There are two kinds of pressure you can put a footballer under.
I think of the two I’d rather that the press was underestimating one of our players than overhyping them. Because you can be pleasantly surprised in the first instance but the second always leaves you underwhelmed. I have never read hype quite like what Ryan Kent is getting.
That’s real pressure right there, and he’s nowhere near good enough to realise it.
Today’s most ridiculous piece – but not the most sycophantic – comes from Joel Sked, who might well be the worst writer working at a national newspaper. This article isn’t quite honking enough to get the treatment that Cairney’s piece from The Herald got yesterday, but it’s still pretty stinking.
The article promises to talk about Kent’s impact on the club and on the finances; you can imagine how that turned out. The complexity of Sked’s usual articles can be summed up by the number of them that consist only of pictures. I wasn’t expecting insight, or depth, and I didn’t get either.
After a paragraph setting out the “background” – Gerrard demanding a Liverpool reserve player prove he wanted to be a NewCo player – he gets to this point;
“It is quite the statement by (them). Kent is the second-most expensive player in the club’s history. This, more than any other transfer, shows that they can compete in the transfer market and attract big players to Ibrox. In the shorter term it provided the perfect boost to the Old Firm defeat on Sunday.”
This whole deal is about short-term.
And it certainly did not show they can “compete” in the transfer market. For openers, they weren’t competing for this guy, there was no other club willing to pay the stupid money they were. The club spent well under what Celtic did but we were capable of spending a heck of a lot more … this is a mark of our own club’s totally dysfunctionality behind the scenes and failure to build a proper scouting system, but equally, the signing is a tribute to their recklessness.
Sked follows it up with this beauty;
“While (they) won’t pay the £7million straight away – with just £2million up front – it has taken the investment in the transfer window to around £13million. There is an aspect of speculate to accumulate and it is something Dave King has talked about before, the club losing money to get back into Europe and topple Celtic which will then make them money.”
First, their “investment” in the transfer market is £13 million?
Where’s he getting that nonsense?
Even if you assume that Kent is costing them the £7 million he says – it’s £7 million including add-ons, so the real number is likely to be lower – who else have they bought? Helander didn’t cost them more than £3 million and their invisible English fourth tier defender cost virtually nothing.
Even at the extreme end they spent around £10 million … Sked’s maths is as bad as his English.
This “speculate to accumulate” stuff is typical of the media. They just dance around saying that the Ibrox board is wrecking financial havoc on their own club with no other goal than to win one title. There is no long term plan there, it’s a strategy that ends in the death of another club.
I am writing a longer piece on this for later, so I won’t labour that point.
The rest of the article is full of the usual hopeful nonsense about how the player will be vital to the team going forward, about how versatile he is, how much he added to the team last season; it’s fair, I think, to ask whether it’s Ryan Kent they’ve signed or Clark Kent?
When Christopher Jullien and Bolingoli were under enormous pressure a few weeks ago, I was furious with what the media was trying to do, but I understood that the players had a couple of big chances coming up to change minds. Stockholm away was a tremendous performance and result. Ibrox was better.
Both players came to the fore. It was superb.
That isn’t pressure though.
Pressure is when people are telling you are better than you are and expecting to you to match their ludicrously high standard. Sked has joined a number of other hacks in heaping more of it onto the shoulders of a guy I thought was a pretty low quality footballer, and the thing is, I don’t know how the fantasy that he’s more is being sustained.
I mean, most of us agree that Jurgen Klopp is a pretty special judge of a player; he wouldn’t even entertain the idea of having Kent in his squad. The player is 22, and has never impressed the club enough for them to keep him around. Those who reckon Gerrard is a good judge of a player better consider the ones he’s bought for Ibrox already.
Not exactly a razor focus or a great success rate, is it?
I know the kind of pressure I’d rather put one of my own players under.
It takes a rare talent to meet expectations, especially sky-high ones. Look at French Eddie, he just keeps on getting better. But we’ve seen how Kent reacts to real pressure and adversity already; he punched Scott Brown in the mouth. That’s not the mark of a mature character.
All of this has a familiar ring to it. I’ve heard this talk before about Ibrox signings … not one of them has helped them get near us. This geezer certainly won’t, and we know that because he scored four goals and got six assists last season and they won nothing.
Some of our players have stats just as good as those already in the campaign.
Of course, they might not be quite so good at “progressive dribbles” or “deep completions” but that’s another story. I guess our players will just have to work harder at those essential game-changing skills, although our apparent lack of them hasn’t hurt us so far.
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