Why else would the governing body even consider such unsporting proposals and risk alienating thousands of fans who will see right through it? The fact is the SPL are taking a massive gamble here, a gamble that requires the paying fans to roll over and accept the spin that short term TV deals and attendance figures[1] are more important than clubs acting legally, fairly and sportingly.


Well I say that sporting integrity is vital but even if they or you are unconvinced will Celtic fans (and others) accept this like dumb consumers and keep buying the Sky packages, the season tickets, the away tickets, the cup tickets and all the additional ‘products’ of a dire domestic game as the SPL schemers require?

It will soon be time for Peter Lawwell to step up and play his cards and I only hope and pray that he annihilates the scoundrels of Scotland’s minnow clubs clinging to our tails while demanding the right to wag the dog.

This is Celtic’s 21st century flag affair make no mistake. It’s time for Peter Lawwell to do a Bob Kelly and stand his ground for Celtic’s genuine and long term good, for to do otherwise will be nothing short of the end. It is no exaggeration to state that for many Celtic fans our (financial and long-term emotional) devotion to Celtic hinges on the outcome of this.

Yet this is where my fears emerge. You see, like the Flag affair, the battle was not drawn along the lines we might have expected. Our ‘fellow Irishmen’ in the East were our major enemy while our rival over the river was our unexpected ally. I say unexpected, yet business logic then and PLC logic now suggests this should not have been unexpected.

The huns of old believed that by protecting our (genuine and nice) traditions they were immunising themselves from potential scrutiny of their own (putrid anti-Catholic) ‘traditions’ for a few more years. Second, and more importantly for the current debate, they felt that the ‘Old Firm’ rivalry needed to be protected to ensure their own club’s wealth. Of course, the necessary evil accompanying such business ‘sense’ was to secure the health and wellbeing of their biggest rivals, the ‘Irish papist’ Celtic.

And this is where we come to Celtic PLC in 2012 and the possibility of its biggest rivals going bust. It is revealing and alarming in equal measure that Peter Lawwell’s only public utterance to my knowledge was to state that Celtic would ensure it did what was best for Celtic without giving us a clue as to what that might be.

Of course, what the chief executive of Celtic PLC was really saying was that he would do whatever he felt was necessary for the interests of Celtic PLC not Celtic Football Club and that, as we know, is to make money for PLC shareholders. As Thatcher’s right-wing guru, Friedman boasted, “the one and only responsibility of business is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders.” Any social responsibility, he said, was “fundamentally subversive.”

Celtic’s interests and Celtic PLC interests are not always identical. This is one reason why Celtic should not be a PLC but that is for another day.

Social responsibility, moral and sporting integrity matter not one jot to these multi millionaire chief executives or their billionaire major shareholders. And if you think I’m scaremongering for the sake of it, I remind you of a previous Celtic chairman’s words not so long ago – In August 2004 Brian Quinn gave the masses an insight into the way top financiers and executives work when he confessed, “it’s in our (Celtic) interest that the game in Scotland becomes more competitive. I mean, it’s great to win the league by seventeen points, but not at the cost of attendances going down, which they have been.”

The question is, how does Peter and the PLC envisage the future of ‘competitiveness’? Is it to be cutting our cloth accordingly and Scottish football becoming more equal like it was in the 80s or is that a pipe dream now? Or is it to give new life to our biggest rivals, the club who have despised us and the faith and nationality of many of our supporters?

I might just have lasted a little while longer paying to watch Celtic in an uncompetitive league. If this goes through I will no longer be used to fund the financial gravy train for the likes of Dunfermline, St Johnstone and Hearts. But neither will I pay to watch 11 millionaires in green and white hoops claim to represent me in a league that is brazenly gerrymandering in order to provide life support for cheats while relying on Celtic fans to fund it in some twisted logic of providing competition and securing rivalry!

Will Celtic be getting my season ticket money and will other clubs be getting my inflated ‘Old Firm’ away money next season and every season after that? Not if they let this happen! But even if the huns don’t get liquidated, Celtic PLC’s actions at this crucial time will be just as revealing to Celtic fans as the bigoted mainstream Scottish media’s have been in all of this.

It’s all to play for!

[1] They really mean Rangers fans attending their stadiums, given it is more likely that other clubs would increase their active attendee figures knowing they have an outside chance of winning a league and a good chance of making Europe and winning cups.