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All Up For Re-Election, The Celtic Board Refuses To Acknowledge Their Own Accountability.

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As most fans will be aware, the club is due to have its AGM in the next couple of weeks, and for the first time in a while there will be hard questions from the floor and nowhere to hide for the board.

They have gotten by on the success of the team, but this year’s will take place in the dimming shadow of a chaotic 12 months where their failures are stark and awful.

To be honest, this has been a failing board for a long, long time.

As we’ve all seen, the Ibrox accounts damn their lack of action in crafting a new framework for governing the game.

The club’s failure to grow and advance from a position of strength has been obvious for a while, but hidden behind the rise in standards in the team, brought about by Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers before an unfathomable appointment undermined them and sent them into rapid reverse.

The stink of unprofessionalism has surrounded them for a while; Wilson attacking the government in partisan fashion heedless of the fact that we need a good relationship with Holyrood and the council. Bankier accusing the Celtic fans of anti-Semitism was a bad one. Lawwell’s briefing against Rodgers prior to a Champions League game was another. Appointing Lennon in a shower was a natural low and so was Lawwell’s scandalous public repudiation of everyone who applied for the job by telling them that their CV’s went in the bin without even being considered.

People keep telling me that didn’t actually happen; I don’t care whether it did or not, Lawwell said it, he put that on the record, and it doesn’t get any stupider for being untrue. If it wasn’t the case, the lie is even more indefensible for a senior executive; a bit of macho posturing to nobody’s benefit, brought on perhaps by too much SFA champagne.

Lawwell is no longer at Parkhead. That man, at least, did the right thing. He knew that his position was untenable and fell on his sword. It is hard to know if that was out of a sense of accountability or for other reasons. Some have even suggested that his “retirement” was long planned, and maybe it was. But the club could not have moved on whilst he was in post.

The rest of the directors cling to their offices like grim death, although not one of them has a shred of credibility left. Their failures are now obvious. Their lack of any kind of strategic vision is crystal clear. It is nearly a year since we announced that we were looking for a director of football; we are yet to appoint one. There is some question as to whether we will. Too many major roles at the club are not yet filled, although it’s clear what needs to be done.

Michael Nicholson is up for election to the board at the AGM. This strongly suggests that they fully intend to appoint him as the full time chief executive; no search, no process, no “best person for the job”, no long-term thinking, just a known face who will check the only boxes that matter; he’ll toe the party line and he’ll continue on the present path.

Which is the path, of course, that the bulk of the fans are appalled by.

It is an extraordinarily poor decision with nothing to credit it whatsoever. It is the proof, if any was required, that these people have no idea how to take our club into a new era. Everything about the way they do business is amateurish and reactive and designed to keep a few “decision makers” – who as far as I can see lack any coherent process – running the show.

Not one of them should have stood for re-election, and even in doing so they know they are perpetuating a cruel fraud on our supporters because the whole thing is a mere formality although the Trust is determined to vote against ratifying every single one of them. It matters not. They have the votes and they know it and we know it.

Somehow they will convince themselves that this still gives them a mandate. It does not. They have no mandate. Their continued control of our club will, after the AGM, be akin to an act of piracy; they will be running the Good Ship Celtic by nothing but brute force.

Every one of these people knows he or she has failed in the last year, and failed spectacularly. If they had an ounce of decency, or any notion of accountability, they would be announcing their departures and we would be in the process of electing a new board.

Desmond would have put his shares up for sale, realising that he has lost any claim to be acting in our best interests. He has no vision now, if he ever did in the first place. He is loathed by the bulk of the supporters. Loathed. Nothing will restore his reputation.

Bankier remains an ineffectual nobody, perhaps the least impressive figure ever to hold the great office of chairman at Celtic, and that is saying something when you consider the man who had his arms around the job in the year Fergus swept that board aside.

If he wasn’t constantly waging a one-man war on the SNP and pushing lies in famous people’s obituaries, most people would have forgotten that Brian Wilson existed far less that he was serving on the Celtic board, where he’s been for a staggering 16 years, hanging onto his seat like a leech that hasn’t had enough blood yet.

And let’s be clear; we only recall the names of these people because we associate them in some way or another with disgraceful remarks or some other form of outrage. Which shows what pygmies the rest of them are that if I challenged you to name one other you might struggle to do it. What do these people contribute? What is their actual role?

Whatever it is, they want more of it. They want to continue doing it, even if what they are doing is turning up once in a blue moon to vote to keep us in a holding pattern. The idea that someone like Wilson, who’s been there for a decade and a half, has offered an original idea or thought in a dozen years is faintly ridiculous. The idea that Bankier is anything other than a glove puppet with Dermot Desmond’s hand up his arse is even more fantastical.

They have the votes to carry on, and all of them have put their names forward. The manager they hired to get us to ten in a row pissed that away, and he paid with his job. The CEO who “masterminded” that failure left. Their replacement for him was either not to their liking or was so poor in the role that he didn’t last three months. They replaced him with an internal appointment, a scandalous lack of ambition from a board that can’t spell the word.

No director of football, in spite of a farcical series of events in which we interviewed top candidates and then failed to hire one of them. The pursuit of Eddie How is like a bad joke. A guy like that kept a club like ours waiting for months and then didn’t sign the deal … I mean that alone should have seen some of these people accept that the game was up, that they had nothing to left to offer and that they couldn’t possibly carry on.

The shambles they left the team in was another mark of their colossal incompetence. Their only success is in hiring Ange, and I am still unconvinced that that was anything other than a panicked move, a last minute choice in which they got lucky, the equivalent of finding a winning lottery ticket on the bus. Their performance reeks.

But still, they carry on and every single one of them will be re-elected at the AGM. Every single one of them will stay in their current roles, congratulating themselves perhaps on another job well done. It is the brazen behaviour of the charlatan.

These people are unfit for purpose. None of them should survive this showdown with the fans. That all of them will is a further disgrace. I believe that it’s the duty of every fan representative and every blogger and podcaster to work to make sure it’s the last.

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16 comments

  • CHRIS says:

    Absolutely spot on James

  • Kevin Kane says:

    Absolutely brilliant article spot on James my comrade. How desmond is a billionaire I will never know he obviously got lucky with the sale of the London city Airport other than that I don’t see him as true business man. We need true celtic men on the board again an as Brian dempsey once said Rebels.

  • Mottman67 says:

    100% agree with all of that. These people are an embarrassment and so out of touch with the real fans. They have absolutely no credibility and should be hounded out.

  • Jocsoc says:

    The Celtic Trust has the interests of the Club at heart. Is it not possible for them to track and persuade shareholders to form their own co-operative to oust the present board and force Dermot Desmond to either take a more positive role or sell his shares and cede control to a more committed true Celtic personage.

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    If the Celtic Trust or other Supporters Group had a Representative’s seat on the Board, the supporters might have a say. The Board however would never agree to this. But they should be more accommodating towards Supporters views and opinions. Unless of course they couldn’t care less, which comes over as a bad look. But maybe that doesn’t bother them either!

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    The truth is though, they are, in the main, a bad, ignorant, arrogant lot of Time-servers who care little or less about the Supporters or their concerns. Their arrogance cost us Ten-in-a Row and is matched only by their ignorance of supporters needs. You could transplant them onto any other business or industry and they’d still be as happy as pigs in muck, as long as they can still get their snouts in the trough!

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Oh, and always Beware the Bitter Old Proddy Hun!

    • Bob (original) says:

      The AGM will just reinforce the uncomfortable truth.

      It’s effectively not our club.

      It is controlled by an absentee billionaire,

      (and who only needed to purchase a 35% shares stake.)

  • Bill says:

    James,

    As usual a well written article. My only disagreement would be that I am Jewish and been a proud Celtic fan for 55 years and you can take it from me that some of our fan base(albeit a very small percentage) are anti-Semitic, and with all due respect I am in a better position to make that call then you are to refute it.

  • Pcelt says:

    we all know this but to this parasite board its like water off a ducks back,they are arrogant because they know we cant vote them out as long as their buddy DD is there.

  • Solas sa Saoire says:

    Bill, is that why Bitton has been at Celtic these past six years, then, because it is a politically correct thing to do? I have wondered how he could be here for so long, being so well out of his depth as a professional football player! I didn’t hear ANY of our support complain when the two Israeli lads were afforded a day off recently for Yom Kippur Holy day. That would be the only time I have heard of anyone getting time off their work for a religious holiday!

  • Bill says:

    Solas,
    I did not say Celtic as a club are anti Semitic. I know for a fact that is not the case. But a very small number of supporters are.
    I suppose it’s too much to ask that in a support as large and diverse as ours such sentiments would not exist, but to say they do not exist is just not accurate.

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Bill,

    You say a number of Celtic Supporters are “Anti-Semitic”. I am saying that I heard no Celtic Supporters complaining when Nir Bitton and Liel Abada were recently given a day off to celebrate a Jewish Holy Day (on a Match Day)! If a section of the Celtic support are Anti-Semitic, as you say, then surely we would have heard them complaining about this extra-preferential treatment of Israeli players?

  • Charles Donaghy says:

    Excellent piece and spot on

  • Jim fitzsimmons says:

    Absolutely agree 100% wish I could help

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