It's time for Celtic's new CEO to do something he's continued to avoid
So there we have it, the most predictable appointment has happened at Celtic with Michael Nicholson being given the permanent CEO gig.
Nicholson becomes Dom McKay’s official replacement today after the club announced the news this afternoon.
So what does that mean exactly? The truth is, as supporters, we don’t really know. After all, what do we really know about Nicholson? We know that he’s been steeped in the club for years. He joined in 2013 as Company Secretary and Head of Legal. He was promoted to Director of Legal and Football Affairs in 2019.
Outside of that? Zilch. When he was announced as a placeholder back in September, many had the feeling that he would get the gig permanently. Not because of his abilities to be successful in the job or his reputation amongst supporters. But because it felt convenient to the board.
We had plenty of talk of modernisation under McKay. He spoke up about bringing Celtic into the modern world, something that the current Celtic board certainly isn’t synonymous with. So Nicholson is viewed by supporters as Dermot Desmond’s man.
Nicholson can help boost his reputation in the eyes of supporters very easily of course. It’s time for him to get himself in front of the Celtic TV cameras and introduce himself to the fans.
Celtic fans still don’t know enough about Michael Nicholson
If the supporters were able to get an understanding of what he’s all about, it would be a big boost for Nicholson himself. In addition to that, it’s imperative we hear about his own strategy on taking the club forward. We don’t know, for example, how similar he is to McKay in terms of his vision for the future.
Is the club going in a completely different direction under Nicholson? Or are there aspects of McKay’s long-term plan for Celtic that he also associates himself with?
There was no massively urgent need for Nicholson to carry out an in-depth interview when he was the temporary CEO. But now he has the gig for the long-term. Now it’s a different story, and the Celtic fans need to know exactly who’s running their club.
Sure, you can talk about his history and 8-year association with the club as a positive. But that was in a totally different role to the one he’s in now. It’ll be down to him to set Celtic’s off-field agenda.
Does he, for example, share McKay’s passion for engaging with supporters? Will he look to give fans more access to the football club? Where does he feel the club can be modernised and how will he go about doing it?
McKay’s rhetoric was positive, but there wasn’t a lot of meat to the bone. Whilst he provided all of the buzzwords Celtic fans wanted to here, he failed to go into detail about how he would carry out his long-term plan. Nicholson has a chance to really get on the front foot with supporters here and show what he’s all about.
That’s an opportunity he simply can’t allow to be passed up.