I’ve been a Celtic fan for a long time now.
And during that time, I’ve seen it all.
Highs, lows, and everything in between.
Following Celtic is like an unconditional love, no matter what happens, you will always remain loyal to your first true love.
For most Celtic fans, the club was their first love, long before they ever entered into relationships of any kind.
Simply because, when it’s generational, it’s introduced to you at a very young age.
I had been a Celtic fan for almost 20 years before I met my wife.
She will testify to the fact that we have fallen out over my love of Celtic many times.
She has often said to me that I love Celtic more than her.
While sometimes, that may be hard to argue against, in reality, it’s a different kind of love.
Because no matter how much Celtic drives you around the bend, you will never walk away from it.
We subject ourselves to a hell of a lot of self flagellation when it comes to Celtic.
No matter how much pain supporting this club inflicts on us, we still come back for more.
This is part of the reason we endure this constant status quo the board enforces on the club.
We accept the way they keep the club in a constant motionless state.
Never moving forward.
But also never moving backwards.
I suppose this is why the board could be classed as reactive, rather than pro-active.
Because despite the fact we never move forward, whenever we do start to drift backwards, it’s only then that they react.
But it’s only in small increments.
Slight adjustments, to push us back into stasis.
To maintain the status quo.
Sometimes, events out-with the board’s control cause drastic changes to happen.
2020 is a perfect example of that.
As I alluded to in a recent article, Covid-19 enforced changes upon the club which never would have happened under normal circumstances.
Peter Lawwell resigned.
A new manager came in, who had control over the footballing operation, called the shots when it came to player acquisitions.
A new, forward thinking C.E.O. came in, and started to introduce new and innovative ideas, and new strategies.
But as with many new regimes, in many walks of life, this one was destined for failure.
Power and endurance are what keep most regimes in place.
That, and a complete unwillingness to let go of the feeling of control that intoxicates you on a daily basis.
New, and forward thinking people will scare those who have been in control for many years.
Control freaks are loathe to cede control to anyone, even after they’ve left the building.
When they have spent decades being the one in control, it becomes an addiction.
Letting go of it is like entering cold turkey.
Step forward one Peter Lawwell.
Who, let’s be honest, never really let go of his control over Celtic football club when he supposedly “resigned”.
A man who was so deeply ingrained within the walls of Celtic Park for decades, despite his absence in 2021, had eyes, and ears everywhere.
If you think otherwise, then you are extremely naive.
If you think he did not play a part in the removal of Dom McKay, then think again.
When McKay came in, he scared the living shit out of everyone at Celtic Park as a result of his fresh and forward thinking, along with his new ideas.
I would bet my bottom dollar one of the most frequently heard answers he heard to many of his questions would have been, “Well, Peter wouldn’t have done it that way.” or “Peter never did it that way.”
Put simply, Dom McKay upset the status quo.
72 days after he commenced his role, he was gone.
Due to “a non-disclosure agreement”, we will never truly know why.
Dom McKay was not a cog that fit into the Celtic machine.
Nor, let’s be honest about it, was Ange Postecoglou.
But I think Ange Postecoglou saw the writing on the wall long before he was ever dragged into enforced mediocrity.
He saw it coming.
Which made the Tottenham job all the more appealing when it came his way.
I think it’s fair to say Ange Postecoglou had well and truly checked out of the building when his side lost in haphazard fashion to Hibs on the 24th of May.
He knew after that 4-2 defeat, that all he had to do was win the Scottish Cup, and his legacy was secure.
He could walk away with his head held high.
And he did just that, leaving the Manager’s office door ajar for what he knew was the next poor victim to take the role.
Step forward Brendan Rodgers.
In last night’s article, I went into detail on what he has had to endure since his arrival last June.
Some think I’m jumping the gun with my assumptions, but that remains to be seen.
This transfer window has opened a lot of eyes, to a lot of things.
How it ends at 11.30pm this evening will dictate the mood of the fans going forward.
But as always, if we keep on winning, that will bring a feel good factor.
And the board will hide behind that feel good factor, like they always do.
Just as they did when we beat the Ibrox side in late December.
Results paper over the cracks, but that’s all they do.
The problems at Celtic go right down to the foundations.
Which brings me right back to my opening headline; as a Celtic fan, what are your expectations for the club?
Are you happy for us to just dominate Scottish football, domination which looks like it’s about to be challenged right now, or do you want more for your club?
There are three factions at Celtic at the moment.
The pro-board/pro-Lawwell fanbase.
The anti-board/anti-Lawwell fanbase.
And then there are those in between, who just enjoy supporting Celtic, and never wish to rock the boat.
