Cider with Peter by Tommy Cockles
As the exclusive news from Etims started to filter through Twitter, The Diary and the various Celtic internet fora earlier in the week (all real news is now, of course, broken by internet bampots, with the MSM trailing in their wake) that Celtic were about to announce a new shirt sponsor I raised one of my world weary, cynical (and increasingly bushy … WTF is that about?) eyebrows. Were we going to see another one of these endless, cosy ‘Old Firm’ joint deals to carry us through to the point where NewCoHun would inevitably and depressingly, rejoin us in the top league; or would Celtic finally respond to the loud wishes of a support thoroughly sick of being tied to ‘them’?
Well, the announcement duly came – Peter Lawwell proudly declaring that Celtic would have a new sponsor; better still, a solo deal not tied to Rangers. So, from next season the latest corporate entity to despoil the famous hoops will be Magners, the Cider maker. Even better … the IRISH Cider maker. The Bonusmeister can never be accused of not knowing his audience.
Most importantly, there was no sign of Chucky Green at the press conference. This was finally it, a shirt sponsorship deal that doesn’t involve a tie-in with Tribute Act FC, currently to be found playing the pubs and clubs of Scottish Fitba’s Fourth Tier circuit.
So far, so good. But, haud on a minute, is this really everything it appears to be – or is this just more smoke and mirrors from Celtic’s own master showman?
As we waft the smoke aside and look past the strategically placed mirrors we start to see that this ‘new’ deal may not be quite all that it first seems. For a start, we don’t actually have a ‘new’ sponsor; what we have is a new brand on the top. Tennents and Magners are, of course, owned by the same Company – C&C Group plc, who will be the actual cash providers in our current and future deals.
Another feature of Lawwell’s announcement of the ‘new’ sponsorship was his statement that this was not only a ‘multi-million pound deal’ (the current arrangement is also a multi-million pound deal – £1.5m per annum) but was, in fact, an ‘increased multi-million pound deal’. Of course, commercial confidentiality (and no doubt, his natural modesty) prevented him from outlining just how much that ‘increase’ actually was. It could have doubled. Or it could be an extra fiver. The cynic in me suspects the latter, but – hey – that’s just a problem I have to deal with.
Anyway, “so what”, I hear you ask, surely anything that cuts the ties to that other mob has to be welcomed. Well, yes, I have no problem with that. I’m just not entirely convinced that this is what we are seeing here. There seemed to be some confirmation that, to confirm the break, Rangers would not have Tennents as their sponsor next season, and would be looking for their own, separate, deal. I wonder if that, separate, deal might possibly involve another brand from C&C Groups stable? Time will tell.
The general response from the Celtic support to our ‘new’ deal has been positive. The C&C Group number crunchers will undoubtedly see a surprise spike in Magners sales in the second week in January. I don’t drink it myself, but each to their own. Trawling through a Forum the other night I even saw some gleefully justifying that mess of a design for next season’s home top that’s been doing the rounds as making more sense having been designed with the Magners logo in mind. Since when did Celtic start designing the hoops to better display a sponsor’s logo? Madness!
If … and as I say, I’ve yet to be convinced … it does transpire that this is a genuine break from joint corporate sponsorship with the NewCoHun, and a real move away from lazy cohabitation within the ‘Old Firm’ relationship, I’ll be delighted. However, I’ll also mitigate my congratulations to Celtic Plc with the observation that the driver for this has been less the long demand from the Celtic support and more the consequence of Rangers having changed the rules of the game by inconveniently going bust. The suggestion also seems to be that the movement to change the status quo came from the sponsors rather than Celtic, who may have been a little less proactive in all this than Peter Lawwell might want us to believe.
So, perhaps not the really BIG change that we might have expected after all. But, life will carry on, the new Magners adorned home top will sell in bucket loads come the summer. Nike will be happy. C&C Group plc will be happy. Celtic plc will be happy. Peter Lawwell will pocket another bonus, and – probably – he’ll be happy. I’ll be a miserable git. Plus ce change … Pass me that cider infused hemlock.
The club delivers a great sponsorship deal during difficult times and yet you cannot help but stick the boot in. He has given the fans exactly what they want.
Calling a guy the bonusmeister when he has turned down bouses he has rightfully earned is downright silly.
Well said ,peter
yes we know they are owned by the same company but the majority outside of scotland wont. thats the point, people will see no tie in with scotlands shame, no direct link. thats what we, the fans wanted and its a futher step down the line away from “old firm” which we all know doesnt exist anymore.
Agree wholeheartedly with the previous comment.
We wanted our shirts to carry a different sponsor name from “THEM”, and that’s exactly what we’ve got. Yippeee!
