A few months ago, I wrote about a prospect which haunts me; the idea that Celtic might, one day, wind up in the hands of some unscrupulous foreign owner with no connection to us whatsoever for the purposes of God knows what.
Today David Low is in the papers basically talking about the same thing. Whilst I’m not worried about some oligarchy or organisation needing greenwashing, I share his concern that as long as the club is in the hands of a small group, however well-intentioned they might be, the danger remains that we might one day find ourselves in bother.
It’s a long way off. Even if I don’t like the idea of the Desmond family having some kind of dynastic control over the club, or the Lawwell family having decades of influence through the passing on of shares from father to son, I like some of the alternatives a lot less. Ideally, I think as Low does that we should be aiming for majority control as fans.
English football recently got a regulator, and one of the things the regulator will do is try to uphold the rights of the supporters. Club owners will be forbidden from doing certain things without the consent of the fans under this charter, and we need something like that here.
But of course, we will never get that, although fit and proper person rules aren’t worth a damn.
Since Whyte and Green moved in the SFA has allowed convicted criminals (the Easdale’s) to have a major influence at Ibrox and allowed the notorious tax crook Dodgy Dave King not only to take over the club after that but to actually do so in a manner which violate City of London concert party regulations. We know all about David Martindale.
Our governing bodies are toothless but will resist any effort to take away from them powers that they never intend to use. That’s the problem we face. If something like this were to happen with us, there would really not be anyone who could stop it.
The bigger problem is across the city, at Ibrox, amidst a support which is increasingly desperate for success and might well be willing to do anything for it.
Look at their forums right now. They burn with resentment and anger and even hatred for those on their own board, those who have quite literally kept the club afloat these past few years. Those people have probably lost millions, even accounting for what’s going on with the Equity Confetti. Does that matter to these Peepul? Not one bit.
Their club is ripe for some predator moving in. They wouldn’t even question it. As long as whoever it was made big grandiose promises to catch us – that’s all that matters to them – I think many of them would gladly turn their club over without a second thought.
What their board and their manager are facing right now is an ever increasing list of demands, and the thing to remember is that if we get Champions League cash again next year that the gap only opens further and that list of demands only grows.
That’s the bottom line. That’s the simple fact of it. And the realisation that these guys are coming to is that the current board has no answer to that. Even their manager is shamelessly putting the pressure on them to come up with more cash, making it clear that if they can’t keep up next season that he’s not going to be the one to blame.
That club is in a world of trouble, and when people are desperate they do desperate things. There are ways to make money out of a Scottish football club – a sizeable amount of money if they have 40,000 plus season ticket holders.
Just not ways that are conducive to that club being successful. But they aren’t successful by their own measure now.
I’m of the view that there is no other club on this island in more danger of the kind of takeover that no club would want. Some hedge fund not even based here could probably pick a majority of the shares in that club up for a pitifully small sum and leech it slowly over years and then when they had no further use for it either sell it to some joker determined to restore “the glory days” or junk it, flogging land, stadium and everything to the highest bidder.
They would make a fortune and it wouldn’t be hard to do, and the Ibrox fans would be lucky to even have a club to follow at the end of it all.
And they still don’t get this.
All they can talk about online is getting rid of this board and bringing in “people who can take us to the next level.” But the thing is, until you reach the next level you won’t be able to tell the difference between those people and some shady spivs in and out for the quick buck.
They still cannot fathom the danger they are in.