Celtic’s Next Chairman Must Fit A Certain Profile. It Seems Obvious Whose That Is.

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The leader is gone, long live the successor.

This is the way it works. One door closes and another opens.

Celtic’s chairman is stepping down. Another must take his place. It will not be long until we know who it will be.

There is a lot of talk about who it ought not to be. Lawwell.

So much discussion has flowed around this subject that very little appears to be in the wind over the kind of man who should take over instead.

We cannot pluck names out of the hat, as any number of good candidates are undoubtedly out there … but we can put together a composite of the sort of person we ought to be looking for, and as annoyed as it will make some I’m going to come right out and say it.

If we want a template, we could do worse than to base it on John Reid.

I have always considered John Reid to be one of the most consequential Celtic figures of my lifetime, up there with Fergus and the less ostentatious but equally vital Brian Quinn.

There was nothing fancy about Quinn, but he was Fergus’ own pick for the post and his calm and professionalism was, I think, critical to where we’ve ended up.

But I’ve long believed that Reid was too.

Because the Celtic Fergus left lost a little bit of something upon his departure, an aggressiveness, a lack of compromise, an out-front attitude which, as the man himself attested to, was no longer prepared to even pretend to accept a seat at the back of the bus.

John Reid put us on the front foot.

In some ways, we’ve been there ever since, although Lawwell and the nonentity who currently inhabits the seat Fergus, Quinn and Reid once sat in were too timid in their approach to issues which those three men would never have permitted to linger.

Reid is the sort of man we should be looking for; someone of gravitas, intellect and who understands the need for a certain level of aggression.

A Celtic chairman in the modern age should be no shrinking violet. He should be willing to call out hypocrisy. He should be willing to roll up his sleeves and jump into the fight if a fight is what is required.

I know people didn’t like his politics.

I wasn’t a great fan of it myself, and I knew him from my days in the Labour Party, and so understood him a bit better than a lot of those whose simplistic characterisation of him is the one that survives in many different circles in our support.

In some ways, Reid was an excellent Celtic chairman and I don’t believe, had he remained in that job, that the events of 2012 would have played out as they did.

A lot of the things he was blamed for – like a lack of investment which allowed Rangers to win a couple of titles – we now know to have been more the fault of an over-mighty CEO than anything else.

Reid never challenged Lawwell in his role.

That was a mistake.

But when that man had to step up to the plate himself, he never wavered for a second.

When the Famine Song reared its head, he went after the Ibrox club publicly and used his political muscle and contacts to bring that matter to the widest possible audience.

When Murray bitched and moaned Reid’s response was like the cracking of a whip; “When it comes to defending the welfare of Celtic, I will continue to comment without fear or favour.”

His comments in relation to the referee’s strike – which I wrote about recently – were, likewise, right on the nose and music to our collective ears. “We don’t seek special treatment for Celtic. I have never claimed we are better than anyone else. But we won’t be treated as less than anyone else – those days are gone.”

Yes, he made mistakes.

His decision to afford too much freedom to Lawwell was costly and stupid.

He was too trusting of those who understood the complexities of football better than he did, which is something he learned in government dealing with the civil service.

But he had presence, a huge intellect and he was a strategic thinker capable of seeing things clearly and he was not afraid to act.

Scottish football would look entirely different had he presided over Celtic during the collapse of Rangers and all the scandal that followed; he would never have tolerated any of it and his mere presence would have made the SFA afraid of what might happen if they tried to play their games. It would have been a bloodbath.

So not Reid, but a man like that.

A hard, no-nonsense brawler … but one with the intellect to make best use of his aggressive qualities.

Someone who came from the street, someone who clawed his way up.

Not some phony from a soft business background, but someone with experience at the sharp end of tough negotiations and who will take no nonsense and brook no bullshit. Someone with clout.

When you think of the charlatans and no-marks who have sat in the Ibrox chair over the years – everyone from Murray and his penchant for bullshit to King the crook and now Park and his pathetic efforts to settle scores, Reid was a colossus amongst pygmies.

They get former tax crooks. We get former cabinet ministers.

That’s the calibre of candidate Celtic appeals to, the calibre we can attract, and we should not settle for less.

Ian Bankier was less.

Had his predecessor been Cecil the Bus Inspector he would have been less for all the leadership he showed and visibility he provided. Next to a man with the stature of Reid, it was a pitiful appointment and a giant backward step and we paid for it.

John Reid, then.

Someone like that, but even better.

A man with strong views about what our club represents and what it should strive to be. A man not afraid to shake things up. A man who never sat at the back of the bus and won’t let our club be put there.

A leader. A fighter.

Someone who can silence a room, and take a lead and put forth a vision.

The kind of man this club deserves.

At last. At long last.

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  • Tony B says:

    Is such a man out there who ticks all the boxes you mentioned?

  • Seppington says:

    “Someone like that, but even better.”

    Anyone in mind?

  • James White says:

    Like JF, I would dearly love the next Celtic Chairman to be a renowned big hitter, a Celtic man to his core. Someone who would put the fear of God into the SFA, SPFL, and Referees Association.
    But, it ain’t going to happen.
    The next Chairman will be a yes man for Dermot Desmond, a patsy. A Bankier type character. Who he will be our response, never heard of him.
    At a time when just about every home game is sold out there should be a serious discussion about a Main Stand upgrade. The demand is clearly there and what a stadium we would have if it was done. Not a whisper about this from the board. Probably doesn’t suit Dermot’s dividend strategy.

  • Paul says:

    Let Mike Lynch sort or a proper wage rise for the rail workers and then ask him if he wants the job

  • Bob (original) says:

    Mike Lynch – I like that suggestion!

    But it has to be “ABL” : Anyone But Lawwell.

    As PL would be probably be the most unpopular choice, I fully expect DD to sanction his appointment as Chairman!

    IF it’s not PL, then CFC will go down the parochial route: a local person with limited or zero football experience, and someone already well known to DD and/or the Board.

    No headhunting for the best possible candidate will be necessary, as per. 🙁

  • EndaClarke says:

    Great, you said the R word.

    Give it another go now and then. It won’t kill you, only make you sound more grown up.

    PS: After John Reid are you saying the chairman has to be a political nationalist or non-political?

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed that article, best in a while.

    I do hope you’re correct but fear this will be DD appointment, almost certain it will be.

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