Spot the difference

We were contacted by a lurker who recently discovered an old article that examined the reasons behind the notorious failure on Black Sunday 2005.
This article points out that while we were told we couldn’t afford the Martin route, thus scaled down after Seville joining the slow lane, it was a myth and things needn’t have turned out the way they did.
The sender believes the PLC’s treatment of Brendan to be very similar to what Martin experienced, a chopping down at the knee’s once the football department was building up serious headway so as to not get that much out of sight perhaps but certainly to put the power of the club back in the boardroom.
The below article is appeared on Etims September 2005 under a weekly article by the moniker “The Voice of Gaudd“.
We thank Etims for allowing us to use it.
Its a long one, so boil the kettle first, but please read and tell us if you can see the similarities.

 

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‘”It goes without saying that there is little concerning Celtic that brings about universal agreement amongst those who support the club, the Celtic family has always been a brawling, feuding, argumentative parcel and no one would have it any other way. The subject of who is to blame, if anyone, for the decline of the team in recent seasons is hardly going to be exempt from the internecine bloodshed that passes for debate amidst broken pub tables, shattered windows and the shrill sound of police sirens – well ok, not everyone debates issues as E-tims contributors but you get the picture. Suffice to say that I don’t buy the image of a valiant board struggling against chaos-theory adversity and proletarian ignorance painted in Hullbhoy’s interesting rejoinder to my original, and rather brilliant, The Blame Game article. The same can be said of the contents of Miles Millions opinion piece. Let’s start first though with the former, makes sense after all, I’ll deal with Miles in another article if I can be bothered.

 

Unfortunately the tendency by Hullbhoy to lump contract renewal spending in with signing fees for new players is something that presents an entirely misleading picture of the money available to the manager. It’s far too simplistic to lump this spending in with the cost of bringing new players into the team, the latter can be viewed as strengthening, the former simply maintenance. The necessity to offer contract extensions or improved conditions is part and parcel of running a team, a running cost that will have to be borne by any manager season after season in order to reward and retain players that would otherwise cost far more to replace. In these post-Bosman ruling days it also makes financial sense to ensure players do not stutter to the end of their contracts when they still have a sellable value, although using that term with regard to human beings does tend to offend my delicate socialist sensibilities.

 

Let’s have a look at the main players offered improved contracts by the club during the O’Neill era:

Season 2000-2001: Larsson, Petrov, Mjallby and Moravcik.

Season 2001-2002: Agathe, Crainey, Lambert, Larsson, Mjallby and Petta.

Season 2002-2003: Petrov, Maloney, Varga and Beattie.

Season 2003-2004: Thompson, Sutton, McNamara, Varga, Maloney, Marshall and John Kennedy.

 

I have deliberately excluded season 2004-2005 because to be quite frank it’s a matter for debate who was actually calling the shots during that extremely disappointing episode.

 

As you can see with only perhaps one or two exceptions the players mainly benefiting from improved contracts are key first team players whose loss would have had a direct and immediate negative on field impact – a fact repeatedly outlined by O’Neill. Consequently this is not money that Martin O’Neill could or would have fingered with a contemplative look etched upon his coupon – not that he would have had much time. Let’s remember after all that although Martin O’Neill had five seasons with the club, the team we will forever associate with his tenure came into being in the main during the 2001-2002 season, yet we’re reading opinions that players should have been moved on the following season! Is it realistic to expect contracts to be refused and players moved on when the team has only recently came together? What would these advocates of wage-release have the team become? A transient grouping of ethereal creatures gone before their presence has even been acknowledged? Its even more curious due to the fact that the 2002-2003 season revealed Celtic’s dire need to strengthen, how could that be achieved by moving on key players some of whom had barely two seasons with the club?

 

After all when talking off freeing up funds during the O’Neill era, moving players on and all that, the board and its supporters are not talking about the inhabitants of the team’s periphery, there would have been little gain from that exercise. No, when the board talked about moving players on they were referring to the high-earning first team regulars that were vital to Celtic’s on field success, players that if replaced like for like would cost far more to replace than retain. The suspicion is that the board had no intention of replacing like for like but were instead only looking at a reduction in the wage bill regardless of the consequences. Martin O’Neill recognized that fact when he warned that replacing players of high caliber with cheaper less talented options would hamper Celtic’s ability to compete in Europe. That wasn’t a comment which dropped from his lips by chance.

 

There can be little doubt that Martin O’Neill’s team did under perform on the domestic scene due to the nature of the squad, it was found wanting as far as talent in depth was concerned. When fielding a fully fit preferred first eleven Celtic had a team to be reckoned with, when forced to field squad players problems ensued. That is why I found the following paragraph from Hullbhoy a little puzzling: “Quite why Martin O’Neill didn’t pursue this approach {punting high earners] from 2002-03 onwards is anyone’s guess but the reality is that Celtic will never have much of a profit margin to fund a wage bill similar in size to the top clubs in the EPL and a transfer budget of £6-8 million unless there is a constant rolling programme of buying and selling players. That in itself is about managing risk but then again we sometimes forget that Celtic managers are being paid seven figure salaries to manage that risk.”

 

There are obvious reasons why Martin O’Neill did not pursue this approach after the 2002-2003 season, some I have already outlined, others I’ll come to later on. Some clubs may take this approach when rolling around in the kind of filthy lucre that allows lavish spending from one season to the next, pauper clubs might shop around for whoever is available in a form of football casual labour employment. Martin O’Neill on the other hand was in the process of putting together a team that would form a foundation for Celtic’s renaissance, a medium to long-term process that ruled out the financial expediency of sacrificing high earners to allow replacement by lower-salaried incomers.

 

By the summer of 2003, O’Neill’s team had been together for three years and while there had been noticeable advances, a lot of work remained to be done. It is true that some players were showing the strain at this late stage in their career, Lambert and Mjallby for example, yet concern at the loss of such valuable international stars and their replacement by far lesser talents was an obvious concern for O’Neill when he spoke of such replacements confining Celtic to the “slow lane” of European football. Its not as if moving on aging players could generate much in the way of transfer fee income although loot would be available for wage offers. In the absence of a transfer fee kitty, Celtic would be required to seek out loan deals and low signing-on fee appointments, areas where the club does not have a great track record.

 

It must also be pointed out that in these post-Bosman Ruling days it makes sense to ensure valuable players remain under contract, thereby avoiding said players walking about the club for zilch. The necessity to fund contract renewals was even acknowledged by the board in the 2002 accounts: “It is also important to recognise that the trend in football following the Bosman ruling is to renegotiate and extend contracts to players important to the team in order that we retain players of calibre.” By the following year though the tone was noticeable different, summed up by financial director, Eric Riley: “Player pay has seen substantial growth resulting in wage inflation well in excess of reasonably expected revenues. This trend has been exacerbated as media markets continue to harden. Football clubs generally are beginning to tackle their cost base and are much less likely to spend substantial sums in anticipation of buying success or avoiding failure. Celtic is no different, facing a rising cost base largely as a result of existing player contracts and reduced domestic media revenues. A substantial effort will be required to ensure costs are maintained within forecast revenues. Existing player contracts may dictate the pace at which this can be achieved, as will progression in European competition.”

