Sky pundit's heavy Celtic rant is spot on; contrition needed from the board

By Euan Davidson

January 12, 2021

The Celtic board were, quite rightly, met with heavy criticism yesterday.

Listen; everywhere you look, the topic is Dubai. I know this, you know this. However, we need to pick up on Andy Walker’s pre-match comments again, because he’s right.

I don’t know Andy Walker as a person, and honestly his anti-Celtic schtick can get more than a little wearing. However, praise is due for the former Bhoys striker, because he’s summed up the Celtic board’s attitude succinctly.

He described the Celtic board as “unbelievably arrogant”, and he’s right (Sky Sports). He said “what the Celtic supporters deserve is a bit of contrition from someone, anyone, with a bit of backbone at this club”, and he got that spot on, too.

The attitudes from the Celtic hierarchy have been contemptible all season long, and yesterday’s utter chaos was all of it in a microcosm. This is a board that are simply unwilling to admit when they’re wrong, and God knows they’ve had plenty of chances.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

When the squad clearly wasn’t ready for European competition in August. The times huge swathes of fans, local press and opposition couldn’t watch matches (Hold The Front Page). Sticking by the manager when results were abysmal. Most recently and perhaps most egregiously, the Dubai trip.

There is a total lack of accountability. Yet, when someone else screws up (Celtic FC), guess who are there to point fingers.

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic board lack contrition

Let’s be clear here; the Celtic supporters are owed an apology, as much as the league and Hibernian. Countless supporters would’ve told you how endlessly difficult their year has been. People have lost loved ones, friends, family. Many have suffered from job losses or reduced hours. They’ve stuck it out indoors since March 2020, just waiting and praying for the Covid pandemic to end.

Yes, this point has been covered relentlessly but it bears repeating: the fans deserve so, so much better than what they’ve seen. Last night’s match didn’t exactly exhibit the fruits of an intensive warm-weather training camp, did it? So then, why on earth are the board acting as if A: Dubai was a good decision and B: the club have done nothing wrong here?

Walker got it absolutely spot-on:

“You’ve got to remember Celtic supporters are paying their season tickets to see all the big stars – they’re not seeing them tonight. That’s not their fault, they’re being short-changed, and it’s completely unacceptable.”

Desmond, Lawwell and co. have all the power here, because they know how dedicated Celtic supporters are to the team. They’re consistently taking advantage of the faithful fanbase, and acting as if they’re beyond reproach. That’s because, in the current circumstances, they are.

When Celtic fans protested to the extent they did, the board only steeled their reserve. So what on earth are the supporters meant to do now? Is the only way to affect change by dipping into their pockets even more than they have done, and buying shares?

Folk will argue that Walker rarely needs an excuse to take a pop at Celtic, for whatever reason. But last night, he summed it up for every Celtic fan who’s unwilling to listen to the club’s PR nonsense any longer.

Celtic supporters / (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Celtic are losing their identity under Desmond and Lawwell

Call me hysterical if you will. However, we’ve surely reached beyond breaking point, if we hadn’t already.

This isn’t the club we grew up with. It’s not the club Walker played for, because never have Celtic’s hierarchy acted with such pomposity and arrogance.

Yet, so many of us will try to get season tickets for 21-22, myself included, and that’s because we love this football club. Because, this is our club, and we are its supporters.

And it’s not Celtic fans “putting up” with the board that’s the issue; dividing our support between those who will buy season tickets next year and who won’t is needless. It’s a debate you can see coming a mile off.

It’s the board itself. For this and for the multiple failings of this season, they need to put their hands up and admit a measure of fault.

I just don’t see that happening though, do you?