The Plausibility Gap
A fine return to form in the league on Wednesday night,and I am well pleased with the result. Particularly nice to see Ewan Henderson making a wonderful contribution when he came on,that was a simply sublime-and sublimely simple!-wee pass for Tim Weah to run on to. The finish,of course,was excellent,and this young man looks like The Real Deal already,but the pass was the thing.
A thing of beauty,so to speak!
I remember when Liam Henderson was receiving praise when he first broke through-did we let him leave too early? Dunno,time will tell,but I’m glad he is making his way in the game regardless-and he deflected it modestly by saying that his younger brother was a better player. I think Jamie Murray once made a similar statement! Time is very much on the side of both these players,but while I’m hopeful of getting Tim Weah for next season,I prefer to concentrate on our own.
Ewan is only a nipper,still 18yo. Keep him with us for a year then loan him out to a footballing lower division side for six months followed by a year in a decent SPL side. Not the Plastic Pitch Posse though,that way madness lies-and injury!
St Mirren though weren’t really up to much. Our defence could have watched it from the stands-not that they’d have been any warmer. But we can only beat what’s in front of us,and seven goals in two games,none conceded,well,that’s a good week’s work in anyone’s book.
The referee,Mason MacLoyal or whatever he was called,did everything right on the night. Open season for the cluggers and chuggers,he waited until two minutes from the end to book a St Mirren player-and even then only because the guy had Pope in his name. Presumably he had spent the rest of the night watching Benkovic like a hawk,hoping he would stick his tongue out at him for booking him early in the match.
Aye,when Celtic make a statement,everyone pays attention!
So what has all this to do with The Plausibility Gap,you might ask? Well,it’s really to do with Brendan’s post-match debriefing. When asked about our latest signing target,a young Ukrainian winger with an eye for goal this season,he replied that he didn’t know very much about him,and queried the need for another winger as we already have millions of them. To many Celtic fans,that confirmed their suspicions/belief that Brendan is not in control of signings. We had heard similar when Daniel Arzani made his way to Lennoxtown in the summer,and various rumblings before and since. But hopefully this article isn’t going down the road many of you might,by this time,expect.
I’d like to throw a few “What If?”s into the mix for you.
Firstly,let me explain what I THINK should be the case at a club like Celtic. Celtic may play in a backwater,but we are a world brand in the game,our income is amongst the highest,as are our attendances. Our stadium and the fans who fill it are world renowned. We are still a catch for a player at ANY stage in his career,and while our wages cannot match those in England,or amongst the European heavyweights,we still punch above our weight on that front. Few players will need to open a pub or drive a taxi for a living after a career with us,not nowadays. So I think that the manager and the CEO should be sitting down towards the end of each season to discuss areas which need strengthening,signing targets,players who are surplus to requirements,and those who can be moved on to provide the funds for continuity. And of course,the budget available for that.
What follows should be that the targets and budget are prioritised and the CEO then gets his man,just like the famed Canadian Mounty. Not every attempt will be successful,but there will be a Plan B should these fail. This serves a number of purposes:it ensures a continuity on the field,as the manager will be targeting players whom he feels will fit into his team/squad,and into its playing style,and it keeps the manager-and hopefully the fans!-happy. Moving players on who no longer fit into the manager’s plans will keep him and the CEO happy,and agreeing to the big-ticket transfers keeps the CEO and the bank manager happy.
It also increases our profile in the game,as potential big-ticket players are increasingly happy to join the queue to be next.
So what could go wrong with the above scenario? Well,there’s one of those “What If?”s.
What If that is pretty much what the manager thought he was signing up to,but it wasn’t what the CEO thought he was signing up to? That the deal is that the budget is arranged,targets discussed,but the CEO decides which ones to follow up,having taken on views from other sources within the game. What if the manager only has the last word on who LEAVES the club,not who JOINS it?
As an example,the transfer window a year ago. No harm to Jack Hendry,I’m sure he will have a decent career,but if he was signed on the RECOMMENDATION of Brendan,then frankly he shouldn’t be allowed any input on Celtic defenders. Sadly,he is not up to our level. I’m sure he will have a decent career elsewhere,but at 24yo,he was as good as he was ever likely to be,and that has been shown to be not good enough. Take Marvin Commper(studiously avoids one-word punchline). If he was signed with the full and enthusiastic approval of Brendan,he needs to discover Wikipedia. Neither of these players looked remotely likely to be the answer to what was a problem position for us a year ago,and which will be the thing of nightmares in a few months.
Sticking to only that position in the team,another What If? What If PL had acted on what nearly every Celtic fan was saying at the start of the summer? We need at least one quality centre-half,and probably two if Dedryck Boyata leaves. It seems that he was reluctant to sign another centre half as he had just signed two in January. Well,had he loosened the purse strings and got a decent CH lined up-how many were available for free at the time,how many for around £3m,all likely to be better than the two unwanted Christmas presents-he could have got his £10m for Boyata! This once,his frugality bit him on the arse,because another What If arises
What If Brendan had thought that he had the last word on transfers,but that in fact it only extended to who LEFT the club? He definitely put his foot down on the Boyata move,and he initially blocked the move for Dembele too,only allowing the move after the player threw a wobbly at him. Those two actions suggest to me that he definitely has the last word on this at least.
Now What If Brendan feels hard done to by all this? He’s an intelligent man,and a proud one too. He certainly doesn’t need the money,so he could easily walk out the door and never work again if he felt so inclined. But What If he has a genuine feel for the club and the support-and I think he does-and wants his place in history? Well,that would mean swallowing a difficult pill while trying to make the most of the situation,and maybe working towards improving it. The latter is unlikely,because I think PL already feels that this manager has more responsibility within the club than he has been comfortable with in the past. So we are now faced with a very difficult situation where both of our top people,one on the footballing side,the other on the Plc side,are,if not pulling in opposite directions,certainly not pulling together.
It’s an appalling situation for the club to find itself in,especially this far down the line. I don’t believe for one minute that PL agreed that BR would have final say on all football-related matters,because had he done so,his behaviour over the last three windows would be a firing offence. I’m far from his biggest fan-keep that quiet,it’s a secret!-but I don’t think he is stupid.
But here’s the big What If? What If Brendan THOUGHT that was what he negotiated? As it happens,I don’t think Brendan is stupid either,but have you ever joined a company,thinking that the deal was X and all you got was Y? Despite the fact that you were sure that was what you negotiated at the time? If it’s not written down,it doesn’t exist,or as Samuel Goldwyn once said-
A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!
Above post by BMCUWP. It can be your turn tomorrow,simply by sending your article to