Oh my God. I just read Stephen McGowan’s latest piece in The Daily Mail, and it sounds as if he got drunk before writing it and tried to channel his inner Keith Jackson. Jesus, it is terrible. Writing at The Scottish Daily Mail is probably not the dream gig for anyone but I didn’t realise that doing it actually ate your brain cells.
McGowan’s article reads like something ChatGPT might turn out if you programmed it with every shit Mills and Boon ever written and combined it with the works of Ewan Paton, Jackson and the worst of Barry Ferguson. Then added whiskey.
This deserves nothing less than the full-scale rattling. It earned it. McGowan, who was once Peter Lawwell’s wee pet, is obviously not getting good copy from inside Celtic Park anymore. Forced to subsist on the same scraps as everyone else he’s tried writing commentary, if by commentary you mean pitched at the level of teen romance readers.
Let’s get this over with. I’m going to need a long shower to wash it off me.
Heartbroken Celtic jilted at the altar and longing once more for a love that lasts
There are people who have read every story about Prince Harry and his American bird that newspaper has ever run, who are considering taking out subscriptions to The Scottish Daily Express just based on that shit headline.
When it comes to managers, Celtic are becoming the unlucky-in-love Taylor Swift of Scottish football.
Yeah, cause most Celtic fans get that reference. Even those who do have to frown at it. Unlucky in love? Our recent bosses have delivered four trebles and a double in the last six years, and we might be about to deliver the fifth treble in seven. Yeah, we’re shit at this picking managers thing. When will we ever stop winning everything, on a regular basis?
On the face of things, the champions seem like quite the catch. Blessed with fame and Champions League football, they know how to put on a show under the disco lights.
Jesus Christ. I’m a great lover of song lyrics; good ones, I cherish and listen to again and again. A good song writer can compress an entire story into a few hundred words. This guy has spent far too many hours listening to Meatloaf’s “I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Come Back”, especially that stanza where he talks about, “And bless all the homecoming queens of the night, they’re looking for magic in gymnasium lights.” Honest to God, I already feel bile rising.
The problem is finding someone they can rely on to guide and share all that success. They just can’t find a keeper. The days of Martin O’Neill hanging around to do the school run for five years feel like a lifetime ago.
Yeah. Having all this success and no-one to share it with – except each other! Ha! – it’s a proper bitch, isn’t it?
Brendan Rodgers looked like a half-decent bet. Blessed with the gift of the gab, his own teeth and a year-round tan, the Northern Irishman ticked all the boxes.
Brendan’s only problem is that he loves himself more than anything else. And that’s not a crime in and of itself. But let’s not piss about here; McGowan seems to want to ignore that the “gift of the gab” the teeth and the tan weren’t the reasons we moved for him. We went for Rodgers because he was an outstanding coach. And he proved that. I say it again; how depressing to have hired a manager who delivered a Double Treble, the first in the history of Scottish football to do it.
He showered them in compliments, claimed to be living the dream and spoke of growing old together in the Champions League. After a couple of years, the rows and bickering over money started and it was ‘terminado’. He packed a bag and performed a midnight flit to Leicester in the middle of a season.
I seem to remember that. And I know for a fact it would never have happened but for his realising that Peter Lawwell would forever be hanging over his shoulders like a vulture, and second guessing every move that he made. I am appalled by what Rodgers did, but here’s the truth; had life at Celtic been a tiny bit more bearable he would have stayed longer.
Heartbroken, Celtic returned to an old flame in Neil Lennon. Rekindling a broken relationship always runs the risk of fireworks. Ten in a row ended in screaming, shouting and the Green Brigade firing distress flares into the Glasgow sky.
Are the dying romance metaphors stating to piss you off already? You aren’t alone, believe me. If you’re anything like me the vomit bucket is now sitting beside you.
The champions turned to Eddie Howe and begged him to put a ring on their finger. Nursing a few commitment issues, the Englishman broke off the engagement.
How incredible to have the talent to boil a complicated situation down to something on the level of a deleted scene from Love Actually. And yeah, I’m being sarcastic. That requires no talent at all, but a level of contempt for the reader that blows your mind.
Ange Postecoglou? He came from nowhere and felt like the classic rebound hook-up.
Dire. The vomit bucket is no longer empty.
There seemed no danger of others fluttering their eyes at an older man. No one else seemed to want him.
Jesus Christ. Look at that. I don’t even remember even eating that … oh Christ, here I go again … (retching sounds …) Oh that stinks so, so, so much …
The strong silent type, he inherited a mess and cleaned it up. He won the league in his first season and, best of all, he seemed happy.
Oh my God. I need to empty this thing … who knew your stomach could contain so much?
‘It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a football club,’ he said this time last year.
