Halfway House

Morning,all.

We are now halfway through the January transfer window-apparently every club’s difficult second window-and we have yet to see a signing. Yes,we are being teased with news of Kuhn coming in,but he isn’t over the line yet. And bearing in mind how long this saga has been going on for,it’s becoming a little wearing. 

I refuse to believe that the club takes so long over these deals simply to save a couple of quid in wages over the extra two weeks. But it can’t be denied that it happens too often to be a coincidence. With another coincidence of the return of the infamous elephant in the room,under whom this quite clearly became part of the strategy. 

No,I’m more inclined to be of the chiselling school of thought,where the club takes every opportunity to shave down the transfer fee,signing on fee and contract terms. Also a great blast from the past,and I’ve long wondered how many players such thinking has cost us over the years. Not much point in losing any sleep over the past,but I genuinely thought those days had gone. Once  

We are also being linked with Hakon Valdimarsson of Elfsborg. While I’ve already stated that I’m none too impressed with us signing Kuhn-I view him merely as an older project signing-this young fella does look more like it. A 6’2” goalkeeper who has recently became the first choice for Iceland. Signing him now allows us to give him a run in the team,provided we see some daylight in the league table,without having to throw him in at the deep end. At 22yo he has plenty going for him,not least that he was voted Sweden’s goalkeeper of the year last year. Mind you,Lagerbielke won similar for being centre half,so maybe best not to read too much into that. 

Other than that,nothing. Barely a ripple getting through the rumour mills these days. Yes,we have sent Kwon out on loan to St Mirren,and it looks like Adam Montgomery will be heading for Motherwell in a similar deal. But once again we can’t give Siegrist away for love nor money,and you have to wonder who sanctioned that particular signing.

There are a number of other players who I would love to see going out on loan. For various reasons,not least of which is simply cutting down the numbers. But another reason is slightly more Machiavellian. If they are on loan to a Scottish side,they can’t play against us in the league. But they certainly can play against R2ngers. And we have seen in the recent past how Christie,Ajer and Scales benefitted from those loan deals while clearly relishing some hunskelping! 

More of that please,for both reasons. 

And it is probably to short term loans that BR will be forced to give his approval over the next fortnight. A shocking state of affairs,given our healthy and robust financial position. The disaster that was Philips has been apparently more than cancelled out by the success of Bernardo,thus vindicating the strategy. Now,I’ve been well impressed by Bernardo since he came onto a game and finally slotted into a position to which he looks suited,but it’s worth remembering that it took him some time to do that. That is time we don’t have at the sharp end of the season

On the plus side,we still have over two weeks to go,so there remains that sliver of hope that the club will waken up and smell the coffee. Deliver what the manager and fans have been demanding for so long,a knockout blow to put the other mob back in their box. But then,it’s the hope that kills you…

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Above article by BMCUWP

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BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 6:09 am

Good news,folks! We’ve finally stopped the procrastinating and cleared the obstacles,so we can now proudly go ahead with The Sentinel Celts Charity Drive.

The plan is to nominate a charity which we can all donate to as and when each of us have funds available to do so. CHALMERSBHOY has already managed over £200 via the winners of his monthly £10 charity bet from the SC Naps Competition,and will continue to do this. We also have the three big racing festivals at Cheltenham,Aintree and Royal Ascot where we will ask for voluntary donations to enter.

I’ll accept nominations for the charity over the next two weeks. The plan is to rotate the chosen charity every six months. From Jan 25-31 I will list the nominated charities,and everyone who contributes to the site can vote on them,with the winner announced on Feb 1st.

I’ll start us off with MacMillan Cancer Support,who helped two close work colleagues and their families through the last months of their lives.

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

The latest addition to the roster is Blood Cancer UK

https://bloodcancer.org.uk/

Just Sayin’
January 16, 2024 6:41 am

BMCUW
Expectations set at low to zero is the way to get through this window.
If we actually do sign someone ( Kuhn?) on a permanent contract that’ll be a major coup to me.
I’ve always thought a couple of loans( perhaps with options to buy) would be our max.
Phillips was a late stop gap loan to cover a centre back injury crisis. Fortunately we didn’t have to rely on his limited talents.

