Whilst I am not a huge fan of the "Champions" League, the two games last week were absolutely incredible spectacles. Following on from that, Arsenal and Chelsea ensured that we, in Scotland, are in for a few weeks of more English propaganda than even Nigel Farage could produce (and who can blame them?)
As much as that will irk me, the big picture of the way European football, and football in general, is going worries me a hell of a lot more. We have seen in recent seasons how far Celtic are away from the European elite. The terrible time we have endured recently, losing two of our legends, served to remind us of where we once were and where we are now. (It also confirms that there is no bigger triumph in football history than Celtic winning in Lisbon but that's another story)
This comes as we hear that plans are afoot from UEFA to pull the ladder up for good and create a kind of European Super League akin to the NFL, with select teams, from 2024. It would mean eight-team groups and a narrow entry path for small leagues with 24 clubs having places protected regardless of their domestic performance and four Europa League semi-finalists would qualify plus four domestic champions and be the pre-cursor to the eventual cutting off of everyone not funded by oil, nation states or multi-billionaires (I know Dermot Desmond is the latter but we are hardly funded by him)
So, where does it leave the rest of us? Well, we, like the likes of Ajax, would be out in the wilderness. You only have to look at the "title race" in England to see where the game is. There were no twists, no turns, just two teams winning every week right to the end because they are miles better than anyone else. Watching Man City's fans in particular clap their way through the season adds to the emotionless generation of fans engulfing certain teams who just buy leagues and then we get propagandised to believe that it's an incredible achievement for a team full of world class players to win a league.
And so to Celtic, big picture, we are in a mess. An incredible thing to say as we chase the Treble Treble but the dross we face most weeks in the SPFL is a huge part of that. The standard now in Scotland just gets worse and worse with very little changing as long as the silly wee men run the SFA. I said to anyone who would listen that Celtic hung by a Brendan Rodgers thread and the cracks are now showing everywhere. The top of the club is stale and needs a fresh injection of dynamism for us to progress, I've said it before but we, as season ticket holders, are taken for granted by people who left the real world a long time ago. Their world is of corporate access, car parking spaces and crappy lanyards whilst the rest of us look in from below and wonder what the fuck is going on. Celtic need a new manager, a lot of new players and a hell of a clear out throughout the club. Increasingly, folk who have gone for years feel the club is moving further away from them and that's worrying. There's a culture at Celtic which effectively thinks that they have the hardcore support sewn up so everything that is done by the club is done to attract those who spend more time online than at a game.
So, what happens now? As the elite sail off into the sunset, we need to ensure that the dream of 10 in a row doesn't. We also need a long-term vision from a club that should have gone to Specsavers years ago because all our arselicking of UEFA has gotten us nowhere and whilst plenty at the club have full passports, the fans could soon be doing without them.