What A Waste Of Time And Money That Was!
Here we are on the eve of watching our heroes play their first pre-season friendly at home. It’s been two long months,hasn’t it! Yet it has been a short year,when we were absolutely dreading a long nightmare just a year ago.
Ange who? As Alan Brazil,radio host and well known Celtic fan asked on the news of his appointment. Well,he kens noo! I freely admit that I was far from enthused when we signed him up as manager,but at least I took the trouble to google him. I had to,to be honest! Turns out that we got a guy who really knows his stuff,had been largely successful at club and international level,but it seems that he simply came from the wrong part of the world to be taken seriously.
As we know,his tenure didn’t start too well,even if the performances were better than the results. It took until October before things really started to click,and the fans and the players have clearly bought into his vision. But this article isn’t about that,not really. It is more to do with the fact that AP truly believed in himself,and he had the trust of Dominic McKay who backed him to the hilt in the summer transfer window. This belief has been followed since by Michael Nicholson,who has made sure that most transfers are being completed early in the window so that players have time to get to know their colleagues.
They decided to let a football man run the football,while they dealt with the finances. What a breath of fresh air that has been after nearly two decades of Peter Lawwell!
CFC kindly posted a list of players signed under Lawwell who hardly figured in the team. Bearing in mind,of course,that by his own admission,this list is a few years old and therefore not entirely exhaustive,here it is again…
Badr El Kaddouri
Jo Inge Berget
Colin Kazim Richards
Dorus De Vries
Emilio Izaguirre (2nd spell)
43 bodies .
There are maybe one or two in there who we could argue about being successful at some level or not. For instance,I thought that Janko was definitely a quality player. But I knew the game was up for him when he got one kicking too many and,lying on his back,screamed at the ref for “How in the name of buggery is that not a foul,ya blithering imbecile!” Some of that may have been lost in translation,mind…
What cannot be argued however is the sheer waste of time and money from those signings. Most of them were so bad that they were unwanted by any other club,and simply sat out their contracts. Others were moved on at a fraction of our initial outlay. Some,like Commper,had their contract paid up to get the hell out of Dodge. Two,at least,weren’t even eligible for a work permit!
I mean,that is basic stuff! How can we pay millions for players without checking availability first? The economics of the madhouse,to coin a phrase.
A few of those players arrived on free transfers or development fees only,but some of them cost a whole lot more. Soro apparently cost £3m,Balde an astonishing £1.8m,and don’t think the £1.5m for Ciftci is even included on the list! It’s absolutely appalling!
So the question we have to ask,given Ange’s success in the transfer market in his year to date,is-who authorised these signings?
You know,the manager always carries the can for bad results,poor transfer dealings etc. Little wonder we have burned through so many managers in those two decades with signings like that,eh?
Well,I’m spotting a common denominator here. MON’s first two seasons of signings were-hah!-phenomenally successful. Ange’s signings too are hitting the same highs. Lawwell got Football Manager for his birthday and thought he could do it better. Those players on the list would have cost a highly conservative £100m in transfer fees,agents fees,wages. And it doesn’t even include Tommy Gravesen either! Did he get his fingers severely burned by how that deal worked out,and vowed never to do it again?
Well,Gravesen was only £2m,even if his wages were high. And it’s not like it was his first deal of his reign. Maybe it affected his bonus,so that put him off?
For that’s the thing. While Lawwell was costing us that conservative estimate of £100m,he was also on his way to becoming the highest earner EVER at the club! He took about £20m in salary and bonuses during his tenure,even though he allowed Rangers to bolster their chances of survival under Murray and Smith by not competing as they spent around £50m to win three championships on the spin,and automatic Champions League money into the bargain.
He tied our future to a dead club by rubberstamping an illegal resuscitation after liquidation,apparently scared of a deficit in our accounts of £10m pa. His estimates,and I’ve seen nothing to back that up. He sabotaged our efforts to get into the CL most seasons,losing considerably more than that each year!
So you can double the £100m lost in his Football Manager sideshow on that alone. At least!
He cost us MON and BR,probably our best managers since Jock Stein. He cost us Bobo by trying to dour him out,while Bobo sat uselessly in the stands. Peanuts for Joe Ledley,who only wanted the same contract as he had signed four years previously. I could go on,but you will have long got the point by this time.
But I digress. To worse,believe it or not! As the CEO of a publicly quoted company,he lied to that company’s shareholders at the AGM! That should have been a firing offence on its own,but not with Celtic Plc,it seems. And to cap it all,on the subject of firing,when The Four Musketeers pursued Res 12,he told them that if they give him the silver bullet,he would fire the gun.
Despite knowing that he himself knew all along,had even perhaps orchestrated it himself. He certainly cultivated the friendship of Neil Doncaster at the time,which can hardly be a coincidence. And that therefore he had no intentions whatsoever of following through on his empty promises,even allowing the musketeers themselves to run up a five figure legal bill as they attempted to match his exacting definition of proof.
All I can add,really,is that I never thought that our club would ever have such bad custodianship as that of Desmond White. Sadly,I was wrong. But I hope that we never do so again. For we won’t get back our twenty years,nor our £200m either.
Above article by BMCUWP