The events of 2011-12 are the reasons I’m a blogger.
Before then I was just another Celtic fan, watching the club and occasionally posting online about them on various forums.
Yet things happened, and by the end of 2011, I was working with the guys – David Faulds and Paul Brennan – who now run The Celtic Star and CQN on what was the digital CQN Magazine.
It was a trip to be writing about my own club and, more and more, the one across the city as history was unfolding in front of me.
We all felt the same.
The events following Rangers being put in administration changed the way I viewed the game here.
I got big-time interested in the politics of our sport, and how the SFA was run.
I realised that just writing about Celtic was never going to be enough; there were things happening in every corner of the game which impacted on us and we had to keep our eyes on that too.
One of the harshest lessons was the one the Rangers fans got but never learned from; what happens when you take your eyes off the ball at your own club, and allow it to be run into the ground.
Don’t forget that they went under on the back of three title wins in a row and a European final not long before.
Their fans were the ones who were asleep at the wheel.
One of the things I’ve been keen for us to do, as Celtic fans, is put our own club under the microscope as much as possible. To make sure that we view it with a critical eye.
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For ages now I’ve been waiting for our fans to wake up and start taking an active interest in our own internal workings; there’s nothing like a crisis to make people see the big picture.
I have no intention of offering criticism of our fans now that so many are re-engaging with the club and its politics. I am delighted about it. We always were smarter and better at holding people to account that our Ibrox counterparts; we just got a little complacent, a little over-fed on success and overconfident.
We’re wide awake now and paying attention.
Last night, Auldheid sent me a communique from an organisation called Celts For Change 2021.
They join Celts In The Stands, The Celtic Trust and others out there, like the formal and recognised, by the club, Association and Affiliation.
This is all to the good.
But of course, it’s also all to the bad as well, because every group that springs up draws its own water from the well, and there’s only enough of that, and the oxygen that we need to put on the pressure and sustain it, to go around.
We need to be careful.
There are two risks here; the first is that those we’re seeking to pressure start treating this like it’s a joke, and refuse to acknowledge that supporter anger is a real force.
Phil reminded me earlier that he once christened The Green Brigade as the Popular Front For The Liberation Of Paradise, and yes, there’s the dark possibility that this develops a kind of People’s Front Of Judea versus the Judean People’s Front vibe … and that would be disastrous.
The second risk is worse; that we descend into internecine squabbling over egos and personalities which magnify little differences into major ones.
When I told Phil what the subject of this piece was going to be the first thing he said was “Salmond” and I’m grateful to him for that, because it clarifies the point beautifully.
It doesn’t matter what you think of the former First Minister, or indeed the current First Minister; if you support the cause of Scottish independence you cannot be other than dismayed at the sight of these two and their respective camps pounding the Hell out of each other.
And this is all for what? I understand the issues are serious, but I’m talking about where this started, where their personal relationship began to unravel. Egotism and jockeying for influence.
I mean, my God, do they even disagree on anything fundamental? Difference in style yes, but of substance? Arguments over strategy and tactics, sure … but on the goal?
That’s surely what counts here; as Phil put it, the end not the means.
All these groups, they need to find a way of coming together and working as one, and if that means that some take a backseat to others on the steering committees than that’s the way it might have to be. Is this about ego?
No, it’s about Celtic.
For me, the mantra whenever I’m working with people towards a goal is always the same.
I don’t need a seat at the top table, but make sure the leadership is effective because I want to win.
I don’t care about credit or glory or any of that shit, I just want to win.
With the stakes this high, and the future of our club in play, to quote “Red” Sanders, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
The one major positive – and it is not to be underestimated as a critical point – is that all the guys so far understand that the Celtic Trust are the ones with a plan right now, and have pledged their support to them.
Outstanding, and the first major step towards getting everyone on the same page.
At least as far as the plan for the shareholding goes.
But beyond that, the groups appear to be approaching things from slightly different perspectives, with the Celts In The Stands guys in particular dedicated to “the long war” and permanent and irrefutable change in how we’re run … and I have to say I understand exactly where they are coming from and broadly agree with them on it.
The thing is, all these fine people ultimately want the same thing … the same thing we all happen to want.
The betterment of Celtic.
That means I agree with, and support, all of them.
How vital it is to get them all pulling in the same direction.