Several months ago, when Dave King popped his head up to declare himself back on the scene, and where he so obviously sought some kind of avenue back to the grandstand where he could bask in the love of gullible Ibrox supporters, only to be rebuffed by their board, I wrote that it was just the start.
King misses the limelight.
He needs it like a vampire needs fresh blood.
Everything about this guy suggests that he enjoys walking the high-wire. He is reckless, arrogant, egotistical and dangerous to all around him. When he decided he wanted a return to the Ibrox boardroom, he was not going to stand for anybody who opposed that ambition.
When the issue of Australia reared its head I knew that he would see it as another opportunity to strike a blow against the Ibrox board, because his campaign has been ongoing for months.
It isn’t that long ago that this blog did a piece on Keith Jackson’s article going after James Bisgrove; it came out shortly after their club had announced the Gutter Ball.
In that article, Jackson berates the Ibrox board and is so obviously standing up for King. Not only for him, but you might even say with him.
Because Jackson was briefed by King himself, or someone close to King and you know that because of the detail in the story. That King himself then gave a long rambling interview to the media only sealed the deal.
What people might have forgotten about that story is that someone from within the Ibrox board was briefing Jackson as well, someone close to Stewart Robertson or perhaps even the man himself. The nature of that briefing was clear; Jackson was to put out the word that Robertson knows that the sharks are circling him and he wasn’t going down quietly.
So there is King, up to God knows what.
There is a boardroom element which he associates with Donald Park, trying to move Robertson into the firing line.
There’s Robertson himself, who’s either siding up to King or willing to go it alone … it’s a mess.
At the centre of much of it is also Club 1872, who are furious with the Ibrox board over a variety of issues and who have King as their guardian angel. That there are rumours of unpaid debts only adds to the chaos and the general sense of things unravelling.
Now, the board has done the one thing that I could not imagine them doing; they have turned on the fans and even threatened retribution against Club 1872.
This is like Celtic turning on the Trust, and at a time when the Green Brigade are also pretty pissed at them.
Union Bears will almost certainly see this as a threat against them too, and that means that two of the main fan groups are going to be at open war with their club for the foreseeable future.
Remember, this game in Australia is in November.
This will run and run and run until then at the very earliest, and this is only one strand of something now threatening to be much, much bigger than a single issue. This is a full-on civil war they’re having here.
At this point, I think the best thing we, as Celtic fans, can do with the game in November is ignore it. I intend to forget that it exists. I have no interest in it whatsoever, and whilst their club is intent on tearing itself apart over it I’ll let them get on with that without further commentary unless there’s a major development. It hasn’t divided us, and nor should it.
My view on the board before this was that the appointment of Nicholson was ridiculous and even scandalous, that most of the directors aren’t fit for purpose and that Desmond is an absentee landlord without a clue what to do with the building.
They view us with a certain amount of contempt and disdain. Nothing about this has changed my view; indeed, this has merely served to remind us of the colossal ignorance inside the walls.
But right now this club needs the focus to be on what happens on the pitch, and I know I’m playing into the hands of the cynical bastards in saying that, but the truth is that in spite of my deep concerns with this Australia trip I can see that there are elements to it which make sense, and one of them is that, in some ways, our club is demystifying the whole so-called “Old Firm” concept by turning this into it, and treating it like, just another game.
In the end, that might be the very thing that finally does the whole rotten idea a death blow, and the Ibrox fans were actually ahead of me in realising it. It’s one of the reasons why their opposition to the whole affair has been so visceral.
Celtic has made mistakes.
But even at our worst, we would never have released a press statement as venomous and even as deranged as the one they put out today.
The reaction to it online has been explosive, and interesting in a couple of other ways too, and this is where the real rupture might lie; in the end, this will turn fans against fans.
Because of course, none of the club’s “official media partners” can criticise that lunatic statement openly without risking their cushy number. Heart In Hand has made a hilarious effort at striding the fence, with all the courage you would expect of them.
Follow Follow’s Mark Dingwall is not a fence sitter; let’s give him some credit.
No, he’s turned the guns on Club 1872 and backed the board.
And to think the statement slams people who want comfy seats in the director’s box.
This has seen him slammed by many of their online elements, and it’s almost certain the he and the others who have taken the board’s side will come in for some heavy fire in the next couple of days and weeks as this crisis continues to spiral.
And it will, because King will make sure that it does and he’ll use his proxies at Club 1872 to ramp the pressure up.
His buddies in the mainstream press, like Jackson, will also be on board.
I daresay Union Bears will join these guys in turning the guns on Bisgrove and the rest. because they are as much a target of that statement as anyone although it’s coached more carefully than it actually reads at first glance.
That doesn’t make it any less incendiary.
Director against director.
Chairman against former chairman.
Club against shareholders.
Fans turning on each other.
It has all the ingredients of a soap opera you don’t want to miss.
Of course, their board has done one other momentous thing here which shouldn’t have escaped the notice of anyone involved; it has put enormous pressure on the manager and the players to deliver on all fronts.
If April goes badly on the pitch then these people have nowhere whatsoever to hide, and I have a feeling it’s going to go very badly indeed.
Before this, the prize for us winning at Ibrox was simply to take a massive step – some would say a final step – towards the League title. Winning at Hampden after that was only putting us on the brink of the treble.
Both are achievable.
Hell, I even expect them, although a draw at Ibrox is probably enough.
But there’s a bigger prize now, of course, in both of those games.
We can drive a wrecking ball through what’s left of the fragile peace. We can demolish their fantasy of being a club which is on the right path and plunge them into open warfare and genuine crisis.
None of that will be part of the thinking for Ange and the players, but our manager has a keen strategic mind and if he wants to look at the bigger picture it won’t take him long to see that the opportunity exists.
As I said the other night, the potential for a proper jelly and ice cream moment looks as if it could be coming around again.
Ibrox facing a summer of upheaval and fury as we tweak the team with a few quality additions to an already fearsome squad, with Champions League money already bagged up and waiting for us … it’s tantalising, right?
And as things stand tonight, it’s all more than possible as Ibrox unravels in spectacular fashion.