With Real Accountability Celtic’s “Head Of Recruitment” Would Have Six Days To Save His Job.

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From the moment Mark Lawwell was announced as the “head of recruitment” at Celtic, this blog has been castigating the appointment as an unpardonable disgrace. Every step of the way, people have been justifying it on various spurious grounds.

The first justifications came on Day One. He worked for the City Group so he can’t be a mug. He was “Ange Postecoglou’s first choice.” He was an obvious candidate given his status in the game.

None of those stood up to scrutiny then or now.

His job at the City Group was so vague that his allies still can’t agree on what his job title was or what department he worked in. He was most certainly not, as some have suggested, the head of scouting at that club. Yet even if he was, would that really have made him a good fit for Celtic? A job like that is easy when you have more money to spend than any other club in the world. You are working with elite professionals and there is no player anywhere out of your financial reach.

The idea that he was “Ange Postecoglou’s choice” made no sense. First, Ange Postecoglou did what managers have been doing since time immemorial; he backed up a decision his bosses had made. We know now that Ange had no intention of hanging around to work with him either. We know also that the club was at least half aware of that as contract offers had been rebuffed. So the club had serious concerns that Ange was ready to go and Ange himself had made up his mind to go when a decent offer came along … so the idea that Ange picked him and we went with him because it fitted into some grand overall strategy was, and is, nonsensical.

Lawwell’s “status” in the game is highly questionable too. Since we don’t actually know for sure what his remit at the City Group was or what it involved, we have no way of being able to judge how well respected or otherwise he was within football. We can say, for sure, however that as far as our board was concerned a major selling point was his second name.

The case against him was obvious. There were better candidates we could have gotten whose name was not Mark Lawwell. Whatever anyone else might offer in his favour there is nobody who realistically disputes that. The idea that there was an actual process to identify the best candidate is an insult to our collective intelligence. We know better.

The worst thing about this appointment is what it says about the internal process of the club. There is no meritocracy here. You are hired on the basis of who and not what you know. This means that your continued employment with the company does not depend on success because the same patronage which saw you hired will ensure you never get punished for failure.

In any corporate culture where there were measurable results and consequences for failure, Mark Lawwell would have six days to save his job. He is supposed to deliver and meet the needs of the manager and by any serious metric he has failed so far.

The excuses are already being trotted out for him that this is a tough window in which to sign players; I’m afraid that’s absolute rot. Luke Thomas of Leicester, who Rodgers knows well, has just gone on loan to Middlesbrough. He would have been a decent answer to our left-back problem. There are good players around, it’s just that Lawwell has not been able to identify who they are or which of them can be gotten right now for the right price.

But in the culture which prevails at Celtic Park, where he is judged based on which of his signings the manager and coaches can turn into decent footballers – decent to Scottish standards; the idea that they might develop any of these guys into elite European footballers would demand that they are here longer than two or three years – he is perfectly safe.

Who, after all, is going to walk into the office of the son of the chairman and ask him to give a full and frank account of what he’s been doing these many months? Who is going to tell him that he needs to deliver or pack up his pencils and beat it? Who has the authority to over-rule someone like Lawwell, acting with the backing of Desmond?

And at which other serious organisation would an absentee shareholder basically dominate the whole of the board in the manner Desmond does here? It is pathetic. This club may run prudently but that does not mean that it is run particularly well. It may win trophies and honours but that does not mean that those at the top of it know what they are doing in charting a strategic course. There is no indication that they do.

But it’s the hiring practices that really stink to high heaven. This board has appointed two managers twice, promoted a novice and gave him the gig, appointed a guy who was supposed to come in as an assistant manager to the top job and hired a European football novice on a whim when their main candidate strung them along for months.

The CEO is an internal appointment, made in a hurry after they sacked the guy they’d brought in to change the whole culture; he himself had lasted mere months. The coaches are ex-players with emotional connections to the club rather than the best and most qualified people for the job. The chairman is the ex-CEO who had already been at the club for too long, a reward for failure after his managerial pick had self-destructed and cost us ten in a row.

Nobody is going to hold Mark Lawwell to account; that was the biggest problem I had with the appointment right from the start. It stinks of a corporate culture where this club is seen as the personal plaything of a handful of people with no regard whatsoever for professional standards or accountability, and it is we, the fans, who will suffer for it.

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  • Bunter says:

    Nailed it once again James. Nepotism FC right enough.

  • Pat meechan says:

    Can’t disagree I have said the same thing,infact I’ve said the LAWEL’s family are treating celtic like a.private pension fund

  • Pat says:

    Does anyone really know what went on with Dominic McKay and why he left? At least his background was checkable.

