Peter Lawwell met with Celtic fan group on Thursday; the details and what was said

By John McGinley

December 19, 2020

The Celtic Trust have updated members on a recent meeting between the organisation and the club.

The Trust previously held an open fan meeting, two weeks ago, after a dreadful run of form at Celtic and perceived poor communications from the club.

With fans grouping in an unorganised fashion at the stadium to show their displeasure and nothing going right on the pitch, you’ll remember it was a desperate time.

The Trust released a statement outlining their concerns, before arranging their own Covid-compliant protest.

On the back of that, Celtic agreed to a Zoom meeting with Jeanette Findlay and David Low as representatives of the Trust. This occurred on Thursday.

Chief Executive Peter Lawwell, Club Secretary Michael Nicolson, Supporter Liason Officer John Paul Taylor and Financial Director Chris McKay were all in attendance.

Today, Low and Findlay addressed Trust members on another Zoom call. Over 140 people came together to get an update on what was said at Thursday’s meeting.

The quotes that follow are from today’s online gathering. For full disclosure purposes, I am a Celtic Trust member, though this is a recent development and I am not involved in any of the organisation or strategy.

Celtic communications

One of the big issues of late has been the way the club have communicated with supporters.

On this topic, Trustee Jeanette Findlay said: “We conveyed that people were annoyed by the lack of engagement. Their initial response to that was that they believe their communication strategy is good and that they have regular meetings with fan groups.

“We were making the point that this is all well and good, but there are many people out there not affiliated with groups and they should communicate more widely.

“Their argument is they meet groups on a regular basis, John Paul Taylor speaks to people on a daily basis, roadshows are tricky to organise, they reply to e-mails when sent in and they think the fan forum works. They don’t feel there is a communications problem.

“Peter Lawwell said it is a tricky situation. There are things they can say publicly and some things they can’t. They absolutely denied that Dermot Desmond said fans were entitled. They said they absolutely had not been briefing friendly journalists.”

While the communications strategy of the club has come under fire, that is not the only issue that supporters currently have.

Celtic ambition

There are serious concerns about the ambitions of the club and the long-term plans in place to achieve those ambitions.

Qualification for the Champions League hasn’t been consistent enough despite our resources and seeding. This year’s Europa League campaign was a disaster.

On the topic of ambition, Findlay relayed: “They talked about ambition and they said their ambition for Celtic is limitless. They accept they haven’t achieved that Europe but said they have plans in place to do that. There was a commitment to that.

“The manager has key performance indicators. They didn’t share what they are or if he was meeting them. But he does have KPIs and is accountable to the board.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic contingency plans

Celtic now face a gauntlet of massive matches that could make or break the season. There’s the Scottish Cup Final tomorrow, three league games and then a huge derby at Ibrox in early January.

On the subject of contingency plans, if things go wrong over important upcoming games, Findlay said: “Peter Lawwell didn’t answer that directly. He talked in some detail about the difficulties of this season and how the empty stadium was affecting players. He is still hopeful we will win the league this season.”

Trust members, Low and Findlay then discussed a variety of issues ongoing at the club in a constructive question and answer session.

Celtic fans protesting at Celtic Park / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What to make of all this?

It’s apparent that Celtic didn’t particularly commit to anything in their meeting with the Trust that they haven’t already in public statements.

The club remains guarded and defensive on the issues raised, as far as I can tell. It seems to me they still feel justified in many of their actions, or inaction, so far this season.

It remains to be seen whether that strategy was, or is, the best thing for Celtic. Much of the fan feeling around events this season will inevitably be determined by what happens from this point on, on the pitch.

We can only hope results continue to improve while holding the board to account as much as possible on other issues behind-the-scenes.

You can find out more about The Celtic Trust and their aims in a YouTube video on the 67 Hail Hail channel.