Celtic’s statement yesterday had interesting parts to it. First was timing, it was released early evening, after a full working days’ deliberations on what to do next. I suspect the appropriate reaction to the home draw with St Johnstone was under review for much of that time.
The second element that stuck me was the voice, this was “The Board”, not more commonly used “The Club” voice. The Board is more personal, it was a choice to identify with the decision.
Several points stood out:
“understands the importance of winning the league championship this season..
“deliver the tenth championship in a row that is so important to us all.
“operate according to our Club’s values.
“our collective objective is best served by continuing to support Neil
“Neil has the support of the players…
“The Board recognises the range of views expressed by our supporters and the strength of those opinions.
Talk of winning the league this season and delivering the tenth championship in a row is ballsy. I cannot say I’m optimistic.
Some have wondered if the dressing room was behind the manager. It was not necessary to address this, but the statement confirmed it to be the case.
“The strength of those opinions” translates as “we hear you.”
“Our collective objective is best served by continuing to support Neil” alludes to the options that you and I have pondered. Sacking the manager is the easy part, replacing him with someone who will turn things around is the greater challenge.
Operating according to the Club’s values is an opaque statement, you can interpret it as you wish. Neil looks lost in his challenges, but I don’t like the way he has been hounded. He has been through traumas due to his association with Celtic that no one has ever had to tolerate and achieved greatly as player and manager. We do not owe him a living, but he deserves dignity and respect, especially when vulnerable. That’s how I interpreted that part of the statement, anyway.
I suspect if the board were confident any alternative course of action would increase our chances of winning the league, a different statement would have been issued. Pragmatism is greater than sentiment. Instead, they have placed their chips on the man from Lurgan. If he delivers, it will be one of the most remarkable titles in our history.
Celtic: Fifty Flags Plus One, an anthology of how Celtic won each of their league titles, is available now. Starting with our first title in 1893, it details how Willie Maley brought consistent glory, then the sparse successes over four decades before Jock Stein arrived in 1965 and the more contemporary wins since.
It will rekindle memories you had forgotten and give insight into how the leagues were won.
SPECIAL OFFER, free copy of Seville, The Celtic Movement, while stocks last!