The ‘strap yourselves in’ Season
As Ange begins his first full week in charge of the famous Glasgow Celtic, I must admit that my overriding feeling heading into this season is curiosity.
I’ve never ever entered a campaign without a genuine hint of what is to be expected next year.
Some will find this terrifying and some exciting. We’ve had many famous seasons, the centenary and Lisbon instantly spring to mind,,some infamous seasons like the Dream Team fiasco and the Honest mistakes seasons,,but if ever there was a ‘strap yourself in for it’s gonna be one hell of a ride’ season, then this surely must be it.
Who is around usually gives you a feeling of what style of football might be forthcoming, but as we all know that’s out the window with the squad worse than threadbare. With that in mind the very, very last words we would expect to hear regarding ourselves is Barcelona style football but there you are.
‘Roar-celona’ was a nickname well earned in Melbourne, and given our history plus Ange’s need to quickly get the support onside it’s surely his big ace in the hole, scintillating football being the way to a Celtic fans heart and all.
Producing our best football in decades whilst at a low ebb would be so ironic, so very Celtic-like.
An attendance slump can usually be overcome as we found out post Ronnie, and if there’s an early European exit numbers may not be as strong as many at the Park like, but sexy football would almost be a sure fire way to rekindle interest and get extra bodies through the turnstile. The board are smart in this respect, some dazzling footy will deflect a lot of attention, but they are also letting the genie out of the bottle, and must be careful.
Once the support have been delivered free flowing football, they won’t want to go back to blood and snotters fayre again.
Is it sensible to actually approach Scottish football with Ange’s vision?
Who knows but the boss is about to give it his best shot, strap yerself in!
One of our rumoured top four transfer targets is Japanese which on paper doesn’t work in our backwater, yet Naka had all enthralled and is still is our hearts.
Their silky skills and slight build, plus the unique weather mean they shouldn’t thrive when up against bent referee backed hammer throwers on far from pristine pitches, yet he did.
Gordon didn’t have much to spend at the time and took the gamble which paid off, but it was a much bigger than usual gamble.
Ange would be bigtime gambling spending some of his precious budget on a Japanese player, which again just adds to the mystique of the upcoming campaign.
Should this signing happen and the player be deemed a success, it would make sense to target the country and/or region more in the future.
Then there’s the youth, and the strong possibility we turn to them more heavily than usual. Again this would be a smart move on the new managers behalf knowing we will be a bit more tolerant and lenient towards our own, which gives the gaffer more leeway. However,, let’s say we finally see a man prepared to play the kids in an attacking nature and properly enjoy this, again the genie is out of the bottle and once they have been turned to and we as a club are embracing the ‘if you’re good enough you’re young enough’ philosophy, then we mustn’t shun that conveyor belt if it’s finally in use and producing the goods.
Teams with a spine of our own kids playing Barca style football – that’s a definite strap yourself scenario, and would probably win Ange time plus friends.
Then the bloke himself.
He doesn’t strike me as a soft spoken diplomat, a shrinking violet, or someone who will go along to get along.
He looks every inch his own man with a ton of conviction and determination.
And he’s a foreigner, doesn’t know about the unofficial rules up north, the masons with whistles, the fans with typewriters, the shit show he’s walking into.
With a lot of blokes we can tell the likely response to the above. Neil played the long game and seeking a career in and around Scottish football he didn’t rock the boat. The English based managers simply head back over the border when they get a peak behind the curtains.
An elderly foreigner hastily departs not needing the hassle.
And then there’s Ange, who fits none of the above, and if anything seems determined to leave a serious imprint probably in order to gain a foothold which would eventually lead to England. Somehow I get the impression running home to mummy with the tail between the legs isn’t an option for this guy, yet we all know the rags would love nothing more than to break him piece by piece publically using his and our agony to boost their meager sales.
Australians are fairly straightforward, opinionated, and he will expect a fair crack of the whip. There’s no language barrier to overcome, but there is plenty chips on the shoulder to overcome.
He’s out to make a name, they think they are the big dogs in this backwater as evidenced by one telling Charles Le Vert he had the power to make him or break him.
Hence our press conferences have the potential to become explosive, and his reactions on the sidelines and post game to the referees ‘protection’ should also make for compulsive viewing.
Just like the old Eagles song, this could be heaven or this could be hell, purgatory even. It might go swimmingly and we see attacking football to be proud of, but should the opposite come true the already high levels of fan frustration will probably manifest itself into real on the ground action. It’s basically win or bust, which is totally strap yourself in stuff.
It’s true that following our team is seldom boring, but the sheer number of unknowns are already telling me this will be unmissable. Infact, I’m absolutely dying to see what happens here, the footy of our dreams, the biggest sideline arguments of our lifetime, or more than likely a little bit of everything with who knows what is going to happen week by week for better or worse.
Our own unmissable reality show and soap opera all rolled into one.
Strap yourselves in folks, one hell of a ride coming up.