Chaos creates opportunity. That’s why the latter is one of the Chinese ideographs that make up the former. If, as many in the media appear to believe, Celtic is engulfed in trouble right now, it is only natural that some members of that profession seek to take advantage of that. Nothing generates more column inches than putting the boot into our football club and nothing makes some of them happier than stomping on our badge.
Not everyone who leaps on board the bandwagon does it to cause maximum harm to us. Some just enjoy their own place in the spotlight. Some just love being the centre of the discussion, and Chris Sutton is one of them.
He thrives on controversy and tailors every response to a situation for the maximum impact.
He is a football “shock jock.”
It makes him hard to take seriously at times.
And that’s a shame, it really is, because Sutton talks more sense than most of his counterparts in the press. He can, at times, be insightful and is always interesting to listen to. He doesn’t pander to certain clubs the way others do. He tells it like it is.
He also loves Celtic, and that’s clear all the time.
But Sutton makes the classic error in that he believes that because he does care about Celtic, and because he has a place in the press corps, that this means he knows what’s best for us. He doesn’t. He is not privy to everything that goes on inside our walls. He knows what the average member of his profession does, which is not very much of anything.
From his vantage point, he sees only what our club wants the world to see. Deprived of actual information he reacts according to what’s in the press around him, and that is a colossal error that he really ought to have recognised by now.
When he responds to what he perceives to be going on, he creates problems that he might not even mean to. His criticism is frequently over the top and hysterical … he’s actually just like one of us, but with a bigger megaphone through which to shout.
Sutton has spent the last week hammering criticism at Celtic as if he were doing target practice with a blunderbuss. He has peppered the manager, the players and the board as if he’s not sure just who it is he’s supposed to be aiming at. In trying too hard to say something he’s said absolutely nothing at all. He’s offered none of his insight or asked any of the real questions a guy in his position would be well placed to ask. As a consequence, he’s not got to the bottom of anything.
He’s given opinions, and ignorant ones to boot, and that is all.
This is a great shame. A guy with his profile would be tremendously useful to fans in a situation like the one we’re in right now, if only he would keep his own ego and emotion out of it. He might think he is doing Celtic a favour, but in the last few weeks he has, instead, generated troublesome headlines and fed the general perception that we’re in some kind of slide.
I think Sutton has a huge contribution to make to his current profession and it is nice to have an ally in the press box. John Hartson offered criticism these last few weeks, when it was due, and in a manner that was far more measured and which hit the mark better because of that. He has grasped the importance of speaking only when necessary and only when you genuinely have something to say which contributes to the ongoing debate.
Sutton would be doing us, and himself, if a big favour if instead of speaking just to hear the sound of his own voice he thought a little about what is coming out of his mouth. When it comes to Celtic, we would all benefit best if he kept it shut for a while.