Celtic Football Club announced recently that Chief Executive Peter Lawwell and caretaker manager Neil Lennon will meet supporters at a series of Q&A sessions throughout the summer.
The first of these sessions takes place tonight at Celtic Park and I plan to be there. It will be held in the Kerrydale Suite, which holds up to 800 people, so a large attendance is obviously expected.
I very much welcome these sessions. At Celtic, perhaps more than at any other football team, the fans have always been a very large part of the club. It is only right that we are given an opportunity to hear exactly what the club’s thinking is at the moment, and to question those in charge.
It is anticipated that there will be some sort of presentation from the club at the start of the meeting. Exactly what this will contain is not known, but there are some very basic questions that need to be answered. Like when will we have a permanent manager for a start?
And that brings us to Neil Lennon’s position. He will be at the meeting as caretaker manager – unless an announcement is made in the next few hours! So how will he be in a position to say anything beyond, “If I am the manager I will …”
There will be a question and answer session after the presentation, and this is where things will surely get interesting. There are a whole host of issues that could be raised: the joint sponsorship deal, the club’s financial position and budgets for the new season, potential signing targets, etc.
And, in a wider footballing sense, the SFA’s disciplinary system, the role of Scottish referees, the McLeish report and the prospect of Celtic moving into a different footballing arena are all likely to come up.
I will be very interested in what our CEO has to say to us tonight. I will be looking for clear leadership and a sense of the direction that the club will be taking over the next few years. Success on the park is, of course, the most important criterion that Celtic will be judged against, but a well-run business is necessary to allow that to happen.
I want to come out of the meeting feeling inspired.
I want to feel that my club has a clear strategy for moving forward, both domestically and in Europe.
I want to be excited about the season ahead of us.
That may be a lot to ask. But in putting themselves in front of fans in this way there is an expectation of answers amongst fans I’ve talked to.
I’m sure it will be a very interesting evening. Look out for my report on the session later on tonight.