If I was reading an article on COVID, just as an example, in The Guardian, or The Atlantic, or another mainstream title and the writer casually threw one of those anti-vax nutcase conspiracy theories into the piece, almost in passing, I would think something had gone very wrong at the publication in question and with the writer’s sanity.
Today, Keith Jackson did that in the Daily Record when in a piece on the SPFL and the “settlement” they reached with the Ibrox club, he casually tossed in there one of Scottish football’s conspiracy theories and a particularly rancid one at that.
He disguised it as a comment on what some inside Ibrox believe, but in fact he and his own paper have given credence to this stuff more than once, and I really think it’s about time they were forced either to put up or shut up as far as this is concerned.
“Let’s be absolutely blunt. For some years now there has been a strongly held belief inside the command centre at Ibrox that Doncaster and McLennan have been cleverly and deliberately placed in positions of power in order to facilitate the orders of Celtic’s Peter Lawwell,” he wrote, which is several steps beyond simple rubbish, but veers into lunacy.
I’ve heard this too many times from these people in the past few years and whilst this is but a small thread of that other great knitted scarf of conspiracy theories, the Great Unseen Fenian Hand, it’s also a legendary standalone, albeit a particularly daft one.
Because ask these people for the proof of it, for the merest shred of evidence, or even to put some meat on the bones of this, and what do you get?
They have exactly one thing that they point to. One. It’s a big one, but it’s so obviously nuts that it only sums up how daft this thing as a whole has turned out to be.
Here’s the thing; if you ask them for proof that the Unseen Hand has been busy they will throw everything at you from the fees we get for players to the numerous court cases that have faced their club over the years … that conspiracy encompasses so many strands that it’s impossible even to keep count of them all.
But ask them for evidence of Celtic dominating the governing bodies of Scottish football and the only thing they can come back with is the “Dundee vote” to bring the season to an end when COVID hit. Yes, it wasn’t for nothing that I opened with the example of a COVID conspiracy theory, because when you come right down to it that’s what this is.
It doesn’t matter to them that this matter has been explained, and investigated, and it all checks out, it does not matter to them that if you follow the time-line of events that it all stacks up and it all makes perfect sense … they cling to the idea that there was something dark afoot.
They even commissioned their own dodgy dossier into it all, which the SPFL took one look at and dismissed it as junk, with Lawwell himself declaring it “embarrassing.”
That vote was nothing to do with Celtic.
It wasn’t our vote which decided things. The idea that we voted for ourselves to secure the title is insane, because it wasn’t just a majority of clubs who voted to end the season but a supermajority … did we influence everyone?
And what about the Great Dundee Payoff? Has it ever come to pass? What happened to all these” glamour friendlies” we were meant to play against them in exchange for their vote?
Ending that season was the settled will of the vast majority of Scottish football’s teams, many of whom were facing serious financial problems and needed the cash.
The SPFL’s decision was taken early because without fans in the grounds they needed the prize money paid early, and it couldn’t be until the final outcomes were known.
It’s easy for the Ibrox club and their barmy fans to dismiss this but you need to remember that Ibrox’s own response to that crisis was to attempt to exploit the crisis in the most cynical fashion.
At a time when hospitals were filling up and the death toll was starting to mount their board released the most scandalous press release in the history of the game where they demanded nothing less than playing the campaign to the finish in front of full houses, a suggestion so insane that even our media should have roundly hammered them for it.
It was perfectly obvious that football in Scotland was over for that season.
I had written about it weeks before it happened, and clubs which were suddenly deprived of fans would have known almost immediately how it had to go. The national lockdown had largely taken matters out of our hands. The governing bodies, and the clubs, did the right thing.
Celtic did not take advantage of the situation, and nor did we steer the voting. Put simply, we had no need to do either. We had a commanding 13 point lead and however much Ibrox kids itself on we were not going to relinquish that. Basing an entire conspiracy theory on something like this … it really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny at all.
Besides, the idea that Lawwell wields undue influence in the game didn’t arise from the COVID vote and everyone knows it. The idea was strengthened by those events, pushed by Ibrox and its media toadies, Jackson amongst them, but it was in existence long before.
Yet other than the COVID season, which didn’t really benefit us in any real way as everyone accepts we were heading for the title anyway, these Peepul cannot muster a single example of that power in effect.
Where are the big structural changes in Scottish football which benefited us more than the rest? If we have, as these people think, gotten our placemen into position what did we get for all that manoeuvring? What policies have we pursued to our own benefit or – and this is more crucial – to Ibrox’s detriment? One example, that’s all we want.
And until people can provide one, one shred of evidence that people on the SPFL board are “doing Lawwell’s bidding” then any outlet which makes that suggestion should find itself – not just the writer, the whole publication – banned from Celtic Park.
Enough is enough, guys.