As my good friend Paddy Sinat over on Vital Celtic said earlier on today, and as others echoed in the past few hours, the club announced Peter Lawwell’s appointment as chairman in the most low key way possible. I noticed it when I saw the official club statement.
When we announce a signing or an appointment the name is usually in the headline. You would not get “Celtic announce new manager” any more than the official outlet would put out a statement headlined “Celtic announce signing of new player.”
When I saw the headline today – “Celtic announce new Non-Executive Chairman” I clicked on the link with a sinking heart. I knew exactly which name I was going to read. The way they didn’t even put it front and centre told me everything I needed to know, as though there was the slightest doubt about it in the first place.
The whole “thorough search” which was trumpeted at the AGM was nothing but a barefaced lie in the same way that Ibrox’s manager “hunt” was. We no more considered someone else for the role than the club across the city interviewed anyone but Beale for the manager’s job. That these two boards both believe they can brazen this stuff out is deplorable.
Celtic knows this is unpopular. Celtic may even recognise that it’s a hard appointment, if not an impossible one, to defend. You can tell that by the way they’ve gone about it. No name in the official headline, and as Paddy and others have said, nothing on social media at all. The Celtic Twitter team is always busy and always active.
Strangely, if this is such a superb piece of corporate governance, they aren’t tonight. It’s the sort of thing you do when you’re ashamed of it. You sneak the word out on a Friday when everyone’s eyes are on the weekend and you do it low-key.
But there is simply no way that an announcement this divisive and even potentially disruptive can be done in this manner and those involved get away with it. It does not matter how smooth they think they’ve been here, or how slippery … the fans are having their say on the blogs and the forums and in cyberspace nonetheless. And many aren’t happy.
Mark this and mark it now, Celtic; if things start to unravel we’re all going to look back at the smooth sailing of the past twelve months and we are going to blame Peter Lawwell for anything that goes wrong. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fair or not, or even if he shares any responsibility for anything bad that happens … he is going to be held accountable.
The fans, by and large, do not trust this guy anymore. They recognise the role he played in Rodgers leaving as he did. They recognise that an Ibrox club was allowed to financially dope its way to a title on Lawwell’s watch. They can see clearly that the club has been in a better place this past 12 months without his so-called leadership and if things start coming apart they will put two and two together and come up with the obvious answer.
And I am not going to defend him or this board, even if they did nothing wrong. The appointment itself is a disgrace. It stinks. It reeks of cronyism, which adds to the reek of nepotism. Our board is a little self-contained block of tired old white guys who long since ran out of ideas. The one good thing they’ve done in the recent past is hire this manager and he wasn’t their first choice, and his appointment stunk of left-field options selected in a panic.
For all that, he has been doing fine without their grubby hands on the tiller. They low-balled this today because they recognise the fusty stink of recycled garbage off this appointment. They know they can’t actually defend it if they have to.
Well I’ve already emailed Celtic to ask if the fan media reps are going to get a sit-down with the “new man” at the helm. To hear what his plans are. To learn what fresh perspective he intends to bring to the club. To find out if he’s got a vision.
You know what? I’m not holding my breath. The club is leery of putting those at the top of the house in front of the fan media reps. There’s a reason for that.