Everything runs its course.
Even this winning run of Celtic’s will come to stop at some time in the future.
Our run of consecutive trophy wins will end.
It may even be that some of us will be around to see us lose league titles.
The thing is, what do you do when you can see the end coming?
Do you drag things out or do you act, swiftly, and resolutely, so that you can start dealing with the aftermath?
If this team went into a full-on tailspin, at what point would the board be compelled to act?
It is a question that haunts people in every walk of life; when is it time to cut your losses and accept that you’re in a bad situation that for all the effort is not likely to improve?
I’m not talking about acting out of panic or fear. I’m talking about taking a cold blooded decision to confront the truth when it is staring you in the face. If we win today Sevco’s board of directors is facing exactly that situation. The question is, how will they respond?
If Celtic takes an eight-point lead, there are some who think that’s the title race over. It won’t be, not quite, because of that game in hand.
But it will represent a much larger gap than there was this time last year.
Sevco fans are obsessed with the idea that some good performances against us means that “there is no gap.” Well guess what? We’ve had some dreadful results at Easter Road over the last couple of years; does that mean there’s no gap between us and Hibs?
There is a gap, of course, and it is represented by the league table and the trophy haul. It’s represented by the better players, the healthier bank balance, the relative successes of the clubs in the last two years. It is represented in the quality of the men in the dugout.
Lennon is a proven winner as both a player and a manager.
But being a winner at the first does not automatically translate to success in the second.
This is the folly that Sevco has been pursuing since they appointed the Englishman. This idea that he is a future Liverpool manager is so pervasive that it will take a major calamity at Ibrox to dissuade people of it … but a major calamity is what I’ve been expecting since he was appointed and I still believe we’ll see it.
Today we’re going to put this guy and his team to the sword.
Questions will be asked on the Sevco fan forums, but I suspect they’ll be asked elsewhere too.
The talk will be about how “improved” they are, with most people ignoring that they spent more than any other club in the league to get here and are still stuck in second. The Ibrox board cannot afford to ignore those questions. They need to be asking if this guy has what it takes to stop us.
He was supposed to take them forward; if we open up a lead like that people have to wonder if he really has. Oh the media will not accept that he’s failing and Sevco fans will point to the so-called European form, but the board cannot afford to be so short-sighted or narrowly focussed.
King will not be around much longer so it’s not even his call.
Now, I’m not sitting here suggesting that Gerrard will be sacked. But doubts will have started to creep in, and those doubts will present the board over there with a dilemma; how much do you continue to back a guy who might have one foot in the grave?
Surely there comes a time, after they’ve pissed away a fortune backing his “vision”, that the Ibrox board will start to demand a real return from the investment?
They can’t continue to back a guy who keeps on doing the same things over and over again.
He has signed more than 20 players … how many have been genuine successes? The best players in the team right now were there before he arrived … where is this radical improvement he’s supposed to have made? Who has he actually made better?
Celtic stopped funding Brendan Rodgers when people inside the club realised he was angling for a move elsewhere.
That has become blatantly obvious in the time since his departure.
Lennon didn’t get everything he needed in the summer, but he got enough to suggest that there would have been money for Rodgers to spend if he’d looked at all as if he were committed to the cause. Celtic knew it had to conserve resources for someone with a plan beyond his next career move.
That was smart strategy, even if it was horribly frustrating at the time.
Yet the Sevco fans will be expecting Gerrard to get cash, and especially if there’s a big gap to make up.
They will want to see that the board is serious about trying to catch us, even if it turns out to be a futile exercise, and these are the most unrealistic fans in the game let’s not forget, the sort of fans who believed that they really might go for Giroud.
If we win today, their range of options starts to narrow. The choice they make in the window might well define their season and the next one. If they go through this campaign without a major honour, if they finish further behind Celtic than last season – which is a certainty – what then of the “progress” they’ve allegedly made?
What then of the radical turn-around that they rely on to stop our ten in a row?
Backing any manager who shows no signs of making the breakthrough is a gamble, and if this board of their wants to keep gambling on Gerrard that’s their lookout.
Celtic fans won’t be calling it even if we do win today, and not even if the win is comfortable.
The famous old song says that “you never count your money whilst you’re sitting at the table.”
But let’s not forget it also says “you’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run …”
It’s the familiar dilemma for those with a really shitty hand.
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