 

The 2002-2003 season revealed one undeniable fact, Celtic could not hold onto a protracted European campaign and still hope to compete domestically. It was not a case of identifying those players that could be evicted; rather it was a wake-up call to find that last burst of energy to complete the O’Neill revolution. The board though by this stage had lost interest in financial speculation now that their EPL windfall project had been found to be nothing more than a pipe dream, O’Neill knew this better than anyone and according to our ex-manager he seriously considered accepting the Spurs offer at this point, and this brings me on to another reason why O’Neill may not have been concentrating on transfer rotations after the 2002 -2003 season.

 

I have to admit at this stage to considerable reflection on O’Neill’s comments regarding his keen interest in the offer of the Spurs post in the summer of 2003, his desire to move only overridden by his desire to return the league title back to Celtic before his departure. Why would a man who was so obviously enthusiastic about taking up the managerial post suddenly want to up sticks and call it a day after three seasons? Could it have anything to do with the reasons he came to the club in the first place? Lets not kid ourselves here, while some supporters may delude themselves about the lure of the Celtic name the fact remains we toil in a football backwater, one in which the standard of play on average works out at abysmal and occasionally touches the giddy heights of dire. Outside of the Old Firm, and occasionally even there, SPL teams venturing into Europe can be expected to be dumped at the first opportunity by such swaggering giants from Andorra, Lichtenstein and the Faroes. Its probably just as well Rockall is disputed and can’t field a team of half-interested puffins or our national humiliation would be complete. So why would a relatively young, highly-rated EPL manager, who could have chosen any club in that league had he so wished, instead travelled to the rain swept vista of the east end of Glasgow and the Passchendaele slaughter of the SPL? Well it won’t surprise you to learn that I have a theory to explain all that.

 

Its my belief that several promises were made to Martin O’Neill in order to lure him into the club’s embrace, or if not promises he was at least provided with considerable expectations. No doubt these promises included the imminent departure of Celtic from its poverty-stricken circumstances to the fleshpots of the EPL – promises that if made were clearly borne out of an inflated sense of importance. As part of this grand master plan Celtic embarked on a spending spree aimed at raising both the profile and the strength of the team to ensure that no questions remained over the credibility of Celtic’s ability to compete in the EPL. After all, the Treble season was hardly over when club officials started telling any journalist who would listen that EPL participation was a birth right that could not be denied by any lumbering bureaucrat or Old Football deadender. In July 2001 in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, Brian Quinn confirmed informal discussions had taken placed with top EPL clubs: “I have said publicly in the past that I see people all the time in England. Nothing formal. There have been no structured meetings, but I meet chairmen and chief executives in England and Scotland. I would say that – without exception – the people I have spoken to in the English Premier League relish the idea of Celtic and Rangers coming to join them in some way.” He continued salivating in a similar vein: “My personal view is that things are certainly going to change in British football – not just in Scotland but in England too. There is quite a lot of thinking about the restructuring of both of the top leagues in Scotland and England. Celtic and Rangers will certainly be present whenever that decision is finally made.”

 

Meanwhile at the same time Dermot Desmond was waxing lyrical in The Guardian on the same subject: “I don’t know when it will happen but to me it’s inevitable. It’s very simple, there’s no mystery to it. Commercially it would work because the audiences would increase – in Ireland, Scotland, globally – then the advertising revenue would increase. Second, from a football standpoint, would the Premier League be better with Celtic and Rangers in it? I’d like to think so. That’s progress – for everybody”. Showing an impressive distain for reality and an amazing lack of knowledge about how the football world operates, the great man went on:  “I don’t thinkUefa are looking at boundaries. We can move Celtic anywhere. What about Monaco? That’s a sovereign state, they play in France. What about the Welsh clubs? They can join the Premier League. Nobody owns Celtic except the shareholders. We can move Celtic anywhere.” Cue cries of “Nurse for Desmond”.

 

The board were so misinformed that they appeared to believe they could just demand and everyone would rush around determined to fulfil their every desire. As it became obvious that the real world doesn’t operate like that, the outpourings from the would-be émigrés became increasingly petulant and then simply pitiful. Desmond at one stage threatened legal action against all and sundry, vowing to force Celtic upon disinterested EPL clubs and hostile official bodies, and then even going so far as to enter into discussions aimed at Nationwide participation for the club with an eye on entry to the EPL by the back door – the front one protected now by a portcullis. Indeed so focused was Dermot Desmond’s attention on relocation that as SPL TV rights negotiations descended into bitter acrimony in May 2002, the club’s main shareholder was reportedly locked into Nationwide negotiations with Keith Harris, the Nationwide league chairman, and David Murray – something that did not impress the other SPL clubs and added to the ill-feeling.

 

It appears that whatever occurred during these meetings also did not impress Murray who quickly shifted position to tearfully clutch the screaming SPL brat to his heaving chancing bosom saying he never wanted to leave. The Nationwide were also unimpressed, with David Burns the chief executive later stating: “I would think to them [the Football League chairmen], the idea of Celtic and Rangers being dropped into the English Football League Division One is nonsense. If they were to join the English Football League, they would be dropped into the middle of the football pyramid and I would say the [English] Premier League would have something to say about that. We have a regular board meeting this Thursday and the matter of Celtic and Rangers is not on the agenda and it won’t be on the agenda. If they are coming, they won’t be coming into the Nationwide Football League.” The only party still holding up the mistletoe more in hope than expectation was Celtic. At the 2002 AGM Ian McLeod the then chief executive forlornly mumbled about the marriage still being possible and then stumbling about in an even more fanciful dreamstate that included an Atlantic League in full-bodied existence.

 

Is it any coincidence that as the possibility of EPL participation diminished so too did the board’s commitment to furnishing Martin O’Neill with the funds he required? The last major spending by the club took place on 2 August 2001 when John Hartson, Momo Sylla and Steve Guppy arrived for a combined total of £8m, Hartson costing the lion share with a price tag of £6m. Think about it, practically the entire bulk of Martin O’Neill’s spending occurred in little over one year, and after that the funds rapidly dried up. By December 2001 Brian Quinn was informing the Celtic View: “‘We have recently indicated the amounts available to strengthen the football division further this season are likely to be limited. Nevertheless, the board will listen and consider any request Martin might make and give it consideration.” Reasonably sounding perhaps but in the hilarious interview where Quinn answered his own questions the message was clear and became even more so during subsequent months.

