Given the current events at Celtic Park, Etims were lucky to have a chat with Jeanette Findlay from The Celtic Trust.
The recording is available on the Podcast, player below, just press play:
Or you can download here ( right click..Save Target as)
Sadly the recording didnt turn out the best quality. It is worth listening to and persevering through any of the more quieter moments . However, to ensure none of this great chat is missed, and also to include the people who like to read rather than listen, here is the key transcript…we cant recommend it enough.
Jeanette, Ralph, Hector and Desimond covers the Trusts aims, the Green Brigade,Amsterdam, Fir Park and the apparent schism between the Board and the fans…we hope you enjoy it and it gives you food for thought!
Desi: Tonights Podcast, with Ralph Malph, Hector and welcome to our special guest, Jeanette Finlay from The Celtic Trust. Jeanette, Lets get right to the most important point of this week, what was that Signer at Nelson Mandelas Funeral all about?
Jeanette: <laughs> I have to say, that was the thing that made me laugh today when almost nothing else could. When I saw that in the paper I thought that was hilarious. Imsure there are many people who dont think it was funny at all, might think it a terrible insult but I have to say I thought it was funny.
Hector: I have it on good authority that it was the Green Brigade who were responsible for that.
Jeanette: I was wondering if it was them who killed Nelson Mandela?
Desi: Oh, the Podcast just went down a dark Alley, the kind Hector and I love.
Hector: We’re getting the jail…get in there!
Desi: Jeanette, thanks for joining,can you give us a summary on The Celtic Trust for those who are unfamiliar please.
Jeanette: Sure.The Trust is registered as an Industrial & Provident Society which basically means its a mutually owned Organisation, like a Credit Union for example. The Trust Movement is about saying the customers if you like, of Sporting Clubs, still mainly football, have a different relationship than the customers of other businesses and in fact Football Clubs are so important to their supporters and their communities that its only right that they have more say in how they are run. So the Government recognised that around 1999-2000 and set up Supporter Direct. Now that organisation changed out of all recognition in Scotland, much the same in England. Its about helping Supporters Organisations have more of a say in their club.
That’s fundamentally what it is.The Celtic Trust is a mutually owned organisation, owned by members, as soon as you join you become a part owner of the Trust and the Celtic Trust itself owns some shares in Celtic. I suppose,we envisage it in the long term as a financial and legal vehicle for the fans to take ownership of Celtic. In the meantime, its functions like any other Supporters Organisation, not like the Affiliation, we dont run buses etc, but we do act as representative for our members and probably more widely than that by liaising with Celtic on things that we believe fans are concerned about and we make contributions in respect to the experience of fans. I describe its a like a Trade union for fans, in the sense that when problems arise for fans, we try and intervene, giving representation and liaising with Celtic.
Ralph: Are you giving fans a voice up to The Board?
Jeanette: Yeah, along with other supporters organisations thats what we do just now.We would like a more and deeper meaningful interaction, the Board currently talk TO us, but the dont often consult us when they make decisions and we would like that to be different with an input. Quite often,as is seen in current big issue of the hour( Motherwell and Green Brigade), its the gulf between the Board and the fan body is so huge, the Board just dont get it and need someone there pointing it out. I suppose in a sense, John Paul Taylor, Supporters Liaison Officer, has a role, a recent one, acting as a conduit between the Board and the fans but thats not a replacement for the sort of thing we would like to see, but it can be helpful.
Desi: Fans would know Celtic Trust around AGM time regards proxy votes etc. How many people are represented and do the Board and Dermot Desmond take any notice when they can outvote you?
Jeanette: I dont think people just see us as just an AGM group these days, we’re functioning all year round, discussing with Celtic, possibly in public eye or behind the scenes. In relation to AGM and shareholders, I should point out, the Celtic Trust isnt just an organisation for shareholders.Its shareholder and supporters, when you do join, you become a shareholder as we own shares.
I think the Board take us very seriously indeed. Up to this year we were the only organisation who could submit resolutions onto the Plc AGM Agenda. The Plc dont like that, they like to control and stage manage the event. One of the biggest impact we have had is that the Celtic AGM is no longer a stage managed event to the extent the Plc would like at least. The Plc are forced to engage every year to either engage with direct debate with the floor, which they always do granted, or as anyone attending will see, the video interviews may include issues that the Trust have raised and force them to address real issues.
