More Questions Than Answers
Ah,the gathering of the clans,or to give it its official title,Celtic FC AGM. The day that shareholders are given an opportunity to question the board. Once they’ve voted themselves back onto the gravytrain,that is.
There were certainly a number of contentious issues available for discussion-there was the disaster of two transfer windows for starters. Not to mention the much-vexed question of Res 12. Instead,we got a placeman feeding a question about sectarian singing,where instead of the fans criticising the board,the board somehow managed to criticise the fans.
And there was your headline news for the BBC,right there…
Let’s wind back a little to that Res 12 thing,the issue that the board clearly wish would go away. It was common knowledge that Rangers,under David Murray,were heading for the rocks,that HMRC and Lloyds-which had fallen heir to his billion-pound debt-were on his back,that the only way they could possibly stay afloat was with Champions League money.
That meant winning the league. Every year. And they didn’t care how they achieved it,nor were they too bothered about hiding their methods. As a small example…
The writing was on the wall for Rangers a long time before Craig Whyte arrived on the scene in 2010-eventually scrambling about down the side of his settee for the asking price-and everyone in Scottish football knew it. McCoist managing to get them dumped out of TWO European trophies put the tin-lid on it,and HMRC delivered the coup de grace with a huge tax demand.
The year after their liquidation,it became obvious to some Celtic fans that Rangers should not have been granted a licence to compete in Europe in 2011,and a Resolution was put forward to the 2013 AGM.
That wasn’t too easy,as MORRISEYTHE23RD was kicked off the premises when he tried to present the required shareholder signatures at Celtic Park. And when the Resolution eventually made it onto the agenda,the board were originally going to vote it down.
Instead they kindly offered to discuss the matter with the people behind it,The Four Musketeers. They would go over all the evidence accrued by them,and present it to the proper authorities to be dealt with. Peter Lawwell even said that he would be delighted to fire the silver bullet,once presented to him.
We’re waiting,Peter. In the time since you spoke those words,The Four Musketeers have provided you with an entire arsenal,while you have been conspicuous by your lack of action. In fact,he was conspicuous by his absence during all but one meeting with the four,leaving this important matter to the company lawyer to deal with. Strange behaviour indeed for one with a reputation for micromanagement.
Still,I have to congratulate him for this,as he clearly believes that if you hire someone for his professional knowledge and experience,he should be allowed to use it. Would that he extended such courtesy to all departments,eh?
So where are we now? It seems that things have moved along,to be fair. Our four heroes have been forensic in their examination of events-running up a five figure legal bill in the process!-and last year,Celtic asked the SFA to investigate the award of a Euro licence in 2011. No apparent progress has been evident in resolving this issue when there appears to be irrefutable evidence at the very least of dishonesty and lack of good faith in the original submissions to the SFA. This is completely unacceptable after an initial 8 month period for the previous Compliance Officer to conclude that there was a case to answer and then convene a Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal (JPDT), and the further 5 months which have elapsed since. But not,it seems,to our board,who have grasped this lifebelt with undue haste,ironically intimating that their hands are tied by a demand by Rangers that it be dealt with by CAS,not SFA.
There is a problem with that,of course. The SFA have not passed any information to CAS,have shown no willingness to do so,and will not discuss what information if any is under consideration to be forwarded to CAS.
WHAT AN ALMIGHTY SHAMBLES!!!
You could be forgiven for thinking that Celtic would be livid about the lack of action on this serious matter-after all,over the last decade or more of Murray’s reign,they were robbed of titles and reward and our board has a fiduciary and governance responsibility to its own shareholders, and it could be interpreted that this has been endangered through lack of appropriate action. Clearly not so,or we wouldn’t be shunted up the sidings,which is exactly where we are now.
So maybe we should be asking why this has come to pass,that a rival can steal titles and reward,die and do a Lazarus,be permitted to keep all of their titles including the stolen ones,and the board of the victim company seem strangely reluctant to seek justice. The courts worldwide are full of companies suing each other,and titles have been stripped in football as in many other sports-often for considerably less! But no,that reluctance has been about the only constant in this narrative,so why is that?
Fat chance of ever finding out the truth,so let’s see if we can join the dots,paint a damning picture,win a major prize. Well,we aren’t going to win a prize,we aren’t going to get the titles stripped,I doubt we will see anyone at the SFA losing their job,and there’s even less chance of anyone at Celtic losing theirs. And why should they? I’m a fair-minded guy,I’m quite willing to cut people the benefit of the doubt.
I’m quite prepared to accept that no-one at Celtic Park,no-one with authority on our board,has acted against the interests of the club in favour of parking Res 12. That no-one conspired with anyone from outside the club to give Rangers a licence to resuscitate into Scottish football in 2012,allow them to keep ALL their history including the stolen titles,and that everything possible has been done by the PLC to demand justice for all the wrongs done during the period in question.
However,I think it is more likely that someone at Celtic Park did a risk/benefit assessment on the dangers caused to the club of Rangers going bust. And remember,it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to them when they did just that,so I seriously doubt that this assessment was done in five minutes on the back of a fag packet-even if the answer they arrived at might give that impression! That answer is the unpalatable scenario in which we now find ourselves -Sevco a few points behind us,still spending unsourced money they don’t have,still with 114 titles,and united far more than we are.
And still benefitting from Honest Mistakes and placemen in the SFA.
No-one at Celtic Park had that authority to act this way. And certainly no-one at Celtic Park has said that anyone has done so. But it is my personal opinion that it provides the only explanation for the prevarication-at best!-for what has happened since. Yet there is no reason for it-acting in the best interests of the club even when those actions were outside your remit would be considered a censuring offence,rather than a sacking offence.
It’s the cover-up since which is a sacking offence.
So,where do we go from here,when the board seem so reluctant to take the resolution further,and in fact seem hell-bent on derailing it? That really is a difficult question to even contemplate,as it throws up “an appalling vista”. And we know that they tend not to end well for the good guys.
The good news is that our Intrepid Four have not given up,have not retired to lick their wounds. AULDHEID has intimated that there are other avenues available,and which will be explored in full. Meantime,more people will join the boycott of the club-which is something I simply cannot bring myself to contemplate,much less recommend. Others will join the boycott of our domestic cup matches,and more still will refuse to purchase merchandise.
Really,the fans are in a difficult place. None of us has pictures of board members past or present on our bedroom walls-it’s the team we have supported all our lives.The board know this,and will play on our loyalties to the club,even as we despise those at the top table.
We need the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job. Fortunately,we have AULDHEID-and he knew them both well!!!
The above is a wholly personal view by majoc,with some assistance from a fellow poster. Good lad that he is!