Now, I'm afraid that this one won't be universally popular. I've got Peter Lawwell in the box, not because I'm singling him out, but because he's currently the public face of the Celtic Board. That's who is behind Door Number 9: the Celtic Board down through the years.
I've got a good general knowledge so my wife is always suggesting that I go on some quiz show on the telly. Unfortunately, I know full well that my temperament would get me banned from TV studios for life and my name splashed all over the papers. I've seen many a quiz show where a particular contestant is given far too much leeway. I'm afraid I wouldn't be one for just silently acquiescing; I'd be shouting, whether the camera was on or not, 'Hey, wait a fuckin' minute here!' I can't stand cheating and often made a nuisance of myself at inter-school competitions when I felt that my pupils were being treated unfairly. I could never understand why some teachers would just passively stand by and watch cheating unfolding in front of them and ignore the protests of their own pupils. Not me. I was straight in there, as angry as my pupils, and once had a set-to with the Deputy Director of Education over his biased refereeing. And I wonder why I don't have a job anymore! Still, I wouldn't go back and change what I did; cheating bastards should always be challenged and exposed.
Now, if I'd ever been fortunate enough to have a senior position at Celtic, I'd have felt exactly the same. I'd never have been away from the doors at Hampden or, in earlier years, Park Gardens, going mental about everything. I'm sure I'm not the only one; there are a lot of people out there with just as strong a sense for justice as me and with more volatile temperaments to boot! It's always been frustrating to see how the Celtic Board has made a few clucking noises and left things at that.
It was like a breath of fresh air when Fergus McCann took the SFA to court over the Jorge Cadete affair. I wouldn't have been the only one that thought the old days of suffering in silence were over and that nobody was going to get away with shiting on Celtic ever again. Disappointingly, however, things soon went back to the way they had always been.
Considering the revelations that have been emerging over the past few years, the Celtic Board has been remarkably reticent. Soundbites about Celtic not needing Rangers and jokes about Rory Bremner mean nothing when it's later stated that the club is losing £10m a year without 'Rangers' and that Celtic needs 'Rangers' 'back' in the SPL. Ever feel like you've been stabbed in the back?
Our board has stood by and refused to challenge the Big Lie and its implication that one team is above the law, can die, shed all its debt and then be resurrected and carry on as if nothing has happened. Then there's the Cheating Years. Again, if I were in charge at Celtic Park I'd be absolutely incensed that my club had been cheated out of titles and cups, not to mention the prize money and the prestige and cash that comes from competing in the Champions League. Never mind EBTs and side letters, I'd be demanding an enquiry into the whole of David Murray's tenure.
Surely it sticks in the Celtic Board's craw, as well as ours, that The Peeppul are being allowed to swagger about, making claims about 54 titles and being 'the world's most successful team' when the club actually cheated to win at least some of those titles? And they, and their friends in the media, go on about other clubs overspending, while their club, unlike others, is being allowed to escape the consequences! The whole 'same club' lie should not be permitted to go unchallenged; otherwise it makes a mockery of having rules in football at all. You or I would be in there, shouting from the rooftops but our board seems content to let things go. It had to be practically forced into raising the matter of Rangers being given a licence to play in Europe in 2011, and, despite Lawwell's protestations to the contrary, it doesn't look as if there's much being done.
Of course, as Lawwell himself points out, there's the bombs and bullets in the post to contend with, but the last time that happened it was for no reason at all, other than hatred. Who's to say it won't happen again anyway, whether our club stands up for itself or not? And while our board sits and twiddles its collective thumbs, there are sleekit folk in Belfast constantly contacting UEFA to accuse Celtic of all manner of cheating. They've even got a political party, the DUP, pushing for Celtic to be investigated in Wesminster and Brussels. Surely it's time somebody at our club did likewise and targeted the real cheats.
What's that old saying about evil flourishing when good men stand by and do nothing?
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