Why, Why, Why Deila?

1003851813I am getting this headline down before someone in the media beats me to it. They will use it at some point. They’ll not be able to resist. One friendly defeat, one reversal in however minor a game, and they’ll slap that one on the top of their papers without hesitation.

Well, second best to the bloggers as usual. We got here first.

(Thanks to Katt Turner for this one, as I was grateful to The Huddleboarders for their wee contribution to yesterdays!)

Why am I using it now? Because I don’t want this guy to make the first major mistake of his time at the club before his feet are even warm under his desk.

When you make an appointment like this, you want it to mean certain things. You want it to mean the club is charting a new path. The strategy we’ve pursued yes, probably the same, but the means of pursuing it, the method … different.

Different tactics ,different ideas, different ways of looking at and doing things. You want to see that, and you want the guy to demonstrate those intentions, and his independence, from the first day.

What you don’t want to see, what you never want to see, are key decisions being made for him … by people with no business doing so.

When Roy Keane was being touted for this job, I said that every reason I liked the idea and every reason I disliked it were the same. One of the things I liked best was that Keane would not accept any interference at all in how he did the job. I never believed he would be appointed because he and Lawwell would never have been able to work together in a million years, cause Keane would never let him poke his nose in and Lawwell would never be able to resist. I would rather someone put the Chief Executive back in his box, and told him to butt out … but the Keane Method would have started World War III within the walls, and I didn’t want that.

But Ronny Deila has just had his first taste of what Lawwell’s long nose is like, poking into corners where it plainly does not belong. We have a goalkeeper being put through his paces who was signed with no manager in the dressing room, and who is essentially being foisted onto this guy as “his first signing.” It’s nothing of the sort, for God’s sakes, and no matter how much they tried to drill Ronny Deila on how to answer that one, he didn’t convince me or anyone else when the question came up. Even our press pack, which is useless when it’s on its game and contemptible when it’s not, were about their business enough to suss this one out.

Everyone in the room knew that Ronny Deila wasn’t consulted about that “signing” and doesn’t have anything to do with it. He may be happy to go along with it, but that’s not the same thing and we all know it. It’s not his fault, but it should open his eyes.

Far more worrying, and far more blatant, is Lawwell’s attempt to pick the assistant manager. It is a step into territory on which he has no business, and no right. Deila has come in with his own ideas and his own plans. I would presume he’s worked with people he likes and respects, and if he chooses to appoint one of them as his number two – someone he trusts, instead of someone he hardly knows – then that’s his business, and his affair.

I hope to God he does not tolerate this blatant encroachment onto his turf.

Lawwell said “I think it needs someone who knows what Inverness is like and the trip up there at 12:15 on a Sunday … that I think, would be a big requirement of a number two. We need to really start the process.”

What business does he have to utter those words?

Why does our number two need to understand the complexities of a trip to Inverness on a Sunday? Isn’t it the same as a trip to Rosenborg on a Sunday? Is there some mythical quality to Scottish football that requires someone with “local knowledge”? John Collins is a part-time pundit who last managed a game here seven years ago … since then he’s spent some time in Belgium, was a Director of Football at Livingston and is now in a role at the SFA, as some kind of youth coach.

He has been away from the sharp end for a long time. What special quality does he possess that he should be shoehorned into this job?

His current role  is part of what bothers me. At Livingston he had a job that is basically designed to oversee that of the man in the manager’s office. Now he’s going to be the number two man in the football department? I think not. Would Collins be the manager’s man, or would he be the de-facto point man for the board? He has no prior relationship with Deila, and a new manager in a new country would certainly be forgiven for wanting to import his own praetorian guard. I think he should be allowed to get on with it.

Frankly, Lawwell’s comments are a disgrace because they are an effort to shoe-horn the manager into choosing someone from a list he had no part in drawing up, for reasons that I cannot fathom. Deila’s biggest challenge will come in Europe, not in Scotland. Neither Collins nor whoever else is on Lawwell’s magic list will be any better qualified to assist in that task than Ronny’s own people from Norway, and they trust him and he trusts them and I trust that more than I trust the idea that two men who’ve just met can form that kind of bond in five weeks.

The manager-assistant bond is fundamental, and sacred. The minute Mjallby decided to leave our club you knew there was a chance that Lennon would not be far behind him. When manager’s leave clubs it is no coincidence that their assistants tend to go too, because their services are rarely, if ever, retained by those who follow them.

No-one but the man in the manager’s office should be allowed to interfere with making that choice. Lawwell can coerce his way to the top of the SFA in his spare time as he likes. He can make his wee alliances with other clubs, court friends in the media that hates us and handpick his friends amongst the supporters to come over for tea and biscuits and sell them on the strategy all day and all night. He can make sly jokes about the shambles at Ibrox, whilst presiding over a strategy that has the achievements of the football club funding the business instead of the other way around … and he can do all of this, as he sees fit, and my only protest will be to stay away from Celtic Park until he’s packed up his pencils and gone.

Not a single one of us should accept his constant interference in the football side. When the manager wants a player to stay, it is the responsibility of the Chief Executive to offer that player a new deal. That Samaras was wanted by Lennon but refused a contract renegotiation by the Chief Executive is a shocker, and an indication of something I’ve been banging on about for a long, long time … and it’s this; Peter Lawwell’s job has grown beyond its parameters and it is high time someone reminded him what he’s actually meant to be doing.

We could all cite examples I’m sure. Signings that never were. Targets the manager identified that were never pursued. Players the managers wanted to keep, who were allowed to go or told they had to. We could spend all day and all night on the subject, but it’s all in the past and a new man is at the helm of the club – and the manager is the guy who runs the show.

