It’s not often that this website has an actual exclusive; it’s happened maybe a handful of times in the past.
Tuesday was one of those days.
Following on from the excellent article that appeared on VideoCelts, I sent UEFA a bunch of questions about the Postecoglou licensing issue on Monday afternoon, and they got back to me the following morning.
It confirmed the veracity of what Joe and I had written.
He didn’t have the Pro License and his Asian certifications would not be recognised. The process was laid out; a Certification of Competence would be sought and that was a process that could take weeks.
I suppose we should all just be grateful that the media got here at all.
Two days it took most of them. and none will acknowledge that a blogger got there first.
Because, and let’s be honest here, that’s an embarrassment for them.
In their shoes, I know that’s how I’d feel.
I actually half suspect that it was Tuesday’s article that sent some of them scurrying to UEFA with their own questions.
Think about that. It took days before it dawned on these people that they really ought to have gone to the folks who could, easily, provide them with a definitive answer.
So why didn’t they?
There are two possible answers and you know what? I don’t like either of them.
I mean, the story itself is bad enough – that at a time when we can’t afford to piss away even one more day that we’re going to have wait weeks for this. Celtic don’t screw up by a little bit, we tend to go all in when we make a mess.
But here’s the problem.
The media simply accepted the club’s official line on this without bothering to seek independent verification from UEFA.
They did ask a few people “in the know” from their contacts book of sources, all of whom turned out to be wildly wrong.
One said Postecoglou had the licenses already.
Another said Asian certificates were accepted by UEFA but that those from Africa were not.
When I read that in a mainstream title that was the moment I knew we needed a real answer, because that was obviously sheer nonsense.
It worries me that the media cannot spot sheer nonsense.
It worries me that different titles were carrying contradictory information and that I was the only person to say “wait a minute, this isn’t adding up.”
So one of the possible explanations here is that they’re not very good at their jobs, these guys.
The other explanation is that they only seek the information they want, and that’s not a light criticism but a pretty damning one.
I remember when HMRC was being asked to consider a CVA at Rangers.
The media was adamant that a deal would be done.
They even spoke to a handful of “experts” who were determined to give them that assurance.
Here’s the thing though; myself, Paul Brennan, Dave Faulds, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, the E-Tims guys and others all said repeatedly at the time that it was a non-starter.
You could not go on to the Celtic forums like The Huddleboard or the Kerrydale Street without seeing properly qualified people state, for a fact, that it was not going to fly.
And you didn’t need to take their word for it; it was there in a hundred HMRC judgements online and it was right there in black and white on their own website. In any case where a delinquent party goes into administration, and where there is deliberate evasion or wilful non payment, HMRC’s policy is not to settle.
They would rather have the corpse than the cash.
And the bigger, the corpse, of course, the bigger the warning to others.
But for weeks, the media ran stories about how everything would be alright.
They didn’t do their own due diligence.
Some of them were lazy.
Others just didn’t want to ask a question where the answer might get them into trouble with their bosses or with Ibrox.
Some of them just didn’t want to ask a question where they, themselves, might not like the answer.
It troubles me that we have a press corps that does not do the basic stuff.
It worries me because our club obviously knew this was a problem when they approached this guy because the “certification of competence” procedure was already underway when UEFA responded to me on Tuesday, so the club knew this was real and very obviously tried to keep that from the supporters, hidden behind glib assurances about how relaxed they were.
Remember; the club was asked this question over the weekend, when the initial stories came out.
And the club told the press that everything was fine … and the press accepted that.
But this isn’t some minor matter.
When UEFA says the process could take “several weeks” how many weeks is that?
Pre-season training starts a fortnight today.
I said in one of last night’s articles, whilst the press was still dithering on this, that John Kennedy would be there on the opening day; that penny has dropped in the newsrooms as well.
The implications of it have clearly still to sink in.
Does anybody believe that Kennedy and Strachan will be holding the fort for the start of pre-season and then told “you did a great job; your services are no longer required”?
No, it looks certain that this is the coaching team folks, probably the first of many conditions that this guy will have to swallow to get his dream gig.
The club will continue to feed the media only partial information, hidden behind glibly re-assuring words, and the press won’t bother to look into any of it and simply write the easy version of the story rather than put in the hard yards.
We cannot believe a word we hear out of Parkhead or the press at the moment, and fans have three weeks left to make their season ticket renewal decisions.
Will we even have someone in the dugout by then?
How long were they intending to keep us in ignorance about the licensing issue?
And how long would the press have continued going along with it?