What are the metrics of a successful transfer policy and how do you measure them.?

I read a reasonable article on the internet recently which outlined all our transfer activity over the past 5 seasons and asked the reasonable question – are we getting bang for buck?


The list of players put up were:-

2015-16-Boyata, Janko, Ciftci, Scott Allan, Christie, Simunovic, Cole, Sviatchenko, Kazim-Richards
2016-17- Ajer, Dembele, Toure, Sinclair, Devries, Gamboa, Kouassi
2017-18- Hayes, Benyu, Ntcham, Compper, Morgan, Hendry
2018-19- Bain, Edouard, Izaguirrre, Mulumbu, Bayo, Shved, Gutman, Perez
2019-20- Jullien, Bolingoli, Elhamed, Taylor, Frimpong, Klimala, Soro


I recognise that a few of our Youth punts were excluded from that list but these were the main buys for the immediate senior squad, with the possible exceptions of both benyu and Frimpong. The article accepted that no club is going to have 100% success in the transfer market, so, that raised some questions in me.


What would be an acceptable level of success in this sphere?
What percentage of success have Celtic had over the 5 seasons listed?
Is this poorer than the average percentage for comparable clubs?
And finally, how do you measure it?


You might have bought, say, 8 players- 2 were successes, 2 become squad members who play 10 to 20 games a season and 4 who did not make it onto the pitch very often. You might chose to calculate that as, say , a 50- 75% success rate. That is using time on the football pitch as your metric.
However, if your 2 successes are each, subsequently sold for £25m plus and you break even when selling on the squad members, but take a loss of £5m for each of the 4 who did not make it, is that a financial success of +£30m.


Or do you have to deduct wages and bonuses and other costs before evaluating that is a successful year of trading. That is using player trading profitability as your measure of success- not something the fans want to think too much about.


And then, there are the value of the trophies won by the players when with your club. How do you measure what they are worth and what contribution your transfer activity made towards it? Is CL qualification really worth £30m plus to the club as outright profit? Is the league title really worth the same since you could not attempt qualification unless you were a league winner, most years? Even a player who did not quite make it with the club, could be responsible for pressuring a first team member to improve his game so that the team benefits. How do you then value the trophies and titles won?


And then there are the trophies lost- not many domestically, I grant you but an ever decreasing spiral of difficulty in being relevant in Europe. This gets explained differently by different viewpoints within the support. I belong to the Glass Ceiling Explanation group that suggests we are competing in an unfair market with TV money used as a steroid to allow less relevant clubs in the larger leagues (Southampton, Villa, Celta Vigo, Nimes, Atalanta etc;) to attract players that we were interested in, and that there is no amount of sane increased spending that allows us to bridge that gap. The alternative view is that we should Top Load our spending, spend a little more (rarely specified how little is little), spend it earlier, bed in a team and these difficult Euro qualifiers will become somewhat less difficult and we will pay ourselves back with a higher ratio of CL Group qualifications than we currently do.


Both arguments are legitimate projections and, in fact both predict the same outcome. A desire to be cautious and I’ll say risk-aware, rather than the jibe risk-averse, leads to a recognition that you are unlikely to get as many Group appearances as you might do. You are somewhat accepting of your lot and, in the words of Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans, you are just staying alive in these risky times until you can get rescued. The “Spend a Little More” Group also predicts that, if you do not do so, the same outcome will occur-there will be fewer Group qualifications too. Trouble is no-one, but the fans on the sideline,are heavily invested in a let’s call it “Higher Risk” approach, rather than the pejorative “Risk Oblivious”. No-one is going to put that to the test. Certainly, not a Dermot Desmond nor a Fergus McCann.


Fergus is now a revered figure amongst most of the support, but he was reviled when he was here. He allowed the old dead Rangers to achieve 9iar because he would not loosen his purse strings to sanction player buys to attempt to bridge the gap. Poor Lou Macari had to raid the Army for two players because Fergus stuck to his Frugal Plan as he wanted to ensure success of the Stadium build and saving the club from its enemies before he loosened them. When he eventually allowed Tommy Burns to go for Van Hoojdonk, Cadete and Di Canio, we nearly stopped them, but we didn’t. Is that a fact in favour of Risk-Aware or Higher Risk spending? You takes your pick and chooses a side but it remains a legitimate argument either way. We did eventually, stop the 10 with the burgeoning genius of a medium-price punt who was a Swedish player in the Eredivisie. We achieved the stopping of the 10iar with a squad that was, on paper, a less stellar squad than Rangers (as they were then) had, and with a manager who had never done anything very much as a coach and was at war with his general manager. So many of the factors that predict success just did not apply that season.


