On SFA/Referee Quality there will be meetings with Henry McLeish and later in the year with a cross party of MSPs on the issues of transparency/accountability of the SFA and their processes. Ways of involving other clubs on the issue were also discussed at the Open Meeting itself. It was felt that individuals or individual groups might be more effective and possible than trying to arrange an organised approach to other club groups. Henry McLeish could be encouraged to speak to other support groups to find out if they shared our view on the issue and the matter will be raised during a meeting at end of May.
A significant development came from a subsequent meeting (between Jeanette Findlay and Peter Lawell) where Celtic said they would consider involving support representatives before decisions are made rather than making them and telling us afterwards. The actual mechanisms for doing this need to be explored further, and one possibility was discussed at the meeting, but if it can be done it will represent a major change in the way Celtic communicate with the support.
This change is more about a change of attitude at Celtic to allow support input before decision making which allows the possibility of influencing them rather than one way communication from Celtic via the various existing routes with different groups afterwards.
A change of attitude all round is key to building any mechanisms (of which the Open Meeting process is but a beginning).
There was a view that this will simply not happen because the will to do so at the very top does not exist it but there was a counter view that with support dissatisfaction at the level it now is and revenue under threat, there are more benefits to Celtic to listening to us than continuing with current obviously unsatisfactory arrangements.
Quite how it will all pan out depends to what degree the attitude has changed at Celtic and how the various supporter groups want to organise to provide their input. In the past Celtic’s perceived/real reluctance to engage in two way dialogue has discouraged various support groups or supporters from either attempting dialogue or meant where it has happened it has been accompanied by a fair degree of cynicism.
The test of whether there is a real change of attitude will come if the following proposed motion for the upcoming Celtic Trust AGM is passed.
‘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 it is it will open the way to introducing new ways for Celtic and the support to work together for the ongoing benefit of everyone.