The Ups and Downs of Supporting Celtic
Six points ahead with three games to play,and two of them are at home. Bhoy,I’d have bitten your arm off for that a year ago-or even at the start of October! Especially when you consider that the league winners go straight to the Champions League group stages.
Not for us this summer the annual treadmill of games week in,week out at a time when most players are either on the beach or considering a quick crash diet prior to returning to preseason training. For once,the players will be able to have a proper break-and I think it is clear that a few of them could do with just that-and a proper preseason,one where we can ease ourselves back into training with a couple of minor friendlies and maybe even a game or two behind closed doors.
And with the guaranteed CL place,and the riches that entails,we should be able to get any business done early on,get the newbies introduced to their colleagues at an early stage. Far too often in the last ten or fifteen years and more,we have waited until the eleventh hour of the window to get in someone willing to sign,and who fits our profile.
Usually cheap,or a loanee. Fitting the profile of the board,but not that of the management or the fans.
Of course,we won’t be able to do our sums on expected CL income until after the final qualifier. The runners-up enter at that late stage,and if they get through,our tv money is shared with them. But there is a guaranteed qualifying bonus of c£20m and a match night income of c£10m over the three home games. The only variables are prize money for our results in the six games,and whether or not we will share the c£10m tv money.
So basically,a guaranteed £35m,with another £5m if we are Scotland’s sole representatives. Plus whatever bounty we pick up in prize money. That should be an incentive for our new Head of Recruitment to get his thinking cap on,sit down with the manager and identify signing targets.
But we have our suspicions,formed over many years,that our board will maybe think that we have all that money guaranteed,but even if we sign some top players,we are pretty much guaranteed not to qualify. So why spend it? We always hope that they have learned their lesson,but time has proven that not to be the case.
Yet last summer’s rebuild,largely cash neutral because of some big sales,points to perhaps a rethink at the top. Even if Dominic McKay left before he could even get his feet under the table,Michael Nicholson showed that there is a leaning towards giving AP the tools he requests. Time will tell,but I strongly expect to have some exciting new faces through the door,while some of the deadwood will be swept away.
Time will also tell whether a six point lead at this stage of the season will be good enough. That the end of the season can’t come soon enough is as true for the players as it is for the fans. We’ve got no fingernails left,but the players seem to be running on fumes at times. But they have dug deep before when asked,and they know that the finishing line is in sight.
Sure,I can understand the frustrations and fears of some of the fans. Give me a title procession,a stroll,rather than the nail biting finish every day of the week. It’s easier on the nerves too! But given what we have been through this season to even get this far? It has certainly given me more ups than downs,that’s for sure.
Above article by BMCUWP