 

 Its probably a mere coincidence that on the day of Quinn’s self-interview  in an unofficial poll EPL officials voted 19-1 against the proposed formation of a new “Phoenix” league which would have seen a restructured game in the UK, allowing possible Old Firm participation. Chief executive Richard Scudamore revealed: “There has been overwhelming dismissal of a Premier League Two. By definition there can be only one Premier League. We don’t envisage any circumstances in which Celtic and Rangers would be parachuted into the Premier League.” Oh dear.

 

The sudden descent into fiscal austerity did not please O’Neill, and by the end of the following season he was planning to move on if Celtic clinched the league title, but after the UEFA Cup exertions it was not to be. Funny how it all works out, had Celtic been successful that season we would have lost O’Neill, we weren’t, so we retained his services. ‘It was an extraordinary, fantastic year, one that everybody will keep talking about, yet we ended up without a trophy,’ O’Neill said in an Independent interview after he left the club. “Rumours were abounding then that it was time to go and, to be honest, Spurs were strongly on the case. But, as things unfolded, I just wanted to regain the championship, I didn’t want to leave here with that disappointment around the place. So we came back the following season and made sure we did it. And, as I’ve already said, that is my regret about leaving now, that I won’t have the opportunity to come back next season and try to get it back again.”

 

The disintegration of the relationship between the club and Martin O’Neill can be charted from those comments by Quinn in December 2001, through to the following summer when Dermot Desmond reiterated the by now familiar mantra that the spending days were over, repeated again at the AGM in September. With hindsight the reluctance of Martin O’Neill to sign a contract renewal during the latter part of 2002 should have erased any lingering doubts over his intentions. The reluctance is easily explained in the light of O’Neill’s post-Celtic comments; he had grave doubts about remaining at the club. Throughout the year O’Neill only spoke of honouring his original three-year contract giving questions over his future intentions a bodyswerve. When pressed by the official website he replied “Nothing is forever. More so now than ever, the days of someone staying at a football club for eight or 10 years are few and far between.” More curiously he continued: “Because everything in football is so short term , what is the point of planning for four years down the way when that doesn’t happen?”

 

In January 2003 O’Neill did sign a new contract while the negotiations meant that no activity occurred during the short transfer window. Despite the spin placed on the deal, the agreement to conclude a rolling one-year contract meant that the manager could pretty much leave when he chose, all the contract achieved was to ensure that some compensation would come the club’s way if O’Neill left before the end of a given year.

 

It is rather obvious looking at the evidence that the spending committed by the club from 1999 to 2001, was nothing more than an element in a PR campaign aimed at securing Celtic participation in the EPL. It was not done through any great desire to further Celtic come what may, rather viewed as a safe bet since the money could be recuperated once the fleshpots of the EPL were plundered.

 

When the Cunning Plan collapsed, so too did the spending leaving the manager high and dry. Whose fault was that? Can you blame Desmond and the board for wanting to better the club? Can we really harangue the be suited worthies for signing a great manager and convincing him that the Land of Milk and Honey was just over the horizon? Well yes. –

 

The case put forward by the board for EPL participation was hopelessly flawed, the spouting’s of club officials embarrassingly naïve. The belief that arrogance ruled the roost instead of objective assessment is unavoidable. Celtic embarked upon a massive spending spree in order to establish the aforementioned credentials and in the process played upon the burning desire of supporters to revive the glories of yesteryear. When the project was abandoned and spending massively curtailed there was no attempt by the club to rein in expectations, no admission that the dream was over. In a way its understandable, after all its not a great sales pitch is it, but on the other hand can the club really complain when such expectations are inevitably unrealised at the end of the day? Honesty is the key and in this saga there is damn little honesty apparent from all those involved.

 

After O’Neill’s soul-searching convinced him to remain for one last push, the subsequent season saw him win the Double and everyone involved should have called it a day there, however for reasons yet to be explained Martin O’Neill was convinced to remain for a further season which, in my opinion, he was totally unprepared for. There is a considerable amount of evidence to suggest that O’Neill was cajoled in to remaining for a season too far, and only time will reveal just why that happened and who, if anyone, is to blame. The fact remains though that O’Neill’s last season was a shocking mess, a disastrous ramshackle embarrassment which sadly, and unfairly, will detract from Martin O’Neill’s legacy.

 

In his article “The blame game – a different perspective”, Hullbhoy stated “Celtic currently have a borrowing limit of £24m and an overdraft limit of £12m. These loans have to be secured against assets of the club. In other words the club must provide some guarantee that if it failed to repay the loans then the banks in theory could seize the asset against the outstanding loans. The likelihood of this happening is nil by the way. However this is the reason why the value of the loans does not and cannot exceed the value of Celtic Park in the books.” Celtic’s fixed assets are around £50m so at no time has the club came anywhere near exceeding the ratio of debt to assets, and lets recall that Rangers have had no legal problem with hyping the value of their midden to an amazing E100m+ in order to remain technically solvent. I’m not saying Celtic should follow suit, I am saying that its sheer nonsense to suggest that at any time Celtic’s borrowing has endangered the club.

 

Let’s look at the debt issue for a second, when Martin O’Neill took over debt stood at about £15m, most incurred during the farcical Barnes season, after his first year it stood at near £30m. After the share issue the debt gradually fell during the 2001-2002 season to £16m, near the level it was when O’Neill took over. In other words the claims that spending during the O’Neill era has caused debt is sheer garbage, Celtic’s debt is a legacy of piss poor decisions made before O’Neill even arrived, the kind of decisions which saw nearly E10m blown on two failed signings plus substantial compensation for three dismissed managerial employees. The share issue of 2001 largely cleared Celtic’s pre-O’Neill debt while much of the manager’s spending turned out to be self-financing through increased onfield success, yes that old speculate to accumulate scenario.

 

At no time when Celtic’s debt was bumping around the £30m mark did anyone hear any tales of impending warrant sales or bailiffs descending on Kerrydale Street. Yet when debt was half this level the board and its supporters acted as if it were some huge albatross round the club’s neck whose ridding overrode all other considerations. Debt some times has to be incurred; it has to be done so for the very same reasons the Celtic board sanctioned debt in 1999 and 2000, to further the ambitions of the club. The trick is ensuring that the debt is kept to a manageable level and that the speculation is not too, well speculative. Celtic had a gift horse and they looked it in the mouth. We had near enough guaranteed Champions League participation and a considerable revenue stream but it required a modest level of financial commitment. The board believed the revenue could be obtained without the required investment; they believed that gaining access to the Champions League group stage was given, requiring little effort since the team was already in place – well, how wrong they were.

 

We all know now the inevitable consequences of investment failure, the deterioration in the team, the empty space left by the absence of European football. We have also seen the predictable fall in income and rise in debt brought about by failure at such an early stage. When promising to avoid anything that would impinge about the financial security of the club did the board envisage such a fiscal calamity? They knew fine well because Brian Quinn is on record discussing the financial calamity which would have resulted from the Champions League qualifying round exit to Basle, that was only avoided by the spectacular UEFA Cup run in 20022003. Yet risks were taken again, despite a poor season the team was allowed to march into Europe totally unprepared for the task ahead; is that not gambling with the club’s financial future?

