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Are Rumours Of A Celtic “Boardroom Clear Out” To Believed?

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Oh, we’re really getting the pile-on today, aren’t we friends? First was Lawwell’s “promise” to spend money on the team, which was highlighted and spun last night by his media buddies and today we have the speculation that there will be a “boardroom clear-out.” Coincidently, these are the very two things the fans are demanding.

Why does it sound too good to be true?

There have been rumours, for weeks, about Mark Lawwell “working his ticket.” There are stories out there about the club “requesting” that people take down stuff relating to those rumours, but whatever the truth behind the take down stories is, it’s right to be sceptical about the main one. The people on our board have rarely, if ever, been properly accountable and most of them have never had the first thought of taking any voluntarily.

For all that, one question has haunted a lot of Celtic supporters; why does Dermot Desmond allow this club to be run by such raging mediocrities? He would not allow any other business in his rather significant portfolio to run like this. Does he not look at a club which employs so many Strachan’s and Lawwell’s and where the directors allow him to run roughshod over everyone in the building and wonder what in God’s name is going on?

But Desmond has watched this happening for years now, and has never made a single move to fix it. Why would he suddenly change his mind now? Lawwell has been his front man for nearly 20 years. Desmond personally agreed to have him return as chairman; did he not realise what affect that would have on the whole club? Or did he just not care?

Fans want to believe. The board knows that fans want to believe. That’s why we get stories like these the moment there are signs of anger in the stands. They are old hands at this, these people, and they know they have to provide us with some hope after a season like this, one spent in the doldrums where the doubts that have lain dormant have finally erupted.

The story in this case comes from a familiar figure; the former SPL CEO Roger Mitchell, who is a Celtic fan and has widespread contacts in the game. He’s also a blowhard who enjoys being the centre of attention and has a penchant for blocking people who disagree with him. He may still have friends at Celtic Park, but whether you can trust that he can spot when he’s being put up as someone’s useful idiot is a different question entirely.

If the board wanted this story in the public domain, he’s someone you could feed it to and be sure that it will get into the media. These people aren’t daft. They know they need to pull a major rabbit out of the hat here, but they also know that the illusion might be enough to get them through a sticky spell. Mitchell may just be daft enough to let himself be the patsy for something like that. Which doesn’t necessarily mean the story isn’t true.

Because Desmond didn’t build his reputation like this. He has to be a better businessman, and one who demands a certain standard from the people around him. More to the point, his kids are the ones who he plans to inherit this club and if his son is more and more coming to have an influence then surely he will bring different ideas to the table.

If this is Desmond Jnr pushing a new agenda, might there be something in the works then? He has apparently attended board meetings and he turns up at the AGM when Desmond himself can’t be bothered to show up. Maybe he has some different ideas about what Celtic could, and should, be and if that’s the case then Desmond has to start listening to those.

See, we know that this board is risk averse and when you look around it you find a lot of accountancy types and bean counters, but not a lot of folk who have gone out on the limb and actually taken big chances for big rewards. All except for Desmond himself, who has shown himself to be a world class businessman and must have gambled to get there.

At some point, you think he has to look at the amateurish operation at Celtic and start to demand the club up its game. Under Ange, he probably thought we were on the right road, and he can see as well as we can that the current transfer system works a lot less well than whatever one the former manager brought in and made work in two brilliant windows.

Almost all of us balk at the idea of Celtic being run by one individual and especially one who on the surface of it controls only a third of the shares and officially sits only as a non executive director. But it is the reality of the situation, whether we like it or not.

When we talk about the boardroom being reformed, then, what we’re really talking about is Desmond grabbing a hold of this situation and deciding we’re going to finally build a football department which shows we mean business.

This is not the first time these rumours have surfaced, and so we are all entitled to take them with a rather large pinch of salt. But it’s hard to escape the impression that sooner or later there has to be a bloodletting inside our board room and some fresh thinking brought to the club and it is Desmond, for all we may wish otherwise, who can get that done.

Whatever the thinking was behind putting Lawwell and Rodgers into the same structure, that has blown up in everyone’s face. It clearly doesn’t work and nothing is going to make it work. Having Lawwell Jnr running transfers has failed lamentably. I’ll get to that subject later on today. We have gone backwards from a position of genuine strength to one where we now look abject and weak in the space of just a few months. For some people at the club, the position is already untenable whether we win this title or not.

A boardroom clear-out is long overdue. Shareholders are now concerned that the club has rejected best practices in relation to the appointment of the chairman, the decision-making process which led to the hiring of Lawwell Jnr and the recommended length of service for a non-executive director. They also want clarity on how exactly those NED’s have held the board to account over the last couple of years. Change is coming, one way or another.

So it may well be that Desmond has decided to do something radical, and if his son is taking charge of the process that becomes even more likely, and you would think that the optimal moment to do it is now whilst the process is still sort of in their hands, and before shareholders do rally together the support to start pushing changes of their own.

We have no way of knowing if this is true, and based on past statements if Roger Mitchell said the grass was green you’d do well to seek a second opinion, but there is enough in the wind right now, and the club is sufficiently spooked that we can’t rule it out.

But if some possible change at some future time is what’s on offer to fans come season ticket time, nobody should be putting down their cash on the strength of maybe something someday, because of course someday never comes and we’ve been waiting a long time for it already.

At some point one of two things has to happen; the fans have to make a credible threat to withhold money or this board has to get real and actually make changes rather than talk about them.

