Here’s Why So Many People Have A Problem With The Athletic’s “Leaked” Celtic Story.

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The reaction to the Athletic piece on James McCarthy has been a mixed bag across Celtic social media, with a lot of people speaking up for the journalist in question and the outlet he writes for.

This is fair enough I guess. We’re not, after all, talking about a tabloid hack here.

For all that, I am not in the least bit conflicted when I say that if this guy does have dressing room sources that they are selling out our club.

The argument that fans want to know what goes on inside Celtic goes only so far; if someone, in pursuit of an agenda or to make themselves look smart, is giving information about goings on in our dressing room to a journalist then that person is harming Celtic, and that’s true whoever the journalist is and whatever the outlet may be.

The truth is, if fans knew half of what went on inside their football teams they wouldn’t sleep at night.

This article harms one of our players, a player who is trying to get up to speed with training under a new manager and under new conditions.

The fact the journalist held off on writing it because it didn’t fit the stories he was trying to tell on a given day and then further until he had a second source on it is being held up as proof that this isn’t a hatchet job.

But how do the conditions under which McCarthy’s performance in training then compare with those now?

Did nothing change in between the journalist hearing the story the first time and writing it?

Ange has praised McCarthy in training.

He’s given the captains armband to Joe Hart, who according to the same report, he didn’t fancy as a signing.

The laziest form of “journalism” in this country is to say that the Celtic manager has had signings “forced on him.”

Does this guy come across like someone who would tolerate that?

The problem most of us have with the article is that it’s gossip. Journalists too often print what their sources tell them without ever questioning why their sources would bother. Is this people settling scores? Seeking alibis? Making trouble for the sake of it?

The one person at Celtic who is actually communicating with the fans is the manager, and this sort of stuff completely undercuts what he’s trying to do.

In an exchange of information between a source and a journalist, there’s usually a power trade as well, something that goes largely unspoken. To put it bluntly, it’s often the case that someone is getting taken for a mug. If I made one assumption yesterday that might not stand up it’s that the writer is the one doing the using. But that might not be true.

My problem with this is that I’m just not sure who benefits from a weeks old rumour being pushed into the mainstream because James McCarthy had a bad game at the weekend.

Players have bad games.

If Kyogo comes back and doesn’t hit the ground running will we be reading about how he missed a penalty in a bounce game the day after he arrived?

Someone inside Lennoxtown has allegedly given information to a journalist which undermines one of our footballers. That’s the story, that’s the bottom line, that’s all this is. Whoever talked to the guy has caused days of negative headlines about one of our footballers because he’s not quite fit enough to keep up with the rest.

What is that but damaging?

People can try to justify this all they want; this hurts Celtic and whoever did it knew full well, or ought to have known full well, that it would. And so that person’s motivations are suspect, and ultimately less interesting to me than that they get identified and punished.

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  • Benjamin says:

    James, I want to push back on the premise of the story here. I don’t know if you have a subscription to The Athletic or follow Kieran on Twitter, but the information about McCarthy’s struggles in training wasn’t disclosed with any malice either by Kieran or his sources. He’s disclosed on numerous occasions that certain players aren’t being selected (Liam Scales, Urhoghide, and our new Greek striker, just to name a few from this season alone) because they either aren’t fit enough or aren’t showing in training that they’re good enough. The information is usually presented in context of “why isn’t so-and-so playing?” It’s a fair question, and it’s a reasonable answer. This is only an issue because (1) McCarthy didn’t have his best game on Sunday, (2) the information is being taken out of context, and (3) some people are looking for any excuse they can find to stick the knife into the player, manager, or the club as a whole.

    I don’t know whether or not you read the entire piece, but that was one throwaway line in the article for which McCarthy wasn’t even the focus. The context was how this squad doesn’t have a suitable replacement for McGregor when he’s out of the lineup. Brown is gone. Ntcham is gone. Christie is gone. Soro, Rogic, Turnbull, and McCarthy for one reason or another aren’t proving effective in that role right now, and the result is a midfield that is one McGregor injury away from being pourus and ineffective. But the fact remains that while McGregor is out, someone is going to have their number called to play that role. But rather than use McCarthy’s struggles to get up to speed in training as a mitigating factor for a lackluster performance when there wasn’t a better alternative, there are some who are attempting to use that out of context to take cheap shots against him, the manager, or the club. Amongst the broader SMSM, I get it. Amongst the Celtic bloggers… that’s just weird, and I don’t understand it.

    As for the revelation that McCarthy was signed without the input from Ange or the scouting department… again that was double sourced and we can treat that as fact. Why that’s a surprise when it’s been happening for years is beyond me. If that’s damaging to the club, and it should be!, then heads should roll at the club. But the issue there is the underlying signing rather than the ‘leak’ of how it went down. If anything, Kieran has done the fans a service in disclosing that this is still taking place even after PL has left the building. If this is somehow damaging to the club, perhaps one day someone with appropriate authority will care enough to finally put an end to this nonsense. Personally, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that day until the board is eventually replaced.

  • Northampton Tim says:

    I’ve cancelled my subscription to the athletic .
    This lad is just recovering from covid that’s why he was given 15mins in few game’s he had played in just get him up to speed just made up in my mind

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