The latest scare story to sweep through Celtic cyberspace today is about Peter Lawwell and the realisation by some that although he is leaving the post of CEO that there’s not actually been any announcement that he will leave the board of directors.
The suspicion is that Lawwell will retain some role or another at the club, on a salary, lurking in the background, as some kind of Minister Without Portfolio.
I find it all very amusing, but not in the least bit worrying.
Back in the days when the Blair government was in its first term, Peter Mandelson was given the title of Minister Without Portfolio.
He assumed (wrongly) that this would allow him to poke his nose into the affairs of any department he so chose.
That might have been at least partially true for the handful of departments which had gone to Blairites, but the mighty Brown empires, which took their cue from the Treasury, were staffed by people contemptuous of the idea.
The Brownite media spinner, Charlie Whelan, created a derisive nickname for him at around that time; Minister Without A Job.
And that’s how they treated him.
There might be some people at Celtic Park who shudder at the prospect of Lawwell swanning around the building in some kind of ambassadorial role or emeritus position, but he will have precisely zero authority to give orders. Do you think men like Howe and McKay are going to be puppets on a string for a guy with no formal role?
Not in this lifetime. No-one will work under that system.
If he gets some kind of roving post as our ambassador to UEFA or something so what? Make him feel important. Even as the CEO of Celtic he was a bit-part player on that stage, as evidenced by how Ajax have used us to guarantee that they’ll be in the Group Stages every year whilst Scotland stays just outside the mainstream, clawing with our fingers at the door.
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I don’t want him anywhere near the SFA.
As far as I’m concerned, if he gets to stay as our representative on that body we might as well kiss goodbye to any sort of reform. For all the talk that he is this all-powerful figure there he has done precisely nothing to improve our lot; the proof of that is the financially doped club at Ibrox, sitting atop the league and laying claim to Rangers history.
If this is what Celtic – and Lawwell – running Scottish football looks like, well frankly I’ll be glad when it’s no longer the case.
So keep him away from Hampden and any role in our domestic game, and I really don’t care whether they invent a meaningless title for him or put him out in the carpark washing bird shit off the statutes.
He will wield no power.
At this point, it’s going to come down to how he wants to leave. He can go quietly and hold onto his last shred of dignity or he can cling to the fantasy that he can still work away on making Celtic in his own image.
The latter attempt can only end in disaster and if we build a new structure only for him to wreck it with his meddling he will be despised by the supporters forevermore.
So too will the people above him who allowed him to do it.
The club will be plunged into a crisis even deeper than this one.
The club is about to undergo a momentous change.
I believe that these events are an eye-opener for a lot of people at Parkhead and that we are undergoing a major transformation in thinking and in how we operate. Lawwell does not belong near that process and I do not believe he will have any role in our future, no matter how limited.
If he wants to hang around Parkhead like a bad smell in the hope of reliving the glory days before his catastrophic judgement torched his legacy, he is free to do so … but does he really want the people he could have broken with a single word to see him emasculated, stripped of authority, without influence of any kind?
To what end? To feed his ego? I think that would do the opposite.
I know this; nobody in the new structure is going to pay a blind of notice to anything he has to say.
None of them will take orders from him, and if the board tries to insist on forcing Lawwell on them all in some capacity none of them will hang around Celtic Park, and in those circumstances it really will be a Year Zero scenario.
So listen, Lawwell’s time at Celtic is up in my opinion.
Once he leaves the CEO’s post – and indeed, before that; his power is already ebbing away – we’ll hear very little of him again, unless he writes a book. He doesn’t seem like a man who will crave the limelight in any significant way.
Peter Lawwell is not a bad man. Don’t ever think that.
He undoubtedly believes that he acts in Celtic’s interests, but this is the problem; he believes that because he “cares” about the club that every decision he makes is automatically right and he ran out of original ideas a long ago.
He has nothing to offer us now except to recognise that the gig is up and it’s time to move on, and in all the ways that matter, I think he will.