 

The financial wellbeing of the club was brought about by heavy investment and resulting onfield success, when one is expected without the other then a club runs into considerable issues. Martin O’Neill spent massively and in turn massively increased the club’s income, that’s how it works when done in a sensible manner. The spending that took place from the summer of 2000 to the summer of 2001 gave an impetus that carried the team on for several seasons, but it couldn’t last. It could not be sustained without a fresh injection of talent and that could not occur without additional financial resources of an adequate level. When the failure of that revenue to materialise occurred, then the inevitable decline set in, despite the club conveying the impression that reduced spending and European participation, not to mention domestic success, could exist without interruption.

 

There is no ambiguity over the reasons for the board’s about-face with regard to spending. Celtic curtailed spending and ambition when a move to the EPL faded into the background, the PR stunt could end. The ingredients for the disaster recipe were all at hand and all in the boiling pot. Quite why the board were so blinkered in their enthusiasm about EPL participation is anyone’s guess – the huge obstacles that were so obviously in place were ignored or dismissed with an arrogance that is simply breathtaking. Going by the comments of Brian Quinn and Dermot Desmond it seems the club simply thought it could turn up and everyone would fall over themselves to accommodate our every demand. At best it is clear that several false assumptions were made concerning the power and willingness of Sky TV, the attitudes of the EPL clubs and of course the understandable determination of the sports governing bodies to resist what effectively would be the destruction of the national league structures.

 

No other reason exists for Celtic’s lavish spending, then equally dramatic reduction in transfer spending, certainly not the claimed football recession beloved of Brian Quinn. That recession simply did not have any major impact on Celtic, the fall of other SPL clubs into administration had little effect, the only major effect was the loss of the Sky TV contract and that was as much down to the behaviour of the SPL and the clubs as to any football recession. In fact such was the recession that Celtic’s turnover grew from £42m in 2001 to nearly £70m by 2004 while debt decreased from £30m to nearer £15m – some recession. It’s interesting to note that while operating expenses increased from £41m to £61m in the same period, only £10m of this was down to players’ wages – we’ve no idea what constitutes the remaining expenses as the club does not give a breakdown, it does with turnover though.

 

The fact remains that a manager appointed in a blaze of sentimental glory was looking for an exit two years into his employment and actively considering jumping ship a year later, the reason quite simply is a failure to meet expectations. Sure O’Neill stated during one particularly disappointing summer’s transfer window non-event that he understood the financial constraints when he joined the club, did he? He spent close on £30m in one year. O’Neill did have the habit of following months of contradicting the board over spending options by a towing of the line when the game was up.

 

The financial restraints placed upon the manager following the collapse of realistic EPL expectations brought O’Neill to warn of impending European catastrophe and no doubt hastened his departure. It is also clear, going by the evidence, that O’Neill was concentrating on short-term goals rather than long-term objectives by the summer of 2002, by his own admission had Celtic won the league in season 2002-2003 O’Neill would have departed for an EPL club that had done nothing of any significance for nearly thirty years. It should be a source of burning shame that such a scenario ever came about. The board do not do shame though, they do not do blame either, in fact going by the outpourings of our glorious leaders they do nothing wrong, never make any error, never at any time can be expected to be accountable especially to the great heaving mass of the hoi polloi.

 

Lets look again at this statement: “Celtic will never have much of a profit margin to fund a wage bill similar in size to the top clubs in the EPL and a transfer budget of £6-8 million unless there is a constant rolling programme of buying and selling players. That in itself is about managing risk but then again we sometimes forget that Celtic managers are being paid seven figure salaries to manage that risk.” There can only be a rolling programme of buying and selling when the team strength has reached a level which can sustain such a programme. A policy of constant trading during a period of rebuilding contributes nothing positive, quite the reverse; it could in fact slow down or even derail efforts to raise the competitiveness of the team. As we have seen Celtic’s spending policy was curtailed long before O’Neill’s team reached the stage where major earners could be moved on.

 

The board’s defenders will no doubt claim that any concerns over the manager’s long-term commitment could well explain why limited funds for team strengthening were available after that first year’s spending spree – why give a manager free reign when he might have one foot out of the door? Well this is rather undermined by the fact that fiscal austerity began before even half of O’Neill’s contract had expired. It also fails to acknowledge the earnest efforts made by the club to retain O’Neill, which involved practically every device available save for the one that would probably have worked. There is also the rather obvious retention of O’Neill’s services for the 2004-2005 season when it was clear the manager wanted to leave, both for professional and personal reasons.

 

During the two years after O’Neill nearly accepted the Spurs post Celtic still had to compete, still had to reach the Champions League and still had a commitment to 50,000 season ticket holders. The board’s only answer to the challenges the club faced was so somehow hope Martin O’Neill would keep pulling rabbits out of hats. The cunning plan failed because O’Neill was only human, and reality has a way of making its presence known sooner or later.

 

The O’Neill years were great years for us supporters, coming as they did after so disappointments but it would be folly to pretend all is as it seems. The facts point to developments behind the scenes that put the past few years into a different, and probably a far more realistic perspective. It’s difficult to come to any other conclusion that a manager was appointed on the back of incredibly flawed assumptions concerning the club’s future, when reality inevitably made its presence known said manager was left high and dry. The remaining years were a hand-to-mouth existence sustained only by the original team investment and when that equally inevitably began to run its course there was only one outcome. When Hullboy concludes with “The balance between wages and transfer fees now appears to be being addressed allowing some much needed new blood into the first team”, it should be remembere.0 that no matter how much the balance has been addressed, the football market has not shifted so much in five years that a new manager can build a whole team with the money the previous one spent on his first signing.

 

The picture painted of boardroom probity in the face of immense pressures outwith their control is a false one; after appointing a shambolic management team the board suffered a Baron Munchausen fit, appointing a genuinely talented manager on the back of delusional assumptions and then suffering a four year hangover. And what was the outcome of all that fiscal prudence, that careful management, that avoidance of risk? Well onfield failure, humiliation, rising debt, falling revenue and wages to turnover ratio at a record high. The worrying thing is going by this statement from Brian Quinn no lessons have been learned: “We believe we have learned important lessons from this experience, lessons that will inform our actions looking ahead. For example, careful management of costs, particularly football players’ contracts, is essential, if unpopular at times.”

 

A further sense of the board’s detachment from the real world can be gleaned from the following classic: “The squad that delivered this success needs significant refreshing and we have begun the challenging job of rebuilding, a task that cannot be rushed and which has to be accomplished, if possible, without an appreciable drop in standards.” Yes, bit late for that since standards have dropped significantly since the Double was clinched in 2004, or maybe Quinn means that he hopes it won’t get any worse?

