If you’re familiar with Roger Mitchell then you will know why he’s a divisive person.
It’s not that his opinions are sometimes ridiculous – some of mine are pretty ridiculous and so I can live with that and I guess a lot of you can too – but that he is so grossly intolerant of anyone else’s view.
I was involved in two sterling examples of it.
I wrote an article last year saying that he would be a good candidate for Celtic’s CEO position. Mitchell liked that article, because I wrote it in spite of thinking that he is sometimes speaks without thinking and that he thinks every word he speaks should be engraved in stone. He retweeted the piece and spoke favourably about it.
Not long afterwards, Mitchell went off on some rant about the board or the club or the fans or something else like that and I did another piece on it … and for that I got blocked on Twitter. Which was fine by me, because if someone wants to act like a spoiled child rather than tackle the cut and thrust of debate that’s pretty revealing.
Tonight he’s making waves again because of something he said on the Graham Spiers podcast, which as you know I’m a big fan of. He talked about the idea of becoming CEO of Celtic and said the total opposite of what he said to me at the time; back when I floated the idea he knocked it aside on the basis that the board wouldn’t hire him.
I agreed, by the way, because he would shake Celtic up.
Today he seems to be saying it would be because he’s smarter than the average Celtic fan and has no time for those of us who think domestic football is of paramount importance.
In this he claims to be outside of the mainstream. And yes, I would agree again.
He definitely is that. But that’s not the compliment he thinks it is.
Or maybe he’s right again.
Maybe we are stupid, maybe we don’t understand that it’s more important to get to the final of a tournament you don’t win, with seven wins in twenty-one games than it is to win your national title and thus secure the cash that lets you strengthen the team.
Maybe he’s right and that an unbeaten domestic campaign is less impressive than a few wins in Europe.
Maybe he’s correct to say that we should have been willing to sacrifice a Quadruple Treble for a few more Group Stage points.
And maybe Roger Mitchell just likes the sound of his own voice a bit too much, and has a bit too much regard for his own opinions and isn’t necessarily the herald of truth and wisdom that he thinks he is.
In short, maybe he talks crap, maybe he is of the “cringe” school which thinks dominance on your own doorstep is something to be ashamed of.
The problem with Mitchell’s view is the contempt it shows for those of people like us, those of us who recognise reality, in which you can’t seriously tackle Europe until you’ve first been successful at home.
We’re a Scottish club, and that means priority one is to be the leading Scottish club, because otherwise you can’t get access to the big Champions League pot of gold in the first place … it’s the little details that elude this guy.
This is exactly the sort of ignorant drivel I feared in the aftermath of Sevco’s incredibly fortunate march to a final; that it would, once again, focus the minds of the small minority who would sacrifice our domestic success for what Justin Currie called “a last cheap shot at the dream” as though you could have one in the first place without the other, and especially in an era of the super clubs.
Nobody thinks that some of our European form over the years has been acceptable; it was the results against Prague that finally shattered the last of my tolerance for Neil Lennon.
But I would not sacrifice a single moment of our success in the last few years for the phony “triumph” of being “credible” in Europe, whatever the Hell that means at the current time.