I was not surprised today to see an article on Ryan Christie’s struggles to get into the Bournemouth team. I was, however, surprised that Ryan Christie would ever face that kind of challenge, because he was one of those guys I thought would succeed in that league.
Christie has the temperament and the dedication for it. He has the work ethic. All through his time at Celtic, when he wasn’t in the team, he was training like a madman to get fit. He worked hard and in the end the hard work paid off for him.
The answer to cracking the EPL is not to work harder. A guy signed from the SPL is going to have be better than his peers by some distance to get the recognition that he deserves and a lot of managers down there are always going to prefer a bling player.
His coach at Bournemouth has told him that he’s still part of the plans, and that may well be the case, but the longer a player down there is out of a team the longer the road back is. He’s 28 now. He said he went to England for football reasons, but he’s finding out how much tougher it is to get regular games in that league.
No point in moving to “test yourself” if all you really do is test your own patience sitting in the reserves or on the periphery of the first team squad. I understand that he moved for a big payday at the midpoint of his career, I just didn’t see any sense in him denying that when it was a self-evident fact. All his statements since have denied what we all know full well.
I am not going to gloat. I’m here to express regret rather than anything else, because of the three players who left Celtic when Ange arrived, Christie played the most minutes and looked the best fit by far into our current system. He would have been a star under this guy and would have played a top role in this team of ours right now.
Ever since his departure, he has told us all that it was the football he left for; if that’s true, I wonder if he regards the move, or will come to regard the move, as a mistake?
If it was for the money he will have no regrets, but he’s already found – as Edouard has – how difficult it is to transition from our league to theirs.
The message Ange has sent to all of our players, and especially those who might fancy a move at some point, is equally clear; you play for a top team right now and if you leave for a top team you shouldn’t expect it to be easy.
Hell, if you move to a top league don’t expect it to be easy. The money might seem greener, but the grass often isn’t.