Celtic chairman blows chance to connect with supporters

By Euan Davidson

June 26, 2021

At the Celtic media conferences yesterday, you’ll have noticed something interesting.

Well, hopefully, you’ll have noticed plenty that was interesting. Foremost, though, was the presence of Celtic chairman Ian Bankier. Bankier, so rarely seen in front of the camera, heralded the “gemstone” appointment of Ange Postecoglou, before handing over questions to Dom McKay and the new Celtic boss.

So far, fair enough.

Then, he entirely avoided a meeting with fan media. It would’ve been the first chance for a member of the board associated with the failure of last season to be held accountable by supporters. In a meaningful way, the dedicated, passionate members of our excellent fan-led media were not trusted to speak to our club’s chairman.

Is it just me, or is that deeply concerning?

It was a home game, after all. From Celtic’s perspective, they could’ve vetted questions if they wanted to, but they didn’t. And that’s something to hold sacred, especially these days. How interesting it could’ve been, though, if the voracious, forensic Celtic fan media had the chance to talk to our chairman.

You can bet sparks would’ve flown. In fact, it’s probably exactly why it didn’t end up happening. On a level, we can’t really complain; fan media had access to the new boss and CEO on the same day as the “regular” press. That’s a good thing, at the very least.

Celtic chairman had the chance to defend himself and the club’s hierarchy

It wouldn’t have been entirely popular, but hearing the chairman of the football club backing his colleagues would’ve made for some interesting headlines.

Instead, we rarely hear from him. If anything, it was kind of a surprise to see him at all yesterday. The fact that we’ve written articles wondering aloud what Bankier actually does tells its own story, really. For such a massive club, it’s so strange that our chairman, a person who’s meant to be front and centre defending and boosting our club, is so rarely seen.

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier / (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

And you can absolutely guarantee we, and everyone else, would’ve had questions for him. Would it have been a passionate exchange of ideas? Very probably, and given Bankier’s reputation as a behind-the-scenes kind of figure, it’s surely not something he would’ve relished.

What an opportunity it might’ve been though. If Bankier had performed well, it could’ve relieved some of the pressure on the board. If he’d been able to clarify some of the absolutely baffling decisions from 20-21, some of the wounds of the last campaign could have been soothed. It’s optimistic, and he could’ve absolutely blown it too, of course.

But it sends a bit of a mixed message. Who’s more prominent, our CEO or our Chairman? Does it matter? Perhaps Dom McKay’s gentle, approachable nature is perfect for a board who don’t like to emerge into the public sphere all that often.

It would’ve been blockbuster. You can count on that.

READ MORE: Australian media are lapping up Postecoglou’s first press conference