I was out and about this morning and heard Neil Lennon on the radio making it very clear that he was not about to abandon Bolton Wanderers, despite their inability to pay wages or settle creditors when due. Having “shed millions from the payroll in the summer” his focus was on winning points with a squad augmented by youth development players.
For Neil, the financial realities are simply the parameters he had to work within.
Think back 18 months to when he left Glasgow. Celtic Park was awash with amicable statements from club and manager but the news coverage could not have been more skewed – Neil left because he was unhappy at working within his given budget. We had former Celtic players broadcasting this message that very day. And like every negative Celtic story, it got traction among those more than happy to believe that narrative.
It was nonsense. Celtic’s football budget hadn’t changed. Neil had not adopted a view of himself which only allowed him to deal with more expensive players. What happened was a PR campaign took flight within moments of the news breaking. Dig into Celtic, turn the fans against them. It worked too. A simple lie, a couple (literally) of compliant ‘Celtic’ voices and it was job done.
This has been going on for decades. It’s only recently, with formal PR companies competing for the same demographic, we’ve seen how these messages get into the media.
Celtic have PR to arrange media conferences, distil club news and formal statements. There’s no attempt at subversion, either outwards or at our own demographic.
Saturday is a big day for our Treble Winning Captains. Shortly after Billy McNeil unveils his statue in front of the stadium, Tom Boyd, our only other Treble Winning Captain will be in the Kerrydale Suite, to sign personalised copies of The Winds of Change. The book which covers Celtic managers from Liam Brady to Martin O’Neill, across what was an unforgettable story of redemption.
Joining Tom at the signing session will be Billy’s former team mate, John Hughes. If you get talking to Yogi, just listen. He’s seen it all, so don’t interrupt him.
You’ll be able to buy The Windows of Change, as well as Caesar and The Assassin, the book which documents Billy McNeill and Davie Hay’s periods in charge, inside the Kerrydale Suite before kick off.
Club sponsor, Magners, have kindly offered us two Premium Seat tickets for Saturday’s game in the Jock Stein Stand. To enter the competition, what you’ve got to do is email me, firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the team we’re playing in the email Subject Line. Competition closes at 18:00 TODAY, so it’s only open for a short window….
…………while you are entering the competition. You might want to take an extra minute and donate £1 to our Mary’s Meals school kitchen project. You have already built four kitchens in Malawi. These donations go towards putting food on the table. You can donate here.