The Celtic Manager Said He Wanted “Power” In This Team. That Was Two Months Ago.

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Brendan Rodgers knew what he needed before he was even back in the door.

He said it. He sat at the first press conference, the one with the fans, and he said quite plainly, and I know it because I was there, that this team needed “power” in it.

We all interpreted that the same way, as a sign that we were going to seek a physical dimension we have lacked for a long time.

A ball winning midfielder would have been at the top of nearly every person’s list of priorities.

A big hard bulking monster … but someone who could pass the ball.

I keep saying “trust the process” but that process was helmed by the last guy who was manager here and fitted his specific needs. We all assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that the manager who replaced him would still be at the centre of that process because that process has to fit his specific needs.

We signed Kwon from Korea. He is a defensive midfielder, and he’s a big strong guy.

His games there were in the second tier though, and whilst it would be insanity to write that guy off right now, he’s not close to being first team ready and you can tell that already because Brendan Rodgers didn’t bother to play him today, at any stage, when we were screaming for a player of that type.

He says he will coach the players they give him.

Some on the board might be daft enough to believe that means something that it doesn’t.

Because he does not have to start them or even give them a look-in if he thinks they aren’t up to the required standard, and at that point these guys aren’t even project players anymore, just drags on the wage bill and wastes of a jersey.

This is where the idea of a transfer policy designed to find gold does not work.

These guys can sign all the “projects” they want … the only ones who will ever see daylight in terms of first team football are those the manager is convinced can play for the first team. And you can’t “develop” someone who the manager takes one look at and says “stick him in the B team, let me know when he’s up to taking another look at.”

I’ll do a fuller piece on the implications of a strategy which decides who the manager should have instead of giving him what he so clearly wants later on in the week, I said I’d do that on Friday afternoon, even before this calamity today and I will, because it’s more pertinent today than it was on Friday when I said I’d do it.

This is a crazy way to run a football club.

It’s like that old joke about a camel being a horse built by committee.

Building a football team is not a group project. It is a singular vision designed by one man and which fits his needs and his needs alone.

It is no coincidence that under Ange we barely had a transfer market failure; these weren’t guys selected at random, they were each picked to play a very specific role, and he decided that.

You can tell when a process is methodical and clear because it just all makes sense to you.

As much as I am impressed by Holm and Yang and expect to like our Aussie, it is obvious that the summer signing policy is not entirely coherent. It looks scattershot and random. It has the whiff of which Rodgers caught the last time, when we signed Shved, and he said “we don’t need another winger …” and sent that guy back on loan to his former club almost immediately.

Two central midfield signings, at a club where we already had McGregor, Mooy, Hatate, Turnbull, O’Riley, Iwata and McCarthy?

Even if you reckoned with Mooy leaving and Turnbull probably being deemed surplus to requirements … the signing of Holm was baffling. Kwon, at least, appeared to tick a specific box.

But a project player in a role like that? It has a random feeling to it, like we just decided that this summer we’d sign a bunch of hopefuls and cross our fingers that one or two of them have the right stuff.

But in terms of meeting the manager’s needs, or fitting his blueprint? It’s as if that was an afterthought. It’s as if that didn’t enter into consideration at all, and that guy knows it himself.

He talked about adding power, and so far there’s none.

And that wasn’t a week ago guys, that was on 23 June, that was nearly two months ago.

So, what in God’s name have we spent two months on?

If the system is as fool-proof as they say it is, why wasn’t the manager able to go into wherever they keep the data and say to them “I need a ball winning tough tackling midfield dominator. Who do we have who checks those boxes?”

Because that’s how a coherent transfer policy would work.

They don’t go to him and say “we should sign such and such a player out wide”, they should wait for him to come to them and say “I need a left back. Who’s on our list?”

The crazy thing is, for the whole of those two months I’ve defended the strategy and “the process” on the basis that I thought it worked the same as it did under Ange.

But I can’t defend a strategy which makes no strategic sense, and it wasn’t until that man said “I’ll coach the players they give me” that the answer to the big question – “What’s actually going on here with our signings?” – finally became clear.

For everybody who’s spent the last 36 hours asking me what my problem is with what he said, the answer is right here.

Right now, there’s no coherent “whole” when you look at that team.

Right now we’re a horse designed by committee and the manager is not only working with Ange Postecoglou’s squad, which itself was not up to doing the things he wants this team to do, but it’s one with Lawwell & Lawwell’s brilliant ideas on top of it.

Like I said, he has eleven days to impose some order on this, and it sure as Hell needs it.

Two months since he talked about wanting “power”.

We’ve left this late. There better be answers here, because if we do something incoherent and illogical and sign another slightly built attacking midfielder or something it’s that man who’ll find himself under the microscope, because the people who run our club will never take responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

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  • Mark says:

    You back the process, and after today you condemned it.Can you please make your mind up

    • James Forrest says:

      Can you read? I already explained it.

      I trusted the process when I thought Brendan Rodgers WAS the process.

      He made it clear on Friday that’s not the case.

      Ergo, the process is not what I thought it was … and I do not trust it one bit.

      Simple. If you read the piece you’d know.

      • Jim says:

        Rodgers will be off sharpish, if he believes that he is not seeing what he thought he signed up for and I simply can’t believe he signed up for being ” given players to work with ”
        Not sure if we are all over reacting; so the next 11 days will be very enlightening.

