The announcement of Celtic’s hoped for modernisation under the leadership of Dominic McKay having ended before it really got started is a blow to those who believed Celtic’s now departing CEO was a man who could reverse the managed decline exhibited under our previous micromanaging accountant-turned-director of football.
Indeed, his transfer window success in turning around the squad, allied to what appeared to be a strong working relationship with Ange Postecoglou was something of a modern-day miracle in comparison Celtic’s previous squad management.
The news is a bitter blow to Celtic supporters who saw clear and obvious early indications of a club, and a Board in particular, who could be dragged kicking and screaming into the 2020’s and at least improve on just how far we were behind the curve when it came to forward-thinking football clubs. Sadly, with McKay now announcing, or at least the club announcing, his departure for ‘personal reasons’ the future direction of the club remains uncertain.
Every single Celtic fan of course wishes Dominic McKay the very best when it comes to navigating any difficult circumstances he may have to in the coming weeks and months. However, it must be considered that Celtic as a club haven’t exactly instilled any confidence when it comes to transparency with the support and as such anyone with any level of cynicism when it comes to Celtic’s custodians may well have an outlook that cries ‘suspect’ to today’s surroundings.
Let’s take the statement itself. There are no quotes from the outgoing CEO, there is no mention of how, when, and if a long-term replacement will be sought. Instead, we have a previous Peter Lawwell appointment in post as a sudden stop gap with Michael Nicholson appointed as an acting CEO.
Then there is the timing. 72 days of a CEO is strange is it not? As is the explanation of the personal reasons. If the reasons are personal, does that not indicate a sabbatical, rather than a permanent solution? Then you have to consider the announcement comes soon after the manager himself spoke to the press this afternoon. Once again cynical it may be, but to avoid direct questioning on such a matter, when you consider the club had clearly reached an agreement with Nicholson to step up, such conversations are unlikely have happened between Ange Postecoglou meeting the press and Friday tea-time.
That for me simply smacks of wishing to avoid press scrutiny and trying to get enough time to get your ducks in a row after an almighty row.
Then there is the consideration that a Friday evening, a day utilised by our near neighbours and many others besides, when it comes to reducing scrutiny is an age-old trick of the trade. ‘Personal reasons’ may well be the case, the timing of release on a Friday evening may be coincidental, but there has to be a healthy dose of cynicism added to the Friday night meal Celtic are wishing us to swallow tonight.
There have been rumours abound that Celtic’s CEO was finding his modernising ideas being far from welcomed, if not dismissed, but rumours they were and rumours they remain. And as much as it is difficult now to take anything our pale, male and stale Board offer as genuine reasons for anything we have to assume that ‘personal reasons’ is not, as it is so often, code for the buying of silence as it is in other walks of business life.
If that is to be the case then we’ll soon hear from Dom McKay, we’ll soon be furnished with a timetable for a modern thinking and comparable replacement for the new man and we’ll then know that this Celtic Board haven’t shot themselves in the foot, reloaded and taken aim at the toes they’ve missed.
For us as Celtic supporters this will be a surprise, but it probably isn’t a shock, not for a Board who presided over a summer of transfer discontent at the expense of Champions league football year after year and not after the time it took to listen to the support as 10-in-a-row unravelled and eventually get rid of Neil Lennon, and not when this board presided over but couldn’t close the deal for Eddie Howe.
Yet one man will be shocked, the man who has built up a relationship with Dom McKay, the man who has barely been able to disguise his own surprise of the state of paralysis Celtic was in when he arrived. If Celtic want to ensure there isn’t someone else finding ‘personal reasons’ for his own departure then this Celtic Board need to think beyond the stop gap who would make Peter Lawwell look cutting edge, move quickly and ensure at least one of the two best things to happen to Celtic in the last two years feels he has a chance to succeed and is not left twisting in the wind.
Because you had told him about this Celtic hadn’t you, before you sent him to face the media?