The Cold Hard Truth

I confess to being bemused and a little disheartened by the response of some to my recent writings on Peter Lawwell.

People are reading into what I am writing rather than reading what I am writing and what they are reading into is just not there.

Normally intelligent readers are responding in ways that make me wonder if they are actually reading another blog.

Since repetition is supposed to be the mother of all learning I will return to the subject once more and hopefully bring clarification to these confused souls.

Let me start by saying that nobody has had more of a pop at Peter Lawwell than me. Nobody digs Celtic up more than me. I get a big kick out of it because I am a bluenose and winding up the tims is all part of the fun.

I also enjoy when it is reciprocated because the banter is part of the enjoyment.

Point being, nobody is  more active at Celtic-bashing than myself.

Which is why I am so bemused that people think I am praising Peter Lawwell on here.

Pointing out the reality that Peter Lawwell’s dominance of Scottish football has only come about because there was a vacuum to be filled is not praising Lawwell. That vacuum should have been filled by a leader from Rangers. If he hadn’t have been run off, it would no doubt have been Charles Green.

I am not in favour of Scottish football being run by a strong Rangers figure or a strong Celtic figure. Nor am I in favour of both Rangers and Celtic dominating the game.

I AM in favour of Rangers and Celtic bringing strong leadership to the game in Scotland – not the same thing as being its masters.

Peter Lawwell has had to hold the game in Scotland together because Regan and Doncaster were completely incapable. That has resulted in Scottish football being slanted toward Celtic. We can all think this both suits Lawwell and is part of his master plan but the truth is, it is inevitable.

Even if Celtic had no intention of taking advantage of Rangers’ implosion, it still would have happened. Even honest Celtic fans know it has happened and the more honourable ones don’t like it. Of course, the paranoia of both Rangers and Celtic supporters sees bias in the governing bodies against their clubs. I have never felt the SFA favoured Rangers in the past and am amazed Celtic fans believe this. Moreover, I am appalled at the very concept of a governing body favouring Rangers. I genuinely want a level playing field for all teams.

Like other Rangers fans, I seethe against what I perceive to be a Celtic-centric SFA and SPFL.

And, like many bluenoses, I am happy to play the blame game.

Only I want to blame the real culprits, not the stereotypical ones.

The fact is, if Peter Lawwell is the Blofeld of Scottish football, it’s because we let him be. By “we” I mean the blue side of Glasgow and every other team and its fans and a compliant media that loves succulent lamb whoever is serving it.

And Big Peter serves it up just as well as Sir David ever did, it has to be said.

Now we can rail and rant about this state of affairs – and no-one has more than me – or we can be truthful and take responsibility for it.

This involves being truthful and saying we might have real issues with what Peter Lawwell has done in his Blofeldness since Rangers imploded but we can’t really blame him for why he has “taken the reins” in our game.

The why is simple. And understandable.

Nobody else could. Nobody else would.

Folks, that is not praise. It is just reality.

Lawwell’s normally doting supporters at Celtic Park are now quizzing him scrupulously for his Pollyanna approach over the past few years – especially now a stark new realism is the message from inside Celtic Park.

That is where I do empathise with Lawwell. The fact is, if he had told people the unpalatable truth that Rangers dropping to the bottom division would be financially onerous on the whole of Scottish football, including Celtic, he could have seriously destabilised the game.

Did he lie or just accentuate the positives? That is for others to judge but imagine the meltdown if he had told it exactly as it was.

The reality is that Peter Lawwell’s world domination tendencies could have easily been tempered by a strong Rangers counterpart. But none was forthcoming.

The irony is that if I had a pound for every bluenose who has moaned to me about Peter Lawwell with the rider “But you have to admit, he is good at his job,” I would be blogging from my Monaco townhouse.

So this is not praise of Peter Lawwell or a call to trust him as some deluded people think.

If I have a mantra, it is the same one I have repeated over and over for a long time and it is this:

If Scottish football is to progress, it is imperative for Rangers and Celtic to put aside tribal hostilities and work together for the good of the game.

The willingness to do this will be the real test of Peter Lawwell’s stewardship at Celtic, as well as Graham Wallace’s at Ibrox.

I do agree that Lawwell the tim will take great delight in Rangers experiencing the difficulties they have.

But Lawwell the businessman will know that from a business perspective, Celtic really do need The Rangers.

The days for machismo pronouncements by both clubs that they don’t need each other should be consigned to the past.

Because the financial realities facing both clubs and their fans say otherwise.

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.