Opinion – Board must show the supporters that they share our ambitions for the Celtic

Like so many Celtic supporters I am so frustrated at the regime which runs Celtic Football Club.

No one can deny that, at first glance, they have been prudent custodians of the Club’s finances and have put us in a strong financial position vis-a-vis theRangers and the rest of Scottish football; increasing turnover, higher wages for players, more money in the bank…

But closer scrutiny reveals the truth behind the oft quoted financials: poor European results on a regular basis costing the Club tens of millions of potential earnings, a narrowing gap between us and the resurrected Govan club threatening our dominance in the League, a real and widening divide between the Board and the supporters over the direction the Club is taking, with Club directors who appear to value dividends above the success of the Club on the park.

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As the article on The Celtic Star this morning highlighted, many supporters saw the appointment of Rodgers as a turning point in the Board’s thinking and a first step towards resurrecting our ambitions, not just domestically but in Europe. Domestically it was successful beyond most of our wildest dreams – eleven successive trophies (and counting) including an Invincible season!

Europe was a big disappointment, mostly down to Rodgers’ tactics in going toe-to-toe with superior teams when a more circumspect approach would have avoided embarrassing defeats, and Lennon’s baffling team selections in home games where we were favourites to progress but ended up with more embarrassing defeats.

These last few defeats under the stewardship of Neil Lennon were harder to accept by the supporters given the quality of opposition – but the reaction (or lack of) by a Board when this had cost the Club tens of millions in Champions League money was curious. Silence!

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This loss of potential earnings should have galvanised a Board which had the long term future of the Club at heart. The loss of such monies could only damage our ability to maintain if not widen the gap between us and our rivals, particularly as our main competitors were regularly ringing up multi-million pound losses each season. This CL money would have cemented our dominance for the foreseeable future – yet not a word from the Board about the failure of the coach to secure qualification from positions of apparent strength.

This season many who questioned the rush to appoint Neil Lennon in the face of significant unease from supporters have had their worst fears confirmed. Even the most fervent, blinkered supporter would have to admit that, so far, this season has been poor. More worryingly, there is no guarantee that things will improve given the reasons for supporters’ criticisms of the team and the coaching staff.

There is not a single Celtic supporter who would deny the contribution that Neil Lennon has made to the successes of the Club, both as player and coach. That said, no business can flourish if nostalgia is the criterion for appointment of the single most important employee of that business. Neil Lennon had his time at the Club as a coach, successful for the most part, but was man enough to see when his time was over. Kudos to him that he was willing to step in when Rodgers (for whatever reasons) abandoned us mid-season.

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He got us over the line in the League and secured the Scottish Cup. Thank You, Neil! But that was seen by many supporters as a Celtic man stepping up and helping the Club in its hour of need, as we all would do, and not as a continuation of the long term plan to appoint the best coach available to continue improving the club.

However, instead of continuing to ensure the future success of the Club by appointing another coach of the calibre of Rodgers (and he was a level above Lennon) the Board reverted to the old penny-pinching mind-set of previous Boards and chose the ‘cheap’ option by confirming Neil Lennon as the permanent coach. The ‘cheap’ option turned out to be a very expensive one as CL millions were squandered in 2019 and 2020 under the present coaching regime.

Now the Ten-in-a-Row is threatened by the team’s poor start to the season . The league is NOT lost – yet – but many supporters have little faith in the present coaching staff turning it around. This is the moment for the Celtic Board to show us, the supporters, that they too share our ambitions for the Club. They have hidden behind the coaching staff for too long this season when matters on the park have not been up to the standard we expect. Now they have to bite the bullet. Either replace the coaching staff or state unequivocally that they stand by the current setup!

If it is the latter then we , the supporters , will be in no doubt about the Club’s ambition and will consider this when asked to buy season tickets in the future. HH


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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