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Sutton’s Gerrard Refereeing Joke Was The Blow The Celtic Board Never Struck.

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There is a West Wing moment which I think of often when our board maintains its silence in the face of so much of Scottish football’s background level of scandal.

It comes when Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff, is advising the Vice President about when and when not to get in front of the media. He tells him that a man in his position “doesn’t need to swing at every ball.”

He tells Russell straight that if he does that he’s giving away his power. In a nomination year – which is the context of the story – a Vice Presidential statement or speech should stop all other news in its tracks.

It should be the running headline story on every cable news channel.

It’s about knowing you are strong, and knowing how to use your strength reasonably and to the best strategic advantage.

A Vice President taking a public stand on every issue ceases to generate headlines after a while and becomes just another electioneering candidate. A Vice President who picks the key moments in which to speak out looks like a national leader.

There are people who would have our club speak out on everything that happened in the game. I’m not one of those people. But there are a handful of moments when not to speak would be as well reducing us to having no power at all.

It’s only as good as how you use it.

Yesterday, Chris Sutton had a wee backhanded slap at Steven Gerrard and the SFA at the same time, when he joked on the BT Sport show that he wondered if the former Ibrox boss was taking his pet referees with him.

That joke will have been an eye opener south of the border. It will have landed with a wet slapping sound for a lot of viewers, the kind of noise a fish makes when it’s smacked across someone’s face.

A bit of a “wake up” moment in other words.

Can you imagine the headlines it would have made, all over Britain, if our club had used the megaphone at its disposal to insist on refereeing reform? I’m not suggesting that we crack jokes and make it funny, I’m suggesting that we learn that there is power in a club our size speaking out over what it believes is a serious problem.

And that power is amplified, not lessened, because we do it so infrequently.

Nobody will be able to say “oh this is Celtic moaning again” or accuse us of acting out of pique or spite or anger.

Why does it take someone like Sutton, having a laugh but also deadly serious, to raise this issue in a forum where it gets to that wider audience?

There is a time for dignified silence and a time for speaking out.

Earlier in the week we found out that the SFA’s new pet Nick Walsh – who booked Carter Vickers earlier in the season for getting kicked whilst on the deck – will referee the semi-final against St Johnstone.

These one off fixtures are the ones where an “honest mistake” can have the greatest impact.

Is Celtic really going to wait for something unconscionable, something that really costs us something, before they speak out on this, or are we going to leave it people like Chris Sutton, throwing it around as part of a comedy club act with Ally McCoist?

This is a serious issue … and it needs a serious debate.

The Celtic board would generate headlines all across football if it spoke up on the need for big changes.

Reform is a real possibility right now.

Numerous clubs have griped and moaned and bitched after coming up against ourselves and the club across the city; I know we’ve got nothing to hide, so I am baffled as to why we don’t lead.

Start the debate Celtic. Get people talking. Use our power, or what’s our power for?

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9 comments

  • Joseph Mcaleer says:

    Beaton’s boss Boris will be having a word about his second job as a “referee”.

    • Roonsa says:

      Douglas Ross mate, not John Beaton. Apparently his failure to declare his second income was an ….. wait for it ….. “honest mistake”. Hooraaaaaay!

  • Charles says:

    Willie collum was not given a referee appointment at Ibrox until last season’s League was won because of the complaints coming from everyone who worked inside Ibrox, including broxi bear. Apart from the honest mistakes, that decision alone made by the SFA tells other referees that unless you tow the line you will be refereeing in the dregs of the Scottish LL eagues.

  • SSMPM says:

    Board of gutless wealthy pacifists. I honestly can’t remember when they last spoke up about anything on the behalf of the club or honesty and fairness in our game. Gutless. HH

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    The sfa is the most corrupt football association in Europe if not the world has been for decades run by masons and orange order and then we have the referees the same bunch of corrupt @unts in our game . As for celtic management I mean the directors they are just as corrupt they know whats going on but sit on there fat rich are$es and go along with it just to keep the blue pound .I stopped supporting celtic many years ago by that I don’t spend any money towards the club but still a fan and thats sad but the mob running celtic now treat the fans with contempt just give me your money and @uck off and shout up we know better how the club is run blue pound lovely .

  • ?Green Machine? says:

    Only folk that lose outhere is Us the Support.Its all about keeping the Gravy Train on the Tracks.All Dirty Vermin the lot of Them.If Celtic wereiquidated Would we Still be Same Club.Wohld we f k .They tried to bury Us for way way Less till the Wee Man with the Bunnet Saved Us.God Bless Fergus McCann,

  • John S says:

    Are the Board seriously going to sit by and watch a potential £30M slip through sleight of hand ? Wouldn’t that be neglect of duty ? FFP and referee appointments can only benefit from greater scrutiny.

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      John the celtic board have sat back and have done sweet #uck all regarding the corruption in scottish football really been part of it 5 way agreement knowing refs are bent and have done nothing and will do nothing .

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Power is the ability to keep your over-inflated salary returning to your Bank Account every month, as we see with our whole Directorate. That is what they do with their Freedom! They have NO VISION for our Club. They exist on a Hand – to Mouth existence whereby they keep the Club running on empty simply to maintain the position we, or more to the point, THEY hold. They are an impotent group of shameful Time-servers with NO VISION for our Club – and nothing to say about it all either! They truly are shameful! We are no further on as a Club Force in Football terms than when Rogers left. They got lucky with him and they got even more lucky with Ange Postecoglu. They are Gamblers! They gamble with our Club’s resources in order to maintain their own positions. Their own position IS their primary concern. And, yes, history could be about to repeat itself, as you point out. If the Ref. at the semi-final has a Steven McLean moment and we are wrongfully put out of a competition we want to win, just remember it probably cost Ronnie Deila the Treble back then – and if our Board didn’t speak out then, why would they now?

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