Last week, Peter Lawwell announced that he would depart this club in June.
The bloggers and a lot of the online community made it clear that this was a welcome announcement and long overdue. Some in the media expressed their view that Lawwell’s tenure was ultimately a failure.
The rest, and a handful of online writers, poured honey on the man they have long been in awe of. Officials at other clubs briefed the media that Lawwell had “run” the game.
I daresay that had you canvassed the people of Oz you’d have heard similarly adulatory praise for their famous patriarch. Those who had been inside the castle and pulled back the curtain knew the truth of it; the Wonderful Wizard was nothing but an ordinary little fat man, pulling levers and creating illusions to project an image of power and knowledge.
To those of us who saw him clearly, Lawwell was a busted flush, a man whose secret had been exposed; all talk of his majesty and brilliance was pure fiction.
There was nothing there but smoke and mirrors. The month of January, and how it ends, ought to have erased the myth once and for all. The closure of the window has shown him at his embarrassing worst.
Missing out on the deal for Davies was an epic humiliation and it would have been felt even more keenly if this club were not already encased in a gigantic crisis of the CEO’s making. That deal had been “done” for nearly a week.
All that remained was to get a signature on the contract.
Instead of doing so in a timely fashion, Lawwell dithered and delayed, haggling over what we know now was a mere few hundred thousand pounds.
Incredible considering the bounty we had secured from the sale of Frimpong.
This would be a red letter day for the CEO if his departure hadn’t already been announced. He owns this one, completely.
Even worse though is the continued presence of the manager in the dugout. Neil Lennon is the most potent symbol of Lawwell’s ineptitude and the scale of his failures. Any other CEO would have had the manager on the street months ago.
But the reasons the window closed without a centre back, even on a loan basis, and the reason we still have Lennon in the dugout are one in the same; Lawwell plays just one note on his banjo. His whole approach is built on the basis that he’s so smart he will never need a fall-back or Plan B. We’ve seen the proof of this in dozens of cases going back years.
Let me remind you that John McGinn was a long-time target of Celtic’s.
Lawwell didn’t just have one window to get that deal done, he literally had years. But we would almost be able to forgive him for that epic failure if we’d moved past McGinn and brought in someone decent instead. Remember the player we eventually got?
Youssouf Mulumbu. On a free.
He had been available and without a club for seven weeks.
It reeked of panic. It reeked of something cobbled together at the last second, which it was. He was signed on 31 August, the last day of the window.
McGinn had signed for Villa a full 23 days before … it took us three weeks to come up with a player from the bargain bin.
This time we lost our first choice so late in the game that we didn’t even have time to source a Mulumbu style option.
The same dynamic is at work in the manager’s office … Lawwell does not have a clue who to replace Lennon with. His imagination is limited to what he thinks the level of our club is … he will never show the level of ambition that this club requires of him.
Those who spent the last week trying to tell us what we’ll lose when Lawwell is gone should take a look at the shambles he will leave behind, a shambles in which he played a starring role.
Celtic fans as a whole will not miss him or days like today.
Frankly, I find much of the praise for him nauseating.
The rest of it, I just find embarrassing.