Kyogo’s Japanese Snub Was The Moment The Celtic Board Decided Not To Spend.

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If this title race ends with an Ibrox captain lifting the league trophy, our club will be rocked by convulsions so strong that they will risk toppling the statues in the car-park. Rodgers will be the first to go, of course, the sacrificial lamb that the directors hope will spare them the flak. Since none of us should have the least faith in who will replace him, that ought to be dismissed out of hand as any kind of solution as to what ails us.

A lot of people will have their theories on what happened to get us to that point. A lot of people will celebrate Rodgers’ departure as if it were a personal triumph; there are people who simply will not forgive him for leaving the first time and the fact that he’s in the job and needs the support of the fans whilst we’re still in this race doesn’t seem to dawn on them at all.

If I had to offer a moment where this campaign hits the skids, I would take you back to last season and the appointment of Mark Lawwell and, more pointedly, the appoint of Peter Lawwell as chairman at around this time last year.

Peter Lawwell’s presence at the club coincided with the sales of two key players who were stalwarts of Ange’s team; Juranovic and Giakoumakis. Since then, we’ve sold Jota and Starfelt, and we’ve lost Mooy. Five key first team starters. None of them have been replaced with similar quality, including Johnston.

Their “leadership” has been dreadful, and you only to look at the state we got into over the Asian Cup to get a sense of how appalling it has been.

I first wrote about this issue before last season was over, and I spent the summer waiting, in increasingly incredulity, as we failed to take the key precautionary step which were necessary to stop that throwing our season into crisis; the purchase of a top class striker not only to replace those we were bound to lose for that tournament but to actually replace Giakoumakis as proper competition for our starter, as well as offering the manager the maximum number of tactical options for playing different systems.

All through the last few months of the year, we had Rodgers telling us that the Asian Cup had been anticipated and that everything was in hand; those statements were fundamentally untrue. Not only had we not done the necessary work in the summer in terms of signing a striker, but we actually signed three more Asian footballers eligible to take part in that tournament. We increased our exposure instead of trying to limit it.

You will not get a clearer or more obvious example of how incomprehensibly scattershot and random and stupid our summer transfer policy was, and the people responsible for that should all be out of a job as rank incompetents without a clue.

Mark Lawwell, if you believed the hype, not only knew Asian football but had worked in its environs. How, then, it escaped his attention that which any person who watches the game knew – that Japan and South Korea were amongst the favourites and that there was a chance that all of our players from those countries might be away for the whole of the tournament, encompassing tricky away games and two Scottish Cup ties – I cannot fathom.

When our seven point lead started to shrink, I thought that alarm bells would finally be clanging inside Celtic Park about the scale of the risk we were taking. And indeed, that’s when Rodgers started talking about four quality players still being needed and how important the January window was. He assured us that everything was in hand and the plan was in place.

Then Kyogo was left out of the Japan squad, and all of a sudden everything changed, and this blog said at the time that Rodgers’ comments about how that had shifted the priorities was ominous at best and at worst potentially catastrophic. That was the moment our board decided not to properly fund the managers plans, and he was well aware of it.

On 20 January, he admitted as much at a press conference.

Then, with eleven days of the window left, Rodgers gave the game away when he said, “It’s … one that we have been looking at for a period of time and it would have really changed if Kyogo had gone away with Japan. That was our thinking process, that we would actually be left with no one … Him being here for virtually one game a week for a number of weeks changes the dynamic.”

That was the moment I ceased to believe that these people would deliver for the boss or for the team. The writing was on the wall.

They decided there was no need for a striker to be signed. They decided that was no longer a key requirement. It seems likely that they stripped back on the other plans too. That’s what was chosen over chasing a £60 million jackpot in the summer, and that’s not the only fiscal risk they’ve taken here of course.

I’ll get to that subject a little later on.

The winning changes we’d made to the strategy when Ange was in his first campaign were put to the sword the minute Lawwell junior was in the building, and daddy made sure we were back to tight controls even in opposition to the manager’s wishes.

But if you want the exact moment this season when those people took the wilful, conscious decision to gamble, it happened on 1 January, when Kyogo Furuhashi was not selected for Japan.

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  • goodghuy says:

    The best team will win the title, the team with the most bottle will be victorious. Let’s hope it’s Calum Mcgregor and not James Tavernier who is lifting the title at the end of the season. This is as tight a league as I can remember, this is were you see who the real men are. Celtic are under pressure, so let’s see what they have in the locker to respond. This sack the board stuff, is not helping the players, it will only put more pressure on them. Rangers are focused, with the one game at a time method, I heard Clement say as such yesterday, we need to do the same. It’s still all to play for, we just need to hit form. Keep the faith HH

    • Chris says:

      You couldn’t be more wrong.
      This is the time when we need to hammer the board.
      Sitting back doing nothing means things will continue as they are.

  • Zeddy says:

    I was annoyed when Rodgers left …..but understood why

    I was annoyed when Rodgers returned……but understood why

    I’m annoyed with Rodgers because his results speak for themselves.Hes dropped 10 points and refuses to change.


  • Jamie Struthers says:

    To beat them twice, them replace their manager and bring in a load of duds and for us to still potentially be behind them after their next game, it’s very depressing. For me, regardless of who wins the league this season there needs to be major changes in the summer but as lojg as Desmond isnt interested and Lawwell has total control, things will only deteriorate further. I have a feeling it will be a very dark few years ahead especially once our better players are flogged and new rejects from elsewhere come in to replace them.

  • Kieran Gallagher says:


  • Roonsa says:

    Does it really matter when it happened? It happened. They should all be shot.

