Celtic, Champions League, Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

A Great Football Philosopher Speaks

Good Afternoon. 

What an absolute joy it was to watch Celtic play Manchester City on Wednesday night. At the end of the game just a single point was won, but the nature of the Celtic performance was very uplifting and provided great cause for optimism as they continue their journey 

  • in this season’s Champions League; and
  • along the longer-term path of rebuilding and development which Brendan Rodgers has spoken about. 

Rodgers has been absolutely clear that Celtic are far from being the finished article, and we would do well to remember that. However, Wednesday’s performance against an English Premier League side who are led by one of the world’s best managers and who had been unstoppable so far this season felt very significant indeed.

Celtic gave as good as they got – and then some – on the big stage and enthralled a truly remarkable crowd in a way that harked back to some great nights of yesteryear. Given Celtic’s European struggles of the past two seasons it almost felt like an extremely unlikely treat, but a welcome one nevertheless! 

A big well done to everyone involved for putting a smile on our faces, getting a great result and for reminding the world that Celtic and Scottish football haven’t gone away. 

More of the same against Borussia Mönchengladbach please!

It would be remiss of me not to remind you all that Wednesday’s performance and result was a great big GIRUY to one of the most ridiculous articles ever published about Scottish football. The piece in question appeared in the Evening Shark-Jump on 19 September 2016 and contained these immortal words:

“When it comes to European football, we just don’t bring anything to the table these days.”

“Let’s make other friends and go to a different party instead.”

Oops! [NB see Let’s Not Bother With The Champions League for the full, breathtaking wibblery.]

Meanwhile, The Warbmeister has made a bid to join the ranks of football’s great philosophers. The Evening Shark-Jump reports the former City Trader stating:

“We need to put the ball in the back of the net. Possession is nothing without goals.”

Wow! Who knew?!

It’s not exactly “football is nothing without fans” though, is it?!

Warbo’s incisive comments came in a piece which appeared to show a manager still feeling the pressure of a poor start of the season:

“MARK WARBURTON admits his summer recruits are still coming to terms with life in Glasgow as they look to get up to speed this term. The Englishman added eleven players to his squad for Rangers’ return to the Premiership but has seen his side struggle in the opening weeks of the season.”

“And Warburton reckons it will take time for his players to adjust to the scrutiny they are under at Ibrox. He said: ‘What they’re dealing with, in a very polite way, is you guys. Clint Hill with his vast experience and where he’s played at, Niko vastly experienced internationally as well, they are staggered by the amount of focus on Rangers and Celtic. 

But that’s Glasgow. It takes some getting used to. It’s a goldfish bowl and it takes some getting used to. Every goal is scrutinised, every miss is scrutinised. I had a guest in from Fleet Street earlier in the week. I won’t say who but he was a decent guy, a big guy who came up and was staggered that there was 20 odd pages on the Aberdeen game.

He couldn’t get his head round it and he is a senior sports writer. But it is Glasgow. It’s Rangers. It’s the stature of the club. It’s the size of the club.People come from clubs down south and it’s hard to realise the size and the scale of Rangers until you get here and you do the media and you read the papers every day.’

‘You guys have lived it all your lives but if you come from outside, it’s different. When Tottenham play Arsenal, there will be a bit in the Evening Standard and a little bit in the Daily Mail and then it’s on to the next thing because there are so many other teams in London and England. But here, the scrutiny and the focus is more on the team. And whatever you say, it does take time to adjust to it. That’s the honest truth’.”

Warbo appears unfamiliar with the English Premier League as the rest of humanity understands it. That is a league  where every bowel movement, tactical gamble and goal of the leading sides is subjected to trial by Sky Sports News and covered in mind-bogglingly tedious detail by the written press. Indeed, anyone might think from all the noise around it that it is a multi-billion pound industry followed by millions of people around the world. Unlike Sevco…

Even outside the Premier League you have Newcastle United. Now there’s a circus upon which the local press are utterly fixated! Day after day after day…

Not for the first time, Warbo seems uncomfortable with media scrutiny and criticism, despite having the luxury of the most sympathetic press pack in the world on his doorstep. I note that the Evening Shark-Jump does not consider why Celtic’s new signings appear to have settled into the Glasgow-based football much more easily than Warbo’s. Perhaps Brendan Rodgers has just been lucky? Or perhaps his side have simply been playing winning football?

Warbo has previously said that people have advised him not to read the papers. He might do well to heed that advice and pass it on to the players who he says are being (goldfish) bowled-over by it. Personally speaking, I hope he doesn’t. Purely in the interests of comedy, you understand…

Finally… The Clumpany would just like to say how much it enjoyed the Daily Record’s take on Warbo’s comments:

Does a goldfish bowl actually have a “deep end?”

I fear not…