Expectation Management

416319714I’m writing this a mere 30 minutes after watching a truly shambolic performance from Celtic in the Champions League, a performance that is being widely gloated over by Sevconian’s and pored over and scrutinised by everyone who follows Celtic. Within minutes of the final whistle, this website had received an email, which I posted as a comment, which is available to view at the end of the last article, from one of our rival fans. I had expected it.

When I read it I smiled, and I posted it, and I thought “Enjoy your moment.”

This website has never pissed about when it came to writing about Celtic. Not for our writers the old tea and biscuits in the boardroom. We are not in the business of spinning for the strategy, and we’re not going to start now. There are people inside Celtic Park who ought not to be there, people who don’t belong anywhere near a club like ours, and whose presence keeps a number of supporters – and I include myself amongst them – from going to watch the team every week.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again; I am not funding this. I am not funding a business plan that tells us how special we are as a support, and how big we are as a club, and then treats us like mugs and worse, and results in humiliating nights like tonight. We will not be a genuinely big club until we start acting like one, and it’s been a long time since we did.

Other folk can do expectation management. It’s not our damned job and it never will be, and I don’t care how many apologists come out of the wood-work to tell me that this is like something the Daily Record might have written. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and there were times when the criticism we got as a club, for our lack of ambition and bottle, was right on the money.

I am sorry if that doesn’t sit well with people. Well mediocrity doesn’t sit right with me. Shameful displays like what I just witnessed don’t sit right with me. If there is one duty for anyone in this game, above and beyond all others, it’s that we tell the truth, no matter how many people we upset, no matter where they come from or who they are.

At around this time last season, I wrote a piece on the night that FC Shakhter Karagandy beat us 2-0 in the final qualifying round for this competition. That night, and that result, should have been a watershed one for Celtic fans, with us having completed an almost mind-bending downsizing shortly before the game began, when we sold Kelvin Wilson, the manager’s first choice central defender, having already sold Hooper before the previous tie and Wanyama before the first round. The spine of our team, all gone and none replaced.

I have never seen anything like it in all my time watching Celtic.

That evening should have been the moment a lot of people woke up and understood that our club was heading backwards. Judgement was postponed, when it should have been delivered there and then. In the return leg, Celtic won 3-0, courtesy of a last minute goal. We bought Nir Biton and Pukki, and we were told that all of our questions had been answered, and those who had defended the strategy were even louder and bolder than usual.

In truth we’d been damned lucky, and I knew it and most of us did.

But the debate was shelved. The discussion was never had. During the season that followed we won the title, but at times the football was chronic. We were knocked out of both cup competitions in a manner that could best be described as embarrassing, and in the Champions League the credibility we had worked for years to earn was ruined, utterly, in staggeringly inept displays, culminating in a humiliating evening in Spain, and a bottom place finish in our group.

Still, the strategy’s defenders were out in force when we posted profits for the season and still won the league. They pointed to signings made, and some measure of success delivered, and they said “everything will be alright.” In the meantime, Peter Lawwell climbed the ranks of the SFA, working to “improve Scottish football” at a time when the business plan he’d “masterminded” at Celtic Park had regressed to the point where the team was funding the business rather than the business funding the team. Today he was re-elected to the SFA board.

His supporters must be very proud.

To be honest, I’m sick writing about this guy in the same way I’m sick writing for the “benefit” of those Sevco fans who can’t face the truth about their team. A lot of Celtic supporters really don’t want to face the facts about some of the people running ours, those like Desmond who are willing to live with mediocrity, or the Zionist Conservative peer Livingstone, a man of such disrepute and loathsome politics that he shouldn’t be within a hundred miles of a club that was founded to feed the poor. How in God’s name can we square the circle as a club which promotes charitable purposes and who’s supporters are active in food bank campaigns and other activities, but appoint to the board a man so egregiously unfit as this?

The kind of club that doesn’t pay its workers a living wage … and we look at Sevco and point the finger about their lack of scruples and moral purpose. Where is our own?

Yes, I am tired of repeating the same things over and over again in relation to what “the strategy” has done to us, but it is people’s refusal to get it that forces me to do it.

Peter Lawwell’s job as CEO is to deliver on the business side of the club. Yet if you subtract “player trading” from the equation, revenue and turnover are down. Is this because of the economic downturn? Yes, but only partly, because although season ticket prices have fallen, this is a marketing decision forced on the club by necessity, the result of falling attendances. Cup tickets have never been pricier. The Champions League package last season was extortionate. The club now brings us three new strips per year, every year, like clockwork, and there is more merchandise out there than there has ever been before.