  • Jim Duffy says:

    James even with kyogo not going to Asia we were still not covered for a potential injury to kyogo,I know I go on about Rodgers but I just think he should stood up to liewell and or asked his mate desmond for help and what we sow we now reap, potentially losing this important race for the title.

  • Hugh says:

    Most things are done for a reason, and the reason for this fiasco may seem far off the mark.
    Sevco, not looking capable to make CL through qualifiers so given a helping hand to get in as Champions.
    Celtic, not building for CL at present but do enough to be second and enter qualifiers. All money saved to be put to recruiting players in summer to give best chance of reaching the league proper. Both share in a big pot and all is well. Celtic can’t think that the current squad is good enough to do any damage in CL and to improve it now to win PL puts Sevco in trouble. Just throwing this out there.

  • king murdy says:

    yep….bang on the money…tho he;s still here…he may as well not be….something is very, very wrong within the dressing room…
    the board have done BR up like a kipper…i always thought a CEO was the most powerful position…but nicholson is like a tailors dummy…
    just cannot fathom how he has fallen for it…the lawwells are TOXIC BASTARDS…
    james, did you ever do an item on why mckay departed ?
    we are not going to win ANY silverware this season….


  • John Fitzpatrick says:

    Celtic are deliberately throwing this league to keep ibrox in the game. No other organisation could be otherwise that incompetent. We’re being played for mugs..

  • Bob (original) says:

    On the face of it,

    a club deciding on its window transfer strategy,

    based on a decision taken by a national team,

    is just so crazy…

    that it’s perfectly believeable where our club is concerned! 🙁

  • Patrick White says:

    Your spot on with what you wrote.
    What I can’t understand what were the Scouting staff doing there last number of month, to check out quality players for Celtic.
    They must have being doing there Scouting watching matches on the telly in a Pub while getting Drunk
    Sack the whole Scouting staff, there Definitely not doing there Job.

  • Tommy Boyle says:

    Said it before and got pelters, I’ll say it again, McGregor isn’t a captain, and never was. Tremendous footballer, but doesn’t have the neccessary
    onfield spark for captaincy.

    That said, there’s no one to fill that role.

    We could do worse than to resign Scott Brown.

  • John Copeland says:

    Which part of success does the board of Celtic FC dislike . Is it the CL millions which greatly help our club grow and compete ? Is it the outside contracts from companies and organisations desperate to give us money in sponsorship for winning ? Is it being the finest ran club and team in the country ? Is it while we win our greatest rivals are fiddling while Rome burns ? Or is it just success itself …have the board grown tired of it ? Well ,Mr Lawwell and co , please take a couple of steps back and have a looksee at the damned alternative !

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The results this season have been atrocious, Draws with St Johnstone,Hibs,Motherwell, Aberdeen, defeats by Kilmarnock and Hearts plus dumped out the League cup by Kilmarnock, this isn’t all down to the Lawwells. The manager and coaching staff plus the players are responsible for what happens on the park.
    Take yesterday’s game, Celtic had 71% possession, 22 shots 4 on target, 12 corners, Aberdeen 29% possession, 7 shots 3 on target . You could probably more or less repeat these stats in every game this season except the two against the huns, which ironically we won.
    Our problems on the park are pretty simple we don’t take our chances and we don’t score from set pieces. In Scotland we are still the best passing team by a mile but our stats to goal ratio are ridiculous. Do they ever practice shooting and set pieces at Lennoxtown?
    That’s not to say that DD, PL, ML and MN and the rest of the Board are blameless, the arrogance and complacency from them is disgraceful
    Just one last point, if we hadn’t beaten the hun club twice they would be 12 points ahead of us just now, that really would be a crisis.

  • Dan Dwan says:

    Desmond is the absentee Landlord who has handed control of the club to the arrogant accountant Peter Lawwell who in turn has handed the head of recruitment role to his totally unqualified office boy son Mark Lawwell. As a result we are in real danger now of relinquishing our league title The supporters of one of the biggest clubs in the World are being taken for mugs, this great club is being run by individuals not fit to operate a corner shop. Dermot Desmond needs to face reality and get a grip,(that’s if he still has any interest in this great club apart from it being his personal money pit)and get shot of these clowns and get them out the building pronto or he will face a fan revolt don’t underestimate the power of the support Mr Desmond act now.

  • Hugh says:

    Martin O Neil brought in pros he knew from experience could do a job, Sutton, Lennon, Thommo, Joos, Hartson etc. Dr Joe with Lubo, Ange with Kyogo, Reo etc. and Wim with Larsson. These players were known to them and trusted by them. I would have expected Rodgers to have a few in mind when he took the job but seems not to be the case. Not many companies would survive if the over stocked with learners to the detriment of those who know what they are doing. Celtic seems to be the exception.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      They are the exception because of guys like me that spend plenty on merchandise Hugh..

      Bit if they blow the league this season due to this scandalous incompetence of Sonny Lawwell, Daddy Lawwell, Nicholson and Rodgers then I’ll be having a serious look at myself and what I’ll be spending (or not) going forwards !

  • Don says:

    The other element that seemed to have escaped their thinking is that this time you could see why Kyogo didn’t make the cut. At the time of the World Cup he was absolutely deadly and his exclusion was puzzling. Japan missed a number of changes due to poor finishing and seemed to be crying out for exactly the type of player we were delighting in watching sticking the ball in the net for Celtic.

    This time round, for whatever reason, he’s not the same player and we don’t currently have anyone else capable of sharing the goalscoring challenge.

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