End of the Line for a Legend ?

I can’t help but get the feeling now when I see Martin on the sideline that it won’t be for much longer . And not only that old devil time will be responsible . Row’s ,, selection headaches,, his pre and post match conference demeanour,,, it all seems very dated now and I get a wee inkling the modern game at the top levels may have moved on from his grasp and indeed his methods.
A credible draw in Wroclaw in a friendly last week might help going into these next 4 games, but from where I sit they are likely to be his last 4 at the helm. Many if not most back in Ireland would be unlikely to argue against his departure . The friendly against the North will sort itself out but upcoming is a double header against Denmark with a home tie against the Welsh sandwiched in between ,,all Nations League Qualifiers ,, is probably a bridge too far for the pair in the Irish dugout .

Make no mistake of the 3 Ulstermen that have sat in the Glasgow Celtic hot-seat over the last 20 years it was Martin that was “ The Man “ and on the rise . The other two cannot say that ,,,one by virtue of right time right place and the other had been sacked . Martin was leaving for a bigger club at the time , but it was a question of who . No doubt Dermots promise of a decent wedge of cash helped sway him .

That Leicester team he had assembled could and did give anyone a tough game on any given day and had more admirers than detractors at the time if my memory is correct . They always struck me as wiley and knew their roles . I freely admit to liking what I had seen of him . Martin looked every part their leader off the field.

And his capture was soo sweet ! He wanted the role and the fans loved that from the off . The club had made a great move after the farcical “ dream team “ and “ sexy football “ . Henrik would later say it but I felt it at the time “ We’ve got something special here ! “ Under his tutelage ESPN had the club ranked as the 8th best club team in the world based on their stats system . I sincerely doubt I shall ever see that repeated. He deserves enormous credit for that .

My father pointed out that he had seemingly made a big mistake in the transfer market at Leicester . His biggest buy hardly played . The others gave him credit in the bank but he questioned that one . We found out later that Martin had told the team before a game if they win no training tomorrow . They didn’t and when Martin announced the report for training the next day  Darren Eadie responded I played well they didn’t so I’m not training tomorrow . Martin couldn’t play him from then after that , nor would he . That explains that and I find it reassuring as I would do the same myself or at least council it if asked .

From what we know and was reported about his methods I don’t see him as a Clough style manager and he famously disliked Brian’s attitude towards him . I would say he’s his own man who walked the line between tough to please and your biggest admirer beautifully . To me his background shows a lot in his style . Motivation mixed with determination . It was exactly what we needed at the time you wont need me to tell you . And many responded to that style .
It seemed to work to good effect at his next club with very respectable league positions attained .

Ultimately though , no one stays at the top forever . The current trend is the arm around the shoulder and the friendly all in this together approach . That isn’t Martins style . Not Jose’s either at the moment and his cold do your job approach is not producing either . Just goes to show reputations don’t mean much these days . At the top end any weakness will be exposed and lack of tactical training while opting for motivation is dated .

After managing at the top end for 20 years now a step off may seem more preferable to a step down ,, his beloved Wycombe for instance . I doubt he looks at a lower league club as a challenge anymore having been there done that , just get that feeling. He’s nothing to prove to anyone . I think we are seeing a former great fade away .
For me anyway , Martin was “ the Messiah “. My Eternal Respect Sir !

“ You stop that cross coming in as if your very life depends upon it ! “ Martin to his wing backs.

“If he’d been English or Swedish, he’d have walked the England job” – Brian Clough on Martin O’Neill.

“There was no information whatsoever but, I’ll tell you, he knew his players. You knew where you stood with him and if you played well for him, the confidence he’d give you and the way he’d make you feel, you just want to run even more for him. “ Craig Bellamy on Martin

“What is Martin’s biggest strength? That’s simple. Players want to win for him and that is not the case with every manager. Martin is one of those managers that players will go the extra mile for and that is why he has enjoyed such a successful career over so many years.” Chris Sutton

“ The talk he gave before the game made everything sink in for me. I said to myself ‘F$#king hell, I will have no regrets after this game.” Henrik on Martin

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mahe

Apologies for the late posting hour. With the girls gone I woke up at a luxurious 8 am. He was the best manager in my supporting days I have no doubt. His career never hit the heights it could have through mostly bad timing . Some jobs he should have got passed him by , thats the game. All the best Martin.

Great post Mahe.
I well remember the day Martin signed, I was living in Ireland at the time and when he was telling the world he was honoured to be our manager the tears of joy were streaming down my face, I was so, so happy we got him.
I also recall in the bar one night telling the west brits that we were onto something with the players at his disposal, we very nearly were a great team, we were a very good team but we didn’t have the nous that the likes of the cheating Porto had.
The game in Milan was another one when had we had the ruthless streak Lenny would have halfed the Milan player, Kaka I think on the halfway line, taken a card and stopped them from scoring, we were nearly a great team.
He was a close second to Mr Stein imo, the othet two from the north have a long long ways to go to get near them imo.
As you say everything has to come to an end, sadly I also agree that his and Keano’s days are numbered, their style just doesn’t hack it any more.

mahe

Thank you. I also remember that day, I will do everything I possibly can day . It was an eternal bone between me an dad how to improve that Seville team. I wanted Thommo moved inside , Lenny benched and a proper left winger and keeper. 2 players. Bobby Petta started like a house on fire that first season remember ? We were singing ” Theres only one Bobby Petta, In the Summer he got betta ! ” But he couldnt keep it up and cement that left wing spot as his own , pity . Thommo did a good job there and could deliver well plus he could hit them , boy could he hit them , but a winger he was not. 2 players and greatness beckoned imo. We got the slow lane of course.
Hope all is good , Hail Hail

big packy

MAHE hi pal, was on holiday in cornwall when he signed, remember it so well watched it on sky news, glued to my seat he didn’t disappoint.hh.

