What Is The Role Of A Celtic Blogger? To Assess The Club Or Promote It?

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The last few days in Celtic cyberspace have been a storm of nearly relentless negativity.

This is being decried in some quarters of the support.

Some of the blogs are having a go at others because those of us who are angry are voicing that dissatisfaction.

It brings us to an interesting place, and a fundamental question; what is the role of a Celtic blogger?

There is no hard and fast answer to that.

I guess the best way to put it is to say that it’s the role of each individual blogger or podcaster to decide that for his or herself.

There are some who will write about every aspect of the club in a factual manner without passing any judgement on any of it.

There are some who like to talk about all our yesterdays and keep the flame of the past burning.

There are some which scrutinise the club with a critical eye but tend to stay on the side of positivity and always give the benefit of the doubt.

There is nothing wrong with any of this.

We all love to know the inside and outs of Celtic.

A player coming back from injury or the words of a new signing are always welcome stories. When the team is playing well all of us find ourselves focussed on these things.

And let’s face it, we have such a rich and proud history that the greater crime would be not sharing it, and especially in days like these when things aren’t so great; it makes sense to remember what we’ve had.

I used to say that I spent so long talking about the shambles at Ibrox than focussing on the small stuff going on at Parkhead simply because our own small stuff isn’t sexy or interesting.

Ibrox, well it was always interesting over there … and there’s still a lot going on at Ibrox that I could be writing about. It’s just that I choose not to right now, because Celtic is my club and this is where my focus ought to be.

This is where all of our focus has to be.

Myself and some of the other guys and girls in social media do not believe that our job is to promote Celtic, but to assess and analyse Celtic. If I have to put it in a way that makes sense to people I always say that our job is to give Celtic the level of scrutiny that Ibrox fans never gave to Rangers. There was no information that we Celtic sites were privy to that was not readily available to their own supporters; we went looking for it, but they could have done the same.

They believed in their own version of “faithful through and through”. They followed their club slavishly and without question. They allowed problems to multiply.

When every Celtic site and even the mainstream media was warning them who Craig Whyte really was – and our sites were ahead of the media by many months – they didn’t want to hear it. They bunkered up. They attacked the “critics” although had they listened instead they could have had a better outcome. Had they acted, they may even have saved themselves.

Celtic is in a bad place right now, and I personally don’t believe it’s my job to pretend that we’re not. A little over a week ago, I published a hugely positive article about how excited I was, even late in the day, about the changes that looked to be coming. That piece was widely interpreted as my having some inside info, or thinking that I had.

It was neither of those things. It was just that things seemed to be moving towards a positive outcome after months of waiting.

Tonight that’s in ashes, shattered by the incompetent actions of an executive board which repeats the same mistakes over and over again and which stumbles from one disaster to another. We’re in a bad place right now.

When the licensing issue arose at the weekend, it seemed to present us with a serious problem.

I make no apology for highlighting that problem in advance.

Amidst a torrent of false information, I took it upon myself to try to ascertain the facts; that’s what I try to do on this site. I think it’s critically important to know this stuff because only when we’re informed can we make good decisions. I think the Celtic fans deserve accurate information about the club.

It turns out that myself and the bloggers were correct to be concerned about the licensing issue.

The manager does not have a European licence, as UEFA confirmed this afternoon.

Celtic has applied for a “recognition of competence” … that involves a process that could take, by UEFA’s reckoning, “several weeks” if nothing goes wrong.

I think it’s critical that Celtic fans know that, which is why I sought the information and published it.

It is not my job to do positive spun on behalf of the club and I simply won’t do it, not when there are facts which the fans should be made aware of.

I will not pretend that things are better than they are; it’s a gross abrogation of what I believe my own responsibilities to be.

That’s the kind of blog this is; Celtic is my club and I love it.

Which is why I will hold those who run it to account and subject them to the harshest scrutiny I know how.

If that means I have to be negative, well that’s just a product of the state we’re currently in.

But every blogger will decide that for themselves, and I have no issue with those who want to promote peace and harmony.

I have no issues with those who want to find positives in this appointment.

But I will not join them in doing so and neither will a lot of others.

Speaking personally, I don’t know how anyone can look at the recent performance of this board and conclude that it is fit for purpose.

I don’t know how anyone can look at the record of the manager we are about to hire and conclude that he is remotely of the calibre that we deserve … and what’s more important even than that, I don’t know how anyone can conclude that he is the best candidate that we could have gotten.

And as our board moved so swiftly to approach him after Howe I have to conclude that they grossly neglected their responsibilities, and that they gambled our short-term future on a “maybe” from Howe and did no further search.

In any other corporate field that would have cost people their jobs.

When Scotland similarly failed to appoint Michael O’Neill even the egotistical Stewart Regan realised he had to fall on the sword, and in the panic the SFA appointed McLeish.

In my opinion, we are on the brink of a similar mistake and it is not parochial to say so nor dismissive of Postecoglou either as a manager or as a man. He seems like a very nice man. That is not on the list of acceptable criteria for getting this job.

Nor is his ability to speak passionately about the game or to come across well on a video.

Testimonials from people who’ve worked under him should be viewed critically; similar testimonials have been issued by members of the current Celtic squad about both Neil Lennon and John Kennedy.

Testimonials from fellow managers are to be taken with an even greater pinch of salt; when was the last time a top manager said that another manager was an incompetent or not very good?

These guys all pay each other the same professional courtesies.

I laughed today at some of the people using the words of Brendan Rodgers as a trusted guide here; anyone who’s heard the Danny McGrain story knows to trust only about half of what comes out of Rodgers’ mouth, and the anecdote in question was, when you parse it, Rodgers extolling the virtues of Postecoglou as “very similar to me.”

In other words, he’s crediting the guy just so he can pay tribute to himself.

It’s a common Rodgers trick.

It is difficult to be surrounded by negativity.

I understand that; you want to try writing it all day long, it’s wearying and soul sapping, but I have a job to do and this is it and it doesn’t allow me to chase butterflies in a fantasy world where none of this is real.

Other people are allowed to hope for a happy ending.

That’s their right, but the calm assurances of some of the people who are doing so are not based on anything real except that hope, and a faith in the club which is grotesquely misplaced.

And I will not join in with a process that I do not believe in or pretend, for the sake of sounding positive, to see things that I do not see.

The people who run Celtic have dropped us into a deep hole, and it will not serve this club well for us to pretend that everything will be fixed if we all just hold hands and sing The Celtic Song.

Faithful through and through does not mean acquiescence.

It does not mean leaving our critical faculties at the side of the bed when we sit down to write our articles.

At a time like this, I think it’s my job to be honest, to be watchful, to be cynical and even to worry until the club gets its act together and gives me a reason to believe again.

Being blunt, having been on social media all day long I don’t think the “positive case” has any shortage of supporters or loud voices in its camp.

It’s the critical voices, those willing to do a hard-headed analysis here, and give this a dispassionate look, which are in shorter supply.

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