I still believe we have enough to win this league with the resources we currently have. After half a season we are beginning to shake off the old regime and there are signs we are improving under BR. Mid to front is functioning better.

Someone he knows alongside him on the training ground and especially in the dugout should improve matters again. Previously with C Davies they were regularly communicating on the touchline. Hopefully the experienced AS adds similar.

Auldheid 9.48pm ( previous blog)

Thanks for the apology and clarification. I get the emotion, and did wonder if it was a spillover. The FSR discussion was getting rather contentious.
I stand with you in the hopeful, positive side of the debate, but can see why others have their misgivings.
Of immediate concern is what happens in our parochial environment, the EPL and wider world is an economic moonbeam away from our local difficulties.

16 roads
January 16, 2024 7:33 am

This Kuhn signing doesn’t make any sense, unless he’s being brought in to replace another winger?

Injury prone according to reports, and that Austrian Bundesliga isn’t a great standard to say the least.

Bizarre it is, even by Celtic standards.

Hopefully we don’t finish up with another Boerrigter.

Apologies for the negativity – it’s just this Celtic board, and recruitment department are a constant source of angst.

They are a total shambles.

GET RID NOW!

HH.🍀

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 8:41 am

16 ROADS

Yep. Couldn’t agree more. Worse than the dynasty we replaced 30 years ago.

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 8:44 am

JUSTSAYIN

Our expectations nosedived when Lawwell first took control,then full dictatorship. They had only begun to recover when he sneaked back in. Non-executive chairman? As if he would ever settle for those limitations.

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 8:47 am

Mourinho sacked. No surprise,he’s been franticly working his ticket for some time.

You have to laugh,he always gets another job! This time,I reckon it’s Saudi and then retirement.

Craig 76
January 16, 2024 9:09 am

Just past that onion Bears paint job on the M8 🤣🤣🤣
Can’t believe they were actually proud of that and posted it all over social media

Just Sayin’
January 16, 2024 9:11 am

BMCUW

My expectations are fairly logical when assessing this Board’s lack of growth performance.
If the football department can provide just enough, the corporate policy of minimisation of value by controlling risk factors is achieved.
Big numbers on cost and return frighten them.

A business that lacks confidence in its ability to improve exponentially does just enough to remain relevant.

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 9:25 am

BMCUW

I think you are being very harsh on a couple of people / a couple of situations.

NF was not a success but we were desperate — so cut the guy some slack.
He was not brought in to improve the team he was brought in to put a team on the park in the face of a CB crisis that was up there with Spinal tap and their little local difficulty keeping their drummers healthy.

PB on the other hand — he was brought in too improve us.
The only issue was this season or next — and if next season then at least he would provide some depth this season.
Has all the hallmarks of it being some sort of cashflow workaround — stuff we have done before..
The set transfer budget had been spent but we still had wages to spend.

BS — I don’t have any info on his situation.
18 moths ago he was the form GK out of the SPL 10.
I would expect him to be cheap — DU as big payers is not really what I would expect in the circumstances.
Why has he fallen of a cliff — fell out with AP / bad attitude / BR not a fan — quite a few possibilities.

AB — his 18 month fall from grace.
Bit more evidence floating about if you read KDS.
Struggling to cope with his first big wage in a new country?
Bad attitude in training — thinking he has made it and doesn’t need to put in the work?
Missing the support of his extended family — not settling down / struggling with the language?

These things happen — the trick is keeping the numbers low and turning things around quickly when they do happen.
Consequently there are other much bigger fails on the go at the moment in the club.

Chairbhoy
January 16, 2024 9:34 am

BMCUWPS,

You seem to have summed up the stasis very well, this observation, that most of us will recognise was interesting…

….”,I’m more inclined to be of the chiselling school of thought,where the club takes every opportunity to shave down the transfer fee,signing on fee and contract terms. Also a great blast from the past,and I’ve long wondered how many players such thinking has cost us over the years.

A short time ago, while the finger was being pointed at BR for not developing our current crop of talent and letting them wither on the vine, the failure of the way we run moneyball was highlighted by myself…

Asking the question, how many of the dozen dozen moneyball prospects who failed to make it at Celtic over the decade + of this strategy, went on afterwards to perform at the requisite heights with another club?

