It’s Healthy To Ask Questions

lawwell and lennonQuestions are good, they are essential in the development of the human condition and a free society. Everyone has the right to question anything without fear or prejudice. You might not like some questions, you also may not like the person asking them but no one should be belittled or chastised for asking questions.

Yesterday’s poor performance raised some questions regarding tactics by the manager and the board. First lets turn to the manager.

Why did he wait so long to change personnel and the organisation of the team ? It was clear that our opponents although well organised were panicking when we got the ball in and around the box. Therefor why did the manager persist with playing Sammy on his own in the middle ? Would it not have been better to reorganise at halftime ? Surely Sammy out on the left with Stokes or Baldy through the middle would have been a more potent threat in the second half ? Would Charlie Mulgrew not have served us better as a Centre half ? At halftime the game was there to be won.

I personally see the previous set of questions as legitimate. Obviously not everyone will agree and I could be proved wrong by someone with more tactical knowledge than me. I don’t have a problem with that, it’s all about opinions and if mine is wrong then I’ll take that on board and hopefully learn something in the process. That’s one of the reasons why questions are good.

Now I’ll move onto some questions posed about our board and the ‘gamble’. There is no doubt that to successfully manage and run any business you will need to take the odd gamble. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that however you should endeavour to stack the odds in your favour.

My questions for the board would be; Given that the odds of Hooper and Wanyama being with Celtic for this season were low why were direct replacements not brought in as soon as the transfer window opened ? Was there a problem in identifying replacements ? Were any replacements sought ? If we did identify replacements was the cost prohibitive ? or were we ‘duped’ by both players agents into thinking they would stay and thus we never bothered looking for replacements ?

Now we have spent money and brought in players in the shape of Virgil van Dijk, Amido Baldy, Derk Boerrigter and Steven Mouyokolo. However was this use of money wise ? Only time will tell. The reason I’m questioning our transfer activity is because we lost two vital players in key positions and our team looks weaker for it. We may be able to get by without Victor but when you are ‘gambling’ with our Champions League future we certainly will miss Hooper and his goals. If you take the first Cliftonville games out of the equation we have only scored five goals in five competitive games. Now if you also take into account that we have conceded three goals in those games it goes to show that we a treading a very thin line between success and failure. It’s clear to see why fans are nervous, it’s a lack of goal threat.

I must say I seen some nonsense by those supporting the ‘gamble’ trying to shout down those who questioned why we never brought in a goal scorer by referring them to what happened at Rangers. That is a total red herring. Celtic to the boards credit are not anyway near the shambles that was Rangers FC. Firstly that club was living well outside their means. They were buying in over priced players on over sized wages while running tens of millions of pounds of debt. We are not. Also I don’t think any Celtic fan is asking the board to pay stupid money just for one player goal scorer or not.

To me it comes down to how you take the ‘gamble’ Do you take it by waiting to see if your in the Champions League before you buy a genuine goal scorer or do you gamble £5m beforehand to stack the odds of a £20m return in your favour ?

Feel free to disagree but don’t ask me not to ask questions because that is what happened at the dead Rangers and that is largely why they are dead.

Hail, Hail


8 thoughts on “It’s Healthy To Ask Questions

  1. Agree with most of your points, we were beat by a poor team. Alas we are a much weaker team this season. A very average team with a very big bank balance, my fear is the path we are on is going to drive the crowds down even further. I’m disappointed and disheartened and very frustrated in our leadership.

  2. Jas

    It is a passionate and controlled piece given the exasperation that you and all Celtic fans must be feeling right now. Can I begin by commenting that I have watched teams over many years defeat Celtic with better tactics (Aberdeen in their supremacy years under Sir Alex – keep the cavalry charge at bay then break away and score. Game after game.) and others with far superior players (let’s be honest some European teams like Barcelona are normally not far off 5-10 goals better than us). And over these same years I have been gutted both for myself and the players who in spite of giving their all were second best. But I accepted such defeats, not so much with grace as with resignation. However, what I witnessed last night against Shakhter Karagandy is absolutely unacceptable neither from the players nor from the management. From that standpoint, I agree wholeheartedly with and would encourage all to exercise our right to question. Last night they embarrassed our club and insulted the support. Most of them behaved as if annoyed they had been taken from the comfort of their fancy chartered plane rather than being asked to put in an honest shift. That I will never accept. That will never be justified. That I will always condemn. And that is always open to question.

    Where I may differ somewhat with your approach is on the question of buying in players either as additions or as replacements. I have two reasons for arguing this. First of all, I find it hard to come to terms with the general estimation of the value, not monitory but football-wise, of any of the top players who left. I am not as convinced as most of the ability of any of them, even Victor, though I confess I am eternally grateful we could make some profit from their leaving. Is Garry Hooper as good as he is made out? Will he, for example, ever be considered as an international even if playing in the English premiership? Is Kevin Wilson any more than a journeyman centre half? His whole time at Parkhead could just as easily have been the disaster of his beginning as it was the success of his finish. Only time will tell if he is average or very good. And what of Victor? How many young players have flattered to deceive? How many have shown promise of brilliance and then fizzled out? One does not have to look far to see a Michael Owen or a Wayne Rooney. Do they really compare to a Pele, a Cruyff, a Van Basten or a Messi of their day as the papers had us believe? Even in our own junior ranks we have watched, over many seasons, young starlets fail to develop into actual stars. My point is, though, not so much to question that the quality of those that left is exaggerated as to ask if it would really take extraordinary quality to replace them. And for that, have we not as much potential in our youth as in unknowns in an open market where reckless competition makes a mockery of costs. Why are novices like Van Dijk and Mouhokolo considered to bring more to the club than a Watt, a McGeoch or an Irvine? For me, it is a quandary understanding why we have to seek remedies in the unknown rather than within our own development squads.