They also need to engage in debate regards any resolutions we put forward and we always have 2. So we have had a big impact on the AGM, making it more meaningful in the sense that the Board, even with theyre votes, are forced to listen and take some measure in respect to fans feelings on issues. In respect to the votes, the most important stat is that a very small percentage of individual shareholders even vote at all, possibly as little as around 2000 up until this AGM where I suspect more people voted but figures arent at hand to co.nfirm but nevertheless our sharholding proportion havent got above 3-4% of the vote, which is because the vast majority of shares are owned or controlled by people on the Board.
What tends to happen is that we put something forward, they defeat it, and then later on they implement it,which happened with the Dividend Re-Investment, the Charity Match idea and we hope it will happen with the Living Wage proposal.
Ralph: At the last AGM, do you know anything about the question where some one asked how did old Rangers still get into Europe, costing Celtic money.Talk was they were given advice in a private room and the resolution was deferred.Do you know anything about that, who it was etc?
Jeanette: It wasnt the Trust, we have 2 resolutions and there was a 3rd one this year proposed by shareholder. We advised on how to put the resolution forward, and the person who submitted it, lives abroad, and contributes to a Celtic website with an online name which I cant recall. Someone here in Glasgow then liaised with Celtic and it was them who stood up at the AGM and said the resolution was to be deferred which we knew nothing about until it happened.Afterwards it turned out there had been a discussion with Celtic who had given some assurances and had asked for more time for some reason.
The same thing happened with us when we had a resolution about safe standing in 2011, they asked to discuss and showed how they were working on actual plans. We then talked about withdrawing but when we mentioned we could still propose it to show that there was big support for this idea, they said that if we went and proposed it then they would then vote against and defeat it!
Ralph: Why would they say that?, Did they want the credit for it or is it just politics?
Jeanette: We did ask but got no explanation. Quite often that happens.It would be simplying to say they just dont like us. Although as far as we know, we are still barred from taking out an advert out in the Celtic View. Its like saying you’re banned from Buckingham Palace, Ive no sense of going there but its odd to be told you cant.
Desi: Surely the oddest thing is the Celtic Board refusing to take money from someone?
Jeanette: Yes thats true. In the case of Resolution 12, the Rangers one, I dont know what assurances the submitters were given but the actual resolution wasnt withdrawn, it was only deferred so might be relevant sat next AGM.
Ralph: Is defer a Gaelic word that means to ignore and and hope everyone forgets about it?
Jeanette: That may be the case, the submitters may have been sold a pup by the very clever Peter Lawwell but I cant be sure about that.
Ralph: Regards the Living Wage. Thats important to me as someone who believes in the ideals of the club. When you were speaking to them, what attitude did they have? Did they see you as an inconvenience, did they just seem dismissive?, ie you wouldnt understand? Thats how it seemed in the Media?
Jeanette: I didnt notice as I was in middle of the proposal, but people who were watching it told me the Board were staring fixedly ahead, staring down at their shoes, sliding down in their seat etc.We had thought on this carefully on submitting and when they defeated it, I said it was one of the lowest point in my Celtic supporting career leaving aside current events which might be even lower points. I was genuinely distressed, the resolution was drafted using plain clear speak and I was to submitted it as I was moving on from my position in the trust and this was likely to cause some friction which might not help with future interactions.
I don’t think the Board was blase’, I think they were embarrassed and possibly ashamed and the fact that the Chair, Mr Bankier, departed from his pre-prepared rejection script, which summarised as “Because we don’t have tae!” to talk, but that went worse when he started saying things like “its only 178 people…its their 2nd job”. He clearly thought a 2nd job is just another directorship as opposed people making 1 full income from 1, 2 or 3 jobs. Which shows how far removed they are from the ordinary Celtic supporters. That made me think they were embarrassed, and their actions regards Amsterdam, hiring lawyers regards compensation claims, while appreciated does seem to be opportune PR wise after the Living Wage rejection.
Ralph: Its hard to believe its because they just dont have to. Im starting to fear we’re no longer a club thats different from other clubs. I fear we would just at the chance at selling its soul like a Chelsea or Arsenal to play in England, and be only about the money. Celtics unique with fans coming from all over the British Isles and Ireland, and they seem to have no thought for the customer, as they call them and we call them supporter. That’s their agenda..make money, selling players etc. Someone on The Etims Diary said “Celtics making money despite Peter Lawwell, not because of him” which I think may be one of the best points I’ve seen in a long while. Do you get that impression when dealing with them?
Jeanette: In respect to Peter Lawwells abilities?
