I understand why Dundee Utd fans aren’t impressed by Charlie Mulgrew going off to Glasgow to do a night in the Hydro with his ex-Celtic team-mates. I understand why Charlie Mulgrew doesn’t think it’s a big deal, because as he’s said, this was not a jolly boys outing, not an all-nighter ending at 4am with people being sick in a gutter.
Dundee Utd fans want every player at their club focussed on nothing but what’s going on at their club. I would feel the same in their shoes. They are facing relegation. They need all hands on deck, and they don’t feel like they are getting it from him. They should have more faith in him. Because Charlie Mulgrew is a model pro and would never give less than 100%.
But I also understand why some in the media want to amplify the situation and cause him some problems. You would think he was the only person in Scottish football who had extra-curricular interests. There are plenty of others. But you don’t hear about them, possibly because they weren’t ex-Celtic players doing “Celtic stuff.”
Marvin Bartley combined playing for Livingston with doing an equalities job at the SFA. In that role he was throwing his two-bobs worth in on nearly every subject going. He was also a frequent guest on the BBC’s sports show, on radio and on TV.
At least he’s mostly – but not all the way – chucked that since becoming a manager in January this year, a job he evidently takes more seriously than his former boss.
Martindale clearly doesn’t care about focussing solely on Livingston, as he enjoys doing podcasts and making videos and basically promoting his own brand, something even our manager has mentioned a few times. This blog has wondered, more than once, if they are giving him enough to do over there. Perhaps it’s why he missed a top six place.
Kenny Miller, Barry Ferguson and others were perfectly content going on the radio every night, or writing newspaper columns, whilst they were also coaching and managing. Nobody cracked a light about any of it. Nobody ever does in Scottish football; outside interests are all the rage. Players, managers and even officials do it.
We have a linesman who doubles as the Tory Party leader in Scotland; two thankless, naff jobs for the price of one, and he’s crap at both of them. The number of possible conflicts of interest in there are too numerous even to count. He runs the line at grounds which advertise the SNP. He has had digs at Celtic fans in his political capacity and is then adjudged to be fair minded when it comes to taking major decisions in games involving us.
But none of these are ex-Celtic players doing “Celtic related” stuff. None of them got a bit of stick for it, or at least none that the mainstream media then offered a megaphone to, and that’s what bothers me and what will definitely bother him.
Nobody in the press is openly having a go at Charlie over this – they are stupid but they aren’t that stupid that they’d go that far – but they are promoting the story and forcing him to defend it.
In his shoes I don’t even think I’d bother, but fair play to the guy he’s doing it and he’s doing it very well.
But he should not have to. It is absolutely ridiculous when there are far more egregious examples of split focus, all over the game, happening every day … and nobody gives a damn.