Today I missed the AGM and so did some of the guys I know who usually attend it, as we were still on the return leg of our trip to Madrid. I caught up with the events on a couple of good Twitter feeds who usually give a good account of what happens at the meeting and they did not disappoint on this particular occasion. So thanks to them for that.
The AGM itself went off without a hitch. All told, it was a very upbeat meeting and one where a few people took a well deserved public bow. Even the chairman was said to have cracked a joke as he prepares to hand over the reigns to someone else. I will talk about him at another time, and about the nagging suspicion that this board may be about to make a colossal error of judgement which, no matter what some of them think, will not have a happy ending.
Today did though, because today was about a celebration of everything they’ve gotten right in the past year. Which, in point of fact, is almost everything they’ve done. This year’s AGM was a love-in, and it ought to have been because this club is finally running the right way with each section of it run by the right people. Big changes have happened behind the scenes.
The first of them was missed by most people at first. I thought it was significant at the time and wrote about it, but the point was overshadowed by the larger part of that same article, which was about the appointment of Michael Nicholson.
The change I’m talking about was the new prominence of Chief Financial Officer Chris McKay. His job was virtually invented with the departure of Peter Lawwell and he and Nicholson moved into their current roles at the same time. Some of the stuff that our CEO used to do devolved to him, and that was an important development, as we can now see.
McKay took a lot of the questions today and I was impressed by his overall performance. There are now clearly established areas of responsibility for everyone at Celtic Park. No-one will ever, again, be allowed to wield such influence of all the key areas of the club’s policy and decision making. Giving Lawwell that kind of power was a recipe for disaster.
That has been learned from. The club has improved its internal structures and you can see the effects, especially when it comes to allowing the football people to run the football department. The job of the directors is to back the manager and make sure that his people have everything that they need to do their jobs well … and since Ange came in that has been the way the club has gone about things. It is a radical transformation compared to what came before.
We don’t get everything right. I think the imminent launch of a fourth kit, for example, is a grotesque move at a time like this and one that our club should not even be contemplating. I think we should be doing more on refereeing and the structure of the game here in Scotland … refereeing was, at least, addressed and I’ll talk more on that and some of the specifics from today later on. But overall, yeah, it was a calm and confident board putting themselves in front of shareholders in a year when they could barely have done a better job.
As long as this club continues to be run along the present lines – where the football people are treated as the most important in the room and those involved in the finances know their job is to support those people – then we will continue getting better at everything we do. There is a sense, for once, of things being run on a different level.
Long may that continue.