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What is the point of Sports Lawyer Michael Nicholson at Celtic?

Michael Nicholson hasn’t said a word outside of his Annual Report and AGM obligations in his two and a half years as CEO of Celtic.

While one of his predecessors cultivated a group of media contacts to ensure that he was always portrayed in the most favourable of lights Nicholson doesn’t even bother with the media, perhaps there is no need with the club Chairman still keeping legacy media sweet with a rota of rations.

Since Brendan Rodgers was served with a Notice of Complaint on Wednesday by the SFA there has been a strong sense of grievance among Celtic fans online.

The main target is Ian Maxwell and the faceless blazers at Hampden who prop up an archiac organisation with a mindset from the fifties and sixties that judges people by the school that they went to as they try and cling onto a semblance of power and influence. All around them the world has changed, even in the home dressing room at Ibrox.

‘Get lawyered up’ has been a popular reaction to the charge against Rodgers with the hearing delayed 25 days to ensure that the minimum punishment of a two match touchline ban will have maximum impact with Celtic travelling to the Tony Macaroni Stadium and Ibrox in the matches following the hearing.

Call in a Kings Counsel to take to Hampden has been another call to the charges from the SFA. Like Nicholson perhaps?

In such circumstances what a stroke of good fortune it would be to have a sports lawyer as your CEO! At last the chance to justify your £750,000 a year salary plus perks including first class travel across Europe three times a year and unlimited prawn sandwiches.

Step forward Mikey Bhoy. Now is the hour, now is the man, trained at Harvard Business School with 25 skills declared on his Linked-in profile although after the Mark Lawwell experience that source of self promotion needs to be treated with great respect.

Nicholson does use Linked-in, regularly sharing the messages from Celtic and the Celtic Foundation as recently as last week #callRobert.


Michael Nicholson

Being Company Secretary since May 2013 Nicholson has been groomed for his current role by Peter Lawwell, he knows Scottish football legislation inside out and has watched the newly founded club from Ibrox run rings round the authorities since the Five Way Agreement was approved following an email at 21.01 on Thursday 26 July 2012.

As the Cinch sponsorship deal, transfer embargo and physical threats to the CEO of the SPFL has demonstrated anything is possible in Scottish football if you are determined enough and whisper in the right direction.

Singing his praises, the Celtic website describes Nicholson as:

Specialising in sports law, including 11 years as a partner at Harper Macleod LLP, Mr Nicholson joined Celtic in 2013 as Company Secretary and Head of Legal before being promoted to Director of Legal and Football Affairs in 2019. He has previously served as a Council Member for the Law Society of Scotland and is currently an Arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Panel of the European Club Association, a Non-executive Director of the Scottish Professional Football League and serves on various committees and working groups of the Scottish football authorities.

Bingo- what a result for the club and Rodgers. No need to hire a KC when you have the best qualified man in the business as your CEO.

No doubt the SFA and their vested interests will be pushing hard for at least a two match touchline ban for the Celtic manager. Hopefully Nicholson puts the club, his employers ahead of his fondness for the O** F*** brand that saw him sign up to the doomed Sydney Super Cup in 2022.

When the SFA announce their verdict on the Notice of Complaint given to Rodgers the phrase ‘surprised and disappointed’ shouldn’t feature in the statement from an unknown Celtic spokesperson. Not when they have such a brilliantly qualified CEO on call 24/7.

It’s competence. And I think the first one is a great example of the game being refereed outside of the pitch. This is the thing everyone is talking about, that the officials do their job and if it’s something that’s clear and obvious maybe step in. The referee made the decision and someone outside made another decision to say it was a sending off. So that’s the game being refereed outside of the field and in big games that costs you.

I’m not one who comes crying about referees, be it here or the EPL, because I understand there will be mistakes made. But that today was awful officiating in what was a big game for us.

In my time up here I’m not one to have a go at refs because I understand it’s a very very difficult position they are in. I try to respect decisions and give the benefit of the doubt. But I think when I see that level of incompetence is the only word I can use, then that makes me worry for the game.

In such a tight title race, which it is and it’s fantastic and great to be involved in, that can make the difference. And that today made the difference for us.

CLICK HERE for full SFA charge against Brendan Rodgers.

CLICK HERE for Celtic Supporters Association chief calls out Beaton for blatant cheating.

CLICK HERE for the ultimate John Beaton masterclass.


Michael Nicholson, SFA, Brendan Rodgers

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