Yesterday The Celtic Chairman Took On An Unwelcome Role. Low Grade Comedian.

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One of my favourite films of all time is Any Given Sunday, Oliver Stone’s absolutely bonkers story about the Miami Sharks, an American football team in disarray.

The movie tries to explore so many themes and issues, and from so many different angles, it is an exhausting watch which never lets up for you to catch your breath. It is exhilarating. In spite of being nearly three hours long it remains the only movie I’ve ever watched four times in one day.

The most exhausted person in that movie is Al Pacino’s character, Tony D’Amato, the team’s head coach who is living off his past reputation and past glories. He goes through the entire film, until right at the end, with the dead eyes and worn out look of a man who is barely holding together the fragments of his life.

In one crucial scene, as he tries to get through to the team’s emerging star, Willie Beaman, played perfectly by a never cooler Jamie Foxx, he realises to his dismay that the old magic is gone.

He is no longer capable of summoning the fire. He has nothing new left to say to those he’s trying to inspire and motivate. They’ve heard it all before.

It must be hard when the old crowd pleasers no longer please the crowd.

Peter Lawwell sat in front of the Celtic fans yesterday and tried some old tricks and threw them some familiar red meat. Some lapped it up. But those who have heard it all before and mark these things in their minds for future reference weren’t impressed in the slightest.

Joe McHugh accused him and the other directors of laughing at those in the room. It was exactly how I felt reading the transcripts of the event. I thought that’s exactly what they did, and Lawwell in particular, falling back on a familiar role; that of a low-rent, end of pier comedian telling the same crap jokes and trying for the same old laugh lines.

But those laugh lines are no longer funny, if they ever were.

When he sniggered over a question about VAR he must have thought it sounded smart to make a crack about Ibrox last conceding a penalty when John Grieg was in the team; some of us cringed.

That’s either the chairman of our club openly mocking us for our legitimate concerns or its someone who thinks the whole thing is a big joke anyway. A lot of people are kidding themselves that it was some sort of “nod and wink to the wise.” It was nothing of the sort. He treated the questioner with contempt.

Nor does he take corporate governance seriously.

His crack about never having read the Five Way Agreement and never intending to also raised a laugh. I’ll tell you right now, those who put their heart and soul into exploring that document and its implications don’t find that kind of casual dismissal the least bit funny.

He was asked a direct question relating to his conduct whilst CEO.

The allegation is that he lied to a prior AGM, an extremely serious charge. He doesn’t take that any more seriously than he does the scandalous refereeing we deal with.

And he should take that seriously, because if he’s telling the truth and he didn’t read that document then for some of us that’s just as bad as lying about it.

That document is the most consequential in Scottish football in the last 20 years.

As far as I’m concerned, he abrogated his responsibilities to our club and to every single one of its supporters if he didn’t go over every line of it with a microscope.

I have read two different drafts of the Five Way Agreement.

I did that because it was obvious that it would have an immense impact on Celtic.

If the man who was the CEO of Celtic really didn’t read it then he had no business being in that job. If he still hasn’t read it then he’s got no business being in the role he has right now.

I don’t think that’s a laughing matter.

I don’t see either scenario as being in the least bit funny.

Nor was I amused by his wise-crack when asked to defend the remuneration of the directors and he said that “you get what you pay for.”

No harm to Michael Nicholson, who I think has done an outstanding job so far, but we could have had a perfectly good CEO for a fraction of the £750,000 he was paid for the last tax year.

And we have no way of knowing what the KPI’s for that are; they certainly don’t relate to progress in Europe and if they’re based on profits then that’s outrageous and there can’t be many football teams which operate like that. No wonder we can’t make tangible progress on the European stage.

If profits come first that explains everything.

I don’t think we do “get what we pay for.”

Not in terms of value.

Not in terms of progress in the areas where we want to see it.

This club hasn’t really taken a big step forward in terms of turnover in years.

Years like the one just past owe everything to Champions League qualification and a major player sale; I’m not saying it doesn’t work, or it’s not effective, or that we’re badly run, but to pretend that we’re making giant strides is a nonsense because anyone can see we’re not.

Ordinary fans only get one chance a year to speak to those who run this club and hold it to account.

They deserve a hell of a lot more respect than they got from that three-ring circus yesterday.