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  • Jim says:

    The only truth in the rumour I’d believe is that DD realises that a hellava lot of money could be lost in the champions league if the title goes pear shaped.

    Lawwell must realise the games up for himself and mini me if this is indeed the scenario.

    Win or lose lawwell cannot survive, so for his empty promises of spending on players for next season is his last plea to hold on ,it’s too little to late, he’s messed up continuously, especially this seasons recruitment.

    His legacy is the bhoy who cried wolf too many times

  • Captain Swing says:

    I think this is wind and p1$h, to be honest. If there is any change afoot behind closed doors, I think Phil Mac G may have got wind of the nature of it – The Celtic Foundation’s New York Gala Dinner next month being attended by one D. Desmond Esq. My inner cynic hypothesises that after 25 years DD may have tired of waiting for his investment to pay out the jackpot and he could be looking to offload his chunk of it to private equity investors from the US. Making it as cash-rich as possible will make it more saleable and this more profitable. Think ‘Glazers at Manchester United’ but on a smaller scale’…… we need change, but not all change is for the better.

  • Jim says:

    Not a chance ANYTHING will change.
    Surely to God, Celtic fans aren’t going to be taken in, AGAIN. Surely not ???????

    DD getting involved? Did he get involved to support and/ or save, Dominic McKay?
    An appontment he must have had a great deal to do with in the first place?
    Stay awake people.

  • Charlie says:

    The whole question comes down to what actually is a “club”. The owner/owners, the board, the players or the fans. All four?

    The fans provide the income the board decides how it is spent.

    The owners, the board, staff and players benefit financially

    The only people not making money are the fans but little do they care if the money is being used to put a winning team on the park.

    If that doesn’t happen then the fragile relationship breaks down and the fans start resenting paying for it.

    Especially if anyone takes their role for granted.
    The board have simply held on to the money rather than let it flow to the team and the situation has become stagnant.

  • Jimmy Quinn says:

    Deadly decisions cost millions in the football world
    Picking the wrong manager leads to destruction
    Right throughout the club..

    Just look south of the river.

    Mowbury put us back 20 years.

    This present guy could do the same.

  • Roonsa says:

    “At some point one of two things has to happen; the fans have to make a credible threat to withhold money …..”

    Celtic fans don’t have a collective hive brain., James. Organising any credible threat like that will take more than some words in a blog post.

    We are talking a good fight but I haven’t seen any.action that could be considered contributing towards a credible threat.

    It reminds me of that scene in Life of Brian when the Peoples Front of Judea are planning to bring down the Roman occupation:

    We’ve got to get off our arses and stop talking about it.

    Hear, hear

    I agree. It’s action that counts, and we need action now.

    Hear, hear.

    Right. We sit around all day, talking, passing resolutions, making clever speeches and it’s not affecting one Roman soldier.

    So let’s stop gabbing on about it. It’s completely pointless, and it’s getting us nowhere.

    Agree. This is a complete waste of time.

    Etc etc.

    • James Forrest says:

      You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. I do. Believe me, this isn’t as calm as it seems on the surface.

    • Jimmy Quinn says:

      Good heavens I’ll glad some of yours din’t see Celtic in 1940’s of 50’s..

      40 Trophies 20 odd years

      9 INROW..

      Trebles
      Double Trebles
      Treble Trebles

      Quadruple Trebles

      In. 2003…. Not a dime in the Bank

      2024… Almost £90.. million in the Bank…

      • James Forrest says:

        Oh fuck off. Are you defending this shower?

        Honest to God.

        “Thank God you weren’t around for the 40’s?”

        Is that really an argument we’re supposed to take seriously. Fucking pathetic.

        • Jimmy Quinn says:

          Never in million years would I speak to fellow Celtic Supporter like that..

          If you don’t agree with others opinions

          No need for that attitude utter disgraceful
          Losing respect for yourself..

      • Sid says:

        You deserved that, what kinda nonsense is that? The decline and mismanagement is horrific, yet you cite at least its not 80 odd years ago. You’ve totally embarrassed yourself Jimmy.

  • Frank Connelly says:

    Question. What qualifications does Desmond jnr have James, Hopefully not another accountant.

  • Patrick Cannon says:

    James the current people running the club aren’t fit for purpose, in my opinion Fergus would be ashamed of them, but I feel in a spot because I’ve had the same seat since Fergus saved the day and the only time I’ll give it up is when I pop my clogs, I’m on an automatic renewal they would simply sell it to someone else in a heartbeat there will be lots of fans like me you almost feal powerless. I’m a very small shareholder I think the only way to get anything at them is through the shareholders, I know there is a few people trying that but I think we need a bigger push on that to get people on board, I think if you and Phil pushed for this people might buy it more. I would certainly back some kind of initiative fronted by yourselves

  • Peter Cassidy says:

    What is all this nonsense about Desmond going to clear out the board “room they only do what he tells them has done since he became the biggest shareholder . He brought in Rodgers after Lennon lost the league then they messed with not giving proper funds for players and lawell buying dross Rodgers did not help either by jumping back to the EPL .Ange did a great job but again lawell lurking and Ange saw what was going to happen and got a great move to spurs you can’t blame him Scottish football is really 2nd”rate if we are truthful and now we have Rodgers back doing a terrible job but boys jam tomorrow trust us just keep spending your cash with us.

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