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.