Cup final day and I’m spewing my guts out … oh my GOD ….
‘It’s a massive club, it’s geared for success and I’m a pretty driven guy in terms of success. We’ve got Champions League football next year.
…. I hate this job sometimes. This is above and beyond the call of duty …
‘Those are the kind of things that are important to me.
Why is he breaking every sentence into its own paragraph?
I’m very happy where I am and as long as the club want me to stay, I’ll be around.’
At least as long as he’s quoting Ange he’s not writing that teen romance pish, so let’s be grateful for small mercies whilst I empty this bucket.
Twelve months later, it turns out he’s the same as all the rest. The itchy feet seemed to start shortly after a furtive call from a Brighton dial code.
Brighton dial code? What are we talking about here? That was paper talk. Do these jokers think we’ll let them away with anything now? I’m calling bullshit on that.
Now a leggy North London widow is hitching a skirt in his direction and, after a glance at the bank balance, Postecoglou has the sniff of perfume in his nostrils.
Shocking isn’t it? A grown man actually wrote this, and probably sat back proudly afterwards. Mate, you’ve written a bad British comedy sketch. You are now, officially, channelling Keith Jackson. This reads like a second rate version of one of his columns.
There’s no talk of being happy as a rancher with a can of Foster’s now. Repeated chances to nail all this Spurs speculation have been passed up. Everything he says is conspicuously similar to the words he used before leaving Yokohama for Glasgow. Approaching 58, he’s the late bloomer ready to get out there, hit the town and live a little.
You just knew he couldn’t get through this garbage without resorting to Jacksonesque “Aussie” stereotyping, didn’t you? Unbelievable. As to the Yokohama comparison, I am mentally noting every single crap hack who uses that line. Because when the first Championship club is sniffing around The Mooch next season I’ll be waiting to see how many of them compare his denials of interest with the words he used shortly before pissing on his QPR contract.
If Tottenham Hotspur come calling on Monday, then, there’s an inevitability to how this ends.
Is there? Really? With a Champions League winning boss also in the frame? That’s not a bold call as much as it’s an absolutely, reeking stupid one. I am a betting man. I wouldn’t touch that if you were giving me 10-1 on it, and the bookies aren’t.
Until victory over Inverness in the Scottish Cup final is done and dusted, Big Ange might feel the need to keep up the pretence.
If, in fact, he’s pretending. An awfully bit assumption to jump to.
If he seals his fifth trophy in two years at Hampden this evening, he can spare fans the banging-the-fist-on-the-chest routine and start fronting up the suspicions of infidelity.
Is that what this is about? Did someone hurt you Stephen? That’s how this is starting to read, like something that should have began with the words “Dear Deirdre …”
Before Josip Juranovic left for Union Berlin, the Parkhead boss spoke of encouraging players to play the field and make the most of their careers. It’s time for him to admit that’s his plan as well.
And if it’s not his plan? Will you and others grovel apologies? No, I’m betting you’ll take a slightly different line; “Ange Postecoglou bottles out of making the big move.” The trouble with our media is that you and others in it are nowhere near as smart as you think you are.
While some will take the news badly, most accept that Spurs is an offer he has to accept.
On his own head be it, that’s my attitude to it. If he takes that job his reputation for straight dealing will obviously be harmed. His career prospects will not last much longer. That job is impossible; as more experienced managers have already found out. I don’t believe for one minute that he’ll get through the first 12 months under Levy. I cannot remind people enough that he sacked one manager who was still in the Champions League spot (to finish 8th, that’s genius) and another on the eve of a cup final. A third got 17 games and this season’s “interim” manager got 4. It’s a free firing zone.
In modern football, the battle between money and medals feels a bit like Sevilla in the Europa League. There can only be one winner.
Not for everybody. Callum McGregor and others could have earned more leaving Celtic. They have the medals, and the money. It comes down to a simple question; how much is enough? More than you can spend in a lifetime? Two lifetimes? See, some people are motivated by money and others aren’t. The crap Sevilla joke is little better than the crap infidelity ones were.
When a top-six club from the English Premier League start waving their chequebook around, it’s time to accept the reality of the situation.
Spurs were eighth. Are you really a sportswriter if you can’t read a league table, or are you someone who won his job in a Spot The Ball competition?
There’s no way of knowing if he’ll ever get another offer to match Tottenham Hotspur. If he stays at Celtic, another fourth-place finish in the Champions League group stage could damage his share price big time. An opportunity of a lifetime beckons.
And at another club in that league that might be true. Spurs, however, is run as though the directors sit around rolling dice to decide what to do next. The stupidity to think that the “size” of Spurs – no trophies in 15 years – is a good enough reason to take a job where managers are dispatched with the regularity of a Just Eat delivery driver … like I said, on his own head be it.
