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Celtic Must Preserve Its Principles Or We Are Just Like Every Other Club Out There.

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How do you get to a place where fans cannot separate morality from the vain pursuit of success at all costs?

How do you get to a place where fans can cheer an oligarch whose pal has launched a war against a neighbouring country?

How do you get to a place where supporters cheer on the people who own their club because they are spending a little money when those people represent a despotic regime which abuses women, murders its citizens and is not above acts of terrorism against foreign journalists?

How do you come to a place where your club can defraud the taxpayer and leave hundreds of small businesses out of pocket, and where you can get behind a debt-dumping NewCo ideology which exists on the lie that they were the real victims all along?

I’ll tell you how you get there. One step at a time.

And it always begins with a small step, with an act that barely registers on the radar.

English football didn’t wind up with oligarchs in charge of clubs overnight, any more than the first Ibrox operation smoothly segued from relying on bank financing to operating a tax scam, and where the fans of the NewCo had no objection to being run by a notorious South African criminal who they still hold in high regard.

These things happen over time, and you can’t always look back and see clearly the path that should have been taken to avoid it.

But in the case of Celtic and the Australian Gutter Ball, there is no doubt what this signpost says and where it leads to.

There are few clubs in world football which operate according to an ethos.

Many claim to and many fans of those clubs even think that they do, but when push comes to shove how many would stand up and defend that ethos in the face of the most corrupting influence in the sport; cold hard cash?

You either believe in stuff or you don’t.

You’re either committed to keeping your principles or you are not.

They either mean something or they are for PR.

There is a shining example of this over in Spain right now; the slow degradation of Barcelona.

The institution which advertises itself as “more than a club” has finally, fully, joined the ranks of the Ordinary Teams.

There is nothing special about Barcelona any longer; the last vestige of that club’s soul has been traded away in the rush to bring in money.

And it happened slowly, over time, with a few simple steps that meant nothing at all. The road from being a principled organisation to the one which just allowed a gaudy sponsorship deal to rename its iconic stadium was not exactly a twisted path … in fact, it happened via a number of straightforward steps and smart people saw it coming miles down the road.

You might say that it started when Barcelona finally put a corporate logo on the shirt which had never had one before.

And yes, it was UNICEF.

But that was start of it. Once that shirt was adorned with a name the next step was to adorn it with a sponsor.

From there, the road to selling off the name of the ground was only a matter of degrees and as shocking as it is to see it and hear it, the shock is lessened because it was somehow inevitable.

This is a club which pays individual footballers obscene weekly salaries far in excess of the average annual wage of the supporters in the stands. This is a club that claims to be the antithesis of the establishment, but it has taken government subsidies and climbed into bed with the hedge funds. It manipulates the rules of football in Spain and sneers at UEFA and Financial Fair Play. It exists now as a monument to excess and greed … and it still claims to be special.

Celtic still has a tenuous claim on its self-image as a club with principles. It is being tested. Mostly by the behaviour of people inside its walls but also by a section in the support who seem to believe they follow a different club than the rest of us do.

But our decision to play the Gutter Ball is a step down a dark and dangerous path which ends perhaps in joint partnerships with people we shouldn’t be near, with an embrace of a “money at all costs” ideology, naming rights deals and other grubby commercial agreements almost without end and perhaps even, at some point, the kind of owners who either don’t respect our ethos or worse, actively threaten or even eradicate it.

The pursuit of cash above all else – which is precisely what this Australian farce is all about – puts this club and its values at risk. If our directors cannot understand why so many of us are opposed to this, then they have lost sight of what this club is supposed to be. In allowing ourselves to be portrayed as part of a toxic rivalry they are harming our reputation.

Reputations are hard to build, and they are easy to destroy. Once you start chipping away at it the damage will last years and will be nearly impossible to repair.

This club is now walking down a dangerous path, but let’s be honest; we’ve failed, utterly, here at home to challenge some of the lies of 2012 and that means we were walking down that path anyway. The thing is, we’re doing so openly now … and this is where our supporters should be drawing one big line in the sand.

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16 comments
  • JimBhoy says:

    I don’t have a prob with the company making some money whilst giving some fringe players some game time. It also represents another huge market that a bit of playing PR will help us buy into.

    If the number are right a tournament that could see us profit to the tune of at least £6m, why wouldn’t the club put out a team in that tournament.

    Celtic could be huge in the Oz market and it could reap a good few mill in goods sales each year.

