Lets think about this.
As supporters we pay our money to be entertained. I do not have the privilege of spending my Saturday afternoon at Celtic Park (cheers Australian wife!) as I’m 10,000 miles away. But I do pay my subscription to Channel 67. Buffering issues aside – we were almost 10 minutes into half-time and the first half was still playing on my laptop today – the coverage is usually pretty good. To hear the commentators today with nothing but disappointment and frustration in their voices, to the point of disbelief, was a desperate situation to behold. Where has the ‘entertainment’ gone?
Here we were with what was a ‘must-win’ game and the team stood frozen on the turf…and It’s not even winter yet. In the final half hour Neil Lennon stood with his arms folded, the coaching team sat on the bench inanimate. There was no drive behind the team.
As a club we’ve stood still for a number of years now when we should have been pressing forward. Big red-faced, baw-heided Alex Ferguson, arguably the greatest football manager alive said the following “In football you must always be moving forwards. If you stand still, you go backwards”…
Now, that may sound like the inane ramblings of a drunken sot on during happy hour in the Brazen Heid, but the question remains…
Why have we stood still when we had a chance to pull ahead of the competition?
There’s no denying it. A malaise has set in over the club as a whole.
Lets look at the different factions of Celtic to see how this attitude evolved.
For me, Celtic Football Club is made up of three distinct parts…
The Football Team,
Lets take these one by one and look at the roles each has had to play in the current stagnation of Celtic FC.
1. The Football Team.
We are Celtic. We are Neil Lennon.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of spouting that jingoistic nonsense over the past 18 months. I don’t know if it was a positive slogan developed by us, the fans, or if it was some sleekit propaganda that was perpetrated by the board, but somehow this became our mantra when we stood defeated on the last day of the season. Sure we won the Scottish Cup, but that was never enough. We lost to a Rangers team that were and still are abysmal. Those slogans were used and perpetuated to blind us to the truth of the matter: that we were simply not good enough, that the cheapest options were taken at every step of the way; be it in signing players or coaching staff, we brought in the cheapest options, footballing success be damned. Today the coaches looked like they had no clue, and not for the first time this season have they looked in such a bad light. Now I’ve met Neil Lennon. I’ve looked into his cobalt eyes and seen the steel that he’s made of, but he now appears to be limited in what he can bring as a manager of Glasgow Celtic. To be a Celtic Manager you have to be an exceptional person as well as an exceptional Football manager. To walk in the shoes of Stein and O’Neil you must be made of sterner stuff than mere mortals. I thought Lennon had what it took, I know he’s an exceptionally brave man, braver than I, far braver, far braver than a soft, sleekit scumbag like Ally McCoist. But here’s the cutting truth…we are 12 points behind fat, sleekit Ally McCoist’s huns side. Points are what counts in football, not personalities, not affection from the support. And that’s the sad truth of the matter.
2. The Fans.
I’m a Celtic fan. I thought I’d get that out of the way first. How many of us out there have been participating in the perpetual collective orgasm at Rangers current financial predicament? I know I have. Go on, admit it. Stand up. “My name is Johnnybhoy and I’m a Tax-case-a-holic…” (pause for flaccid applause).
Most of us have been obsessing over the financial pickle that our old enemies have found themselves in. Prior to the Glasgow Derby game I was giddy witness to the world wide spectacle of “Mock der Hun.” Gifs made up of Hector the Inspector belting Craig Whyte’s bum, photoshops of Ibrox with the grim reaper hanging over it…it Went on and on and got funnier and funnier to the point where I knew, I KNEW we were going to humiliate them in the game at Ibroke in September.
Post-game I was devastated. I was guilty of buying into the hype. The huns had taken the negative press and momentum we’d built and used it against us. They used it as ammo to blow us out of the water. Blood and snot and thunder and all that nasty stuff, they took those things we said against them and turned turned on us. And how they beat us.
Most of us have taken our eyes off the ball here. We’re focusing on things that are less important than our club. Since that day in September we’ve looked like a shell of a team. We as a support bought into the easy notion that we’d pump our desperate neighbours like a prison bitch, as we have done for nearly 4 years in a row now, only for it to bite us in the bum. But it’s not all our fault…
3. The Board.
It’s all been said on here before. John Reid this, and Peter Lawwell that, politics and economics rule Celtic now. When your Chief Executive is signing players with or without your knowledge it can’t be a good thing as a rookie manager, or any other manager for that point.
Harry Brady knows more about the business side of things than I but I can tell you one thing; under Lawwell’s stewardship Celtic have not only stood still, we have gone backwards as a club. Lawwell appointed a rookie manager, a rookie coaching staff and undermined said staff with substandard players on the cheap, then expected us, the punters…sorry Customers…to cough up handsomely for the privilege of watching the shonky product that they class as a ‘Football’ team drawing against the second bottom team in the SPL, all the while they take a very, very handsome salary (paid for by the shareholders).
So what’s to be done?
In the interim I’d say, get behind the team and hope against all hope that we can claw back the 12 point deficit (with a game in hand) and win the league without the benefit of any points deduction from the SFA/SPL/CAS/FBI/CIA/etc…
In the long run I believe it means a change of personnel from the top down. The easiest way to bring about a refreshing change in an organisation is to change the men at the top, in fact a lot of modern companies change their CEO’s on a regular basis to keep things fresh. Lawwell needs to step down as CEO, maybe not leave the club altogether, but move to a different role.
Football-wise it’s sad to say but perhaps this job came to early for Neil Lennon. Depsite his glowing qualities as a human being, this job is proving too big and unwieldy for such a noble man. There. I said it. It hurts but it’s the truth.
As fans, we just have to keep on supporting our team. They need it. They need all the help they can get.