Brother Walfrid’s Resolution

Bro Walfrid

Brother Walfrid created Celtic football club in 1888 as a funding conduit to lessen poverty in the east end of Glasgow: “A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and the unemployed.” Poverty, in whatever shape or form, was abhorrent to Brother Walfrid’s innate sense of decency. It is this core value that runs through our very veins and has been the beating heart of the Celtic diaspora, passed down from one generation to the next. We are a family because we care for each other and for those less fortunate than ourselves. For that, we are indebted to Brother Walfrid. At Celtic’s AGM, in this our celebratory 125th anniversary year, Celtic turned its back on Brother Walfrid when it rejected Resolution 11.

The demand set out in Resolution 11 was one that could have been penned by Brother Walfrid himself: that Celtic – and I do not separate club from company because we are one and the same, legally and morally – pay their low-paid workers an hourly rate that lifts them above the poverty threshold. Brother Walfrid’s Poverty Resolution, for that is what it was, fell on deaf ears and was defeated. Stunned silence does not convey the shock of that decision.

The Working Poor

Celtic is legally entitled to pay a wage that keeps a section of its workers in “working poverty”. That sum is given the formal name the National Minimum Wage. It has a number of rates depending on an employee’s age. An employer can legally get away with paying its employees as little as £2.68 an hour (for an apprentice), £3.72 (for someone under 18), £5.03 (18-20) and £6.31 (21 and over).

The wage that raises workers above the National Minimum Wage, and out of poverty, is called the Living Wage. It is currently set at £7.65 an hour, a sum calculated annually by The Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. London has its own Living Wage (£8.80), determined by the Greater London Authority. The amount is based on meeting essential utility costs and the average price of a basic basket of goods. The number of workers at Celtic Park who are paid the National Minimum Wage at some level, and so below the Living Wage, total 178.

Paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do because the alternative is to be an accomplice to poverty and that is a working practice associated with slum-dwelling Victorian Britain. A rich employer that can afford six-figure bonuses but still refuses to add a few pounds to the salary of its own working poor is an affront to a civilised society.

The moral case for paying a wage that allows staff a degree of dignity and provides for a decent standard of living is impregnable but those employers who have become Living Wage employers also recognise the business case. Dominic Johnson, Employee Relations Director at Barclays Bank (http://www.livingwage.org.uk/calculation): “This is not only the right thing to do, but good business. Early research on the impact of the Living Wage for cleaners on Barclays’ contracts shows our suppliers have a 92% retention rate versus an industry average of 35%. This means we can gain a better quality and more reliable service from colleagues who feel committed and valued for what they do.”

Other employers up and down the country have also sought Living Wage accreditation. KPMG, Lloyd’s, Deloitte, Lush, PWC, Bartons Solicitors, Bootstrap Company, Corgi Home Plan, Direct Plastics, Harlow Council, J. P. Morgan, Legal and General, National Portrait Gallery, Rathbones, and many more.

The movement to replace a low wage with a living wage has even crossed the pond to reach the shores of arguably the most capitalist country in the world, the United States of America. Sea Tac in Washington, with a population of just over 30,000, is voting to make the whole town a Living Wage town. The vote is to raise the legal minimum wage to $15 (£9.40) an hour, a 60% increase from the current minimum wage of $9.19 (£5.76) an hour.

If the Living Wage is right for other employers, why is it wrong for Celtic?

The Celtic Board’s Position

“Paying the Living Wage is not just an important part of our values, our people strategy and our award winning corporate responsibility agenda: it’s critical.” That is not the Celtic Board’s position, but that of KPMG (http://www.livingwage.org.uk). This is the Celtic Board’s position:

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 1

“For many this is their second job”.

For many on the Celtic Board their directorship is a second job (or even third or fourth) and one for which they are extremely well paid and not subject to the same logic that necessitates poverty remuneration. However, for the lowest paid at Celtic Park, their second job is not a life-style choice. The low-paid have two jobs because they are struggling to make ends meet with just one low-paid job. If the comment by the Celtic Board is meant to suggest that “for many” this second job is for money to buy sweeties, and not to cover essential living bills, then it is a suggestion that does not merit a dignified response.

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 2

Celtic’s Investors in People status is evidence of “our commitment to the development and success of our people”.