    I do agree with your question about why players are played out of position? To me, the only justification is when your squad is so depleted you have no, absolutely no, other choice. Any other time it is incomprehensible and last night it was proved beyond question to be a mad disaster. Nor are such tactics enhanced by the unforced idiocy of rotation. I am the first to acknowledge that there are horses for courses and that sometimes changes are forced upon a manager whether he wants them or not. But Neil seems to be besotted by having different horses for every race. Can he never, ever play the same team twice. It is no wonder long serving players never mind new ones do not know each other’s game. Last night proved what a great advantage familiarity brings to a team. Everyone in Shakhter played almost telepathically with team mates. And if you think I am exaggerating or off my rocker, watch The Lisbon Lions and see telepathic football played to perfection. That team could have played blindfold. Not that they needed to because they were brilliant even without telepathy. In contrast, the current team probably use the huddle to say hello to each other before the start of a game. By the way, if anyone wants to discover the reverse of familiarity and the disaster that is rotation, just have a look at the potentially terminal damage inflicted upon Liverpool by Benitez.

    Finally I turn to the board for whom I have great admiration for keeping us strong in the face of the current destructive financial onslaught. However, I am with you Jas when you question their approach and method in the transfer market. First of all, while ideally business is best done in private, fans are surely entitled to know the full intentions in the transfer market. Contrary to opinion, this would not mean the release of the names of potential targets. Not to inform and to make all decisions behind closed doors inevitably leads to unsubstantiated rumour or develops unjustified disillusionment. Silence may be golden but there are times it can cause the imagination to turn from hopefulness into a festering boil of discontent. It is at this point that loyalties are stretched and decisions that adversely affect the club such as non-renewal of season tickets, are made. Openness is the cure that can often revitalise supporters and bring them back on board. The Celtic Board ought to bear this in mind in its dealings with fans on a range of topics and at various levels. Naivety in any position, in the office or on the field, is not a weakness that a club as big as Celtic F.C. can afford or tolerate.

    H H

    1. Thanks for the reply PB. My main concern is our lack of penetration and goals at the moment. Although I would agree to a certain extent on your view of those who have left. Basically taking the spine out of any team can take time to remedy. That is why I wish we had identified replacements at the earliest time possible

      1. Jas

        Last night there was a lack of everything and that is what rankles most. I accept that we are playing in a “minor” league with a minimum wage level of income and I take on board all that that implies. But to simply not even appear to try and to so incompetently misjudge tactics and selection then stubbornly refuse or even more incompetently be unaware of the need to change anything till far too late, are attitudes not easily forgiven.

        With regards to players going and coming, I think I was trying to say that we should have a replacement for the spine or any other area to hand from within our existing pool and that might mean better preparation of our youngsters. I am a great believer in the old adage that good enough is old enough. Surely, with the investment in youth, we ought to be producing more than a group of players whose apparent progression is simply to play at the same level for another season. We must know that players will regularly leave each season especially with our buy and sell on policy. So surely with a little forethought and planning we can be ready to fine tune our own potential replacements in time for the exodus. It is time for someone in the management team to start thinking ahead and having a number of replacements on the shelf ready to step in if required instead of being panicked into last minute buying with guns at our heads over prices for often unknown and untested immigrants. If the youth workshops can not provide good enough replacements and we are forced each season to look outside the club, then a serious rethink of our youth programme is called for. It is a sad day when John Park is hailed as our best back-room asset.

        H H

  3. Can’t disagree with much of the piece Jas.

    I do though believe that when they are asked they are addressed in a proper fashion.
    ‘Hey daft arse wit times dinner ready ?’. might simply result with dinner in the dog.

    1. Cheers Lorenzo, I was going to provide a list of different types of questions including misdirected and daft ! lol 🙂

      1. Jas

        Like asking Big Fraser what that round thing is that keeps flying over his head?

        Or, asking Lenny if his tactics board was upside down on Monday night?

        Or, did he forget to tell all the players they WERE playing?

        Or were the players so affected by jet lag and time difference they thought they were still doing a warm-down from Saturday?

        Or, finally, can Lenny actually recognise crap?

        H H 🙂

  4. Last night’s performance was rotten
    The reason Mulgrew was played in
    midfield was we needed another tall player
    as they had a very big team. We played
    the formation we played, so that we wouldn’t
    Concede any and hope to score on the break.
    It all went wrong in the 77 min . One goal down
    wouldn’t been the end of the world, now have
    tough battle.

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