Yet turnover continues to fall. The business has not grown in North America like it was supposed to and the success of the Far East strategy can be measured by the fact that from the moment Ki Sung Yeung left it was abandoned entirely. We have an international commercial development manager who is earning big bucks and delivering exactly what?

The failures of the whole commercial department, with Lawwell at the helm, have resulted in the perverse situation where the business no longer funds the football department, but the football department funds itself, and in turn funds the business. Here, at Celtic Park, the tail wags the dog. Lawwell and his people congratulate themselves on their “success” in posting profits, but the credit belongs to the scouts who find players, the coaches who train them and the manager who nurtures them and develops them into stars. Then Lawwell sells them.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again; his job is to support the manager and the team, and find the resources to strengthen and improve the playing squad. That is the traditional role of the Chief Executive at a football club. Somebody, somewhere, decided that Peter Lawwell’s role should be larger than that, and in some ways more akin to that of a Director of Football.

Other writers might claim different, but no-one is going to convince me that this guy has not pushed players out the door who our managers have wanted to keep. Equally, no-one is going to convince me that he and others at the club have not occasionally brought in players our managers did not want, as well as deciding not to pursue, with all vigour, a number of those our managers did.

Neil Lennon left in the summer, as everyone knows, and I said at the time I would save an article about his possible reasons for another day. We know that he didn’t walk out of Celtic Park and into another job, just as we know that he didn’t leave to get away from management for a while, as was evidenced in his statement about wanting to get right back into the game as quickly as he could.

I left the idea of writing that article for two reasons. First, I was never particularly happy with Neil Lennon having got the manager’s job in the first place. I thought, then and now, that appointing a rookie as our first team coach was just plain wrong and that the job was bigger than him. I’ve said it from Day 1 and I’ve been taking stick for it just as long.

Off the field, he showed the most extraordinary fortitude as a man, making him a hero of mine now and forever more, but I disagreed with much of what he did in the dugout, and I was not disappointed to see him go. In the end, I thought his leaving was the best thing for Celtic, and, most importantly, getting away from Glasgow was the best thing for Neil Lennon and his family.

The second reason was that I believe in the new manager, that his appointment is a step forward and that he has the potential to be a huge success and I did not want to start his tenure at our club with a negative piece suggesting the previous boss left because of interference from above.

Those alert readers, and frequent visitors to this site, will, of course, be aware that no sooner had I made that decision but I was writing an article which warned Ronny Deila against people at our club who might be seeking to do exactly that. What inspired that piece was Peter Lawwell’s “suggestion” that Deila should appoint someone who “understands the Scottish game” as his assistant, something I found to be scandalous and a blatant piece of sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.

I did not understand then, or now, why it was deemed necessary to bring in someone with “local knowledge”, as if the ball is a different shape, or the goals have different dimensions here in Scotland than elsewhere. It reeked, then and now, of interference and suggested that there were some residual doubts about the appointment itself.

Since then, of course, the club has appointed John Collins assistant and brought in a player, in Craig Gordon, who the manager knew nothing about beforehand, in a deal which had been set up before he was approached about taking the job.

Then the man who promised a fresh start to every player had to explain why he shipped out Tony Watt after only a few weeks, and it seems he never got a look at Denny Johnstone, who’s leaving the club was a decision taken before he arrived, but never scrutinised. The same, of course, can be said about Samaras, who Lennon had wanted to keep but someone else at the club didn’t, perhaps the same someone who appears to have decided not to talk to Kris Commons about a new deal yet.

Added to that, circumstances have seen Deila reverse himself on two issues of huge importance. The first was when he said Charlie Mulgrew was a central defender and would play there (the rewards of that “local knowledge” paid off in the second half tonight, didn’t they?) only to be forced, by an injury to Scott Brown and the complete lack of urgency to bring in a replacement, to change his mind completely.

IT’s the second instance which should worry us most though. Deila explicitly ruled out signing loan players only to do just that. I cannot even begin to comprehend the disconnect between the rightness of his initial position and the one he took, apparently in panic, earlier this week and which he compounded tonight when a player the rest of the team had worked with for only a few days, and who’s contract with us is good only until January, started a Champions League match of enormous importance. Something about the whole thing stinks.