 

You can look at Quinn’s statement in the 2005 accounts and look in vain for any acknowledgement of Celtic’s reduced competitiveness, a plea for a realistic expectation level given the team’s reduced effectiveness. The reduction in income and rise in debt is put down to the early exit from Europe and the loss of two home games in the second half of the season. A quick glance at the fixture lists will reveal the fact that one of those games was a season book league match where the vast majority of the tickets are pre-sold, and the other a Scottish Cup 3rd round tie against Ross County (attendance about 30,000). Its questionable how much the absence of these two domestic games contributed to a reduction in income of over £7m.

 

The impression given is that the team can still reach the European heights gained by Martin O’Neill thanks to his ability and that injection of major talent during his first year with the club, it’s nonsense though. Sustained success cannot be bought on the cheap, it cannot be courted without acceptance of risk, it requires dedicated, single-minded support from everyone involved with the club, from supporters to players to board members. If that commitment is lacking from any individual section then the outcome is highly doubtful. If Celtic’s policies continue as they are, then we will all have to accept greatly reduced expectations, yet no club official has unequivocally stood up and given the support the news straight. It’s a mystery therefore why there is such an air of outraged innocence from the directors when shattered expectations fuel hostile opinions and attitudes. If they are so sensitive then be honest, or is that asking too much?

 

As we have seen the past few years have not been a paragon of efficient administration, rather a see-saw lunge between hysterical optimism and chronic depression. We’ve seen our best manager since Jock Stein look for an escape exit after three seasons with the club. We’ve seen the team come second to Rangers in the trophy count since 2001 during a period when they were crippled by a financial meltdown. We’ve seen one European calamity narrowly avoided and another fully realized, the consequences of which will be a huge financial headache possibly for years to come. Debt is on the rise, turnover is down and that was with Champions’ League income, what can we expect next year? Even the financial good news, the Nike deal, has been soured somewhat due to the loss of additional reward income following the ignominious Bratislava debacle.

 

Did careful stewardship bring us to this? Sept 5th 2005.”

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BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

Naps competition entries,follow the link please.

https://sentinelcelts.com/2020/07/31/twistys-naps-competition/

Mahe

First and foremost thanks to the lads at http://www.etims.net for allowing us to publish the above article.
The Voice of Gaudd if you should look in, that is a hell of a piece of work and perhaps consider taking up the pen again, we would all benefit.

I found it very interesting reading on many levels. Given that we have 15 years more evidence of how our PLC tend to act, many of the similarities are startling and not least concerning.
Many of the questions asked in your article remain today, with the request for honesty particularly poignant.

We now know that Brendan wanted out two years in also, and although unemployed his signing was seen as a coup hence 15k presentation turnout plus the raised expectations.
When an invincible season was delivered, he would have felt confident of support, and its non-arrival sowed the seeds of his departure. Meddling took one year in Brendans case and you chart the disintegration of Martin’s relationship to December 01 so approx a year and half.
Both quality managers, very much aware of the strength of feeling regarding the club, got in and wanted out sharpish, headed to the biggest league in the world no problem.
It seems clear to me that those who do accept the position soon find out all is not what it seems.

And all is definitely not what it seems up north. Since that article was penned the national sport has become a bent farce, infact the web is very hard to untangle at this point.
BRTH blogged about the 5WA possibly holing Scottish football below the waterline.
You point out that the fans were let down by a PLC who don’t do admitting wrong or honesty, the same remains true yet the support have stood by their club on three big occasions since that period, death and acceptance of new Rangers, Res12, full payup and takeup during Covid-19 crisis. Perhaps this shows the vast majority of punters are genuinely only there for the football and not interested in boardroom affairs, but it definitely shows love and devotion.

While there is a significant body of evidence that the PLC are far from perfect and thats being mild, all eyes are solely on the upcoming season, rightfully as we are after all a football club it should always be remembered. However as you will know we sit on the verge of history also, under the very same PLC that many of us have not only misgivings but zero time for due to their unbecoming behaviour towards our fanbase.
This does present a quandary of sorts.

For those who would wish change in the clubs personnel and set up, a title loss would bring that about faster yes, but not a single Tim would ever endorse that.
On the flip side should the tenth be delivered we would be faced with the unquestionable fact that although we don’t approve of them personally or their modus operandus, they delivered a big prize and when viewed through that prism many fans would claim the end justified the means I believe, past bad behaviour absolved.

Detractors would probably point out that 15 years ago we assumed we were good enough to get into the Champions league group stage as mentioned and today its debatable whether we honestly want to get there at all, or rather have participation in its little sister tournament,,far too often we lose out during qualification to a team that has less resources but more of an on field gameplan.

The quest for ten is clearly the common bond between all, its great protection for our PLC from Tims demanding change, but Im very hopeful its ending begins the new chapter for our club, and Im not sure sticking Junior Desmond in charge will cut the mustard. I guess if all ends well he wouldnt meet a barrage of heckles, but I believe that appointment would go down like a lead balloon should we fail to retain the title.

Anyone can see the numerous similarities between Martin’s tenure and Brendans, quickly disillusioned and not supported to the maximum to see quite what heights they could scale with the club, but yet we can only speculate why.
A talented Irishman in the dugout, and especially one with passion and hunger, can inflame and enthuse the fanbase, rousing their dreams of becoming a power again, putting fire in their bellies that is hard to quench.
If they see that Irishman unsupported, they will know exactly where to turn their ire.
This is not what our PLC want as it could put control of the club with the footballing department, not the boardroom which is where they like it to be.

But yet the club can hardly say no to those across the water who see the hotseat as an absolute privilege, for that would see big questions asked plus the fanbase in the main love the connection to the old country, which can prove a problem though as shown above.
The answer for our PLC was to unofficially badger them out the door with much mixed rumours as to the actual reasons, official story hidden behind an NDA.
In order to be seen supporting the manager the players flowed in, but on the expectation you work with what you are given.

That expectation was clearly not in Brendans agenda, and seemed to catch him by surprise.
I can only surmise that it is NOT imparted to potential managers they will be handed players in the main instead of calling the shots. I actually believe that would be a hard sell to any potentials if there is no official director of football,,most would insist on making the hiring decisions as a matter of principle as it shows who is actually in charge of that department, also when he asks who will be doing the buying and what qualifications do they hold what is the actual answer?
Between ManCity, Peter and Dudu we get by?
That’s maybe our biggest problem right there, can’t be open about what’s in store while this PLC has control.

However the perfect foil has fallen into the PLCs lap. Our current Ulsterman doesn’t dream of the prestigious EPL anymore nor does he seem to have club ambitions beyond Parkhead (neither of which is a criticism btw) plus can very easily straddle the line between being in charge and seen to be in charge of the footballing department, plus playing the PLCs moneyball game accepting players that just arrive. If he’s not happy with that system since returning he is not showing it.
This quest could twist and turn or could be a procession, but I like to think if we are successful in retaining our title Lenny will get the credit he deserves no matter what.
Careful stewardship? I guess careful is an apt word to describe their spell at the helm.
I guess we are all about to find out how the final chapter plays out.

Thanks again Gaudd, enjoy your season.
Respect and Hail Hail

Bigrailroadblues

Good morning all from a very warm Govanhill.

Garry

Excellent article and follow up post from you Mahe. Brilliant.
McCaff
Safe journey mate.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

MAHE

This is a superb piece,with grateful thanks to our lurker,to e-Tims and to The Voice of Gaudd. As you suggest,the similarities are uncanny-and unquestionable.

Much of it is indeed based on the false premise of our glorious march to the promised land of the EPL. Much of it though is based on frankly shocking management of resources and a complete misunderstanding of finance in football-particularly given the growing importance of Champions League participation and success in that.

And I feel duty bound to say that a goodly proportion of it is also based on empire-building within our club by the leading lights in the boardroom at various stages since the turn of the century or so. To keep the proles of the footballing side of the operation firmly in check.

Our aim should always have been to be a football operation which drew its funding from a well-organised business operation off the park,one which used our success on the field to maximise our off-field revenue by way of sponsorship,kit deals,media revenues etc with a view to using such to support the continued evolution and success of said football operation.

Instead,and for too long,the roles have been reversed,the football operation has become the one providing support to the business,and the circle of investment and success has become a one way street of the football operation returning funds to shareholders,or some of them at least. And since I can’t see that changing anytime soon,it seems that we may have to suck it up in the meantime,and enjoy what limited success we can get while staring,envious and mightily pissed off,at nothing teams from various countries enjoying our place at the big table.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

BIGRAILROADBLUES

Morning,mate. Getting earlier every day. Star Bar thrown you out of your camp bed behind the bar?

You should come down here,the pubs open at 9am which was handy when I was doing night shift. Now,late on parade any day I actually bother even going.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nTpoo4BLN7g

Garry

Heading oot for a full Scottish and pint of Guinness, before a round of golf with my son and some fine CQN guys, and an ex Celtic captain and legend. ????

bada bing1

Why is the Naps link up?

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

BIGRAILROADBLUES

Ah,now I get why you’re up so early. Out to the 24-hour garage for a prezzie for the missus.

HAPPY HOOOOOOOOOPY BIRTHDAY to

Mrs BIGRAILROADLUES!!!!!!!!!

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

BADABING

We usually put it up on a Friday as some people post their Saturday Nap then.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

GARRY

Enjoy the gowf,and say hi to the troops please.

bada bing1

Cheers M

Garry

BMCUW
Will do M ?

Bigrailroadblues

Cheers Mick. Into city for lunch and dinner. Staying at the hilton, 20th floor. Better behave meself, it’s a long way down. ?

McCaff

Hi all, I hope you’re well and ready to enjoy a beautiful day in the sun.
BRRB…we stayed in the Hilton in 1993, on our first wedding anniversary, I think the hotel has just opened then! After a night out with family at Mosspark bowling club with bar prices we can only dream of now, my missus and I returned to the Hilton residents bar where a pint of Perroni and a Cointreau with mixers cost £13!!!
I think that was my tab for the whole night in the bowlie!!!
(Getting back behind the wheel, catch up later!!
Mahe, the article’s too long for me right now but I’ll get to it later.)
Cheers Garry, sounds like a brilliant day lined up, remember the Factor 50!

Friesdorfer

Wow, that was a long and good read – and translates well into the current day. Also great follow ups from Mahe and Bobby too.

BRRB, best wishes to the Mrs, hope you both have a great time out of Govanhill.

HH

Bigrailroadblues

Cheers lads. Mary appreciates your good wishes. ?

CaltonTongues

Afternoon All,

No need to read the Leader….

Only one person to blame for Black Sunday….MARTIN O’NEILL.

As much as we all love him…..

1. All over the press he was leaving on the Sunday. Why couldn’t this have been announced on the Monday win lose or draw?
2. Tactics during the game – A previous game at Tynecaste when we were struggling he brought on Craig Beattie and played him thru the middle, had a great effect. At Fir Park he brought him on, moved Sutton back to midfield, but put Beattie on the wing totally ineffective. At their 1st goal Sutton tried to play the ball up the line to Beattie but knocked it out the park – they scored from resultant throw in. Now, if Beattie had been playing through the middle????

Ach, still friggin hurts CSC

A thing of beauty

An interesting read. Thank goodness I have a day off as i couldn’t have sneaked a wee read at that on my phone whilst working!!
I am most puzzled by the comments in the article that the board thought we could move to the EPL when O’Neill was appointed in 2000. I was listening to A Celtic State of Mind podcast with David Lowe and he speaks about Celtic looking into buying Wimbledon as a way into the English game. He then talks about moving Clydebank to Dublin as Trojan horse for getting us out the Scottish game. He is clear this option was taken off the table at a meeting of the big hitters prior to the 1998 World Cup where it was said no team could compete in another league where there was a mountain range between them. I know that sounds like made up shit but apparently it protects Monaco. Anyway, the fact remains that Celtic knew 2 full years before appointing O’Neill this was a non starter. It is well worth a listen as David Lowe and ACSOM podcast always is.
I can see the correlation between what happened then and what is happening now. Or should I say under BR. A manager with a burning ambition to better himself and ergo the team and a board with a desire to do things on the cheap – or as they would say, to run a sustainable business. Let’s be honest it even got to neil in his first tenure. The famous you are selling all my players and replacing them with shit line. In my opinion it’s part of the reason why he has the job just now. He is prepared to accept that is the way the club operates, whereas a manager with different ambitions would not. So it’s a marriage that suits both parties. It also suits the majority of the fan base if he delivers the ten but we will never be able to do anything in Europe with that level of ambition. I have grave concerns around the ten due to our team going backwards and our rivals improving. If they sell Morelos and get a few serious professionals in for the money and strengthen where they need to, the gap lessens again. We have a problem in defence in that we have fullbacks that are not up to the job. Frimpongs lack of height will be exploited all season long and Taylor’s complete inability to go past his man means we an important piece of the team that is not delivering. Centre back sees us with two main men, none of whom are left sided and a boy as back up. Shocking. Midfield is overloaded with players but none who can play the holding role. And up front we have Eddie, who we will look to move on or will look to move on himself very shortly, especially if we don’t get to the champions league. That leaves Klimala who is undergoing some kind of on the job training, Bayo who is so far out the picture he should be loaned out and Griffiths who cannot be relied on. If I was over at the Victorian lavvy I would be rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of stopping the ten because our board and ergo our managers lack of ambition is giving them every chance of taking the prize.
I know that is doom and gloom but I am concerned that we have went from scudding them 4 and 5 to losing to them at our own ground and a lot of others think everything in the garden is rosy and I include CCB in that. We have a very different view of the challenge from the ibrox mob. Can you imagine how Much I bend his ear!, at least you lot can scroll past ?

