I firmly believed that today I’d be writing my final Rumour Guy column; I was ready to hang up the typewriter for good.
(Not literally. Have you ever tried to hang up a typewriter? Believe me, it takes more than one shoelace. That phrase is such bad writing; I’ve been covering the Scottish media for too long I think, I’m losing it.)
But after a chat with James I’ve decided to hang around and cover certain other aspects of life at Celtic Park.
I’m still going to publish rumours … of course.
But as he reminded me, this city and our game is full of rumours and not all of them are transfer market related.
So although I won’t quite be reduced to the level of The Evening Times’ celebrity stalkers – “Odsonne Edouard was seen buying a train ticket at Queen Street this week!” – I’ll still be around, sniffing the air like a bloodhound, looking for interesting tales to tell.
So you’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you, like a bad marriage where nobody can quite afford to move out and start afresh and they end up having to divide the house into red zones (his), yellow zones (hers) and green zones (neutral.)
Seen that movie, War of the Roses? Check it out, you won’t regret it. We won’t end up like that, I’m sure!
The day after the transfer window closes is always one of those days for reflection.
I know James has plans for a big retrospective piece on it, so I’ll leave him to that.
I just want to marvel at how many of our signings took the media by complete surprise.
Bolingoli wasn’t even close to being on the radar, until the day he arrived. Christopher Jullien, we were told, would never agree to move to Parkhead and we’d never agree to spend the money required to get him even if he would. They never saw Bauer coming until the deal was nearly done. Mohamed Elyounoussi came out of the blue and none called it. The two deadline day signings of Man City and Man Utd youth players wasn’t near their radar either.
They got Greg Taylor right, but then so did I.
They called the Hatem Abd Elhamed signing in advance, I suppose, but the deal was probably three quarters done.
What I’m saying is that they aren’t up to much, our media, and no-one should think they are.
There is as much fact written about in the papers as there is with some bloggers who were confidently predicting McKenna and Cosgrove right up until the moment last night when he started blaming headaches for a month of being totally, completely, irredeemably wrong about … well, everything really.
The deadline day players are not going to set the world on fire, but all three of them add strength to a defence which proved to be far stronger than a lot of its critics believed. The phrase “wet paper bag” is one I heard derisively used to describe our backline … we have some absolute cretins masquerading as experts in our national media these days.
And in the meantime they continue to print absolute drivel; did you see the Lafferty interview today?
A failed Ibrox striker, talking about Ryan Kent as perhaps making the level of Pablo Dybala or Eden Hazard … Good God.
In a segment that perhaps shared a lot more with us than we needed to know, Lafferty gushed about the player thus;
“After one game last season I spoke to Ryan in the showers. People were raving about Eden Hazard and his ability to know what he’s going to do before the ball comes to him. I said to Kenty, ‘Mate, you could be as good as him, if not better.’”
Uhuh. Let’s not explore that scene any further, alright?
“He has everything in his locker. He could probably add a few more goals …” Lafferty spluttered on. Oh so not quite everything, then.
“Ryan’s in the top three of the best I’ve played with and I’ve had Dybala and Belotti as team-mates,” Lafferty said.
And that made me go “Eah? What? When?”
So off I rushed to check it out, and what do you know? He’s right.
They all played together at Palermo, where Lafferty outscored them both in his one season there. Dybala was 20, and nowhere near the player he’d become a mere two years later. Belotti was the same age, and would not really hit the heights until the 2016-17 season at Torino.
Both were at Palermo a year longer than him; his own stay was cut short by a chairman who’d simply had enough of him.
“He is an out-of-control womaniser, an Irishman without rules. He is someone who disappears for a week and goes on the hunt for women in Milan. He has two families with six children, he never trains, he’s completely off the rails.”
Thankfully, he seems to have a career in the media waiting for him at the end of his playing days.
Honestly, Kent is being hyped to the absolute max here and he’s not that great.
If he was, let’s face it, he’d either still be at Anfield or he’d have had more suitors than Gent. There is certainly no way he’d have ended up at Ibrox. You can only believe this drivel if you haven’t watched him, and of course we all have and know how little he changed things last year.
This stuff is absolutely preposterous, and it is all the more barking when you consider that Kent was comprehensively outscored by Scott Sinclair last season, who can’t even get into our team. His six goals were made to sound impressive until you consider that, in this campaign already, Ryan Christie has eight, Forrest has six and Mikey Johnston has four. And it’s only just gone September. We’re still in the early stages of a big campaign for these guys.
When you look at the acres of coverage given over to this kind of nonsense, and when you consider how many rain forests must have given their lives to print the vast outpouring of it over the summer, nearly every word utterly wrong, then it makes my continuing to write seem easy to justify. I am very upfront that much of what I write here can be taken with a pinch of salt so large you’d need a suitcase to carry it around … but I focus, after all, on rumours.
And in the course of the next few weeks and months there will be plenty of those.
It’s good to still be here. Talk soon, right?
The Rumour Guy is a Celtic fan and blogger from Glasgow … and you’ll be hearing from him again soon.
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