Do I still have faith in this guy? Yes, I certainly do. If he’s allowed to keep the players he wants and build the team he wants then I’m extremely confident that he will be a phenomenal success. Anyone who expected me to be calling for his head after one defeat ought to be sorely disappointed. He has to learn fast, and he has to show some steel in his team selections. Captain or not, Charlie Mulgrew had a disastrous night tonight and should have been subbed at half time, and the decision to leave him on was astonishing and had catastrophic consequences.

That kind of myopia will get him sacked if he lets it take hold.

I still believe we’ve got the right guy, that this is the man to take us forward. I have faith in that.

I have no faith in those above him at Celtic Park, and where there are grave doubts I have them in relation to the level of support he’ll get commensurate to that which he needs to do this job right. I think his hands are already tied, and if he stands for it he’s making a rod for his own back because it’s his career that’s on the line if everything goes wrong, and that result tonight is a clear sign that all is not well with this squad.

This is another watershed night, the kind that demands answers to all those questions some of us were asking ourselves after the failure in Ukraine last year. Then, the board’s luck held and that debate was postponed, but we got what our lack of ambition merited in the group stages and many of us feared a night like this one was in the offing with three qualifying ties to play.

Tonight all the chickens came home to roost. We are probably out, and facing Europa League football, and the board will indulge in expectation management to sell us on the “need” for further downsizing, to further protect the integrity of the balance sheet. Such is life when the football department funds the business instead of the other way around.

I will not blame the manager or the little time he’s spent in the job for what we saw this evening, because it’s an alibi the people above him simply don’t deserve and it’s an excuse I’ll not permit anyone to make on their behalf. The inadequacies in our squad are clear to us all, and Neil Lennon would have suffered a similar result tonight with those players at his disposal, and I believe that 100%. There is only so much you can blame the manager for.

We went into this match tonight with the same squad who were slaughtered in last year’s Champions League, and the manager was aware enough of their limitations that he backtracked on his own stated intentions, to bring in a player whose qualities he did know on a short term loan, and threw him right into the team. That speaks volumes, as does playing Mulgrew in midfield because of the injury to Brown and being forced, because there was no other central defender on the bench, to move him from there when Ambrose was sent off.

That we have showed such a staggering lack of ambition, and foresight, on the back of huge profits, leaves those above this guy with nowhere to hide and no excuses to make.

The constant scrutiny some people give to Sevco and the goings-on over there have allowed their eyes to drift from glaring issues facing us within our own club. I have tried to keep my eyes on Celtic as much as Sevco Rangers, and I have written about those issues with the same unflinching eye and honesty, and I will continue to do so, but I fear the same result.

The board has managed the expectations of some of our fans all too well. They have bought into the narrative of “too small and too poor to compete”, from the same people who’s entire commercial department constantly bombards us with messages about how great a club we are and about how ambitious we are and how forward thinking, all the better to get their hands on our money.

Shortly before I started writing this, and just after the final whistle, I got an email from Celtic, asking me if I wanted to buy a season ticket. I am glad there was no scope for sending a reply as I might have found myself in violation of several communications laws.

Sad to say, this is not uncommon for Celtic and mediocrity is a state many of our supporters all too readily accept, and they are willing to pay premium prices for it at that.

Tonight’s performance is what comes of expectation management. Some are already shrugging it off as if a shambolic display like that is acceptable, as if it’s nothing to panic about.

These folk are always very open to “settling for”, as in “this team isn’t ready, I will settle for a Europa League run and a domestic treble.”

The problem with that is that this becomes “Oh, the Europa League was a disaster, I will settle for the treble”, which becomes “oh we’re out of one cup. I’ll settle for the league and the other.” This becomes settling for last season all over again, winning the title whilst dismantling the core of the team, but with “signs of progress” only they can see.

I’m fed up with nights like tonight.

It’s time we took a long, hard look at where we’re heading as a football club, and as much as some people might not like the result of that I am determined that over the next couple of months, on this website, we’re going to do exactly that … regardless of the outcome next week.

This is a watershed result. It can’t be dismissed as a one off.

Some of us can read the writing on the wall.

(This website really needs your support. You can help us, if you like what we do, by making a donation, at the top or the bottom of your screen, depending on the smart gadget you’re using. We’re always aiming to get better here, and do more, and you can help us achieve that.)

