Good Evening. [And please ‘vote Clumpany’ on Twitter and the FBA website!]
It is not generally fashionable to be complimentary about those who run Celtic Football Club. In fact ‘the powers that be’ have often been in receipt of severe ‘stick’ over their
- signing policies,
- choice of managers,
- apparent lack of ambition,
- possible unwillingness to stand up for the club in the face of some questionable governance by the SFA and SPFL; and
- non-payment of the Living Wage.
Some (but not all) of the criticism has been very well deserved, and I await with interest the club’s eventual position on the issues raised by ‘Resolution 12’, and the need to have the farcical Lord Nimmo-Smith commission overturned.
However, credit should be given when due. And there is quite a lot of credit to be bestowed just now. The ambition shown by the board in tempting Brendan Rodgers to Celtic was magnificent, as have been the new signings. The fact that they have resulted in Champions League football coming back to Celtic Park for the first time in three years is little short of fantastic!
The safe-standing section is the result of a lot of hard work being undertaken over a very long time. It is undoubtedly a huge enhancement to the matchday experience, as well as being a point of interest and envy for clubs around Europe. It has – without question – put Celtic ‘on the map’ when it comes to discussing how to operate a 21st Century football stadium.
The recent moves on paying the Living Wage are also welcome, if shamefully overdue.
But it is today’s ‘Family FanZone’ event in George Square which I particularly wanted to draw attention to. It was a huge success and drew 7,000 people – many of them children- to a celebration of Celtic in the city centre. These sort of events are familiar in other parts of the world, but not in Scotland. To have the ambition, energy, resources and confidence to decide to stage it and then pull it off so well speaks volumes about a club which is comfortable in its skin, proud of its history, excited about its future, and not afraid to shout about it.
This was an upbeat, optimistic and distinctly modern event. As such, it seemed to encapsulate the Brendan Rodgers-managed, Champions League-playing Celtic Football Club of 2016.
Well done to all involved. Let’s hope that this is just the first of many such events.
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