Vasilios Barkas will never go down in history as a “Celtic great.”
No-one would make an argument that he was even a “Celtic good.”
He was a bad signing, in the sense that it did not work out.
I have never thought that Barkas was a bad player.
There are a lot of reasons why players fail at clubs, and if I might be blunt (and I intend to be) he joined one managed by a guy who refused to shake a new team-mates hand once upon a time. I get that Pressley thought that this was designed to “test him” but it’s hardly the friendliest welcome you could hope for, and our club was not always the warm happy place it is right now, where as one of the E-Tims boys put it recently, “the circle is bigger than it has been in a long time.”
The dressing room had its cliques and factions.
New players may not have been welcomed with open arms.
The manager had his favourites. One of them boasted about it and lamented that he didn’t have the same relationship with Ange not that long ago. Talk about shining a light on what went wrong at a club.
Barkas didn’t have a chance to fit in. He joined at a weird time when the players couldn’t even socialise with each other after training and games. A riven dressing room full of total strangers, that’s what he joined up with. That’s what he was thrown into massive matches on the back of. And people wonder why he wasn’t a roaring success.
I am glad he’s doing well in Holland, and not surprised in the least that Celtic are sticking to a base line valuation that the Dutch club cannot afford. We didn’t sign this guy from the army (we’ve done that, of course, before) or pluck him off the streets.
(Ibrox has signed players who look a lot like they were guys plucked off the streets. Morelos looks like they got him outside a McDonald’s frantically looking at his watch waiting for the opening time.)
Barkas was signed as a title winning player who’d kept us out of the Champions League the year before, as well as a full international.
We did our due diligence.
It simply didn’t work out. He came here and it didn’t happen. Maybe playing for a club this size, with the expectations as they were, and in that particular high pressure campaign was too much.
Under Ange, I think he could have had a fresh start but I think the scrutiny on him was insane and the boss knew he could not take a guy low on confidence into his first campaign and ask him to carry that pressure and that burden. That’s why, in hindsight, the deal to sign Hart, who was a supremely experienced guy, was a minor masterpiece of business.
Barkas deserves our good wishes and a fresh start. In holding out for a decent valuation, Celtic are both trying to recoup as much of the fee as we can and trying to make sure that the player does not leave the club under a cloud.
He should have a good future, and a successful career. He is not a bad keeper.
He just joined our club at the wrong time and the pressure crushed him.
He is not the first player it has happened to and he won’t be the last, especially with a media here that is determined to beat down any player at our club who doesn’t immediately hit the ground running.
Some of them – like Starfelt – play through it. There is no shame in not being able to.