So how do you roll back on the season from Hell? If you’re a Celtic director, you might well think that you have come through this period relatively unscathed, and that if you can pull off the appointment of Eddie Howe that things will soon return “to normal.”
But everything about this campaign has been a disaster, and it has destroyed, utterly, their reputations as steady hands on the tiller. It has wrecked their relationships with the fans in a way that no season ticket giveaway is going to fix. People have been subjected to scrutiny for how they have handled this car-crash of a season, and the verdict is excoriating.
I cannot remember a time when the reputations of people were subjected to this sudden a flip except once. The other organisation I devoted so much of my adult life to was the Labour Party. My membership ended when they took us into an illegal war.
In 2005 I cast my vote for Labour only in the hope that Blair would soon leave office, and he did … but the real horror came with Brown’s last act as chancellor, when he abolished the 10p tax rate to bribe middle England in lieu of becoming Prime Minister.
I am still astonished that it took the party rank and file nearly a year to wake up to the ramifications of that move; I understood them instantly and was appalled.
In 2007 I voted SNP for the first time; it didn’t even feel particularly hard to do.
But for most people, the flip didn’t happen for others until four years after that, when the Scottish Labour Party climbed into bed with the Tories and big business and the right-wing press prevent independence.
That’s when the dam broke.
For the first time ever people in communities which Labour had taken for granted, for decades, for lifetimes, gave the party a proper and searching examination and found them wanting.
Something similar will happen to the SNP eventually if they don’t get their act together on multiple fronts.
Their record has to be a whole lot better.
It reminds me of that old Hemingway line about, “How did you go broke?” “Gradually, and then suddenly.”
What it means essentially is that it can seem like nothing’s happening until the tipping point is reached, and then things start moving very quickly indeed.
When your credibility is shot all the dominos start to fall, one at a time.
These guys, to use a favoured political expression, have “lost their mandate.”
For the first time since the days of the White and Kelly boards we’re paying attention to what it is that these people actually do, much as numerous Scottish constituencies starting wondering what Labour actually did.
And what people see now that they’re looking is not impressive.
I don’t think reputations can recover from this. Lawwell’s certainly won’t, which is why he’s stepping back. I’ve been harsh on him over the last two years, but give him is due on this much; he knows his credibility is shot and that the relationship with the supporters is damaged beyond repair. Others probably think they can gut this out; they are wrong.
Celtic fans look now at the top of the house and don’t like what they see.
The boardroom is where the next series of big, big changes has to happen … these guys are a busted flush.
Trust has evaporated.
Dominic McKay might be able to build bridges with people at Celtic Park, and he’s certainly determined to try, and there are definitely a lot of other committed individuals working away behind the scenes … but at the top of the house is something rotten.
We all know it. The question as to how we solve that problem is the one that we’ll be asking, and debating, for some time to come, whatever happens elsewhere at Celtic Park.