Roger Mitchell is a strange guy.
He’s one of those folk who clearly loves the sound of his own voice, and he quite often talks nonsense. But most of our social media guys understand what Roger Mitchell is all about; he’s a former SPL CEO who has never hidden his affection for Celtic.
Mitchell talks a lot of sense amidst the rubbish he sometimes comes out with. This is a risk of those who think their every thought deserves to be shared with the world. He is a smart guy but is capable of talking crap. It’s not as bad a trait as it sounds.
Because on his good days he is well worth listening to. On his day he is streets ahead of most other people on the governance of the game, on how Celtic could do things better and on how Scottish football itself is scared to confront its problems.
This weekend he made a very good point directed at the Celtic board.
He’s talked about Brentford and Belgian club Brugge as examples of what we could and should be doing but aren’t.
He is correct. These are clubs we could learn from, and not just those clubs.
The same point was made by former Celtic CEO Dominic McKay.
We need a good man to replace McKay, a man who has ideas. Mitchell would be a good shout under most circumstances. He has top level experience. There would be no need for him to learn on the job; he knows the job. He knows football. He knows Scottish football.
He knows how utterly useless the SFA is as an organisation.
There are legitimate questions about why it wasn’t reformed when he ran the league, but he has a long history since leaving of calling for reform. If it was a choice between him and having a board stooge in the role I would have Mitchell, any day of the week.
Because this guy can think outside the box.
Because he’s an impressive character when he’s not ranting.
The problem with Mitchell is that I cannot imagine such an outspoken character with his kind of ideas in the role.
The Celtic board got freaked by McKay’s plans, I cannot imagine what they would make of someone who wanted to change the club and how it works as profoundly as Mitchell would. A guy who does speak out on big issues … it would scare them to death.
Mitchell has been the subject of two articles on this site over the past couple of years; the first was when we excoriated him for the garbage he talked about how our fans were “obsessed” with what went on at Ibrox and that we ought to let go of the past.
I wrote at great length at the time about why that was impossible to do unless the past was first confronted and correctly interpreted, and guardrails put up to ensure that what happened then never happens again in our game.
I still don’t think he takes those things seriously enough, but he does have an acute understanding of those issues which others on our board lack.
But the second article was on his interview with Graham Speirs were he lashed our board for allowing the club to fall into “managed decline.” That phrase came from him, and we now all use it to describe the way we have fallen in stature.
I could not have more completely agreed with what was in that piece.
He nailed it.
He identified the problems we have and their causes; arrogance and complacency. A club that allowed itself to regress to the point where our only goal was to stay one step ahead of the one at Ibrox instead of reaching beyond the immediate horizon.
It is obvious that had we done things the correct way, measuring ourselves against clubs in other countries, as he urged over the weekend, instead of that shambles over the road, we would have been better placed in Europe … and the domestic game would have taken care of itself. We’d have been out of sight and ten in a row would have been a formality.
This is the biggest reason why Mitchell – a man who is awesomely qualified to be our CEO – would probably be overlooked by this board; he has had the guts to point out their failings, and in clear and simply language.
To hire him would be to admit that he was right, and to set on a course correction. In short, it would be a radical departure from the strategy, the kind of departure we hoped for under Dominic McKay, the kind we assume got him sacked.
Today, E-Tims have claimed that Mitchell is the guy the board wants.
Well, I would be amazed, in a good way for once, if that was true.
His appointment would signal the sort of break with how things have been done that we require … if it came with boardroom changes then many of the questions we have about Celtic would be answered.
How nice would that be?
If you believe in fairytales, it’s an interesting one to hope for.