Holding Out For A Hero
Wednesday morning was our chance to reflect on an important and very busy transfer window,as we waved farewell to a number of our “top performers” over the last few years and enthusiastically welcomed the arrival of their replacements. It is the nature of the beast that we know what we will miss with the departure of former heroes,while never knowing for sure what any new signing will bring to the party.
Sadly,we know all too well what most of those who left gave us recently,so I won’t dwell on that.
We have seen highly regarded big name players flop after their arrival at the club,while others have almost sneaked their way unheralded through the front door-and into our hearts forever as they embedded their names into the history and lore of Celtic FC. The list of players who were unknown prior to their arrival is worthy of a book in itself,and though most will have sunk without trace there are legends like Van Hooijdonk,Van Dijk and Henrik. And that’s only including the ones who have arrived from The Netherlands!
Our latest signing from that strangely undervalued country is Giorgios Giakoumakis,and he is of Greek heritage with a point to prove. Anyone who saw the recent interview with AP will surely have been moved by the accounts of his struggles in early life,as his parents struggled to adapt to a strange culture,a new language and the endemic racism so typical of the time-and not just in Australia.
“Nobody moves to a new land to give themselves a better life,they do it in the hope that life will be better for their children.” So true,and as the descendants of immigrants ourselves,many will recognise and empathise with the sentiments our new manager expressed,and the pride he had while speaking about his parents.
Gio hasn’t had it easy either,though I’d hazard a guess that it might not have been as tough as it was for AP and his parents. He arrives at our club in what should be his prime years,at the age of 26-another curious parallel with Henrik. But Celtic is his EIGHTH club in a short career to date,and I think it is fair to say that for most of that he has hardly set the world on fire. But is it really entirely fair to judge him on his record at clubs where he was barely given the time of day,much less a chance to shine? In NINE years as a striker,he has achieved the princely total of 54 career goals. That is not the record of a man that we should be pinning our hopes upon.
But that is not a fair judgement,not by any standards. I believe that the lad has had a fitful career to date,never been able to hold down a place as a regular for any of his former clubs-except one. It is almost impossible to be a success at a club when you don’t know from one week to the next if you are playing at the weekend. VVV in The Netherlands took him in,made him a regular choice,and he repaid their faith with a ridiculous 29 goals in 33 games.
And that is while playing for a team which was relegated!
I’d hazard a guess that while he was scoring a goal every 100 minutes or so,there weren’t too many missed chances coming his way. Relegated teams tend to see more of the ball in their own box than in that of the opponents. I’m not a “Statto” so I can’t give you chapter and verse on his hotspots or expected goals or anything-I’ll be honest,when the pundits start talking about that stuff,I just head for the bar-but this man has the look to me of someone who has simply been begging for the chance to show what he can do on a regular basis.
And when he was finally offered that chance-in a new country-he grabbed it with both hands! To win The Golden Boot as top goalscorer in any country is an achievement-to do it as an unknown journeyman,and for a relegated side,takes us into the realms of Hollywood and films like ROCKY!
I firmly believe we have signed a player who feels that he has a point to prove,and one that might even be fired with a grudge against his doubters of the past,the people who dangled the carrot then pulled it away so often. Yes,he might be looking two years down the line at a time when he may think that he will have one last chance at a life-changing contract elsewhere. For me,that is all to the good,for we will be the beneficiaries in those two seasons if he scores enough goals to achieve that aim. But then,there is Henrik…
Henrik arrived at Celtic Park as a waif and stray,unwanted in his new Dutch homeland,and at virtually the same age as Gio. He stayed,making himself a legend in the process. It is unfair-and far too early-to put such a burden on our new signing. But then,he feels capable of inheriting the No 7 jersey-so why not?
The platform is there for our new man to join the pantheon of legendary players to wear that coveted number. It’s down to you,mate. In the next two years,you have the chance to continue the magic of that shirt-or pair of shorts!-and to stake your claim for a place on the mural which adorns the exterior of our stadium.
And then,in two years time,you will have the chance to sign that life-changing contract,the one that sets you and your family up for life. But with us-not some diddy team from the yoyo regions of the English game.
Above article by BMCUWP