Ralph: The fact they’re just out to make money?
Jeanette: Yes. I think the Board is so far removed. Look at recent example of moving an upcoming game, despite the fans already making arrangements, travel etc, so the players can have a break, a nice trip to Dubai with their wives and credit cards perhaps. I think the reason Im so depressed, Im usually a half-full glass sort of person, since a month ago ( all the fans rallying after Amsterdam), is I think a big portion of the Celtic fans are buying into this and would be happy seeing us like another Man United or Chelsea which is just about fiduciary sensibleness. Im astonished at some of the reactions, I even saw someone say “Our club need to be CLEANSED”. They actually used that word. I thought it was bad enough that I thought that the current custodians were of that character , just wanting to be like any other commercial venture, but now it seems that so are some supporters who buy into that belief which is depressing.
Ralph: I hope thats a minority or just a particular site.
Desi: Is this bringing us into the areas of separation of Company and Club like the Sevco debates. We see Celtic as a club and the Board are seeing it as a Plc and represent the plc interest rather than those we would expect for our club. Are clubs and companies seperate and we should expect Celtic to be run as a stern Plc with all that entails rather than the humane Club approach that we assume?
Jeanette: I dont think so. I try and avoid talking about other clubs, alive or dead. Theres a lot of confusion on this issue. I even had a big debate on Twitter, which doesnt work given constraints. You get people give it “Oh Dont give it “the plc”. Its clear the club has to be owned by someone of something, we would like it to be fans but it could be a person,limited company,or plc thats fact. Ownership can change of course, like it did with Celtic becoming a Plc and it could change again.
Some might think its naive but I don’t want Celtic to be owned by a Plc as they by their nature have to act in the interest of their majority shareholders and not, in our interests, the fans. I think theres a significant group of people who are happy for the club to be run in this plc way and would be happy to dispense with everything that makes Celtic different. Which I don’t want.
If moving away from the Plc model meant in short term we would have less money for players, not that we have had a net investment since 2003 from the Board, well I’d be prepared to live with that and start being a club that means something to people again and looks after their fans and dont give them up to the Press or turn on them or rush to judge. Thats something I would want to be part of.
The Living wage was a low point but this last week, not for the first time, we have Peter Lawwell rushing in to print, attacking people before any evidence, named people, inviting football Authorities, home and in Europe to fine us. The awful spectacle of seeing Celtic fans segregated in Barcelona, was disgusting, and I dont want to be part of that, others might but I dont.
Hector: Can I step back to the AGM, a colleague was there, and said you made a very passionate speech on the floor. He confirmed the Board sat there avoiding eye contact and looked extremely embarrassed. He said the audience seemed to be 100% in support of the Living Wage motion which showed the gulf the public and Board.
Another thing for me, regards the Living Wage, its just right. It just is.What about the Board members, parking their big cars in the car park and then passing the statue of Brother Walfrid. Do they ever look at the statue and think “What would he think or would have done?”
Jeanette: I dont know how they can look at themselves in the mirror never mind look at the statue of Brother Walfrid. Ive said before, I dont think the Living Wage is charity. Its not charity to pay people properly.If its just and its right, its not charity.
Ralph: It makes good business sense. Happy staff means higher productivity. Pay minimal money, all you can expect is a similar return from your staff.
Hector: Its all about fairness. We always believed this sort of thing made Celtic different, as the song goes “If you know your history”. Think back to what people had to go through,the social element of it all. That seems totally alien to the Board and their need for profit. We have nothing in common with them, they say we’re all fans but we put money in, they take money out.
Ralph: The Board would argue, they put the money in, theyre entitled to make as much as they can.
Hector: It seems a section of our fanbase have become accountants first and supporters second at times. Which is soul destroying at times
Ralph: This may be a clever Board tactic, pointing out what happened across the city but that isnt right as we are nowhere near their self inflicted pain. Spending a bit of money giving people a Living wage isnt going to put us in the red or cause any danger. A Diary reader, Run Sammy Run, sent in a perfect summation
I was thinking last night about how we blame the players, blame the manager, blame the tactics but the reality of the situation is that we should blame ourselves.
This regime that runs Celtic is interested in only one thing, cold hard cash.
To hell with our morals, our history, our sense of social justice, those are all just marketing ploys to sell the concept of how we are more than just a football club.
Dermot Desmond cares only about one thing and that’s the bottom line. He pulled a master stroke in bringing in Lawwell as the smoke and mirrors man who fools us all with his statements and promises of future growth and success.
