Did you read David Weir today? He’s bought into that nonsense I was talking about recently about how Celtic owes the success of the current period to Brendan Rodgers; maybe he missed the five seasons of title dominance before the man arrived.
This is a commonly held view on their forums and amongst their fan reps. It is a common view amongst their players and former players. And it is a common view amongst the media, like Davie Provan and Charlie Nicholas and others, who seem to believe that if Brendan Rodgers decided, tomorrow, that he wanted to experience the high-pressure sack-race of the EPL again that our club would collapse like a house of cards because of it.
It’s such a pervasive view that you’d think it was built on reality; it isn’t. It is based on wishful thinking and delusional on a mammoth scale. Those who think that a managerial appointment at Ibrox, even if they could afford a good one, or a change in the manager at Celtic will make some huge difference to our respective positions needs a lie down.
Yesterday, we unveiled the latest phase in our plan to develop the area around Celtic Park. The idea of creating a Fan Zone is especially prescient at the current time, when Glasgow City Council’s absolutely stone stupid transport plan is about to come into play, bringing near gridlock to the area around Celtic Park on match-days. It is one of the most ill-considered and poorly thought out schemes I have ever heard of.
But Celtic’s plan is to give fans something to whilst they wait. A Fan Zone open before and after the matches is not only brilliant but potentially profitable; this is an example of our club engaging in lateral thinking and turning a negative into something that will do us good. When the people in charge at Parkhead are on their game they have no equals in Britain.
How good are they? Try this for size; I heard today, from a very good source, that if Liverpool manage to reach the Champions League Final that there’s a chunk of change coming Celtic’s way due to sell on clauses negotiated with Southampton …. Their club would get the lions share of any bonus for Van Dijk playing a part in that success, but there would be a trickle down for Celtic too. It won’t be on the scale of the signing clause … but it’s another brick in the wall, another wee bonus, another wee reward for forward thinking. We do it very well.
And this, ultimately, is the biggest problem that the Sevconuts are going to have. In the short to medium term it means that they are going to need an enormous influx of outside capital to keep pace with our current level of spending. But as Celtic gets better at generating income aside and apart from that which comes in through the season ticket base, we are going to move further ahead of a club which lacks innovation and is concerned only with on-field results.
Our current position of strength is unparalleled. It is historic. Think about that for a second. Back when Murray was Ibrox, he was spending fortunes and telling people that the club was moving decisively ahead of Celtic on and off the pitch; in reality, we know that from 2008 onwards the club was actually engaged in dramatic restructuring and the selling off of assets. In fact, it started before that, when they signed the NTL deal that they got such praise for but which gave away their digital rights at a time when they were just becoming valuable.
The closest they ever came to actually moving towards a position of sustainability and financial growth was when they were involved in the proposed Super Casino bid, which was doomed from the start by the club’s unprofessional approach to it. Someone who sat in on those meetings described it to me as an exercise in people “trying to convince themselves as much as they were trying to convince us”; in other words, everyone involved knew it was a pipe-dream, smoke and mirrors which fooled exactly none of the people who mattered.
Our ability to invest in areas which will actually grow the business is just one of the things that gives us a decisive advantage over them, and it’s why it could not matter less who is sitting in the Celtic dugout. Brendan Rodgers is a top class manager and the results have proved it, but the best cooks are those who work with great ingredients and Brendan inherited a good squad and has added quality to it with his own buys.
Much of that squad, and the fundamentals that built it, will endure beyond his tenure here. Every time he adds a piece to the jigsaw he puts down something else that will be here beyond the present horizon. Celtic has gotten it right where it matters, and that we were able to entice a man like Brendan to the club in the first place is surely the best proof of it. The infrastructure is there to keep this thing rolling for a long, long, long time to come.
Sadly for Sevco it’s a rich man’s world, and in the context of Scotland we are the richest club.
Weir and others wish things were as simple as they appear in their wee bubble; deep down they know that it’s not.
We didn’t get where we are right now through luck.
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