Mark McGinley with A Celtic State of Mind – Fan engagement is key to playing behind closed doors

I decided not to go with this topic too early and tried to let the dust settle and see if, in time, Celtic would come out with something that would offer some satisfaction regarding the season ticket renewals. I like to think of myself as being reasonable, but my take on the latest statement dated 23rd June, only appears to raise more questions and further a belief that we as a support are taken for granted.

Please do not take this constructive criticism as me not getting behind the team. Not in the slightest. I, like many others, will support the team as much as I can, getting behind them and share in the glory and success. What I cannot do, is sit back and accept decisions that appear to have no consideration for all of the support. The statement states that the club has met with supporters and representatives of supporters group. I do not know one person within my Celtic network via friends, family, and associates or even through social media who have been part of this consultation process. Can anyone say any different? I would like to take this opportunity to note that I think the Supporters Liaison Officer does a great job judging by what he deals with through Twitter alone, however surely with our fan base the role should be played by a bigger team, similar to other clubs, and not one person.

If the club have consulted supporters as suggested, to what extent has this been carried out? What is the demographic of the group and can it be a fair representation through the support and why so secretive? One final point in reaching out to the support – Could this not have been completed via an online survey and gain a supporter perspective on how to move forward in these unprecedented times?

Listen to PAUL ELLIOTT with A Celtic State of Mind here:

Assuming the start of the season occurs behind closed doors, the decision to offer online passes in exchange for not getting to attend the match in person is a great one in fairness. One that ensures that we do not miss the match entirely, but it cannot be for the same price. Even more so where there are multiple season tickets in one household. And surely, they can do better than a streaming service, considering Sky are the broadcasters for the league. Could they not go for a pay-per-view type set-up or would that be expecting too much for Sky to do for the Scottish game?

In compensation for loss of matches, could the club not offer something back, even if tokenistic? Off the top of my head, this could be monthly subscriptions to the TV channel for a month per match missed; vouchers for a total sum per match that could be used throughout all retail options connected to the club; a price freeze on future season ticket renewals for the number of seasons that equate to matches missed and/or future cup games offered to cover missed matches. The list could go on and on. Also, could the club not allow contact from those fans who have been unfairly hit in the pocket and begin negotiations that ensure fans continue to support the club as they had done previously and, in doing so, show a more meaningful show of appreciation?

Finally, for me, the fact that the club are looking to bring in a top production team, offers no compensation. All that matters to me is that the game is covered effectively and efficiently, rather than getting numerous pundits views and analysis which more often tends to irritate. This move also does little to inspire the current production of the club’s TV channel and encourage me to subscribe. It seems to be a slap in the face for those overseas supporters who already subscribe from far off to play their part in the club.

All this could be for nothing if we get to attend all the home games but, unfortunately, I cannot see this being sanctioned in time for the start of the season in five weeks’ time. We all know how football and its supporters are viewed politically, so the return to football will be low down on the list of getting back to normality. I believe that the first supporters back into the stadium will be done initially on a limited number in order to respect social distancing and with that will come a whole range of issues which I will no doubt touch on in the future.

Mark McGinley

Check out A BHOY AT HOME BLOG HERE.

Watch SAUL DAVIES with A Celtic State of Mind here:

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