One of the great pleasures in this job is also one of its curses. I read the mainstream media every single day, stomaching as much of it as I can, looking for stories which affect Celtic. Often, I find that where there are Celtic stories there is usually some negative slant. And where those stories bloom, there is more than a little bit of pro-Ibrox guff.
Celtic’s sale of Jota for £25 million plus is a seismic shock to the hacks because they never saw anything on that scale coming at all. They knew Rodgers would have money, but this gives him access to greater resources than any manager in Scotland has ever been able to spend. That’s terrifying for them, but it’s also inspired some of them.
Ibrox badly needs a big sale, or a series of small ones in this window. Our media has played a starring role in helping them shift season tickets over the years with feel-good stories beyond counting.
But it’s also talked up the valuations of players who really don’t have much value. Nearly all of the remnants of the Van Bronckhorst team are available for transfer at rock bottom rates; I wrote about Hagi yesterday and his hilarious predicament.
What they wouldn’t give for just one big money transfer, and if the player won’t be missed then all the better. The likelihood of it isn’t exactly great, but they get points for trying and Steven Gerrard’s unveiling as a Saudi club boss has some of them dreaming of a little of that liquid gold being sent towards their favourite club.
It’s sort of tiresome in a way, because the moment Gerrard went to Villa you had much the same talk. They, too, are owned by billionaires and that had a lot of Ibrox fans salivating that he might do them a turn and grab Kent and throw £10 million their way, or sign Morelos and throw another £10 million in their general direction … none of it happened of course.
No sooner is he in the desert but two absolutely barking stories have appeared in the media about players from their club being linked with moves to his new one.
The first is so bad that it’s kind of hilarious; the idea that he might throw £4 million their way for Scott Wright. The other is, in its own way, even more absurd; that he fancies signing Tavernier … and that their club would hold firm and demand an enormous fee to let the captain go.
There are two basic reasons why this fanciful rubbish will remain no more than a daft idea in their heads.
The first is that Gerrard’s primary responsibility is to his current club and not his former former one.
The second is that he doesn’t want sacked, and signing Scott Wright for anything other than the most modest fee, and giving millions for a 31-year-old whose only skill is in hitting a dead ball is the sort of decision making which gets you sacked.
What a desperate shower they are, and what a desperate and grubby little scheme this is; our media acting as selling agents on behalf of Ibrox, and this time making their pitch to the Saudi’s and hoping that someone there takes interest in the dross that club can’t otherwise shift … and of course their fans lap this stuff up. That lot never learn.