Sevco Losing Allan Is A Failure On Every Level

allan-e1439471240976-660x496I don’t have to tell anyone in Celtic cyberspace how I feel about the impending Scott Allan transfer to Celtic. My comments on it, over various blogs, do that well enough.

I never believed this deal would come to pass.

I never believed he was good enough to sign for us.

I never believed he would fit into an already overcrowded midfield.

It looks like I’ve been proved wrong about the first bit, hope to be proved wrong about the second and realise that with so many games coming up in the near future that there is some surface sense in having him.

From the moment he signs, Scott Allan will receive my absolute and unquestioning support.

He’ll have made an enormous personal decision, signed for the biggest club in the country, set himself up for all kind of abuse from across town and faces the toughest task of any player in the land, to break into a midfield that is loaded down with top class players.

The mental strength that suggests is enormous.

That bodes well if nothing else does.

If his footballing skills develop in the way he’s matured psychologically this may yet prove to be the steal of the summer.

Time and time alone will tell.

Scott Allan, welcome to Parkhead.

You will never regret making this choice.

As unusual as this deal is for Celtic, I do not believe for one second that it’s been done for the purposes of upsetting Sevconia.

We simply don’t operate like that.

We certainly would not devote resources to something so inane.

This deal obviously fits in to a larger plan, and I have to trust Ronny Deila on that score, and I do.

Allan is clearly buying into that, as Ciftci did, and as young Kieran Tierney just did by signing a brand new four year deal, and praising the manager fulsomely.

Something important – perhaps something very special – is happening at Celtic Park and the texture of it is only now becoming apparent.

The club is moving forward at a brisk old pace, and the future looks brighter than it has in some time.

That’s where the Allan deal clearly fits into a bigger picture, and a long term plan.

This has its mirror image in what this deal means for the club across the city, and that, in the short term at least, might prove to be just as important, and perhaps more so.

Because Scott Allan’s decision is a clear repudiation of the whole Ibrox strategy, from top to bottom.

It is a quite stunning – and I don’t use that term lightly – vote of No Confidence in the club, in its management team, in its board of directors and its short to medium term future.

It can be looked at no other way.

No amount of spin will transform this into anything other than a colossal snub, and the ramifications of it are enormous no matter how much certain people start to backpedal and change the narrative to suit themselves and their agenda.

Scott Allan is a self-confessed Sevco supporter.

He wanted to play for the club that rose from the ashes of his boyhood heroes.

He handed in a transfer request to that effect when the club’s bid for him was rejected.

There is no question about any of that.

That Scott Allan is not currently being paraded inside Ibrox, but has wound up instead at Celtic Park, is a harsher verdict on the current Sevco regime than anything else I could have written or imagined at the start of the summer.

If you’re a manager who wants a talented footballer you couldn’t ask for more than this scenario presented to Mark Warburton.

It was a slam dunk. Or it should have been.

Hibs, forced to play another season in the second tier, couldn’t afford to turn down a decent offer for any of their players.

As a supporter of the Ibrox club Allan’s willingness to sign wasn’t in doubt.

He has one year of his contract left, which always makes the team he’s playing for vulnerable to losing him for free.

Hibs would not have resisted a decent bid.

They couldn’t have.

Their fans would have understood, and the club could have re-invested some of the money.

Hibs’ reaction to this saga didn’t emerge simply out a desire not to see their best player end up in the hands of a rival team.

These things happen in football.

Liverpool sold Sterling to Man City during this window, and most notably St Mirren sold their most promising player to Hibs themselves.

It’s not like there is no precedent for such a move.

Dundee Utd didn’t like it when Celtic came in for two of their top stars last season, with a cup semi final in front of them against our own club.

They simply bowed to the inevitable market forces; we made an offer they couldn’t refuse, the deals were done and that was it.

They made the same choice this summer when we made our offer for Nadir Ciftci.

Had Sevco made a half decent offer in the first place, one that gave Hibs a genuine decision to make, Scott Allan would be their player.

I know that for a fact.

Their manager wanted him.

He made his position on it clear enough, and not only once.

Stubbs, in fact, was angry at the repeated attempts from Ibrox to make the player aware of their interest, even going as far as to slate “the ambassadors of Rangers”, as he called them, who were doing the club’s work through the press.

