The Curse Of Interesting Times
The Chinese expression,May You Live In Interesting Times,certainly sounds to the Western ear as a bonhomie,but it is far from that. Rather,it is a casual wee curse,the kind of thing thrown at someone who has severely pissed you off. Fortunately,I don’t know very many Chinese people,so I reckon I’m safe enough on this one.
I’m not so sure that I can say the same for my football club.
Celtic certainly live in interesting times,times which should have seen us out of sight domestically,and able to use that domestic dominance to build a useful or even formidable reputation in Europe. We certainly had one in the past,and it isn’t that difficult to achieve if you put your mind to it. You only need to look at the recent endeavours of the likes of Seville,Villarreal,Benfica and Porto for example. Or our own magnificent (but should have been better!) record under Jock Stein.
Awright,so Jock was roughly half a century ago. Being robbed in The Bernabeau in 1980 wasn’t. And neither was watching Bayern Munich celebrating a goalless draw at Fortress Parkhead as though they had actually won the entire tournament. That was under Martin O’Neill,and it seems like only yesterday.
Now? Bayern are up there with the likes of Man City and the Spanish giants vying for the title of biggest and best team in the world. And they celebrated a goalless draw against us. Think about that while considering that the best thing we can say about the season just gone is that we managed a draw against the huns to avoid a total whitewash.
As I’ve said before,the need for a different manager than the incumbent was glaringly obvious two years ago,and even the blindest and most faithful knew it in mid-October. We are still waiting. Our great club,with its wonderful history,has become a pariah in the inner circles of the cognoscenti in the game. Spoken of with barely disguised sniggers. If at all,that is. Reduced to scrambling around for the lint at the bottom of your pocket on a Sunday morning after an unexpectedly heavy Saturday night. Actually having to Google our latest “managerial target” because none of us has ever heard of him-and as it turns out,neither have the people on the UEFA committee that keeps a record of coaches qualified to work within the jurisdiction!
The worst thing is,for all that we seem to be a toxic brand within the game,it is that we are actually one of the few clubs to be solvent. Look at the disasters that are consuming those Spanish giants with their billion euro debts,or the amount of money owed to hedge funds and foreign owners by almost all of the Italian clubs. French football is financially screwed-apart from the vanity project at PSG,of course-and so too is the Portuguese model. The likes of them and clubs in Belgium and The Netherlands are only a going concern while they can still sell players for big sums to the big foreign clubs. And good luck with that,going forward. And of course,England is a disaster,heavily reliant on sugar daddies,and really it is only the German league which manages to tread water and remain largely self sufficient.
And then there is us. I confidently expect that our balance sheet come the June 30 accounts-usually released in October-will declare a net balance approaching £100m. This depends on whether a certain payment is included prior to that,of course. It is unlikely to include the income from player sales in the transfer window,and I would expect another £40m or so from those. Even kicking down the figures,we should have the thick end of £120m rattling around our current account over the summer.
And we canny get a decent manager? WTF? Well,I wonder why that might be,eh?
It will take us years to rebuild our reputation in the game from the harm that has been done to it in the last decade and more. And simply being solvent isn’t going to persuade any of the beautiful people in the game to kiss a frog. Each of us has our own ideas of who we would like as our next manager,even down to a list of three,six,ten,whatever. Well,we can stop dreaming about that. Who the hell wants to join us,even despite that huge balance sheet?
Like I said,I wonder why that might be?
Above article by BMCUWP