The Absent Gardener
These are quiet days indeed on Timternet and in the wider Timosphere. Almost like a phony war,one where we have announced the departure of The Great Dictator-yet left him in place-while everything else carries on as before,falling to pieces before our eyes.
We have long been critical on here and elsewhere about the lack of young players coming through the ranks,and in the last eighteen months or so that particular situation has become even worse as our brightest prospects leave now by choice instead of waiting to be shown the door. The latest bright young thing to look at brighter pastures is actually the grandson of David Hay,and quite frankly,when the grandson of a legend is looking to leave then we have a problem.
Is there no-one looking at the contract situation of these youngsters,or monitoring their progress? Are we just looking at them the week before contracts are up and putting their names in a lucky bag to see who gets a renewal or who doesn’t? Are we giving these players a targeted career path,a reason to stay with us,even a decent salary? Or do we think that they should just be honoured to take their turn eventually in that lucky bag draw? There certainly doesn’t seem to be an incentive for our bright young things to realise their ambitions with us,and that should be concentrating minds wonderfully at Celtic Park.
Of course,I doubt Neil Lennon could even identify many of them in a line-up,and Peter Lawwell will probably tell you that he is too busy to worry about such things. He has had bigger things on his plate recently,such as scoring off his recruitment list yet more names of players who have tired of hanging around and being chiselled for the odd shilling or two as our pennywise and pound foolish CEO perfects his Smartest Guy In The Room persona. The mirror image,in fact,of “Chauncey Gardiner” but this time the joke is on us.
There are still five months until his overdue departure,folks. He has been accused of being a wage thief in the past,for sure,but there can be little doubt that his next five months will be his least productive-and probably most damaging-yet. I pointed out last week the importance of the next eighteen months,and we look likely to be in a state of paralysis for the first third of that. Indeed,it could be the longest close season ever-beginning as it did on the second of January! This is the first time this century that Celtic haven’t been in the title race,and our way of dealing with it is to stop dead.
When the music’s over,turn out the light…
Let’s have a wee look at some of the things that need to be dealt with,simply on the playing side. We will take as a given that loanees will return to parent clubs.
Is anyone happy with our goalkeeping options? So we probably need a replacement then.
Just sold two right backs,leaving us with the not-quite-up-to-it Anthony Ralston. Stephen Welsh has a fondness for the position,but we are gonna need him at centre back. And at centre back,our only other choices are Jullien and Bitton. Ajer will definitely leave in the summer,and even Bitton might leave. (I won’t miss him,btw. If anyone wants to defend him,they can give me ONE occasion in eight years when he has been MOTM,then I’ll still tell them to raise their standards of who they want donning our colours.) So that is probably two newbies there to provide cover,plus a right back. And the same problem exists at left back,where again we are woefully short of quality AND numbers.
Midfield,let’s say Christie,Ntcham and Rogic are offski and Broonie retires. I think that even allowing for Ewan Henderson coming through at last,we still need an experienced midfielder with a good bit of dig about him,someone who lets his opponents AND his colleagues know who’s boss! And we need either a goalscoring midfielder-a Billy Stark type-or a playmaker who can get that from CalMac and Turnbull.
Up front,we are losing Eddie,that is a formality. We lost Griff a long time ago. We have yet to find The Yeti-sorry,couldn’t resist!-and Klimala is yet to really be given a chance. You can see where I’m going here-where is the goal threat likely to come from? Bloody hell,we ALWAYS pride ourselves in our goalscorers but I genuinely fear for that position next season!
And yet,in this most important of months to come,we have a lame duck manager,a dead in the water CEO and nothing on the horizon. No planning for the imminent future-for how can there be under such circumstances?
I read yesterday on the site various comments from members of their concerns that the board-another bunch of lame ducks!-would use player sales to shore up the fabled balance sheet. Such a proposition would of course be self defeating,as it would only lead to further reductions in season ticket sales in following years-even though previous experience tells us that such is their default anyway. But in this particular case,I think the player sales will happen but that the replacements won’t be signed-not as some might think to shore up the balance sheet,but simply because we haven’t planned for the future.
Dominic McKay arrives as our new CEO on 1st July. As I don’t think it is fair to judge him by his predecessor,he arrives with a clean sheet. Sadly,the last thing that this club needs on 1st July is a new CEO with a clean sheet,given the rebuilding programme that I’ve just outlined above. What a poisoned chalice that man has chosen to accept,and I don’t envy him. I have been frequently accused of unfairly maligning Lawwell over the years and ignoring his achievements. I disagree,and think that his achievements have in fact been greatly magnified. So I’ll judge him by his legacy,by what he leaves behind.
I’ve got a feeling that being known as The Man Who Cost Us The Ten is going to be the least of his worries.
Above article by BMCUWP