And that, you see, was part of the problem here.

Sevco opened this saga up with an offer that was frankly offensive.

I’ve heard from good sources just how ridiculous that offer was.

Hibs treated it with contempt, and it deserved that contempt.

I’ve also heard they didn’t, at that point, decide they weren’t prepared to do business with the Ibrox side.

Actually, they pretty much told them to “get serious” if they were making a second offer.

In other words, although Sevco weren’t presented with a hard number they had a fair idea what Hibs believed Allan was worth.

They knew what they had to do.

The first failure is on the part of the Sevco board.

For all the grandiose promises about spending “whatever it took”, they were unable to put together a financial package which Hibs found acceptable; and I’ve been told that would have been as little as £600,000 had they made that their initial approach, and that £750,000 would have been enough to secure the player even after the insulting opening bid.

King couldn’t find that sum.

A sum Celtic’s directors would consider a bargain basement price for a footballer their scouts rated.

Questions ought to be asked as to why King and his people were unable to complete this deal long before it became a standoff.

This site has suggested it’s because he can’t.

He doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to make this thing work.

This doesn’t confirm that our assertion is right, but King and his board could have gone a very long way to proving all the doubters wrong.

This guy is yet to show the colour of his money, and as a consequence of these delays and making excuses the player who was their highest rated transfer target of the window – a player one Sevco fan site said had the “wow” factor no signing they’ve made in the last three years has been able to muster- has ended up at Parkhead.

Aside from being a boardroom failure, this is also a PR calamity.

I’ve been following Phil’s story on what the Sevco board members are drawing out of the club, whether in their “directors” guise or in other job titles, with a lot of interest, but although it’s a fun story I’m actually just as interested in how much they are spending on outside public relations, helping to put a brand new dining wing on Casa De Traynor.

It can’t be inexpensive.

In the last few weeks, Level5 PR have been very busy on their behalf, doing all manner of work helping to generate season ticket sales.

But they’ve also been busy helping push pieces around the board in regards to the Scott Allan transfer.

Their fingerprints are all over some of the stories about this, and some of the people who have come out to suggest that Allan’s move to Sevco was inevitable have long standing links to the people at Level5, including Traynor himself.

It’s hard to think of a more offensive way of securing a players services than those operating on the club’s behalf have pursued here.

The first offer was bad enough, but Sevco then leaked it to the press that they had made a second offer, and from then on they started to pressure Hibs through the media, in the hope of making them crack.

It was this that led to Dempster and Stubbs rejecting the second bid and making it clear they would not welcome a third.

Yet even then, they would probably have been amendable to a serious offer.

Sevco continued to try and destabilise them and force the issue instead.

This is how King and his board do things, and they knew full well that it’s the strategy their PR company would pursue.

When the PR campaign kept on, relentlessly, pushing the player into handing in a formal transfer request, the Hibs manager’s patience snapped.

From what I can gather that was the point where he went to the board.

He told them it was a resignation issue.

The board did not even try to argue the point; they, in fact, were equally incensed and were only too happy to issue, collectively, the game-changing statement that they would not, under any circumstances, sell Allan to the Ibrox club.

Thus the PR campaign to destabilise the player’s relationship with Hibs and force the Easter Road side into a deal was disastrous and self-harming from start to finish.

The very public nature of it has made it impossible for the club to now claim Allan was not their key target, and it was a contributing factor in Hibs making the approach to our club for a cash plus players swap.

Hibs clearly relished the opportunity to throw a grenade into the Ibrox dressing room.

Sevco gave them every incentive to play Gutterball.

In short, it was Sevco’s own PR bandwagon that pushed Hibs to offer Scott Allan, on very favourable terms, to the team at Celtic Park and it was always likely that once he started down that road that he’d be wearing the colours of our club.

Forget all this “aye but he’s a Rangers man” nonsense the press has been spoon-feeding their fans.

This is another example of the media telling them only what they want to hear.

There is ample historical precedent for players from their background crossing the divide.

The lure of Ibrox didn’t matter to King Kenny.

It didn’t stop Danny McGrain.

It had no impact on Scott Brown’s ultimate destination and it was never going to matter here.

In fact, this ought to have been made clear to the Sevco PR department just from looking at Scott Allan’s own career history thus far.