James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

48 thoughts on “Expectation Management

  • 31 July, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Good article James..

    Yes you have wrote similar..Kilmarnock 3-3..Shakhter..Ross County..etc.. though think the Killie article was wrote at halftime..;0)

    Until Celtic FC are in a European league or other than Scottish Premier rookie managers will be the Norm..it has worked for many other Clubs Liverpool Barca etc..

    Rookie and Non Celtic is a taking a bigger chance we shall see..

    Again good article..


  • 31 July, 2014 at 2:43 am

    First time I’ve read your site. You’re 100 per cent correct. I’m in my 60s and I’m sick. Keep up the pressure.
    Hail Hail

  • 31 July, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Great article James, so many good points and well made.

    I agree almost 100% with what you have written and how you feel, however a small part of me “sympathises” with the Board.

    If I were in there shoes, I would know that spending £20 million on a couple of players would not make any significant impact on increasing our chances of progressing / competing in the Champions League, the gulf in class is simply too great now. The reality is by not spending any real money on the team won’t have any significant negative impact on our chances of retaining the League tittle for the next few years so why spend when you don’t need to? I say this because the real fact is that any CL success has always been viewed as a bonus by the Board and not a strategic target, the frustrating thing for me is that the Club still patronise their support by painting a very different view and this is what pisses me off more.

    In terms of commercial revenues, the product of Scottish Football is a tough sell, it is poor to say the least and has steadily declined over the past 5 years so let’s be honest and realistic (even if it hurts a little). Selling our best players and key assets are now the only real revenue streams the Board have at their disposal and whilst coming to terms with the fact that our club is now even more of a “selling club”….. haven’t we always been over the years?

    I also agree with your view on NL, the club did him far more favours than he ever gave in return whilst in the Manager’s position. Losing two titles to the worst Rangers team in 15 years and regularly getting bumped out of Domestic Doubles and Trebles in the last few seasons it testament to how his tenure as our Manager should be judged. He did OK, the club gave him an opportunity and a pedestal for his career and to be honest I don’t think there is any coincidence that both Old Firm clubs went for Rookie managers at the time, who in their right mind (or of any real stature in the game) would want to work with at least one hand tied behind their back ??

    The situation today is what it is, and it will not change for the better any time soon. The standard of our squad is poor, but it will be enough to win the league again this year even with Ronald MacDonald at the helm, never mind Ronald Deila and that is all that matters to Lawwell and Desmond.

    They know it is true, we know it’s true, we just ask that the Board to come out and tell it like it is and show us, the support, some respect and stop insulting our intelligence !!

