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Is Chris Sutton Right? Would Celtic Fans Forgive A Second Place Finish?

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Chris Sutton wrote a big piece today in which he praised manager and offered him support.

I am sure that Ange appreciated every word of it, perhaps more than Hartson’s suggestion from during week that the board offer it to him publicly instead.

Neither man can be faulted for giving manager backing, and Ange needs that at the moment with some of the nonsense that he has had to put up with in the mainstream press.

Hartson suggested in midweek that club should make a statement in support of the manager; this would have added to the sense that we’re in a crisis, and we’re not.

But Sutton said that will be good enough this season.

I wonder how many of ours fans would agree with that, although most people are sympathetic to position that the manager has found himself in and appreciates the size of the rebuild. Those things alone might not be seen as reasons to accept another title for our rivals.

There are objective reasons above and beyond revulsion it would cause.

Champions League bounty will give them another season or two in which they could maintain a challenge; there are no circumstances under which a section of our support would accept them securing that cash.

I can understand those who say everything must be done to prevent that outcome. There is no alternative.

Ange understands this better than most of people arguing the case in his favour. Surviving would be difficult. He would have to get very, very close and even then there are people who will say that losing was the only thing that mattered and want him gone.

One argument in mitigation is that replacing the manager might require another re-set and the club has had enough turmoil and upheaval. But how long would that suffice as an excuse? How long would it be alright to hang onto a manager in the interests of continuity?

Losing a second title in a row to the club across town would present the impression that they had overhauled us as the biggest club in the land. That will have consequences beyond the immediate horizon in terms of sponsorship and advertising. It brings greater UEFA revenues. It gives legitimacy to their board and their manager.

They shouldn’t be near us.

We all know that this board has slept at the wheel and presided over a disaster in allowing them to win one league. It would be catastrophic if they won a second, and it would ask hard questions about everyone at the club.

Ange would not escape that scrutiny.

Even if he avoided the sack, his jacket would be on a shaky nail and a bad start to the following season would see him ushered off the premises and plunge the club into a further period of uncertainty.

Sutton did the right thing by writing a supportive piece, but he cannot say that would be something that fans would, or should, tolerate.

As my good friend Anthony Dunn said on one of the Endless Celts podcasts, most fans don’t want a title challenge. We want a title.

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11 comments

  • MattC says:

    I don’t think you realise how thin our squad actually is if you think 2nd is unreasonable. Look at the bench and how many players do you think sitting there can turn around a game.

  • BhilltheTim says:

    I could forgive the manager and players (given decent effort) but not the board!

  • NIALL MEIGHAN says:

    I would give him another season. Once he gets his players in we will be amazing.

  • Damian says:

    Finishing 25 points behind one season, then appointing a new manager (without any of the proposed progress in infrastructure), then demanding a league title without being willing to ‘forgive’ any shortfall, within one season is arrogant and deluded beyond belief. Of course Sutton is right, in terms of the central argument.

    He’s also practically correct too: if indeed we do finish second, and if there are signs of definite progress, come the hour, Celtic fans will renew season tickets, continue buying merchandise… if indeed that’s what ‘forgiveness’ is, or how it can at least be measured.

  • Tom Finesy says:

    absolutely no way should we settle for second,I believe they imposters will implode come January anyway,
    and we will step it up.very confident of that

    • Damian says:

      Fair enough. Hope so. But, if they don’t, we’ll likely finish second.

      Could you suggest an acceptable points tally for this season, which you would accept as progress, come-what-may?

      At the beginning of the season, I said 90: clear progress from last season, and a total beyond those we’ve won the league with on a few occasions (including Rodgers’ second). If we got 90 and Rangers got more, I’d be prepared to say fair enough.

      Points totals are something our team and manger has control over. Them imploding, we don’t have any control over. And so it’s a pretty flimsy thing to pin your hopes to IMO.

    • Dora says:

      Agreed Tom, sevco are muck, strengthen next window and I’m all in…wangers come to paradise and to me that’s the win that’ll b a game changer..!

  • Finbar muldoon says:

    Listening to shortbread now. Willie Miller telling everyone how to defend. I can remember NEW ZEALAND scoring TWO against him at the world cup finals. Couldn’t keep weans out a close. HH

  • Fun time frankie says:

    James you’ve been saying for weeks now that THE MANKIES are skint and won’t last much longer now your contradicting yourself by saying Cl money will keep them afloat for another 2years when the CO cash for next season won’t be paid out until the middle of 2023 make up your mind

    • James Forrest says:

      No I said it could let them limp along. There comes a point – and it may well be here already – that it doesn’t do them any good, where all it does is fill part of the hole. We may be close to that point. But I see no reason why we should accept them doing it.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    We’ve got to win the title this year ,if nothing else just to stop that shower cnuts from ipox getting their hands on CL money,I would put up with us not getting that money as long as that mob don’t get it ,we would survive without CL money for another year ,that shower of shite from ipox would go under.

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