Blood on the boardroom carpet


Football is brutal.  Each year, boys who have worked tirelessly for years in the hope of making the big time are cut free, hundreds of them across Scotland, little has changed in this respect for a century.  Whereas these traumas happen privately, the managers and coaches responsible for those decisions, face their own brutal edge in the most public manner possible, often with hoards yelling for their removal.

At every level, someone has the responsibility of telling someone else, he or she is out.  This is the DNA of an industry we all wanted to be part of as kids, then look on in horror later in life.

Dominic McKay was one of our own, a Celtic fan who worked his way up to run Scottish Rugby, not through the usual routes of commercial, accounting or legal, but from being the in-house public relations man.  The transformation at the club since the end of last season has been beyond my expectations; failures at Tynecastle, Ibrox and Denmark did not cut deep, as the direction of travel was clearly forward.  His course seemed assured from the outside.

Despite the common delusion, chief executive of Celtic is neither easy nor straightforward.  You run a TV channel and other media outlets, several licenced premises and restaurants; a bricks and clicks retail operation.  You deal with the whim of the police and Scottish Government, the SFA and SPFL.  There is a youth operation, with its myriad of complexities and a major events venue that accommodates enough people to bring half a city to a stop when in operation.

Then there are the pressure groups: fans, media, a board and major shareholders; executive, coaching and playing staff.  None of them are really pressure groups, but that’s what they will feel like if you are trying to keep them happy.  Crucially, if you want to affect change, you need to be able to lead people in those pressure groups.  If you cannot lead, your lack of followers is your fault.  Genuine agents of change prove this.

And there’s the football, which underpins all revenue streams and can cause joy or heartbreak on the bounce of a ball.

Wealthy young players, some with more sense than others, the ever-present contract negotiations with agents whose job it is to find someone else to make more money than you can afford.  You make multi-million pound investments with consequences that stretch years into the future and despite all the metrics, whopping mistakes are made at every club.

The bandwidth you need to do this job well is unimaginable to most of us.  It takes management experience, people skills and a firm control on your stress levels.  You need to know when to be hands off and when to give clear and early guidance.  Doing 90% of the necessary elements brilliantly will lead to disaster if you overlook something fundamental.  You also need luck.

Dominic McKay found out about that brutal edge earlier than any of us expected; football is meritocratic in this respect.  It was not results, it had nothing to do with former execs who are now on the beach (honestly!), nor was it about character, his remains impeccable.

He made mistakes, one was largish, but even the best do.  If he had the bandwidth for the task, he could have done more to demonstrate this, a large and complex business will expose your bottlenecks.  At Celtic, PR is hugely complex but even then, it would never be a launching pad for the top job.  PR in rugby is mundane by comparison; this route to the top drew the eye when I read of Dom’s appointment.  He was not a good fit and this is a poor look for Celtic.

Best of luck in your next appointment, Dom.

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  1. Fans buying shares is a lost cause…that would trigger another share issue with the sole intention of diluting our voice

  2. Well I’ve read Phil and I’ve read Paul’s leader adnd I’ve read all the responses on CQN and I am not much wiser.



    I am seeing a lot of speculating and some feculating on Dom’s departure but not a lot of informating (is that a word?)



    Yet again, I am amazed at how many people with many different viewpoints on the issue, have arrived at the conclusion that this turn of events proves that what they were saying before this happened, has been proven correct.



    MY wild theory is that Dom told Dermot that golf was a game for fuds- that was his big mistake.

  3. SFTB….yer wrong…again lol…he told some of the bored they were no longer useful…;-)) and they went crying to dom




    MY wild theory is that Dom told Dermot that golf was a game for fuds- that was his big mistake.




    Or Masons, anti Semites.


    Used to be, anti Irish, anti Catholic, anti black, anti dogs.


    Yeah fuds sums it up perfectly.

  5. LUCKY CODY on 13TH SEPTEMBER 2021 1:13 PM



    In terms of performance he started fixing the mess which he inherited from his predecessor who remained in post since the Rodgers fall out and shower appointment. So any largish mistake is a red herring when you think of Lawwell who crammed a ton of mistakes into the last 2 years and he remained in role.



