What Celtic board must make clear in order to win over supporters again

By David Walton

June 9, 2021

The Celtic board have undoubtedly taken a verbal battering from the supporters this season, and rightly so.

All throughout the club, criticism has been launched by the fans for what’s been a disastrous campaign. It’s been clear who to direct our anger towards regarding the on-field performances. Both Neil Lennon and his players have borne the brunt of it.

However, when it came to off-field matters, supporters have been left unclear as to who they should be criticising. Everyone has got it in the neck this season. The likes of Dermot Desmond, Peter Lawwell, Ian Bankier, Nicky Hammond, John Kennedy, and Lennon have all been under-fire.

Yet the reason so many have come under such criticism is due to one thing – their full list of responsibilities have never been made clear to the support. When you bring up Celtic chairman Bankier to fans, for example, not many could tell you what his actual remit was.

The same goes for Desmond and Lawwell when it came to the removal of the manager. Who was having the final say? Who was continuing to keep Lennon in the job when it was clear his tenure was becoming disastrous?

As for player recruitment, who was the main instigator for that calamity this term? Was it Hammond who was choosing the players? If so, why wasn’t Lennon getting the final say? Speaking of, how much influence did Lennon have on the club’s signings? Who was setting our agenda for player specification? Once again, nobody truly knows outside of those inside the club.

Kennedy, meanwhile, was being criticised for just about anything. Fans simply have no idea what it is he’s responsible for, the same goes for Gavin Strachan. There have been far too many individuals whose remits haven’t been clear to the supporters.

If the Celtic board want their supporters to trust them again, accountability isn’t optional

It’s this level of uncertainty that’s led to a massive disconnect between us and those that run our football club. We have no idea who is to be held accountable for what. It’s the way the club likes it of course. They like everything being done and run behind closed doors.

That’s absolutely fine, but when you run a club like Celtic, you can’t shirk responsibility. You can’t hide from your own failures and just try to hope it goes away. When you’re trying to reconnect with a fan-base, you need to make it clear to them what your roles are.

All we’ve asked for this season is clarity. Clarity on who is making certain decisions so that the appropriate individuals could be held to account. Celtic have done their best to stay in the shadows where this is concerned.

What does Ian Bankier even do at Celtic? / (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

The appointment of Dominic McKay as Lawwell’s replacement will hopefully lead to a change in working for the football club. Then again, the early signs haven’t been promising.

Who was responsible primarily for allowing Eddie Howe so much time to leave our pre-season plans in disarray? Nobody knows. Celtic don’t want the supporters to know either. How much involvement did McKay have in that, for example?

But accountability is key in bringing back the trust. A clearer understanding of what the major figureheads at the club are responsible for, and many will be satisfied. Nobody is demanding daily diaries to be written and published online for everyone to see. But Celtic need to increase communication with supporters and give us a view as to the roles and responsibilities.

With a Director of Football also likely coming into the club, the need for clarity is even more important. Will we get it? We won’t hold our breath.

In other news, next week could see big progress for Celtic in their DoF hunt.