The anti-board/anti-Lawwell fanbase comprises of fans like myself, who have been around for a long time.
We’ve been through it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.
We remember the toughest of times.
The piss smelling jungle, with only 17,000 fans in attendance, when the club was at rock bottom.
Under the deep, dark shadow, cast over us by Ibrox, and David Murray’s buddies at Bank of Scotland.
We remember the 80’s, the most competitive decade in Scottish football in recent memory.
The last time a club outside the Glasgow duopoly won a title, and many more contended for those titles.
We remember when Fergus McCann rescued us, and the ensuing years, where it took time to put us into a position of strength.
We remember that during that time, we had to watch our greatest rivals win the league on our patch, and then proceed to rub it in our faces.
Knowing full well that Hugh Dallas was the reason they won it.
We’ve been through it all.
And ultimately, all we’ve ever wanted is the best for this club.
Today, we see that our club is now in a position to dominate, but it angers us that our board will not force home that advantage.
It angers us that our board refuses to speculate to accumulate.
Refuses to spend over £3 million on a player.
Tells us we cannot compete in Europe.
Yet a club that is constantly on it’s knees financially, with barely a pot to piss in, could make it to a European final just two years ago.
And is still in Europe this season, but we’re not.
Because the board’s strategy, which is solely designed to keep us in stasis, stifles any chance we have of being more than the sum of our parts.
It’s that strategy that angers us, frustrates us.
We consistently see clubs with far smaller budgets than ours punching way above their weight in European competition.
We deploy a transfer strategy that is scatter gun, hit and miss, and only rarely produces a gem which nets us a big return.
Returns that we never re-invest in the playing squad.
Our board constantly brings players to the club who never make the grade, and costs us millions in wasted transfer fees, and wages.
I could go on, and on, and on.
But I don’t have all night, and neither do you.
So I’ll cut to the chase.
I asked at the outset of this article, what are your expectations for this club?
Here are mine.
I want a young, fresh, forward thinking, and engaged boardroom.
I would like for those on the board to speculate to accumulate when it comes to player trading.
I would like them to have the ambition, and the belief that this club can do better.
Will do better.
I want them to believe that we can compete in Europe, and that our club should be making it to European finals.
If the other mob can do it on fumes, then why can’t we?
I want them, more than anything else, to forget about O** F*** Inc.
The whole bloody fanbase has forgotten about it, so why can’t they?
And finally, I would like them to put the Ibrox side down, and keep them down.
Instead of relying on the £3.5 million in prize money a treble in Scotland delivers and the revenue two home games against them generates, start realising that Europe delivers much, much more revenue.
Allow this club to realise it’s bloody potential, that’s all I want!
Without being labelled as entitled, just because I want the best for the club I support.
We have men in power at this club who have been in place for almost the entirety of this century.
The entirety of this century, a quarter of which will have passed by this time next year.
Think about that.
Then find me another club that has kept the same people in charge for that length of time.
The men in charge of our club are old age pensioners.
Dermot Desmond is 73.
Peter Lawwell is 64, he will be a pensioner in less than 2 year’s time.
Thomas Allison is 76.
Brian Wilson is also 76.
These are the main men in charge of our club.
The grey men.
Out of touch, and untouchable.
Happy to reap the rewards, and the comforts that Celtic affords them.
All while pissing on us, the fans, from a height.
They don’t care about what I want, or what you want.
It’s all about what they want.
That’s why this club will never go anywhere under them.
Why would you not want change at Celtic?
Or are you happy to be stuck with the chairman for life, Peter Lawwell?
The man who does the bidding of Dermot Desmond.
But then you resign yourself to defeat, because you think there’s nothing you can do.
Getting this board out is an almost impossible task.
They hold all the power, all the cards.
We the fans, would have to hurt Celtic detrimentally in order to force change, and get them to leave.
Most of you don’t have the stomach for that.
You feel powerless, helpless.
Frustration beyond belief.
Your frustration boils over to booing the team when performances are poor.
But what have boos ever achieved?
I know what I want for this club, but I know at this moment it time, it’s an impossibility.
Like I said, they hold all the cards.
This is what the love of Celtic does to you, drives you mad.
Drives you round the twist.
But you’ll wake up tomorrow morning, and you’ll still love Celtic, no matter what.
No matter how much it hurts you, and frustrates you.
Change can only happen if we, the fanbase, become a united front.
Right now, we are not united.
If we can change that, then that’s a starting point.
But change has to start there.
We do that much, and we can begin.
But after that, there is a long, long way to go.
Change begins with us, the fans.
So let’s begin with that, and see where it takes us?