Please excuse today’s ramblings of a paranoid Celtic mind. As The Celtic Star already covered at the weekend, we’ve had BBC Sportsound reporting on Celtic’s imminent financial demise, despite being Scotland’s most stable club. All the while ignoring nigh on eight years of loss making at Scottish football’s newest start up. Then the ignoring of the £10milllion shortfall in funding that needed to be bridged to make it to the end of LAST season and BEFORE the Covid 19 shutdown occurred, not to mention the going concern warnings – and my word do they always ensure they don’t mention that!
Instead it is doomsday scenarios abound at Celtic. Cost cutting predicted – stopping short of fire sales and a £30million surplus disappearing by the second. Gleefully reporting that a club taking a responsible approach to their wage bill in uncertain times is a sign of an imminent financial collapse rather than prudent housekeeping.
As Sportsound debate our ability to ride out the Covid 19 financial storm, at the same time they laud the season ticket sales at Ibrox – 32,000 they proclaim. Revelling in their self-created fantasy that the gap will diminish in the accounts, and as a result will shorten the gulf between Celtic and the rest on the park. Yet this is wishful thinking.
One quick check with a well-placed source and the Celtic Star Editor finds out rather quickly that season ticket sales are progressing well and picking up as they head for deadline day. It seems then that Celtic fans may be ensuring Celtic are going to ramp up the financial advantage.
Furthermore it’s reported – and once again by the Celtic Star and not mainstream media – that Celtic appear to be going all in on the media deal to give season ticket holders the best alternative to actually being at the match that Celtic can. Furthermore the club are in discussions with supporters groups as they look to find ways to give value and reward to these season ticket holders in the months to come, as a way of thanking supporters for jumping in blind to support the club.
Perhaps then on the back of this story, some praise for the supporters and Peter Lawwell as to how the fans and the club are coming together to find certain ways to emerge from uncertain times would now be the order of the day from the mainstream media.
With that in mind I tuned in to the BBC Scotland Podcast hoping to hear this positive story in Scottish football. I was waiting for the moment Brian McLaughlin balanced his weekend reporting by pointing out the uptake of season tickets had been good and that Celtic fans should be commended by such a leap of faith in such uncertain times. You know like they did when they released the running total for Hibs, Aberdeen and of course the club across the road and made time to laud the actions of Dave Cormack and Ron Gordon et al.
Well we’re still waiting.
Instead it was doom and gloom around Ann Budge, the Court of Session and the imminent delay to the football season that legal action will apparently almost certainly result in. That and a story about Peterhead boss Jim McInally getting a letter of warning for using the word bias on a previous BBC podcast. That’s how quiet a news day it was. Bored? I think I actually dozed off for a bit. Yet no mention of the feel-good factor at Celtic Park. Quelle surprise.
You’d think in what can only be described as Scottish football’s summer of discontent, verging on Civil War that some positivity would be welcome on a podcast laden down with the negatives of our game for months now. But no once again that’s left to those involved with Celtic media to let the fans know what’s really going on.
It reminded me of that famous Gordon Strachan quote when he was interviewed post-match.
Reporter: “There’s no negative vibes or negative feelings here?”
Strachan replied: “Apart from yourself, we’re all quite positive round here. I’m going to whack you over the head with a big stick. Down negative man, down!”
Because things are positive at Celtic. The fans are backing the club. The uptake on season tickets has been good and as with most years the largest spike is likely to be in the final days. We have a new record breaking kit sponsorship with Adidas due to begin, and the only players that look like they are heading out are ones whose contracts have expired and hadn’t been seen as first team regulars, or loan deals that are returning to their parent clubs. Something Celtic do every year in fact to make way for new signings.
Someone could have picked up the phone to Celtic and I’m sure the update would have been forthcoming. But they don’t want to do that do they?
The BBC in particular have been at odds with ‘the’ Rangers for some time now. Met with a media ban. Yet this summer they’ve very much been pushing the resurgence narrative and ignoring the negative when it comes to stories from Ibrox – Only Michael Stewart has been a dissenting voice and even that was via his Twitter account rather than the broadcaster.
When it comes to coverage of the Scottish football fallout, the likes of Tom English in particular appeared far too close to the sting when it came to Scot Gardiner, Ann Budge and his constant defence of Hearts actions.
I do wonder if there has been a thawing of relations between the two and ‘the’ Rangers have them on a short leash and best behaviour order this close season. All with a view to allowing the BBC broadcasting access to Ibrox for the season ahead. What better way to curry favour further than put the boot into Celtic.
Another reason then – as if we didn’t already know – why this season it’s Celtic against the world for the 10-in-a-row campaign. The media narrative is already out there. Don’t expect feel good stories or positivity in the mainstream press when they can’t even balance their coverage. The only place Celtic fans will get the real story is on Celtic fans media. As an aside Celtic themselves would do well to remember that when it comes to who they deal with in the press.
Make no mistake, in the coming days I’m certain those Celtic fans who can will take up the option on their season tickets once more and ensure they back the club all the way to 10-in-a-row. And again the close season competition will be won by the club at Ibrox, ably supported by the compliant state broadcaster and other mainstream media lackeys trying to ramp up anxiety in the Celtic support. It’s become a pattern has it not?
Once again Gordon Strachan called it right when it came to the media manipulating a story. Speaking to Radio Clyde in 2008 the former Celtic manager was asked:
“Can you understand the anxiety of the Celtic fans?”
Strachan replied: “Not really. I think the Celtic fans want to see a championship winning side, that’s all they want to see, and that’s going to happen for the next hundred years!”
We’re getting there Gordon. And I think there’s a few in the press worried those words may be prophetic.