Peter Lawwell has called on politicians to stop lumping Celtic and Rangers together and stop denigrating the game in order to help his club realise the aim of making a sports hub in the east end of Glasgow equal to the entertainment hub that exists in Finnieston.
The Celtic chief executive admitted that plans currently lodged for planning permission to create a hotel and museum to sit alongside Celtic Park and the velodrome would probably need a “partnership” of some kind with local and central government.
Such joint investment Lawwell believes would require a change of attitude at both national and local level from politicians.
“[It] is the nature of this city,” said Lawwell. “If you have Celtic who are progressive, say, and Rangers, over the last five years, have been trying to re-establish themselves, we have been looking forward and they have been looking at today and tomorrow and trying to keep going.
“The difficulty for the politicians is to recognise that Celtic is progressive and to help us along the way because someone is going to say: ‘Well, you are doing that for Celtic. What are you going to do for Rangers?’
“Clearly, it is politics and there are votes to be had. People are very, very wary of doing that and it is the nature of this city. We have come to a point of coping with that and dealing with that.
“We could have the support to do something special in terms of destination, to create the Glasgow sports city here – with the Hydro, the Entertainment Centre and everything else [the entertainment city]. Understanding that and being a partner with us to do something like that would help Celtic and help the city.
“In terms of the game, clearly finances are limited, as they are in government as elsewhere, but if there is some form of investment and an understanding of what we do culturally and socially that would help.
“When you hear government talking about football it is always about strict liability, offensive behaviour, the whole thing.
There is never any positivity and we as a football club put so much into the economy and therefore need support, need partnership. There has really been no sense of partnership in terms of taking things forward – from anybody.
“[Yet think about] the amount of economic contribution we make; not just in terms of our supporters but the rates [of] PAYE tax we pay to the Chancellor. Particularly in terms of Glasgow, these days we are a very important employer.
“We create a lot of economic value and I think we need that recognised. And the cultural and social aspect that football gives I think we need a bit more recognition in terms of what we want to do.
“I don’t think there is the appropriate recognition of what we do as an industry by the politicians in terms of help and support, and understanding what we contribute.”