The longer this goes on, the more I think of how many of the Roman emperors were, or went, insane. Mad with power, decadent, complacent because they were sure of the hegemony of the state itself and their exalted position with it, so many of them lost the plot.
It didn’t take long either; the first empire, Augustus, founded the Julio-Claudian dynasty; if you exclude his own megalomania and what Suetonius described as the “cruelty and debauchery” of Tiberius, the third emperor, Caligula, was without doubt out of his gourd.
He’s the one who famously tried to have his horse made consul.
He was assassinated by his own bodyguards.
They gave the crown to Claudius, who at least ruled in peace.
The fifth emperor was Nero.
Nero was nuts, but he never actually fiddled whilst Rome burned.
Historical sources do claim he sang and danced on stage, in drag as the fire raged.
What we do know is that he greatly insulted the Roman people in the aftermath of it, confiscating the burned section of the city and instead of rebuilding it for them used the land to construct, for himself, the vast imperial palace the Domus Aurea, the Golden House.
I don’t know what will be left of Celtic when the architects of the current shambles are through. If fans refuse to fund this fiasco whilst its current directors are there we could be in for a long period of angst and anger. Nobody is going to willingly walk away, which in any case would only limit the damage we’ve already done to ourselves.
What’s clear is that a lot of people have been fiddling whilst Celtic burns and they seem perfectly happy to keep doing so, even though the flames are now licking the walls of the imperial palace itself.
Reading the papers this morning was sort of surreal.
How they’ve offered Shaun Maloney a job involving the critical recruitment of players, but are in no hurry for him to take it up because we’re happy to leave him to help Belgium in the Euros.
How he himself is reluctant to take the job unless he knows what’s happening with his pal Fergal Harkin … and incredibly, although the press has been briefed that he was poised to fill the role, the stories now circulating are that he won’t after all.
We’re negotiating with Postecoglou’s club over his release; they know we’re desperate and they can name their price, not to mention that they’re keeping us waiting because they want to appoint his successor first.
You know, like professional clubs do.
It is quite incredible that this club has no real answers to this mess. As I said a few weeks ago, just as important as filling the manager’s job in a timely fashion is filling the director of football post. The really important stuff, like player negotiations and signings, can’t even be started until that’s done … or rather, they can be but you know who’d be in charge.
We’ve been searching for a director of football for as long as we’ve been looking for a manager, and one of Celtic’s notorious statements actually said that we had employed a top consultancy firm to find us the best person for the job.
But I’m guessing their findings were a bit too rich for our blood, or that their outstanding candidates had a list of demands that Celtic found too tough to take.
Really, then, it was a waste of our time even bothering. Why didn’t we save all the hassle and money and just appoint a cheap and easily controllable candidate in the first place? Because that’s what we might end up doing anyway.
And folks, we’re already being softened up for the blow, and the possibility of getting a candidate who has not got the right qualifications for the job.
Even John Kennedy’s name no longer sounds quite as preposterous as it once did. The reason I laughed off that story in the first place is not because I didn’t think the board at Celtic would be reckless or stupid enough to do it; it’s because I knew Howe would never have worked in an environment where Kennedy was his direct superior.
Who knows what the Aussie, who will be grateful just to get this job, might be prepared to accept?
The minute you start considering appointments like his you’ve thrown caution to the wind and further experimental options don’t seem quite as crazy as they did.
Even as I write this, the Irish Independent has said Harkin will not be leaving Manchester City, and they aren’t even saying he snubbed us. We spoke to him, apparently, but never offered him the job … so that’s either Celtic spinning against itself or something worse.
Because the papers were led to believe – by sources club to the club – that Harkin was a done deal.
Those who are promoting Shaun Maloney for the job are doing the club an immense disservice in endorsing such a mad idea … but it’s no more mad than what I think the club itself might come up with.
So the shambles continues, and we’re soon going to be at four months and counting since the sacking of Neil Lennon and even longer since people in the club realised that the whole structure wasn’t fit for purpose and decided to change it.
How could we have screwed this up so completely, and monumentally?
Mad with power, decadent and complacent leadership … this is how empires fall. At the whim of executives who’ve forgotten that governance is about the governed and not the pleasures of office, fiddling whilst Rome bunrs.