Whatever else this board of directors has done, whatever else it has failed to do, whatever the issues were that led to Lennon’s retention, whatever happened with Howe or McKay, whatever the truth is about the lies over Resolution 12, all of it is rendered inconsequential next to the scandal of our failures, since 2012, to reform the way that Scottish football is run.
Understand, I’m not saying that those issues are not important. Every single one of them deserves to be debated in full and the fans deserve answers.
But no issue looms larger, for me, than this one.
From almost the moment NewCo Rangers crawled out of the grave of Ibrox, this site and other sites were hammering the point across over and over and over again; it doesn’t matter who runs the new club over there, its fans will demand that they spend money. They won’t care where it comes from or how it has to be repaid.
And that endangers us all.
From the moment it became clear that this was the “Ibrox business model” this site and others warned the Celtic board that there would be consequences if a financially doped club at Ibrox spent its way to a league title that it could not afford because of the absence of the regulatory framework that would have protected the whole of the sport.
In the end, it was even worse than we could have imagined; the title they won was the most important one we had competed for in our recent history. Every single person who was responsible for that should have left Celtic Park as a result.
It was not as if Ibrox did this in secret. It was not as if it was not obvious that they were willing to risk everything on stopping us.
It was not as if the implications of it were not known.
This site and others virtually mapped out the scenario and warned against it time and time and time and time and time and time again. Every single warning was ignored by the smug, arrogant and ultimately incompetents “custodians” at Celtic Park.
We were cheated out of titles before because nobody was interested in how Rangers was funding year after year after year of colossal losses, but their collapse almost brought down the entire structure of the Scottish game.
We did nothing to prevent that from happening again. Instead, we sat and watched as another financially doped club run out of that ground edged ever close to us, spending what it could not afford to, and making a mockery of all we had built.
Celtic spent that decade running a prudent break-even operation. Hell, we even managed to accumulate a healthy surplus. We were the model of how a modern football club should be run. Our board thought that would be enough. It was gross complacency at first and then unpardonable folly when it became clear that they were a threat.
There has never been a season since 2012 when Celtic sites have been urging the board to get serious on FFP and the other necessary reforms. When I founded On Fields Of Green it was the subject of one of my earliest pieces. That same year, English football voluntarily signed up for it on the UEFA model and we should have been right behind them.
The threat of this was obvious at every step along the way in the last decade. In all that time our board ran us as if those regulations were in place. Hibs, Aberdeen, St Johnstone and other clubs ran their teams as if it was a fact. Every single one of those clubs was negligent in allowing one team to buck the trend towards sustainability.
But no club had a greater responsibility than ours did. It’s as if we were a multi-national who had seen a rival business corner the marketplace by virtue of shady contracts which were only permitted because of a loophole in the law and instead of lobbying for the closure of that loophole we continued to pretend that the playing field was level.
Yet Celtic had a responsibility to its shareholders to make sure that this loophole was closed and the playing field was levelled. From everything we know in the public domain, we did not even try to. And it would have been easy to do.
Had we taken a public stand on this matter, had we decided to be vocal and offered the appropriate leadership, financial fair play would have been a reality in this game years ago. Even now, having seen the consequences of that inaction, we continue to carry on as if there were no issue here, as if even now there wasn’t an obvious need for those regulations.
I absolutely believe that there is a majority to be won if those regulations were put to a vote of the clubs. I am flabbergasted that no club has done it up until now.
But I am, of course, only interested in the actions of one club and that’s ours, because Celtic is the only club that we are able to properly hold to account. Other clubs should be made to answer by their own shareholders; most of them don’t care, although two of them are run by the fans and should make this one of their priorities.
But Celtic failed us on this, and not just a little but all the way. Nobody on our board thought that this issue was important enough to tackle. They should not, they must not, be allowed to get away with a failure on this scale.
So today, if you’re at the AGM, this should be one of the uppermost subjects on your mind. FFP regulations protect the integrity of the sport, and Scottish football needs those protections and our board had a fiduciary responsibility to us to see that they were put in place. Their continuing absence is a continuing threat not only to Celtic but the game itself here.
And since our board has failed to act – and they fail to show any sign of acting – none of the current directors is fit to remain in place. If you still need a reason to want rid of them, I suggest that you look no further than this.