Celtic’s statement to the shareholders yesterday included a number of bizarre claims and stupid comments, but one stood out to me above all the rest. It was Bankier’s assertion that McKay had quit the club for “personal reasons.”
Right from the moment his departure was announced I found the idea that he had up and quit and wanted that as the final word on it to be highly unlikely. Nobody credible, or reputable, would have left it at that. The connotations of it are obvious.
The internet was awash in rumours and speculation within minutes. But as I pointed out at the time, there are other phrases which would have been used had they been applicable because there would have been no speculation at all had they been deployed instead.
“Family reasons” would have closed the speculation down instantly.
All involved, including those running the club, would have gotten time and space to deal with the unexpected nature of the departure.
“Health reasons” would have been just as effective at shutting down the rumour factory.
But “personal reasons” practically encourages debate.
Yet even as Celtic pushes the line they have been getting their side of the story out through the press.
They’ve thrown the phrase at us twice but they’ve never hidden the fact that in at its core it’s little more than a barefaced lie. McKay didn’t leave for “personal reasons” at all. Either he was undermined or he was told he was no longer wanted.
Whilst those could conceivably fall under the rubric of “personal reasons” – like much else – there is a fundamental dishonesty behind the use of that phrase. It suggests that he just couldn’t be bothered with the job or that he found something better to do. It even darkly hints at some scandal that just hasn’t made the papers yet.
There is little doubt that senior people at Celtic are behind the relentless briefing against this guy.
The latest “journalist” to claim to have spoken to people at Parkhead about this is Michael Gannon of The Record; it is bad enough that it’s going on, but worse are the outlets being used and the people being given the stories. That rubs salt in the wound.
Those inside Celtic appear not to care how unprofessional all this looks. I’m not sure who they are trying to convince here; the media smells that this is fishy and the Celtic fans know that it isn’t right. To the outside world it all looks desperate.