One of the most astonishing things about reading some of the coverage we’re getting in the media right now is the perception of Celtic as a club teetering on the brink of a crisis. Across the city, the portrait being painted is of a unified organisation purposefully moving forward. The contrast is all the more amazing for painting a picture that is false.
Celtic is said to have a number of problems. The first of which is a squad where there isn’t a great deal of depth.
We have seen that this is an entirely inaccurate representation of where we are. We may not have a Champions League squad, but we would be a good side in any Europa League group, and of course, we’re strong enough to dominate in Scotland.
Those who are calling for a more aggressive transfer policy are doing so in keeping with the wishes of the manager; a little more experience, and a couple of players whose quality is obvious and known and who aren’t considered project players.
This is actually not a massive leap from where we are now and its an adjustment which could easily be made.
Look at the makeup of the squad; there is enough potential in there that we’ve probably got around six or seven bankable assets who aren’t even in their peak years yet. We could easily augment this squad with a couple of real quality footballers and for all we know that’s the plan being laid for the January window. Rodgers is certainly talking as if it is.
Furthermore, as I said in late September when we published our accounts, weeks after the window shut, the chairman’s statement seemed to offer a hint that the transfer policy was more flexible than the summer business suggested; I do believe that Brendan flexed his muscles behind the scenes and got some of his changes made to it.
So I think January will see us do things in a different way, perhaps – hopefully – preparing us better for the summer window.
We’ll find out soon, but for now I think we need to trust the boss to have gotten his point across to everyone at the club.
There is a perception that we’re “split down the middle” on the Green Brigade situation; this is such a gross distortion I find it incredible that anyone could believe it.
A small group of fans has been kicked out of Celtic Park and although a lot of people might be dismayed by that decision, and some might even be angry, Celtic is certainly not “split down the middle” on it.
Let’s be honest; the vast majority of the fan-base wants a solution but generally doesn’t care what that solution is as long as it doesn’t harm the club. They aren’t going to get involved or pick one side or the other, they just want to watch their team.
There is a section of what’s left which is completely on the club’s side – I am one of them, knowing the facts here and having long-standing concerns about the direction this has obviously been heading in.
Another section is wholly on The Green Brigade’s side; how large that section is should not be overestimated, because as I said in an earlier article, we’re essentially talking about two different things when we write that; those who are fully invested and are willing to act and those who are supportive but will probably not join any concerted campaign.
So, although this subject has generated a lot of online heat and even anger, I very much doubt that it represents any kind of major rift amongst the fans or an issue for the club even in the short-medium term. In fact, as long as the team on the pitch is winning, and provided January doesn’t end up a disaster, I think the perception that we are a house divided is majorly wide of the mark.
There are no splits in the dressing room. Indeed, the players speak up for each other, they defend each other whenever there is criticism. There seems to be a tremendous spirit around the club right now.
Nobody takes precedent over any other … this is the sports equivalent of the ensemble cast, where nobody is the star but all the focus is on the team.
Arguments between fans and the board over several issues are certainly ongoing. But whilst the media might have short memories we don’t; the Ibrox fans were in open revolt only a few weeks ago, and there really was a high chance of a full on confrontation.
It’s amazing how easily they were brought back onboard by the appointment of a new manager … but they are both gullible and easily swayed and a single bad result will flip these Peepul the other way.
Theirs is a club with genuine problems, and I see the start of some dressing room issues already. There are a couple of players there who thought they were the centre of the universe, such as Cantwell, who this manager doesn’t rate as highly as the last one, and he does enjoy a good bitch and moan and so there’s probably some fun ahead of us in that regard.
They are making a major effort just now to keep their fans onside, such as working with their “ultras” and setting up their wee fan advisory boards … but giving the ultras too much power is madness, of course, especially with their track record and the fan advisory boards have already sparked major controversy on their forums because of how the names were picked.
That is not a happy camp over there, even with the new manager in place.
Our AGM is coming up soon. People in the media are drooling over it, expecting fireworks. Do you know how many years I’ve been hearing that?
Doubtless there will be complaints over The Green Brigade situation and the transfer policy but the club will robustly defend itself on the first front and offer some context in the second … and they’ll get through it.
I have my own thoughts on the AGM which I’ll put up later in the week, but whereas I think it’ll be a bit more uncomfortable for the board than in other years, I expect that by the end of it every one of the current directors will be re-elected with less than 10% of the vote going against them … and I think that’s a problem, but it will confirm the club as essentially united.
Celtic is not the house divided that some people would like to believe. One incredibly ignorant editorial at the weekend had us on the brink of crisis, with the fans in uproar, civil war brewing and the manager on the verge of the sack.
It was a picture so removed from reality that it was astonishing to read it in a national title instead of on a rambling, shambling Ibrox fan site.
A lot of people would love to believe it.
The truth is, the reason the media is so focussed on the off-field stuff is that we’re in good shape on it, and even the European results can’t distract from the good job that Rodgers is doing and the performances of much of the team. They had their fun for a couple of days after Madrid, but they know our top spot is pretty secure.
The perception of our club as one riven by division certainly plays into some people’s agendas, but it’s simply not the case and I think within a few weeks we’ll see just how together this club is going into the next phase of this campaign.
That’s not what certain people want to hear. Too bad.