No one answered.

There was one, and only one, that I knew of… Teemu Pukki.

We stayed up all night to get Pukki 🎶 remember!?

(C) BSR

Thing was, we tore the a£$€ out of that deal and got Pukki in – last minute dot com.

How many players are going to get that warm, fuzzy feeling of joining a Club, that’s more than a Club, that really appreciates and will nurture their talents…

…as you say, most will tell you to do one, if their Club haven’t already.

Save a few bob and pi$$ of the new recruit we are forking out millions for and paying him millions in wages over the contract.

So our execs/non-execs can get the bragging rights…

And our coaches can pick up the pieces.

Hail Hail

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 9:34 am

JS @ 6.41

Enough in the tank to win the league this season — agree with you but we are cutting it fine.

Desperately need a LB starter and cover at RB.
Plus some talent planning at GK.

If the yips return for JH then we will be in deep doo doo.
I do not rate SB and BS would appear to be on the naughty step.
I think the winter break will be good for JH so we should be in a better place when the games start.
Planning for next season — can’t get started early enough.

NK coming in — the cynic in me has this down to LA leaving.
As always we will have the full story on the 1st Feb but that is the way I think the wind is blowing.
We do seem to be hoarding wingers at the moment.

Chairbhoy
January 16, 2024 9:40 am

Just Sayin’ @ 6:41 am,

Seen you post on Adam Sadler yesterday.

Got to agree, BR having his own #2 is a big plus and has already made a difference from what I can see.

We weren’t communicating to the players what was required, a number of reasons for that obviously but each one needs rectifying.

We should have enough to win the league this season.

However, if we don’t, we get a second bite at the UCL through the qualifiers and a season in the new format Europa could prove interesting.

A win~win, if you are a PLC exec/non-exec;)

Hail Hail

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 9:43 am

CB @ 9.34

Back in the day — 10 / 12 years ago PL had a run of 6 failures / flops at CF.
Names out of a hat standard of recruitment — all failed in their own little way.
The only reminder would be the notes in the accounts to explain our losses as we had to pay to get rid of them.
The exceptional payments we had to make to shove them out the door.

They were not all bad players but they were all bad buys.
Brought in to suit the needs of others / not what the manager wanted.
Take it or leave it and so it played out — failure after failure.
Had all the hallmarks of favours to pet agents when we were looking for new talent.

Do the work / do the hard yards with real scouting — no chance just get your pet agent up on speed-dial and see who he has looking for a move.

PL really got an easy ride of the happy clappers / board groupies for the best part of a decade.

Chairbhoy
January 16, 2024 9:47 am

MM @ 9:43 am,

Yes spot-on

That’s exactly the way it went.

Money for nothing and V.I.P. tickets for free 🎶.

Hail Hail

Jobo Baldie
January 16, 2024 9:58 am

Good morning friends from snowy Kendal, me and Mrs Baldies last full day of our own winter break. Mind you, yesterday was our first! 5 more sleeps.

PerthOzBhoy
January 16, 2024 9:59 am

Hi bhoys just read some comments regarding Kuhn being injury prone if that’s true who is responsible for recruiting these people

Auldbhoy67
January 16, 2024 10:02 am

16R
That Austrian Bundesliga isn’t a great standard by any means.

You may well be correct with that statement but a bit of digging shows how bad we are against Austrian teams. Since 2010 we have played teams from here 6 or 7 times and yet to win a game.
In fact in all our games against Austrian opposition we have only managed 2 wins and they weren’t played in this century.
Hard to believe but true…….

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 10:08 am

AB67 @ 10.02

Stop wasting a good rant with facts.
The arrogance in the support knows no bounds.

Just Sayin’
January 16, 2024 10:12 am

I don’t think our third world, parochial backwater entitles us to criticise the quality of any league, anywhere.

Auldbhoy67
January 16, 2024 10:21 am

MM

I will if you stop using all those stupid initials and abbreviations.
Makes some decent comments a bore to read.
Do we have an agreement then.
Have a nice day now

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 10:53 am

AULDBHOY 67

As soon as I fail to recognise any set of initials,I scroll past the rest of it.