We’re the ones to blame, we’re the ones who have fallen for it all. Players can’t help if it they’re shit, Lennon can’t help it if he’s tactically naive but we can make it change because we control the one thing that they prick up their ears at, ‘Money’.
I don’t advocate not following and supporting the team but my personal stance for the past couple months is to stop plowing money into Desmond’s pocket via merchandising. At this time of year Lawwell is rubbing his hands at the thought of kit sales and DVDs and quilt sets flying out the door, well not to me they ain’t, not this year and not until I see some real investment in the club.
Jeanette: Its a fair point. Theres a real problem in trying to bring about change, money is the only real way but that limited, withdrawing from purchasing merchandising is one way. If we could get the sort of Unity we saw around Amsterdam attacks, amazing united fans, unique I would say, but getting such unity for dare I say boycotts I svery difficult.
Going back on other things, regards the action on the floor, its not unusual for us to win on the AGM floor, the Living Wage was unanimous, with great reaction to the 3 speakers, myself an 2 unknown others, was so in favour, but wasnt supported by the Board. The reaction to that was overwhelming.
In respect to making good business sense, thats correct it does. That relies on the fact that when you pay people your customers are happier…well what if your customers will turn up anyhow. The board can say it doesnt make good business sense as customers will turn up anyhow..regardless of how they feel about poorly paid staff.
Ralph: You could point at that empty top stand and say “No their not coming back”.
Jeanette: Perhaps but that takes in other factors like the state of the economy, unemployment. We asked the board about Unions and they said they werent oppossed to it. We suggest anyone employted there joins the union and pushes them on it.
We did ask them in what way were we more than just a club.,..in respect to charity..thats us who gives the money, we give it, they collect it, and hand it out. They dont consult on who to hand it to, which is another issue.We asked them to have the decency in what way are we still more that just a club…we still await an answer.
Hector: When we talk about Celtic, and the Press quote “Celtic said this”…they’re talking about the Plc, not Celtic.Theyre just the incumbents, others will come. We are Celtic. I dont think the Plc, get that. The charity fundraising collections, that us, its not the Plc. The food bank runs, that us, not the Plc. The Amsterdam Legal Fund collection, thats us, not the Plc. We are Celtic doing things to help the community, supporters are driving these initiatives, not the Plc.
Jeanette: I agree. Amsterdam. It was incredible the unity and effort, £42’000 raised already. Picketing of Dutch embassies around the world. Im actually feeling a bit better thinking on it now. Social media has helped, regardless of daft Twitter, pulling people together.
Hector: You and other guys, like Eddie Toner and Celtic research, the bucket collection at Celtic Park for the Amsterdam guys, was incredible. It was so energising to see all the People queuing to donate money, young and old, male and female. This reminded me that Celtic is us, no them, us.
Jeanette: Over £26’200 raised over a couple of hours, it was brilliant organisation by Helen and her partner Chris who jumped forward and knew exactly what was needed. It was incredible. Loads of instances, like was a couple of fans, one even in Amsterdam giving their time to be interpreters or help families, a guy offering beds to total strangers. It was so fantastic.
Then we go from that, to seeing the extent to which the fan base seems to have turned on itself after the events at Fir Park. Such a contrast to that unity.So disappointed at some of the reactions but the feeling that we are Celtic has not gone away.
Ralph: Im sure the Plc Board noticed that Unity, and maybe got frightened seeing such unity. Maybe then getting a lawyer involved was trying to take back some control.
Jeanette: The lawyer Celtic employed isnt for the actual legal cases, its for compensation case, not the actual legal cases. Celtic have let us use their meeting rooms but their lawyer is only involved in the claims for compensation and cases against the Police. The legal lawyer is being paid through the funds raised.
Desi: Can I take it right back. The Fans Against Criminalisation statement on the Trust website. The Kettling..up to now at Fir Park. Is this just the ideal game plan for The Board. Did they ever help the Green Brigade or just dismiss it as not of their concern.
Jeanette: Its all still going on. I think they forwarded complaints to the Police. They may be acting behind the scenes. They did put a submission, a good one at that, to the Justice Committe for the Offensive Behaviour Act and have pushed Rosanna Cunningham for an early review.
In respect to the Gallowgate, we did gather evidence and compiled our full report but cant release as there are on-going Court cases. We also instituted an email campaign which managed to get notice up to the Justice Committee. We will get our report out when possible. It hasnt gone away.