  • Jimmy R says:

    Playing them in the land of Oz for a wedge of cash is obscene. In my book it equates to the day when they decided it was a good idea to have an orange strip. Neither decision reflects glory on the clubs. We thought

  • Jimmy R says:

    we were better than that. (No idea why 1st part of message posted before I was finished typing.)

  • Auldheid says:

    James.

    You and I have been on same boat for a long time.

    The sad fact is few care about morality until the consequences of its absence become real.

    The universe is unfolding or unravelling as it should.

    • REBELLIOUS says:

      are. ‘Auldheid’ your comment brought this poem to mind, see below… The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

  • scouse bhoy says:

    chelsea wanting their cup tie against middlesbrough played without any fans just summed up the whole sorry mess. necks and blowtorch come to mind.

  • R.McMillan says:

    Taking us back to to the early days when businessmen like Glass opted for the money/professional route with squat given to charity versus the ‘malcontents’ who wanted Walfrid’s vision to be what the club was for. So here we are today. when £££££££ or Aussie $$$$$$ trump the morality of playing that mob. No problems going Down Under, a deserved bonus there for Ange but surely to God we could avoid those neanderthals .

  • John S says:

    Prostitution of the badge.

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    CELTIC FC PLC… the name kinda gives it away. However, I do get your point.
    The fans are of secondly concern now and it’ll remain that way as long as we are a PLC.
    That is unfortunate but it is what it is.
    Also, we should expect more of this in the very near future, unless that lot turn it into a hatefest and we all know that is not impossible, in fact, they could probably do it with their eyes shut.

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Desiderata.

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals,
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
    And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrmann (1927)

    “Desiderata” (Latin: “desired things”)

  • John Harvey says:

    I agree with your sentiments totally. The modern game is being destroyed by the love of money.This is evident in all our daily lives where “must have” mind set is actively marketed and abused by Corporations, they dont give a flying f about anyone, just the bottom line.

  • Jason C says:

    Strategically we have always relied on a team from Govan and will continue to do so in what ever form it takes. It is easy money and requires little resource to do just enough to stay ahead.
    Our board lack talent and leadership to steer our club in a way that would deliver so much more.
    As long as we keep delivering leagues and trebles domestically the board will be under no pressure to raise the bar. Our success this year will deliver bumper bonus and dividends this year and next. As Phil says follow follow the money. We are not spending any! Our board’s hubris and greed is somewhat greater than their counterparts in their oligopoly.

  • SFATHENADIROFCHIFTINESS says:

    James, you should have addressed that to the Celtic Board.
    We know the risks. The Board also know them.

    Unfortunately they also see the cash tills ringing and have surmised that ‘ hey, you know what, there’s money in this hate business’.
    Alas the gulf between Celtic and Sevco and the rest of Scottish football dictates that
    a ‘ unholy alliance’ is necessary to keep the shekels coming in and the share price stable and dividends and bonuses frequent.
    The Board see Celtic as first and foremost a PLC. Football is the commodity they sell.
    In the absence of lucrative EPL type deals the meagre offerings of Sky and other Sponsors are not enough to guarantee the level of income they demand. We are a footballing backwater in world terms and as long as organisations like the The Scottish Establishment,The Masons and the Orange Order dictate the kind of Country we live in, be it business, politics, Civic Scotland is powerless to change it.
    The outside world see it. Sponsors know the buttons they offer will be accepted. The SFA can’t even get sponsors for their National Cup. The outside world has long known how corrupt Scottish football is and nobody welcomes guilt by association.
    The SFA and the Lanarkshire Referees Association are quite happy to be the top of the heap and don’t want anything to change. Our Board probably recognise this and would if ask try to justify their action in 2012 and in subsequent years as being pragmatic in a business sense.
    The upcoming trip to ‘Oz is just them trying to milk the Yellow Brick Road.

  • Mark B says:

    Bosman was great for players but it changed the game forever. The vast sums of money the game generates and now needs mainly goes to players it’s obscene. 500k a week? It’s insane when we cannot get enough nurses or care staff for people most in need. How did society never mind football get here? Sadly the link between fans and players is largely gone and the game is worse for it. Celtic are trying to compete but we can’t even make it to the last 16 of the third tier competition. Money rules, the game and society has lost its soul. And for me it has taken a lot of the fun and passion and loyalty and pleasure from the sport I love. Or loved?

  • Lordmac says:

    If rangers win the league they will drop us like a hot tattie our board have once again supported Ranger’s

  • Lordmac says:

    How do we look in OZ if we loose the league and cups

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