By Graham Wilson. Beyond the Waves.
After the final whistle this past Sunday, and the scoreline was revealed, the first image I had in my mind was a scene of a laughing Peter Lawwell, after he made a joke at the expense of Them. He said, “well last night we had a 29 million offer for Hooper, from an unknown agent, from an unknown club from another universe.” This comment prompted laughter from some of the media in attendance as well as himself. He seemed to have loved how sharp witted he was in the moment and had a deep appreciation for his delivery. But in that moment, in the Philadelphia late summer sun after we were gubbed by Them 4-2, it hit me as to why he let out an uncontrollable belly laugh. He was laughing at all of us, the Celtic support.
In the past weeks, since the transfer window has closed, there has been a Them tax case hysteria about on message boards, facebook and twitter. Jokes have flown here and there almost non-stop. Blogs were written with breathtaking detail with often times official legal documentation being leaked and speculation was abound on many Celtic podcasts including my own about whether the Them would go out of business and when. What we forgot about, in all this excitement, was that we have serious issues within our own club. We spent so much time pointing out the splinters in eyes next to blue noses that we failed to notice the wooden beam that is currently in Celtic Park. That wooden beam is Peter Lawwell.
Since he has been the CEO of Celtic PLC, we have had one shoddy defensive partnership after the next with bargain basement purchases that have done little to progress our ambitions after making it to the UEFA cup final in 2003. He’s apologized to the support after failing to win trophies and then has done little to remedy the situation, always taking the least expensive option rather than boldly addressing our shortcomings with real quality.
This past Sunday at Ibrox couldn’t be a better example of this as we saw Glenn Loovens fail to put his head on cross after cross, corner after corner. We had the opportunity to be bold in this summer’s transfer window and address the position of centre half and we stood pat, even in the face of several horrific performances from Daniel Majstorovic. We knew that we didn’t have the depth to cope when Emilio Izzaguire suffered a severe leg injury that would see him out for months.
Peter Lawwell brought in a journeyman on a loan deal, a short term band-aid. He knew he was rolling the dice by not buying a quality centre half, as he so often has over the past several years. When you don’t leave yourself any margin for error, you can’t claim ignorance or bad fortune when things don’t go your way. Peter knew this could happen and did nothing to remedy the situation, therefore it’s Peter’s fault.
It’s Peter’s fault that this upcoming Saturday, because of injury and suspension, we may see a centre half pairing of a barely fit Thomas Rogne and a barely competent Glenn Loovens. Them put out a team last Sunday that cost a total of 18 million while we fielded a side that cost a total of 13 million including a backline of mostly freebies. There were too many short comings to mention regarding the Celtic team that lost so embarrassingly to Them. However, in key postions that demand class when you face your most hated rival, we were lacking. We have players that have been with the club and have failed the team and the supporters repeatedly, yet they are kept on the books and repeatedly played when our first line choices go down to injury or suspension. Why is it that key positions go unfilled, after it’s patently clear that we are desperate for options (target man?)?
In my opinion, we received our answer to that question in the form of a statement released from John Reid where he talked about the club reducing it’s debts on the balance sheets to a half million quid. (Oh, thank the lord that our financial state is so sound. It fills my heart with joy that we have healthy financial statements at the moment.) That’s more than we spent on our entire back four this past Sunday. Them are on the verge of going bust but they consistently find a way to bring in the quality that will give them the best chance to win. We cut corners and take chances just to save a few bob. It’s obvious to me that the reason why we’ve seen a downward slide in the fortunes of our club since Peter Lawwell took over. The reason is that Peter Lawwell cares more about the balance sheet than he does about the trophies we win.
So getting back to the image of Peter laughing, that flashed into my mind after we were soundly beaten by Them. It suddenly struck me that he was laughing at all of us after he delivered that jab at Them. He was laughing because he has become adept at recognizing when the Celtic support would turn their attention away from the ineptitude of the board that he heads and focus on another issue entirely. He did little in terms of bringing in quality during the transfer window last January while we were in the midst of the We are all Neil Lennon campaign.
It’s these distractions that soften the backlash that would otherwise inevitably come his way with such incompetency. Therefore, he craves them, he loves them, he embraces them so much that when questions arise about his biggest rivals across town, he can’t help himself but to engage in stirring up the hysteria so as to take the attention away from how he, himself, has failed again. We don’t have a target man, centre forward. We don’t have one, single, quality centre half. We have a temporary band-aid at left back that gives us more questions than answers. Laughing at the tax problems that Them are having just now won’t solve these problems for us. They merely distract us while Rome burns. Therefore, I’m done with laughing at the financial state that Them are facing. I’m done with talking about Them and how old their centre half is and how fat their manager is. It’s time we got our house in order. And we can start by removing the wooden beam that is entrenched in Celtic Park just now.
You can catch up with Graham, the Rev and the Coach @ Beyond The Waves fans podcast on Hail, Hail Media
Originally published by iCeltic.net
Follow Graham @GrahamDWilson