Opinion – Managed decline, the team seems to simply support the business

As the ball was placed down for the free kick a voice behind me could clearly be heard to say “it’s going to the left”, as the ball sailed into that exact spot my mind flashed back to June as I stood at Hampden and celebrated our 8th Treble.

Peter Lawwell, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Nicholson. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

How had we got to here in only 6 months? Being beating meekly at home by a frankly bang average Hearts team managed by an under 18-coach seemed to sum up the last few months. Not for the first time, I was again watching what I can only now describe as what over the last years has become Celtic well Celtic it.

How can a team top of the league have supporters calling for the board and individuals heads? Outsiders may think it all seems a bit strange, but they don’t know that the problem is we are simply in a place that this board has put us in before, we as a support have watched this horror show before. Think appointments in the shower, managers interviewed for number two roles getting the main gig, players signed who the manager clearly didn’t want. Our success over the last 15 years have been despite of all these decisions not because.

From a position of power and strength we again stand on the precipice. Bad recruitment, money wasted, downgrading of the talent coupled with managed decline of the squad and at times recently baffling tactics have again have let a team playing out of Ibrox have hope when none should exist.

Peter Lawwell, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Nicholson (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We have again had an opportunity to simply extinguish any little light left and allowed it to grow into a burning flame, worryingly we have allowed a title race to develop that shouldn’t exist. We have had countless opportunities over the last years to break them and psychologically destroy an already unhinged supporter, but never seem to apply that final pressure, the number of times now is could be argued is a deliberate tactic?

This record has played before many times with the current board and incumbents not having the ability to see further than the balance sheet. The team seems to simply support the business, when as supporters we know and expect it be the other way around.

Again, this has resulted in the Celtic supporters having to watch as we play players, who I don’t blame, that really have had their day or aren’t up to the level required for Celtic. Yes, I admit other outside side influences such as unbelievable penalty runs and suspect refereeing haven’t and don’t help but this has and will depressingly always be the case, but in order to overcome these we know we need to twice as good and being honest no Celtic supporter could say that at present.

Peter Lawwell, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Nicholson (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For me this all stems from the managed decline we now regularly go through, the manager is certainly not immune from criticism by any means at present but no one can convince me Brendan Rodgers was sitting in May thinking if I return to management, I definitely need to get Kwon and Tilio in my squad.

No this is a direct result of poor recruitment and the hope that we will sign 11 players in the £2 million bracket and they will turn to gold which in turn will add to the balance sheet, a tactic that we have proved very rarely comes to pass. A board managed by men set in their ways and out of touch results in days like yesterday.

A club imploding, fans divided, a team struggling, players appearing to going through the motion, a manager looking defeated, how has this come to pass in the short time since the glory of Hampden? Simply put a board no longer fit for purpose who have had their day.

Peter Lawwell, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Nicholson (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

I, as most other Celtic supporters never take winning for granted and days like yesterday will happen, we can’t and have no entitlement to win every game nor every trophy but nor should we need to tolerate the periods of decline which are clear to everyone stem from mismanagement by board who it really now feels have certainly passed their sell by date, football has moved on for better or worse and they have stagnated on the vine.

As I sit the morning after the day before I am left to wonder is this dynasty of the Desmond’s and the Lawwell’s really the legacy Fergus wanted, as once again these people have left me watching what I now refer Celtic, it again….

I wrote this in a blind rage as a long-time fan of the site.

Long time Celtic supporter,

Kevin Boyle

Stephen Kingsley’s free kick heads goal wards for his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Hearts  at Celtic Park on December 16, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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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


  1. Martin Blackshaw on

    “Managed decline” is exactly right. This rundown under Rodgers has been orchestrated at Board level to protect profits and bonuses. There was great expectation following Ange’s great work with the team last year and Rodgers was brought back to ensure that it was cooled.

    Now it’s back to “business” as usual, a struggle to secure Premier League and cup success in Scotland together with the usual few games a year before elimination in Europe. This time around, though, Rodgers has humiliated the club in Europe and looks to have lost the dressing room, which bodes ill for the Premier League title this year. Unless things change very quickly, it will be Rangers who gain access to those hiked up profits in the Champions League next season. It almost feels deliberate, like the 10 IAR season!