That’s how it should be, and Lawwell has been allowed to ignore that for way too long.

I have applauded this appointment. I am delighted by it. Yet on the first day I am already disquieted because already the manager is being undermined and second guessed and forced into compromises that he should never have to make.

Why, Why, Why, Deila?

Do your first great service to this club, the first of many, and make it clear to the guy who sometimes thinks his office and yours are one in the same, that you are in charge of everything football related.

Pick your own number two. Take control of your own destiny.

Because mark my words … if you succeed, this guy will think it entitles him to half the credit. But if you fail, under conditions he’s set … brother, you will take the blame.

This is one of the biggest jobs in world football, and you are now a key player at the very top of the game.

Act like it from Day One. Take command.

We, the supporters, will be behind you all the way.

(Remember, On Fields of Green needs your support if we’re to grow. You can make a donation at the link, which is either at the top of the page or the bottom, depending on the smart gadget you’re using! Everyone who does so will get something back … we’re working on it at the moment!)

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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.

10 thoughts on “Why, Why, Why Deila?

  • 7 June, 2014 at 4:57 am

    I remember when another chairman Doug Ellis From Aston Villa many years ago sticking his oar into team selections and falling out with his managers many times, Peter Lawell is starting the same situation with our new manager Ronny Delia, This should not be allowed to happen and Ronny should not let it happen, A Chairman should remain in the background and let the team manager make the team selection that is why he is there and that is what he gets paid, If a chairman gets involved this can only lead to friction between Manager, Players and then supporters, We have got the best supporters in the land who shall back our manager to the hilt, But if things are not quite what they seem it shall be those same supporters who shall pick up on it, Then the players then the manager and guess who is next, Yes i am all for giving our new manager my 100% Backing, But if things start to go pear shaped in this deal, Hey the supporters shall turn on Peter Lawell and the board, Believe me your backsides shall all be toast, Our new man has to hit the ground running and by that I mean getting us through the champions League Qualifying Games and get us into the champions League proper, Nothing else but the Treble shall do this time around and no excuses by the new man or by the chairman shall make one bit of difference, The Celtic Support want and deserve the treble and if we get an added bonus by getting into the last 16 Of The Champions League and with with a little bit of luck we may get into the last 8 Of the champions League, You never say never i am always pessimistic, I just want the best for my club same as every other supporter up and down the country and worldwide, I want to wish our new manager every success now and looking forward to another new era that is beginning at Paradise, Look we are one of the highest clubs in world football, We have a stadium second to none, We are SPL 3 In a Row Champions, European Cup Champions 1967, We have got one of the biggest fan bases in world club football, We have got the biggest and the best supporters in the world today and we are not just supporters we are a family and we are passionate about our club and we only want what is best for everyone concerned and that is to be a success nothing more nothing less Sorry for going on but my heart is in this club and i even bleed green same as every other supporter, So C’mon The Hoops Hail Hail.

  • 7 June, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Can’t agree with you on this James. The days of the manager being in charge of everything have passed.

    Running a modern football requires a wide variety of skills.

    John Park is doing just fine in player recruitment.

    Although there has been the odd dud (Balde springs to mind) the numbers of terrific signings outweigh the mistakes.

    I’m certain Deila will be consulted about new signings but travelling the world looking for
    players is too time consuming.

    The manager’s main focus must be preparing the team for the next game, not globetrotting looking for players.

    I think the picture of Peter Lawwell as some sort of Bloefeld sitting in his office stroking his pussy
    (that could have been worded better!) and planning world domination is a gross exaggeration.

    I feel upbeat at Della’s appointment and think the club is on the right path.

    Looking forward to the new season.

  • 7 June, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Bang on James, Lawell had better butt out! We’ve shown vision here for the first time since appointing Jock Stein. Personally, I don’t want John Collins anywhere near our club, it smacks of jobs for the boys, he’s done nothing in the game to merit it. Ronny needs to be given a free rein on all matters football related. Big Peter should tread very carefully here because if his interference causes problems to Deila the support will never forgive him and I for one will not be back until he is gone. This appointment excites the hell out of me, handled the right way then who knows where it might lead us. Do not blow it Peter!

  • 7 June, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Mines one sugar and no milk Peter make sure you don’t spill it, hurry along now. 😉

  • 7 June, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I know where you are coming from but lets wait and see how things go. Im sure Deila will bring in his own men too.
    the way Celtic work now with the scouting system is that players are signed if they are young and talented and the manager doesn’t always have a say in it. Is this a good or a bad thing? A bit of both probably but in sure Deila has been told and is happy to work this way as one of his strength’s is improving young players .
    im really happy with his appointment and now is not the time for negatively but optimism .

  • 7 June, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I don’t have a beef about signing Craig Gordon. We’re going to lose one international keeper for big bucks and getting another for nothing in a deal which probably has to be done quickly or someone else will step in. There’s nothing to lose and possibly an awful lot to gain. But John Collins? No thanks. Let Ronny pick his own man.

  • 7 June, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Well he talks a good game lets see if he can back it up, apparently he has done very well in Norway so I hope he can improve our team.

  • 7 June, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Av been asleep. Have we signed Craig Gordon?

  • 7 June, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I don’t want anyone that shat on my club anywhere near. Are you listening Collins.

  • 9 June, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Good piece James though I think Ronny will be picking his own no2. Big Peter should stick to the business side of things. I really like how Ronny conducts himself he seems an intelligent guy so im quietly confident his rein will be successful. On the Craig Gordon signing I’d try get him on an pay as you play deal. Low risk high reward imo. HH

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