We’ll probably do the same with Amsterdam. Providing a permanent record and help ensure people dont forget or get their facts mixed up.
Hector: If I remember, the law was proposed following the Rangers game at Celtic Park where McCoist said a few choice words in Lennys ear and Lenny reacted. My theory, just a gut feeling is the Board have supported everything the Scottish Government have been doing since day 1 and might paint a different picture in public than they do in private regards this law.
Jeanette: Well if you remember back then After the game, a summit was called, people thought it was Alex Salmond responding to goading from Jack McConnell, but it was actually the Police Chief Constable Stephen House. I suspect it met all their interests, including Police wishes for more funding which it turns out the FoCUS group now has a big chunk of cash. Celtic attended and we argued they shouldnt have validated the call, they should have said “we dont have a problem” and declined. They told us there had been no mention of legislation at that point, and it was only later on the SNP rushed it through when they could. We”ve had meetings on this, unless theyre sitting lying to us then I dont think they are as you suspect. I would say that while this is going on, their relationship with the Police seems far too cosy.
Hector: Thats my point. The person in charge at Celtic Park knows his politics and how to manipulate the media, the press and knows every rule in that book when required.
Jeanette: You think so, I think Celtic PR is dreadful?
Hector: What I mean is he has got his lackeys,both in the mainstream media and within elements of the Celtic support online, and Im in no doubts he is in cahoots with the Police. Ronnie Hawthorne, former police before job up at Celtic…and Ive no evidence but Im convinced all this helps Peter Lawwell and other alleviate a problem they and others have, they want rid and this is opportunity.
Jeanette: Well there is evidence. Peter Lawwell openly admitted to us that Celtic were giving fans information over to the Police. We had to ask them to check this wasnt illegal against the Data Protection Act. You could maybe accept that if some-one was in danger or a danger fine, but not for wearing a certain t-shirt or possibly singing a song.
Ralph: Thats ridiculous. Again it shows the attitude the Plc have to the fans, leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Jeanette: Yes it does.
Desi: Latest news is 5 arrests for events at Fir Park. Jeanette, you say this is a latest low?
Jeanette: Clearly deliberately broken seats and vandalism cant be defended. Thats wrong. The fact that that was then turned into a Press on-slaught clearly fuelled by Peter Lawwells statement pointing to the Green Brigade. Mind these are the people so politically aware and clever they can produce those kind of banners and displays which point right to the heart and the hypocriy against the SNP and their Offensive Behaviour Act. They same people that spend their time, energy, money and talent doing all this also like breaking up seats and waving them over their head. Anyone who believs that would believe anything.
The Green Brigade released a statement and I think they probably tried to take responsibility for something they couldnt really take responsibility for, any more than the rest of us can. Which is to say they had people around them, younger hangers-on who may have been involved. If they think they have people hanging around about them then thats a problem, and something they have to deal with that but its not the same as getting blamed for events.
Its like on our bus, the Dennistoun No1, if we were to carry folk who went and misbehaved, we would have to take responsibility and make sure it doesnt happen again, and thats no more than that. To them turn that into something involving 128 precautionary suspensions, the 128 being the number in the group who had tickets for Fir Park, not by any identified individuals, its like banning the whole of our bus, rather than a few. Many of that 128 werent even at the game. There would have people involved in smashing seats not within that 128. There was overcrowding, stewards let anyone one in that area. No-one yet knows who was in that area.
So for Peter Lawwell to immediately come out with a statement with implications like that, I think it reality hes been smarting about the William Wallace Bobby Sands banner at the Milan game and this has given him an opportunity to relocate and therefore break up that section without any fear of a backlash and thats very disappointing.
Hector: His manipulation of the media worked as the media were immediately blaming the Green Brigade on the Friday night. He pulled the strings like Murray used to. The fans were blaming the Green Brigade initially but as more information is shared fans are saying “Hold on a second..it wasnt the Green Brigade”. I think Lawwells made a mistake again.
Jeanette: I hope you’re right. There are people who come out with statements like “You cant complain about the Police, ie Focus, when you do things like that ( Fir Park). Why not? It just doesnt make sense. People are linking legitimate legitimate protest, to vandalism, to flares, and saying things like “We need this Cleansed”, its appalling. Its depressing.
I hear of people who are saying things like “The club had to do something, enough’s enough”. Theyre just lumping things together, UEFA fining Celtic fans for banners, such rank hypocrisy…God bless Nelson Mandela but even in death the man is pointing to a great injustice when we can honour him in every football ground but thats NOT political.