  • Bigbaws says:

    I have to laugh at supporters who thought it would be any different. Lawwell never left the club, he’s been there the whole time. His son was appointed for the sole purpose of doing what his dad tells him. No one else with any credibility would have taken the job under those circumstances

  • Joe McLaughlin says:

    James, I totally agree but it’s even worse than that. You failed to mention the sons of Strachan who I believe now number 3 and a goalkeeper coach who has been there for too many years. There is also son of Desmond stating at the AGM that Celtic were considered a family possession.

  • Magua says:

    I did not think for one minute, that DD would allow the elder Lawwell to get up to his usual cheating shenanigans, in order to help his buddies at Ibrox. I mean, who could be so stupid as to allow this to happen? One year on, Ibrox placeman Lawwell is doing everything in his power to harm Celtic. Feck him. Feck his equally incompetent offspring. Feck the PLC.

    Hail Hail.

  • BJM says:

    Ange was an ambitious manager, maybe celtics lack of ambition may have had a bigger influence on him leaving than I initially thought.
    Can’t believe Rodgers is letting this incompetent board put his own reputation on the line .

    • Bob (original) says:

      Think you’re bang on the money there.

      Ange probably sussed out the Board very quickly,

      and he had absolutely no intention of being held back

      himself. Smart guy for telling the Board where to stick

      their contract offers.

      …but this makes BR’s return even more confusing.

      Did BR decide that CFC was going to be his last club

      manager role – so he’s putting up with the nonsense?

  • Tumas says:

    I’ll say it once again… Why destroy the league by financially outclassing your arch-rivals in every way possible, to the point of no return, when you can simply manufacture a false sense of competitiveness within your league (with your rivals) by holding back on transfers, in order to push NewCo along and save the SPFL and NewCo long-term? And all for the sake of scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to sponsorship deals for the SPFL.

  • Davie says:

    Lawell & Lawell should not be at Celtic, same old routine of player signings.
    These people are only interested in their guaranteed profit bonus with money in the bank.
    Peter Lawell said we need money as a back up if times go wrong.
    Lawell & Lawell will eventually erode that bank figure by paying profit bonus payments, in particular to Lawell jnr & the fading into oblivion Nicholson.
    My opinion is Rodgers should also be gone, he has accepted the status Quo of the hierarchy AGAIN, Rodgers has no guts to challenge them.
    Problem positions have just about passed another window with nil actions.
    DD Lawell & Lennon lost the 10iar, sneering and showing contempt towards The Rangers without developing the team.
    My honest opinion is Lawell, Lawell, Nicholson, Rodgers are failing and need shown the door, if these guys were honourable they would just leave.
    The current players are good enough to win the league, if all remain injury free, should we win the league it’s down to the efforts of the players, even with the unresolved problem positions.

  • Mark B says:

    It is looking like a complete shambles … and as I have said repeatedly our rivals keep on winning. The league is now fifty fifty at best for us….less if we place more emphasis on form of last ten games or so. Shambolic we have got to that position from a much larger lead.

  • Tomski says:

    Well fucking said james get the lawwells out & let us be a proper run football club …technically!!

  • North Stand Malcontent says:

    Fantastic piece. I’d add that the parallels with the old regime are frightening.

  • Slugger O’Toole says:

    Desmond and his lackey Lawwell are interested in making money, they are not bothered about improving the team.
    They conspired in the formation of the new club and the lack of punishment for the old club.
    They want the Rangers to do well. It makes financial sense for them.
    We’ve had dreadful chairmen and useless board members for the last 70 years apart from Fergus McCann.Unless Desmond and Lawwell leave we shall never have the dynamic, intelligent ambitions board we need .
    We all knew it would be a disaster if Lawwell returned.


    Any shareholder out there care to take this issue of Nepotism, Cronyism and specifically Lawwell Snr’s appointment as Chairman up with the Stock Exchange as it’s a clear breach of their best practice guidelines.
    Worth a try. May not amount to much other than a ‘Tut, Tut’ from them but the message will have been sent.


  • Daviebhoy. says:

    Replaced Kelly’s and White’s with Desmond and Lawells etc.

    There comes a time when all company’s big and small go stale, get complacent and their refusal to move with the times starts their downfall.

    If our neighbours in Southern Glasgow weren’t as incompetent as they’ve been up until now.
    They’d have built on the COVID season and grabbed the reigns.
    They did throw away 7/8 points leads in both of Anges seasons after all.

    Maybe losing the league this year would force a reaction…..again

  • Chris says:

    If I were a shareholderI would request a copy of Lawwell jnr’s,resume,CV,whatever you want to call it.
    Has this clown ever played football ?

  • Greg Dykes says:

    Very well summarised. We all looked around each other at the start of January while Rodgers stated they were looking at quality we all knew the biscuit tin was being placed back on the shelve. Hard to see how rodgers will continue with this mentality. U can see lawwel coming onto his office..‘sorry Brendan the guy wanted too much..’

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