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
Hugh McIllvaney RIP
I can see where you are coming from bobby, it’s been discussed before that there are concerns Brendan doesn’t have the final say on transfers. It’s no use having the ceo and the manager pulling in opposite directions. It’s affecting the club in my opinion. We’ve dropped a huge amount of points in comparison to our first season and whilst that could be sen as a one off, I thought it was the benchmark and we would build from there but we’ve went backwards continuously since then. Anyone who watched us regularly during Brendan’s reign can see that. We have a clash of two big egos and it’s not going to end well. I hope Brendan doesn’t leave but can we really expect him to stay when he has asked for quality signings and discovers we’ve punted another £2m on moneyball. Eventually, even as a fan he has to protect his career and that’s what he will do at the end of the season in my opinion. I hope I’m wrong but rifts like these don’t heal.
We were blessed to have the giants of journalism plying their trade when were kids. And sports journalism was at a particular apex in Scotland back then. Even the shite ones were great by comparison with their successors.
We could probably reel off a whole volume of outstanding candidates,but I think it is fair to say that each of them bowed before the master. It is truly sad to think that one of the great inventions to shape mankind was the printing press,yet ever-more modern technology will bring it to an end,and with it,the kind of journalism which shaped lives,which brought to life faraway events in faraway lands which we could only imagine through the words of someone who described the heroics in such vivid colour that the black-and -white prose became the most vivid poetry even as we read it.
We SAW those punches he described,we putted that ball into the cup,we kicked every ball in every match he put his mind to. Ffs,I’m sure I even rode the winner of The Gold Cup one year after reading his description of it.
Words said of many,aye,but we will truly never again see the likes of Hugh McIlvanney. Just in time for a Friday night piss-up with his old mates anaw,his timing was always perfect.
R I P
PS-I’ll try to find an article about him which was simply a homage to greatness when he retired. Got a feeling he wrote it himself(!)
That’s annoying,I just lost a long reply to you!
The good news is that it saves everyone else from having to read it.
The bad news is-I’ll phone you tomorrow early doors!!!
Bmcuwp Good stuff and apologies for my misspelling of Hugh’s surname. Too early in the morning. Hh
ATHING OF BEAUTY/BOBBY, hi I said exactly the same to the exiled tim last night, no way is Brendan in charge of the transfers, some of his comments tell you that, I just hope he does not get p….ed off and leave which he could well do, hope you both are well, also the mcillvaney brothers what can you say, gems in the word of journalism.hh.
Saving possibly his best and most heartbreaking/warming article till last,on Johnny Owen.
It’s clear that there is at the very least a disconnect. It is entirely unprofessional. I personally think that Brendan EXPECTS his views on playing personnel to be respected,and I don’t think that events are proving that to be the case.
For all the fact that I am critical of PL when I think he deserves it,I am also quick to hand out praise when deserved. IMO,he deserves little praise in his handling of managers-three multi title winners have walked already without a job to go to. Four if you include Ronny,who said that he had already decided to leave in the summer,though he only said that after he was told that the decision was out of his hands.
I’m on record as stating that I think that PL is the worst kind of manager,a micromanager. I’ve had them in the past-including in my first job,before I got wise to dealing with people like that. We all have. They are poison.
Dermot Desmond obviously has a sharp analytical brain,most of his money has been made in arbitrage,an incredibly difficult mathematical formula to get your head round.
He must surely be able to see a common denominator somewhere.
Say hi to the rest of The Rutherglen Massive,bud. Hopefully see you in September. Been a while.
Unless you can get yon nice VOGUEPUNTER fella to drive yeezaw over to Valencia?
Tried to find this,found it amongst some other gems at the end of the second link above.
Quite simply the best sports journalist that I have ever read – he was indeed the Shakespear of sport.
Funny you should say that-in one of the articles linked above,Hugh is quoted thus…
‘He told the then editor of the Observer, Donald Trelford, in 1993: “If I had to choose between having read King Lear or having seen the Brazilian football team of 1970, Pelé would have to yield to Shakespeare.”’
“I don’t believe for one minute that PL agreed that BR would have final say on all football-related matters.”
No that will be DD´s job. … to say that to BR … so that PL can renege on it .. that´s how it works. That´s how you become a billionaire. BR will have known that having sounded out MON, WGS, NL, TM
3.1 m on bonus
4.0 m disco lights
1.5 m diseased pitch (an Over indulgence the PLC reckoned .. looks a waste of 1.5m to me )
So we are spending the money on wingers.
and whingers the PLC reckons
Supposing there is a long-establish company who have traditionally traded in the UK and near continent, who now find themselves squeezed and largely excluded due to the effect of bigger & richer multi-nationals in the marketplace.
The board of directors make a strategic decision to spread the company’s net wider, to new markets in order to secure the company’s future.
A new and expensive sales-force is put together and tasked with gaining new business from previously unknown sources. The Sales director and Sales manager are highly experienced in what they do and are based and fully occupied at head office.
Sales leads start coming through from the field, previously these would be closely monitored by the Sales Manager & Sales Director. The Sales Manager would normally accompany the Field Sales representative during visits to a new prospect, however with the vast distances now involved, this is not now feasible.