Just Sayin’
January 16, 2024 10:56 am

Chairbhoy

I’m hoping the AS recruitment is a big success.
Not the most exciting addition we are hoping for but perhaps the most timely and significant

St tams
January 16, 2024 12:06 pm

I see that the Jish Doig transfer to Marseille has collapsed.
This is a boy we could have signed for £2m a couple of tears ago , instead we went to Argentina and spent £3,5 m on Bernabei, which we will be lucky to get £0.5m back on him.
Doig is available for £4.5 m. Would do a great job for us.

16 roads
January 16, 2024 12:41 pm

Auldbhoy67

16R
That Austrian Bundesliga isn’t a great standard by any means.

You may well be correct with that statement but a bit of digging shows how bad we are against Austrian teams. Since 2010 we have played teams from here 6 or 7 times and yet to win a game.
In fact in all our games against Austrian opposition we have only managed 2 wins and they weren’t played in this century.
Hard to believe but true…….

January 16, 2024 10:02 am

—————————————-

I’ve watched it and it’s not a very good league, irrespective of how Celtic have faired against Austria opposition in the past.

The Red Bull team was half decent for a few seasons, that was money however.

I’ll go as far as saying that most football is mediocre, apart from the 4 big leagues – even then a lot of it can be a difficult watch.

The Russian game used to be entertaining, again down to money.

Celtic is different, I enjoy watching Celtic regardless of how good or bad we play,or how poor the opposition may be.

Only my opinion/thoughts – I don’t expect or ask anyone to agree.

HH.🍀

16 roads
January 16, 2024 12:48 pm

Why are we signing another winger?

That is the question.

Bada Bing
January 16, 2024 12:59 pm

16 roads
Why are we signing another winger?

That is the question.

Probably as most of them aren’t any good mate……

Twisty
January 16, 2024 1:29 pm

I wish we would dip into the Scandinavian market . Looking at previous signings over a number of years, more to like than not?

* John Guidetti
* Magnus Hedman
* Henrik Larsson
* Mikael Lustig
* Daniel Majstorović
* Johan Mjällby
* Carl Starfelt
* Kristoffer Ajer
* Harald Brattbakk
* Vidar Riseth
* Thomas Rogne
* Stefan Johansen
* Oliver Abildgaard
* Thomas Gravesen
* Ulrik Laursen
* Morten Rasmussen
* Marc Rieper
* Erik Sviatchenko
* Morten Wieghorst

CaltonTongues
January 16, 2024 1:36 pm

Trivial Pursuit know the Truth….

https://postimg.cc/qtWLXghH

HH

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 1:44 pm

JOBO

Afternoon,mate. Only been to Kendal once,about thirty years ago. I expect your stay has been somewhat more pleasurable and comfortable than mine-I overnighted in a freezing lorry cab! Beer was good though. Dunno about the Kendal Mint Cake,the chippy didn’t sell it. Not even deep-fried,the middle-class buggers.

Rebus67
January 16, 2024 1:46 pm

Earlier I said this was a crucial window for me. Either we sign at least one oven ready player or I am not going to waste my time , money and emotional energy on following this team. So far, it does not look good but I expected nothing in the first half of the window anyway, given the normal performance of our recruitment team. The exception was Ange got personally involved and talked to potential recruits to assess their character.

Now, if Kuhn signs then he deserves every chance to impress at the club but you have to wonder why he is even a candidate. Look at his injury record:

Feb-April 2023 missed 65 days and 9 games because of a muscular injury.
Oct 2022 missed 24 days and 5 games because of a bruise.
April 2022 missed 4 days and 1 game because of muscular problems.
July-August 2021 missed 33 days and 5 games because of a hamstring.
Feb-April 2021 missed 58 days and 11 games because of a muscular injury.
Etc
Jan -March 2018 missed 54 days and 15 games, Yes, you have it, muscular injury.
March-June 2017 missed 108 days and 34 games, because of a knock.

This guy is not fit for professional football. The alarm bells are ringing loudly. Why are we even negotiating with his club? Less than 2 years ago, he was purchased for 0.5 million euros and RV want almost 3 million GBP for him. 😂 His contract runs until 2026. If he was such a star, we would not get him for anything like 3 million. They want rid of him.

