This is probably my last article of the day folks. I’m shutting down in advance, and won’t be back on barring some major event that I don’t foresee at all.
Celtic’s next few months are decided.
The Europa League draw has been made and tonight the window will close with two signings completed – Mulumba and Benkovic.
One is a free transfer we could have snapped up months ago, the other is a loanee.
They join Odsonne Edouard, Scott Bain, Izzy and Arzani as our “new faces.”
When you consider that the Armstrong fee cancels out what we got upfront for Edouard it turns out that we are, in fact, one of those clubs who spent less on players than we did on lightbulbs. To say this is underwhelming is to put it mildly.
In fact, it is scandalous.
Net spend on players in this window, from a £17 million surplus from the last campaign?
Ponder that for a moment.
This is what we call “backing the manager.”
But not to worry, we will in fact keep Dembele, who telegraphed his displeasure on Twitter, and we will in fact keep Boyata who rewarded our previous loyalty to him by going on strike last month. The Belgian has already been acclaimed by some of our fans because he’s back out on the pitch doing his job. I expect Dembele will be in time too.
This is how we reward disloyalty and unprofessionalism.
Personally, I’ll be happy to see the back of both of them come January.
The long and short of it is that our abject failure to plan and execute any kind of transfer strategy has destroyed the feel-good factor that surrounded the club just a few months ago. There are no alibis for those who have presided over this godawful mess.
The indiscipline that has taken hold of the club is just as worrying as the complete lack of imagination shown in the team building.
First the manager slagged the board. The board fired back at the manager. The collapse in message discipline gave the players their cue and they’ve joined in. What a godawful mess this is, and not one person at Celtic Park is exempt from blame.
It is a disaster for us, I think, that the next game is against Sevco and not because I have any fears about the result. We have more than enough about us to slap seven shades of blue out of that lot who I watched be dismantled in Russia last night by a team that, if it had any firepower, would have run up a cricket score and shattered the Gerrard delusion at a stroke.
My regret is that the game will provide temporary cover for people who should be getting asked hard questions after this fiasco. It will allow folk to demand that we “come together” and park any animosity, knowing that in the white hot of that match we will and that international nonsense which no-one cares about will follow as another distraction.
They see a chance to escape the scrutiny they deserve.
They are probably correct in thinking that the postponement means no reckoning will come. Fans are already being urged to reward them for it by getting their tickets for the Europa League and filling Parkhead to embrace the mediocrity they’ve forced us to live with. Three games, none of them glamour ties, at premium prices, will be the fans reward for purchasing their season tickets and replica shirts and all the rest of it.
Many fans will snap up the three-match package and “support the club.” The club where at least two of the players are dissatisfied with their lot and don’t want to be here. The club where the share-price peaked during our summer of fun, guaranteeing the bonuses of directors and executives who helped turn this window into a car-crash.
Leipzig, Salzburg and, yes, Rosenborg … that’s our European football for the next four months. That’s what we get instead of Champions League riches. It is clearly second tier stuff, but this is what we get for behaving like a second tier club in everything we’ve done since the double treble was secured. This is our level, this is what clubs who sign free transfers and loanees and makes the manager beg for quality deserves.
Brendan said at the start of the window that what he was looking for were a small number of signings to improve the overall quality of the team. Edouard and Bain were here in January. Who really believes that he’s been given anything like that?
Brendan Rodgers has not been backed in this window, and no amount of spin and sugar coating can hide that and before anyone starts accusing me of talking the club down and wallowing in negativity, it’s an accusation I’ve been dealing with since I pointed out that Brendan sounded pissed two months ago. Back then I was told I was imagining it and fabricating nonsense to get hits. Two months on nobody is in the slightest doubt that our manager is unhappy and people with bigger megaphones than I have are going to scrutinise this window in pitiless fashion and they are going to strip the paint off the walls with their own verdict on it.
And this time, I’ll not be calling them out for making stuff up; they will be telling the literal truth, summed up this morning in our securing the signing of an ex-Kilmarnock freebie who we could have had signed up months ago.
That alone tells you how dysfunctional this has all been.
That gives you the best insight into what a train-wreck this window is.
So I’m done for the day, closing out the month on a note of disgust.
The last three weeks, in particular, have been soul crushing as one bad day, one bad development, has come on top of another. Part of my reason for wanting to shut the computer off is that I’m not 100% convinced yet that we’ve received the last sickening blow either.
Barring us pulling a major rabbit out of the hat – I don’t expect it; the manager and some of the Friends of The Man have said this is our lot – I’m finished. Tomorrow I can write about the Sevco game with something approaching interest.
Tomorrow I’ll deal with any fallout from the remainder of this long day and the fag end of this diabolical window.
There’ll be one article up later, from a guest blogger who’s got something rather interesting to say about Brendan’s Boyata decision, but I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.
Have a good one folks.
Don’t stay up too late.