My first day at the Scottish Premier league was the day fans booed the man who had saved the club.
Let's get this out on the table; fans are fickle, often with below average education, ungrateful; and have selective memories. They feel entitled to deliver unrelenting abuse of all types towards players, whilst being mortally outraged if any one of them dares to have a reaction.
The reader can make their estimate of the actual percentage of fans that are fairly categorised as above. I really have no dog in this fight. My expectation of fan behaviour is already pretty low.
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But it does bother me to see what Peter Lawwell has been subjected to in recent weeks, especially from who should know better.
Many Celtic-minded journalists alluding to the club being back in 1994. Other members of the "profession" just unloading at will with glee.
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"Four years wasted, selling best players. Winning the Rangers-orphaned SPL for as little cost as possible."
But not one of those articles made a constructive suggestion as to what they thought the Celtic strategy should be.
Lawwell in 2003 reviewed an exceptionally successful season beside a financial loss of alarming dimensions. He advised his board that there needed to be a new strategy, to guarantee any sustainability for the club.
The window shop strategy came into place. Where Celtic leveraged its one relevant competitive advantage in European football. Namely, the ability to recruit young players with the promise of the spotlight of champions league exposure. "Two years with us on that stage and you are away."
This was clever, pragmatic, and worked in the main for a good handful of years. Lawwell was rightly considered one of the very best chief executives in British sport.
Black swans have a habit of upsetting the apple cart, and the Rangers liquidation has been a very very black bird.
Not an easy situation.
Now I'm sure the Celtic Board will agree that they are not without blame. The player acquisition operation has gone off the rails quite spectacularly. Carlton Cole are the only two words you need to mention to make your case. For sure Peter and his colleagues need to accept mea culpa and make changes in the football dept. and I'm sure they will. The world of recruiting has moved on and it seems Celtic are playing with an old set of irons.
Ronny Delia was an acceptable calculated risk where the stop-loss was exercised nine months too late. Easy to say in hindsight, and most serious chief executives in football with the button to push have always got the Sir Alex Ferguson early years in Manchester in front of their eyes. One more month and he'll turn it.
So, now, as they say, we are where we are.
So open the biscuit tin, get in a top manager, sign Tom, Dick and Harry.
That's the reaction of the "fans".
Not one comment on how this can be done in a sustainable way. Any such investment, with talent costs bloated by huge revenues in international markets, cannot give any return on the income streams available in a Scottish market. It's just financial nonsense.
One then assumes the fans, both the regular garden variety type and the scribblers, expect the owner to simply fund annual losses.
If so, say it clearly. "I expect Mr. Desmond to drop £10-20m a year to compete with a Swansea for talent. "
But they don't say this. Or expose any balanced analysis that passes through their head.
They are critics, of the worst kind.
I've been lucky in life and travelled a fair bit. I've never seen a statue of a critic.
I'll say that again, I've never seen a statue of someone sitting on the sidelines shaking their head.
If you haven't yourself tasted the sawdust of the stage just move on, please.
You have never had to make the tough decisions. Trying to find some solace at night in the empty vessel of reluctantly concluding "it was the least bad option given where we are"
Lawwell has done a great job in Celtic in an ecosystem where his club is at a crushing competitive disadvantage. Like with Fergus that day, I chose not to boo.
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