Celtic have made no meaningful progress since December statement

By Euan Davidson

June 1, 2021

To borrow a phrase from Charlie Brown: good grief, Celtic.

After another blow was delivered to the Bhoys rebuild, with the news of Fergal Harkin staying at Manchester City, we’re at a bizarre stage. We’ve got barely any meaningful time to put a competent squad together before the Champions League qualifiers.

Consider this: we have no manager. No head of recruitment. Our captain has gone. The first choice for a manager said no. The interim boss after Neil Lennon was deeply unpopular. We don’t have a Director of Football. A brand new CEO is taking the wheel after years of complacency (and yes, titles). Many key players are most likely out of the door. The club hasn’t just stagnated since December, things are genuinely much worse.

Do you remember the December statement? What fun that was [Celtic FC]. The club said:

“The Board recognises and understands the importance of winning the league championship this season and that, as Neil himself has made clear, recent performances and results have been disappointing. The Board is committed to delivering success for Celtic supporters.

“The Board has carefully considered the current circumstances and the challenges that we are faced with, not least the pressure on the management and players to deliver the tenth championship in a row that is so important to us all. Equally important is to continue to operate according to our Club’s values. The Board has come to the conclusion that our collective objective is best served by continuing to support Neil and his team as they seek solutions for those challenges.”

It’s not even anger at Celtic any more, it’s utter despondency

What a laugh. Then, as the final kicker [Celtic FC]:

“The Board recognises the range of views expressed by our supporters and the strength of those opinions. Whilst there may not always be agreement, there is certainly a common goal – the success of Celtic Football Club – and we will continue to work together to seek to achieve that success.”

And what work they’re doing!

By now, we’ve got past the anger stage. That happened around the time of that statement, and beyond. And yes, there was obviously a huge backlash when Eddie Howe slipped the net. But today feels different, very different. According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief, we’re probably on the ‘depression’ stage by now [Psycom].

That may seem flippant, but is it off the mark? When news broke of Fergal Harkin not taking a job he was never offered, there seemed to be more of a collective sigh than a roar of disapproval. It was a case of expecting little, and getting nothing.

How did we get here? That’s not a rhetorical question: utter mismanagement. It seems very clear that Eddie Howe was stringing Celtic along. Perhaps the same could’ve been said of Fergal Harkin, but as the Independent (Ireland)’s report suggests, we can’t have lost Harkin, because we never had him. The lack of communication from the club left a vacuum for rumour and speculation, because frankly, that’s all any of us could do: speculate.

It’s just all so strange. For years, despite some valid concerns from the supporters, this club seemed like a well-oiled machine. On the rare occasions we were disappointed, the club acted, with excellent outcomes. Now, it’s an utter mess.

We have Champions League qualifiers soon! / (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Difficult to know how pre-season could look more bleak

Unless everything magically falls into place the second this publishes, it’s hard to see how things get better quickly. If, and it’s a big if, because you never know – if Ange Postecoglou arrives soon, he’s still got a massive task ahead of him. By the time Celtic actually announce a manager, we might’ve lost key players.

Frankly, what supporters don’t know at this stage far exceeds any concrete knowledge we have collectively. Some have misinterpreted wanting to know what’s happening at the club as some kind of entitlement. That it’s a business, and businesses don’t reveal their goings on. Except, that’s not really true, is it?

We’ve talked for a long, long time now about communication. And in some respects, the club’s doing much better there. It’s not the fault of the employees at the club that supporters don’t know what’s going on. It’s the people at the top of this crumbling pyramid that we need answers from.

READ MORE: More disappointing news for Bhoys supporters