The five key questions for this year's Celtic AGM
If you thought the international break would spare you from boardroom politics at Celtic, think again; it’s AGM time.
This one in particular should be a doozy. In a calendar year where the spotlight has been on the Celtic board, the usually rowdy AGM takes on extra importance.
While there’s been a feel-good factor about the team in recent months, the governing of the club has raised a smorgasbord of questions. Meanwhile, the Celtic hierarchy aren’t exactly the most forthcoming.
Between finishing a season trophy-less (discounting the delayed 2020 Scottish Cup Final), losing a manager and several recruitment staff, hiring a big name CEO who quickly departed and other issues, there’s a lot to discuss.
The board landed a significant favourite in Ange Postecoglou. Not only that, the “risky” hire led to the Celtic careers of several fascinating, popular players. From Joe Hart to Jota, Kyogo to Abada, there are a new band of brothers on the hallowed Paradise turf.
Yet, if you polled the Celtic support about the board, we’re sure the majority would say they’re unhappy with them. And there’s very good reason for that.
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It all kicks off at 11.30am today. And if we were there, here are the questions we’d be asking the Celtic board at this year’s AGM.
Celtic AGM: What was the real story with Dom McKay, and what of Michael Nicholson?
Given the fanfare and promises that arrived with Dom McKay, his swift departure opened up countless questions.
Only lasting 2 and a half months into what was meant to be a bold new tenure, McKay was out quickly. Of course, he was unveiled with Ange Postecoglou; so the immediate question was about their dynamic, and how Ange felt.
The Celtic boss gave those questions short shrift. But a lot of what McKay offered supporters gave some hope. For all we’d won over recent years, the set-up of the club still felt old-fashioned, stuck in the past.
Does what McKay talked about ring true of the whole board? Is “modernisation”, however nebulous and ill-defined as it is, still a focus? And will acting CEO Michael Nicholson be entrusted to carry out a transformational period in the long-term?
It’s an important position, especially where shareholders are concerned. Who’s at the wheel, so to speak?
Celtic AGM: Will Bernard Higgins be employed by the club despite fan protest?
One of the more controversial topics sure to crop up at the Celtic AGM, Bernard Higgins’ potential hiring by the club for a security role is a hot-button issue.
Higgins, of course, was intimately involved in the now-scrapped OBFA (Scotland) Act. The Assistant Chief Constable, responsible for the actual act of carrying out the bill, became enormously unpopular with Celtic supporters, and football fans more broadly.
There were, of course, fan protests both home and away. It would be seen as a significant betrayal from the club to hire someone so deeply entwined with an ugly era in Scottish football.
So, straight shooting; is Bernard Higgins taking up a role with Celtic Football Club?
Celtic AGM: How did the club let Rangers stop 10IAR?
In truth, Celtic lost 10IAR as much as Rangers stopped it. Through sheer, colossal mismanagement, patchy recruitment and letting Neil Lennon keep his job too long, Celtic squandered a chance at immortality.
So, in plain terms; why didn’t the Celtic board act sooner? Why wasn’t the league title more of a priority, and why – if Neil Lennon was their man – wasn’t the manager backed in terms of key staff?
The 20-21 season is worth hours of meetings in itself. Primarily though, why wasn’t last year’s Celtic squad better equipped and managed to achieve something that would’ve meant so much to supporters?
It was shocking. And when fans were rightly angry about it, they were scapegoated.
Would the board now agree that Neil Lennon was kept on too long, fans were right, and it was a shocking dereliction of duty from the club’s suits? Of course they won’t – but getting some explanations would be useful.
What about the Celtic recruitment department?
Nick Hammond is away. Gary Penrice is away.
So, quite simply: who’s in charge of identifying talents for the Celtic first-team and beyond?
This isn’t to say the summer was a failure or anything like it.
As transfer windows go, it was a roaring success; key positions were filled, new fan favourites were added, and a sprinkling of B Team stars look good value to become very decent players.
Who’s driving that, though? Is it former Arsenal scout Jay Lefevre? Or is Ange Postecoglou primarily responsible for picking out targets?
Clearly, the club are lacking numbers in that department. Is Ange getting the backing he needs, on that front?
What other infrastructure plans do the club have?
With Barrowfield being developed, and Glasgow City Council giving the green light, things look positive off the pitch. At least, in terms of guaranteeing the club infrastructure for the future.
Covid-19 will definitely have hampered other plans, though. What’s happening with the hotel [Glasgow Times]? Are there any plans over the next 10 years with regards to Celtic Park, specifically the South Stand?
This is not a question borne from anger or disappointment. Rather, it’s checking what the long-term vision is for the club in terms of building projects, maintaining a profitable future and expanding facilities for both players and supporters.
Obviously, Champions League money will be important in anything we do going forward. Winning the league, then, has to be the priority.
But shareholders will be keen to know what else is in the works for the next generation of players and fans.