The news delivered by Neil Lennon yesterday that Celtic can't agree a fee with Scott Brown's agent will come as no shock to anyone who, eh, listens to anything Neil Lennon says as he said the same in August. What it feels like now is that Celtic are softening up the supporters for a Brown departure but it would look like from where I am sitting that the most angst will be about getting no fee, not losing the player.
It all should have been so different. A dynamic attacking midfielder who has pace and could tackle is what we bought for £4.4m back in May 2007. The subsequent four years later we have saw very little of that again to the point where, even as Club Captain, fans rarely expect anything from Brown. There are lots of things levelled at Brown, some ridiculous it has to be said, but the three consistent things are that he cares more about playing for Scotland than Celtic, he plays on the hard man act too much and that his whole game is running about like a headless chicken.
The one lift in his relationship with the supporters was after his goal celebration at Ibrox, a good moment, but given the £5m he has taken from Celtic, very few see it as Value For Money.
For me Gordon Strachan coached a lot of good out of Scott Brown. As a consistent in centre midfield he had partner after partner put beside him despite all his best football coming in a midfield three at Hibs with Kevin Thomson and Michael Stewart. With Thomson going to The Huns the previous January, I advocated at the time that why not sign Stewart and see if it works? At that time though a lot of heads were in the clouds and Stewart was seen as the sort of player "Not Celtic class". Brian Clough always believed that you fitted a system around the players you had, didn't matter who they were.
So now, four and a half years later from signing, it looks like Scott Brown will be off in January, and that will only really be good for him, short term, and his agent, long term. It is easy to blame the agent in this but show me an agent who isn't in it for the money and I'll show you a liar or Jerry Maguire.
It all could have been so different but it won't be.