He has had two previous chances to sign for the Ibrox club, and he spurned both of them.

Although Celtic sought private assurances that he was willing to sign for us before we made a formal offer, it was never really in doubt that he would snub the club he grew up supporting for a third time if he believed it would be to the betterment of his career.

Scott Allan has a healthy streak of self-interest that will serve him well from now until he hangs up his boots.

Without question, the means by which Sevco pursued the player have been a contributing factor in the journey that has ended with the inevitability of his taking a bow on the hallowed turf of Paradise.

If this is the kind of PR “expertise” they are paying for I hope they continue with it.

Long may they utilise the services of such eminent and highly skilled “professionals.”

Third and finally, this is a failure of vision.

Scott Allan’s friendships with a number of Sevco players are a well-known, highly publicised fact.

A lot of PR fluff has been in the press recently about how everyone at Ibrox is buying in to the “Warburton Revolution.”

But when you’re part of something, on the inside of it, you pretty much have to say that, don’t you?

Scott Allan will have heard all about it from his friends inside the club.

They will have had a chance to sell him on a vision of the future there.

It might even be that some of the Sevco backroom team have talked to him in private – I am not alleging that, mind you, but simply saying it’s possible.

It’s clear enough that Allan could have simply waited until December and then opened talks with the Ibrox side, with a view to moving there in the summer.

So why didn’t he?

If Scott Allan believed that Sevco were on their way to the Promised Land of King’s every press release – playing in the top flight, challenging Celtic, competing, eventually, in the Champions League and being paid well for the privilege – well that becomes a no brainer.

Who, from such a background, wouldn’t want to be part of that?

The trouble is … you do have to believe in it.

And clearly, Allan doesn’t.

The big picture didn’t appeal to him, even with the guarantee of being a first eleven starter week in week out.

Even without talking to the club directly, Allan clearly doesn’t get the sense that they’re going anywhere.

He’s doubtless done a lot of soul searching over this one, and just isn’t convinced.

Which means he’s smart as well as self-aware, because for all the bravado and ebullience of the Sevco supporters theirs is still a club deep in crisis off the park, and one which as yet only won a handful of games on it.

Warburton has already had a pop at Allan for this decision, telling the press that “we only want players who want to play here.”

That’s the worst comeback, the worst excuse making, I’ve ever heard.

When the guy hands in a transfer request to get a move to your club that’s pretty definitive proof that he wants to sign for you.

But when your club messes about, when it fails to make a reasonable offer, when it engages in the kind of activity that can only be described as amateurish and offensive, even a die-hard will think twice.

How do you think Allan feels, knowing how little the Ibrox club was willing and able to offer for him?

Talking about being disillusioned.

This isn’t a problem with Scott Allan.

It’s a problem at Ibrox, and that Warburton was allowed to get away with that nonsense today is proof, as if we needed it, that the media here isn’t fit for purpose.

Serious questions arise from this, about Sevco’s lack of a long term strategy.

This ought to have been an early sign of ambition, a triumphant demonstration of Dave King’s determination to create a football team that could actually achieve some of his stated goals.

Instead it is a humiliation.

It is a reminder of just how far ahead of them we actually are, on the park and off it.

We’re in another league, in more ways than one.

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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.

18 thoughts on “Sevco Losing Allan Is A Failure On Every Level

  • 14 August, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    scott fallen is like you a prick

  • 14 August, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Good article, and I agree it is a brave and positive decision by Scott Allan. I have heard some people ask how Allan is going to fit in to the midfield with so many quality players there already? I am well aware that it is still early and players are still finding full fitness and sharpness but having watched Armstrong, Mackay Steven and even Johansen in the games so far I have been a bit disappointed. Competition for places is a great thing and Allan’s arrival may give some of these players a jolt. I also think he looks like a younger Kris Commons who can creat opportunities
    and wish the lad well. He will be welcomed by the support the way countless others before him have, many Celtic legends grew up as supporters of other clubs, it makes no difference when they pull on the hoops.

  • 14 August, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I feel your pain.

    And it is as delicious as ever.

    Keep pouring it out. I’ll keep drinking it up.

