The chairman, the chief exec and Elvis


It is a measure of the impact someone has made that even after they have moved on, superstitions about them endure.  For some, there’s an almost religious believe that a huge figure cannot be diminished by retirement, loss of status or even death (there’s a special 1970s category for Elvis and Bruce Lee).

Prepare yourself: Peter Lawwell is not Elvis Presley.  He can’t sing like Elvis, he seldom dresses like him and under no circumstances should you confuse the supernatural powers attributed to ‘The King’ in the late 70s to our former chief executive.

Peter retired on appointing Ange Postecoglou in the summer of 2021, when Dominic McKay started his summer placement in charge.  By September, Michael Nicholson, previously company secretary and in-house lawyer, was temporarily then permanently given the top job.

18 months after he left, Lawwell agreed to replace Ian Bankier as chairman.  As Celtic’s representative, Peter was on the board of the European Club Association (currently vice chair) and was working with Uefa on the new Financial Sustainability Regulations.  It suited the club and our interests that Peter take the role, allowing him to extend Celtic’s influence at Uefa.

Back when Elvis’ died, football club chairmen carried executive roles.  They often opened the doors in the morning, did the accounts, sorted the banking and were always responsible for player contracts and budgeting.  The role has changed.  Lots.

In a modern PLC, a chairman is a non-executive, “unconnected with the day-to-day management of a business and which is instead concerned with effective management of the board”.  That means they are unconnected to player contracts, signing strategies or – and I cannot be clearer on this one – managerial appointments.

Such matters are reserved for the executive team and any major shareholders they are answerable to.  At Celtic, this is Michael Nicholson and Dermot Desmond.

Peter Lawwell was a huge influence in Scottish football and a significant figure in Europe.  Without him at the helm in 2012, Newco Rangers would have been voted into the SPL, debt free and ready to go again.  Back then I got some credit for starting a campaign on this issue, but take my word for it, all credit was due to Peter.  He fought and won the most intense battle Scottish football has ever seen, and like Keyser Soze, he left everyone searching in the shadows.

We scarcely got to see Dom McKay and Michael Nicholson has had two and a half years of low-profile management, a benefit of inheriting a club on the up.  As a consequence, when people think ‘Celtic board’ they assume Elvis lives.  In every meaningful way, Elvis has left the building.  He doesn’t sing the songs or choose the band.  If you think otherwise, you’re howling at the (blue) moon, and ironically, applying absolutely no pressure to the wound.

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  1. “PAUL THE SPARK on 6TH FEBRUARY 2024 10:22 AM




    It’s not just about the money. Can you name a success in the transfer market since January 2022 transfer window?”



    I wasn’t talking about successes. I was responding to those who were calling our transfer window `disastrous` .

  2. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Dermot Desmond and his son are the wound. Unwilling to cease day to day control of the club through their proxy Nicholson. How many managers now have told us they speak with DD every day.



    Celtic will never modernise until DD and son sell up their majority shareholding.

  3. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    And before anyone starts shouting about 11/12 titles….the benchmark is European progression, nothing else!

  4. The way Ange recruited and played was fairly unique.


    No need to believe Celtic fans, managers and journos in England are saying the same.


    We replaced a very bespoke Ange with Brendan. However, we didn’t afford the time or resources for Brendan to mould the team in his image.


    We simply hoped he could get a tune from our Antipodean instruments. In hindsight, this appears not to have worked perfectly.


    Another transfer window has now gone and we again failed to make the necessary changes.


    If our lament for the remaining games is ‘Brendan, why are you not Ange’ then we truly are wasting our howls.


    The relative merits of the Chairman seem at odds with our immediate failings and priorities.


    Still, glowing report duly noted

  5. Hahahahahahahaha!



    Now Peter Lawwell is a powerless, doddering old elderly gent who carries no authority whatsoever.



    Funny, cause I thought this blog was lauding him as the genius RESPONSIBLE for hiring Ange in the first place?



    Wasn’t he just a bog-standard non-executive director at the time?



    Maybe I’m just imagining things.

  6. A classic political move today, answer a question not asked, while ignoring that question which was.



    I know some fans love to raise Peter Lawwell, but by far, the questions and focus from the vast majority of fans that I’ve seen, relate to the appointment and job performance of Peter’s son.



