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Transfer Window Leaves Many Unanswered Questions At Celtic Park

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Well, was it as good for you as it was for me?

More and more, the transfer window leaves me completely fed up and in need of a punching bag.

If you’ll excuse me a somewhat out-there analogy, the day itself is starting to resemble how a woman feels when her guy is always promises to do something special on her birthday (if you get the drift.) She keeps on hearing his boasts about how good he is in the sack, but year in year out, after she’s got herself worked up and in the mood for a long night of loving, he is, to use the modern parlance, gone in sixty seconds.

It’s unfulfilling. Not living up to the promise. The Earth does not move. Cannons do not blare. The mountains do not crumble. The Richter Scale needle fails even to tremble.

You get to the point where you feel not so much frustrated as you do stupid, for ever believing it would be other than it is. Because experience has taught you that this is how it goes, time after time after time. To paraphrase The Who, instead of learning our lessons we “get on our knees and pray that we won’t get fooled again.”

Yet we are. Almost every sodding year.

What threw us this year was that last year actually did inspire some confidence, with the long-awaited arrival of Stuart Armstrong and a ballsy, ambitious, move to bring John Guidetti to the club on loan. Initially, he looked like part of the answer.

As I said in a very irritated piece for Fields last night (which you can read below), it was dead easy to be optimistic this time last year.

We’d just wiped Sevco and their pretensions all over the Hampden pitch, a casually easy exercise that was like watching a dad play football against his son in a public park; a win gained with the minimum of fuss and exertion.

Another manager, one with the steel in his soul who wanted to give that mob a right going doing … and we’d have run up a cricket score.

We still had European football to look forward to. We were in one cup final and heading into the Scottish Cup full of ourselves. The treble was there for the taking. In the end we were to be denied it by diabolical refereeing … I still say that today.

This year we have no excuses at all.

Yeah, I didn’t think it was a and it sure as Hell wasn’t a red card but that’s beside the point, because ten men don’t automatically fold the hand and chuck it and that creeping feeling of dread in the stands shouldn’t have been there.

The whole club is gripped by this right now, by apprehension and self-doubt.

It was there in the mental weakness we showed out on the pitch the other day. It was there in the manager’s press conference after the game, when he said that about the players … and then appeared to backtrack on it, showing his own indecision.

And, of course, there’s anger too.

There’s a lot of anger floating about.

You’ve probably noticed some of it on this site haha.

I apologise for the tone of some of it, that which comes from me, but not for the fact of it, because I would rather people were angry than fall into despondency and defeatism, which would be all too easy to do. Anger means people aren’t ready to give up.

As I am fond of saying, when you think the world is turning to shit you have two choices; you can make a bed or grab a shovel and get busy.

Anger helps you put your back into it too.

People at Celtic had better be paying attention to that anger. It has yet to coalesce into something substantial but it is coming and only the shockingly complacent or truly ignorant can think otherwise. The mood amongst many fans is verging on furious.

Those who defend The Strategy were at great pains to tell us that this would be the window when the questions would be answered.

We were told – and you know we were – that this when the squad would be rebuilt for the Champions League, that waiting for the summer was leaving too much to chance, that players needed time to settle into the system, that it would maximise our chances to qualify.

Some of us said that the biggest decision that needed to be made surrounded the manager, and that if people in the boardroom were wavering that this was the time to take the decision to part company with him.

We were told that this window would tell the tale, that if he was backed that told you they were sticking with him.

Was he backed?

One permanent signing, one player on loan and another on a free transfer … does that suggest they took his plans seriously?

Does it suggest they took our concerns seriously?

I can’t answer those questions, and the reason I can’t is that this looks like so many other transfer windows at this club. Mediocre. Flat.

To me, it doesn’t look like they did but what do I know?

Other people think he did. Those people think this has been a great window.

In some ways, they too are grabbing a shovel.

Ronald Reagan was particularly fond of the story of a kid who, expecting something great for Christmas, gets a pile of shit instead. He isn’t sad though; he immediately starts digging, with the words “How wonderful! There must be a pony in here!”

