Unbelievable – Peter Lawwell, the 5WA and the Celtic PLC AGM 2019

It’s right there, in the middle of a brilliant interview on ‘67 in the heat of Felton, between Stateside Celtic blogger Larry Cafiero and longstanding Resolution 12 campaigner Auldheid. It’s the sort of interview that catches your eye at any time when you’re browsing through the world of Celtic fans media. On this occasion it must be said the reader gets a little more than they bargained for.

In the latter stages of a very interesting one to one between a longstanding Celtic campaigner and a relatively new to Celtic blogger, comes a moment that blows you away- there in all its glory is confirmation of Celtic’s own complicity with regards the infamous ‘Five Way Agreement’. It’s a moment in the interview where you stop, read back and then again.

The interviewer asks the respondent a fairly direct question-

“How could Lawwell claim at the AGM that as Celtic CEO, he had never seen the hugely important change to the rule book that is the 5 Way Agreement? Did he mislead the AGM or is he negligent in his duties to shareholders in not having made sure he had seen this document and had a say in what it said before it become part and parcel of the Scottish game”?

The interviewee then responds to the questioner-

“Again, that is for Peter Lawwell to explain. It is simply not credible and would be bordering on total negligence not to have been involved, but the 5 Way Agreement final draft was attached to an email from Neil Doncaster dated 26 July 2012 to then SPL Board members including Celtic Director Eric Riley and to Peter Lawwell. No reply or challenge by next day would be taken as agreement, so even if at that late stage the contents of the attachment were not known, simply by not opening it Celtic gave the SPL their approval to its contents”.

Quite simply it is a stunning paragraph to read. The five way agreement that Celtic’s Chief Executive has previously denied any sight of, and did so in the most public and sacrosanct of Celtic settings – with no room for being misquoted – namely the 2019 Celtic AGM, appears to now have a weight of evidence out there contradicting Peter Lawwell’s claim to the Celtic shareholders assembled en-masse that he had never seen it.

Celtic’s role in Resolution 12 had increasingly become the story especially after Peter Lawwell told the Celtic AGM in November 2019 that the Board did not believe that pursuing the matter any further was in the company’s interest. Now it’s tempting to ask a question in return, was it not in the company’s interest or was it not in your own interests Peter?

Were you by the time of the AGM simply in too deep?

It will be interesting to see if the might of Celtic’s PR Company, Hollicom comes to the fore.

Will the mainstream media run with this story, will they have the guts go to print?

Or will the powers Celtic supporters have asked to be used to defend the supporters from claims or racism, or our players from contradicting versions of justice, or indeed to take the smoking gun of SFA complicity in a myth of continuation and force necessary reform at the heart of our governing body, suddenly see the tanks on the front lawn defending the honour of our chief executive.

You could well argue it would be a dereliction of duty if our Chief Executive hadn’t seen the agreement. Uncomfortable as that may have been you could defend that. To now feel lying to the shareholders about knowledge of it smacks of undiluted arrogance and it smells like the end of the road for Celtic’s Chief Executive.

It also asks the question-How could the SFA, the SPL and apparently Celtic and Rangers pre 2012 and ‘the’ rangers we now have in their place, make up new secret rules just for the Ibrox club without the rest of the member clubs voting on it ?

And then there’s Dermot Desmond. Did he know of this, if he didn’t why on earth not?

Desmond’s involvement smacks of the Jack Nicholson “You Can’t Handle The Truth” moment- a memorable quote from the 1992 military court drama film A Few Good Men-which is often used to deny someone information that has been deemed too sensitive.

In the film Military lawyer Lieutenant Kaffee played by Tom Cruise defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders. A Code Red.

Nicholson playing Jessup, under cross examination states that as front-line troops his men have to obey orders at all times without question. At this moment, Kaffee points out that if Jessup’s orders are always obeyed then there was no reason to blame the Marines standing trial.

Momentarily stunned, Jessup tries to come up with alternative explanations for the Marines transfer which are torpedoed by Kaffee who demands to be told the truth, at which point Jessup explodes: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Because he defends his country in a forward area, Colonel Jessup does not see why Kaffee, who has never been on the front line, should even question his methods from “under the blanket of the very freedom I provide”.

Kaffee should either thank him for protecting his country and his way of life or take up a gun and do it himself. Kaffee suddenly begins a tirade of questioning, demanding that Jessup admit he ordered the ‘Code Red’. In a fury, Jessup yells that he did. He admits to the ultimate responsibility. To not do, would to show he’d lost control.

So is Desmond complicit?

Does he give the orders and did he give the orders for Celtic to be involved in the five way agreement. Did Desmond continue with those orders to lie when Lawwell denied he’d ever had sight of the agreement? Is Desmond ultimately responsible, and if he’s not, has a chief executive bloated in his own self – importance overstepped the mark and acted without authority? Either way someone’s got questions to answer to the Celtic support, from the outside looking in it looks like heads needs to roll.

At the AGM in November Joe McHugh of VideoCelts asked Peter Lawwell the question.

“Was anyone at Celtic involved in 5 way agreement”?

And Lawwell answered with a straight bat.

“No and I’ve never seen it”

When asked a supplementary question as to whether Lawwell thought it would have been useful to see it, it brought another negative reply.

Let’s just look at part of Auldheid’s answer again.

…“the 5 Way Agreement final draft was attached to an email from Neil Doncaster dated 26 July 2012 to then SPL Board members including Celtic Director Eric Riley and to Peter Lawwell. No reply or challenge by next day would be taken as agreement, so even if at that late stage the contents of the attachment were not known, simply by not opening it Celtic gave the SPL their approval to its contents”.

Somewhere between Peter Lawwell, the Celtic Board and Dermot Desmond a decision was made that appears, from Auldheid’s interview with Larry Cafiero, to indicate a disingenuous response at best or at worst a downright lie being issued to every single shareholder present at Celtic Park in November.

Someone from the Celtic Board owes every Celtic shareholder and indeed every single Celtic supporter an explanation.

Or maybe we “can’t handle the truth.”

The interview also appeared on The Celtic Star last night and you can read Memories Few – 26 July 2012, Neil Doncaster emails the 5 Way Agreement to Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell HERE.

Peter Lawwell at the very least owes the Celtic Shareholders and the wider support an explanation.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parhead's gates.

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