Hector: Im just waiting on UEFA fining UEFA
Jeanette: Peter Lawwell and his knee jerk announcements and sometimes considered announcements has almost invited UEFA to fine us. He did the same thing after Motherwell.
Hector: Are you suggesting or saying it was him who reported the Udinese thing, to UEFA?
Jeanette: Well, he came out and had a rant about that banner. Even the William Wallace Milan banner, would the UEFA official even notice such a banner and make a big deal about it? I could be wrong. Theres political banners at lots of different grounds.
Ralph: There was one at the Barcelona game.
Desi: The question is when will the Independence banner get banned?
Jeanette: See what ever fines they have to pay, I suspect they make more from merchandise from the Tifos, or at least offset it to a large extent. Now, I know there will be people out there who will slaughter me for this, fair enough,write to me or turn up at a meeting and we can debate but I also think there are people who would agree with me on this.
Hector: Seeing the Green Brigade being like Wallace and hung drawn and quartered after Fir Park, John Paul Taylor the Fans Liaison Office came out on Twitter made the point that Celtic are aware there was a section of Fir Park that lay empty behind the goals as a lot of people had left there and moved into the section where the Green Brigade where or should have been as a lot of the Green Brigade couldnt then get in. To know that a few days after a knee jerk reaction condemning the Green Brigade is ridiculous.
Jeanette: To see these 128 people suspended, not for carrying out acts of vandalism, but issues with precautionary suspensions on the grounds that they were in a location within Fir Park that they shouldnt have been. I could see this panning out that everyone of them are found to have done nothing at all and will have their season book re-issued.
Hector: But how will this then affect the 111 Section. They guys could be cleared, but Lawwell gets to close the 111 to the Green Brigade.
Jeanette: Well hes issued relocations. They will have to consider relocating or taking refunds. There will be other non Green Brigade fans who will have to consider if this is fair. I hope the club will be left in doubt that people are not happy seeing people relocated although they didnt do anything wrong. If it is because of displaying a banner, which quite properly highlights a hypocrisy of an act that targets football fans and Celtic fans, well be open about it and this could then be debated. If Celtic fans are going to agree the Plcs actions are acceptable, well thats for them but not for me.
Desi: It appears the Green Brigade are just the fly in the oitment and unwanted by the Plc Board. Im afraid its going to end up with everyone fracturing, the board, the fans amongst themselves. We need to be unite as its going to get worse regards external foes, especially the Rangers debacle and the new SFPL. Mind you we have Peter Lawwell on that Board to maybe its a case Celtic are happier being the establishment these days rather than against the Establishment?
Hector: Is it divide and conquer?
Desi: I think thats whats happened and Im fearful, there seems to be a lot of game-play going on.
Ralph: But why? Whats in it for Peter Lawwell to get rid of the Green Brigade?
Hector: Politics. They dont want Irish Politics at Celtic Park.
Desi: Does it fit the business model, the Commonwealth Games model?
Ralph: If he removes that aspect of culture and heritage among the support, does that mean he’s going to replace it with something else to provide the money. I have a theory, I think they’d like to get rid of that aspect of the support to then take it to England and people in England still see Celtic as the IRA supporting wing, so get rid of that before re-applying, just my theory.
Hector: It seems to all be about education. Look at Mandela, last 20 years or so, seens as a great world Statesman, but up until early 90s was known as a terrorist by the British media, even the world media and the Green Brigade making points regards Bobby Sands, and now Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams are part of the government in north of Ireland and with Ireland beng so close to home for most of us in Scotland, its almost as if you cant talk about it as they are seen as the bad guys. They might have done somethings they and people regret but they were fighting for what they thought was right. Just like Mandela did. We cant airbrush it out our history, its reality, Why fight it, embrace it, dont be ashamed.
Desi: Jeanette, how strange did it feel addressing a Tory Knight of the Realm as Chairman at Celtic Park?
Jeanette: No more strange than at previous AGMs when facing a prime instigator of the Iraq War.
Lord Livinstone,Parkhead, all of that, its just an anathema, when they say people like the Green Brigade shouldnt be at Celtic, I think, people like you shouldnt be at Celtic. That might just be me.
