I’ve looked at the responses to The Loss of Trust in The Celtic Trust blog by CST member Chris McGachy and his later blog that gives an account of what happened at the CST AGM.
What I’m looking at are the thoughts behind the comments with the idea that if anything is going to change in terms of the relationship between the Celtic Board , supporters and small shareholders then we supporters/shareholders and Board need to think again about improving transparency and accountability as a collective.
The comments were very useful, and they can be viewed from a link to it followed by my “thinking again” comments. I apologise in advance if my comments do not reflect the tone and spirit in which they were e offered, which is not to criticise or confront but simply to have folk thinking about what they are thinking. This is just the first of several blogs into June to build something concrete based on new thinking.
First, because it is a core issue, was inspired by the comment by Tom Minogue that takes us back to the time the Trust was created. Tom’s comment can be read in full at https://sentinelcelts.com/2022/05/17/loss-of-trust-in-the-celtic-trust/#comment-216188
I have picked out parts I wanted to comment on from each response to Chris McGachy.
These caught my eye “ Back in the day I was enthused with the idea of the fans having a representative and a voice.” That thinking applies still but the question has to be is share accumulation the way to go about it? If the figured in the blogs on CST are anything to go by it is a futile path to tread. Tom went on to say “ I am truly at a loss to understand the failure of the Trust to take off big time” and my thinking is it is because of two things:
1. by its very nature and unintentionally the CST does not speak for all Celtic supporters, it has nothing to offer the other vital constituency the Celtic supporters who pay to watch games whether Season Tick holder or intermittent attendee.
2. Lack of reach as in finding that wide body in order to enable them to have a say on some of the key issueswhich impacts on their enjoyment of following Celtic..
Finally Tom said “ The Bulkshareholder lists now only give names so this will make the task of mailing harder and emailing would be the way to go”.
3. It is the only way to go, once known then it will be much easier to communicate with small shareholders and ticket holders alike and gathering contact details has to be a priority. However they need to be given a good reason to get involved. That means providing the Celtic diaspora something every person in that wide spectrum will want to be participate in AND the means of doing so at no great effort on their part. What this might be and how this might be done to address the points at 1 and 2 will emerge later.
This contribution by SeS at https://sentinelcelts.com/2022/05/17/loss-of-trust-in-the-celtic-trust/#comment-216181 sets out the challenges to be faced and I’ll try to pick my way through them.
SeS asks “ However, you would do your cause a huge service if you could begin by pointing directly to a time or example, where this model/the one you envisage – worked effectively in any context, but preferably in a football/soccer context?”
I don’t think there is a model that reflects the uniqueness of The Celtic Support so one needs to be built, but rather than take an all or nothing approach , a protype gets built first using existing technology at low or no cost to make the current AGM process of engagement with the Board work more quickly for all including The Board..
The protype would aim to address the factors you raisedwhich I’ll summarise as:
1. Dividing and manipulating small shareholders mainly because it will not just be the current limited numbers that are the audience.
2. On the basis of the success of the protype which will be measurable, future funding would be donation led to let the prototype take off as a permanent feature. Specific funds for a specific task should deter the grifters and schemers.
3. Which is a biggie because it is so fundamental: the aim of the protype will be to change hearts and minds of ALLreaders in order to secure votes or better remove the need to call for votes at all. The motivation behind any issue raised is for the sole intention of the betterment of Celtic as a whole. Fighting funds should not be needed , conflict, which has been a feature of past AGMs gets replaced with cooperation and dialogue not necessarily tied to the AGM timetable but ongoing with an AGM resolution being the result if no meeting of hearts and minds.
4. By involving ST and match day goers in the prototype process from the beginning and making a case for change that they would support they bring the implicit cash threat their numbers carry to the table. Thus Celtic are given the incentive to address legitimate concerns rather than pay lip service to seeking solutions.
CFC’s useful comments can be read at https://sentinelcelts.com/2022/05/17/loss-of-trust-in-the-celtic-trust/#comment-216187 Because they are short I can use rather than summarise to respond to.
“ For a membership scheme to have any traction, some key questions need to be clarified for me. What are its aims?