Ah a keeper, a blind spot with Martin were keepers, had we had a quality keeper who knows, I agree re Thommo.
I disagree re Lenny, his stats were amazing, worked his bollix off, broke up the opo time and time again and very rarely gave the ball away.
As I said, we were very nearly a great team.
Got to dash, things to do and no time to do them.
HH

mahe

With a cornish pastie in your hand ? 😉 I am fond of an oul Cornish pastie indeed. Never been to Cornwall. Hail Hail and hope all is good Sir

big packy

THE EXILED TIM. don’t know about you, but if we had a good shot stopper in Seville, we would have won that final.hh.

mahe

Big Packy its a very widely held theory but we will never know. If you watch the clip above for Juve first goal it looks to me anyway like the keeper should do better and their last goal ffs someone put the foot through the thing . But what a result. I , unfortunately , was working that night. The old transistor radio was in use though. Great times they were. Hail Hail

Fairhill Bhoy

Agree,a bit like Jose at Utd,dinosaurs in the modern game???

big packy

mahe your right we will never know,.hail hail bruv.

mahe

Fairhill bhoy , I would argue he has been brought in to keep them relevant and top 4 with a run deep into Europe and everyone is happy. I think they all realise they arent gonna overtake City right now. Even with all those inherent problems he still came second last season, that was great work by Jose. But his style is dying, the master type of thing. He looks very stressed and could do with a break. Sarri also is showing him up. Who could they get now or soon that is an upgrade ? Levy wont let them have Poch,,Simeone doesnt play attacking football,,I cant see where they turn thats better. However I see todays rags have Dybala coming in and Pogba going out in return. I would snap their hand off for that trade. He needs too much time on the ball and its not coming off for him. That Dybala is the real deal and would light up the Theater of Dreams should he get the chance. I hope he does make the move . Great player.
Hail Hail

Garry Duncan

Mahe
I very enjoyable read about my second favourite ever Celtic manager. Sure Martin was lucky in inheriting Henrik, Johan, Lubo and Stan the man. His signings were mainly great ones, apart fae his goalie signings. Neil Lennon being my favourite MO’N purchase.
Our supporters bus song for Bobby Petta differed slightly from your version.
Temple Tims song was,”There’s only one Bobby Petta. He used to be shite, but now he’s better.” ?
YNWA

I agree, Big Rab was our weak link.
I was clearing out some stuff in the garage the other week and came across a few old videos, one was the 3-3 game against the huns at home and I had it labeled, the Rab Douglas horror show 🙂

mahe

Garry , I remember a Celtic supporting barber ( who basically never got to games ) being shocked Petta had a song . Theres still a Hoops barbers in the oul city and Im lead to believe the widescreens play the teams games all day long and when you take a seat they hand you a can of beer for while you wait and you can buy another for sure . A good method to relax males in the world of grooming. Its usually boxing everywhere for some reason in most barbers the world over. Nice to have a football one for a change.
Was a strange one was Bobby Petta thats for sure . Had the talent not the motivation is my thoughts.. How to improve the Seville team may well be an article one day but its such a personal call. No 2 people ever agree. But I marched with O’Neill !!!
Hail Hail Brother

Michael McQuade

a well written and enjoyable article … thanks.

mahe

More than welcome Sir . Thanks for stopping by . Hail Hail

big packy

hi garry I posted to the exiled tim before, saying that with a better goalkeeper we would have been champions in Seville.hh.

Garry Duncan

Mahe
Haha. My barber in Clydebank’s shop was a shrine to Celtic. He was also the local hash supplier. His shop always smelled like an opium den. He had enough Clydebank Tim puffers wi hair to keep him in business. God bless Billy. Retired in Thailand now.
YNWA

Garry Duncan

BP
Javier Sanchez Broto in Seville would have helped. Most bittersweet match I have ever attended. Widnae have missed it for the world though.
YNWA

Fairhill Bhoy

Absolutely agree ,but remember our brikie got us to the final in the first place ?

big packy

hi garry did I ever correspond with you on cqn apologies if not,hh,

big packy

hi fairhill bhoy, who is that Neustadt-Braw fellow.lol..hh.

Garry Duncan

Fairhill Bhoy
Was labouring for my joiner bro in law in Rab Douglas house in Lanark 10 years ago. The big man was a perfect gentleman. Great guy, no so great goalie.
YNWA

Garry Duncan

BP
If you corresponded wi that choob Delaney’s Dunky on CQN, then yes.?
YNWA

big packy

garry are you garry Delaney please help.

Fairhill Bhoy

He still lived a dream.?
Bedtime mate???

Great stuff,Mahe.
I have to agree with most posters that our goalie was the weak link in the team,and in MON’s judgement. Mind,Jock was the same.
I couldn’t believe the difference Martin made to Celtic. Everything changed. He instilled a steely belief in the team,and by ‘eck,he gave us back our pride.
A legend,IMO. As simple as that.

mahe

Thanks partner and hope all is good. A Legend he always will be , in my heart anyway. Just think this is it these next few months. Ah well. The world turns. We live and hopefully learn.
Hail Hail

Garry Duncan

BP
Stop being so nosey!!! Hahaha ?
YNWA

Garry Duncan

Majoc
You know my mammy loves Celtic more than both of us put together. Her Uncle Jimmy Delaney thing. Her heartthrobs were Jock Stein and Dean Martin. When Martin signed on, Molly said,”We have got our new Jock son. Think it was the Martin name. She wisnae far wrong.
YNWA

New article up,folks

Give M a hug from me,mate. A wee stoatir,so she is.