    To keep on the political side of things, it’s the head of recruitment, stupid.

  7. What is the Starz on

    The article just proves what we knew all along,….Peter Lawwell is still in control and always has been and is doing his best to undermine Celtics football dept and of course hand Rangers the title….

  8. You rarely get through a couple of days without pompously attacking many of your readers, do you Paul?



    For many who wondered why you’re so selective in your articles and criticism of PL over the years, you’ve at least answered that by explaining how you and Peter influenced things in 2012.



    There’s so much rhetoric written about influence and representing Celtic when PL’s role has been discussed with Uefa. We are an irrelevance in european football, Paul. A club that operates in a country with a wonderful footballing history but who has been left behind. PL has done nothing that I can see that has placed Celtic in any kind of positive position in Europe. The gulf gets bigger every year.



    Our board and DD love their status as owners, board members, chairman or whatever other pointless job title they have associated with Celtic but do they move the club forward?



    I can’t see it. Off the pitch our ground ages, our facilities in general are third rate and the football on the pitch has reduced in quality for the last 15 years. This is also true of scottish football overall which is why we’ve been able to dominate.



    Before anybody says Ange this or the invincibles season I ask you how many of these players get into your all time Celtic xi? If you’re over 40, maybe 1 or 2.



    Our board live in a goldfish bowl and have no interest at all in the view of supporters and indeed treat us poorly. We have no voice.



    You’ve talked about being happy and enjoying success against teams that had NO chance from the off. None.



    Celtic talk the talk but we do nothing to seek radical change. Instead those owners and board members enjoy the money and status whilst we get left behind.



    The reality is that our club is risk averse. We can’t even enjoy our success at times because the lack of ambition supercedes it.



    Our squad is poor and injury hit yet we’ve done nothing. Blame who makes you happy Paul, but it’s substandard and quite simply a bore.

  9. `WHAT IS THE STARZ on 6TH FEBRUARY 2024 12:20 PM


    The article just proves what we knew all along,`




    Is that the Royal `we` ?




    Definitely off now.





    And before anyone starts shouting about 11/12 titles….the benchmark is European progression, nothing else!



    What utter arrogance.



    Who died and made YOU king?



    We’ve already been told that even winning the League this season is failure. Now this.



    Why don’t the two of you start your own CQN — Celtic Quick Narcissists and leave us lesser mortals in the real world?

  11. Wait a minute…….Elvis is dead?



    Thought and response, provoking lead today.



    What intrigues me is how BR laid plaudits on the recruitment on his immediate arrival, then proceeded to lament lack of quality shortly thereafter.



    I wonder what the story behind that is.

  12. …Without him at the helm in 2012, Newco Rangers would have been voted into the SPL, debt free and ready to go again



    Sorry, Billy B******s . Lawwell didnt prevent the huns being allowed back into the league as he oversaw the 5 way agreement. He is a liar.

  13. Well I’m howling at the moon, he can go anytime and take his son, to state he was part of the new uefa regs and no-one else is fantasy, how come a team formed in 2012 is able to fund itself and gamble on making even more with not a murmur from other clubs? The regs look useless when money can be contoured up from anywhere oh and bye the way they’re also doing well in Europe and have a method in how they play.


    That should be the first family dynasty emptied but not the last.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Have asked this before, Paul, but here goes again – what was Peter Lawwell’s view on the plan to have “newco Rangers” in SFL1 (now the Championship)?

  15. NOTE to Peter Lawwell /The Celtic Board….


    As ” ELVIS” would sing….” ITS NOW OR NEVER”….


    Its time for Celtic to get their act together, staring on Wednesday night v Hibs.




  16. onenightinlisbon on

    BIG JIMMY on 6TH FEBRUARY 2024 12:40 PM



    Suspicious Minds would also be appropriate today Jimmy….

  17. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Fair enough. Lawwell isn’t the problem, although presumably he had something to say about his son being appointed to the recruitment role.



