Saturday, February 22, 2014

A club open to all

Sometimes you wonder if Celtic actually enjoy shooting themselves in the foot.  As promises of openness and transparency from this club open to all fade away like bath water down a plug hole, the latest bizarre episode came on Wednesday with the second, invite only, meeting of the year among supporters. This one was padded out a bit more and even I got an invite, but the remit remained the same,  a box ticking exercise to admonish any blame from the board and other employees for the current issues that have seen attendances plummet and have left a lot of fans alienated.

Many of you will know I have banged the drum for ages for talks. That's talks that don't take place behind closed doors and are open to all. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to create this pecking order of Celtic fans as a way of uniting us all is beyond me. 

As I said, I was invited. In no other capacity than to represent myself. I told Celtic that if the meeting was a closed shop, I wasn't interested. Folk might say that's me off their Christmas card list, but I was never on it to begin with and in all sincerity some of the people there on the Celtic side have treated me like shit for years now so I'm pretty far away from a cosy wee chat from them all. I made this clear to Celtic ad nauseam and felt really low that they were going to commit, in my opinion, a huge error by excluding people. It's not about me though, it's about uniting the Celtic support so why this took place under these circumstances is bizarre.

Hail Hail Media were not invited. I know that HHM told people at Celtic that they were killing any chance of progress by excluding HHM, forums like The Huddleboard and groups like The Green Brigade.

As the minutes were released, it was hard to feel anything other than dismay. I'm sure most who did go to the meeting went with best intentions but around 75% of the questions asked meant nothing to me and, gauging reaction on social media last night, very little to a lot of the folk I read.

Therein lies the problem.

You are always going to get folk saying "They don't represent me" and the only way you counter that is by making the meeting open to all. Sadly, the precedent has been set now.

Also, the strange layout of the minutes made it seem that no one challenged anything said by Celtic. I very much doubt this was the case but stuff looked like it was accepted even though things like them saying Dundee Utd's attendances have not gone up with reduced prices and the vast majority of the support were behind them shutting down section 111, are just plain wrong.

Let's not kid ourselves on either, the 500 pound elephant in the room is Peter Lawwell's running of Celtic. Many, many supporters are very unhappy with it but this was not even mentioned at the meeting and you have to wonder if this was why exclusions happened in the first place.

The absolute worst thing Celtic could do now, by an absolute mile, is make a big show of inviting HHM et al to another meeting because that just shows they have not thought any of this through at all.

I think if you want make things better, you ask the people on the streets what they think, regardless of any perceived status online or if they are going to tell you something you don't want to hear. You can kid yourself on that you are right and everyone else is wrong but when you turn up at the next home game, look around the stadium and ask yourself if you are still right.

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