Searching for the positives in the bottom of generational Celtic rut

By Euan Davidson

May 5, 2021

Here, look: we’re massive Celtic fans.

Nobody in the fan-run Celtic media likes talking the club down. After 9 years of incredible success, including a Quadruple Treble, the wheels have come off in such a dismal fashion that it’s hard to comprehend. Compared to just a calendar year ago, the players we’ve come to love have become almost unrecognisable. Murmurs of discontent with the running of the club have turned into protests.

Such is the velocity of the club’s unravelling in 20-21, it’s even caused some to question the hitherto unquestionable. As the club lurches on without announcing anything to supporters, it’s becoming a bit of a chore to even think about Celtic, sometimes. That’s not through a lack of love, it’s just that having a long-standing affection for a football club is inherently an emotive thing.

So, let’s try and find some positives out of this generational rut.

Former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan / (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

The scale of Celtic’s rebuild has shades of successful pre-seasons

We’ve already discussed Brendan Rodgers’ “rebuild” of sorts. Thinking further back, what about Martin O’Neill’s 00-01 pre-season, when the drama of the John Barnes experiment was replaced with thumping Derby wins and trebles? Or, for example, when Gordon Strachan took over and, barring a misadventure in Bratislava, brought success to the club?

The most successful stories of our recent past have followed horrendous mismanagement, dismal results and fan unrest. Think Fergus McCann saving the club, then a few years later, ending Rangers’ title run. For all of that disorder and chaos, we have a fantastic stadium and a massive club.

The point is, it’s a balance. Football moves in cycles, and luckily, our bad ones in recent history haven’t lasted particularly long.

If you want to put up with the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain. You know which “philosopher” said that? Dolly Parton.

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

Some big concerns over recent years have come to a head at Celtic, but that’ll mean change… eventually

With all the upheaval across European football, supporters have made themselves heard. Even the behemoths in the top leagues have had to deal with fan revolt.

Ok, fan revolt isn’t necessarily “a good thing”, but this season has given supporters, especially those who saw all this coming a mile off, some reason to vent some steam. That’s a good thing, and now the board can’t say they don’t know how Celtic supporters feel, unless they choose to be wilfully ignorant.

In recent weeks, we’ve even seen UEFA stand up for us [Daily Record]. There’s going to be huge changes across top-tier football and Celtic will be part of that. If there’s increased pressure from supporter led movements in the big leagues, and for ourselves, eventually supporters will be able to build on the crumbs from the tables of club boardrooms, and demand real power, and real change.

This season was a bubble bursting, in a sense. Not just at Manchester United, or Chelsea, or even Juventus. It was widespread. And supporter initiatives and pressure groups are at the forefront, leading the way.

So, history and the politics of football: two positive things to take away from all this. And it’s not like history or politics have ever been unpopular topics amongst us lot.

When this season is done, it’ll be a footnote in a glorious era for Celtic. And maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come.

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