There is an alternative view of Investors in People: that it is an expensive, self-congratulatory HR propaganda tool and is no substitute for paying a decent wage. A status symbol does not keep a house warm or fill a child’s stomach with food.

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 3

“In April this year, we launched our annual Colleagues’ Attitudes and Opinions Survey”.

And they all answered no to the following questions:

Question 1. Would you like to see Celtic continue in the footsteps of Brother Walfrid and help remove poverty in the east end of Glasgow (Y/N)?__

Question 2. Would you like Celtic pay a wage to our lowest paid staff that is above a poverty wage (Y/N)?:__

Question 3. 178 of your colleagues, here in the east end of Glasgow, are on poverty wages (the ‘working poor’). This runs contrary to Brother Walfrid’s mission. Should we pay them a wage that takes them out of poverty (Y/N)?__

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 4

“The Company operates an annual bonus scheme… in order to encourage out-performance, motivate and retain staff.”

Three points: 1) A bonus is an “additional good thing”. When it is used in conjunction with a poverty wage then it is not an “additional good thing”. If, on the hand, a bonus was available over and above the payment of a Living Wage, which is a good thing, then it would genuinely deserve the label bonus. 2) An employee should not need to depend on a bonus payment to pay basic bills. 3) It is not guaranteed. If a low paid worker fails to secure a bonus then that worker may also fail to put food on the table.

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 5

“The Company takes into account remuneration packages within other comparable companies and sectors.”

To paraphrase: everybody is shafting the poor so why should Celtic be any different? Just because other football clubs are paying poverty wages to some staff does not mean that Celtic have to follow their example. Celtic’s wage structure for football players is significantly higher than any other football club in Scotland. Why not replicate that approach at the other end of the food chain? We break the mould for the rich so why not for the poor?

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 6

“… key element of sustaining a robust structure that can withstand the economic pressures of the current football environment is responsible financial management for the long term.

Such an approach requires flexibility and control of costs.”

This is corporate gobbledygook. Why does the bugle call for flexibility and control only apply to the working poor? Is it because they are powerless and so easily controlled? Flexibility and control should not be linked to the working poor. Celtic is not in vigorous financial health because of the negligible wages paid to 178 staff – if they are then more shame on Celtic. Nor will paying those 178 staff a living wage send Celtic spiralling into a financial black hole. You do not hear KPMG or Barclays Bank or Lush or Legal & General complaining about loss of flexibility or control over costs.

At the next home game when you buy an expensive pie and Bovril you can cheer yourself up by reflecting that the pennies paid to the young workers behind the counter allow Celtic flexibility and control.

–    Extremely Rich Men’s Excuse 7

It costs too much.

Celtic cannot afford not to because if the dark stain on Brother Walfrid’s legacy becomes permanent then the price to pay for the damage to Celtic’s reputation will be far greater. Celtic can afford to spend £1,409,744 on nine Directors but cannot afford to take cleaners, bar staff, fast-fast workers, stewards, and other staff, out of working poverty? The vast majority of these workers turn up for about four hours a week, 30 match days a year. That’s about £1.34 extra X 4 hours = £5.36 a day per employee aged 21 or over. Do the math. Any pay differentials will be at the bottom end of the pay scale.  This is about choice, not means, and Celtic have chosen to adopt a business model that benefits those at the top and forces those at the bottom to seek tax-relief and in-work benefits. The State, in effect, is subsidising employers who continue to pay staff poverty wages.

More Than A Club

Celtic is a club like no other. Some have better football teams or more money or a bigger stadium or even more fans. We are different. We are not defined by our team, our wealth, our stadium or by the size of our fan base. We are more than the sum of our parts. Celtic is a cultural phenomenon built on an idea. An idea that was gifted to us by Brother Walfrid: that our club is founded on the bedrock of decency and a concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens. It is this idea that bonds us as a family, the Celtic Family.

Brother Walfrid’s humane vision does not shrink to enlarge a profit margin; nor does it demur to the vagaries of corporate benevolence. Celtic’s position over the eradication of working poverty under its own roof in the east end of Glasgow is untenable, both from a moral and a financial stance. When there exists tension between voting for one over the other it is the moral vote, Brother Walfrid’s vote, his ideals, his vision of us, that should always, always triumph. That is why we are more than a club.