Furthermore, the money that the club is going to earn from this deal is greater than that earned from the previous deal. This is good for several reasons:
1. It’s more money for the club.
2. It’s a fairly major nail on the coffin that now contains the argument “Without joint deals, we can’t earn as much”.
So come on up Tommy, cheer up and enjoy this for what it actually is i.e. a small but significant step towards the day when we can consign the term “Old Firm” to the history books.
Yes, yes, I know deep down that Sevco will probably be back playing against the grown ups some day, which is why I also think that it’s important to show our support for this type of deal in order to dissuade the powers that be from getting back into bed with “THEM”.
All the best and Hail Hail.
Believe what you want and all that-but I share the articles cynicism. The fact that Lawell said; it’s a great deal blah blah blah but then said it wouldn’t make up the shortfall in the benevolence shown by Celtic in reconstruction made me think, well why bother?
Between now and the end of the season (probably after season ticket renewals)we should start to see what our board really mean by in “Celtics interest”
i really could nt care less what corporate logo is spoiling the Celtic top.
A non paying sponsor of the charity variety (ie Acorns at Villa etc) now that would be a way celebrate 125 years and the foundations of Celtic’s charitable beginnings, if only for a season.
But hey even Barca gave up on UNICEF to pay Messi and took the oil money.
A 100% article , he has not brought us a new sponsor just a new logo. It all comes down to c&c , this is just spin from lawell again and i personally see newco with magners cme nxt season. To me the problem is lawell he should of been gone years ago. Hes closer to the ipox boardroom than lets on. Hes helping police arrest his own fans more than helpin fans afford to go to games. If you cannot see threw this spin he has put in the so called new sponsor r as deluded as charles green. I would also like to know why he went wit magners after them refusing to associate themselves wit celtic supporters in amrica bc their association with secerianism according to magners.. just another pr exercise by lawell.
paul if you cant see what lawwell has done for celtic on the business side of things then i fear for your IQ. football side im not so keen but as a business man for celtic he certainly can not be faulted!
Why such negativity around a positive announcement. The fact Tennents and Magners are both owned by C&C is beside the point. How many on here would genuinely think Sevco would have IRISH CIDER on their jerseys?
How would you think that would go down with the hoards?
I believe if C&C were considering a joint deal, with one brand on Celtic’s jersey and a different brand on the Zombie shirt, the announcement would have been made at the same time.
C&C would not want to be seen to favour one over the other. That is why I believe DeidCo will be sporting a Glasgow Taxi firm on their chests next season. Possibly, they will go all retro with no sponsor to commerate their 1st anniversary.
The new brand on the shirt is absolutely the work of the C&C group (the CEO being a celtic fan btw).
With Sevco stalling on renewing a deal when chuckles took over and the prospect of tennents sponsoring just celtic was a daunting possibility. This would see the mcewans effect hit the brand as it did when rangers had that brand in the nineties.
Moving to magners allows the brand to die in scotland (as it will, lets be honest) but re-affirm the irishness of the brand in England.
It is a distant second best to strongbow in scotland so as a sacrificial lamb it works.
The interesting question is: what if c&c strike a deal with the zombies? What brand will be on the shirt? Still tennents?
What a load of horseshit.
Easy to pick holes in anything.
Mind probably made up before any announcement, then looked for an angle to back an entrenched view.
I can’t understand the negativity. With Sevco in the 3rd (and staying there hopefully) any serious sponsorship was going to be difficult to attain. To get such a good deal is absolutely brilliant.
Peter Lawell might have his faults, but he certainly knows how to keep the money rolling in, which is why we’ll never be in Sevco’s sitiation.
p.s. I’m sure Peter Lawell has already knocked back Arsenal & another EPL team who were headhunting him / willing to greatly increase his salary. If he din’t have Celtic in his heart, he’d have walked – cut him some slack.
I thought it was a great article,and for one reason,well mostly. It proves that our support would never allow our club to fall apart the way theirs did. If that article wad a rangers plug,say two years ago,tommy would have been shot
If it were a well thought out critique of our corporate policy, that would be true.
If its a thousand word attack at Peter Lawell, then it’s horseshit.
Sorry, sad but true. This reads like someone who doesn’t like the CEO finding a reason to try to pish on his shoes.
I have to disagree with most of the article but also admire it as a Celtic fan. It is exactly this sizeable percentage of our support who distrust anybody with wealth or power that ensures we will never ‘craigy whyted’.
The celtic support as a group would have had a full dossier on mr whyte before he was even in Scotland puncturing his limousine masterplan before it started.
I have always thought we have inherited this from forefathers. Our descendants were rebels there to question authority whereas across the city they have always been subjects and there to serve and never question authority, which is what chico is doing again. They will never learn – fools.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the positive – and negative – feedback.
