Well done to the Evening Shark-Jump for somehow finding a negative angle on Celtic signing goalkeeper Dorus De Vries from Nottingham Forest. As far as I can tell, they are the only ‘newspaper’ to do so. So far.
And bless them, they try really hard to make the most out of very little.
It is the opening lines and the accompanying tweet which really mark this out as a minor classic:
“NOTTINGHAM FOREST legend Gary Birtles has slaughtered new Celtic keeper Dorus de Vries for going to ‘sit on his backside’ by joining the Scottish champions.”
How’s that for a lurid exaggeration? It conjures up an image of the former European Cup winner turning up at Celic with a machete or machine gun and making his sheer unadulterated anger known in no uncertain terms! Maybe Quentin Tarantino will procure the rights to the story of this transfer and give it the full ‘violence and gore’ treatment? Perhaps Paul Murray could play the part of Uma Thurman playing Brendan Rodgers? Or something..
As you might expect, the ESJ had in fact over-egged the ‘story’, and Birtles (to be fair to him) was pretty reasonable about the transfer:
“Two-time European Cup winner Birtles could not believe he swapped the Sky Bet Championship club for a move to a team like Celtic.
Birtles said: ‘I do understand what Forest manager Philippe Montanier was saying when he said he couldn’t stand in de Vries’ way because Celtic are such a big club and there’s a chance of playing Champions League football.'”
Really that should be ‘case closed’ as it is blindingly obvious from Birtles’ own words why a 35 year-old keeper might want to make the move to Celtic just now. But unfortunately he’s not finished there:
“‘But no disrespect to the Scottish Premiership, but it’s probably similar to the Championship, isn’t it? You would think any of the Championship sides would probably give Celtic or Rangers a run for their money.
Without playing for your country, the Champions League is the next best thing, but how long it will last remains to be seen because it is a strong competition and when was the last time Celtic did well in it?
There are also no guarantees that de Vries will even be Celtic’s No.1, with Craig Gordon already at Parkhead. Why would you want to go and sit on your backside when you’re already No.1 at another good club in Forest?'”
You always know a bit of disrespect is coming when someone says “But no disrespect…”.
His tongue may have been planted firmly in his cheek, but Birtles offers a rather cliched view of Scottish football which might suggest he doesn’t usually follow it. And I could be inclined to suggest he is displaying an almost Ibrox club-like sense of entitlement and false superiority by being bemused at a player leaving Forest. However, given that Birtles has actually won the European Cup, I think it would be grossly unfair to compare him to any ‘Rangers’-themed clubs… 😉
Nevertheless, I think we can all laugh out loud at a Nottingham Forest legend sneering and asking about the last time Celtic did well in Europe. Not least because Forest have been as low as the third tier of English football since they last even had a sniff of the continent!
Still, it was nice to be reminded of a good player of yesteryear and thereby of Forest’s genuinely remarkable achievements back in the day. It’s just a pity that it had to be in a mean-spirited bit of Evening Shark-Jumpery.
In fairness to the ESJ, it also ran a piece in which De Vries spoke positively of his ambitions at Celtic. So perhaps the negative piece was simply the ESJ engaging in ‘banter’?
I know that banter certainly interests them. After all, they were only just talking about it yesterday in the context of Joey Barton sounding off about Brendan Rodgers: