I should make it clear at this point that this is purely a personal view and does not represent the position of any of the parties who attended any of the Open Meetings. However as a private supporter who attended the main ones with like minded friends and subsequently got involved in spreading the word on the Internet, I am in a good position to use the platform now created to offer a personal view on the way ahead. I do think though that the CST who called the first Open Meeting deserve a lot of credit for doing so and the other groups like the CSA and Green Brigade and Jungle Bhoys who subsequently came along and contributed at the meetings also deserve credit for taking part and getting behind common cause.


What appears to have changed in the five intervening months is Celtic’s attitude to the Open Meeting objective of giving the support a voice and this I believe came as a result of greater cooperation between Celtic and the Support in the case of tackling the SFA on Referee Quality/Review Panel/Transparency issues and then, as a result of Tony Mowbray’s departure, the first of a series of “Roadshows” where Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon needed to communicate Celtic’s vision for the coming season as well as answering difficult questions put by the support on a range of issues.

Indeed at the KD Suite event Peter Lawwell stated that poor communication lay behind much of the supports underlying dissatisfaction, whilst accepting of course that poor football performances were the main cause. Putting the football side right is not something the support can do a lot about, but they can and, one would argue, must be involved in improving communications between the club and its support. This argument is strengthened by Peter Lawwell’s own admission he is not particularly comfortable with new technology as a means of communication. The support on the other hand has technology confidence measured in Gigabytes (that is a LOT Peter if you are reading). Indeed the support is brimming with all sorts d of talent the club could draw on, but let’s stick with improving communications.

Celtic of their own volition might chose to drive the better communication agenda forward but if it is not one of their top priorities right now, and they do have others, they might at least want to signal their attitude towards a motion from the Celtic Supporters Trust for the Celtic PLC AGM this year. This specifically says:

This AGM requests that the Board set in place a series of discussions with the various bodies which represent Celtic supporters on the advantages and disadvantages of direct representation from these bodies on the Plc Board.”

If there is an indication from Celtic that the motion is pushing at an open door and will not be resisted, this would open the door to meaningful dialogue between Celtic and the various bodies enabling those bodies to get organised now to be involved in the dialogue when it opens.  (Celtic might also have to consider their position if legislation to improve supporter representation, being floated by the Labour Party before the election, is taken up by the new government. see here for Government concerns about football)

However if that CST motion is passed there are many supporters who do not belong to representative groups like the CST or The Celtic Supporter’s Association (CSA) the major two groups at the Open Meetings. Some supporters for example identify themselves with one or more virtual groups in Celtic Cyberspace that are not representational in the sense of having a constitution and voting arrangements on issues. However I believe it would be a mistake in terms of better communication and the unity that would flow from such, if these supporters, who specialise in both communication and miscommunication by the way, were not to be recognised and so excluded from any discussions with Celtic and those bodies who are representational.

Somehow a way has to be found of recognising and including them even if it means their hosts/owners/moderators seek the right from their regular posters for them or chosen members to take part in any discussions on their behalf.  This is a debate those cyberspace sites in their various forms – blogs or forums should consider having. The prize is being able to participate in the construction of a communication model that gives all of the support not only a voice, but the opportunity to influence decisions on issues before they are made. The very issues that had such a model existed, might not have required any airing at the KD Suite Meeting.

Models to Improved Communication.

It can help promote discussion if some ideas of what communication models might look like and a couple are presented here, not as the answers but to stimulate debate amongst those in the support who want a greater say in the various issues, not directly related to the football, that tend to divide the support from those that govern the club. It is not about arguing the case of one over the other at this point, it is about thinking about what kind of future we wish to build and how to get there. Indeed the first model might be a pathway to the other, but in any case here are The Celtic Focus Forum model (CFF) and The Holistic Celtic model (THC)

The Celtic Focus Forum model.

This model is set out as a presentation here (allow  time for it to appear and use Action to Play slides)

This model was formulated before the apparent change of attitude re communication by Celtic referred to earlier happened.  In this model all groups keep their own identities but use a mixture of meetings of those groups (successor to the Open Meetings?) and exchanges on a Web based Focus Forum using   both public   message boards for members and private message boards for coordinators to instigate, discuss and reach agreement on issues, either with Celtic’s involvement during the discussion stage or after a consensus has been agreed amongst the Forum groups involved. It depends on all groups having some representational status in order to be able to take part, which would have to flow as a result of the AGM motion being passed and discussions with all parties following.

This is NOT a new group it is a real life and virtual gathering of a number of groups with their own objectives and retaining their autonomy, to discuss matters of common interest in full communication with Celtic, either during discussions or as result of them and dependent on cooperation and a consensus emerging.  There are real life forums operating in Glasgow like The Glasgow Social Care Providers Forum and the Scottish Drugs Forum who operate to a standard constitution that might be adapted to apply to the Celtic Focus Forum.