    They also misled ( possibly lied to) the Celtic support and shareholders on Res 12.




    Six pages of evidence that Celtic had been, lets say less than frank, in the responding to shareholders attending the 2019 and participating in the 2020 Zoom AGM, was given to two lawyers one a QC , the other specialising in Corporate law, who generously perused for free the documentation provided.



    The opinion of the latter was that it would be very difficult and very costly to prove in a court of law that shareholders had been deliberately lied to with no guarantee of winning the case.



    What he did not say was that the evidence presented did not suggest lies had not been told, just proving they were deliberate would be difficult and costly to prove in a court of law.



    The QC concentrating more on shareholder’s rights and Director responsibilities to establish if the former’s rights had been breached by the latter also thought that would be a very costly endeavour and again with no assured outcome.



    So what we have is the responses in 2019 and 2020 do not demonstrate lies were deliberately told but the answers given, in light of what can be demonstrated The Board had been informed of from 2018 , suggest gross incompetency in their handling of a genuine shareholder complaint made at a cost of just over £11k for legal advice.



    For example the evidence that PL and Eric Riley had been sent the 5WA to accept, but PL denied he had seen it (and there is other evidence that Riley was familiar with its contents ) might have to be accepted as the truth but that raises questions of their competency in dealing with such a crucial issue.



    It might therefore be difficult to charge the Board with dishonesty/lack of probity but they can certainly be asked to explain away such gross incompetency.



    Given the above, plus it can be demonstrated that PL, backed by Bankier, gave a less than complete reasons to justify voting against the separate Resolution 12 of the 2019 AGM, then the the concerns this raises with respect to the Board’s competency should and will be raised in the same forum where the questionable responses to gathered shareholders occurred , which is at the next AGM.




    My theory based on personal experience is that like me Dom thought he was entering an arena by invite to assist those inside in a mission of reform, in my case of the SFA using what took place in 2011 as leverage..



    What I will give Dom is that it only took him 72 days to realise what took me five years, which was they didn’t really want anything done at all but the optics looked good.



    Again from experience I was invited by the Assistant Head of a Department of a Government Office to join his Department to make a dysfunctional unit functional.



    A few days into the job the Head of The Department started questioning what I was doing (to win over the support of the staff). As soon as he had gone I was in the office of the chap who had invited me in and told him that unless the Head stayed clear I was offski.


    He sorted it out and funny thing was after I had stood up to the Head of the Department he mellowed a lot and we had an enjoyable working relationship thereafter.



    Of course none of my experience might apply to the Dom situation, but I have had the benefit of observing the same dysfunctional environment that Dom occupied for 72 days and that has to colour my judgement for better or worse.



    Had I got the job of making the inner workings of Celtic functional, I would have been gone in same timescale as McKay or sooner.

  7. Auldheid…so what yer saying….is….that despite yer extensive knowledge that yer as usrless as Dom….lol ;-))

  8. Next AGM….why is the bored so useless…



    We hav enuff shares to ignore both your question and its implications

  9. Lurking Tim



    They have enough shares to vote against a resolution but still have to say why.



    It was in the Company’s interest to tell you porkies wont cut it.



    They would much rather their dirty linen is not washed in public and it’s very dirty.



    The new CEO for certain will not want to justify why he would not used evidence Celtic were defrauded by Rangers in 2011 to shareholders on the grounds Celtic do not get involved in the business of other clubs , even if they denied Celtic access to CL by false pretence.

  10. No. I’m saying I could not work with people with no probity.



    No one can, not without losing their self respect.

  11. Good morning CQN



    Packie Bonnar all of you are an inspiration






    Interesting listen on corporate governance re our






    Some may marvel at what a well run small club can achieve by a progressive board, others may call it a rats den





    Scotland Independent you must be mad when you are governed by this fine fellow



  12. Them “Chelsea” fans eh,………………!



    I’m sure fearless, uncompromised, professional, Serious Person – Pet Navan will sort them oooot.




  13. Anyone else utterly bored with the Dom McKay story? So many people with different angles but nobody knows anything beyond speculation, usually guided by agendas and confirmation bias.



