Drawing The Short Straw
The ink on the AP contract is hardly dry yet-in fact,it is likely to have been done on line,as would most of the recruitment process and interviews with him-and the revisionism on his predecessors has already begun. I rarely reference other sites in these articles but for once doing so will serve a purpose,illustrating the danger of eulogising our new man while denigrating the reputation of his predecessors.
There is little wrong with that of course,but to suggest that we were well rid of Brendan Rodgers because he didn’t sign a single good player after Scott Sinclair ignores a number of factors. Not least that Ntcham,Jullien and Edouard arrived afterwards,and while we can certainly question their later input,it would be more difficult to question their input under Rodgers himself. It also pointed to us being told that we rehired Lenny because he had an eye for a player,ignoring that it was sadly lacking in those two years with us.
The big factor in our recent decline was,naturally,ignored altogether. And that is the lack of input that the managers-and those before them-actually had in player recruitment and sales. We are all aware where I stand on that one,with our managers over the years finding their judgement subservient to an unofficial but de facto Director of Football. And while I will weep no tears on his departure,the arrival of his replacement from a business and rugby background but with no sign of our desperately required Director of Football to assist between DMcK and AP is definitely a source of concern.
As I pointed out yesterday,we effectively need to rebuild in every part of the park,whether those be first team ready players or the back ups for those already there. There is too an argument that signing that number of players in one go will store up problems in the near future,with so many players on contracts of similar length which run out at the same time. This then might actually be the correct time to fill,say,half of those vacancies with loanees as it would give us some breathing space-except that I suspect our credit is running low on this one.
Clubs usually lend out players for a number of reasons. The first is to give their youth players a chance at first team football. I’ll argue against this one being applicable at Celtic Park as we have some very good youths of our own who surely deserve to be given their own chance over some prospect regardless of how good,from other clubs. The other reason is to get a high earning squad player off the books for a period,again get them some game time and hope that they can return with their confidence at a new high. Here,I’ll argue that with the exception of Fraser Forster,none of those players we have taken recently have done their prospects any real good,and some indeed may have caused their prospects some real damage.
Put it this way,I don’t think the likes of Everton,Brighton and Inter Milan will be picking the phone up to us any time soon.
The real elephant in the room is AP himself,or rather his lack of local knowledge. He can hardly be blamed for that,of course. And we mustn’t forget the impact of Brexit on all of this. For instance,I think only Elyounoussi and Laxalt of our overseas players would have qualified for a permit based on the new rules if they had been deployed,say,a decade ago. We have been buying in the bargain basement during that time,to great effect on occasion,but that will have to stop now. There are appeals based on the potential of a young player,and we last had to use that route for Stilyian Petrov over twenty years ago. I wouldn’t be putting too much faith in that route for some time,I can tell you!
So it looks likely that AP,even though his specialist knowledge will lie in the Australian and Asian locales,will be restricted to the sort of market that may not actually improve us much. There are,of course,some gems in the lower English leagues-the likes of Vardy and Toney spring to mind,and I think that over half of the current England squad have played there at some stage of their careers. Equally there are some also to be found in EPL youth teams-but it is rare that they are available for transfer. It is also true that our own leagues throw up the occasional nugget from unlikely sources,but none of this alters the fact that our signings have usually been from abroad,and of players who would no longer qualify for a work permit.
This is a huge burden to place on the two new men in charge,because even when DMcK has agreed that someone is the right signing for us and that he will Go Get ’em,Floyd,he is likely to find his hands tied by red tape. Yes,we are all happy to see the back of Lawwell,and yes,we are happy to see a new manager at last. But our troubles are far from over,and I have a feeling that we are going to be relying increasingly on those youth players who didn’t get a chance before.
Maybe we will now see the value of Lennoxtown at last? If we do,we had better get them signed up on proper contracts for some time! But then,we’ve came through worse and we are still here!!!
Above article by BMCUWP