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

CALTONTONGUES

Well,there’s also the argument that our fitness levels were disgraceful that season-though that is the specialty of ATHINGOFBEAUTY

Another is that we lost Henrik and “replaced” him with Henri K,Kamara that is. And made no attempt at all to replace Lambert and Mjallby.

SFTB

Both Brendan and Martin came to Celtic under existing conditions and were prepared to work within them. Martin did buy into the vision of trying to get us out of a glass ceiling football backwater and we made great efforts to achieve that but the English League and Uefa were ranked against us and we lost our charm offensive. It had nothing to do with cold feet from Davie Murray and everything to do with protecting their own interests by the English clubs who voted.

Brendan too bought into Celtic as an SPFL club and promised to try and complete effectively the Modern Club Revolution that Ronny Deila had tried to start. Brendan was not promised and certainly did not believe that conditions were right for a re-structure of European leagues. However, as a tarnished manager, Celtic were a good club, he just had to achieve a little more than Ronny Deila, with which to rehabilitate his rep (MON did not need this- he came for other reasons).

When both circumstances were reached, the move to England being closed off in Martin’s case, and the rep being restored, in the case of Brendan, then a move back to the promised land of Milk & Honey was wide open for both of them, and they took it. Martin, with a sincere expression of regret and condolences for our “slow lane” stature. Brendan, with an alacrity that fitted his practised sincerity persona.

We pined and longed for the lost gods that left us and kicked out at those who stayed and showed loyalty. We pined for John McGinn more than we cheered for Scott Brown or Callum McGregor or James Forrest.

The disastrous dawn that the E-tims article foresaw in 2005 saw us win 12 leagues, 6 Scottish Cups and 7 League Cups over the next 14 seasons.

bada bing1

Bring Wee Paddy home

bada bing1

http://www.celticfc.net/news/18377

Club instructions re Covid requirements

Gordon64
Twisty
Twisty

Gordon
Article 7 years old. Have we lost any of our coolness in 7 years?

Rebus67

I hesitate to bring up the McGinn saga but, oops………I just did! At the time our then manager said it is important to have succession planning. McGinn was the real deal for that…young, Celtic daft and improving. Although McGinn has gone, the problem remains… we need to plan, not just for the 10, but for the season after.

CQN has an interesting leader that is worth reading. The issue of succession planning is mentioned in it. Although the priority is on keeping as many of our key players this season, the reality is that many of them will probably go at the end of this season.

Christie is sending messages that he is tiring of being battered and is hedging his bets on the future. Who can blame him! McGregor’s value increases every year and he might be tempted by the English coin, although he may be tempted by the captaincy. Forrest will probably stay…..he is comfortable at the club. Brown may move into coaching after the 10, as his legs continue to the inevitable toll of aging. Griffiths has less than two years left on his contract and the club will try to move him at the end of the current season, if not sooner. Then we have our in demand players with no intrinsic emotional attachment to Celtic…..Edouard, Ajer, and Ntcham. I expect at least two of these to be gone by season end.

Consequently, the upcoming season is the last we shall see of the current iteration of Celtic. The rebuild should ideally start now, rather than panic buying at the end of the season. Unfortunately, the impact of the virus makes that more difficult because of the uncertainty that it has created. Tough tasks ahead for the Board, although the arrival of an international keeper is a good sign, as is the interest in Toney/Ajeti.

Next August should see a vastly different Celtic. Let’s enjoy the last hurrah of the present one.

Rebus

Mahe

Good morning troops and thank f$@k its Friday.

Calton Tongues , I find your comment on Black Sunday very very harsh.
Neglected and jaded team lead by one foot out the door manager who is also struggling badly with soulmate dying comes second on last day. Blame the people who were in charge of the entire shebang no? Maybe it was great going to take it to the last day. Most married men couldn’t even watch football with the missus seriously ill never mind be successful at it.

SFTB, sorry I strongly disagree. The Club used them both, not the other way around. They may have had benefits from becoming manager at that time, but both would have preferred to stay with support and PLC helping optimize the footballing operation to attempt to see just how high we can leap. If you grab most fans right now Im thinking they would still state we couldnt afford Martin and we run up debt, clearly crap and who spread that? Like all the other rumours every penny, fire silver bullet, time has seen it shown to be spin and crap. Gaudd shows exactly how much crap it is above.

Hail Hail

CaltonTongues

Mahe, Good morning to you also.

Harsh, you should have heard the voices on our supporters bus wanting rid of him at least 6 months before Black Sunday 🙂 Not me I may add.

As for dying sweetheart, thankfully his sweetheart is still alive and, depending on who you listened to at the time, she was either dying, an alky or there was f’all wrong with her. The internet eh?

HH and Off out to the Pub

Gordon64

I was at Fir Park on that fateful Sunday. Myself and VP watched in disbelief when MacDonald scored after we had squandered numerous chances and the manager made major tactical mistakes. The feeling i that day was almost worse than Seville. Still ragin thinking about it today. Hh ?

bada bing1

New Glasgow digital radio station, Go Radio, Football Show starts tonight at 5pm,hosted by Paul Cooney.

??? Celtic plc hun lovin criminals

McCaff

God rest your uncle pal, safe journey ?

voguepunter

Gordon64

Being stuck at lights ootside the ‘cheatin beaton ‘ bar afterwards didn’t help :O(

Mike in Toronto

I’m hearing Mikey Johnson out for 4-6 weeks, and Shved going out on loan.

The Shved one saddens me, as the little I saw (admittedly Youtube can make Scheidt look good, and good players, shite) he looks to have bags of skill. Shame it hasnt worked out for him so far.

Dont shoot the messenjah (that’s for DD)

bada bing1

If MON had went public on his wife’s condition, and explained he would be less hands on,I believe it would have galvanised the team and the support that season.

Gordon64

Martin should have won 5 league championships in a row. Arguably cheated by the FOD in 2003 and careless in 2005. Great times nevertheless. HH ?

??? Celtic plc hun lovin criminals

What’s happened with BP & JtT, reading back have they left the blog folks?

Atob

I like you think the area of most glaring deficiencies ie defenders is being neglected too, season kicks off we have few recognised defenders, Scandalous.

Hope you are all safe & well folks?

Oglach

Latest rumours (some started by me – or not)

Celtic ‘allegedly’ in discussion with an agent, rumoured to be Israeli, of XY&Z strikers. None of who anyone has heard of before. Those strikers we have kinda’ heard of and have a decent goal to game ratio apparently we can’t afford (PLC speak for we can but will not stump up the cash). Be prepared for another Balde, Bangura, Biggins etc etc etc etc etc etc type arriving.