If he goes, the champions will shake his hand, pocket the compensation cheque and resist the temptation to turn the kids against him.
Celtic has never turned me against anyone or anything. Our fans are capable of making up their own minds about this stuff. The club never uttered a bad word against Brendan Rodgers, but they didn’t have to. It was clear what he did.
Daniel Levy might be no one’s idea of love’s young dream. The thing with old romantics like Postecoglou is that they always think they can be the one to tame the Spur’s chairman’s controlling behaviour. Right up until the moment when they realise they can’t.
If this clown wasn’t still trying to write like a failed soft porn writer, he might actually make a halfway decent point there. I find the analogy troubling though, and McGowan should be careful with it.
In a worst-case scenario, Angeball could crash and burn and he could walk away with £15million in his hip pocket before landing a gig at AEK Athens.
Because AEK Athens would be a triumph, wouldn’t it? That would represent the heights he might be able to scale if he’s patient and smart enough to wait for the right club … and to provide Celtic with the insurance policy for when it happens. Yeah he’ll have the money, and no-one will ever be able to take it from him. Except his agent’s percentage, the taxman’s cut, the costs of moving to and from London and whatever the cost of living there itself is like … oh you get the drift. Just to end up in the Greek league at the end of it. All worthwhile, eah?
For a Greek kid who uprooted to Australia at the age of five with nothing more than a woolly jumper and a teddy bear, that’s not half bad.
Except your point – when you had one – was that he’s got grand ambitions. A job in the Greek league this time next year? It’s a defeat. It’s a downgrade on where he’s sitting right now. If that’s a fairytale ending it’s one written by the Brothers Grimm. I would consider it a tragedy for that man to retreat to Greece with his tail between his legs, everything he’s spent his career building ruined by one bad decision. But like I said, the risk is obvious so it’s on his own head.
For Celtic, the pain of splitting up might take a little longer to heal. For supporters, in particular, Postecoglou felt like Mr Right.
Yeah … except … a new manager is always exciting. I always feel a stab of pleasure at the thought of a new manager. Not that I’ve wanted rid of the manager’s I’ve watched –with a couple of exceptions granted – but I’ll tell you, it’s always a thrill when a new boss comes in and so I’ll stop caring when we appoint somebody.
Spurned directors will already be thumbing through the latest up-and-coming coach catalogue from the City Football Group.
Yeah, cause that’s where we got Rodgers, and Lennon and where we were gonna hire Eddie Howe from, right? See, these people think they’re commenting on Celtic’s lack of imagination, when in fact all they are doing is … highlighting theirs.
If nothing catches their eye, they might even be tempted to turn to David Moyes or a Steve Clarke or a John Kennedy. A steady Eddie who won’t spend every conversation scanning the room for chairmen from clubs in bigger leagues.
I rest my case. Only a complete idiot would think Clarke or Kennedy would ever make the shortlist. Moyes would be a different bet again, but nobody would be able to say that we’d lacked ambition, although it would certainly not suggest wide ranging strategic thought. But he’s another EPL calibre boss, and we have a habit of going for them in spite of all the sniping at us. And we have a habit of being right on the money when we do. Even the one that got away has proved, at Newcastle, that we were at least looking in the right place.
The trouble is that fans don’t want someone like that. They don’t care about a good sense of humour, a love of reading and long walks in the country.
Well if those things had the remotest connection to managing a football team they might make our list of priorities, but as they don’t … this is a writer whose head has disappeared up his own arse in search of the next metaphor.
They crave the exotic outsider who’ll set the pulse racing by firing jibes across the city at Rangers.
Oh there it is. I knew he’d find it up there. Actually, we’ll settle for a manager who beats them a couple of times and year and wins trophies and titles and leaves them in the dust. How pathetic to think we are overly concerned with the soap opera.
The smooth talker who’ll tell them how great Scottish football is to their face, while plotting a move to England behind their backs.
I’ll tell you, whatever else you might say about Ange, and I’ll say plenty if he’s unveiled at Spurs next week, that man has done more to promote the game in this country than people like McGowan ever have or ever will and that smear is one too many.
The man-on-the-make who revs up the engine of his Range Rover and hits the M6 as soon as he has a couple of medals round his neck.
Is this starting to sound like McGowan himself is the spurned gushing fan-boy?
The two-timer most likely to ditch them at the altar and leave them crying on the steps, clutching a crumpled up photo of the Lisbon Lions.
God yes, he really does, doesn’t he? Wow.
Push them hard enough and some might even be willing to speak the six hardest words in the English language.
Stephen McGowan is a fine writer?
Come back Brendan, all is forgiven.
Oh, those words … oh that would be an article and a half to write.
And McGowan might be very surprised as to what the content of it would be.