The final unknowable financial in all of these equations is the one posed by Auldheid recently- the price of the Soul of our club. Are we the club of Walfrid, a sporting outlet to raise charity for non-football aims? Or was that question settled early in our history when John Glass and others ensured that football and financial success were our main aims, and the ones that brought the crowds flocking, with charity as merely a welcome sideline; a tail but not a dog?
I do not have all or, indeed, most, of the answers to these questions. I am merely trying to assert that this critiquing of the club is not as easy as it looks.



The above by SFTB. Guest articles always welcome sentinelcelts@gmail.com

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An Ayrshire tribute to Hank.



Sorry for being so rude and not commenting on your article.
Congratulations sir. You smashed it out the Park.
Who will answer your/our questions about the club we love? Possibly too much.

Margaret McGill

You seem to be seduced by the minutiae of Celtics transfer dealings over the last 30 years and only allude to the Modus Operandi as a postscript and attempt to blend in Fergus with the current cunts who hold the poisoned chalice.
It’s obvious to anyone who takes a step back or two that Celtics transfer dealings this century are to promote the bigot buck model. Nothing else. Corporate cunts wearing green and white. You’re deluding yourself as are so many

Margaret McGill

However I’m very happy to see you post here 😄

Margaret McGill

Lichtenstein beat San Marino away from home!

Puff puff

SFTB .. Thanks for the great article .and for giving mahe and Bobby the night 🌙 night off .



A terrific article,thanks as ever,and some well-constructed points. I will though take issue with one or two of them.

IMO,the Plc and the football operation should be working in tandem,but with one aim-and that is to get the best possible team on the pitch. The better our team,the greater our chances of success,both domestically and in Europe. By doing so,we maximise our revenue streams from matchday income,TV money and UEFA competition rewards as well as making it easier to get sponsorship and shirt deals,etc.

The latter,of course,is where the Plc should be making their presence felt,they should be there to do the off-field income streams which with our on-field success should make their life easier. Additionally,on-field success would make the club ever more attractive to a better quality of player,more willing to join us than is currently the case. And with increased revenue,we would be able to get closer to matching the wages offered elsewhere.

This in turn would lead to even greater on-field success,making us yet more attractive to sponsors and so on. Our current business model seems designed to be just good enough on as little spend as we can get away with. And that is simply not good enough at all,in fact.


A great article SFTB, thanks.
All relevant points of course. Transfer budgets, risks, quality of squad, success…….

The one hugely important factor missing is the quality of the managers. He can make all the difference on the field of play regardless of the fluctuating quality of the squad. IF he his a man with a plan!

Of course the connection with the board is never far away. How do we attract a good manager, and keep him? How much of a budget does he get. How much independence in recruitment. and other matters?


Good morning all & Packy.


In an ideal world, our manager would be, and seen to be, the most influential person in the Football Club side of things. In an ideal world we might not even know the name of our CEO. Why does Peter Lawwell have such a high profile? I think we all know the answers to that! Ego, power and greed. For starters. (Within the context of Celtic FC)

The Gombeen Man


You are caught in the nettles of analysis without addressing the roots.
Why do we engage in this self-deception?

Is the soup of endorphins provided by the pleasure of rage and excitement so intoxicating that we invent all kinds of illusions to keep the keep the fix going? Anything but the facts of the matter. Any cul-de-sac will do.

The trouble is that pain invariably follows the pursuit of pleasure. So we continually chase pleasure to get rid of that pain and get caught in a loop.

Anything but look at ourselves, it seems.

Good article, thanks for your thoughts and time. I’m talking generally, more at myself than anything.

“Inside the cave that you fear is the treasure you seek ”

Joe Campbell.

Duty calls.


The Price of Celtic’s soul is paramount, otherwise we are just another club. Football as a spectacle has become more unpalatable and removed from ordinary people worse and worse every season. That farcical round robin tournament to finish off the UCL and EL this season as a case in point; no different to a primary school sports day kickabout for all anyone cared, yet made to go ahead for the sole benefit of tv companies, sponsors and betting companies. There could be no clearer demonstration of the sheer irrelevance of the fan who pays at the turnstile. We are no longer required for this industry to be successful.