    Every day I receive different texts from different sources, each with a different version of events and each more ridiculous than the previous.



    Roll on Thursday and some exciting football.

  14. Just listened to young Hamish’s podcast thingo with Scott McDonald; great wee chat



    Hamish reckons young Monty will have a Davie Marshall night on Thursday v Betis.


    I reckon Ange will bring Tony back in at RB, and Josip will take the left side slot.



    Betis has long been my Spanish team.

  15. BANKIEBHOY1 on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021 7:50 AM


    Them “Chelsea” fans eh,………………!


    I’m sure fearless, uncompromised, professional, Serious Person – Pet Navan will sort them oooot.










    I’d imagine that’s Chelsea lost another supporter as Pat Nevin would never support a club full of racists and bigots, what? No he’s sticking with them oh ok……

  16. TOM MCLAUGHLIN on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021 8:50 AM.



    The ambiguous Celtic statement is the root cause of all the speculation. Celtic can remedy this very easily.



    Every Celtic site on social media and beyond is discussing it and many fans feel they are being treated like mushrooms.



    But yes I’m bored with the speculation and really looking forward to Thursday night.






    ‘Anyone else utterly bored with the Dom McKay story?’







    I’m certainly not.



    Though I can understand why some might wish it.

  18. quadrophenian on 14th September 2021 8:51 am



    I also have a soft spot for Betis. It started on my first ever foreign holiday I was 18 I think and used my first years travelling expenses, in the good old days when students got grants :-) The hotel we were staying in had all of the Spanish teams on the sugar sachets in the restaurants so I automatically started picking the ones with Green colours. Loved the Betis badge and it grew from there, eventually I had a little money left in the last few days of the holiday and bought a Betis top which I wore at footy training and fives for years.

  19. I understand the boredom regarding the Dom McKay issue however it could be resolved by the club actually communicating with the fans rather than treating us like the enemy.

  20. McPhail Bhoy on 14th September 2021 8:53 am



    Excuse the language but Nevin is an irritating wee prick who lost his backbone years ago.


    Negatively portraying Celtic fans whilst fully supporting what was the most racist club in England for years before they were gentrified with Russian money.


    Money is more important than integrity for wee Patrick, he’d be a hun if they’d have him.

  21. Timmy7 Noted



    Agreed on Nevin but I disagree they have become gentrified they still have at their core racism, regardless of Russian money. On TV and in the stadium for the most part gentrified but reality is something different.


    Why is Nevin another in the long line of former players or supporters who cannot wait to put the boot in? In Scotland like Bonner if they want to keep the gig then they know what they can and cannot say but there’s no excuse in England. He could be very positive about Celtic (look at Sutton) and no one would bat an eyelid, he’s obviously been warned.


    Like so many so called football experts and pundits, with zero insight his agent is a miracle worker!

  22. TIMMY7_NOTED on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021 9:05 AM


    quadrophenian on 14th September 2021 8:51 am


    …I also have a soft spot for Betis.



    Good onya sir and, yes, the heady days of student grants, often wisely invested in InterRail cards, San Miguel and boarding rooms for a fistful of pesetas. Some of my Spanish amigos are diehard Sevillistas but I couldnt see past the green either. HH




  23. AULDHEID on 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021 3:28 AM


    No. I’m saying I could not work with people with no probity.


    No one can, not without losing their self respect.



    You have already done so, closely, during the Res 12 fiasco.

  24. …………’ not forgettin’………






    What a colourful palette of descriptive patois we are blessed with in Glasgow.

  25. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Charlie Nic recognising this morning the thought that if Cafe Cini had been run by an accountant over the years, then it might still be open.



    Well said Charlie.

  26. Writing on Twitter former Chelsea midfielder Nevin, who is also a BBC Radio 5 Live pundit, said: “I’ve just received video of vile sectarian comments aimed at the fabulous John McGinn at Stamford Bridge.



    “Heading there now for tomorrow’s game and will talk to the club. You get vile abuse from many fans of many clubs, but this is NO excuse! I hope and expect investigations!”



    Dont ever remember him demanding investigations up here……