As an avid fan of good box sets I was delighted to see that Jericho, from 2006, and starring Skeet Ulrich, is streaming on Amazon Prime right now.
I already own it on DVD of course, but it gives me an opportunity to give the show a push for those who haven’t seen it yet, and really there’s no excuse.
Bear with me, there is a point to this, and one we should all be thinking about.
Jericho basically asks us to contend with a “what if” question.
In this case, it’s “what if there were a sudden nuclear strike on the country and you were alive and far from harm but with no knowledge about what had happened, who had done it or what was left of civilisation?”
And imagine that there was suddenly no electricity, dwindling supplies and that certain elements within the community were taking their opportunity to grab what they could?
It’s a great premise, right? And for the most part it is executed brilliantly.
Yeah, it’s a delves into soap opera territory at times, but not as commonly as you might imagine.
When it hits gear it stays in gear. Season 1 has one hell of a second half.
Which brings me to where are at the moment, with Celtic, on the brink of the AGM.
It happens this week, and it is anticipated that the board will get as hard a time as they’ve had in years. Every member is up for re-election. The main ones are all opposed by the Celtic Trust, who are going there with a bigger block of votes than ever before.
The problem, as we all know too well, is that the board is going to win those votes no matter what the ordinary fans do. Desmond and his pals at Lindsell Train have enough support to hammer through their re-elections and that’s what will happen.
There is nothing to be done about that.
But from the moment those people re-assume those positions there needs to be pressure put on them to make sure that it’s the last AGM at which they do. And I make no bones about saying that.
These people have failed, spectacularly, and they cannot think that such a failure is acceptable. A manager fell on his sword. Two CEO’s have departed. Yet these people think they can carry on, as if by divine right?
No, that’s just not on because it discourages people from learning lessons.
It makes a mockery of the whole idea of corporate accountability, and we need that.
But how do you remove a board which won’t go, short of boycotts and actions which deprive the club of money, which let’s face it nobody wants to do?
Well, there are ways.
There are actually more ways than you would believe. It simply requires a little creative thought.
Which is where we return to Jericho, and the point of the piece.
When Jericho aired back in 2006, it gained a cult status and the following that goes with that. It didn’t have the massive viewing figures that a show like that would get nowadays … but what it lacked in hard numbers it more than got back in devotion.
And all of the devotees were stunned by the final episodes of season one and dying to know what was going to happen next. But CBS, who were the creators, had a nasty surprise in store for them. They cancelled the show on one of the most ridiculous cliff-hanger endings of all time … and there it would have died.
Except for the fans. Who went nuts.
At the start of what was to be the final episode, a major character has a conversation with a veteran of the Second World War, who relays to him the story of how, in 1944, the Nazis broke through the Allied lines in the Battle of the Bulge.
There, they met the unexpectedly stiff resistance of the 101st Airborne Division who were holding the woods outside Bastogne.
The siege began on 20 December, and ended seven days later.
On the 22nd, in the hope of ending it quickly, and not seeing how they could lose, the German general in command of their forces, who had the 101 surrounded and cut off, sent their commander, Anthony McAuliffe, a formal note asking for their surrender.
McAuliffe sent back a famous, reply; “NUTS!”
A German glider officer, who knew American idioms, correctly translated it for their senior staff; “You can go to Hell” is the nice way of putting it.
And that was rallying cry for tens of thousands of Jericho fans when it came to fight for a second season, and some closure, on their favourite show.
Over the course of a two-year campaign the Jericho “nuts” fought like tigers, bombarding the executives over and over again with their anger in blogs, social media posts, in letters and emails until they were swamped … and finally the “nuts” stumbled onto their winning strategy.
Someone came up with the idea of sending bags of nuts to the CBS building … and before the campaign was finished a staggering 20 tons of them had been dispatched and the staff there were losing their minds over it.
And finally the executives cracked.
Jericho got a seven episode second season, and a sensible ending for one of the most beloved shows of that period.
And that’s what Celtic fans need to think in terms of.
A hard-core group of “nuts” have to get creative and start coming up with ways of making those seats uncomfortable for the people who sit in them. Embarrass them. Hound them. Bombard them.
Within the limits of what’s legal and socially acceptable make it clear that the fans can’t be ignored and that they are accountable for their failures and that it’s time to step aside for some fresh thinking.
Social media gives us a weapon.
It’s been used to great effect already by The Green Brigade and other groups, but it could be used better to do more.
I’ll give you an example from abroad, and I think it’s a beauty of a one.
It’s from Spain, last season, and the then 2nd tier club Rayo Vallecano.
Raya are a left-wing club whose supporters are even more passionate than the guys at the Green Brigade, and their board is even more suspect and to their right than ours. Last season, someone at the club took the diabolical decision to have two members of Spain’s deplorable party Vox in the Presidential Box at one of their games.
The fans were appalled, and called for a demonstration against the club and the politicians whose presence in their ground had “sullied the reputation of us all.”
The following day, their fan organisations made sure the cameras were there to record their team of volunteers, who turned up in yellow hazmat suits with their buckets and their brushes to disinfect the stadium.
The footage went viral and shamed their board.
A guy like Dermot Desmond, he’s not going to be spooked by the bloggers or by a limp vote against him where he can swat it aside like an annoying fly.
He lives in his own wee bubble where he doesn’t think anyone can bother him.
The executives at CBS must have felt the same way.
A guy like that, the only thing that will get to him is if his position with this club becomes an inconvenience or an embarrassment … and fans have the power to make it both of those things if they are inventive in the way they do it.
Celtic does not belong to these people.
Some of these guys don’t even hold shares in the club.
They enjoy the status that being members of the board gives them; what fans have to do is make that no longer enjoyable, no longer a source of pleasure but a grind, a humiliation, for their failures to be fed back to them until they get the message.
If they want to cling onto those seats even in the face of what will, in effect, be a no confidence vote by the ordinary shareholders, they should be reminded of their status as squatters in the boardroom before and during every game … and in between times as well.
So come on then.
To quote Randall P. McMurphy “Which of you nuts has got any guts?”
Cause with a little imagination, we can make sure that none of this board seeks re-election next year.