Guest Article by Saltires en Sevilla
The achievements/numbers are good in the sense that we could all relax and luxuriate in comfort, if the ball didn’t need to keep rolling.
Already that set of achievements are disappearing in the rear view mirror.
The only reality is now and what we consider to be the direction of travel. Opinions on that will vary considerably and a quick squint on CQN points to the majority being happy, if beginning to fret a little.
To my view we are already £40 million behind due to failure of the club to handle AEK. The club, and I include Brendan, failed to do the job required. We knew the challenges we faced and the complexities around players playing World Cup games as we faced qualifiers. We knew we needed cover in key positions and should have reasonably anticipated big money offers for our star players.
So what is happening at the club?
At executive level, the Board will always have an eye on the market. Of course they should. However, it is clear they feel the need to build cash reserves for a rainy day, not to spend or speculate on improving our chances in Europe (Domestic dominance is assured…for now) Some capital provision/reserves make ok. Why would any football club need to horde £30m … and the rest?
This board translate their natural conservative inclinations into maintaining a thin veneer of a competitive domestic scene, to ensure the bread and butter revenue is maintained. They have manipulated the recent situation with Oldco and Sevco to ensure there remains an Old Firm brand. With a view to the revenue that brings. It’s as clear as day, that the dumbing down of Lenny’s team and appointment of Ronnie reflected their need to keep a lid on our runaway dominance whilst they awaited the slow return (sic) of the challenge from Ibrox.
It is transparent that the appointment of Brendan only happened when Sevco entered the top tier.
Why didn’t we use that 4 season period to really build a team capable of challenging in Europe? Why dumb down?
Why fail to speak out against all the institutional cheating and failue to follow basic fairplay principles. It is not acceptable to claim there is no support within the game for that open stance. When has there ever been support for Celtic within the game, other than by the faithful fans of the club? What the hell is going on that Celtic feel they cannot just call out the cheating? I for one would accept that in lieu of anything actually changing in the game or asterixed trophies. At least I will know my club are not complicit and still stand for some basic values.
The suspicion remains. Celtic board knew any sustained challenge by them on the SFA/Oldco/Sevco would have wrecked the domestic model and they feel the need to stay cosy within that model. Content with having ‘turns about’ at success and a share of the financial spoils.
Domestically, there is money to be made and they know it. Always have.
They understand the need to ‘groan’ for a few years in exchange for the opportunity to get on top and ‘grunt’ their way to trophies and revenues. It’s a version of the STV Saturday teatime in 70/80’s wrestling model we all knew was fixed, but accepted as it was just light entertainment. Sadly, It’s now part of our game and our directors are willing partners.
There is no coherent plan to be succesful in Europe! A few CL qualifications and that is it. Trouser the dosh and pay tax on the profit. Tax paid that could have furnished a right back or a CH or a 4th striker … whatever?
There is zero European ambition at Celtic now.
The manager- you have to love Brendan’s love of Celtic. It is tangible. Winning 2 trebles on the bounce is historic and will rightly be remembered. Then again, what was the competition doing? By any measure, outside of domestic performance, the challengers were being ritually humped in the few European ties they played. That is the sad truth. With he size of squad and wage bill ( close to £60m) what can we really expect form wise from his team? Are we seeing it? I don’t think so, and anyone worried about losing Brendan to a top club should relax. One glance at the recent European record will cause any potential suitor to baulk. Why is our team being wiped out at home on Euro nights? The scars from those drubbings will run deep for a long time and it was mainly due to poor tactical decisions by Brendan.
Seriously, qualifying for CL twice in a row is just acceptable performance, it is not exceptional. The achievements of Gordon and Neil in Eurooe surpass anything Brendan has achieved ..to date… as hope remains that Brendan can fix it. Unfortunately, that hope is diminishing after each outing.
Right now the fitba is dire and has been since last season. One- dimentional and tedious. With a few sparks of wonder…
The fans: clearly the overwhelming majority of fans wanted Sevco back in the mix. Any regular trouncing experienced by the hordes that follow whatever team currently plays out of Ibrox is welcome. I freely admit to savouring their pain. Nevertheless, when the headaches wear off, that dull sense of realisation remains. The cheating continues unrestrained. Still the blatant manipulation of fairplay rules and lack of consistency in application of rules and penalties for breaches by Sevco goes on unchallenged.
Still the Celtic fans are turning up at SFA games and pouring cash into their coffers. Paying the hand that smites them.
I fear we will only begin to mobilise when Sevco have cheated their way to a trophy at our expense. Then it will all be too late.
Right now it seems nothing will ever happen to punish The cheats. The res12 bhoys are still hopeful, but sense the general feeling is that the club they love has failed to back them properly.
Words instead of actions.
To focus the attention of other clubs and their fans, I would urge all Celtic fans to consider witholding ticket money for Scottish Cup and League Cup matches…home and away.
I would ask the club to withdraw from those competitions, but accept lucrative sponsorship deals probably prevent that. Sigh!
If Celts reach Hampden – don’t go!
Send out a clear and vital message, we will not accept the cheating!
If after two full seasons change doesn’t come, at least we can look in the mirror, and at our children and grandchildren, and honestly say we tried.