A Voice In The Wilderness

The burning question over Peter Lawwell’s scorching honesty about Celtic’s true financial condition is: Why now?

Why has the Celtic CEO ditched the policy of having the media spoon feed the gullible masses that all is well at Celtic and that the club are as rich as Croesus?

The simple reason is that he can’t keep papering over the cracks forever. A more cynical response would be to question if he had made these kind of statements had Celtic qualified for this year’s CL Group Stages.

But there is another thing we need to consider in all this.

It is the reason why I said I had some empathy for Peter Lawwell, prompting some feeble-minded folks to think I was somehow defending him.

It is simply this: Can you imagine what would have happened if Peter Lawwell had said all this two years ago?

It would have frightened away sponsors and brought the game into nuclear meltdown. Fans of every club, including Lawwell’s own, would have called for his head.

The simple fact is that the statements Peter Lawwell is making today would have been cataclysmic in consequence if he had said them two years ago. We can talk about his lack of truthfulness versus his duty to try and steer the ship while maintaining morale if you like but it cannot be denied that such searing honesty in 2012 would have pushed Scottish football into a black hole.

It’s great to mock those “We don’t need Rangers” pronouncements today but if we are being honest, what did we really expect Lawwell to say? It is the job of a CEO to be bullish and positive.

Sadly in our wee footballing backwater we don’t have fans who can handle the truth, even though they clamour for it constantly. So we have the unedifying sight of supporters lambasting club officials over every little thing they say as if it was written in stone and delivered by angel bands from heaven.

People who live in the real world understand that much of what CEOs say is intention but that the fluidity of business life means that objectives and intentions sometimes get delayed. Or waylaid. Or replaced.

People understand this fine in their own life. A husband’s promise to buy his wife a new cooker can be delayed and waylaid by the pressing need for a new clutch.

But when football club directors make projections that don’t come to pass, we howl that they are spivs, liars and chancers. It might surprise a lot of men to discover that is how their wives see them when they break promises…

Peter Lawwell will always do what is best for Celtic is the perceived notion. That is the real reason we bluenoses don’t like him. But we can understand him.

He is certainly doing the best thing now by coming clean about the parlous state of Scottish football – and his own club’s susceptibility to this.

The hype of the past few years, which has helped to hoodwink hoopies into thinking they lived in the Land of Oz with Big Peter as the invincible wizard, is now seen for what it is – smoke and mirrors.

But think where we would be if Peter Lawwell had said: “We need Rangers – and we’re screwed without them.”

A lot of bluenoses bought into the “We don’t need Rangers” hype as well as Celtic fans.

On this blog they heard a different story thanks to the sterling work of people like PZJ, Alan Parker and Jim Fraser. They heard about Celtic’s indebtedness to the Coop Bank and the realities of the underlying financials at Celtic.

The present lanscape of Scottish football has largely been created by Peter Lawwell. His influence is everywhere. By his own admission, the game is in a bad place and much of that is down to the absence of Scotland’s biggest club.

I don’t know if it was down to pride, football allegiance or any other reason but Big Peter has led us into the wilderness. It will take humility and courage for him to be involved in leading us out of it into richer pastures. He cannot do this alone and should not be allowed to try.

He has already acknowledged the game’s crying need for Rangers to be in the club’s rightful place.

Fervent fans of both Rangers and Celtic may despise me for saying it but it is true nonetheless:

If Scottish football is to survive and thrive, Rangers and Celtic will need to work together.

We don’t need control freakery and narrow self-interest.

Just leaders with vision, courage and wisdom.

The sad thing about all this is not that Scottish football is being run by Peter Lawwell but that the reason it has is there has been no credible alternative. In a sense, it is exactly like Scotland right now. We have a control freak First Minister precisely because we have no alternative leaders.

I’m not sure if we get the leaders we deserve so much as we get the only leaders we have available.

We have to be honest. Peter Lawwell has taken the place of David Murray in many respects. Personally, I don’t want Scottish football being dominated by either Rangers or Celtic.

We need leaders, not tyrants.. As we have seen, it is a forlorn hope that we will get this from the governing bodies. So we have to look to the two Glasgow giants.

It’s interesting that both Rangers and Celtic fans are demanding transparency from their respective boards. And now it is evident that both clubs can no longer spin that all is well.

Scottish football needs Rangers and Celtic together in the top flight and providing leadership for all the other clubs.

What it doesn’t need is more moonbeams – from any end of the city.


The Ugly, The Uglier And The Ugliest Of All

I am certainly no fan of Jim Murphy.

The thought of him going on a tour throughout Scotland promoting Unionism makes me want to heave. It is like asking a fox to represent the chickens.

That said, he is doing more than most to defend the status quo. And while he is doing it, he is “on the team” as it were.

Even though I have no time for him, I am appalled at the treatment he has been getting by those separatists who are targeting him.

Murphy’s treatment at the hands of natz highlights the growing culture of intimidation in the Yes camp. It is my understanding that this is no accident but is part of strategy.