Posted by JohnBhoy


Filed under Celtic, Guest Posts, History, Politics

702 responses to “CELTIC AND THE LIVING WAGE By JohnBhoy

  1. Grab the grass

    Truly saddened to hear this news. This site was a rare example of analytical information, mainly about rangers, but other areas as well. I will miss it greatly. My condolences clearly lie with his family and I hope his site and philosophy for explanation of the legal issues he made clearer for all can live on.


  2. lordmac

    came across this blog for guys like CAM, that are still up for the challenge

      • James

        For anybody thinking of visiting @gortchomhor’s site, BE WARNED. This chancer has created a plagiarised version of Paul McConvilles “random thoughts”, blog.

        The site was set up by @gortchomhor without the blessing of Paul’s family. He has copied everything about this original site, even going as far as incorporating “random thoughts”, into his blog’s name and using the exact same layout as Paul. The guy is a troll who has threatened to shut down a rival blog set up by a well known and liked user of Paul McConville’s original blog. @gortchomhor has gone so far as to post links to his plagiarised site on Celtic minded websites, masquerading as some sort of continuation of Paul McConville’s blog.

        As I have said already, BE WARNED, THIS TROLL IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED WITH AN IP ADDRESS AND IS NOT CELTIC MINDED, HE IS A SUPER TROLL WHO IS THREATENING TO HAVE WHAT HE PERCEIVES AS A THREAT TO HIS RIP OFF BLOG SHUT DOWN. There is something sinister about the motives for his site and the way he went about setting it up.

  3. I have just logged on after a long time away. It is truly sad to read of Paul’s death. There was much in this blog I disliked, but Paul’s contributions were always worth reading. My thoughts are with his family.

  4. hector

    Can I ask any of the regular posters on here that can make it to Pauls funeral to make a small act of rememderence in my name. A handful of soil or a blessing or whatever in my name would mean a lot . Thank you.

  5. Paul

    Cam have you really got no friends or do you just like posting to yourself, you need to give people time to answer your replies if they can be bothered.The GB were a welcome to Celtic park and created a atmosphere like no other, but sadly when you do the congo you do not know what may attach at the tail end, as it gets longer it becomes harder to control.
    I will give you an example of a train that started climbing higher than any train could climb in Scotland.As it reached dizzy heights fuel had to be added but the prce of the fuel was extortionate and new means had to be conjured up to get it.Ecomonomy Butane Train fuel was used at a cheaper cost and it was tax free. As the train soared so did the fuel tag and the tax man cottoned on and eventually the train begin to be pulled back down to earth and as the panic set in it was envitable it was going to crash and like all wrecks their is money to be made from the salvage. like i said do not throw stones.

  6. Iain McG

    I am preparing myself for an early morning flight to Barcelona, a trip which will render me unable to be at St Ninian’s on Thursday morning. My thoughts and prayers will be there, though.
    I dearly wish, however, that when Paul’s funeral is over, someone is able to take this site down permanently. It makes me feel physically sick to read the posts of a rodent still venting his spleen on a site bearing Paul’s name. His crocodile tears did not last long.
    It has long been my suspicion that Cam, aided by a few others, existed merely to spoil this site. I said so in an e-mail to Paul only a couple of months ago.
    So, go away, sewer rat. You never were worthy to post on this site.
    RIP Big Fella.

  7. Iain McG

    Iain McG on December 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm
    I am preparing myself for an early morning flight to Barcelona, a trip which will render me unable to be at St Ninian’s on Thursday morning. My thoughts and prayers will be there, though.
    I dearly wish, however, that when Paul’s funeral is over, someone is able to take this site down permanently. It makes me feel physically sick to read the posts of a rodent still venting his spleen on a site bearing Paul’s name. His crocodile tears did not last long.
    It has long been my suspicion that Cam, aided by a few others, existed merely to spoil this site. I said so in an e-mail to Paul only a couple of months ago.
    So, go away, sewer rat. You never were worthy to post on this site.
    RIP Big Fella.

    0 0 Rate This

    • Neither good, nor New York Ian McG, so no need to post it twice.
      I think you will find Paul himself would have taken umbrage in regard to your redundant comment regarding “Our resident troubador”.
      In a “Bah – Humbug” state of mind, are we?