So having set up this new-department, a certain amount of trust must be invested in those in the field. Unlike in previous times the Sales Director and the Sales Manager will personally know less about the new prospects, however that is where the trust kicks in.
The rewards in these new markets will be substantial and ensure the future of the company, if and when, all goes well. The company knows that invariably some of the deals they do will not turn out well, but the ones that do will make it all worthwhile……and anyway what choice has it got.
There will be times when the Sales Manager when being interviewed by the local press, who have been tipped off about a new prospect a couple of thousand miles away, will not be completely up to date about everything that is happening ‘out in the field’. Of course the experienced Sales Manager will not admit to this as it may undermine the confidence of the many thousands in the workforce. He will probably say something like ” we have good people in our sales force and I trust their judgement in these matters”……won’t he?
I would,were I the Sales Manager,be pointing out that this is not a project of my making,and I want nothing to do with it.
Hare-brained schemes like this rarely end well for the highest member of the echelon that they can pin it on,and I would be looking at a new career path. After all,I’m the manager,the buck stops here,and I’m left carrying the can?
Naw. If success has many fathers-and they won’t include me-I’m effed if I’m carrying the can for the inevitable orphan of failure.
Reading between the lines,mate. Hence my Samuel Goldwyn quote.
Wouldn’t it be terrific if our board published a list of signings since MON and attribute where the recruitment source was. For example a/ The relevant manager b/ Peter Lawwell.
I would give credit to whichever party, I have no doubt either party would get it right and wrong.
I honestly believe BMCUWP would be as good at picking players as any manager or PL. Maybe even me or BP, MIT and TGM. (and Gold, Rebus, Auldheid)
A story for friday.
“Dad, it is greener than I thought!” The father was worried but glad that one of his three sons was distracted from the reality of what they were doing. “God, my wife must never find out what we are doing”, he thought. Fortunately, she was away in the UK and if we all kept quiet, she would never know.
It was cold, very cold out on the packed ice, as the four figures crept out onto it, leaving the safety of the shore. This was a unique winter in Newfoundland, heck, every winter here was unique. But this time the pack ice had closed in around the island, as it did every year, capturing an iceberg trapped in the bay. The berg was three stories high, a dwarf by Newfie standards, but still impressive. It lay about eighty yards offshore, encased in hugh slabs of ice that formed small hills due to the pressure of the ice. Foolishly, I’d said to the boys, “Lads, how would you like to climb an iceberg?” And so the adventure had begun! Three little boys and a mad father were inching towards one of nature’s wonders, an iceberg, marooned in Middle Cove, just ten kilometres from St John’s.
As we manoevred over the hills of ice, it occurred to me that we were the only ones attempting this. There were many Newfoundlanders on the shore but none had ventured out onto the slab ice to get to the berg. In spite of this, we forged on. Thoughts that a berg can flip at any moment were pushed aside,as I helped the youngest of my sons to navigate the ups and downs of the ice slabs,some of which had pushed four feet up in an attempt to reach the sky. Sometimes my oldest son led as I helped the others over the terrain.
At last, we reached the base of the berg. I lifted Dan, my youngest, onto the flatest piece of the base of it. David, my oldest scrambled up onto it, foregoing help, as he usually did. Mike and I were the last aboard. The look on their faces was priceless! Was it worth the rashness and the worry of what we had done? At the time, you bet it was! We climbed up about one third of the height but by then the cold was biting hard and I worried about keeping young limbs moving across the icefield back to the shore. Twenty minutes should do it, but twenty minutes in these temperatures for young folks was not a walk in the park. Anyway, we made it back to shore, flushed with a sense of triumph that we would probably never experience again as father and sons.
Did Mrs Rebus find out? You bet she did, as my middle son, wrote our adventure up for a school project! We were called in to explain why our boy wrote fantasies instead of real experiences for his project! The heavens fell on me that night and continued to crush me harder than any packed ice for several days as the silences became prolonged, punctuated by slamming doors.
Still, what memories!
A small, unworthy tribute to two great storytellers…..RIP Hugh and Willie.
The Johnny Owen piece, at the time, was outstanding por cierto.
? very droll JTT
b/ Nil por cierto
A good read, my friend.
And, be honest … you must have know, in your heart of heart, that somehow, someway, the boss would find out, and you would be in the doghouse…
and, even today, knowing what you now know (that she would indeed find out, and you would get in trouble) … you would do it again in a heartbeat….
days and experiences like that are ones that you and the kids will remember all their lives.
Thanks for sharing that memory with us. It brought back memories of reading about the endeavours of two gallant Irishmen, Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean.
On one of their expeditons a piper played The Wearing of The Green as the sailed down the Thames.
In my part of the world icebergs don’t feature…but if they did…?
Those types of memories are the ones that endure and they can be a rarity in today’s virtual world.
Sometimes even accomplished statisticians are partial to the wonders of the great outdoors.
Hopefully Brendan has vindicated the reputations of several previous managers/coaches. It’s pretty unfair if players are recruited by the business and all the responsibility for the outcome is left with one individual.