I am led to believe that this intimidation will be ramped up on the 18th of September at polling stations.

There is a nastiness about separatists that is deeply repulsive. They are aggressive, arrogant and completely devoid of civility. This doesn’t apply to every Yes voter but it is something which is characteristic of many of them.

I have to be honest and say that if any No activist was to act in a similar manner to these natz, I would be horrified.

There is a nasty atmosphere in this country right now as the forces of division have been unleashed among us.

Same thing with George Galloway, who has had his jaw broken apparently by someone who took objection to his views on the State of Israel.

I have more time for Gorgeous George and don’t doubt his Unionist loyalties. However, I am disgusted by and a little mystified by his support for Irish Republicanism.

Galloway’s problem is he is a brilliant orator who would have made mincemeat of wee Eck in any debate but his mouth often runs off too far and gets him into trouble. He picks fights he should steer clear of.

Whilst I agree with his support for Muslims and that they are being unjustly targeted and manipulated by western powers, he can carry this too far, thus hurting his own message.

But for him to be attacked for his controversial views is beyond the pale.

No civilised society can condone violence shown to its elected officials in this manner.

These two incidents demonstrate that one of the things we must face in this 21st century is a culture of disrespect and dishonour. In many ways this culture is a threat to our way of life. Civilisation only exists because it is held together by a cement of mutual respect and honour. When this cement crumbles, then we return to a more savage state.

Those voting in the September 18th referendum must be aware of this. If there is a hostile intolerance shown by nationalists towards any who disagree with them now, then it would be a predominant part of any society that is formed should the Yes vote prevail.

In other words, any dissent will be brutally stamped upon. Hardly the glowing beacon of democracy and inclusivism we are told a “free” Scotland would be.

Jim Murphy and George Galloway can duke it out to see who is ugly and who is uglier.

But wee Eck and his nasty bunch of natz win the ugliest of all prize hands down.



Scottish Football In Crisis

It would be stretching things a bit to say I feel sorry for Peter Lawwell this  morning,

But it would be hard not to empathise a little with him in his present plight.

For years he has been telling the Faithful Through & Through that all is well and Celtic are swimming in money. Now he has to tell them the reality. That reality is there is no cash pile and those who believe there is are living in fantasy land.

A dull yin if you are a Celtic supporter expecting green and white supremacy for years to come.

I have often accused Peter Lawwell of being a control freak on this blog. I don’t retract that. But in the spirit of total honesty he seems to be now embracing, I have to say that his Blofeldesque activities have probably held the game together the past few seasons.

Rangers’ troubles had a knock-on effect that could have pulled the whole of Scottish football into the whirlpool of oblivion. The game needed strong leadership and none of the custodians had the brains or balls to provide it, frankly.  Rangers fans and others may have railed against Big Peter running Scottish football behind the scenes but let’s be honest – nature abhors a vacuum.

If you are being brutally frank, you have to ask yourself: What would Scottish football be like if it hadn’t had Lawwell’s strong hands on the tiller?

Personally, I shudder to think where we would be if Doncaster and Regan had been left to their own devices. Now, I am not starting up the Peter Lawwell Fan Club here – far from it. But the man was placed in an almost impossible situation with the collapse of Rangers.

Other than Charles Green, Rangers have not managed to produce anyone with leadership character for a while now. In some respects you can’t blame Peter Lawwell for stepping into a very visible vacuum of leadership. Somebody had to.

Scottish football needs a strong Rangers and Celtic to provide both leadership and, crucially, money. That is now an unassailable fact. Rangers and  Celtic being forced apart for a few years has hurt the game.

And let’s get real honest – it has hurt Rangers and Celtic more than anyone else.

Celtic fans may crow about the years of access to the Champions League and Rangers supporters may seethe over the injustice of this. But, as we are now learning from the Celtic CEO, the money lost by having Rangers absent from the top flight means that the CL riches are only plugging that gap.

There is actually a very compelling argument that to stand still, never mind progress, both Rangers and Celtic needed the Champions League Group Stages every year. Since only one can get it, it makes it vital for both to win the Premiership.

Of course, Rangers have been denied this for several years and have had to cut their cloth accordingly.

But Celtic’s present condition highlights the undeniable reality that for a club their size, the Champions league is actually required for survival, never mind progress.

And this is with Rangers present in the top tier.

The bottom line is that being apart has hurt both sides of the Old Firm and it may take years to recover, if they can.

As a Celtic-supporting poster on here said the other day, both sides’ fans are on two Titanics, heading for icebergs.

Peter Lawwell is now sounding the alarm. It may be too little, too late.

But the reality we all have to face up to is that, unless the game can find massive investment or ways to generate significant revenues, Scottish football may have to shrink substantially or kiss goodbye to some household names.

To avoid any of those names being Rangers and Celtic, both teams are going to have to learn to do what they did so successfully for years.

Be the Old Firm.