Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I'm old enough to remember and to have attended the Neuchatal Xamax games in 1991. Liam Brady decided, in his wisdom, to go with a back three in Switzerland that badly exposed a defence that was already shakier than a Frank De Boer coat peg and we were battered 5-1. European football was changing then. We just didn't know it. Most fans expected us to still turn the tie around at Celtic Park, despite a reduced capacity, and hope sprung eternal when we were awarded a first minute penalty. Charlie Nicholas sent the penalty sky high and brought us back down earth with a bang.
Last night was always coming. From 2001, when we first took part in the group stages of the Champions League, every year since the gap has got a little bigger. Barcelona in 2012 was probably our last strong punch in a tournament that now belongs Oil teams and Oligarchs. I was in Dubai in the summer of 2015 and saw first hand the wealth behind a lot of these teams. This isn't a different ball game, this is a different sport.
There was a clamour to buy a centre half before the deadline but in reality who would have made a difference last night? John Stones at 49m? Virgil Van Dijk at 80? This was a team that cost almost a billion euros to assemble. They are about join Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the elite of world football. (Fucking incredible we get two of them in our group) And by elite, I mean they can and will leave everyone else eating their dust, including the chronically boring EPL.
We've have seen Celtic lose six and seven in Barcelona and now five last night to PSG. Whilst it still majorly hurts, there is really very little we can do about it as long as we play in Scotland. That's a reality that every supporter needs to get in check. I'm not advocating a move to the EPL, I'm not for that at all, just trying to meet the new boss, who may well be the same as the old boss, it's just now he has Emirates or Qatar on his shirt.
I wouldn't want Celtic to sell out to the oil barons. I love our identity, I love our supporters (apart from maybe that one Bam last night) and I love that fact that we have guys like Tony Ralston coming through the ranks and already fighting for the jersey. I guess you could say I'm an idealist or a romantic (or maybe just plain daft) but I think games like last night are the price I need to pay to retain all that.
It was also still better than that night in Switzerland.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
I've wanted to blog a few times this week but was stopped by those who slaughter "Bloggers" yet claim to hate the MSM. (Sarcasm, come on in) Right now we are getting to the heart of the battle to save Scottish football.
On one side there are the supporters who paid into a rigged game, Celtic FC, The SPFL Board(bar one dope) and a few people within the game who want an inquiry but fear the same treatment that Ally McCoist ensured Eric Drysdale and his family got back in 2012. There's also the sad reality that at least four clubs in the top flight of the SPFL live in hand to mouth and put money above pretty much everything (especially when it comes to spending it)
On the other side is The SFA, The MSM, Sevco, Fans of Rangers(IL) and Sevco, various bigots who run football clubs and all being led by Daryl Broadfoot (Not now officially employed by The SFA but on a retainer from The SFA) who has been tasked with firefighting this thing for The SFA (Probably should mention Chris McLaughlin here who, although banned from Ibrox and not paid by The SFA, is doing his level best to ensure there is no inquiry and is praying for a total whitewash and lifting of his ban from Ibrox)
Let's deal with this nonsense that fans are "sick of all this". You would only be sick of this if you had a vested interest in there not being transparency in Scottish football so who gives a flying fuck what they think? Propping up a corrupt game makes you as culpable as those who corrupt it every day so you can spare us the crocodile tears. I know it is irking certain parts of the media gravy train that this isn't going away but if they had done their job properly, we wouldn't be here now.
I've listened with interest as Daryl Broadfoot has attempted to build his profile again and wondered why? On a good earner from the SFA and part of his new PR company it may seem that he has played a blinder and to a certain extent he has but don't be fooled by his jokey demeanour on Sportsound. He is working every day to ensure no transparency in Scottish football. And you can be damn sure he has a vested interested in that.
Stewart Regan is a man who just wants this drawn out as long as possible. Of course he is highly culpable in this sham but he is also acutely aware he is in a job with a salary and profile that he will never get anywhere else so the longer this goes on, the happier he is.
And what of Celtic? I've known for a long time that Celtic have been all over this. I've told people this when they have asked me and was usually met with scorn. I can understand the scepticism in the same way that I can understand Celtic not making every utterance public. Celtic, internally, can drive me mad at times but I've said it before and I'll say it again, Celtic want this as much as we all do. They play a long game and try to be measured (sometimes too much in my view) but ultimately the statement on Saturday was clear and concise as to the position.
The question is: So what now? Sadly, I've never believed any fan-led movement will bring the change we want in Scottish football. Because the only thing clubs would act on is a long boycott of their grounds and that's never going to happen. This has to come from within the game and I was delighted to see Celtic vocalise that. This is not a Celtic v Rangers (IL) thing though, This is a justice thing and a few folk would do well to remember that.