    What is the wound? Or who is the wound? Is it really the manager? I don’t think he’s been great this season (nullifying Kyogo most woundingly), but the policy of extreme/ self-defeating parsimony and bizarro recruitment strategy (you tell us he inherited in the summer) isn’t on him. Neither is the disjointedness in corporate thinking (if Rodgers won’t accept the player model why appoint him?).



    So is the problem Nicholson? Or is it Desmond? If not Lawwell, then who?

  18. Peter67- we have a Chairman negotiating with player’s agents, so not up to much these days



    Devil in Disguise

  19. bournesouprecipe on

    Have I got CelticQuickNews for you,



    Luck Dermot met WGS at the races



    Lucky Rainjurz “ are a great club “



    Lucky they got “ relegated “



    Lucky we already had a great manager in the building when Brendan done a runner,



    Lucky we already had another great manager available when Eddie Howe wasn’t,



    Lucky we had coaching experts already in the building,



    Lucky we had a spare Head of recruitment already in the building,



    Lucky we had a spare CEO already in the building



    Lucky we had a spare Chairman already in the building



    Lucky lucky Celtic supporters, dry our eyes.

  20. glendalystonsils on




    Rabbits feet , horseshoes and 4 leaf clovers in Celtic colours available in the superstore now . We’ll let you know when left backs and strikers are back in stock .

  21. “HOT SMOKED on 6TH FEBRUARY 2024 12:10 PM


    A fine article ,Paul but be ready for many negative responses :-)))”



    I’m waiting for the post suggesting this is PL controlling Paul to influence Celtic fans to get Nicholson out so he can take back all of the power!




  22. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Can an article be both brilliant and, simultaneously, a waste of time?



    If so, Pablo, you’ve ticked both boxes.



    You’re a place man for Pedro don’t you know.

  23. bournesouprecipe on

    From the CQN nightshift the other night top ten Westerns






    1. Shane


    2. The Magnificent Seven


    3. Gunfight at the OK Coraal


    4. High Plains Drifter


    5. Unforgiven


    6. Winchester 76


    7. Once upon a time in the West


    8. Valdez is coming


    9. The good the bad and the Ugly


    10. Hombre






    1. Cheyenne


    2. Laramie


    3. The High Chapaaral


    4. The Virginian


    5. Bonanza


    6. Paladin


    7. The Lawman


    8. Gunsmoke


    9. Boots and Saddles


    10. The Cisco Kid

  24. Paul67,



    I was waiting for an all guns blazing Lawwell feature—- with digs about Rodgers thrown in for good measure. This tame effort is because you know it’s the elephant in the room who blew £20M and we are trying to offload the misfits he bet on.



    You know that Lawwell/Lawwell is the problem and this half hearted attempt confirms that.



    You even try to defend Mr Invisible by admitting he is invisible and its good thing. Bravo.



    Well the ineptitude has brought us here today—- downward spiral will continue. Understand why you cannot call it out and respect that. However there are many on here who will take it as verbatim which is cool well —- especially as the vast majority of the celtic support know the reality. Lawwell/Lawwell will hear it at Celtic Park soon enough if they are not removed from office.



    Lawwell’s will be praying for a Celtic win tomorrow in Edinburgh. It will not be enough to save them —- and they know it as do you.

  25. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Suspicious Minds will not be convinced by this article, but this is indeed the role of a non-exec Chairman at a PLC. If I were Devil’s Advocating, however, I’d argue Celtic is not your normal PLC.



    I mentioned the other day my distaste and bewilderment at the visceral hatred some seem to have for PL and I very much stand by that view.



    I also mentioned recruitment has been absolutely appalling and stand by that as well.

  26. Movies is it.



    I am reminded of that brilliant evocative atmospheric scene where Napoleon is standing outside his tent surveying the battle scene with his hand inside his tunic and a quizzical raised eyebrow.



    The two generals pass with a salute and a good morning sir.



    Napoleon gives a gallic shrug and says “is it ?”



    The generals stride on.



    One asks what is wrong with him today ?



    Och he thinks he is peter lawell.

  27. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    The Magnificent Seven only number 2!!!



    You folk have lost the plot.

  28. SAINT STIVS on 6TH FEBRUARY 2024 1:31 PM


    And no searchers




    Too true Stivs ,cowdy list without The Searchers ..rubbish😁

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