Its a massive night for Celtic. Avoid defeat in Benfica ( and a result for Barca) and we will have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions league with a game in hand. To be in this situation is truly outstanding by Lenny, his management team and players. Even if things go wrong in Lisbon, we still have a game at home and there could be a fall-back to the Europa League guaranteed too after tonights results! Who would have thought that when the draw was made? Words really cant do the team justice, sadly it seems the same may not be said of the Board.
It was sad to read that the Green Brigade, who have done such a wonderful job leading, and indeed rejuvenating the Celtic support, are now being forced to take up a Parkhead Boycott. The Green Brigade propose to miss 2 games at Paradise in order to highlight their constant harassment from the Police. Despite calls for support for the Green Brigade, the Celtic Board have been marked absent and now a dark story is circulating that The Board are in fact encouraging the Police to crack down on The Green Brigade and against fans deemed “ones for the watching”.
We can only pray that there has been some misunderstanding. Would anyone be surprised of a possible muddying of the waters by certain Law-Upholders? That is indeed possible and the Club have issued a firm statement of denial. Time will tell but this is one story that just wont slink off into night especially given the numbers of the Green Brigade being focused on by Plod.
Last weeks AGM also heard a resounding SLAP on every Celtic fan in attendances forehead when Chairman Ian Bankier told a fan who had asked for the club to go it alone in Sponsor deals, that Sponsorship deals was ‘out of the clubs hands’. Incredible. Just when we all thought our club had taken our thoughts on Rangers and The Rangers on board, we are patronisingly patted on the head, turned around and shoo-ed away with worrying tales of how it would cost fans money if we didnt have such nauseating joint sponsorship deals. A positive frame of mind would herald a PLC Board for being so financially mindful but the Celtic pessimist knows that its not a Football Club Board anymore, its purely business and we are all losers when sponsorship deals with tax cheats continue despite our loud and constant protests.
The final “No way!” exclamation regards the Celtic Board came yesterday afternoon with the announcement from Neil Doncaster and his SPL clubs that ALL 12 clubs have agreed to push ahead with expansion plans that will see them invite SFL sides to break away and form a new two-tier set-up. Somewhere the son of god started crying. Will they never learn? Did The recent Newco-Armaggedon-NOT mean nothing?
After the most embarrassing debacle in the history of Scottish Football, yes that does include Farrygate and Argentina 78, we all thought lessons has been learned. Now at a time when the SPL is at its most positive in years. When Hibs and Celtic are jostling at the top of the League, When 18000 folk are turning up at Pittodrie for a midday kickoff between Aberdeen and Celtic, what do the SPL do?..they decide to change the game!
In the next few weeks, an SPL Working(!) Party will deliver a set of fine-tuned proposals that will seek to entice 12 SFL clubs to walk away from their league ( the same one and only League that managed to come out the Newco affair with any Dignity). The Proposal is clearly a response to the SFL’s recent Call For Change but given the power the SPL has, couldnt they simply have said “No thanks!” and left the SFL to shuffle away in a wee huff. Well yes they could have, unless there’s another agenda of course.
The changes proposed make the current stupid Split seem positively mundane. The SPL appear to propose 2 Leagues of 12 with the Season culminating in a 3 way Split after 22 games. Then we would see the 8 teams in SPL 1 making a wee League playing for The Title and Europe, the Bottom 4 from SPL 1 and Top 4 from SPL 2 making a league to play in a Promotion\Relegation dogfight and then the Bottom 8 from SPL 2 making a league to play for..err…hmmm….stuff ( would their SPL license be taken by an SFL club if they come bottom..will the remains of the SFL recognise a new SPL set-up..hmm?). Yes Really! Apparently this will make more interesting games ( after the first dull 22 games of course) and put more bums on seats? Really? No disrespect but do they honestly think more people will go see St Mirren v Dundee or Motherwell vs Inverness Caley Thistle if they add Partick Thistle to the boardroom?
Neil Doncaster proudly stated ‘‘We all exist on the same corridor at Hampden. We all want a model that works for all levels. I’m not going to second guess how people would feel about it, but we would seek to work with all the relevant parties. Our responsibility here is to full-time professional football clubs and those clubs who aspire to be that…But there was a unanimous view that we should be looking at a new league structure which involves expansion at the top end. Also, it should be a structure that ensures meaningful and exciting games, provides competition and works from a financial point of view.’ That statement regards all in one corridor shows where one of the main problem lies but the big problem is yet again its all pure greed and self preservation. The blame argument can wait for another day. Today is all about “Celtic Board..what are you thinking?”
Lets look at Doncaster’s key phrasing here ‘Our responsibility here is to full-time professional football clubs….and works from a financial point of view.’. Could anyone think of a full time club that might want to climb away from SFL part-time competition and could also help increase SPL monies at this point in Time? Could Charles Green have been telling the truth all along regards promised plans to help new club The Rangers skip up the Leagues? Have we all been duped?
Doncaster cited that ‘It’s too early to say precisely what the mechanism for invitations would be, but it would have to be seen to be fair.’ No one can be in any doubt that The Rangers are laughing their head off today. How handy is this announcement, just before an IPO too…”Yippee…thanks SPL, love ya!” Of course Charles Green said he wouldnt take The Rangers into the SPL, well that’s fine as the Comic Cartel will be rebranded and ironically unlike The Rangers will gladly lose all connections to its toxic history. This is a win win for Chuck and an even bigger slap in the face to football fans by the leaders of the SPL Clubs and a big 2 fingers up to the fans and boards of respected SFL clubs.
Last night when the intial plans were aired, a fan called up Radio Clydes SuperScoreBoard to ask Why should anyone in Scottish Football listen to SPL and Neil Doncaster. It was a good point given they made such a mess of the Newco situation. Sadly Hugh Keevins ignored the guys argument and moved the guy along after the guy dared to say the SPL had “nae brains!”. Keevins then clearly stated that this move was not about Rangers. Keevins is right. Its about The Rangers.
All the evidence would suggest this is very much involving The Rangers and its an afront to all self respecting Scottish Football fans and especially Celtic fans if our Board are in anyway involved in giving this team assistance. On December 3rd the full plan will be outlined by The SPL ( Sad Pitiful Losers? – Ed) Working party and we shall know a lot more of what’s going on and who we can expect to see being involved. Once again it could be up to the SFL clubs to show their integrity and demonstrate their solidarity in order to uphold some decency in the Scottish game.
On a personal level, the fact that we have to even consider the Celtic Boards actions are tragic. In one of the biggest months for our club in recent years, a month where our team and fans have led the way with Pride and dignity, we can only pray that our Board are doing the same. Time will soon tell us all we need to know.