Let’s make one thing clear right from the off; Michael Nicholson must not be appointed the CEO of Celtic on anything other than an interim basis. This club requires a fresh perspective. Dominic McKay was popular with the fans because he offered that.
We are, once again, embroiled in crisis and controversy.
There are people who will say calling this a crisis is too much, but those people have no conception of how serious this situation is. We appointed a guy to change the whole culture of the club. He has lasted less than three months.
Whatever’s happened, it’s no little thing.
Even if the circumstances are entirely benign – in other words, if he’s merely unable to continue for whatever reasons there might be (and we wish him well in that case) – organisations who lose their new chief executive in such short order, whilst major plans are still being formed, has trouble on its hands.
It means a complete re-boot.
Another one. Just what we need.
Twelve months ago, there was a plan. Dominic McKay came in and threw every single bit of that plan into the bin immediately.
He started putting his own together.
Less than three months later, it’s all swept away again. We’re back to square one.
There are some inside Celtic who doubtless want the previous plan scooped out of the bin. But why do you think an innovator like McKay was unhappy with that plan in the first place? Could it be because it was junk?
Because this board has had years to transform the club into something that can function in a modern football environment.
There have been worrying signs in the past few months that all was not well behind the scenes, and let’s not kid on that we haven’t talked about them.
Dermot Desmond made it known that he was personally involved in some of the transfer deals. Why?
Gordon Strachan was offered a consultancy after McKay sat at the fan presser and said he wasn’t in his thoughts.
That was in the context of the director of football job … but somebody at Celtic was definitely thinking along those lines, as the reason McKay made the denial in the first place was that the media had been briefed to suggest it was in the pipeline.
Gordon Strachan’s consultancy always stunk to high heaven and it has an especially arid stench tonight.
Did his “ideas” for the club conflict with what McKay wanted to do?
If the board took Strachan’s ideas over his you can see why that would be a problem.
I mean we’re speculating here, but it’s informed speculation because nothing about the Strachan appointment makes the least bit of sense. It flies directly in the face of everything McKay was trying to do at the club. It certainly didn’t fit with Ange’s ideas.
Tonight’s statement is about as cold as they come, focussing more on Nicholson’s “credentials” than they do on McKay’s situation. There was almost no cordiality in it at all, so those who imagine that it hints at a health issue or other personal matter are almost certainly wrong.
You would have thought any such statement to have been fulsome and warm.
This was the opposite. Forensic, clinical and then endorsing the virtues of the next guy.
The provisional appointment.
From the board which gave Lennon that title twice before confirming that, actually, they had intended to appoint him to the permanent role all along.
I suspect that the only “temporary” thing about this is the word “temporary.”
The first sign that this board intends to ditch the modernisation agenda is already visible in Nicholson’s canonisation.
Read the statement carefully. It strongly indicates that a decision that’s already been taken. But if the current incumbents had a real vision to offer we wouldn’t have just gone through a summer of utter chaos as we tried to fix the mess these people made.
So the first bad sign is if Nicholson gets the gig.
The second will be what happens with Strachan himself, and the Director of Football role which now has me seriously concerned.
Because the person who takes that job will, in effect, be Ange’s boss.
Can you even imagine anything more grotesque than the idea of a football dinosaur, a relic, like Strachan charting the strategy for a man like him? Jesus, it would be a matter of time before the big Aussie decided that he, too, was for the off.
There are only two ways this has happened; either unforeseen circumstances have forced Dominic McKay to step away from the role – and in which case, Celtic’s statement would have reflected that more openly and warmly – or something momentous has gone wrong with the key relationships at the top of the club, and that is a disaster from which we will struggle to recover with the same people at the top of the house at Parkhead.
Because it means the problems are inside the walls.
It means that the reform agenda is either dead or being taken out of Dominic McKay’s hands … and that’s the critical thing here.
Whose judgement was deemed superior to his? Who really runs things at Parkhead?
If this was a result of interference in his role, then the board didn’t back him up when push came to shove.
That makes it virtually impossible for us to replace him with anyone of quality.
Nobody will step into a role with so much responsibility and where the buck ultimately stops if that person is going to be over-ruled and shut out of the process he’s meant to be running.
It means that the best we can probably hope for is the raging mediocrity of an internal appointment, and so many, many backwards steps.
I hope I’m wrong.
The modernisation agenda cannot leave our club with Dominic McKay.
But I fear the worst.
I fear that it was the modernisation agenda which resulted in this in the first place.
That leaves us in a bad, bad spot.
We deserve – we require – answers.
But from Celtic Park tonight is dead silence.
Not one person from the club has reached out to clarify or elaborate on what was in the official statement, and that tells me that all is not well inside the walls.