2020 Vision – Dont Look Back In Anger
While this has truly been a year to forget for so many reasons,and one that nobody could really have forecast twelve short months ago,there is still some benefit to be had from hindsight and also some truth in some of the suggestions made at the time,even if they were viewed by most other people as simply the utterings of the paranoid.
Leaving the politics out of it,because after 2016 I will never think any political scenario to be impossible-I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that voter ID isn’t what is necessary to prove,but voter IQ-a year ago Celtic were motoring to the top of their European group despite some strong competition,about to face a resurgent and resuscitated southside opposition in a Cup final and performing strongly in the league,even if we couldn’t quite shake that other mob off.
Strong financial figures from the previous two sets of accounts-earned while Brendan Rodgers was manager-had put us in a good place,with around £40m in the bank,and the playing staff gave us grounds for optimism,even if there was a lingering fear regarding the reluctance of some to put their signature on an extended contract.
What arrived next was December,bookended by appalling displays against Sevco. Followed by a January of licking our wounds and about seven weeks of them shooting themselves in the foot as we motored ahead to Nine In A Row.
Drinks all round and heroes all round. Except that we had a problem,the aforementioned contracts. Celtic have a long established business model of ensuring that our more valuable players do not go into the last two years of their contract. They either sign up or move on and we will take the money on one hand and our chances with replacements on the other. But the decision was taken that none of the players in that category would be sold this time as we had that fabled Ten to go for-plus the pandemic meant that acceptable offers for the players in question simply weren’t there.
What WAS there though was the incredible willingness of our entire list of season ticket holders to pay their money to the club despite the virtual-pardon the pun-certainty that they wouldn’t be able to attend for much of the historic season.
And historic it has certainly been,up until now at least. Almost seventy years since we have been on such a historically bad run of results,so bad that current pensioners weren’t alive to witness it. But some things never change,with our board using the time-honoured ploy of blaming everything on malcontents,pouring oil on troubled waters by using despised outlets to spread their agenda against the supporters of the club,those people who paid their money in good faith,even though many could neither afford it nor justify it.
But let’s take the focus away from that for a bit,because the board for all their problems haven’t been directly responsible for the performances this season-even if the above suggests some reasons why they came about. The recent results and the poor performances prior to this run are down to the players and the manager. Even I can’t blame Peter Lawwell for them,even if they are only there because of his decisions.
Celtic are going for history this season,and every player in the squad should be playing to his maximum ability to make that history and to be part of it. But they aren’t. And what’s worse,it seems that many aren’t even playing for themselves. They aren’t putting themselves in the shop window with the scintillating performances of players who are baiting the hook for the big fish to come in with the offers they so much looked forward to this time last year. Nor are they even displaying the basic principle of professional pride,of besting your opponents just because you’re better than them and don’t you forget it. If they want to leave,if they are fed up with the club,the manager,the pubs being shut or whatever,the best way to go about it is usually NOT to play shite all season and throw your toys out of the pram,not if you want your career to continue on an upward trajectory.
Football may be somewhat different from most industries but all industries have certain common problems. One of them is that workers and managers don’t always agree on how best to do things. For years I thought I was cursed with bad managers-until I worked out the common denominator. Afterwards was still the same,by and large,but my reaction to it changed. I kept my toys in the pram and up until the summer I kept my job too. But I think Neil Lennon IS a bad manager,and events have proven this. And some players have spat the dummy as a result.
For Neil Lennon,it seems,he either loves you or he doesn’t. And if he loves you,he will take you to places as a player that you could only dream of. Think of the marvels he worked with the likes of Ledley,Samaras,Hooper,Commons,Mulgrew. Those players alone-and there are others-prove that he is actually a GOOD manager. None of them hit the heights again without him,but there are huge deficiencies too.
Those that he didn’t or doesn’t love.
My sister knows more about football than I do,and she certainly knows more about everything else too. We have spoken for years and in length about these problems,and with Neil Lennon you are in or you are out. And when he was appointed interim manager,we reckoned it was the right move under the circumstances. The shower scene,however,wasn’t. We saw it for the horror movie it turned out to be. Because not only had he not moved with the times,he was a black and white silent movie in a digital age-but some people have long memories.
So,back to the point. Ajer is raging that he didn’t get his move. So is Eddie. Both players were right at the top of their game and have a justifiable grievance. Neither has an excuse though for their performances,nor does anyone else. Christie wants out,despite only having had little over a year of good performances for us,go figure. Ntcham too and his year of good performances have been sporadic into his fifth year! But the big problems are with two other mainstays of the previous five years,and also with some who aren’t.
For Neil Lennon,it seems,he either loves you or he doesn’t,as I said. And something he wasn’t known for in his previous term was bringing through the youth. One thing he WAS known for was an unwillingness to play new signings,new talent. It seems to have little to do with ability on the pitch,whether in training or the real thing. It explains why so many were jettisoned without getting a chance,and that looks like being repeated with the likes of Karamoko Dembele,as an example. Pick your own,there are plenty. And just when you think I’m rambling here,I’ll tell you what I said to my sister after Neil Lennon was appointed.
You can wave goodbye to Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor. He had them and never played them. Sent them out on loan. They won’t forget that,he won’t forget that.
And what you see is what you get. How many potential Tom Rogic and CalMac did we lose out on? How many more? Like so many decisions made by our bean counter,his appointment is penny wise and pound foolish. That attitude has wrecked their own careers,but allowing it to wreck others too is indefensible.
Above article by BMCUWP