Regards why would they want rid of the Green Brigade, because they cant control it. They’d be more than happy keeping the marketable Irish identity. Its commercially attractive for the diaspora but not if you cant control the politics of it. The bottom line is if Peter Lawwell doesnt like the Green brigade, or others with similar politics, if he doesnt like it, he doesnt need to sell them season tickets, yet year after year, he sells them to them. Its commercially the best thing for him to do. Thats in a period when we could probably go to game per game without a season ticket. Why did he not do it, its not commercial and perhaps its nearing a tipping point. The calculated risk of keeping them against the risk of getting rid of them. The England theory could be a factor.
Im not convinced the situation if final, it might turn round yet, maybe it will all sort itself out ina few months, least until the next banner appears. I think its dangerous to try and always subscribe some rationality, sometimes its not like that. I think its Peter Lawwell might just be so used to be agreed with, so used to be being control and is so removed from the ordinary fan that it really troubles him when he cant completely control the situation, just my thought. Hes respected everywhere as being one of the best Chief Executives in the country, I imagine few people disagree with him.
Ralph: I tend to go with guys in the Diary, I think the success is despite Lawwell rather than because of him. If it wasnt for the Champions League and player sales, we might be in serious trouble. Hes had to sell season tickets at £100 less to shift them which is a big admission of failure on his part.
Jeanette: To be fair, its a recession since 2007 and theres been challenging circumstances which mainly contributed to that decision, but to say he gave us £100,well when I go to Asda and somethings reduced, Asda dont tell me their giving me the money mas a gift.
To bring that back to where we are as a support, I’ve enjoyed this discussion as it reminds me that some idiots on Twitter dont constitute the majority of Celtic fans.
Ralph: Theres no reason to think all is rosy in the garden, we havent even got onto discussing things on the pitch. We havent discussed if we arent buying decent players we’ll stop being a big club, thats what a big club is, a good team on the park that people want to see, not the balance sheet or profit and loss.
Desi: I see the Celtic Trust website advertising the Green Brigades Food Bank drive at Celtic Park. How will that atmosphere be for the people in Celtic Charity side having to face Green Brigade given the current decisions by the Board?
Jeanette: Thats the funny thing. You would think there’d be strains like that, especially after AGMs, but people meet and get on with it, courteous, even when still theyre fundamentally opposed on issues. Im sure everyone will be focused on the very good cause and people know theres a job to be done. You still have to deal with people. Ive been there myself, sitting in a room thinking “I dont want you running my club but theres something we have to work together to deal with here and now”.
Hector: I just got a pretty picture of Peter Lawwell getting his mail person to deliver his letters and theres one from you “Dear Mr Lawwell” and hes thinking “Oh Here we go, she’s back!”
Jeanette: In respect to the Food Bank collection, its on the site, the Green Brigade are collecting on Dec 21st versus Hearts, collecting food items like tins at Celtic Park at Turnstiles 45-47, Inside the bus park, and the main stand, collecting for the Food Bank .< The advert below is taken from the Celtic Trust site >
Desi: Hold on. So you’re telling me the Green Brigade are asking for people to give them full cans in the same location where Peter Lawwell may be seated.
Ralph: I might consider moving if thats the case.
Desi: Surely this is the sort of thing the club should be taking care off, none of these excuses like the Living Wage “but no-one else is doing it”. We expect the humane club side of Celtic.
Ralph: Im sitting thinking of how we, a club formed to help the hungry are 125 years later collecting food for the homeless.
Desi: Its even worse that its not just for the homeless. Thats us with the Tory Lord on the Board and various high ranking Labour officials connected to our club. Jeanette, can you clarify contact details please.
Jeanette: The Email is CelticTrust@hotmail.com, Twitter is @TheCelticTrust and we’re also on Facebook. Happy for new joiners. Its £10 a year and we’re looking for people to get more active.
Desi: On a final note,with the Sevco AGM coming up, have you been sounded out for advice?
Jeanette: Is this a serious question? Well let me tell you a story, back when the Rangers Supporters Trust was set up, they asked us for advice as we were the first Trust. Our then Secretary went to their inaugral meeting, he wasnt there long before he was subject to abuse and then physically threatened so we thought ‘Hmm maybe this relationship isnt going to work‘. The only contact I seem to get is letters at my work from Rangers fans keen on getting me sacked for some reason.
Desi: Thanks Jeanette for joining Etims.
A chilling, depressing read about the club that me, my parents n grandparents supported … I suppose we have all been a bit naive.
Thanks so much for this insight into where we, as supporters, figure in the plc mindset.