Don’t stop believing, guys.

Today one newspaper is suggesting that boardroom discontent has already led to about who replaces when he inevitably goes. According to The Belfast Telegraph, the Norwegian is expected to leave at the end of the season, and Michael O’Neill, the manager of Northern Ireland, is already being quietly sounded out.

Apart from this being another punt (I actually like him, but I liked too at the start and now I don’t think we can afford to take another risk) I actually can’t fathom why that decision is being delayed for even a day longer than necessary.

If the board has run out of faith then, for his own sake as well as for ours, Ronny should be going now.

So, on the day after the window closes we’re left with even more questions than before.

Is the board really planning to change the manager in the summer, and if so is Michael O’Neill the best they’ve got?

Are we replacing one cagey proposition with another?

You wouldn’t think we have a massive match coming tomorrow night, but oh Hell how we do.

God help if we slip up in that one.

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8 comments

  • Kenny Fenton says:

    Quite simply a disgrace losing in consecutive seasons to inferior opposition in domestic competitions the stark glaring truth is very average team with a management team devoid of solutions platitudes do not appease disgruntled supporters this is NOT the CELTIC way.

  • Gerry Dempsey says:

    Great article James …the main thing for me is there is absolute silence from the top of the tree about this close to catastrophic manager

  • Jon Dickie says:

    Bring back Wim Jansen!!!!!!!!

  • Tommie Brown says:

    Celtic dont give a fuck about our fans they dont listen or even bother about us but want our money its time for a good clear out from the boardroom to the manager and his assistants as they are useless one day we will play two up front constantly

  • Gerry Graham says:

    James why are you so disappointed.Were a Business now not a Football club anymore..Don’t let Liwwell kid you on..Were now a money making Machine for the shareholders…Were are fans of the most miserable shower of bastards ever to sit in a Boardroom..I never renewed my Season book last year and I ain’t giving it to them this year..Whether you like it or Not Sevco are on there way back up next year and I’ll go out on a limb here and tell youse all WERE IN TROUBLE..And it’s all down to that miserable bastard Liwwell..Sevco only have to be half decent and the refs will do the rest..Just look at the decision from Thompson on Sunday and that’s the way it’ll be when they get up and there’s Feck all we will be able to do about it..We should have been building a team and look at the shit were watching now..How do we sort it..We have to vote with our feet..Just don’t go to the games..When that board walk out into that Stadium and there’s nobody there that’s when they’ll realise they’ve got it all rong and not until…That’s what I’ve done but it’ll take more than me..So next year when the Sevco are sitting Top of the league think back to today and remember every word I’ve said..Putting it in a few words…WERE FUKCED AND IT WAS ALL DOWN TO PROFIT..BANK BALANCES DONT WIN TITLES..You heard it here first..

  • Glen kerr says:

    Well said Gerry Graham, For the board to take notice, fans will have to take drastic action and vote with their feet, the situation has descended into a farce!! This club is too big for Delia whos no better than john barnes was, plus the players have to bear part of the blame as well for that clueless guttless display last sunday…. i really fear for our future prospects if we continue going down this road with a contemptible board, a inept management pairing, and a bunch of second rate players ????

  • Allan Mackie says:

    As I said in my comment yesterday, there is no denying that RD is hopelessly out of his depth and should be sacked now to give the new guy a chance to stamp their style on the team ahead of the CL qualifiers but if the board does that who is a really credible candidate that could step in right now?

    It is also alarming when even Sevco sites claim that in the four years of their “journey back to the top” we have regressed and not made the strides everyone at Celtic Park rightly expected.

    I hope this doesn’t happen, but if we were to lose tomorrow night then that might just be the catalyst to get the the board to act before the season completely descends into farce

  • Tully says:

    The parasites have already half emptied the stadium and still pay themselves bonuses.usaul Tory crap pay themselves fortunes and don’t give a shit about the team.how many more humiliations under these ponces?

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