    Hail Hail,

  • 31 July, 2014 at 6:58 am

    A good article James. I cant say that I agree with it wholesale but I think it does a good job of tapping the frustration that the majority of the fans feel after last nights result.
    What I don’t hear however, and this is where I think an article would get extremely interesting, is how we do it better.
    Acknowledged , no one wants a club be run solely based on a balance sheet. If they were, frankly most football clubs , if they were shops, restaurants or other businesses would have closed down years ago being completely financially unviable . We are in a relatively unique position in the football world in that, despite operating in a league bereft of genuine competition, we have no fear for the future of our club, its assets or its continuity, That is a quite astonishing position to be in and I do believe that Lawwell and his team deserve credit for their role in that.
    That all said – what value is continuity and security if each season is just a Ground Hog day mish-mash of being 15 points clear in the league by Christmas and sifting through the debris of another failed European campaign with, if we’re lucky, one or two notable victories?
    Well, there’s two ways to look at it – there school of thought #1 – We should be throwing money at the solution , hanging on to our best players and having a proper tilt at the CL last 8. For most fans who think with their heart rather than their head (and lets face it that’s what being a fan is about), this is the option that they’d go for but the problem is that there are too many external factors that mean that we as a club cant simply “decide” to go this route. First problem is the players themselves: We always hear that our best players Hooper, Wanyama, Forster, Van Dijk are being looked at by Man U, Arsenal etc Where do they end up? Norwich or Southampton. Why is that? Is it because the club is bigger? No. Is it because the fans or playing atmosphere is better? No. Is it because the standard of the competition is better , perhaps. But lets not kid ourselves – Gary Hooper can be adored at Celtic Park for a wage of 20k a week or sit on the bench at Norwich for 40k. 9 out of 10 players will choose the latter, Hell the majority of fans, no matter how much they kid themselves, would choose the latter.
    So what do we do? We change our wage structure and offer up to 50K a week for Forster type players. 50K a week to play Killie and ICT? That’s madness,……………Of course it is but if we don’t then Forster will go to Newcastle or Southampton for 45 K a week. Guaranteed.
    So Catch 22, pay, unsustainably through the roof to hold on to our best players , or let them go , for the best fee available in the knowledge that it will weaken the squad. Which should Lawwell go for? I’m not sure there’s a right answer.
    Then there’s the 2nd school of thought – that there is value in going through the motions, watching mediocrity domestically and having a yearly , ultimately doomed bash at the CL only to have our arses felt. Lets face it, every season, across the world, fans turn out to watch Dunfermline, West Brom, SC Bastia, St Pauli and other teams who have zero chance of ever winning anything but out they come and sit in the rain in order to watch and cheer , and moan, in the hope that something will happen to justify it all – a new young talent coming through, a famous victory, a gubbing of a rival……..Maybe that should be enough for us while we wait for the Land of Milk and Honey , whether that’s an Atlantic League, the Premiership, The Championship , whatever.
    I dont know which is the right answer , but i’m pretty certain that around the walnut tables in Kerrydale Street, they’re backing the second option.
    I hear, and sympathise with fans who see results like last nights and scream for blood, demanding to know why the team isn’t being funded but I have yet to hear , from one fan, a financial model that allows us to buy top class players, and play top class wages to our best talent AND play in the SPL.
    And until I do I’ll keep taking the blows and waiting for the winds of change.
    Oh and on one final point. Last night wasnt really about a lack of funding – Legia are very ordinary and in terms of talent we had them beaten all ends up man for man. Last night was a failure of tactics, or selection and player incompetence, Legia are not a good team.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 7:03 am

    I read than half of the above article, what I did read is how I have been feeling for many years now. Like you I have chosen my games these last few years it being very easy to get a seat in the ground. I have decided now not to go back this year and indeed not go back until some decent investment into the team. We have indeed gone back a long way. Sickened.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Good article, we are getting too much of moneyballs rather than moneyball from the board. Albeit I wonder why pre-season training wasn’t started earlier noting that most of the teams we could be drawn against are already into their league campaigns at this stage.

    Separately, criticism of board members is fine – but the use of zionist is less so – its open to too many interpretations.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Agree in general with your article except Ronny certainly should shoulder a lot of blame IMO.To start with a player who has had 2 starts in 9 months, just in the door with no knowledge of teammates in such a vital game shows he looks out of his depth.To then bring on a striker with 10 min to go instead of biton who could have kept possession was criminal given the fact if he had got out off there with a 2-1 would have been brilliant given the errors made.
    Unfortunately i fear this appointment is doomed already.
    PS James replace Ukraine with Kazakhstan.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Oh dear everything wrong with you and your club summed up in the first paragraph. Pure Sevco man blah blah blah.

    Told you lot on your daft Simpsons thread sell-tic are nothing more than a selling club for English lower league crap now.

    By the end of the window we’ll see a fire sale of players at sell-tic and you lot won’t be much better than an Aberdeen or Dundee utd. Rangers are coming to take back what is rightfully ours next season make my words.

    You lot also better pray you don’t face Miller and Boyd in one of the cups this season as well cause Craig (glass ankles) Gordon and the crap players you sign to replace VVD after the fire sale won’t have a chance.

    Have to say I’m glad people like you obsess over Rangers so much cause your just too stupid to see the downsizing going on at your own club as long as you foam at the mouth about who bought 20 shares in Rangers today.