That is not however an excuse for settling for less and becoming a European laughing stock this past decade. Like it or not Celtic operate in the here and now and should strive to be performing at the highest level possible, within their means.

The metric should be UCL Playoff as a minimum. Qualification once every two years. If that’s what you gear towards, domestic success is automatic. So long as we have our current setup at board level with short-sighted small men happy to be a big fish in a small pond and skimming off obscene salaries and bonuses off the back of ST holders’ loyalty and not serious businessmen with a vision and a strategy we will go nowhere in Europe and at worst have the Huns catch us at home.

It’s so depressing, and so avoidable.

Fred Colon

Good day all , my first post here .

Good article SFTB .


Howdy,FRED. Hope you stick around.


Mattybhoy and Fred Colon
Welcome to this Dear Green Place.
Hope you both stick around for the craic. 👍


Song for the new contributors to SentinelCelts.


bada bing1

Fred your moniker looks familiar

Fred Colon

BMCUW and Garry .
I’ve been lurking for a while LOL
And to all involved , please accept a belated well done for setting up this fine site .

Fred Colon

Bada , an intermittent poster on CQN.
Now expanding the reach of my inanities


“Now expanding the reach of my inanities”

That sounds promising Fred! 🙂


Celtic ‘allegedly’ looking at a couple of wingers (we have 100’s of em’). Why not go after Paddy Roberts if that is the case? I know he hasn’t hit the heights since leaving and has had a few injuries to contend with but if as reported Man City now deem him surplus to requirements and will consider any offers ‘shirely’ he must be worth a look at least? Packed defence – ‘nae bother’ – bring on Paddy – used to work🤨


Look forward to reading your inanities. You will fit in well here 😊👍


Since our transfer pursuits are made on an individual basis there is no expectation other than inconsistent results.
Coaches do make a difference when new talent is being brought in to unfamiliar surroundings.
Existing players also have to be assured of their own merits so as not to feel excluded.
The fact that our ceo/accountant/head scout makes the decisions then clearly price and value is the determining factor and the above being successful is even less likely.
Burns like those coaches after and before was hampered by a frugality that see’s us never quite having a complete team.
We are Nearly There fc as everyone can see our weaker areas but the board continue to keep the pursestrings tightly shut.
In short we lack cohesion throughout the club especially in the priorities of board ,coaches and fans so transfers being such a mixed bag is no surprise.


Fan a Tic
Very well put.
That succinctly sums up oor Celtic.

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, welcome fred colon and mattybhoy.👍

big packy

dont know where jim is, oops forgot he e-mailed me, where does that ghuy get the money from to go to the pub every day, i know whats happened, he has flogged my sash and is using the money to enjoy himself, dont forget it was a top of the range job,all the bells and whistles, well im keeping his rainjurs scarf 🤩🤩,another true story,


Good article SFTB and subject of many a pub based discussion.
To be fair to Fergus, the soldiers were recruited (see what I did there?) before he ousted the leeches and subsequently he did have a stadium to build.


Celtic need to get the right amount for our players when transferred see Celts are here blog, a player bought by Aston Villa from Brentford £33m. He was bought 3 yrs ago for £1m from Exeter, Wtf. Our players are worth helluva lot more than that full internationalists. Remember that Peter don’t sell Celtic short.


Thanks for the responses. I have been working today and just got back to comment.

I accept that our club’s soul is not measured by these or any other metrics but with the possible exception of half a dozen of the Sentinel Celts posters, the majority of those on here and elsewhere worry more about our business and football dealings than they do about the Bro. Walfrid vs John Glass “split” which occurred and was settled in favour of the latter around 130 years ago. Even a Walfrid figure like Tommy Burns wanted million pound signings to make us more competitive.

So, for those of us interested in the matters that remain, these are interesting questions.

My best guess, in evaluating the unknown metrics is that we are not as bad as we are painted but there is a lot of room for improvement in how we use our money to buy and/or develop players in the low-mid price section where we shop.

We need a bigger and better form of Moneyball.

The argument over our soul and our ongoing relationship and dependence upon a corrupt club in our city and in our league, is not going to work itself out in our favour anytime soon. In fact, it looks like the crooks involved in their fakeover are going to profit further from it because the Masons have made the Police and Lord Advocate apologise for attempting to implement the law, however badly they did it.

Fred Colon

OK , here’s my first inanity .
Just finished making a pot of chilli – listening to Carlos Santana .
Or as Ali G would say – is that racialist ?

