One of my favourite movies is All The King’s Men, starring Sean Penn as Willie Stark, a small-town southern lawyer who, in the aftermath of a scandal which kills local school-children, runs for governor of his state on a charismatic populist platform.
Stark seals his landslide victory by going out to talk to “all (his) fellow hicks” and reminding them that “nobody ever did anything for a hick except the hick himself”. The only way to take control of their lives is to use their vote to get the things they want.
And perhaps, he says, you are every bit as undeserving of respect and consideration as those who run things believe you to be.
This is the key to his victory; those who never stood up to be counted before flock to him in droves and that gives him the power he needs to start getting things done.
When do Celtic fans give the Trust the power they need to start getting things done?
How many small shareholders does this fan-base have? Thousands. Many, many thousands.
The Trust has asked as many of them as possible to join. But it’s difficult going.
The Trust wants to maximise its power by recruiting as many shareholders as possible.
A lot of these shareholders won’t get in touch with the Trust, so whatever power they do have is worthless because it’s not joined with the combined strength of those who do register.
When the Trust wants to move the board the board knows it doesn’t have to listen, because so many of our shareholders have silenced themselves.
They don’t vote, so they literally don’t matter, and many of them don’t vote because they don’t know how. This is why registering with, and joining, the Trust is so important. Doing so amplifies the voice you have. It is effectively using your vote.
According to our good friend Auldheid, the Trust has a rather unpleasant surprise in store for our board at this year’s AGM, something called a Note Of Concern.
More details will be released nearer the time, but right now the Trust is working on a way of getting all the season ticket holders involved whether they have shares or not.
This is a momentous move, and if they find a good way to do it then we really do have something to send a message with.
And it is important – vitally important, critically important – that we do this.
We have a complacent, arrogant board of directors who are not listening to us right now and a clear message has to be sent to them that we’re unwilling to accept that.
Amongst other things is the sacking of Dominic McKay, which is being treated as if it were of no consequence when in fact it’s a massively destabilising move which has almost certainly shaken our sponsors and other commercial partners to the core.
The club should have immediately indicated that it would be seeking to do a high profile search for a replacement; instead it promoted from within, a move that inspires no confidence whatsoever.
And what of Michael Nicholson himself?
Not one word has been heard from him. Not one. Like our invisible chairman, he might as well not even exist.
The summer just past was calamitous. The board failed us on almost every level, including the length of time it took them to get transfer deals over the line. The days of this lot getting a free ride should be well and truly over.
It is time to start making our voices heard, and the Trust offers ordinary supporters the best way to send a message.
But too many of our fans are passive.
Too many are fatalistic about this stuff, and don’t believe that the board will care regardless.
I’ve never subscribed to the theory that doing something is a waste because it might not work.
You know why?
Because doing nothing definitely doesn’t work.
Of all the strategies that time and history have tested to destruction, that’s the one right there about which there is not the least doubt.
So the time for that is over.
Nobody ever helped a Celtic fan except a Celtic fan his or herself. And anyone who feels angry with this board and who doesn’t add their voice to the chorus … well maybe you are just as unimportant and undeserving of respect as the board of directors thinks you are.
Because if you don’t vote, you don’t matter.
Do you matter?
Well, it’s almost time to prove it folks.