THE CELTIC AGM has ended and there’s plenty of news to report – although rather predictably nothing of note on Resolution 12, which has been kicked into the long grass yet again by the Celtic PLC Board.
The Res 12 Guys have shown remarkable patience with the Celtic Board over the last few years and you get the sense that this will now be at an end and they will look at alternative tactics to get a resolution to the circumstances in which Rangers FC (now in liquidation) was granted a licence play in European football in 2011.
Michael Nicholson, the Club Secretary (he is a qualified solicitor) has been the principal point of contact with the Res 12 guys over the past number of years. He usually answers the questions from the floor at the Celtic AGMs and today he did the same.
He stated that the club called upon the SFA to review and they have commenced proceedings. He noted that it is a very complex matter and that there is now a new compliance officer in place.
“If new information comes out we will be first to know” he concluded, as he booted the issue into the long grass for yet another year.
Peter Lawwell intervened to say that Celtic have been at forefront of chasing the resolution and in doing so put himself in the running for the Brass Neck of the Year Award.
The Celtic support came in for some criticism for some of the songs that have been sung at games this year. No-one pointed out the link between the songs being sung in defiance and the various issues surrounding the cheating that went on at Ibrox and the fact that they seem to have got away with it all ‘scot’ free.
The Cheer up Craig Levein and a version for Stevie G was condemned from the floor as being sectarian and it was noted that this song’s origins came from the Ibrox support throwing sickening sectarian abuse at the late, great Tommy Burns. We can certainly do without this song being sung at any Celtic game.
He also criticised the change in lyrics by some fans when Beautiful Sunday has been played over the PA system at Celtic Park, saying that it is a difficult subject but these songs are unacceptable.
The Green Brigade came in for some criticism, as did their drummer, for providing the backdrop to these unacceptable songs. It’s not only the Green Brigade who has a drummer but they usually get the blame.
“I’m not putting all blame on the Green Brigade but drums and megaphones bring the beat for these unsavoury songs.
“It’s getting worse now and I want the board to open a dialogue,” adding that he believes that the Celtic fans are better than this.
Responding, club Chairman Ian Bankier noted that these songs were “very damaging and that sort of singing takes club to the gutter”.
Lawwell also spoke on this matter, accepting that it is sensitive and he praised the questioner for raising it at the AGM.
The CEO reckons that it is “very unfortunate that small minority is dragging us down,” and noted that it things are getting worse in recent times and it is like going back to the old days.
“It’s wrong for the club and gives enemies chance to categorise us like everyone else. But we’re not like every one else.”
The questions moved on and plenty of other matters were discussed, including the ticket allocation for the game at Ibrox at the end of next month and the controversy surrounding the locations for the two Betfred Cup semi-finals which saw Celtic having to go through to play Hearts at Murrayfield while Rangers were given their preferred choice of playing Aberdeen at Hampden.
Peter Lawwell pointed out that that didn’t work out too well for the Ibrox club
Celtic are still undecided about whether to take the 800 tickets for Ibrox or not but they probably will as enough supporters are insisting on going. That being the case the fans will all gather in advance at Celtic Park and will be taken in a convoy of buses across the city, presumably under Police escort, and brought back after the game in the same manner.
Lawwell isn’t prepared to rule out not taking the 800 tickets. “That’s a possibility and will look into it. I wouldn’t discount that and if we feel it was unsafe we might not take tickets.”
Some asked about Leigh Griffiths and wanted to know if he’d emigrated. Brendan Rodgers replied saying this: “I thought it was brave all right to come out and admit he wasn’t fit enough.
“He picked up another injury and has rejoined the squad over the past four to five days.
“The style we play you have to be super fit and he’s working towards that.”
Another player mentioned was German defender Marvin Compper and again Brendan provided the response on the player who has played 81 minutes in a Celtic short since arriving in January from RB Leipzig.
Was Compper worth the outlay the shareholder asked?
“Marvin was brought in to provide experience but he has struggled for fitness and the unpredictability of his fitness has played a part.
“If anyone is to blame then blame me.
Marvin is an extremely professional and it’s an emotional time towards the end of your career.
“He has been a great help to the younger players,” Brendan said.
There was a re-run on the summer transfer window, the plan being to put that right in January and while we may have missed out on John McGinn, who made a ‘career decision’ to go to Aston Villa rather than sign for his boyhood heroes, Brendan Rodgers pointed out that the silver lining was that this has allowed Ryan Christie to emerge.
Then someone noted that ‘the SFA is rotten to the core,” and received a huge applause.
And the meeting rounded off with a discussion about two central defenders, Dedryck Boyata, who is in the last year of his contract, and Filip Benkovic who is on a season long loan from Leicester but they have an option to re-call him in January, as Peter Lawwell confirmed.
“Leicester have the option to take him back in January. Leicester wanted him to get ready in the Premier League. These players want to play in Premier League.”
On Boyata, the CEO also gave the update. “He’s at the stage where he will assess everything and is probably going to sign the biggest deal of his life over the next couple of months.”
Whether that is at Celtic or elsewhere remains to be seen. The videos that Celtic released on the official website ahead of the AGM featuring Bankier, Lawwell, Rodgers and Tony Hamilton from the Celtic FC Foundation are well worth watching – see HERE and the club’s more corporate review of the AGM can be found HERE.