Exclusive: Celtic Trust membership "rising daily" amidst club crisis

By Euan Davidson

January 19, 2021

The Celtic Trust have gained plenty of momentum in 20-21.

It’s not hard to see why fans might flock to a supporter-run shares collective. The Hoops faithful may be slammed with unfair tags like “entitled”, but the supporters are more than entitled to feel a sense of loss as events unfold.

Loss in trust with the board, loss in connection with the players. As fans are locked out of Paradise, we’ve been made to feel more disconnected than ever, as the club shamble from crisis to crisis.

On both the pitch and in the executive suites, bad decisions are being made and it’s only natural that supporters would look around for ideas around the club.

Fortunately, many have sprouted from a galvanised Celtic Trust, whose membership is increasing as days go by.

You’ll remember the name; it was the Celtic Trust who organised the safe, colourful protest outside Celtic Park on the 13th of December. It was the Trust who lobbied for safe standing, for kids’ replica kits without sponsors, and other important factors in supporting the club.

The Celtic Trust, unlike our board, are always keen to engage with fellow supporters. An excellent conversation on our YouTube channel exemplifies this.

In response to the latest set of issues in Parkhead, 67 Hail Hail spoke to Jeanette Findlay of the Trust. Findlay, like so many Celtic supporters, was exasperated by the running of the club. However, in her words came an emotion that has been bereft in supporter culture this season: optimism.

Celtic fans protest outside Celtic Park / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic Trust comments give hope to supporters

I asked Jeanette Findlay whether membership of the Celtic Trust has risen since the start of the year.

“Significantly, and is rising daily. Current paying membership is around 1,100.

“There is usually an upturn in members when bad things happen to team or the directors. Poor team results and Dubai are good examples of that.”

With Dermot Desmond’s son reportedly joining the boardroom (Football Insider), I asked Findlay for her perspective.

“As a rule, we don’t comment on rumours or hypotheses. That said, it is a concern that four of the five NEDs (non-executive directors) have been in place for over nine years and questions have to be asked as to whether they are truly independent.

“It is not good corporate governance and is a characteristic of the pre-McCann board. It is these directors that decide on executive director performance and remuneration and legitimate questions can be asked.

“There were no meetings of the Nominations committee last year which also suggests it’s all a bit stale in the boardroom. The chairman is ultimately responsible for this and his role must be questioned. The Trust voted against the reappointment of all the NEDs up for re-election in December.”

Additionally, 67 Hail Hail asked for comment on the Lawwell apology:

“The damage was done in going there in the first place.

“Having said that is is telling that the CEO has not communicated with the support about what plans he and the Board have in place to address the problems we can all see.

“But he has come out twice in the past few months. Once to criticise the fans and once to make this apology. That is nowhere near good enough and explains the anger that is out there.”