The protype I have referred to is not a Membership Scheme as such but might become one. it would exist to provide a platform for shareholders and ST Holders/match day goers/Celtic TV contributors to influence the policies The Celtic Board are perceived to have adopted in the absence of knowing what those policies actually are and why. It would be so much easier to question if Celtic were to state their purpose and how the policies, they are pursuing align with that purpose in order to provide total alignment between Board and support.
“How is it constituted?”
The prototype would stand or fall on its merit/success. A statement of purpose should avoid the need for a constitution other than perhaps terms for a small management Board and paid administrator from Donations to enable the purpose to be met.
In whose interests does it act? EVERYBODY! Large shareholder/small shareholder/ST Holder/ Irregular Match Day goer. Internet bampots anyone who pays to watch Celtic play.
To whom is it accountable? EVERBODY. It will be judged on its success and donation dependent on that success. Perhaps an end of year report on its activities.
“In order to mould the Trust into what is needed or hoped for, it’s important to use the existing mechanisms for change given to the bodies members, to test those very mechanisms. It’s important to know they work, and this occasion presents a great opportunity to restore faith in the bodies articles of constitution, while showing it’s membership it can be democratic and capable of change. “
Chris’s blog re Loss of Trust in CST and the Trustee’s response to it set out in his follow up blog of 4 Junesuggests the CST is not for moving and in many ways are hidebound by their very constitution.
However that does not mean abandoning the route to accountability they use which is via Resolutions to AGMS, but adapting that process to widen its reach beyond shareholders, is easy to use and remains topical throughout the year and not an annual event. So a new approach is required starting with the green field question “What was the ultimate aim of creating the CST in the past and is there another way to achieve that aim? Gaining shares to win votes was not an end in itself but a means to an end.
Mahe said “ It’s equally important for those being asked to step aside to do so without malice” (and more).
Absolutely. The relationship over the years between the CST and Board has been based more on conflict than consensus on both sides, one feeding the other toa broth of mistrust. It is unhealthy for the holistic Celtic body and spirit and has to change.
Any initiative should be all about the future holistic well being of Celtic and not a venue for turf wars. Celtic of course would benefit from sharing their vision of what constitutes the future holistic wellbeing of the club . This would make it so much easier for alignment to occur between the Board and the support at large. Trust building steps are needed.
Mahe said “ A sliding scale of dues to become a member, for instance the elderly and unemployed asked for a token sum in order to join, such as ten pounds per annum.”
Whilst a subscription method of funding might emerge, funders will want to know in advance what they are being asked to fund. That suggests a donations model to support any initiative that the supporter base as a whole are prepared to buy into because the initiative is one they agree with. That requires an initiative and purpose to be stated and if funding is needed, seek it on the merit of the initiative.
Mahe said “ A sub committee (be) formed to increase membership numbers. They would visit supporter websites and push folk to join pointing out goals and potential benefits.
Increasing members would flow naturally after getting theattention of the support with a cause they would all wish to buy into if made aware of it. The constitution of that committee would be public with transparency based on an internal on line Forum to debate issues with intent of reaching a consensus on the merits of each issue thendeciding the best way to bring them to fruition using social media, advertising , e mails (once addresses established) and managing the e mail database.
Mahe said “ Set terms for leadership positions. Nobody should be in situ for long years, giving the impression of a fiefdom.”
If issues are agreed by consensus on a Forum is a leader or leaders necessary? Could a Supporter Spokesperson not do the job of conveying the outcome of Forum decisions to the Celtic SLO to be pursued via the live Supporters Forum?
Mahe said: “ Members polled on current issues, their response determining the direction of the Trusts efforts. Not the leadership tackling issues they identified, but acting upon member concerns as a rule.” And “ There’s thousands if not millions of Tims out there, with a lot of different skill sets among them. Harnessing these skills and getting some voluntary labour could greatly benefit the Trust.”
The idea is right it just does not need the CST as a channel to take resolutions to Celtic as Resolution 12 demonstrated at 2019 and 2020 AGM although the CST of course cantake part in the process like any other supporter can.
Mahe said: “Overseas based supporters can just as easily manage the bread and butter stuff” (and more )
Yes indeed. Video conferencing by ZOOM andexchanging ideas on blogs means any supporter anywhere with Internet access can bring their unique gift to the party.
Mahe said: “The supporters can either take an existing body and fix it as you propose or create a new one without the baggage. The former is easier, it’s wise to attempt a reshape rather than a new venture.”