The guy in the chairman’s role played the role of class clown to perfection, but I don’t want the class clown at the head of this football club.

No wonder some of us doubt that we’re in the hands of serious people with a serious plan. They certainly didn’t bother to articulate one in between the crap jokes yesterday.

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  • Scouse bhoy says:

    The celtic agm is just like prime ministers question time an insult to democracy. The fans are paying more for season tickets and european games while they give themselves obscene money. They are so out of touch with the ordinary fan it is shameful.

    • Effarr says:

      Celtic ARE getting what they pay for. They pay Lawwell and Co to con and fleece the fans.
      It*s a wonder he wasn*t trying to flog the latest
      Christmas sweaters after the meeting from an old suitcase.

  • Big sery says:

    Here here

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Think everybody suspected the usual bullshit and empty statements. Imo tae this board, these AGM’s are just an obligatory inconvenience and the ‘jokes’ about penalties were nothin short of embarrassin. Lawwell sounds exactly what he is. A smug tory chairman of a massively lucrative buisness, who thinks he doesn’t need tae take the concerns of the people who pay for his wages (and huge wage rises) that seriously. Along with DD, he’s in charge, end of. Wouldnae bank on them strengthenin the team tae BR’s requirements in January either.

  • Bob (original) says:


    ‘Non Exec’ Chairman, Lawwell simply made an @rse of himself in public,

    and in front of his vey own shareholders.

    IF the Board members prioritise profits over everything else for their bonuses,

    THEN the Board is actually a hindrance to the growth of the brand – and the plc.

    Investing in ‘some’ type of progress in Europe should also expand the bottom line.

    The business’ growth and development is being held back,

    by risk-averse administrators, IMO.

  • king murdy says:

    the arrogant bastard that is peter lawwell….
    he is laughing james…at the club and it’s supporters……all the way to the bank…
    he has his son nicely placed to step into his old role…as has desmond….
    fuk me…they are treating the club as a 3rd rate banana republic cash cow…the kelly’s and white’s have nothing on this mob…

    james, what do you mean two different drafts of the 5 way agreement…? how many drafts are there and why ? i get the point of a draft document, but IS there a final, bone fide document? and, how and when might it see light of day ? – genuine question.

    thank you for another excellent article.

  • Mottman67 says:

    Couldn’t agree more. These people are bleeding the real fans dry and shafting season ticket holders and all the time lining their own pockets and thumbing their noses at small shareholders.

  • SSMPM says:

    Agree with Murdy, are these draft documents available to peruse. If not, can you write an article on the finer points, details and times of writing plz? That would be of significant interest to us forensic readers.
    Back to the AGM. How very interesting that it was held on the same day as the Autumn Statement, though producing polarised financial figures.
    Tory smarminess, pretentious dilution of debt massing and skulduggery with no actual cost benefit improvements for the public from one.
    Tory smug profit making from an in-your-face self-congratulable board with no extra developed planning or cost benefit improvement for the fans from the other.
    It is clear Celtic is run primarily as a family business and not a football club. it’s been clear for sometime. Business, hotel and retail planning ahead of updating the footballing side of the club in particular the proper future team development essential and necessary to compete better in Europe and no plans for upgrading the main stand for the viewing public, many of whom are in long-term waiting lists and that would of course bring in extra finance.
    As I said the other day we’ll be no further forward today than we were prior to the AGM. Those board members, not the fans, are the only ones to have benefitted from the club’s strong financial position.
    There is a bonus though but it’s not for us fans that only want better for our football club, it’s to the Tory bank balances of the board. HH

  • Paul taggart says:

    20 years this piece of shit has been at our club and done nowt about refs or the cheating from across the city just accepted everything wasnt long ago top stand was closed at home games then we had covid when he asked the fans to pay for there season books when him and his tory cronies probably took full wages and now a massive pay rise We will never learn

  • Effarr says:

    The Celtic board condemn a section of the support whilst they themselves commit bigger sins. To have a statue of Brother Walfrid in front of their money-making “casino”, where indecent salaries and utter contempt for their workers and fans are the order of the day, is, to my mind, a sacrilege.
    Time the Catholic Church ordered its removal to somewhere more appropriate. Even Ibrox would be an upgrade for it. It would probably get more respect.

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