So much time has been wasted debating this topic and it would appear that we have been kept in the dark regarding who actually is idenifying players and signing them.
Fair play to Rodgers for bringing a little transparency to the club.
You are correct on all of your observations.
My boys and I were as one that day! Followed it up with a trip to Tim Hortons for Juice, coffee and muffins. My momma told me there’d be days like this! …..To steal from Van Morrison.
AweNaw, how much did he offer per share do you know?
Bobby,,busy today so a short one.
Great writing g , although my own opinion is when you sit down to discuss budgets you’ll get a lot of buzz phrases such as if the right man is available at the right price we will back you ,, maybe there’s bargains to be had though etc etc. Just general waffle and you believe he’s on your side ,,, then when you find players you think you can afford you can’t believe the reports of petty haggling , not offering what was needed even though that was fine by you etc etc.
Yes,,the job you end up in was not the job you were sold and signed up for. But because of NDAs no one ever knows this and the cycle continues.
My favourite is “we won’t spend money for the sake of spending money”.
So no more incoming transfers, Brendan is happy with what he has, availability or price to blame, Pedro putting the foot down me thinks, pushes Brendan further towards the door, scunnered again.
On the right back situ, Ralston has done his cruciate as well and still nothing, fell for the boy, KT back in training in Feb, hopefully he will be Ok.
TeT ,, no Ralston for rest of season ? And no replacement?
I call bullshit! Effing joke if true. Why not a loan then? Eff me that’s not right.
According to the rags we were interested in a Polish player called Gumny, L Poznan have slapped a £4.3 mill price on him, he looked just like what we need, not a hope in hell that Pedro will pay anything like that, prob go in at 1.3…….
I know some will say that there is still a few days to go and we could yet bring in more players, but as it stands today, Pedro has picked up more bonus payments than the club have spent on players this month, that mi amigos is not the way to run a FOOTBALL club
Brendan talking today
We picked up Bayo from the Slovakian league for a couple of mill, we are supposedly getting a Ukrainian internationalist for a couple of mill, so they are out there, affordable and willing to come to Celtic, not that I am a cynic, but I would have thot that between those two leagues we could find a RB or a CB for about the same, seems not.
THE EXILED TIM, thanks for posting brendans presser very interesting, he knows when to speak and when not too, agree about the Slovakian league also the Scandinavian league is one to watch,, especially for defenders.we could easily afford some of them guys.hh.
A story so good, I wanted to swear in response.
As in ducking brilliant. ( Well nearly )
I love stories like that, the education of life is as important as schooling education, in my opinion, something that my children’s teachers have not always appreciated, when I’ve explained why they missed school.
I’ve just finished reading ‘The Quaker’ by Liam McIlvanney, Willie’s son and Hugh’s nephew. A superb crime thriller set in late 1960s Glasgow and based loosely on the Bible John murders. Liam clearly has inherited the McIlvanney literary genes and although a Killie fan he still manages to give a reference in the book to Celtic winning the European Cup. Hh
Young Hendo, Celtic are keen for him to sign a new contract, so far, no dice.
He wants to see a pathway to the first team, I think Brendan is on a charm offensive.
The disconnect between BR and PL is as wide as the Clyde and if it comes to a showdown PL knows DD has his back. In DDs world managers are much more dispensable than CE’s. Hh
Jimmynotpaul, Liam tweeted after our game on Wednesday with the hashtag for Ewan betterhendo. I’m beginning to feel old as I remember Liam and Ewan’s dad , Nicky , playing for Falkirk and Partick Thistle.
You are right about Brendan’s charm offensive with Ewan , he’s been on the bench in our last two games.
Aiden Nesbitt has just come on for Dundee United against Ayr. Dundee United are really poor .
Jimmynotpaul, I forgot to say BT’s Scottish football extra had an interview with Liam Henderson last month , it was very good, hecame over very well . He stated he wants to play for Hibs again bur did not mention playing for us again.
MIT, BP ? I’m listening to Cabin Pressure!
Jim what’s up?
How do you know this? Por cierto
Perhaps this will put the “Transfer Policy” into some structure for some por cierto.
Thanks for posting this.
It proves my point in post after post that Brendan has the final say in transfers and it explains the reality of working around the clock and around the world to find prospects – I outlined this in my first post of the day.
To those on here who use transfers and indeed everything and anything in order to stick the knife into Peter Lawwell, read these words straight from our manager’s lips:
“The regular supporter wouldn’t know the operation. And when one or two get emotional in the media and start to point fingers, that can snowball”
…and snowball it does right to Peter Lawwell’s office door. The witch-hunt against Lawwell and Congerton has to stop.
The drive to get the right people into Celtic is dependent on THREE abilities.
All three must align to get any deal over the line – the manager knows this, the CEO knows this, the board knows this and the head of recruitment knows this – the only people who pretend not to know it are PL/Board-haters. I’ve said it before on here and I say it again, it is tedious and damaging.
Brendan has obviously felt compelled to defend Lee Congerton and our transfer model in an interview in the Daily Record – I say thank God.