Perhaps but only if old thinking is dumped. As Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
The Gombeen Man
TMG Said at https://sentinelcelts.com/2022/05/17/loss-of-trust-in-the-celtic-trust/#comment-216205
“The Celtic support is much more conservative than many think. It’s a product of social, educational and religious conditioning. The security of the status quo is the preferred option for most. I’m not criticising that, it’s just my perception”.
Is it security of status quo or unwillingness to work for change or lack of information to galvanise action? I think that is part of the problem but if the work of engaging and informing is simplified then perhaps galvanising will follow?
“Pedro’s miracle, the Continuity Myth is bound to have caught the eye of executives of debt ridden clubs at the European Clubs Association. Would other European jurisdictions buy into the Scottish solution? The dumping of £100+ of debt and the avoidance of the consequences?”
I doubt it.- Article 12 of UEFA FFP prevents or deters debt dumping. RFC Ltd/RIFC PLC To UEFA are a new cub with latter operating the former and not that they are the same club as RFC PLC now undergoing liquidation , although why UEFA have never questioned the SFA/SPL/SFL unique interpretation in the 5 WA that brought the myth to life is a puzzle especially when after been asked for their view by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain they stated they had not seen the 5WA but more tellingly gave no indication of asking the SFA questions.
“ Celtic supporters are in an invidious position. Walk away and leave the spoils to Sevco or keep coughing up to be short changed by folk that have been misleading them for years? “
They might be coughing up but that does not mean they are happy and all it takes for the mood to darken is for Sevco to win and us lose.
“ The Sevco mentality is used to getting its own way with the football authorities, police, courts and media. It’s easy to be a hardman when there’s a Peeler watching your back. SPFL/SFA – Old Firmisim is now at UEFA’S door, courtesy of failed governance and corruption.
Scotland’s ugly sectarian secret is on the loose and likely to go viral… “
One long term objective of a new wide Celtic supporter platform would be to have the 5WA totally discredited as the lie creating/perpetuating document that it is which poisons Scottish football to this day.
In response to the comment beginning “ Replying to a number of responses in the thread” and ending “ But those running it (the CST) lack the organisational and management skills and desire to make it happen.”
I would say Like Monty Python it is time for something completely different and the questions have to be:
Why was the CST originally created that is its ultimate purpose?
Is the chosen method of shareholder acquisition to meet that purpose viable any longer?
Is CST not of itself divisive given the reliance on shareholders which arguably disenfranchises non shareholders who contribute funds to Celtic.
If divisive what other methods can be used given advances in communication since CST was born to bring about the original purpose, which takes us back to purpose of any new approach.
Can one be created that removes the causes of division because a house divided ultimately falls as happened in 2020/21.
We need to Think again from bottom up.
Margaret McGill https://sentinelcelts.com/2022/05/17/loss-of-trust-in-the-celtic-trust/#comment-216216 “I’ve said this before.
The Celtic PLC is a corporate dictatorship.
The Celtic Trust is essentially a Union.
The MO of the PLC is to make money for its major shareholders not the plebs, whose shares are worthless like the ones you would get in unions.Unions are always squabbling because the members are arguing over a relative pittance, fees, voting, infighting, and who sits at the table. Easy for corporations to dismember. The Celtic Trust is a dead duck.
Ive told you a 100 times that the solution is not to give them your money but that’s water of a dead ducks arse. Of course I’ll be very interested in anything that comes out of today’s AGM.”
The traditional Trade Union approach has been adversarial/ conflict based. However since Celtic supporters/shareholders are not asking for a pay rise but a say in how the quality of football they pay to watch can be continuously improved then the attitude of worker v bosses needs changed on both sides. If supporters agree on anything it is we all want what is best for Celtic, it is what is best for Celtic as a whole that is the unknown. Start getting alignment on that and we are on a different path but first we need to harness the voice of the whole support in order to get the attention of The Board and I’ll cover what form that might take in a subsequent blog.
What happened at the CST AGM has been published on SC on 4th June.
I’m reposting the link to your comment because it contains a lot of truth and you clearly have been following events on line and changing some of your views as more information has emerged. I hope that my responses to other comments might have the same effect on in terms of thinking again. Not so much about what has happened in the past and the invidious position Rangers put Celtic in in 2012 but how we might repair the damage in the future.