    • Garbage the fat Aussie that couldn’t wait to bolt and was working his ticket from day 1! Lost ,3 leagues before September weekend in first season and embarrassed is in qualifiers! Europe league and conference cup! Dont not you remember?! And got 2 points! In champions league!! No no and no that guy was a myth! And is a pr Job now down south, I live in Australia so I know better than most they sell these type a guys as his success is theirs as they seek validation and relevance for UK but mostly America but footwall wise is pathetic ” eplll mhate” they not got a clue!! Trust me is a fashion thing for them like patheticly is the royals! Makes them feel relevant! But you need to live here to know! ” Ange” greez a break! He only down there now cause no one else wanted that job and the recruitment guy is an Aussie!! The fat one was on zoom calls in April grovelling for that job while talking utter bs to clown shoes like you! This all been reported in Australia so geez a break! Brendan won 9 on a row !! Lennon just baby sat those last few months while amost blowing it!! So no more of that Aussie chancer eh we now landed with plenty of his cross signing to! You not got a clue

        • Whay a load of mispelt nonsense you talk,you can only judge what you see and Ange had team playing good football and is now doing the same in the premier which is far superior than the Aussie league,think you should cut back on the Fosters.

  2. Your point has been clear for years…..especially since the custodians have said it many times ! They want the huns in competition in Scotland, because they know that the mugs will continue forking out for a parochial obsession, no matter what. So supporting Celtic at the moment is no different from ” I drink lager “. That’s your product of choice/ Don’t like it, buy from another company. The real reason most supporters hate the Green Brigade ( No I am not in the Green Brigade ! I just have some insight !) is because they remind them of what they would be if they didn’t put on their corporate manufactured personna and bury their heads. It makes people feel uncomfortable at their own inaction, bury my head in the sand and don’t rock the boat, when they know something is patently wrong. Put it in a box. The vast majority of people will run to war to be blown to smithereens, but won’t take a baton to the head to fight for health, housing, a job, a fair wage, etc. earned rights. Fear of being different from the herd ???
    In essence, we will have to suck up the shit from the corporate board ! As the freestater owner of the club said, ” If a million people say my decision is wrong and I don’t think so, I will still make my decision ! “

    • Martin Blackshaw on

      Then why doesn’t the Green Brigade and all the other agitators like them simply abandon sport and take up politics. What a load of mince!

      • You would know, cos its all you ever write ! No point me adding that for ostriches such as yourself, they are intertwined…a bit too complex for your one neurone to work with !

  3. “other outside side influences such as unbelievable penalty runs and suspect refereeing haven’t and don’t help but this has and will depressingly always be the case” – that’s a MASSIVE point that a lot of us are putting tomthe side in our understandable anger with the board, the manager & the team in general. It must be so much easier to know that in EVERY game you’ll likely be gifted a soft penalty to get your team’s heads back up & get them on the front foot again. The blatant cheating from the referees is beyond a joke now, Clancy yesterday, for example, didn’t have to make major decisions to influence the game away from us, but the not giving free-kicks, giving them a free-kick any time they fell over, as well as blatantly giving them throws and corners when obvious last touch was off of a Hearts player all contribute to defeats like that.

    Their first goal would’ve/ could’ve easily been disallowed with a biased VAR intervention for blocking our defenders & their free kick goal was never a free kick in the first place. Add to that challenges like the one on Calmac edge of the area & likely handball that VAR ignored all add up to a defeat lime that. Obviously, alongside baffling team selections & a poor performance.

    The referees wanted Beale out in the end, and they helped him on his way by stopping the gifting of penalties etc. I would love to see the stats for pens at the start & end of his tenure. Now the refs are all on Clement’s side & he’ll not believe his “luck,” i’m sure.

    There’s something rotten at Parkhead, for definite, but I can imagine these blatantly biased officials are loving it as we implode & turn on each other whilst they can sit back in the shadows & watch us tear ourselves to shreds. All is not lost .. yet! HH

    • We see again the obvious bias/ blatant cheating with the shirt pull not looked at & Duk taken out by Butland ignored.

      Also, what if .. Ange left because he was told the miniscule budget he’d be allowed for his CL attempts in his 2nd season. The Liewells hope for a young puppet manager they can control, Desmond tells them it has to be BR, so .. the Liewells go ahead & purchase 9 players whilst making out they are Ange’s scouted targets .. but, none of them actually are!!

      THIS would explain the shit-show (& BR’s petted lip) that we’re seeing now. And, I don’t feckin blame him tbh

  4. After 20 years there can be no other conclusions, this is a deliberate strategy, designed it seems to keep the boards business partners over Ibrox way, in business.