This morning, I wrote about Andy Walker, and his daft comments about the Celtic board not being willing to push the boat out for Europe. This evening I’ve just read a dazzling put-down of the media’s other ex-Celtic goofball Charlie Nicholas, from none other than Martin O’Neill himself, who did not hold back and did not miss his target.
You get tired of these sorts of people in the media, ex-Celtic players who seem to take a perverse pleasure in kicking our club whether it’s up or down. Neither Nicholas nor Walker should be so disliked by the Celtic support. Nicholas would once have had a good claim to a star on Celtic’s equivalent of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
He will never get that now. Walker was never more than a good, honest pro who gave us a couple of fine seasons but never set the pulses racing. Still, we’ve had plenty of those players in our time and very few of them have prompted such a visceral reaction.
What galls me about them both is that neither has done anything in life outside of football. Neither knows the first thing about running a business, or being responsible for other people’s money. What’s worse, by far, is that neither of them has ever spent as much as a minute in a dugout in a coaching capacity and yet consider themselves experts in what every Celtic board and manager in the last 30 years has gotten wrong.
Walker doesn’t just have a go at the board for our European record. Earlier this season he was telling Ange to change his entire approach to European games, as if he had a slew of league titles won by his own tactical nous. It was this lack of any tangible success in Europe as a player or as a manager which O’Neill homed in on regarding Nicholas.
“”Sometimes when I hear Charlie Nicholas speaking, I feel as if he’s played in five successive European Cup finals for Celtic. While he was there, they never qualified [for European football after Christmas], so I’m not so sure Charlie is actually primed to speak about European football after Christmas time, I must admit,” O’Neill said on The Record podcast.
And you know what? He’s got right to the nuts of it. Walker was the same. Celtic had some terrible results in Europe whilst he was there, and at a time when – as with Nicholas’ era – the club was competing on a much less slanted playing field than now where clubs from all round Europe can afford to spend sums Celtic can only dream of.
I wish more people associated with Celtic would do what Martin O’Neill has here, and call out these phonies and the nonsense that they come out with. Our former manager has no need to try and get in good with the fans; he’s a legend, an icon and will never have to worry about his reputation or his standing amongst us … but if you didn’t love the guy already, well this could get you over the line. I am guessing I’m not alone in applauding the sentiments.