The headlines tell the story sometimes. Written by sub-editors, they are the first measure of spin. And the spin today from Ibrox is all glory and greatness. Celtic are making cuts. Realism rules at one club and fantasy rules at another. Guess which one gets the good ink?
Look, this is how it’s always going to be.
Fantasy is sexier than realism.
Tell football fans that their club is on the verge of game-changing signings and the lights in their brains all go on at once.
Tell supporters that you’re sending people out the door in an effort to get the wage bill down some and that brings up all sorts of negative emotions.
This is what we deal with, every single year. Our club behaves responsibly and gets stick for it.
We are contemptuously called “a selling club.” You know why we get that reputation? Because we do on occasion sell a top star when the crazy spenders of England come calling. You know why Sevco never gets called “a selling club”?
It’s because nobody wants to pay top dollar for their players, so they never acquired the same reputation for selling their “best” footballers. Even when they do manage to get rid of someone over there, they invariably take a loss on the deal.
Be honest; who’s ever going to pay more money for Ryan Kent than they just did?
How much money has that club squandered down through the years? Now all the excitement is over Hagi, who granted didn’t cost them much … and there’s a reason why the Belgian’s Genk were willing to take a multi-million-pound loss on the player after less than a year.
But they never get the kind of raw examination that we would get if we’d signed such a player, with a floundering reputation. A name is everything over there, even if the name in question belongs more to the father than to the son. Sevco is a PR machine. Celtic is a trophy machine.
I know which I’d rather support. In Scotland it’s not the winners who get the good headlines.
Not when the other club plays football at Ibrox.
So don’t be dismayed. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain and I talk about this often; it doesn’t matter what Celtic do, we are never going to win the Close Season Cup.
The headlines over in La La Land will forever be positive; even last season, when they had spent next to nothing and were obviously going to toil to stop us sweeping towards another treble, we were told how great things were looking and how confident all at Ibrox were.
Ryan Kent’s signing came late in the window, yet prior to that nearly every day was headlined by who Celtic would sell.
Kieran Tierney’s departure was further proof of downsizing, of course.
We spent the bulk of the money on a new look defence. It didn’t do too badly, did it? We won the League Cup – courtesy of big Jullien, who was one of the players bought – and managed to hold our own twice against Lazio, amongst other triumphs in what was a pretty decent campaign. We secured the title. We’re in the Scottish Cup semi-final and on the brink of a Quadruple Treble. No wonder the summer has been spent by hacks asking if we’re worthy champions.
How it must stick in their throats to admit it.
The headlines don’t reflect our consistency or our success.
They don’t reflect the big things we do.
We spent £5 million in January, on two players who will play a starring role in the quest for ten.
But the media has already written both of them off.
All the talk of us being interested in Lyndon Dykes and other assorted trash … we have four strikers on the books already, and two of them have barely had a sniff.
Is it because they aren’t good players?
I like Bayo and we’ve obviously done our homework with Klimala. But who do you drop for them? Edouard or Griffiths? Where would Dykes get into the team? Ahead of those two? Or ahead of the two prospects who cost us a combined £6 million? Both Bayo and Klimala would walk into any other team in the country.
Some newspapers are saying that Sevco’s latest signing – more on him later – is their fourth of the window; yes, they are actually including Jermaine Defoe in the list. If they are allowed to do that we can certainly claim Klimala and Soro as “new signings” as well, can’t we? I mean dear God, the media will do whatever it can to find positives over there.
Don’t believe for one second that we can win the PR war.
We can fight it, and we should, and when we make our first signings of the window we’ll have started to.
But really, there’s just no way that the media will give us a fair hearing when many of them have already made up their minds that Ibrox is where the action is at.
One of the worst outlets for this garbage is the BBC. I’ll get to them later.
There’s a separate article in their latest nonsense, and especially that of Tom English.
But for now, be calm. The players we’ve let go are no great loss to the team.
Hayes was capable of doing a good job of work, but he was not the next level footballer we require on the left side of the park and although I was won over by his endeavour I never at any point felt he belonged in a Celtic squad. Craig Gordon was never my favourite keeper and the manner of his departure suggests that Lennon was right to have doubts. Simunovic was a waste of a wage; when he played he was prone to big errors at times and he was far too often in the stand shaking off his latest injury. I liked the big lad, he clearly “got it” at Celtic … but we can’t afford passengers. Shved and Eboue … two of the biggest disappointments of the lot. We got money for one, I suspect we’ll get a decent enough fee for the other and then we can move on from that too.
But let’s be honest; last season, Hayes was a semi-regular and we saw Simunovic play sometimes when he was fit.
The others, you wouldn’t have missed them in an empty corridor. In our extensive online archives this site still doesn’t have a picture of Shved … he’s been at Parkhead for over a year and we haven’t even got a digital image of him, which says it all.
My point is, we won’t miss any of these guys, not really, and the wages we free up will come in handy for paying the new boys we bring in instead.
That’s how a smart club does it. That’s sensible.
But it’s not sexy. It’s never going to be sexy.
Sensible never is. Reality bites.
But it’s done well for us these past nine years.
Because we do our real talking on the park, when football is actually being played.
Let Sevco have the Close Season Cup … how many in a row is that again?
We’ll “settle for” winning the ones that actually matter.
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