    Call Rangers any daft name you want to cause two years from now you’ll be calling us champions.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Could’nt agree more. I wasn’t really surprised by last night’s shambles, after all we’ve seen it all before. I gave my season ticket up 4 seasons ago as I was just getting too frustrated with the all round poor fare being served up, frankly I have better things to do with my money. The sad thing is I don’t think I will ever be back at Celtic Park until/unless there are some big changes, and I suspect there are many like me.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Agree with everything except on the issue of the current manager. NO EXCUSE FOR PLAYING THAT PLAYER – that was hubris and stupidity and a gross underestimation of how high teams will raise their game in the CL when playing against Celtic. We still have legendary qualities when going to places like Warsaw and (even undr Lennon) very often get out fought and out thunk (sic) RD is now clearly tactically inept at any rate. Leggia are NOT a good team – analagous to St Johnstone with May up front – and only May. Spreading them out and keeping the ball away from them with players like Izzy (an international of some stature) and Grif and Stokes (both of whom) tend to run at defences is almost a no brainer. Bringing on Kayal ?? that assures you anopther yellow card, 15 or twenty wayward passes and additional confusion.
    Great article but if we must learn from the past then lets admit that finding inspiration in a managerial appointment like RD (and in some some respects Neil Lennon – remember Morton, Aberdeen, Juventus etc etc) will only let us down. This guy will be/is an immediate failure which will become chronic very quickly.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This was down to the manager. Never have I seen a Celtic side as unprepared.
    The worst thing is that I don;t believe we can win this tie.
    After Artmedia and Xamax I felt we were still in it but our players need great organisation to play well and on the evidence of the last 3 games Ronny doesn;t have those skills.
    Bombing your full-backs forward in an away tie in Europe is basic mistakes that few of the fans would have made, never mind the manager.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:21 am

    A very good, and highly emotive piece, James, followed by some very good comments.

    Following a football team, any football team, is highly emotive – probably more so Celtic with its history and origins.

    Running a business cannot, and must not, be emotion based – if that business is to be a going success. Whether we like it, or not, when the year-end accounts are compiled, audited, and filed with Companies House – they must be balanced.

    The above appraisals are all pretty spot-on, as to where we currently are. What has yet to be seen is any viable alternative for funding greater investment in the team. Some might suggest taking on debt, but I doubt this will work sufficiently. You need only look at Leeds Utd to see how unmitigated a disaster that proved for them. 20yrs in the wilderness…and counting…since their ‘risk management’ spectacularly imploded.

    Whilst actual figures haven’t been released, I estimate season ticket sales have fallen by 1/3rd since the full-house heydays. That would fund the salaries of 4 players per season on £40k/ week. Would that enable us to hold onto Forster (possibly, if he’s playing in Europe and in the England squad), or van Dijk (probably not, as he has eyes set elsewhere); or to have held on to Hooper (unlikely, as he was of the misguided opinion playing in the SPL was a barrier to his playing for England, when the harsher reality of his abilities is closer to the mark), or Wanyama (NO!).

    The vast amounts of money swirling around the cash-rich leagues in Europe is making it increasingly difficult for Celtic to operate at that level, let alone compete. And unless a financial model can be found that allows us greater team investment, without putting the club’s future at risk, then we need to accept the realities of where we now feature in European football. Which at the moment is wannabe also-rans.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I usually very much enjoy your writing James but all you seem to discuss are problems without offering any worthwhile solutions.

    We often mock the sevconians for their poor grasp of reality but you seem to be equally as guilty. Accepting the constraints of the market we currently subside in is not an acceptance of mediocrity but a realisation of the limitations our great club must operate under.

    How do you propose ‘we act like a genuinely big club’?
    What does that even mean to you? Does it mean we spend £30 million on a 19 year old left back like Manchester United? Or offer 33 year old Samuel Eto’o £100,000 a week like Chelsea?

    I would also love to hear your solution for gaining more market exposure for Celtic in North America and the Far East? The harsh reality of the situation is that a teenager in Shanghai is more likely to be a West Brom supporter than a Celtic supporter due to the fact that the English Premiership has such mass coverage and promotion.

    The difficult situation our clubs directors find themselves in is that to realise our ambitions of being a regular champions league club (and please do not be so fickle to suggest that the board do not share this ambition) we must operate under a different model than every other club at the top table. We must find talent that for whatever reason has been missed by the global reach of our competitors scouting network, nurture that talent to provide on field success, then sell on for a large profit to fund the process all over again. THIS IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN. To go out and spend £6million on a striker or offer our goalkeeper £50,000 a week is no more guarantee of success than our current business model.

    Your comments about not attending games to support our club until you see proper investment really doesn’t sit right with me either. With that in mind i’l sign off with this quote. Might give you some food for thought.

    “When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.”

