The Celtic Trust’s proposal that the club give the fans shares as a thank you for the purchasing of season tickets for the last campaign – the “added value that was promised by which has never been delivered – is a great idea and one that deserves the full support the fan-base as a whole.
I thought I would explain it a little better and why every fan should endorse it.
Let’s be clear on what the Trust’s proposal means, so there are no misunderstandings.
Over at Ibrox, they have become adept at issuing “equity confetti.”
They have created so many shares over there by now that those which do exist must have less value than strips of toilet roll.
Always those shares are created at the expense of the small holders … it’s why Club 1872 can’t get above their meagre percentage in spite of spending millions trying.
If Celtic is to issue shares to fans, the Trust says those shares must come with real value and the best value they could have is an increase in voting power.
This means that the club should be issuing the fans with what are known as “ordinary shares”; no equity confetti here, but shares which confer a little addition power on those who hold them.
The existing structure of the share base has to change in the fans benefit, this can’t just be a piece of paper to stick in a frame; that would be an insult to the fans and do nothing to benefit the Trust or other fan groups.
The Trust’s proposal asks that the inevitable dilution in the shareholdings of others come at the expense of the Desmond’s and Lawwell’s, those who hold all the power at the moment and who have said they won’t sell up.
Well nobody is asking them to sell up under this proposal; it suggests that the voting power of their shares be reduced to allow the fans greater participation.
The idea’s time has come, to be frank, and there should not be no resistance to it inside Parkhead.
In addition to this, it might not be a bad idea to consider the recapitalisation of the club at some point, and that would allow the Trust and other fans who feel disposed towards the idea to purchase even more shares, with an ever greater voting value.
What is there to fear from this?
Desmond and his people will still retain their control of the boardroom but it would take us a step closer to place where fans have a real and genuine influence … this is a marathon not a sprint. We’re not expecting instant results.
It reminds me of the story about Napoleon telling one of his minions that he was tired of his soldiers marching, dead tired, down dusty roads. He commands that trees be planted all along the way so that they can sit down in the shade and rest along the journey.
“But that will take years,” he’s told.
“Well we better get started on it right away,” is his answer.
I couldn’t think of a better one to offer critics of this plan.