The Evening Times has done an interesting piece today on the contractual situations facing clubs in the top flight; the piece is intriguing. What interests me most about it is that Celtic have only two players coming up on the end of their current deals.
One is Joe Thompson. The other is Liam Henderson. Neither is a first team player.
The situation facing other squads is not quite as shiny and bright. There are first team stars coming up on the end of their deals at almost every other club. Some teams have a dozen players in their squad about to run out of rope on their deals … summer at those clubs already resembles a department store with a revolving door on Black Friday.
And it dawns on me; this is one of the reasons why our club is purring along so smoothly, recent performances notwithstanding. Everyone knows they’ll be here for at least the next year. Everyone at the club has some measure of stability.
There is just one player of the current first-team squad whose future is sort of up in the air; Stuart Armstrong. But even then, the contract extension he’s signed will keep him at Celtic Park and free from having to sweat this stuff beyond the current campaign. Whilst rumours stalk Dembele people tend to forget, he’s contracted to 2020.
Brendan has been working away on this steadily, over the 18 months he’s been here. He’s been tying up as many players as possible, even those who aren’t in the team every week like De Vries. He is forging a real squad dynamic here, a real feeling of community, of family, that everyone is in this together. This has paid dividends.
Aberdeen seem to go through this every season, which is why their squad lacks consistency. There are seven players in their team who will be free to discuss terms with other clubs in just a few weeks’ time. At Sevco there are six, including Kenny Miller and Kranjcar. He has to be one of the biggest and most colossal wastes of money in Scottish football history. Danny Wilson is also out of contract along with David Bates their young central defender.
You can also expect a fire-sale of Latin dreck, of course.
Beyond that it actually gets ridiculous; Motherwell have 11 players coming up to the end of their current deals, Thistle have 11, Ross County have 13, St Johnstone have 14, so do Hamilton, Kilmarnock have 12 and Dundee 13.
Hearts have 6 and Hibs just 4.
Lenny also likes to build solid, dependable squads.
What this means, of course, is that the majority of clubs in our league are playing football when there is manifest uncertainty about nearly every player in the starting eleven. Except at Celtic, and probably the Easter Road club. There, good foundations are being laid.
And those are necessary for any kind of success.