Remember when I wrote that Kris Boyd had got himself a newspaper column? Well, he’s been writing this week on Moussa Dembele and, believe it or not, on the King of Kings Henrik Larsson. His article reeks of bitterness and jealousy.
It really is quite something.
The main thrust of the article is about how unrealistic it is for people at Celtic to be talking about Moussa Dembele being worth £30 million. What I find amazing about this segment is that nobody at Celtic has suggested any such thing. Brendan Rodgers has said that Dembele will shatter the current Scottish transfer record, and he is correct.
It is the media plucking numbers from the air. The article is based on a fundamentally shaky premise, that Celtic itself has placed this price tag on his head. We have not. We did not. And we won’t. Because that’s just not done. You don’t put a ceiling on an auction.
The article goes further than that.
At its heart is a stunning paragraph about The King.
“Henrik Larsson didn’t have a £30m price tag on his head when he played here and Dembele shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath. Why didn’t Larsson have that market value? Because the majority of his Celtic goals were scored in the SPL. We all knew in this country he was a goal scoring sensation. His record wasn’t quite as good as mine but he was one of the best players in the world — and he proved it at Manchester United and Barcelona.”
Where to even begin?
Let’s start here;
Henrik was at the peak of his powers in 2003 at the height of his UEFA Cup goal scoring exploits. The world transfer record at the time was £46 million. Adjusted for inflation, that would be well over £90 million right now.
Would we have got £15 million for the King at the time?
Of course we would have, and there’s nobody who can doubt it.
The current world transfer record is £89 million. The market value of a striker like Dembele will be measured in three ways, none of which has the remotest connection to what league he is playing in at the current time. The first is his experience. He’s now played in the Champions League group stages and scored goals there. He is on the way to becoming an established player at international level; his goal scoring exploits for the Under 19’s guarantees it. The second is his age, which meshes with his experience. At 20 he’s got a whole career in front of him, and these are impressive stats for someone that young. The third is his potential, which is undisputed.
Another two years and he’ll have added to all of it.
If he keeps scoring goals in the Champions League then the only ceiling on his transfer fee will be what clubs – in an auction – are willing to pay. By then the world will have seen its first £100 million player … and £30 million for a young up and comer with the game at his feet won’t seem so ridiculous.
But Boyd’s comments will always seem ridiculous. His snide dig at the King at the end of the article is just not worth exploring in any detail, nor is going through Henrik’s enormous list of accomplishments and honours in the sport.
Boyd’s pride in that record is understandable because really, it’s all he’s got.
Larsson is an icon, at several different clubs. Boyd is a guy successive Rangers and Sevco managers would drop for almost every major match. A one dimensional footballer who failed in England, Turkey and the United States.
In truth, as has been pointed out many times, Boyd’s is an SPL scoring record and Larsson never bothered overmuch with an artificial construct that only goes back to 1998 and the end of the SFL. Oddly no-one has disregarded the record due to the move to the SPFL.
As Scottish league goal scorers overall goes, neither player comes close to the top spot, which is held – and will always be held – by the great Jimmy McGrory. But Joe McBride, Steve Chalmers, John Robertson, Ally McCoist, Joe Harper, Willie Wallace and a bunch of others all finish in front of them.
Boyd takes inordinate pride in his “record” but the King knows the real prize is to be found elsewhere, in the respect he holds across football as a whole. When he was 33 – Boyd’s age now, where he masquerades as a footballer some weekends and as a hack on others – he was playing in a Champions League Final and he still had a league and cup double in Manchester to look forward to. He’s now a manager, making his way up that ladder.
That Boyd is now trying to carve out a media career shows what status he commands within football itself; he’s got next to no chance of making anything further out of the sport except in covering it like this as some kind of third rate scribe.
He’s a joke.
His column is a joke.
The paper is a joke for employing him.