Good Enough For Liverpool, But Not For Celtic? It’s Now More Complicated Than That.

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One of the stories which is trending tonight, one of the stories that is doing the rounds, is about how ex-Celtic striker Mark Burchill has ended up at Liverpool, working as one of their scouts. Naturally, with the state of our scouting department, people are asking how that can be the case. He’s good enough for one of the biggest clubs in the EPL … but not us?

This is much more complicated than that. We don’t know exactly what Burchill’s remit is, we don’t know whether he’s going to be sent to scout youth players or for the first team. We don’t know whether his job will be to compile data or watch people live.

There are a lot of missing pieces of information here, but here’s something that we can say for absolute certain; if our club had hired Mark Burchill, they would have gotten crucified for it. It would have looked like old pal’s act stuff, it would have been perceived as small-time thinking, more cronyism maybe. That’s the position we’re in now.

That perception problem has been created inside our own walls, by people who have never thought through the full implications or consequences of the way they run our club.

The hiring of Mark Lawwell and his father returning as chair are the two big appointments, but our fans know there are others further down the food chain, some of them made with absolutely no oversight at all. That has bred the inevitable cynicism and mistrust.

I don’t know if Mark Burchill is an outstanding spotter of talent.

I do know that we could not have easily hired him even if he was, because the outpouring of frustration and anger would have been volcanic, because the perception, that this club would have been low-balling again, that this was another board stooge, another yes-man being hired to follow the broad outlines of the so-called strategy, would have been virtually universal amongst the fan-base, and echoed through much of the fan media.

There is a crisis of credibility at Celtic, and it does not matter how many pre-season games they put on or how many oblique hints there are that the summer will answer our questions.

Few people genuinely believe a word of it. We’ve been here too often, and usually with the name Lawwell in a senior position at the club.

His return to Celtic, to work above his son, was so, so stupid and self-defeating. It is mind-bendingly arrogant. He and others knew it would provoke fury.

They never understood, they completely failed to anticipate, although it was perfectly obvious to anyone who didn’t inhabit their bubble, that it would also trigger a legitimacy crisis which would not only envelop them but every single decision they made and every person they hired.

As I’ve said before, Mark Lawwell never stood a chance. Even if he could have survived the doubts about his own hiring – and they were many, and they were severe – he was doomed from the moment Daddy came in as his boss.

That nobody at Celtic cared how dreadful and backwards and selfish it would look and how dangerous to their credibility that it would be tells you everything you need to know about their capacity to lead us properly.

And this affects everything they do, of course, good and bad.

Look at the questions which have dogged Brendan Rodgers from the minute he returned to this club, and which continue to stalk us now.

They would never have been so prominently asked had the two Lawwell’s not been responsible for the transfer strategy he would have to work with. Had neither of those two men been at Celtic Park nobody would have been asking why he bothered to return; everyone would have seen his arrival as a sign that the club had evolved and was ready to back him.

Let me say again what I have before; Peter Lawwell’s very presence at Celtic sows mistrust and division. It does not suggest, nor promote, the idea of strong and stable leadership; instead, it creates instability. It’s like a dead weight foisted upon us.

His promotion to chairman, coming as it did after others had laboured mightily to repair the damage that his finals years as CEO had done, and especially after his son had been hired first, torpedoed any sense of calm or peace or goodwill which existed.

Things cannot evolve past this whilst he is still in post.

Before his return, and his elevation to chairman, those who were in charge at Celtic had presided over an outstanding season and were midway through another one, and there was a genuine hope and belief that the club was on the right road, that we were ready to move forward to that next level.

He undermined it all. He continues to act as a anchor, as a drag, on anything that we announce and any key decision we make in terms of our staff.

Mark Burchill would not have gotten any benefit of the doubt. He would not have gotten time to enjoy his new role. His position, and his credentials, would have been questioned from the first, and it would not have mattered if he had been able to demonstrate a perfect pedigree along with his former connection to this club.

That connection is still what would have done for him, because it would have reeked of Lawwell and those who don’t look beyond a narrow range of candidates, and the only way this will improve, the only way we’ll really be able to progress, is when those people are no longer here.

I wish Mark Burchill well in his new role. One day, if he’s good, if he proves worthy of it, he might yet find himself at Celtic Park in some capacity or another. I always want to see our former people do well, especially if it leads to them bringing what they’ve learned home with them.

But before that happens, the winds of change need to sweep through our boardroom.

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    Penny pinching u only have to look at mginn. He’s paid for WHAT ??taking us backwards again fucking joke he doesn’t want to move us forward and the rest of the board are his silent partners… I’d whipe the board with that gutless shower



  • SSMPM says:

    If Sonny Lawwell ended up at Liverpool we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’d be paying the taxi. Who knows what Burchill’s role is but it’s not going to be head of recruitment I’d barter. HH

  • Jimmy says:

    A good read and in my humble opinion spot on with everything you write James. In particular the Mark Burchill coming to us would have been shot down. Shows how fickle we can be. Would think that if everything was rosey in our garden we would have been receptive to it but in troubling times everything in doubted. Lawell coming back has cast a dark shadow over the club. Some of our performances are a result of backward thinking. What scares me James is that some of our fanbase appear blind to it. To me when we were accepting of Scales Iwata and Palma and others earlier in the season the alarm bells should have been sounding off loudly, never Good enough. We should have players that can operate well in Europe and the Spl would then take care of itself. Sadly our performances there show where we are at.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Bloody Hell Mark Burchill – Now That’s a blast from the past from sure !

    I fondly remember him scoring quite a few for Celtic as he didn’t seem to be selected that often (And Henrik was on the scene as well)…

    Think he also scored the fastest Hat-Trick in the history of Scottish Football as well…

    Another Celtic Record for any lurking Sevco fans or also any lurking Scottish Football Media Huns as well !


    We all know the root cause of the problems you have elucidated on, perception versus reality, lack of strategic thinking,
    appointing yes men to be managed rather than hiring people of talent that you have to support fully and many, many more reasons.
    The Aged, ‘Old School’, predominantly white makeup of our Board belies their claim to aspire to be ‘ World Class’ in everything they do. They are dinosaurs that have found a calm, bountiful refuge and they feel no need to move on.
    Our biggest problem James, is that to put into effect the ‘winds of change ‘ that are necessary, we need to decide on the correct, potent, speedy and all cleansing enema that is required to attain that goal and crucially, identify the most appropriate person or persons to administer it. I sincerely doubt that we will be lacking in volunteers.

  • Martin says:

    Agreed. His abilities are secondary to the optics just now. Essentially Celtic have backed themselves into a corner where the only option they can sell to the fans is:

    Lawwell goes. New head of recruitment is from Northern Europe with no previously connection with the club, and has pedigree at a club renowned for player trading.

    Literally anything else will be doomed from the outset.

  • Frank Connelly says:

    Burchell coming back s an ambassador would do but not another job for an ex player, The whole footballing side needs overhauled and a wider net cast to attract the best coaching staff we can afford. Look at the position of the B team in the lowland league and that would suggest little chance of any future “stars” in waiting. Overhauled cancel that clear out would be more like it. Liewell needs binned asap and a clear out of ex players from all the coaching roles as its clearly not working

  • Frank Rafferty says:

    Both Lawells need to go & soon. And if Desmond can’t do that he should go too. Enough is Enough.

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