Celtic’s Dickensian Nightmare – Well Done, The Stadium

OPINION: Interim CEO Michael Nicholson is reminiscent of Uriah Heep, and “team player” tag affirms these fears…

It speaks at last. Well, a statement was produced anyway. We’re getting really good at them eh?

Ian Bankier and Dom McKay in conversation. Photo: Jeff Holmes

As our “acting CEO” spoke to the fans for the first time since Dom McKay was ousted from Celtic, I don’t think I read anything in his opening soliloquy that hasn’t already been manufactured to death before now. With fans worried – and rightly so – about change not being forthcoming after the short and sweet tenure of Dom, I see little in the statement from Michael Nicholson that will assuage our fears.

That acute stabbing feeling in my gut will not abate, until these people are removed from our Club. In all the conjecture that has been flying around about the departure of Dom, is it really that hard to imagine the most obvious scenario, when the accounts have just shown we lost £11.5 million over the course of the pandemic?

If it’s anything other than a coup, headed by the cravat wearing billionaire and his cronies, I will literally eat my hat. There have been murmurings that Big Daddy D was unhappy at the amount of money spent on players during the window just past. Unbelievable. I mean, what do these people think it takes to rebuild a full new team? How can you work in an industry for so long and know absolutely jack about it?

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell are all smiles. Photo Vagelis Georgariou

Remember the belter last year in his selected interview? Aye, that Celtic team last year was a better outfit than the team that took us to Seville (cue tumbleweed). Disrespectful on a different level.

But onto the new CEO (we all know it will be him).

When I first clapped eyes on him, he reminded me instantly of one of the characters in Charles Dicken’s ‘David Copperfield’. ; namely the shifty Uriah Heep. Heep is described by Dickens as “cadaverous” and the obsequious nature of Heep gives the reader chills.

Reading the CEO’s statement today, I see alarming similarities between the nature of our new Commander-in-chief and the Victorian villain. Let’s look more closely at this. When he was appointed, Chairman and blow-up dummy, Ian Bankier, described Nicholson as a “team-player” wink wink – basically code for saying he will kiss posterior on command. A love-child of the upper deck Cabal incarnate.

Then, we have his shamefully obsequious statement today, going over old ground and thanking previous custodians for their part in a catastrophic end to our ten-in-a-row season. Why was there a need to thank Peter Lawwell instead of the CEO that handed over to him? And why on earth a debt of gratitude to Neil ‘I didn’t do it’ Lennon? Answer: this man is merely an extension of the milieu in which he was created.

Dominic McKay in the directors box. Photo Andrew Milligan

The whole PLC at Celtic embody elements of Dicken’s awful character. They claim to be “umble men”, but in truth, they are so far removed from the people that pay enmasse at the gates, they’d be as well sitting next to Uriah Heep in Charles Dicken’s Victorian novel.

Mr Nicholson may not have done anything personally wrong to me, but his quick Ascension to the head of our football operations, leave fans in no doubt that the status quo remains the same. I just wish we could all wake up from this Dickensian nightmare.

Paul Gillespie

Is this opinion piece by Paul Gillespie fair and reasonable, based on the fact that our writer doesn’t know Michael Nicolson and has never heard him speak? Maybe that’s the problem, he is now not only a Celtic Director but also the Interim CEO as the club comes through a challenging year on and off the park.

The magnificent Celtic support in full voice at the Celtic v AZ Alkmaar game or as Ian Bankier puts  it “our stadium has been operating at near full capacity” – well done the stadium! Photo Andrew Milligan

Nicholson didn’t mention Dom McKay in his statement today, perhaps tellingly. However the thing that might stand out for many people reading this is the failure to properly acknowledge and recognise the incredible backing that Celtic PLC has been given by the Celtic support throughout the pandemic years. Without that level of support, especially in paying full season ticket prices for a year with little or no prospect of seeing a game, Celtic Plc would have been in dire straights and that should have been recognised and properly acknowledged today.

Maybe Celtic FC should alter those ads pictured above that run across their “near full capacity” statement to read something like this…


Can anyone name another club in major world football that received season ticket money paid in full by 60,000 supporters despite not being allowed to attend a game?  The Board can analyse the accounts in any way they like but the truth is that Celtic PLC were bailed out by the Celtic support last season.  The least we should get for that is for the interim CEO to come forward and tell us his plans for taking the club forward.

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.


  1. All I can muster is : looking at the bandstand widescreen set of tailors dummies mumbling rhubarb to anyone daft enough to care , Munch Bunch freebie grabbing ponces masquerading as wait for it ? CUSTODIANS….pass me the brown paper bag

  2. Welcome to Celtic FC Mr. Loss. It’s a year since we lost Mr. Tiny Profit. It was writ large in the stars, that Mr. Large Profit left in Mr. Rodgers suitcase. What lies in the future for Scotland’s biggest and wealthiest football club is anyone’s guess, but without the Celtic support, all that would remain would be a concrete jungle, if you do not understand that, then more fool you.

  3. Paul’s piece was brilliantly thought out and written, the comparison with Uriah Heep was extremely accurate, what a legacy to leave behind and how different Lawwell’s legacy could have been. It’s not so much the Scrooge like mentality, its the contempt that they show towards the support, safe in the knowledge that they can “back slap” each other into their cushy Howff in the boardroom. for me Resolution 12 and the 5Way was the last straw, the last thing real businessmen would do, would be to support their competition.
    Well done Paul, keep them coming. Lawwells legacy continues with Nicholson, is he, Tint Tim Cratchit?

  4. A friend who is a talented film writer told me years ago that when pitching ideas to companies here, even the BBC, the response was usually “Yes, very good but perhaps a bit expensive” whereas when he pitched the same ideas at a Hollywood studio it was “Great, I really think that could work, let’s put some work into this and make it happen”. And it did. The biscuit tin mentality of an owner from the pre-internet era is a tough one to shift. He either realises that you speculate to accumulate or he will miss out (and we will miss out) on that big Ch Lg pot of cash that goes to this season’s league winners…