  8. Cam, find somewhere else to masturbate, folks here are totally over your wheezy ejaculations. I suggest vanguard bears, along with ‘the ref’ and ‘fartagnan’ will suit you perfectly. You are really only giving currant buns a worse name than they had pre meltdown. ‘Bye now.

  9. JohnBhoy

    Well, Paul, I’m just back from your funeral. It was lovely service. I sat at the back and watched a candle flicker like a star above your coffin. You were a brilliant but simple, humble man and the reading of the beatitudes seemed so appropriate:

    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
    Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
    Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Your family was heartbroken. I wished I could have wiped away their tears of bereavement. Instead, I said a quiet prayer on behalf of all your friends on Random Thoughts: Fra, Hector, Maggie, mick, Henrik, Martin, Eco, Monti, mcfc, Coatbrigbhoy, Raymilland, JimBhoy, Ed, Pensionerbhoy, Portbhoy, Paul, DavidCOTW, RayCharles, Budweiser, Davie, Cam Ian4300, R MacGeddon, Steven Brennan, Felpen, Portpower, and as many as I could remember – it was a long list and I was still whispering it as your coffin passed. After the service, School kids and friends lined the street in your honour.

    I’m now back in Glasgow. I’m standing at the bar in a pub for the sole purpose of raising a glass to a good friend that I never met. Here’s to you Paul Anthony McConville. You were a star.

  10. mick


    hi cam are you popping by to say hello hello lol this is the new site for us incase we get lost in cyber space am the mod so your on the guest list lol

  11. I know I’m arriving late at the wake, but having read Paul’s blog through feedly I don’t click on here unless there’s a new post so only found out about his death while reading through one of Phil Mac Giolla Bháin’s recent posts. I’ve been reading Paul for a couple of years but only ever posted once, when he sang the virtues of his domestic bliss (https://scotslawthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/the-most-important-blog-i-have-written-what-happened-20-years-ago-today/). I could really relate to what he had to say, and . . . well, I shudder to think of Val’s pain. It’s incalculable. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.

  12. JohnBhoy

    I see that there is someone on ‘Continuing Random Thoughts’ pretending to be me (sad but true):

    January 3, 2014 at 1:13 am
    Happy new year to you all and great to see the new blog is coming along. Between work and life I have less time now than I had before but I am working on some material which I will email when ready.

    All the best.”

    That’s not me. I’m me.

  13. JohnBhoy


    Happy New Year! Here’s an article I’ve penned: “Corporate Football: Cap In Hand No More” (http://rtrpf.wordpress.com). You can use it if you want. Every so often I’ll drop in an article at that site. You can use any of them for your respective sites if you think they are worthy.

    Note: my site – HEID THE BAW FFS! – has no comments because I don’t want to detract from your own sites. I’ll just use it to dump articles.


  14. JohnBhoy


    Trust me, I’m me. As the famous Arnold S said: “If I’m not me then who da hell am I?”


  15. JohnBhoy


    I see that Gort is not a happy bunny:

    “This standoffish approach JB is taking is a compromised position. It’s as if he doesn’t want to reduce himself to the laws of the blogging jungle but wants to reap the fruits.”

    How to make friends and influence people lol. First time I have been accused of snobbishness, making a concession, exploitation and fruitarianism all in the one breath! Time to call it a day. Good luck with your blog, Bud.

  16. Budweiser

    @ JohnBhoy.
    Don’t take it too seriously JB. I for one appreciated your efforts. Gort is just another poster like everybody else. You should really be directing any views to him imho. Anyway, thanks for the contribution.

  17. JohnBhoy


    Can you please remove the post “Corporate Football – Cap In Hand No More”.

    Thank you.

    • Budweiser

      If you remember the old site,or look at TSFM on the present thread, then you can see that comments can go on in their hundreds/thousands without reference to the original post. To remove your post at this particular time would be disruptive to the blog as a whole. I am genuinely sorry that you seem to be upset at, well I’m not sure exactly what. However I can give you my assurance that your guest post [that YOU put forward ] will be removed as soon as the next post is put up. I hope that this is satisfactory.
      To be perfectly honest I’m getting a tad fed up with fake/genuine JB’S and I have more work on the site than I need. Anything else in this vein I will happily ignore.
      Regards bud. ,

  18. k

    There’s only one Paul McConville.

  19. The Hidden Fortress

    Paul McConville LIVES !

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