The Holistic Celtic model.

The idea for this came as a result of reading Joe O Rourke’s article The Voice of All Our Fans Must Be Heard” on the CSA web site proposing on line membership for the CSA to reach supporters who no longer travel by bus to games or indeed attend games at all.

It prompted me to ask these questions

  • Why have so many separate supporter groups?
  • If we were starting from scratch, would we build a lot of scattered “shops “for each existing group or would we build something more holistic like a mall to house them all?  A mall that INCLUDED Celtic as partners with the same interest in the well being of the mall?
  • Why not have one Celtic supporting membership giving each member a unique membership number with attributes representing all the tiers that make up Celtic supporters? These are described in the interactive Holistic Celtic Model which allows the figures to be recalculated here (choose “No” to load image)
  • and they are also described in the image at the end of this article. They are:
    • SB Holders
    • UK Ch67 subscribers
    • Overseas Ch67 Subscribers
    • The Celtic Diaspora

The underlying assumptions that underpin the model follow. The figures used are pure guesswork but they are hopefully realisable enough to get debate going on the pros and cons of the Holistic model compared to the Focus Forum model.

Income Related Assumptions

SB Holders: Numbers stabilise at 50,000 who are willing to pay an additional £5 a season for communication services that make them feel they are a part of Celtic rather than apart from Celtic

UK Ch67: Minimal existing figure assumed is 5000 but if not this can be achieved by added communication services that make UK Ch67 support feel they are a part of Celtic rather than apart from Celtic

O’seas Ch67: Minimal existing figure assumed is 5000 but if not this can be achieved by added communication services that also make Overseas Ch67 support feel they are a part of Celtic rather than apart from Celtic

Celtic Diaspora: Celtic supporters who do not contribute directly to Celtic to buy games through live attendance or via Ch67-audio (UK) TV (Overseas) but have a strong Celtic connection that they wish to make tangible in return for feeling as involved in Celtic as the other purchasing groups in a relationship where Celtic engage with ALL of the support, not just match goers as more than customers but folk with a passion for Celtic and the ethos on which the club was founded.

Subscription Assumptions

The figures are assumed to be what each group would be prepared to contribute although the Diaspora is an average to allow for concession rates according to the circumstances of the individual e.g. employed, unemployed, retired and comfortable, retired and loaded, retired and not comfortable, the infirm, Under 16s, families etc.












SB Holders





UK Ch67





Oseas Ch67





Celtic Diaspora











Spending Assumptions















Admin: Celtic will need to build the internal capacity to service the holistic model. The small annual SB related levy would cover staff and related IT costs of membership database, e mail and web updates, possibly with a balance to spare.

Supporters: The various representative Celtic support groups would receive financial support for their costs of representing the support and working with Celtic on the making the new communication model work, as well as encouraging folk to be Celtic supporters. This would be a ring fenced guaranteed agreed sum, say £500k for discussion purposes and its disbursement organised in such a way as to maintain independence from Celtic whilst still being part of the whole system.

Football:  The balance would finance a player’s wage of up to £34K a week or £5.3 M transfer fee repaid over 3 years or disbursed as otherwise agreed.

Communication Assumptions

The key assumption is that Celtic want to improve communications in a way in which the support feel involved. This can be done in a number of ways but if each member had a unique membership number this could be used as a means of verification to enable feedback on a number of issues to be gathered (using Survey Monkey for example) to help gauge the feeling of the majority of the support on those issues.

Such feedback could then be used by say a Supporters Representative Panel adapting the communication process proposed in the Celtic Focus Forum model to either make recommendations to Celtic or, depending on its constitution, have Celtic represented on that panel, but either way to ensure that everyone has a good idea of the supports feelings on any issue before taking major decisions, and/or that the support and Celtic recognise the full consequences of recommendations either accepted or rejected. Not everyone will like the final decisions but at least they will feel that they are being listened to and their point heard even if not accepted because of stronger counter points.

The constitution and working arrangements of any Supporters Representative Panel would flow from discussions between the recognised groups after the passing of the CST motion to the 2010 AGM to look at pros and cons of supporter representation on the Board. In the respect of preparing the way it is essential that this motion is passed.

The Holistic Celtic Support


Note: Whilst shown as distinctive tiers there will of course be supporters who fall into one or more tiers and there should be more gradience between them in the illustration but the figures used assume a supporter falls into only one tier and is a contributor in that tier.

If you are a shareholder please remember to support the motion for talks with Celtic that will be presented at the Celtic AGM. The adoption of the motion will be a signal to the support of Celtic’s intent and enable a change in the way Celtic and their support communicate with each other for the good of all.