.
It is scandalous for them to let this crisis drag on.
But I heartily wish someone with more credibility than Walker was the one saying it.
He ticks the “stopped clock” boxes. He matches the criteria.
But the criteria only applies if everything else he says on the subject of Celtic is flatly wrong, and that’s the problem I have with his “analysis” of the current situation.
When people hear these things from Walker they zone out and so what should be a serious message is diluted to the point of irrelevance.
Lennon can sneer at him and get away with it, because Walker’s frequent rants on Celtic have turned anything he has to say into mere background noise.
He might think he is doing us all a favour and that his opinion is being taken seriously by the support, but he spouts so much bile about us that it’s impossible to separate this from that; indeed, to qualify as a stopped clock moment it has to be bile … but bile that just so happens to tally with the reality of the moment.
In short, we have to assume – and we do, because we know the history – that Walker would be talking this crap, or something equally poisonous, no matter what position we were in.
He always has before, whether we’re winning or not. Lennon got that spot on too.
I don’t like agreeing with Walker, even when my doing so is purely circumstantial.
It’s one of the reasons I’d like this crisis to pass as soon as possible; it upsets my sense of balance when I sit down to read him these days and find myself nodding in agreement.
I’d like that to be over with, and pretty damned quickly, because I have to keep reminding myself that he’s not actually correct … that he just got lucky. That he’s throwing darts at a board.
Just because he’s hit the bullseye for once, it doesn’t make him Gerwyn Price.