Paddy Roberts to Celtic still possible errrrm ( highly doubtful – but i wish it were true)

Celtic, allegedly, tried to offload Boli Bolingoli Mbombo as early as January (?????) but strangely no one was in the least bit interested in signing him – why would that be? Perhaps other clubs actually have players ‘scouted’ to see if they can play football before making a bid.

Rafael Scheidt CSC

Gordon64

Unbelievable cronyism ! Theresa May’s husband Dangermouse awarded a knighthood for political service (or was it for servicing a politician) ?

Mahe

Stevie Gee Re Buffalo
” it is in my hands and it is in my control”
Later
“It will be a collective decision”

Make yer mind up.

JimmynotPaul

Gordon 64.
Nepotism, he gave his brother a peerage, too.
What a horrible, undemocratic place, the U.K. is

JimmynotPaul

Great article, again,.
Mahe/BMCUW, I know that wasn’t yours but you both are puting a lot of work in lately, thanks guys.
Usually an enjoyable read, not always though.?
The infamous Craig Beattie article, I’m referring too.??
That one made me spill my coffee. ?

Celtic1member1vote

Celtic PLC : Pragmatic, Realistic and Visionary with the Stadium.

Phase 1 : Winning the War.

Since the 23rd of November 1988 when David Murray borrowed bank money to purchase Rangers, Celtic have effectively been in a football war. It was a football war, a financial war, a media war and a moral war.

During the football war Celtic through Fergus McCann built the new stadium and laid the foundations to win the war.

During the football war it became apparent that Celtic would run with very tight fiscal control, and very tight boardroom executive control.

You can also draw the conclusion that during this football war, it was probably better to have a Pragmatic and Realistic Board, as opposed to the egomaniac David Murray.

It can stated that ultimately this has proven to be successful as Celtic won the football war and Rangers died in 2012.

Phase 2 : A new Celtic is now possible with even greater Vision.

After this season Celtic PLC have some big decisions to make.

Hopefully some of these decisions will allow for ever greater progress on the park, with new financial vision and new ownership vision off the park as well.

If this happens we will have greater opportunities to attract and then keep both key players and key managers going forward.

it would appear that both during the years of the football war and also after it, much better decisions could have been made to support and keep some of our more successful Managers.

Managers however are never faultless, but with better executive management there must be massive room for improvement in this area for Celtic going forward.

Celtic won the war, but we have to make sure we’re ready in all the best ways possible both on and off the park, for all the future battles that are certainly ahead, both domestically and also in Europe.

Have a good weekend everyone and hopefully we get a good result on Sunday.

Stay safe and well wherever you are in the World.

Hail Hail.

Twisty

Jimmy NP
I concur. The articles on here are top drawer. Dare I say no lazy journalism?
Seriously, I find we take it for granted now that they’ll be brilliant.

( though Mahe has totally fekked my morning routine with his war and peace length submissions recently)

SFTB

Mahe

Martin ‘O Neill commented to Sunderland fans, during his time there that his wife was still fighting the same ongoing battle against cancer that had led him to take leave from football management at Celtic. He was back in management 14 months after leaving Celtic and has remained in management till his sacking by Forrest last June. I do not doubt his affection for Celtic but he would have gone, regardless of Geraldine’s illness.

Similarly Brendan having his heart set on staying in this backwater is a fantasy. He was miffed at not being allowed to go to a different but better paid form of backwater in China. He has done enough with Leicester to be a good shout for a chance at a bigger English team, provided he can engineer his exit timeously when one becomes available. And just watch him go when the chance comes. Klopp will not leave Liverpool anytime soon and they won’t accept Brendan back anyway. Chelsea are happy enough with favourite son Lampard, Spurs and Man U were possibilities for getting rid of Solskjaer and Mourinho but they had good post-Covid break ends to their seasons so won’t go this summer. Pep might get fed up with Man City and renew his passion with Barca but BR won’t be the top name to replace him. He would be considered, however, to be the next Wenger if Arteta cannot win the forthcoming English Cup Final. If not, some Continental club will have a chance and China still has big bucks to offer.

Gaudd’s article was a good attempt to put certain things in context but, it proved nothing; I know what proof is and I know hearsay and speculation dressed as fact. The article may have convinced you but you were much more than halfway in sympathy with that position already.- a confirmation bias at play.

Mahe

Thanks, we can but try. Something to do is better than idle hands.

I bought a share of Elon Musk. 15 hundred smackers. I’m impressed by this fella/possible android from future.
His city on Mars will get a lot of takers, and you don’t even need money, they loan it to you and give you job to pay it off when there.
That’s why he’s “accumulating assets” on Earth, to pay for this interstellar emigration.
Every Tesla you buy on Earth, gets us one foot away from the planet!
https://www.inverse.com/innovation/spacex-elon-musk-mars-city

It’s disheartening on one side of course, but knowing Bezos and Musk are plotting and funding a course for human survival no matter what is noble.
Bezos wants to move heavy poluting industry to space factories allied with a lot of solar power to save the planet, with a possible moon base.
https://www.barrons.com/articles/jeff-bezos-firm-blue-origin-opened-a-new-rocket-plant-the-space-race-is-heating-up-51582025401

The final frontier about to be conquered?
Anyone know if the Mars CSC is showing the game this weekend and what’s the lag time?

Celtic1member1vote

Celtic New Vision.

For a new vision, a new ownership model must prevail with new leaders and from that will come new ideas on how to make Celtic a better, bigger and more successful and ultimately World Class Football Club.

I’ll just leave one additional thought :

In season 2006/2007 Bayern Munich had 135,752 members, as at November 2019 the figure is now 293,000 and rising.

Mahe

SFTB ,
I agree he would have gone, and perhaps his wife wasnt at deaths door, but he couldnt continue to pull rabbits out of the hat as mentioned above. I think its very unfair to place Black Sunday at his door entirely. That is reinforced by Gaudds article.

“ Similarly Brendan having his heart set on staying in this backwater is a fantasy”
Define staying?
Im not talking a legacy here, but I very much he would have been looking out after two years if handed the players he wished for after invincible season. At his age if progressing and happy with the club why not think we could have got four or five years out of him? He would hardly jump off at nine it must be said so getting to nine would almost automatically bring another year.
Im not talking long term, but we could have had more than under three years of him if the PLC opted for it.

The opening asked can you see the similarities, and imo if you dont see any you are choosing not to see them.
You tell me,, we had real quality wanted to join and signed on. Why not invest more in them? The investment in Martins team (shown to be self sustaining by speculating to accumulate as per above) almost got us a major cup showing his qualities.
No one in the country could beat the other despite modest investment.
Why not recognise and heavily back the quality managers? What holds our PLC back?

Hail Hail

Mahe

“For a new vision, a new ownership model must prevail with new leaders and from that will come new ideas on how to make Celtic a better, bigger and more successful and ultimately World Class Football Club”

Hear Hear

big packy

AFGHAN ,if this gets through you can contact me via mcaff, he has got my e-mail addy,,god bless to you and yours, H.H..