In recent troubled weeks, as much as Peter Lawwell has wanted to see fans back at Celtic Park since this awful pandemic landed on our shores, there have been moments when he might not have been quite as willing to face his paying customers.
At no time would that feeling have been closer to the surface than yesterday, when the chief executive of Celtic and the rest of the board of the club were spared what some supporters see as the annual embarrassment of having to contend with the public or, in this case, the shareholders of the club.
Instead, a “virtual” AGM was chaired by Chairman Ian Bankier, which maintained all the dry formalities but replaced the unpredictability of audience questions with the much less volatile possibility of pre-recorded interviews with Celtic TV presenter Gerry McCulloch.
Jeremy Paxman is not, even though McCulloch is an exceptional presenter.
The only thing that really interested fans was the implementation of Resolution 11, the continuation of Resolution 12, which called on Celtic to refer the SFA to UEFA to give a license to play in Europe to Rangers in 2010.
The board recommended that the proposal be rejected by shareholders, and they did so in a resounding manner, with only 2.82% in support of the motion and 97.18% against it. Remarkably, it was the day’s narrowest margin.
“Banker clarified the view of the board that the SFA should conduct an independent review of the matter, saying, “We have taken professional advice and spoken to concerned shareholders. We understand our shareholder responsibilities. At the forefront of our minds was the need to take into account the views of shareholders.
In 2011 and 2012, Peter Lawwell discussed this matter with the SFA before Resolution 12 was tabled in 2013.
The matter has been periodically reviewed by the board. I have reviewed this matter and I am confident that no one at the club has misled shareholders on this subject at any time.
The SFA has been asked by the club to conduct an independent review. The SFA refused to perform a study of this nature.
“The club continues to believe that the only path forward is an independent investigation. In May 2020, the Scottish FA agreed not to hold a trial.
“We all agree that this situation is disappointing.”
Then it was on to the Q&A, which was not only hosted by the presenter of Celtic TV, but also had the feeling of an output of a club show.
“to avoid repetition.”to discourage repetition.
It was never going to be straightforward, of course, to find a satisfactory way to answer the concerns of fans in these odd times, but the whole thing felt sterile and staged, with difficult questions reduced to softball interludes.
However, Lawwell vehemently defended the board and the manager, denying the suggestion that when the hunt for a tenth consecutive title went violently off the rails, the bigwigs at the club had been asleep at the wheel.
He argued that they had invested £ 35 million on transfers, an unparalleled investment in the playing squad. That might be true, but how wisely that money was spent was not investigated.
They help Lennon because he is a Celtic man and knows what it takes from such an uncomfortable position to win a championship, even from such an awkward position. Again, that’s real, but what was not discussed was how they got into a position where under such pressure from angry supporters a manager striving for a quadruple treble on the weekend is. Yes, in recent years the adulation of domestic success is warranted, but there seemed to be a
There was an argument that in everything they do, Celtic sees itself as a top European club. That might be true, but what was not illuminated were the reasons why they struggled to qualify in three consecutive seasons for the Champions League group stages, and the resulting missed financial rewards. And so it went on.
Lennon passionately defended his work for Celt, for his part,