Charlie Nicholas believes the only way Celtic’s hierarchy can begin to repair their fragile relationship with the club’s supporters is by giving them a voice on the board.
Club officials sat down in front of shareholders and fans at last week’s AGM for the first time since the conclusion of a horrendous 2020/21 season, which saw the Hoops 10-in-a-row dream shattered by Old Firm rivals Rangers.
Chairman Ian Bankier and non-executive director Brian Wilson were caught in the firing line and former Parkhead striker Nicholas reckons unrest among fans will continue to boil over until they receive greater input at the top table.
Writing in his Daily Express column, he said: “I feel like I have been debating and fighting with the people in power at Celtic most of my life, since I was a player, all the way through.
“I saw the ill-feeling at the Annual General Meeting the other week and I have been back at a game recently. I have witnessed the verve and emotions in the stadium.
“The fans and the team are the soul and the heartbeat of the club. They have been far from happy over the last season and a bit, maybe longer.
“Ange Postecoglou, though, has come in and helped to keep things together.
“The issue is that too much power has been given away to too many individuals who have been able to hide behind different aspects of things at the top of Celtic.
“They got away with it for years because they were winning things and also Rangers weren’t in the top-flight. It was always nice and smooth and they would get away with an easy ride.
“I would always question them on the team in Europe. There are a lot of supporters groups out there with different opinions and views.
“I am not sure the board gets those. Until there is a representative on the board then things aren’t really going to change for this current owner and his merry men.
“I genuinely think those in power could heal quite a few things here if they were to open things up and to give the fans an input.
“It would certainly ease the situation and show the board that they care about their supporters rather than just looking to take advantage of them.”
Outspoken pundit Nicholas understands the “hassle” he often receives from sections of the Parkhead faithful over his controversial opinions.
However, he has urged the Celtic board to start building bridges by listening to supporters views rather than dismissing them.
Nicholas added: “I do believe Celtic would do themselves a lot of good if they could build bonds with their fans.
“The more you keep pushing them away, the louder they will become. The fans have earned the right to have representation.
“This is the time to modernise the club and to really move things forward. I get a lot of hassle from different elements of the Celtic support who take a different view to me.
“I take it and I know some of the fans take things personally because they think I go over the top about our club sometimes.
“I can accept where some of the criticism comes towards me and I get it, I do. I am first to admit that I don’t always get it right.”