Let’s hope I am wrong, but if you were in recruitment would you even look at a player with that injury profile?

Rebus

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 1:47 pm

CALTONTONGUES

Haha,the UFH strikes again!

Chairbhoy
January 16, 2024 1:47 pm

Just Sayin’ @ 10:56 am,

Yes, it is definitely good news, he’s vastly experienced and we need this level of Coach, one that knows how Brendan works.

Bada was touting Broony for the position and he certainly has a huge amount to offer.

Yet top level coaching is a profession in itself and that’s what it currently needed.

Scott as Head of the Academy has a good look to it….

Hail Hail

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 1:49 pm

REBUS67

He doesn’t float my boat,mate. The hammerthrowers in Scotland will have a field day.

Fan
January 16, 2024 2:14 pm

Not many happy Tim’s so far in this window.
The Good Old Days are back!!!’

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
January 16, 2024 2:21 pm

FAN

Yep. On constant repeat on Gold.

St tams
January 16, 2024 2:50 pm

Rebus67 @1.46
Sounds like another Mikey Johnston

Mike in Toronto
January 16, 2024 3:49 pm

Completely unrelated to football, so some may wisht to scroll past ….but I know there are animal lovers on here, so just mentioning this …

BC has changed the law so that animals/pets are no longer simply considered property in a divorce case … now the court there recognizes that animals/pets are different in nature from other types of property, and the court encourages parties to include pets in separation agreements. If they dont, the court will still decide on who gets the pets, but will use a different test to try to figure out what is best for the pet and the parties ….more like the test for custody of a child (BIC test – best interest of the child) than simply treating a pet like it would a piece of furniture.

There may be other jurisdictions that already do so, and I am just not aware of them. Either way, I suspect that other jurisdictions will follow suit…

INIQUITOUS IV
January 16, 2024 3:49 pm

Good morning from a bitterly Baltic cold Maryland where it is forecast to go down to -11C tonight.
Watching Thailand vs Kyrgyzstan from Qatar. First class camerawork, replays, close ups, and instant VAR offside TV digital images making decisions definitive.

One thing puzzles me. The referee, whose nationality I missed, spoke to opposing players who were pushing each other at a corner. I wondered in what language he communicated to players from such diverse cultures? Hordes of Kyrgyz and Thai women have traveled huge distances to see their teams, which is just amazing. I once visited Kyrgyzstan and never met a single soul who looked as if they had much disposable income. It was still under Soviet control, right enough.

Rebus67 did some first class research and analysis of Kuhn’s injury record. How many amongst us believe that Celtic’s recruitment staff were as thorough or professional? Personally, I was shocked by Kuhn’s record. It is actually worse than Boerrigter’s, although Kuhn is probably not as much a malingerer.

INIQUITOUS IV
January 16, 2024 3:53 pm

Mike in Toronto
Completely unrelated to football, so some may wisht to scroll past ….but I know there are animal lovers on here, so just mentioning this …

BC has changed the law so that animals/pets are no longer simply considered property in a divorce case … now the court there recognizes that animals/pets are different in nature from other types of property, and the court encourages parties to include pets in separation agreements. If they dont, the court will still decide on who gets the pets, but will use a different test to try to figure out what is best for the pet and the parties ….more like the test for custody of a child (BIC test – best interest of the child) than simply treating a pet like it would a piece of furniture.

There may be other jurisdictions that already do so, and I am just not aware of them. Either way, I suspect that other jurisdictions will follow suit…
———————————————-
MIT
Maybe some Solomon-like judge, adjudicating a case where ownership of Fido is in dispute, may suggest bisecting the mutt as a fair and reasonable solution?🤣

Prestonpans bhoys
January 16, 2024 4:00 pm

Rebus67@1:47

Good detective work, so missed 31 games in a two year period. As someone said Mikey Johnston MII

Gets a gold star for 49 aff in 2017/18 🙄

16 roads
January 16, 2024 4:01 pm

bada bing1
16 roads
Why are we signing another winger?

That is the question.

Probably as most of them aren’t any good mate……

January 16, 2024 12:59 pm

—————————————

Fair comment bada.

Let’s hope the latest one is an upgrade.