For Lenny Bruce, I actually don’t have any particular dislike of Peter Lawwell and, in fact, think he is a very able CEO of Celtic Plc. I do retain a, I hope, healthy scepticism over the extent to which the interests of Celtic plc and Celtic Football Club coincide, though. I think that while these interests are generally aligned, they are not always entirely so, and that those of us who are primarily interested in the Football Club need to maintain a cautious watch over the plc.
Of course I’m always open to the possibility that I do, in fact, talk horsehit.
Fair response Tommy. Thank you. Perhaps I was a bit harsh and hastie. 🙂
We are on the same team! Peace.
Tommy, even if this article is simply a case of “healthy skepticism” about Peter Lawwell it doesn’t explain why you keep making reference to bonuses.
Lawwell has been a pretty effective CEO of Celtic Plc and has achieved the commercial and financial targets required to earn a bonus. He has chosen not to take this bonus over the last two years and yet people still aren’t happy.
Its easy to sit on the sidelines and talk about how much you “care” about the club. In turning down bonuses Lawwell has put his money where his mouth is. Yet he is still chastised for it.
Lawwell hasnt rejected any bonuses, he has only deferred the pay out until a future date. Possibly with interest.
I missed both Friday’s diary and above the blog on the day as I had several things I had to do I did not want to with the wife – not for public discussion. I read them early this morning but have only got round to commenting after spending all morning getting my old WWII gear out of the loft, especially my helmet. The reason being, that I did not fancy marching headlong into a load of flack. It seems to be flying in all directions in the comments and, at my age, ducking only gives me one in a million chance.
Ralph: I have to say that some of your best cracker one-liners yet. To highlight the best would probably just be a rewrite of the diary so I will leave it for each reader to appreciate how much your sense of humour has improved. Keep trying, old fella?
As for you, Desi. I take it you actually wanted a Harry Hill moment when writing your article? I have a feeling the opposition turned out much greater in numbers than expected. Accepting the physical catastrophe that can result from sitting unbalanced on the fence (not a great problem at an age when any damage is minimal, if not inconsequential), I can appreciate the cynicism expressed by Desi. It would be imprudent not to at least consider, given the historical context, if there are “stings in the tales” emanating from the Celtic high command. It is also important to accept that most football boardrooms are, rightly or wrongly, business based first, football based second and supporter focused last of all. As such, decisions made can easily look to be something good for the club when in fact they are really only good for business. Whether that is the case in the Cider Keg kit, I believe, as in all of these issues, only time will tell. Cop out? Not really as I prefer to make final decisions on facts and not assumptions, guesswork and certainly not fantasy. There a 500 million supporters doing that well enough without adding to the numbers and threatening their dellusion.
Now to Desi’s opposition. Again, I appreciate your point of view. Too often supporters, ours no exception, who can only see football boards as pocket-lining money grabbers. Historically there has been plenty of evidence world wide to warrant such fears. Unfortunately it has converted some fans into habitual Doubting Thomases and, to me, without substantial basis. There have been just as many pro decisions as con ones by football boards and especially by recent Celtic boards. I am afraid the biscuit-tin directors have a lot more to answer for than the potential, negligent destruction of our club. They are also responsible for the creation of a cynical, disbelieving and critical section of fans who simply can not see the “good” from the “trees”. To them I also say that I would never be adamant about anything without knowing the full facts and waiting till promises are or are not fulfilled.
What do I conclude. Well, first let me get the bullet proof on and the helmet over my head. On the one hand, I, like many others, would want to keep a close and, perhaps, a somewhat suspicious eye on any boardroom decisions. Failure to do so could mean another 90s scenario or even worse a repeat of the Govan mushroom. On the other hand, one can not go through life wanting to enjoy something if one is not prepared to put faith in the provider. I know I have to trust the suppliers of the food I want to eat, even if it might be a brand new Tesco :).
PS I see Ally has another film out. The Life of Pie (It IS better than any of yours, Ralph!!)
Desi didnt write it…clues in the title…Tommy Cockles is your man.
Desi will now stop referring to Desi in the 3rd person
Yours and mine
Imagine allowing me to post. I can not even get the writer correct. It is a terrible mix, of bad eyes, bad smell, bad taste and horrible sense of humour, Peter. In short, sir, SENILITY! I have asked to wife a million times to put me down but she says she loves having me on her back. Told you I was ‘orrible 🙂
I had a quick check to see if you had received my apology, Peter, only to find you did not write it either. So here goes with all twelve apostles. Surely you are in there somewhere – you were the replacement for Judas, Desi, so you still count. Anyhow, apologies to Peter, Desi/Judas Iscariot , James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot and Judas son of James. You must be in there somewhere, author 🙂