Today Michael Gannon of The Sunday Mail turned in a column that reeked like a three day old corpse, and, of course, the paper published it in full.
It was unfunny. It was pretentious. It mocked the national sport he gets paid to cover. It was anti-Celtic, of course. It was also poorly researched, ignorant, intellectually incoherent and rambling. It was, in short, the sort of thing you’d expect to read in second rate club fanzines rather than in national newspapers.
It’s one of the worst “opinion pieces” I’ve ever read.
The long and short of it was that Celtic’s Champions League window is closing because of what some members of the European Club Association are talking about. I’ve already written about their other big “story” today, that Sevco are “coming to the rescue” to save Scottish football from these proposals, an idea I find to be laughable.
Let’s look at Gannon’s article though.
There is so much wrong with his hypothesis that it’s difficult to know where to start.
But let’s start here; the ECA is a collection of clubs, not just a handful at the top. Its bigger clubs might want a larger slice of the cake, but they don’t have enough votes, on their own, to get their changes passed, even within the organisation itself.
If they do manage to get over that hurdle they face even bigger problems having their changes translated into policy at UEFA, who will, rightly, see them as the efforts of a cartel and resist them until the cows come home.
Gannon, with the kind of insouciance that can only be the hallmark of someone truly ignorant of any facts at all, doesn’t even try to square those circles; he just ignores them. He talks about the “big clubs” deciding they can “go it alone” without, for one second, telling us how that’ll happen.
Go alone from who?
Oh from UEFA, you mean?
How would that work, then?
Answer; it wouldn’t.
Because the technical, legal, financial and administrative obstacles to that are so enormous as to be virtually unquantifiable. For a start, those clubs would have to square it with their national associations. To withdraw from UEFA isn’t something they could do in a vacuum, their associations would have to leave with them, and whether they let their clubs go or left themselves, in either scenario there’d be enormous consequences.
For openers, they’d find their national teams banned from competing in UEFA and FIFA tournaments.
So there goes the European Championships and the World Cup for England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and others.
Is that going to happen?
Absolutely, unequivocally, no it is not.
Gannon is howling at the moon, too stupid to even do the most basic thinking past “Oh that’ll make a good headline and a wee dig at Celtic.”
The “European Super League” idea is a pipe dream people have been talking about for thirty odd years.
You know why it hasn’t happened yet?
You know why the clubs settled for the expansion of the Champions League and Europa League competitions?
It’s because the only way it happens is if it has the UEFA stamp of approval on it, and as our media found out four years ago it doesn’t matter what a handful of clubs is in favour of; football isn’t run by a small group for their benefit but for the greater good of the whole.
You don’t just railroad other people, you have to win their support or any change you want to see dies on the vine.
There are people in our sport, at every level, who do care about more than just a handful of teams, which is why the Champions League regulations have been changed to let more sides from the smaller countries reach the Group Stages.
Gannon says this has made watching the Champions League akin to “watching paint dry.”
I’m awful sorry his Tuesday and Wednesday nights are not as enjoyable as he’d like.
Is there anything else we can do to make them better? Alter the laws of gravity, maybe?
That’s not a compelling argument for changing the format of the two biggest competitions in club football.
Not content with his sense of entitlement, or getting his facts entirely wrong, he then turns the piece into an anti-Celtic attack with an idiotic Valentine’s Day analogy that would have had David Brent hiding under the bed with embarrassment.
Forget that it’s a thematic mess, Sophistry For Dummies; this is a publication that needs to get its story straight, and pronto.
They’ve spent months calling Ronny Deila a failure for not getting to the Champions League.
The same paper has repeatedly said our squad should have been good enough to get there for the past two years and that this forms Exhibit A of the case against the manager.
I agree with that.
Ronny had enough at his disposal to get us through those ties, or at least, in the case of Legia, to have made a better fist of trying.
You could make excuses for the first year failures, if you were of a mind to, but certainly not this season’s.
But that argument has coherence because I don’t change it like the weather, to suit the circumstances or the article I’m trying to write.
Gannon is now suggesting that it’s Celtic itself, the club, and our “place” in the pecking order that was to blame, and that because of this we might have to kiss the whole notion of appearing there again goodbye.
Neil Lennon, apparently, “fluked it” three years ago, which is funny as I though a storming home performance is why we made it.
But it’s this notion that Deila’s failure was not a personal one but a structural one that makes me wonder if Gannon wrote this whilst he was half pissed on cheap Scotch. Because it simply does not fit the narrative he and others have been spinning for nearly two years.
The whole article is horrendous; puerile, childish, moronic, badly written and fundamentally dishonest.
It has no intellectual grounding whatsoever and is merely a collection of insults, awful jokes and flights of fancy strung together to make sentences.
I cannot even imagine what kind of editor would publish this kind of thing.
“Happy Valentine’s Day readers. Have a bucket of warm sick.”