Weet weet weet



big packy

HI FRED, funny you should say that, ive just been listening to santana as well, got my headphones on and been flicking thru the sites,,very quiet on here, im just waiting for my buddy jim to come on.he is from larkhall but he is ok, he has seen the light🤩

Fred Colon

Big Packy .

Love the tones from Carlos’ guitar and the rhythms that his backing group conjure up .

Awe Naw


I think you are confusing charitable inclinations with sporting integrity in your last post. Financially supporting Celtic ensures you are supporting the Old Firm. It´s integral it cannot be split. They are doing so not for the benefit of Scottish football nor Scottish society. Celtic PLC are unwilling to break that model due to the main motivation being long term; low risk, high profit hands off approach and they judged it absolutely correctly. Those still financially supporting it need to learn to deal with it. It being that it is not a sport but a very dirty shady entertainment business based on bigotry and unaccountability.

big packy

FRED, brilliant musician.👍


I’m going to frame tomorrows article as my reply to your article today. Usually wouldnt but forced outta town due to the much reported conditions and needs must.
Many thanks as usual.

Welcome Fred. Hope you enjoy. Hail Hail


Perfectly put.

Fred Colon

Big Packy .

Leaving the superstars out of the equation for a minute (eg Page , Clapton , Hendrix) , my other favourite guitarists include Paul Kossof , Jan Akkerman , Andy Powell and Andy Latimer .

Showing my age and genre , I know .


Keep yourself and family safe, no matter what it takes. Looks scary on CNN, the film from California.


Fred Colon
Page and Hendrix for me.
Johnny Marr and John Squire from my teens/20s. 👍

big packy

FRED, your probably in my age group 87.🤩🤩joking aside, jim the tim and myself, are both 67, can you beat that,🤩



Fred Colon

Big Packy , 62 in October .

Garry ,

Love is the law – Squire is immense – definitely influenced by the old school .

I hate to admit , i don’t know Johnny Marr so well . What would you recommend for me to get my teeth into ?

big packy

AWE NAW, spot on bigotry and wee arra people its time they realiased they are not the peepul.

big packy

FRED, you young ghuys make me sick.🤩🤩🤩


Awe Naw- The O** F*** tag which Celtic tried to consciously avoid using in official publications for a good few years recently, to no effect other than a pishing into the wind one, has been with us since, at least 1904.

It first originated because they were seen to favour drawn games against each other to earn more money from replays. The greater yoking together of the two clubs has been caused by economic factors more than any greater official collusion.

Up to 1964/65 our top division was one by 8 other clubs on 15 occasions. Since Killie last won the title has left Ibrox and CP on only 4 occasions 3 more times to Aberdeen (they had one pre-64 title already) and the first ever win by United. That is a huge change in the landscape. It is now 35 years since it has been anything but a two horse race (and I know one supposedly died but most people are pretending otherwise). That’s a big change in the landscape.

It was not achieved by the 2 clubs getting together and applying bullying tactics towards its competitors. It came via the same processes that distilled down the prospective champions group to 4 or 5 teams in the big leagues and usually 2 or 3 in the smaller ones. Its eventual outcome, if trading conditions don’t change is one team gets too big for its competitors and then a European Superleague is formed and then a World wide one. That’s Globalisation at work not Freemasonry, though there may be an overlap. That’s the effects of Bosman, removal of salary caps, TV steroid money distortion , and the CL glass ceiling.

I am offering no praise to the Boards in either club when I say I see no signs of any greater harmony (or disharmony) between their respective Boards at this time than there was throughout our history. A case could be made that there is more shame to fall on the Boards of previous years who “co-operated” with a system that treated Catholic Celtic supporters as second class and openly discriminated against them than there is on any Modern Board where our support have managed to overcome many of the barriers put in their way previously. Indeed, it is the Sevco support that is crying “discrimination” and “unfair” more often these days.

So, if our forefathers stuck with a club that rarely openly spoke up on their behalf (the Flag controversy was an exception rather than a rule) what are we, as modern fans, being asked to put up with in comparison to the men that passed on the torch to us.

Despite your withdrawal of your money from our club, as is your right, I do not think that you or I have ever given up on the soul of the club, despite our club’s failures to adequately deal with the events leading up to 2012. Otherwise, why would we still be here debating the point? You only debate about things you care for, Neither of us is abandoning Celtic but, like you, I continually hope that they will behave better in future.

Fred Colon

Packy , try telling my knees that .

Having said that , still hoping to go back to fives when wee Nicola allows .

big packy


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