As a guy in NYC effectively said to me recently, ” it’s the irishness,stupid” i.e that’s wHats make us the global club.
I’m sickened reading this transcript, but thankful for the Celtic trusts integrity… There is hope but really something has to change.
I agree. It made for depressing reading. Despite the fact that Jeanette is such an inspiration. Our Board are comfortable. Little is about to change anytime soon.
You lot are going to end up with cameras stuck in your face at every game. Once the GB are gone who’s next on King Pedros list. The name Ratners comes to mind over the way the PLC has handled themselves recently. Why has Celtic never had a female board member. Good work HH
Excellent READ! As for the sound – Well, that’s the last time I buy a Brian Eno album even if it was all NASA’s fault.
Naw. Only joking. Good stuff. Well done Jeanette. Your honesty, integrity and love for Celtic shone threw!
If you have a spare set of fingers over in Amsterdam ( sounds like the name of the pub next door to The Old Sailor!) then send them over, i wore mine out doing the Transcript!
Don’t envy you that task Desimond. If it had been me with my dyslexia and chronic typomania I’d still be typing it up next week. BTW That’s not a pub next to the Old Sailor it’s an emporium of erotica- which may explain the puzzled expressions you got when you wandered in last time you were over and asked for a half and half and a ploughmans lunch….
The half and a half wasnae hard to swallow but the ploughmans lunch was a mouthful!
Embarrassing read, this woman opens her mouth, lets her bile rumble snd we’ve to believe every conspiracy theory she spouts .its all the fault of the celtic board, poor, poor gb, who set themselves up as the unelected embarrassing voice of the celtic family, banner after banner of cringe inducing crap and then blamed everyone else for celtic getting fined near £90, 000 for their behaviour. But wait a minute; its lawells fault. Conspiracy theory left wing crap, I think the university that she works in should take a look at her pronouncements, shes certainly doing them no favours.ive been told that even the other lecturers think shes an embarrassment, and thats from a lecturer who works with her.!! She doesnt speak for us all, just a minuscule part of the celtic support, and thats the problem with these big mouths, full of bile and bluster, full of their own self importance.
Im pretty sure at no point does any speakers employer get referenced above or elsewhere within the debate, neither Jeanetts or the folk from ETims employers, including the self employed ones!
What has a persons place of employment got to do with her personal thoughts on their football club of choice?
Strange how Jeanette mentions the Rangers fans keep contacting her work and saying she should be sacked..seems they Rangers fans have some pals across the water.
You and your lot are the problem Dan. Fully paid up hostages. Following the PLC line and throttling the soul of our club with your performance, dividend, no polotix here pish talk. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. This is where we are wae trumpets like you leading the line and making decisions. Funding and fighting for a club across the city’ survival while helping incarcerate our own. I never run into guys like you in real life. You’s only exist in the virtual. Spineless f**k!
Love that line : If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.
Dan. You’re entitled to your opinion. Personally I think she speaks for a sizeable potion of the Celtic support and the “left wing crap” you refer is truer to the heritage of Celtic than many of the actions and members of the board
Okay…First the Green Brigade, then we can get cleansed of people like The Celtic Trust….be careful what you wish for…
the trust lost my respect when they backed the decision to give the managers job to Lennon, and thereby validating the boards cheapest option policy
Did the lassy nick your boyfriend?
She speaks with conviction, clarity, integrity and with Celtic at heart.
Look and learn.
Well said m8! dandoyle’s invective reeks of some personal grudge, or a set of ideals so right of centre from the average Celtic fan’s view, that it sounds less like the club that Fergus McCann rescued, than the one his bad seed alter ego bastard brother Genghis supports.
Brilliant read, completely agree with Jeanette. It is disappointing and disheartening tho, as she mentions, to see how ignorant some of our own fans are towards our heritage and our culture of social justice. How supportive they are of all things PLC and how they want us ‘cleansed’ of the GB etc. Thankfully it does seem to be just online that we see this. The article I’m sure will give a little hope to many Tims who feel massively disillusioned with what’s going on at our club.
BTW. In case it wasn’t clear to anybody – The fact that Jeanette’s prescient comments were recorded on Thursday, BEFORE the (IMHO) sad turn of events at CP on Saturday, lends even more strength to the points she’s made.
Who recently said to some Celtic fans : “Why dont you two just go back to Ireland?”
a: The Rangers Support
b: A Celtic Steward
Thanks for that Jeanette, balanced, informative and funny!