Wasn’t that special yesterday?
I spent the day in the Kerrydale Suite, with around 500 fellow Celtic fans, cheering on that storming victory for the Bhoys. It was a glorious day, and I’ll be writing more on it later. The players did us proud, the whole team, but in particular Scott Sinclair, who was astounding.
I can’t imagine him not being Player of the Year, for everything Dembele has done.
Every player who spoke to the press after the game expressed their delight, but also a commitment to be at Celtic Park into the future. It’s a kind of one-by-one, individual, version of the group “pledge” I’ve been urging Brendan to get from them, and it was excellent to hear. Everyone knows they are part of something big, something that’s still evolving, and all want to see where this road is leading to. That includes the manager.
As much as the media will have a go at spinning his words this morning that he can one day see himself returning to England – he also said he might fancy managing abroad; this guy was, in effect, saying he could see himself taking another job sometime, no great shock – their efforts to do it were and are pretty half-hearted because he’s used a very special word when discussing his time here, and it’s a word I’ve been waiting to hear.
That word is “legacy.” As six letter words go, it’s a big one.
What constitutes a legacy? Well, Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon left us with three apiece and Ronny Deila left us two. Are any of those a legacy? No, they’re not. A legacy is something that stands the test of time, something that has reach far into the future. What it means is that Brendan will not only accomplish big things but he will leave something in place that others can build on. The framework for a New Celtic.
I would suggest that it certainly means he will be here for ten in a row. He knows what that would mean. He knows the enormity of it. That would mean being at Celtic for five years, the same number as Martin O’Neill and one more than Gordon Strachan. Ten in a row is only a small part of it; I was writing this article when Paul67 published his piece over on CQN and he said something I’d been meaning to bring up.
Ten in a row should not be seen as a concrete ambition at Celtic Park. It should not be what the next few seasons are gearing up to. As fans we should expect it, and the club should certainly accomplish it, but it should be incidental to our actual aims and objectives.
Every season should start with “our target is to win the title.” In as far as ten in a row goes, that objective should be realised as a natural progression and a consequence of us doing what we do. Too often, when a club is on a run like this, all you’re doing is managing decline and that’s what Paul wrote today. The first six of our nine in a row were won by a team at its peak. From that point on, we were a dwindling force. This a pattern that has been repeated again and again in our history; we have failed to build on success.
Martin O’Neill won three titles in five years; he should have won all five, but what was worse is that he left behind an ageing squad and a bloated wage bill which Gordon Strachan worked manfully to clean up. His own tenure ended with Rangers winning a title and then the next two because we weren’t up to speed and the team had gone backwards.
To me, building a legacy means not only leaving an historic trophy haul, but also handing over the team in better shape than you found it. It means having put in place the kind of structure that lets the next guy slip seamlessly into the job and take over without hassle.
Brendan says he wants to add new players, and not just squad filler. He has prioritised quality over quantity, exactly the kind of talk we want to hear. The plans for next season are already afoot. The work goes on behind the scenes, and everyone is loving being part of it.
It was a great day yesterday, a special day for all of us.
I have a feeling we’re only at the start of what will be a wild, and wonderful, period in our history.