  • 14 August, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Remember ger the lying king said”whatever it takes”now away back in to where you came from like a good boy……………

  • 14 August, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Unlike some backward thinking followers of certain bigoted clubs (dead and reanimated) Celtic fans don\’t care about player religion or what clubs they support – only that they wear the hoops with pride! Scott – welcome to Celtic!

  • 15 August, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Have read your thoughts as you say are well documented on here and well made, Scott Allan has been brought in to augment the massive changes that are taking place within the squad in my opinion having never seen the lad i only feel we should support RD in his ideas to take forward.

  • 15 August, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Players come and go, some don’t make it, some do and some become legends. RD is reshaping Celtic and I believe that good players will get their chance. It’s now up to the player to show how good he is. Let’s hope he is!

  • 15 August, 2015 at 9:56 am

    naw, scott who? need a decent striker and most of all a decent full back emilio done.

  • 15 August, 2015 at 9:58 am

    GER – you need to chill out a wee bit, mate!!..
    Try listening to some music to calm you down. Here’s a wee playlist for you, to soothe your furrowed brow:


    I’m sure there are many others, but you get my drift… At least I never suggested Sydney Devine singing Tiny Bubbles!!

    Now, away into your kitchen and make yourself a wee cup of tea and some toast. I hear WARBURTON comes highly recommended!!!

  • 15 August, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Is Liam Henderson going to be one of these players who seems perpetually on loan? Some Celtic, ahem, players, should never be let back in but Henderson showed himself under Lennon he is a promising player. I rate him more than Allan, who has only shown class against diddy teams that finish third in the second tier.

  • 15 August, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Mr ger is not happy…….GOOD.may he keep being unhappy.Great to be a TIM HH coy big. ..

  • 15 August, 2015 at 5:42 pm


    Re: “Teardrops” … indeed, you could say Sevco’s teardrop exploded. 😉

  • 15 August, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    The TRFC fans are as usual firing their blank bullets wrongly at their perceived enemies . CFC HFC and the boy himself .
    The criminals here are of course McCoist who had him for nothing and oversaw him snubbing them , Traynor who has cocked thie whole management of this PR attack on Hibs massively King who promised mega spending and has delivered fe@@ all ,their board whose strategy on this siigning has been as James says calamitous and of course the TRFC supporting and infested media
    The fans should be going mental at these 5 sets of balloons but NO it is the others..just as it has been since 2012 they just can’t get it that the Screw up was from INSIDE the building chaps ..
    think about It …if they had played the long game smart if they had not bid and kept quiet they could have had him for nothing in January ..instead they they needed the oxygen of cash ..wound up the Fans for ST sales and royally pissed off a probably reasonably amenable HIBS who then brought the big dog into play and then there was only one winner.
    In the art of war only pick fights you can win
    right now the King regime wil NEVER win a player signing battle versus CFC ever .they need to stay Shtumm and keep signings out of the media until complete
    .oh and BTW if they only had backed Ashley .instard of King .I am sure he would relish a fight with DD and PL on signings ..but that is another story altogether

  • 16 August, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Steven you missed BROKEN and THE HURTING by TEARS FOR BEARS

  • 16 August, 2015 at 11:01 am

    GER…. your probably doing this deliberately to court reaction but when your obviously just out of loyalist high school, when your immediate reaction is to lash out at anything that moves, when you can\’t string a coherent sentence together, GET A JOB WITH LEVEL 5 you knuckle dragging flute playing neanderthal

  • 16 August, 2015 at 11:02 am

    GER…. your probably doing this deliberately to court reaction but when your obviously just out of loyalist high school, when your immediate reaction is to lash out at anything that moves, when you can’t string a coherent sentence together, GET A JOB WITH LEVEL 5 you knuckle dragging flute playing neanderthal

  • 19 August, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Hey james, as usual a quality piece with many excellent points. I hadn’t seen a lot of Scott Allan until recently and i like Ronny’s recent positive comments about the bhoy. He is in the mould of Broonie in a number of ways and I hope he progresses to the first team soon. Another good thing on that transfer is it actually gives 3 Scottish players a challenge and opportunity to progress inc Allan. It’s definitely a positive for Celtic, Hibs and Scotland.

    The rangers fans wont see it as a prob that the board should have handled better cos it’s easier to blame Allan and that really typifies their fans mentality.

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