Wednesday, August 14, 2019

When history was made



Tuesday night was probably the most surreal game I've seen at Celtic Park since the Partizan Belgrade game 30 years ago. Back then, the club was falling apart but most of us were too blind to see. I distinctly remember Not The View being one of the few places that was saying things were going badly wrong behind the scenes and something would have to be done. It took a long time before the fans, as a collective, did something about the abyss Celtic were heading to but the rumblings started around September 1989 when we were knocked out of Europe and the league cup in a matter of weeks.


They would go on for five years until things finally got better.


It's not really a comparison in today's terms but I did think of Jacki as I watched Edouard score one and set up two on Tuesday. He, like Jacki, walked off a beaten man and must have wondered why. Defensively, just like 30 years ago, we were an absolute shambles. The warm up saw just three defenders do it in front of the fans in the usual corner and I'm still not convinced that McGregor was initially going to play left back in the traditional sense. Quite frankly, to line up as we did against a team who like to bypass the midfield was utterly mind-boggling. Cluj probably could not believe their luck especially when we essentially gifted them four goals.


What worries me most is a performance like this has been coming. Bolingoli has failed to convince so far and Julien looked like he had a sack of tatties on his back on Saturday at Fir Park. It's very early but it's clear the manager, who didn't sign either, doesn't trust either. Add in that Scott Bain has been wobbling for months now, you have to wonder what exactly is the recruitment process at Celtic. Bolingoli was recommended by Shaun Maloney whereas Julien was recommended to John Kennedy. Anyone within the club will tell you that, since Brendan Rodgers left, Kennedy's power and say has increased immensely.


What of the manager? I made no bones about it at the time that whilst I love the guy, I did not want him back. The timing of his announcement was amateur hour and designed to eek out the news at a time when most of us were ordering another treble.


As for the top of the club, I've pretty much said all I need to throughout the years. The debate around Peter Lawwell has become more entrenched than the Brexit debate and the only thing that seems consistent around it for me is whenever I criticise him on Twitter, accounts appear slagging me personally and it gets ridiculous.


Despite winning the last nine trophies, I think the club has been adrift since at least the time Brendan Rodgers walked out (Something that, to this day, the fans blame him entirely for and, whilst he's not blameless, I'm positive fans will realise there is a lot more to that story in due course) and there is, as usual, no long-term plan. Our scouting network is an absolute shambles, our temporary director of football has made little positive impact and we have gone back to the pre-Rodgers days of non-football men having a huge say on who we sign.


If there is one thing Celtic excel at it's not building from positions of strength. 18 months before Partizan Belgrade, we completed a Centenary double and spoke about the history we made.


I sincerely hope that, 18 months from now, we are still making history.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The best things in life are free


As the dust settles on another big sale from the club, minds turn to tonight, Cluj and European progress. I'll be the first to admit that European football, at this time of the year, infuriates me, The mere notion we need to play eight games just to qualify makes a mockery of the "Champions" League. A fair system would see league winners go right in and the also rans have to fight it out in the qualifiers. However, this is football and there's very little fair about it.

I remember being pulled up years ago when we drew Liverpool in the UEFA Cup because I came out with this sentence "And we will make a fortune from these games" To which a mate of mine said "so fucking what?" and he was right. Nowadays, if you tweeted that sentence you'd get more likes than a Kim Kardashian butt shot.

The two words that seem to swamp everything in football now are "profit" and "loss". After the sale of Tierney, Celtic announced the Dunfermline game would be £15 for season ticket holders. Ok, not a lot of money in 2019 but a lot when you consider a season ticket, three strips, a festival and three European games you have to pay for, all in the last two months. I wonder if anyone at Celtic had the thought "Maybe we should cover the costs of this game as a thank you to the fans?" I highly doubt it.

The other aspect of the profit and loss game is the £25m up front we got for Tierney. In my opinion, that's way undervalued. But then, if Celtic were to be believed, Tierney was set on leaving and nothing was going to stop him getting away. In that position, £25m up front is probably quite good. It shocked fans that he would want to move before having a crack at nine and ten but I think we all now know, players don't think like fans no matter what they tell you.

Well, with a couple of exceptions perhaps.

Scott Brown has had numerous offers to leave Celtic and turned down them all. He almost went to Australia in the winter but the lure of his legacy was too strong. Then there is James Forrest, a player with a trophy cabinet bigger than most folk's houses, he's continually expressed his love for Celtic, his desire to be a one club man and constantly espoused how wonderful it is to be a Celtic player. Yet some supporters would walk over hot coals before they would praise him for anything.

It is quite amazing given his contribution to the club that still some feel the need to be won over by him. The reality is, since is debut against Motherwell in May 2010, his contribution to the club has been immense and his next contract will not only ensure his one club man status but a testimonial as well.

Whilst that might make you feel old, it should make you feel proud.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Throwing the book at you

I've written (counting my new one) 14 books. Of those 14 books, three sold a lot more than the other ones did that's for sure. To the point where, I still make money from a book that was out six years ago now. The others tick over as well but enough is enough. One of the things I've tried to do, behind the scenes, is get these books in libraries. That's been tough and I've faced the usual barriers that I get with almost everything I do in Scotland, so I am taking matters into my own hands.


I've now set the prices of The Asterisk Years, Anyone but Celtic and Armageddon at the minimum list price for all three.


You can purchase the paperbacks here


The Asterisk Years


Anyone but Celtic


Armageddon


Or if Kindle is your thing, you can check there and you'll see the prices for all three books vastly reduced there as well.


I already put the three films up for free here


It's now time to let them all go and push forward with new ideas and projects.


See you soon.
Paul