The Price Of Playing Catch-Up Is One We Have To Pay
Sometimes,even the best get things wrong. History is littered with corporate failures which happened due to an error of judgement at a point in time,and some of them have been fatal while others have merely been very damaging indeed. There’s the launch and abandonment of New Formula Coke,but that company came to its senses in time. Or the leveraged buyout of ABN Amro by The Royal Bank of Scotland-which wasn’t helped by the impending financial crash,and effectively saw the buyer being nationalised in an effort to save it from bankruptcy. Or the failure of GEC,which decided to go all dotcom on us in the late 90s-just as that particular bubble was about to burst.
So I suppose we can be grateful that the failures of this season haven’t yet proven to be fatal to our football club,nor that the unwillingness to learn from failures leading up to this season haven’t been as catastrophic as they might have been. At least,not yet! But they might well be if we ignore the lessons that arise from them.
Chief amongst the lessons has to be that no-one should ever be entrusted with the level of control exerted by Peter Lawwell during his tenure. Don’t be fooled that this was only a recent thing-as long ago as 2004,he told Martin O’Neill that the only replacement he was getting for Henrik was a player on loan from Wolves. The following year,he told Gordon Strachan to sideline Bobo Balde in order to force him out of the club. That latter decision cost our team its best defender,and the club around £7m in wages for the duration of his contract. Bobo even got a loyalty bonus at the end of it!
The other thing we have to learn is that progress cannot be made from the bargain buckets,that we have to be willing to spend the money in order to bring success. Yes,you will find a bargain now and again-but money has to be set aside for the major projects in any company,and not just in football. Celtic FC and Celtic Plc are currently at the beginning of a rebuilding process caused by all those failures of the past. In corporate industrial terms,we face a retooling. And we have to do it right,because failure is not an option. We have made a start with the removal of Lawwell,but the new guy is still four months away from taking his place at the helm. We have taken another step with the removal of Neil Lennon,but we don’t seem to have a clue who should replace him!
We failed two years ago to properly replace Brendan Rodgers,the powers that be decided that we could do it on the cheap,an option which probably saved around £4m a year,including his backroom staff. That pennypinching approach has cost us considerably more than that sum,and it is not an approach which can be tolerated in the future. The successful reign of Brendan Rodgers saw us achieve a turnover of £101m. The year leading up to his arrival had our turnover at £52m.
That’s right-paying the money for a proper manager had us virtually doubling our income! And by the way,our operating costs only increased by 27% during that time,so that alone suggests that speculate to accumulate actually works. We need to do that again if we are to wrench our primacy back from our cross-city rivals,and we need to do it if we are to be even remotely successful in Europe too. We need to make this investment in a managerial team which will excite the fans,get those season tickets sold. And we need to do it too if we really still want to be attractive to our signing targets on the field.
But how much is enough,and how much is too much? Well,Sir Alex Ferguson probably set the bar for this approach nearly two decades ago when he demanded to be the highest paid employee at Manchester United. He got it too,but I’ll bet that Arsene Wenger wasn’t the highest earner at Arsenal,nor Pep now at Manchester City.
Celtic need to reverse that trend,we need to recognise the importance of the manager’s job at the club. We can’t afford to pay twenty first team squad members £100k a week-and even that huge sum only puts us in the same bracket as the likes of Everton when it comes to attracting players. But we can afford to pay it to one man if that man is the one we need to get us back to where we think that we belong.
£100k a month will get you an Alex Neil. £100k a week will get you an Andre Villas-Boas or a Rafa. Have we got the balls to do it,can we afford to do it?
I think that we can’t afford not to.
Above article by BMCUWP