    • Gordon Raeburn says:

      How come James’ piece was very clear to me but you seem bemused by it. Try reading it again and see if your conclusion is different.I see your name is Mark. Mark Lawwell by any chance ?

  • Jackson says:

    I said weeks ago on your blog James that the other teams were going for brute force,
    that was very apparent today shit pitch or not
    Kwon?……..he was pulled off after his first game for us and rightly so he was horrendous.
    Abada has let us down as well……he can be replaced too with Yang.
    We are woefully weak all over the park…..and in need of some quality “hammer throwers”

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Think in the comin 11 days, we’ll find out exactly who’s really in charge of the team. Brendan Rodgers or Lawwell again. If the latter disnae provide, ah suspect we’ll soon be back tae 3 seasons ago and the question is, where the fks the money goin. Just have tae wait and see whit develops here. Tho totally agree, shouldve been sorted long before this.

  • John Ward says:

    You have Iwata sitting on the bench who would fill that role. McGregor going through his missing in action phase again. We have the players, Rodgers needs to pick the right team.

  • Gordon Raeburn says:

    I agree with you 100 percent James. It is very clear we need a big, strong ball winning midfielder with preferably also a bit of pace. McGregor, O’Riley, Turnbull and Holm are none of the above. Yet all the rumours revolve around people like Podence who may be a good player but not what we need right now. I think a first choice keeper, left back, midfield beast and a decent striker. Rodgers’ comment the other day made it clear to me that Lawwell Sr. is back pulling the strings. Get him out of our club before we start heading backwards although I believe we are already.

  • Johnno says:

    I take your point James but Rodgers also admitted he was part of the process also?
    Is it just a coincidence that 10 players have been signed since PL walked officially back into the club?
    Out of them 10 only AJ can be deemed as CL ready imo.
    That is a disgrace when places were still available and an extra 3 becoming available during the summer.
    Is it a case of ourselves trying to build a squad for next season in mind?
    That’s what it’s looking like now imo.
    Regardless it’s the huge dip in form of our more experienced players that would be regarded as automatic choices for a CL squad a bigger concern, for myself anyway.
    John Kennedy decided to stay, than follow Ange, so did he stay wanting to help produce the shite football on show?
    There seems to be problems throughout the club currently, yet even in the disaster of the 10iar season, players Were brought in that were meant to be 1st team ready and add extra towards a European campaign, and look how that ended up?
    Tough decisions were going to be needed during the summer weather Ange stayed or not with a CL campaign in mind.
    All we’ve really been given is that of one’s being made by pansies.
    Who’s to blame for that, is starting to become an increasing list at present, and fearing hun lovers are back to making them yet again.
    11 days for all concerned to redeem themselves, but the focus also now remains upon Rodgers and the shite he thinks he’s going to serve up, cause that muck today won’t be tolerated by the decision makers who think this current state of affairs is acceptable within our club.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    When Bosun Lawel left Parkhead on loan last week it was The wrong Lawwell that left…

    Anyone want a chairman called Lawwell on loan… ?

    In fact they can have him on a free transfer !

  • Kris McMeekin says:

    So, the transfer strategy is exactly the same as it was last season, the chief scout (Mark Lawwell) identifies players through his scouting staff & presents them to the manager, exactly the same as last season. That is somehow no longer good enough. I wonder why? Dreadful opinion piece attempting to disguise itself as some kind of insider knowledge as to how the club is run!

  • MartinKennea says:

    Lawwells a sleekit pig who thinks he’s untouchable .

  • Mark B says:

    This was waiting to happen. All the hubris all the relatively unknown signings , a new style, injuries and a team lacking power. Anyone can see we need power at LB DM CF possibly still at CH. Money in the bank wins nothing. People commenting on and criticising goings on at Ibrox need to focus on us. They are now hot favourites to win the first trophy. Let that sink in. We lost two first team starters (three as Mooy often started) we are clearly weaker. Our rivals have strengthened. It’s so obvious this race will be very close.

  • Teresa Deeney says:

    Couldn’t agree more. As far as I’m concerned since the return of Peter Lawwell the old ways are coming back. In my opinion Peter Lawwell is Sevco’s greatest asset. He needs to go as, regardless what title he holds, everyone knows he’s running the show again. God help us all. Hail hail.

  • John says:

    3 games into a season 1 cup loss on a horrible pitch to a team consisting of players who when not booting the ball up the said pitch were sticking boots elbows an any other parts of their bodies into celtic players. Sure what rogers said at weekend dodn’t sit right and was a concern but all this talk about losing jota & starfelt Who both got their fair share of moaning from supports last year and not being replaced by marquee signings is frankly mad. Rogers has not yet got a settled side because of injuries to key players and new players have had to fill in before totally settled to play in a league against players of little skill but plenty of determation to stop u playing any way they can.

  • John S says:

    Some comments seem panicky. Keep the heid. Keep the faith. (1) BR is no scout but he should be able to say what kind of player he needs. (2) Plastic pitches shouldn’t be used for one-off cup-ties. (3) There’s no Divine Right to win any match, best efforts are required by all. (4) It will take game-time to shape into the manager’s vision. (5) The Board must be seen to be backing the team.

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