Our Annual General Meeting, held at Celtic Park this morning, was a more prosaic affair than last year’s. Chief executive, Peter Lawwell, told the meeting last season’s on-field and financial results were “fantastic” in difficult circumstances.
He repeatedly referred to the “balance” required between immediate expenditure policies and judging the long-term requirements of the club, adding that in recent years, “Rangers went bust, Hearts went bust, and Hibs were relegated.”
For the first time the AGM heard from the Celtic FC Foundation chief executive. Tony Hamilton was given a video slot alongside the chairman, chief exec and the manager and he spoke about how the Foundation was interwoven into the fabric of the club, from the top to bottom, and of our history.
The alleviation of poverty is a major target for 2015, building on work the Foundation carried out this year in north and east Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire. Tony added, “If things weren’t tough we wouldn’t need a charity – but they are.
“We’re deadly serious about making a difference.” I’ll try to get the video, it’s worth watching.
Ronny Deila laid out his objectives for this season: qualification for the Champions League, win the treble, develop players and play attacking, attractive, football. Peter Lawwell didn’t want to use the managerial transition over the summer as an excuse for failing to reach the Champions League, but suggested it was grounds for mitigation.
The chairman, chief executive and manager all liberally infused their comments with transformational effect Champions League qualification would have on the club next season.
The Celtic Trust proposed two resolutions, the first of which, concerning club-fan interaction, they agreed to adjourn. In his video message, chairman Ian Bankier informed the meeting that the directors would oppose the Living Wage resolution, but that they had entered into discussions with the staff on the matter, proposing that the starting pay for permanent staff is set at £7.85 per hour, which just happens to be equal to the Living Wage.
In response to this Jeanette Findlay, proposing the resolution on behalf of the Trust, reached the microphone and tore up her prepared speech. She did, however, urge the club to go the final mile and become an accredited Living Wage employer.
Peter Lawwell informed the meeting that he would be meeting John Guidetti’s agent within the next two weeks and that he is waiting to hear back from Kris Commons representatives on his latest offer.
Ronny Deila added that it was important for the club to retain its top players, giving Guidetti and Justin Denayer special mention, but insisted it was wrong to give into demands from any one player three times the going rate for other senior players.