HH.🍀

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 4:19 pm

MIT @ 3.49.

More student level / trendy wendy politics — simple solutions abound but lets make it as complex as possible.

What next for special dispensation — contents of the freezer if they are omnivores?

Mental but who cares — fascism this way comes.

Rebus67
January 16, 2024 4:38 pm

IQ4,

I do not wish to trash a player. He may have had some procedure in 2023 to fix his muscular issue but I have my doubts.

No great effort was required. I simply went to transfermkt and looked under Stats and there was his injury record. So easy….surely, surely the recruitment team did this 😂 Kuhn clearly has a track record of muscular injuries. I pray that this aspect has been flagged for the medical, which I think was yesterday. Did something emerge from the medical? There will be some red faces if this deal falls through at this stage. IMHO, it should never have got this far.

Rebus

Mike in Toronto
January 16, 2024 4:48 pm

Inq

just looking at it (I dont do a lot of family work, but i have been asked about pets on more than one occassion. so I thought I should probably look at this), but this is actually changes to the BC Family law that the BC Government passed. I suspect that other jurisdictions will adopt similar legislation going forward…

Just Sayin’
January 16, 2024 4:56 pm

Rebus67

So the recruitment team are deliberately signing crocks to undermine our progress as a team?
Or are wilfully negligent?

A case for immediate dismissal surely?

INIQUITOUS IV
January 16, 2024 5:35 pm

Rebus67
IQ4,

I do not wish to trash a player. He may have had some procedure in 2023 to fix his muscular issue but I have my doubts.

No great effort was required. I simply went to transfermkt and looked under Stats and there was his injury record. So easy….surely, surely the recruitment team did this 😂 Kuhn clearly has a track record of muscular injuries. I pray that this aspect has been flagged for the medical, which I think was yesterday. Did something emerge from the medical? There will be some red faces if this deal falls through at this stage. IMHO, it should never have got this far.
———————————-
Hi Rebus
I didn’t think you trashed Herr Kuhn, but you raise legitimate concerns. I was puzzled that we signed Tilio for a tidy sum, despite knowing he had a significant thigh injury that kept him out for months.
The question then is – are these injuries discounted during a medical, as it would be obvious the player could not pass a fitness test?
HH
INIQUITOUS IV😊

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 5:52 pm

INQ4 @ 3.49

Women at the Asian Cup.
I think they must be expats working in Qatar.
Or they have been set up by the broadcast director to donut the dugouts or other places where the cameras are trained for stock shots.

Hopefully they all work in childcare / nursing / retail / food prep.
Other traditional lines of work do have their disadvantages.

Global middle class — they hoover up cheap labour from any source open to them.
The Gulf would appear to be in the vanguard of the move towards mass poundland aristocracy.

Billy Bhoy
January 16, 2024 5:58 pm

Guys

Have a look at this unadulterated shite from Chris McLaughlin at the BBC just recently posted.

Under a banner which states we have opened talks with The Rangers over ticket allocation he writes:

“Rangers and Celtic have both turned down the offer of away tickets during that period, citing concerns over safety and security.
A small number of visiting supporters attended the first two league derbies last season but no away fans were inside Ibrox or Celtic Park for the final two games because of safety concerns for the 800 at the previous matches.”

This is absolutely scandalous. It’s a total distortion of the truth. He’s put the article up on X. I’ve just let him know what I think of it and cordially invite you all to join me!

Madmitch
January 16, 2024 6:23 pm

Recent media tripe against the players and the club.

Ludge Media is following on in the footsteps of Ludge VAR / MIB and going all in regarding Project Save the Big Hoose.

I think Ludge Media are now offering spot prizes for the biggest load of anti CFC nonsense that anyone will put their name to.

They must be in a bad way given the width and ferocity of the nonsense on offer.

Ticket allocations — SKY are in the lead on this.
They think that casual bigotry / tribal moon-howling sells the game to the casual viewer.
I think that SKY are very worried about the saleability of the game when there is little or no away fans.
Consequently SKY are very active in this area.

The recent news about TFOD2.1 allowing SKY into Ibrox for a 5th game / getting two extra PPV slots should be seen in this light.
Well to me anyway.