“I know it’s early,” Springsteen said on the Today show in 2007, “but it’s also late.”
The song he sang following that was Living In The Future, and the key lines are the chorus; “Don’t worry darling, oh baby don’t you fret, we’re living in the future and none of this has happened yet.”
A lot of us feel like that right now, watching this club stumbling around like a punch-drunk boxer.
But I’ve talked on this site before about fundamentals and ours are still sound.
These are not problems of structure or stature; they are problems of leadership.
There are smart and dedicated people inside Celtic Park, working away behind the scenes. Just because a handful of people at the top have screwed up the last three months, it doesn’t mean that the whole place is rotted out.
Right now, one man in particular must feel as if he’s wandered into something by Dante.
It’s almost as if the notorious words that greeted the Pilgrim are chiselled on the walls; lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.
Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.
Dominic McKay need not feel that way though.
Far from being cast on a sailboat alongside Charon and sent down the Styx, he can rise above all his predecessors and be the man who rebuilds this club. It is all too easy to imagine disaster.
But it’s easy to imagine triumph as well.
There are rumours today that he is hugely uncomfortable with the attempts to sign Postecoglou, and that, actually, is easy to believe.
Because whatever mess Lawwell and others make here will be his to live with at the end of this month; he surely knows what that means. Already, Keith Jackson has been briefed that McKay is behind this appointment, which is a ridiculous suggestion but proof that some inside Celtic Park want him to be the fall-guy for it.
He simply must not accept that, and he has to use whatever time is left to him to fight for a more sensible, and saleable, option.
If he gets in front of us and tells us that “yes, the club has made mistakes, major ones, but we want to fix them” and if he asks for time and understanding from the fans then he will get that, and all the support we can give.
I genuinely believe that if he took the lead, came out and levelled with us, and committed the club to the right appointment, even if it takes a little longer, I have no doubt that this would be greeted with something almost like relief, and the fans would back him.
Right now, from the outside, the club looks anarchic.
If there are leaders at all in that building, then none of us knows who they are.
Nobody’s interests are being served right now with everything that’s going on.
Lawwell himself can’t be in a good place; he’s seen his planned legacy undone even as he goes through a dreadful spell on the home-front … and we would be churlish not to acknowledge that he is enduring pressure on many fronts and it’s too much.
McKay stepping forward wouldn’t be the worst thing for anybody.
The fans are dismayed, but part of the problem is feeling like we’re outside looking in and that the club views us with a certain contempt, and is asking for our money and giving us nothing in return.
Celtic fans don’t want phony platitudes or appeals to cheap sentimentality.
We love our club, that’s why we’re angry at the state it’s in, and being asked to simply trust people isn’t going to get this done.
If the club talks to us and gives us some truth, even of the hard kind, most of us can take that and would appreciate it … a little humility wouldn’t go amiss either.
Frankly, the worst thing the club is doing right now is conducting its relationship with us through the media.
Dave over at The Celtic Star wrote a great piece today on the bloggers, in a similar vein to the one I put up yesterday, in which he credited the folks at Celtic who are trying to forge new, and better, relationships with fan media … but above their heads is a hierarchy which tells us nothing whilst giving more information to our enemies than it should.
Some of the problems we’ve had in the last 12 months have been as a result of the club’s stony silence on the major matters, and that aloofness combined with these ridiculous briefings to the media about how calm everyone at Celtic is in the face of this mess don’t impress anybody and make us wonder if the people inside the walls have completely lost touch with reality.
We need to see some humility, some recognition that people know they’ve got this all wrong.
The statement on Howe – “the deal collapsed but no-ones to blame” – treated us like mugs; not a single fan believed that nonsense and the club did itself no favours with that press release.
If this scenario had been repeated at Ibrox I’d have gleefully held that over them for years.
Openness and honesty. An embrace of sanity.
The club realising that it’s making a momentous mistake here and backing away from it, and then fronting up and talking to us honestly and sincerely and saying “we got it wrong and made a mess of this and now we need your help and support as we try to fix it” … that would bring us back onside.
That would start the long task of putting this house back together, putting this Family back together.
It would begin our journey back to the top of the game here.
It is easy to look over the horizon and see nothing but disaster … but that’s living in the future.
None of that has happened yet.
We can still make sure that it never does.