Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hiding behind the Rodgers mask

So tickets for the Hydro are sold out then. That doesn't surprise in all honesty. Celtic were aiming at a certain demographic and had them well prepped for today. I said on HomeBhoys on Tuesday that I was completely underwhelmed by the whole event. In all honesty I have been completely underwhelmed by the whole 50th anniversary celebrations where I've seen nothing that wasn't about monetising it. I know there is a bus parade planned for May 28th but that is treble dependent.

I'd have loved to have seen the club put on exhibitions and talks at the park all season. Instead we were offered the chance to pay to see Jim Craig. There is a raft of Lisbon related stuff out there in the hands of serious Celtic collectors (Some of which I have been privileged to see) and I know thousands of fans would love it. (It would even drive them to the park and give them the CHOICE of buying stuff)

I appreciate the fact the club will monetise some stuff and I would like to buy good, quality stuff around the time but I feel we have missed a massive trick this season in not taking the opportunity to really imprint Lisbon in the minds of our younger fans.

The Hydro event is not my cup of tea. I'm a fan of Madchester and Hip-Hop so the musical side of it was never going appeal to a guy like me. I'd hazard an educated guess that it won't to most of the Celtic away support either and therein lies the problem. Communication and knowing your base. I know you are shouting now saying "But it's sold out!" and that's because, as I already said, there is a demographic in the Celtic support that will lap it up and they have but don't tell me this is an event that appeals to all.

There did seem to be a seismic change in thinking this time last year in terms of communicating with the support. A resolution was even passed at the AGM to enshrine forums into the fabric of the club. A little background now, I attended forums from late 2014 until they abruptly stopped with very little achieved. They weren't really forums either, they were Q&A's that occasionally got heated. Some people I spoke to spoke of their intention of changing club policy on certain things. I always chuckled inside at that notion. In all my years of dealing with Celtic, going to meetings and forums, the vast majority of it has been people making points, Celtic nodding their heads and then absolutely nothing happening.

A quick recent example: I knew the Brian Wilson story was coming a few weeks ago. I relayed this to Celtic. Nothing happened. I mentioned this to an employee on the day it broke and was told "You always bring us bad news"

Similarly, I did raise concerns re the Hydro that a certain part of the support was not being represented within the talent on show that night. I was given good reasons for the acts and I really do appreciate it's not easy pulling a line up together but maybe if that had been communicated to the support early, they could have helped?

A lot of things have gone right at Celtic this season and Brendan Rodgers has been responsible for most of them. This cannot mean however that communications go back to the dark ages just because we are winning every week again.

It also should not mean that with the two biggest games of the season coming up, folk who go week in, week out are struggling for tickets. After all, we were told back in October that the ticket system was changing , right? What happened to that then? I know there was resistance to change but has it now been quietly swept under the carpet?

Celtic do get a lot of things right, this is not just a grumpy old man piece, the Celtic Foundation continues to be a beacon of hope, the tributes and support for Tommy Gemmell and Billy McNeill were outstanding and Celtic TV is getting better and better (something I can testify to recently) Brendan's Invincibles continue to please also.

They just need to make sure that the people who stick by the club in the bad times, aren't forgotten in the good.

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