Those of us who remember the 80’s will be familiar with the television series Soap. At the start of every single episode they would do a recap of previous episode moments and the voiceover would announce, “Confused? You won’t be after this episode …”
I haven’t felt like that for years, until today, when I logged on and read Brendan’s statement on Moussa Dembele. I already feel like I have whiplash.
I wrote on this site, many times, that there was no sign that Moussa was unhappy. That Celtic had no need to sell. That everything we were reading about it all was media speculation, designed to unsettle him. I would have kept writing that because that’s all that stuff seemed to be. And then, suddenly, out of the blue, a week ago Brendan said there was trouble behind the scenes.
Hearing it from the manager, what were we supposed to think? Hearing from the assistant manager – who went further than Brendan did – put the tin hat on it. The player sat on the bench in midweek and we all concluded the same thing; that it was all over.
Chris Sutton offered criticism of Brendan’s behaviour. He said the club was trying to force the player out of the club. He had effectively called Brendan a liar, and Chris Davies too. I wrote an article which said he was wrong to do that. I believed Brendan and Davies, but I thought they were wrong to air the club’s dirty laundry.
After the game Brendan tried to defuse the bomb. I understood why. What I don’t understand is why he has contradicted himself and his assistant today by reversing everything he said earlier in the week. He’s agreed with Sutton that the player never asked for a move … but we only disagreed with the ex-Celtic player because the manager himself said otherwise.
Look, today’s statement is welcome. Very welcome. It is the statement Celtic should have made months ago, the one that would have put this thing to bed for the fans, at least. Dembele has two and half years left on his deal, we ought to commit – he ought to commit – to another 18 months at least, and perhaps on an improved contract.
This is an effort on Brendan’s part to put this to bed. The player has to do his bit as well, and that means first and foremost getting on the park and starting to score goals again. Once he does that we’ll all feel a lot happier with things.
This has been a week of conflicting stories and that only happened because our manager and our assistant manager chose to say the wrong things at the wrong time. We can’t hold it against them, but they made a mistake discussing club business in such a public manner. Today has brought clarity to the situation, at last.
For that, I think we’re all pretty glad because now we can move past this.