    – Dennis Bergkamp

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Maybe if your support kept their eye on their own team then your slow slide to mediocrity would not have happened.
    You can even see this based on your recent articles. Half of them are about “Sevco” – I notice the tag still says Rangers. Maybe if your hatred wasn’t so strong, then your team might actually be a bit stronger.
    Move on, support your own team, stop the hatred. Maybe Scottish football would be a wee bit stronger.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Good article, agree with most but I also think that the post from ” STEVE’ had some good points, and until we find a different league with a lot better financial rewards CELTIC and LAWELL will continue on the course we are on regardless what the fanswant or expect, one thing that has cheered me up tho is reading the post by the dilutional sevco fan ,” Jim Smith” what a prick, CELTIC fans accept we are a selling club, and make millions and millions of profit in the process, this allows us to not only to dominate Scottish football but to also pay all our taxes, pay all our bills, pay any creditors on time and therefore keep OUR CLUB ALIVE with an UNBROKEN HISTORY and a bright future for generations to support, and Jim Smiths grandchildren will be amongst them..HAIL HAIL, KTF

  • 31 July, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Jim Smith you are a top man. On here displaying all the nous that we’ve come to expect from “ra peepul”.

    “I’m glad people like you obsess over Rangers so much”

    ….says a Rangers fan who hangs around Celtic sites posting comments on articles about Celtic games. Who exactly is the obsessed one?
    Look if I were you, rather than worry about who will be champions next year I think you should be back at the carpark with Bomber demanding to see the deeds., By the time big Wallace and the rest of Charlie’s puppets in the Hole in the Wall gang are done with their “sale and leaseback” arrangements and indulging in the folly of yet another equity issue you’ll be lucky if you can pay the heating down at Castle Greyskull. And you will need it nice and warm with the average age of your squad. A bad cold snap could finish off Kenny Miller and Jig McCulloch.
    As everyone knows , when a zombie goes down a second time, its game over.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’m a frequent reader,but infrequent poster,and normally find myself broadly in agreement with you,but on this occasion I agree completely with Greg Kelly’s comments.
    The Denis Bergkamp quote sums up what supporting Celtic is all about,in good times and bad.
    I too found the “Zionist” comment to be offensive.
    You’re better than that.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 11:12 am

    James, its all about opinions and while taking sides with you on th PL issue you are way of reality thinking that RD is the man to manage Celtic.
    For the avoidence of doubt this is an appointment that will rival thevery worst of the TONY MOWBARY era.
    If you have not seen his 3min 36 sec post match press conf in Warsaw last night you need to watch it, RABBIT IN THE HEADLIGHTS springs to mind.
    To enter a hostile arena and play 4-3-3 well we all knew what can happen …
    Play two right backs and leave your only lb on the bench….
    Give a start to a loan signing made 48 hours before….
    Play Commons up top with two recognised number 9s on the bench…
    In my opinion (and I am allowed one) RD is already in the process of losing the dressing room, I think he may not last the season….


  • 31 July, 2014 at 11:22 am

    First up, thanks to everyone who’s commented thus far, even those guys who are in some disagreement with me.

    Disagreement is healthy. A wee bit of constructive debate is good. It’s how I know we’ll never end up like the other mob.

    Speaking of the “other mob” I notice two old friends have popped up. “Steve” and “Jim Smith”. Whilst looking over my banned list of IP’s and email addresses last night, for those who come on here and post sectarian or racist stuff and those who indulge in the old “child abuse banter” I spotted that both have “previous” in there.

    Smith, in particular, thinks he’s some kind of intellectual but when you make points as facile and stupid as some of his you’re doing yourself no favours by continuing to post, and under normal circunstances I’d let him get on with it … but when he’s already got TWO seperate email addresses in the banned section I realise he’s already well past the point of redemption.

    These two are gone for good. Smith has now created four separate email identities to come and post on this site, and he can keep on creating them to his wee hearts content, but no more of his posts will be being published.

    And he says we are the one’s who are obsessed? Dear oh dear.

  • 31 July, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Totally confused by the display. At times – during the first half at 1:1 – we looked to pass the ball about like Barcelona with the exception that we still looked ‘clueless’. Certain players were abysmal, Ambrose looked like a Cliftonville reserve. Lustig, my favourite Celtic player, put in a 2/10 performance. Commons can’t hold on to a ball, continuously giving possession away – he wasn’t alone.

    Why were we so tired? No one single person can take the blame for the performance, they are all guilty. Off the field we all know that trying to make it to the CL group stages on the cheap is their ‘goal’.

    On and off the field we are a shambles. Even dreaming of a domestic treble would be folly at present.

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